Issue 382

“Who Can Turn the World On with Her Smile?”

I was walking down the Nicollet Mall recently, when I was approached by a stocky suburbanite tourist who asked me to take a picture of him and his family with the Mary Tyler Moore statue in front of Macy’s.

I immediately tensed. They had deemed this a Kodak Moment, and they were entrusting it to me. I wanted them to be pleased with my work—maybe even recommend it to some of their fellow suburbanites.

What if I dropped the camera? What if I exposed their film?

No. Too much pressure. That’s exactly why I was taking a walk in the first place—to get away from the pressure of homework.

Still, I was flattered to have been chosen, and he awaited my answer.

“Whatdya say?” he asked jovially. “We coulda had a paintin’ by now.”

So, after having him sign the standard release forms, I cheerfully agreed.

I presumed he had scanned several prospects before deciding I looked not only trustworthy and capable, but also somewhat artistic.

“Thanks for doin’ this,” the man, who introduced himself as Mort, said. “This camera cost a bundle, and we figured you couldn’t outrun us.”

He laughed, and asked if I knew how to work the complicated instrument. I looked down at the various buttons and dials.

“Sure,” I replied, hiding my disposable Fun Cam. (I always carry one when walking in case I need a quick purse-snatching photo.)

He returned to his family, and they began positioning themselves. It was understood that the kids, Margie and Frank, would be in front. But Mort wanted Phyllis and Uncle Sid on either side of him, because he was tallest, while Phyllis felt she, being the only woman, should be in the middle. Reaching an impasse, they abruptly turned to me.

“What do you think?” they asked expectantly.

I didn’t take my responsibility lightly. After determining that Uncle Sid was Phyllis’s brother, and Mort was her husband, I directed that she should be between the two men.

Mort looked at me in hurt betrayal. He had obviously thought I’d take his side, as I’d known him the longest.

“Look, I’m sorry, Mort, but that’s my decision,” I said, lifting the camera to show I meant business.

Sulking, Mort traded places with Phyllis. I then ordered Margie to switch with Frank, as her Pocahontas print puffer jacket was clashing with Mort’s plaid pants. She wasn’t happy about the change, and wouldn’t stop scowling until I promised her a megapretzel from a nearby vendor.

Suddenly, Uncle Sid broke his stance.

“Wait, take one with mine, too!” he shouted, urgently fishing a camera from his fanny pack.

“Nobody’s going to get one if you don’t keep still,” I warned.

Just then, I noticed that Frank had his finger behind Margie’s head, playing the old antennae trick.

“Cut it out, Frank,” I commanded.

“I always do this.”

“Not in my picture, you don’t.”

“Let the kid have some fun,” Mort barked.

I could feel the tension returning. I had a vision, and they weren’t cooperating.

“Why don’t you get someone else to take this thing?” I snapped. “Obviously we have some creative differences here.”

I realized we should have had a consultation first. I knew nothing about these folks—their hopes, their passions, whether they wanted a zoom or panorama. And they knew nothing about me. It was understandable they’d be a little rebellious.

“I didn’t mean that,” I admitted. “I’m only tough because I want what’s best for you.”

Mort looked at the ground, and scuffed his toe in the dirty ice: “It’s our fault, too. Take whatever kind of picture you want.”

At that moment, I became aware of a small crowd that had gathered, politely waiting to pass.

A pleasant woman stepped forward: “Would you like me to take one of all of you?”

I began to decline, when Mort chimed in, “That’d be great! Get over here!” he bellowed, extending a welcoming arm.

“Come on!” Margie pleaded.

“Why not?” I shrugged amiably.

“You can stand right here next to me,” Phyllis coaxed.

Uncle Sid argued that it should be boy-girl-boy-girl. We debated it a few minutes, then struck an agreeable pose.

“Just a sec!” I yelled, searching for my cardboard cam. “Take one with mine, too.”

As the woman snapped the photo, I quickly tossed my beret in the air to mimic Mary.

Well, hey, consider the source. I’m an artist and an actress.

Bye for now.
Kiss, kiss.

