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When the very fun—and also community supported, collectively organized, and volunteer run—Boneshaker Books celebrated their 5th Anniversary, the shop celebrated with a heady and hilarious literary costume party. Now a year older, and with independent bookstores doing better than ever (especially compared to say, downtown chain stores), Boneshaker will be celebrating six years by again dressing up (this year’s theme is Imagined Futures!!), a gaudy cake, a La Croix fountain (maybe), and lots of excellent conversation that includes well-read opinions.
Before the big party, we sent some quick questions to volunteer Aaron King about literature and how lit the lit party will be.
Secrets: What’s your favorite book that the bookstore carries?
Aaron King: I read How to be Both by Ali Smith last year, which I think is a perfect novel. It formally pushes boundaries, explores identities, and is deeply empathetic to deeply flawed characters. And different copies of the book tell the story in a different order.
What are the biggest advantages of being a community supported, collectively organized, and volunteer run bookstore?
The biggest advantage is the free meeting space. Free, shared space is getting rarer and rarer these days, and those that exist often come with a racist and/or classist stigma or are hard to access for marginalized people. We’re very happy to offer the room on a first come, first serve basis. It even comes with wi-fi and a projector.
Also, we get to have parties in a bookstore and no one can tell us to stop.
Scale of 1-whatever, how excited are you for the Marlon James fantasy series?
I try not to get excited for things so that I don’t get disappointed. (Thanks for teaching me that lesson, Star Wars prequels.) But his announcement definitely has me feeling excited-adjacent, which is as close to excited as my cynical self-preservation will allow me to get.
Scale of 1-whatever, how crazy are you going to get at the 6 Year Anniversary Party?
I’d place it on the “whatever” side of the rating system. While things always start very classy, it often devolves into drunken karaoke, sometimes followed by napping in the comfy chairs in the kids section. Anything goes as long as you don’t get creepy and don’t spill drinks on our lovely, lovely books.
Making a date is easy with tickets on sale for $17. Discover 17 different concerts from Rachmaninoff to Ray Charles, from Beethoven to Bollywood now thru Jan 17 only. Book for two at minnesotaorchestra.org>>
Since many of our readers don’t read anything else besides rush hour traffic reports, we feel we should share some of the important-to-you stories being shared around the SotC virtual water cooler so that you’re properly briefed before your happy hour.
News: The new season of the highly coveted Synergy series at Spoon & Stable was announced and it features some very big culinary names.
Notes: There’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is that Gavin—he’s a single name only now, right, like Haj at the Guthrie?—is really going big on this one and will have two of the chefs from last season of Chef’s Table on Netflix, which we loved. But the tickets are $350 each. That’s not even the bad news—even though you can’t afford it, that’s really pretty reasonable for such a high profile and unique dining event. The downer is that tickets will be harder to get than if Bon Iver played across the street inside Askov Finlayson.
News: Marlon James, arguably MPLS + STPL’s biggest author at the moment, just announced that he’s going to write a sprawling fantasy trilogy.
Notes: James, who’s both the winner of the Booker prize and prof at Macalester, has been hard at work on “an African Game of Thrones“. And we are pretty darn excited by the prospect. Here’s the first part of the synopsis:
Three characters — the Tracker, the Moon Witch, and the Boy — are locked in a dungeon in the castle of a dying king, awaiting torture and trial for the death of a child. They were three of eight mercenaries who had been hired to find the child; the search, expected to take two months, took nine years. In the end, five of the eight mercenaries, as well as the child, were dead.
News: Twin Cities Daily Planet did a really nice intro on the large and diverse spate of MPLS City Council candidates, and will be doing more in depth profiles on each candidate.
Notes: Worth checking out just for the cool photo. It’s a nice perspective on how the candidates could affect the Council’s culture (with things like more transparency and new issue priorities) and is a fantastic contrast to the STrib’s recent tone deaf piece on MPLS politics being left vs. left-er.
Week after week, Mike S. impresses us with the depth and breadth of his burger knowledge. Burger joints should be painting a mural for him! Check out all The Burger Hunter’s meaty exploits at the #GreatAmericanBurgerHunter tag on Instagram.
Well 2016 is gonzo and we can’t totally complain about that . . . Onward! If you’re turning over a whole new leaf or running some major league resolutions on the one seven than this hunt is just your speed. On the main level of the Radison Blu downtown is a food haven called FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar. Now the menu here is strong, but remember that leaf you turned over—so yeah, not the Dirty Fries, but yes the Wild Acres Turkey Burger. This is a strong choice, let’s just start with the meat . . . Gobbling North from the Pequot Lakes area and they don’t sleep in tents. Actual wild turkeys! They season their grind up nicely but there’s a hint of sweetness that’s likely from the binding agent. Then cooked over a mesquite grill that gives it the saltiness it needs. Balanced like Wevers in Rio. It’s so yummy! Now on this cow I mean bird is a garden of lovelies; caramelized onions, mushrooms, lettuce, and a sherry scallion sauce that’s just perfy. The Brie is all that it should be and more. This New Years resolution thing ain’t so bad huh? The bun is from New French Bakery and toasted. Now they might deny it but that harissa aioli you see on other parts of the menu was on this burger and I’m so thankful for it. It’s that light heat that really wakes up the bird. The flavor overall is refreshing and lush. Loved it! But really folks tour the menu cause they go hard on local and these chefs flat-out get it! Pro-tip: Bathrooms are hidden.
Scorecard: Flavor: 8.4 Presentation: 10 Originality: 10
FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar, 31 S 7th St, MPLS; firelakerestaurant.com