Where it all began…
It started out innocently enough as a fun little Facebook group I started last year. I invited old friends from high school and college that also live in NYC to join, and they invited their friends. One member suggested a happy hour, and we kicked it off on Friday, Jan. 2nd, 2009 at the Art Bar in the West Village, with 6 total attendees who christened it “Minnesota Monthly.” Not bad for a night following the holidays when most Minnesotans head back to the motherland to visit family.
Meanwhile, Taya Mueller, another old friend from high school, was emailing me to suggest some type of regular Minnesota-related event at Le Poisson Rouge, where she works as a manager. Taya was once a promoter at the legendary First Ave in Minneapolis, and had helped open Le Poisson Rouge, recruiting many Minnesotans for various jobs at the club in the process. We decided on a monthly happy hour – First Fridays at 6pm – to begin February 6th. Taya would prepare a MN-inspired dish, and I would bring “bars.” Our first event featured a surprisingly delicious hamburger hotdish and my mom’s world-famous brownies.
In March, Taya enlisted the help of Sam Osterhaut of Minnesota’s own Electric Arc Radio to curate an amazing night of literature and music from Turf Club-based scrap metal collector-cum-punk poet Paul D, writer Leo Kelbs of Saint Paul punk band Frances Gumm, and bits & pieces from InDigest co-editors & recent MN-expats David Doody & Dustin Nelson. Additionally, StarDweller, aka Stephanie Davila of The Winter Blanket, played a few acoustic songs from her new solo effort. It was a stellar night filled with Minnesota pride and talent.
The monthly happy hours continued, and we even got t-shirts, designed by fellow Minnesotan Bryan Christensen. And all the while, I was realizing how much more connecting I wanted to achieve, beyond a once-a-month happy hour. I wanted to know about Minnesota-related events so I could both support my fellow Minnesotans’ endeavors and enjoy their creations, and I figured other Minnesotans did, too.
Proof of Minnesotans’ desire to connect with other MN’ans came with the July 2nd issue of “Time Out New York” which highlighted our monthly happy hour in it’s “Own This City – Fourth of July” special feature. There were quite a few newcomers at the next Minnesota Monthly.
And finally, I realized a blog and twitter would be the ideal way to spread the word about these MN-related events and phenomena. I hope you agree and continue to check it out for more information. And I hope to learn about exciting MN-related stuff going on in NYC in the process!