Getting Away to Palm Springs Warmth and Beauty Await

With winter ringing in the new year, we’re enduring 40-below wind chills, heaping piles of snow, and ice-laden roads. Wait…what? With the holidays out of the way, and no more presents to preoccupy the mind, the only thing left is to stare off into the distance, trying to remember what it felt like not to bundle up in seven layers, rush out to the car (hoping the ice doesn’t win yet another battle with your obviously no-grip shoes), and jump on the frozen front seat—only to realize the window is so frosted, you aren’t going anywhere but back outside.

Most Minnesotans claim we’re the toughest of the tough. The Facebook group “I survive Minnesota winters, so don’t f**k with me” now boasts more than 140,000 members, who probably all question why they failed yet again to move to a warmer climate before another winter.

Now is probably a good time to start planning that winter vacation, AKA getting out of Minnesota for a few days to thaw out. With so many options, it’s hard to choose the best from year to year. But one in particular calls to the GLBT community like no other in the United States: Palm Springs. Read the rest of this entry »


Five-Time Tony-Winning Dreamgirls Costume Designer Looks Back

Interview with William Ivey Long

William Ivey Long has won the Tony five times for costume design, surpassed only the late Florence Klotz, who won six Tonys. He has been nominated 11 times. He worked in Minneapolis alongside legendary Guthrie costume designer Jack Edwards, for whom he has great and fond regard, in the 1970s. Read the rest of this entry »


On one of those bone-cold nights in December, I stopped in at A25, Azia’s newly renovated sister sushi bar. Bundled as I was, the short drive there had my shoulders hunched to my ears, my jaw muscles tight with Minnesotan stoicism. It didn’t seem the appropriate night for sushi, to be quite honest, and I said so to my dining companion, who merely hmm’d in response. I believe he would have said more, but it was really too cold to talk. The instant we opened the door, I changed my mind. A25 is irreverently festive, with cheerful orange paper lanterns and faux graffiti on its brick walls. Read the rest of this entry »

Sensational In Silver

Produced by Mike Hnida
Hair & Makeup by Michael Brent
Photography by Mike Hnida, Lavender Studios
Models: Emily, Michael
Jewelry provided by JB Hudson Jewelers
STEPHEN WEBSTER and IPPOLITA – exclusively at JB Hudson Jewelers Read the rest of this entry »

Isn’t Fashion Fun™

STYLEDLIFE® loves Valentine’s Day! In Minnesota, the most romantic day of the year usually occurs during a cold spell. The weather encourages us to stay in bed during this holiday and avoid the cold outdoors… we just may have better things to do. The wardrobe experts™ of styledlook® recommend in this issue of Isn’t Fashion Fun to treat your loved one with creative and tres’ cool accessories that go beyond predictable flowers & chocolate. Fanning the flames of desire has never been so stylish. Read the rest of this entry »

Belfast Northern Ireland

Hmpf! I’d thought the Troubles had been put to rest in Belfast, but hundreds of coppers, armed to the teeth, were milling around the Europa, known as the most-bombed hotel in Ireland. No worries, it turned out: It wasn’t the Irish Republican Army (IRA). It was Hillary Clinton. “Hello, Minneapolis,” the Secretary of State said. What Troubles? Read the rest of this entry »

Tickles Relocating to Downtown Minneapolis Popular Bar Reopening New Year’s Eve in Double-the-Size Space

On December 31, just in time for New Year’s Eve, Tickles bar is moving from its present location in Northeast Minneapolis to its new one in Downtown Minneapolis. Near the corner of Fourth Street and Fifth Avenue, the space formerly was occupied by The Little Wagon. Tickles debuted at its current address in November 2008, so the relocation is the soonest ever in local GLBT bar history. Read the rest of this entry »

Bored and Reformed

Dear Ms. Behavior

I am a 23-year-old gay man. After a string of failed relationships, I decided that I was the common factor. If I want things to change in my love life, then I will have to be the one to change.

For a long time, I was making all these wrong decisions. I would fall for men who would not treat me right, and eventually leave me. I also would go out as often as I could, get drunk, and hook up with the first guy whose eye I caught. This only led me to feel slutty, worthless, and alone. Read the rest of this entry »

“Will Work for Cheese Logs”

Well, the holidays are barreling around the corner with more momentum and frenzy than a Sarah Palin book-signing event. And they’re almost as scary.

I don’t know about you, but I think I need to get a part-time job to pay for this jolly season. How else am I going to pay for those lousy…er, I mean, lovely cheese logs I’ve got on layaway for my deserving friends? Read the rest of this entry »

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