Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Get me excited about Minne-SNOW-ta

I bet that title's not new to native Minnesotans, but it was new to me when I heard someone on some '80s game show (might've been "Press Your Luck") use it on game show network the other day.

Anyway, I'm hanging out a lot more often in the Twin Cities area these day, and of course looking for jobs there and preparing to move. And unfortunately, that means leaving Chicago. I love Chicago.

I'm reading a few Minnesota blogs to try to get into the spirit: Minneapolis Metblogs, and News Cut, and Clara's Minneapolis / St. Paul Blog, and taken together they're almost but not quite comparable to Chicagoist.

They have informed me about the St. Paul Winter Carnival, and about the never-ending senate race (I know, I know, an Illinoian is in no position to make fun of Minnesotans for only having one senator...) but while those are good general interest topics, I'm looking for some special interest type stuff as well.

I'm a science fiction fan -- where can I meet and hang out with other fans in the Twin Cities? How about writers groups?

What are the fun parts of downtown, for when you just want a day of pizza, beer, window-shopping and people watching, amateur photography, maybe a free concert or festival in the summer? Ken and I used to take the train to downtown Chicago or Lincoln Park for days like that, but I wasn't so impressed with Nicolet Mall. There must be a park people gather in, no?

For that matter, where is the good pizza? So far as Chicagoans we've been very disappointed.

I'm looking for things to be excited about, in other words. So far we're most excited about the five drive-in theaters in a reasonable radius, but they obviously aren't open this time of year. What else is there?

And if anyone mentions ice-fishing, by the way, they will get a withering glare. I don't ice-fish. (I was pretty sure, until I started going to Minnesota, that nobody did. I interpreted the first couple of suggestions as sarcasm.)

(Summer camping recommendations are welcome, though.)


Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey said...

I'm a science fiction fan -- where can I meet and hang out with other fans in the Twin Cities? How about writers groups?

Oh, my goodness. The Twin Cities area is one of the best places I know to find those two things.

To begin with, there is a club with regular meetings/parties, and that's a good way to enter the network: Minn-STF. Get in touch with them. And tell 'em I sent ya.

I am not sure whether con-going is your cup of tea. If you want to attend conventions, the local fans will help sort out which ones are of most interest. There are three, make that four, SF conventions a year that I am aware of, and there may be more: the venerable Minicon in April over Easter weekend, Fourth Street Fantasy in June (which is thick with writers and last year had nothing but talk about writing on its program), Convergence in July, and Convivial in October.

This list suggests that there are several more in the area. I love Minicon myself, and usually wind up speaking there.

One can scarcely throw a snowball in Minneapolis or St. Paul without hitting an author. There are writers' groups; I don't know a lot about them.

Study the Einblatt , attend one or two Minn-STF parties, and introduce yourself to strangers a lot. I have confidence that they will soon connect you to a bunch of congenial people.

Kevin G. Austin said...

where can I meet and hang out with other fans in the Twin Cities?
Bill's suggestion of MnStf is good, you could also look at MISFITS.
What are the fun parts of downtown for when you just want a day of pizza, beer, window-shopping and people watching, amateur photography
Uptown (which is SW of Downtown).
maybe a free concert
Lake Harriet - that's an link so you can see an example of the free concert schedule.
What kind of festival?

Kevin G. Austin said...

good pizza?
It's such a subjective topic that I can't really say. I can say that I like the pizza at Davanni's, Pizza Lucé, and Galactic Pizza, but obviously YMMV.

Mary said...

This is exactly what I was hoping for. Thanks, guys. (And the comments on your blog are great too, Bill, thanks for linking me)

I have heard of Minicon, though I've never been, and I know from reading Pamela Dean's blog that there is or used to be an active community of professional writers, but I didn't know where to look for some amateurs who wouldn't mind a newbie hanging around.

Karen Cooper said...


The only good pizza in the Twin Cities is the Neapolitan pizza at Punch, found in several locations. We used to have Chicago pizza, but no longer do.

Among many local delicacies you'll want to check out the Jucy Lucy.

You'll want to be picking up the free "City Pages" to learn about doings around town. Or see their web site.

Uniquely in fandom, nearly all Minnstf members live in South Minneapolis. And uur very well attended and fine Pool Party should be on your don't-miss list. Yes, it's on Valentine's Day. Come anyway. Bring a suit for the hot tub.

As for ice fishing, you don't have to do it to appreciate it.

The state and some county parks have nice car camping, even some hike-in sites. Or there's the Boundary Waters, if you want wilderness.

No one should miss Minnehaha Falls.

Felicia Herman said...

There really isn't any good pizza in the Twin Cities, but Fat Lorenzo's is okay.

Kevin G. Austin said...

I found this discussion of Chicago style pizza in Minneapolis. The general consensus there isn't very promising.

Kevin G. Austin said...

the five drive-in theaters in a reasonable radius
You must have a much larger 'reasonable radius' than I do.