The gentlemen of Northeast MPLS—you know, the flannel-wearing, canned beer drinking, music loving, likely bearded, probably tattoo’d gentlemen—will take the floor of Grumpy’s Northeast on Saturday to battle for the prestigious title of Mr. Northeast. Even though the competition won’t be easy, each contestant must get through categories like “Fashion”, “Talent”, and “Question and Answer” and impress local celebrity judges like Tony Zaccardi, it will be worth it—the winner gets a year’s worth of Indeed Beer. 

We love this pageant, and ahead of it we sent some quick question to co-organizer and Nordeaster Mark Joseph to get an inside look at the inner workings of a such a bold undertaking, the neighborhood true identity, and whether beards really play a role.

Secrets of the City: What’s your official title with the pageant? “Local culture maker”? “Creative Place Maker?”

Mark Joseph: Technically, I don’t really have a title. The whole event is put on by myself, and my good friend Molly Goike. It started as a joke while day drinking on the patio of Grumpys NE that kind of just snowballed into us deciding to actually do it. We have both been longtime residents of Northeast Minneapolis, and have wanted to do something for the neighborhood as a way to give back to the community. We figured making this a fundraiser for East Side Neighborhood Services would be a good way to do that. Since I also work for Indeed Brewing, it was a natural fit to include the brewery. So, I guess you could say I’m a co-organizer and the official sponsor.

What’s Mr. Northeast 2016 been doing this last year? Outreach trips to the other neighborhoods?

Mr. Northeast 2016 has made a few public appearances, including the Nordeast Big River Brewfest. He pretty much makes nightly appearances at Grumpys NE, as most regulars do. That and spending time in his hot tub. He actually ruined the Mr. Northeast 2016 sash the night he was crowned Mr. northeast in said hot tub.

How much does the breadth and depth of a contestant’s beard factor in for the semi-celebrity judges do you think? How many of the questions are brat related?

The breadth and depth of one’s beard doesn’t come into factor at all really for us organizers, but I can’t speak for the judges. A lot of people have the misconception that this is some sort of beard off. The whole spirit of the pageant is to make it tongue in cheek. If anything, we’re poking fun at the stereotypes people have of the residents of Northeast by embracing it. As far as the brat related questions, that’s all up to our host, Ian Rans. I do know he loves Sentyrz, and their sausages, so maybe he’ll sneak a question in about that.

What kind of talents in the talent section are we talking about?

It can literally be anything. We want our contestants to be creative here, so we don’t put any limitations. Last year someone recited an entire scene from the movie Clueless, another made a paper mache volcano that he erupted on stage via baking powder and vinegar, one made shorts out of a damn tree trunk for the fashion round, and the winner just told a bunch of lame dad jokes that won over the crowd.

It’s fantastic you don’t have any advance tickets, why don’t more events dot no advanced tickets? Can’t people show up on time?

Why the hell can’t people show up on time? We didn’t do advanced sales for a few reasons. First, we wanted to make sure the event was to capacity. People buy tickets for events all the time and never go, this prevents that from happening. That, and we pretty much just didn’t want to deal with it.

Is Christy Costello the best rock DJ in MPLS + STPL?

She’s great! Aside from being friends with her, she’s a great fit for this event. Her and Ian have a great rapport, and she’s awesome at curating a party atmosphere, dance night or not. She killed it last year.

We’ve long held that Northeast MPLS should get its own flannel, like Scots and their tartans. What colors do you think it would have? Grey and red?

Based on the Polish, Ukrainian, and Russian history in the neighborhood, the colors would have to be Red and White. But for a modern day take, it can be whatever anyone wants it to be. All tints, all hues, all colors. That would better represent the neighborhood.

To see dudes of Northeast compete in the Mr. Northeast pageant, head to Grumpy’s Northeast on Saturday at 4 PM. It’s free and fun.