Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow: Essays

Andy Sturdevant. Coffee House (Consortium, dist.), $22 (233p) ISBN 978-1-56689-337-4
Artist and writer Sturdevant takes the reader on an oddball tour of the arts and culture of the Twin Cities in this endearing collection. His introductory essay muses on Midwest aesthetics, "alternately disposable, modern, seedy, wholesome, and improvised" and its "cobbled together" melting pot heritage. From there, Sturdevant considers the stylistic differences in gubernatorial portraits and the artistic appeal of a 1986 landscape painting on the wall of a popular bar. He celebrates St. Paul artist Chris Larson's 2008 exhibition Deep North and speaks to Martin Woodrich, artist in resident at the Metrodome Stadium since 1982. He highlights some Minneapolis wall murals including Love Power, a massive smiling Jesus painted on the side of a combination homeless shelter/art and music venue. In a particularly amusing essay, Sturdevant recalls being scolded for elitism by a marketing executive for Buffalo Wild Wings after making remarks about the chain on his blog. He voyages to locations featured in Mary McCarthy's Memories of a Catholic Girlhood, contemplates the origin of the phrase "trust-fund kid," and laments the phasing out of the independent "retail clerk as cultural arbiter." All and all, Sturdevant captures Minneapolis eccentricity, a place "where the drama queens and burnouts and weirdos and misfits of the rural and suburban Upper Midwest wind up" and proves himself a capable and clever writer on many other topics. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/14/2013
Release date: 10/01/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
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