2012 Winter What-To-Do

2011 Crashed Ice. Photo by Red Bull.

Crashed Ice.  Ice cross downhill. Insanity on ice. Ice cross downhill has been referred to as a hybrid high-speed sport that is a combination of speed skating, boardercross, and downhill skiing. If you’ve been near the Cathedral at any time since Christmas, you may have noticed a large track being constructed from just north of the Cathedral and extending all the way over the steps, across John Ireland Boulevard, and landing close to 35E.  It features a steep 45-degree starting ramp with a kicker that will result in the sport’s longest-ever jumps. Racing at speeds up to 37 mph, the padded, skate-wearing extreme athletes will take on the quarter-mile track of jumps, a bridge, and faster-than-sightseeing views of the Cathedral.  All on ice.  The rules are simple: With four racers per race, the one who crosses the finish line first wins.  There will be competitors from 30 countries around the world all working toward a better and better score as they skate through the World Championship races that start here in St. Paul but then proceeds to Valkenburg, Netherlands, and Aare, Sweden, in February and ends on March 17 in Quebec, Canada.  The winner of each competition wins 1,000 points and competitors all the way down to 100th (0.5 point) can collect points. Whoever finishes the season with the most points will be crowned the 2012 Red Bull Crashed Ice World Champion.

Starting in 2001, ice cross downhill has only had a World Championship competition since 2009.  The last time a competition even close to this magnitude has occurred in the United States was 2004.  St. Paul is proud to be hosting it this year and, as our oddly balmy weather has been a surprise to all of us, it’s a good thing that the ice canal has a large coolant system to keep it frozen.

2011 Crashed Ice. Photo by Red Bull.

Be sure to cheer for the Minnesotans in the group.  Early in December over 200 athletes tried out at the Xcel Energy Center to qualify for the Championship competition showing off their speed and agility with a series of jumps, slides and hairpin turns. The fastest 31 competitors from the day advanced to the main event this weekend.

Read up on the event materials courtesy of the City of Saint Paul:

Spectator Guide
Crashed Ice Course Diagram
FAQ (Parking, Photography/Video Rules, Viewing Areas)
Schedule of Events

2012 Crashed Ice World Championship
St. Paul, MN
January 12 – 14
Free to public


Art Shanty. Photo courtesy of Peter Haakon Thompson.

Art Shanty Project: 24 Shanties. 1 Lake. 9 Days of Artful Winter Experience.

The Art Shanties are back! We missed them last year, but they’re gracing Medicine Lake in 2012—with the huge caveat that ice houses require ice.  Inspired by ice fishing houses, this temporary artist community set up for public tour is as much an embrace of our cold Minnesota winter as it is a rebellion against experiencing it conventionally.  The same can be said of art.  According to Peter Haakon Thompson, Art Shanty Projects Director, “Expect innovation, intrigue, and caprice in an unpredictable environment. With 20 Shanties and 20 roving performances, this vibrant laboratory will engage audiences directly in a community space that is part art gallery, part art residency and part social experiment.”  More links and in-depth explanations are available on the Art Shanty Project website, but here is an abridged guide taken from it so you can make your own Shanty Plan:

The Naughty Shanty
Sarah Honeywell, Aneesa Adams, Marieka Heinlen, Angela Maki-Jones, Mo Honeywell
This shanty is designed to allure you and spark your curiosity from far across the ice. It appears like a warm, red, apparition of intrigue in the middle of a white tundra. Around the exterior of the Naughty Shanty, visitors are invited to interact with the structure by peeking into peep-holes that reveal tiny, naughty scenes inside. Naughty, not dirty.

Basketball Shanty
Sarah Baker, Beth Chekola, Jess Hirsch, Broc Blegen, Sam Hoolihan, Tye Kerr, Eamonn McCalin, Ben Moren, Stefani Motta
Basketball is a winter sport, but has yet to engage with the seasonal surroundings of a Minnesota winter. The basketball shanty brings a visceral regulation size court to the ice and provides a locker room warming hut to investigate the inner workings of locker room dynamics.

Robot Reprise
Mark Safford, Julian McFaul, Krista Pearson, Stephan Thust, Xena Huff, Andy Kedl, Douglas Saldana
Back with the bot newer better and with a few more gadgets. The Robo shanty is all about Flintstone technology with the impetus to get in and push an invitation to all comers four people can usually push eight riders, or take a swing with seven other friends in the bowels of the bot.

The Shanty of Wonder
Kermit Boyum, Matthew Nupen
Resting ominously on the ice, The Shanty of Wonder only reveals its secrets to people with a strong will and warm mittens.

Reflection Shanty
Brian Nigus, Katy Vonk, Jenny Bookler, Eric Frye, Mel Nguyen
In an effort to produce a beautiful and multi-purpose space for contemplation, new ideas and social activities, we bring you the Reflection Shanty.

Fort Shanty
Lauren Herzak-Bauman, Megan Wicker, Molly Balcom Raleigh, Alex Newby, Abigail Merlis, Areca Roe
The Fort Shanty is a space to build imaginary, intimate places not unlike those we made as children. Engage your sense of delight and play as you build your own fort using an assortment of pillows, pulleys, ropes and more.

