Art on Ice in Minneapolis

Every two years, Minnesota artists build a temporary village on a frozen lake near Minneapolis, crafting colorful, creative parodies of traditional ice fishing shanties that are open to the public for four weekends. The event is juried. Dozens of groups submit proposals for shanties, but only 20 are chosen. Each shanty has a theme, and each theme comes with some kind of interactive programming — whether scheduled events or stuff to do in the shanty as you wander through. In 2012, 20,000 people visited the shanties at Medicine Lake. (That year, I followed some Minneapolis makers as they built and launched their monster-themed shanty.)

The 2014 Art Shanty Project opened last weekend on White Bear Lake, north of St. Paul, and my husband I took our daughter and went to see what we could see.

Read the rest

Physics slam (on ice!) tomorrow in Minneapolis

Tomorrow night you can catch physicists from around the country, competing to see who can explain their research in the best, funniest, most awe-inspiring way possible. The action starts at 8:00 pm in the University of Minnesota's Ridder Arena. Doors open at 7:00, and it's all free.

Maggie interviewing Curtis White, author of "The Science Delusion"

I'm going to be hosting a Q&A on Wednesday with Curtis White, essayist, novelist, and professional curmudgeon. He's got a new book out called "The Science Delusion", which ties together critiques of Richard Dawkins and The New Atheism with critiques of pop-neuroscience like Jonah Lehrer's work. If you're going to be in Minneapolis, you should join us — it should be an interesting conversation. The event starts at 7:00 pm at Magers and Quinn Booksellers.

Maggie speaking in St. Paul with superhero physicist, Jim Kakalios

Tomorrow night, I'll be joining University of Minnesota physics professor Jim Kakalios for Beaker & Brush — a series of discussions between scientists and artists/writers sponsored by The Science Museum of Minnesota. Kakalios is the author of The Physics of Superheroes and The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics. Together, we'll be talking about the way both physics and society have shaped American energy use and electric infrastructure. Energy is a socio-technical system. To understand where it came from and where it's going, you have to look at both science and culture. The event starts at 6:30 pm at Amsterdam Bar and Hall in downtown St. Paul.

Paintings of Minneapolis and St. Paul, by the author of the Madeline books

In 1936, Ludwig Bemelmans painted scenes of the Twin Cities to illustrate an article in Fortune magazine. If the style looks at all familiar, it's probably because you're remembering Bemelmans' most famous creation — a Parisian schoolgirl named Madeline.

In this painting, you can see the Cathedral of St. Paul and what I am pretty certain is the James J. Hill House — a massive, red sandstone mansion that is actually across the street and down a half block from the Cathedral. Bonus fact: The Hill House was built by the railroad magnate behind what is now Amtrak's Empire Builder route from Seattle to Minneapolis. In fact, that was his nickname. James "The Empire Builder" Hill. I'm not kidding. The house is open for tours and it's pretty fantastic. Plus, you get to watch a nice video which assures you that while James J. Hill was, technically, a union-busting robber baron, he also really liked kittens. Again, not kidding.

Check out the Nokohaha blog for more of these paintings

Thanks Andrew!

The best cat video on the Internet

That is a high claim, I know. But over Labor Day weekend, a combination of dedicated curation and popular vote resulted in Henri 2, Paw de Deux being named the best Internet cat video.

The Internet Cat Film Festival, sponsored by Minneapolis' Walker Museum of Art, drew a live audience of more than 10,000 people last Thursday night. Videos were curated from a massive collection submitted online, and were grouped into thematic categories— foreign films, for instance, or comedies. Henri 2 took home the Golden Kitty, a People's Choice award.

Bonus: If arguing about the merits of Henri 2 weren't enough of a gift to your procrastination tendencies, you can also check out a full list of all the films screened at the festival, including links.

Minneapolis: Home of the first (annual?) Internet cat video film festival

Well, it's been a quiet week in Minneapolis, Minnesota, my hometown. The heatwave broke. There was a giant tomato fight downtown. And the Gonzo Group Theater is performing Aristophanes in the middle of the lightrail construction zone. But out on the Internet, everybody is talking about the fact that Minneapolis will, on August 30, play host an Internet cat video film festival.

Yes, a film festival of Internet cat videos. Curator Katie Czarniecki Hill is accepting nominations through July 30, so you should totally submit your favorite.

But I also wanted to talk briefly about the context of this, because it's awesome, and you should know about it. Czarniecki's Cat Video Film Festival is part of a summer-long program at the Walker Art Center (our fabulous modern art museum) called Open Field. If you're not familiar with Minneapolis, the Walker sits at the base of a big hill. Part of the lot is covered with art museum, and part of it is given over to a broad, grassy slope*.

That's where Open Field happens. What's Open Field? Partly it's just a reminder that this big public greenspace exists behind the Walker and, hey, maybe you should come hang out there. But it's also sort of an ad-hoc, crowd-sourced, summer-long festival space, where both Walker artists-in-residence and average folks can stage unique community events, skill-shares, workshops, and projects. Today, for instance, you could go down to Open Field and team up with a group of knitters and fiber artists who are building an interactive fabric installation; join the band Dear Data for a low-key acoustic campfire sing-a-long; watch your own (and other people's) old, film-based home movies and learn about film preservation; and participate in an interactive workshop about the history and future of print-letter writing and the post office.

Basically, you should know this—Walker Open Field: It's like a Happy Mutant smorgasbord.

See the Open Field Schedule, including the Cat Video Film Festival

*And an absolutely awesome installation piece that takes the form of a semi-hidden, ancient-temple-looking room cut into the side of the hill. Seriously, go check it out. Preferably after dark because it's most awesome then.

Urban plant tags

I'm amused and charmed by this theoretical public art project proposed by Minneapolis' Carmichael Lynch Creative. Urban Plant Tags explain the care, placement, and proper feeding of inanimate objects like benches, streetlights, and fire hydrants.

You can go to the website to read those plant tags more clearly. But I love the care instructions for this bench: "Apply Real Estate Ads Annually — Occasionally Wipe Clean — Keep Warm With Butt."

Side note: Perhaps you are confused by the fact that this fire hydrant appears to be on a stilt. That's because it snows so much up here in Minnesota that they have to build the fire hydrants tall enough to clear the winter snow cover. An amusing regionalism.

See the whole set of urban plant tags

Via Andrew Balfour

Art and science: "Your Inner Neanderthal"

If you're in the Twin Cities area on Saturday, April 28th, I recommend going to check out artist and science geek Lynn Fellman talk about the Neanderthal contribution to the modern human genome, and how art can help people understand complicated science. "Your Inner Neanderthal" is part of the Hennepin County Library's DNA Days events. It's free, but you need to register.

Maggie in a silent auction to support Phillips Neighborhood Medical Clinic

This Thursday, I'll be donating my time to support The Phillips Clinic, a free healthcare provider that serves more than 1000 patients in Minneapolis. Come to the Clinic's annual silent auction where you'll be able to bid on awesome items like gift cards, a hot air balloon ride, and a presentation by me! If you win me, I'll come talk to your lab/students/friends/cats about how to better communicate science to the general public. Bidding starts at 6:00 pm, this Thursday, at the University of Minnesota's McNamara Alumni Center.

Reminder: BoingBoing meetup in Minneapolis on Saturday

Twin Cities Boingers will be meeting up this Saturday afternoon. The meetup is ostensibly scheduled around the Art Sled Rally in Powderhorn Park, but will still happen even if there isn't enough snow on the ground for the sleds to, you know, sled.

Emily Lloyd has graciously volunteered her house, across from Powderhorn Park, as the location of the meetup. We'll meet at 3216 10th Ave South at 1:00 — BYOB and a snack to share. Then, at 2:00 (King Boreas willing) we'll cross the street to watch some awesome sledding action!

See you there!

Twin Cities BoingBoing Winter Meetup: January 28

Mark your calendars, Twin Citians. The Powderhorn Park Art Sled Rally is January 28. If you've never been, you're missing out. It's a Happy Mutant-filled fun fest of creatively themed homemade sleds careening down a steep hill, ridden by costumed characters. It's also the perfect way to cure some depth-of-winter blues. Check out the video to see, among other things, a sled shaped like a 20-sided die.

I'll be joining BoingBoing readers for a meetup before this year's rally. Hopefully, you can come! We'll meet at 1:00. Reader Emily Lloyd has graciously volunteered her home, across the street from Powderhorn Park, for the meetup location. Bring what you'd like to drink. Bring a snack to share. At 2:00 or so, we'll walk to the park to watch the sledding. More details are on the BoingBoing Meetup page. See you there!

I am thankful for Minneapolis

There's a great write-up on Good about my city and my mayor, R.T. Rybak. Minneapolis isn't a perfect city, by any means. But it remains the best place I have ever had the privilege of living. And I think a huge part of that is the unofficial city motto that Good highlights here: "Minneapolis: We Build Stuff and Take Care of Things."

Crutchfield Dermatology of Minneapolis claims copyright in everything you write, forever, to keep you from posting complaints on the net

An anonymous reader writes,
Crutchfield Dermatology, in the Minneapolis area, requires its patients to give them the copyright for everything they write on the Internet, in exchange for service. The provision is in an agreement called: "No Show and Cancellation Policy, Patient Satisfaction Agreement, Privacy Protection and Assignment of Copyright Policy." Basically, the company doesn't want its patients saying bad things about it on the Internet. So it demands:

"In consideration for your medical care and the additional patient protection, described above, by signing this document you or your legal ward agree to refrain from direct or indirect publication or airing of commentary about Crutchfield Dermatology and Dr. Crutchfield's practice, expertise or treatment except in the manner provided in the preceeding Patient Satisfaction Agreement Procedures. You recognize that Crutchfield Dermatology has made significant investments to develop Crutchfield Dermatology's practice and reputation for outstanding care, and that published comments on the internet or through mass correspondence may severely damage Crutchfield Dermatology's practice. By this agreement, you grant all copyright ownership in any and all published statements, comments, blog postings, and any other communication made by you outside of the Patient Satisfaction Agreement Procedures. You further agree that Cruthfield Dermatology is entitled to equitable relief to prevent the initiation or continuation of publishing or airing of such commentary regarding Crutchfield Dermatology's practice, expertise, or treatment."

Giving them copyright over things I write about them is bad enough; giving them copyright over everything I write turns me into an indentured servant. And, of course:

"Crutchfield Dermatology reserves the right to modify any policies without notice."

Crutchfield Dermatology

Papercraft romance: romantic model of first kiss


Morgonmae sez, "This back-lit papercraft model is a gift I made for my partner, Patrick, on the seven-year anniversary of our first date. It depicts our first kiss, which took place outside a seedy Chinese restaurant in Minneapolis' Wedge neighborhood. Nothing in this model is painted or drawn--it's all cut paper. See if you can recognize any of the beer logos in the window of Hum's Liquors."

Papercraft first kiss (Thanks, morgonmae, via Submitterator!)