ICE-Cycles Shanty
Maryanna Harstad, Janet Groenert, Meg Kosowski, Peter Schulze, Lisa Carlson, Eric Hofstad, Kurt Seaberg, Patti Paulson, Mina and Greg Leierwood
Experience the joy of art, bicycles, winter weather and fashionable self-expression in a completely new way to help visitors enjoy winter riding, and educate participants on ways to safely take the fun home.

Nordic Village Bridge
Valerie Borey, David Christian, Jens Henrik Selin, Kathryn Selin, Allison Spenader, Jeff Gerhardson, Ross Dybvig
Run by the staff and villagers of Concordia Language Villages and using cultural references to bridges and trolls in Nordic story and myth, the goal is to challenge visitors’ assumptions about what it means to bridge cultures in our global community.

Art Shanty. Photo courtesy of Peter Haakon Thompson.

Camera Head: Invert Your World
Andy Mattern, Joe Kaercher, Mark Kritz, Brady McClaran
Inspired by the history of photography, the Camera Head shanty is a mobile laboratory where visitors will have the opportunity to check out a head-mounted camera obscura.

Sashay Shantay
Danielle Everine, Carly Schoen, Rachel Baumann, Lela Hoarst Baumann, Lindsay Rhyner, Emrys Stramer, Alex Schroeter, Tony Lanners, Leif Ogren
Join us for a treasure hunting, photo booth fashion journey! Inspired by frozen winds and pioneering voyages, Sashay Shantay aims to recall the romanticism of winters of yore.

Capitol Hill
Aaron Rosenblum, Hannah Rivenburgh, Andrew Gramm, Jael O’Hare, Peter Valelly, Jacque Kutvirt
Capitol Hill appears on the ice as a monument to the absurdities of government.

Monsters Under The Bed Shanty
Rachel Bendtsen, Matt Mackall, Cali Mastny, Caly McMorrow, Aaron Prust, Scott Raleigh, Cole Sarar
Monsters Under the Bed Shanty is a fantastic getaway under a giant bed with all the creature comforts. Visitors of every age can socialize and relax in a friendly monster-positive environment.

Audio Adventure Shanty
Brady Clark, Mykle Hansen, Kelly Peach
The Audio Adventure Shanty provides visitors to the Art Shanty Projects the opportunity to experience the project more richly by taking a narrated tour. Headphones are available for checkout to take scheduled tours leaving at set times throughout the day.

30 Star Shanty
Jen Goepfert, Andrew Arlt, VOA SALT High School Students
Minnesota became a territory in 1849 – when the flag would have had 30 stars on it. This shanty is all about trying to recreate the life and times of 1849 – 1858.

Tory Roff, Bridget Beck, Erick Briden, Warren Samuel, Dan Isaacs
This winter, we want to engage visitors to Medicine Lake in the most universal form of interpersonal interaction… play. We are making a giant sit-and-spin shanty reminiscent of one of our favorite childhood toys.

Actually I’ve Been Pioneering New Enthusiasms
Molly Reichert, John Kim, John Moore, Daniel Dean, Emily Stover
Actually, I’ve Been Pioneer New Enthusiasms is an art shanty that will be built from a salvaged Avion travel trailer. It will house parametrically designed interior spaces that form multiple organic and body-friendly surfaces on which people can rest, warm themselves and relax…sauna included.  Bring your suit and towel.

Solar Ark Shanty
Aaron Marx, Aaron Squadroni, John Tapp, Mike Vanvleet, Dan Yudchitz, Allison Fritz-Salzman, James Howarth, Matthew Finn, Derek Peterson, Patrick Smith
Two fundamental elements that shape people’s experience on a lake during a Minnesota winter are ice and sunlight. The Solar Ark Shanty is a vessel for encountering the sun that will provide opportunities for people to alter the sun’s relationship to the frozen lake.

One Room Schoolhouse
Anthony Warnick, Katinka Galanos, Patricia Healy, Alyson Cward, Derek Ernster
Building on the traditions of the rural one-room schoolhouses during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, we re-claim this mode of all-inclusive, non-hierarchical learning.

Dance Shanty
Mike Rasmussen, John Each, Jon Pedersen, Mike Hoolihan
The Dance Shanty is a public space constructed on a frozen lake where the boundaries between artist and observer are pushed, blurred, flipped, popped and locked in the pursuit of positive personal and communal transformation.

Letterpress Shanty
MC Hyland, Jeff Peterson, Jonathon Peterson, Sarah Fox, Sara Parr
Bringing you the latest in shanty news, opinion and wild exaggerations–hot off the presses every day–the Letterpress Shanty is home to the Art Shanty Projects’ communally authored newspaper, The Shantyquarian.

On Ice Coordinators Shanty
Kelsey Nelsen, Alicia Dvorak

·The Board Shanty
ASP Board Of Directors and Staff

The Welcome Shanty
Paula Engelking and the SciGirls (Grace, Greta, Nikita, and Sukhmani)

The Social Shanty
Lucas Koski

2012 Art Shanty Projects
Medicine Lake, Plymouth MN
Saturdays and Sundays (10am-5pm)
January 14-February 5 (including MLK Day)
No driving on ice, no dogs, no alcohol in park. Please dress warmly.


City of Lakes Loppet. Photo by Hubert Bonnet.

Other Fun Fests:

City of Lakes Loppet
Minneapolis, MN
A festival of cross-country ski related activities.  Between Theodore Wirth Park and Uptown, the city will be host to racers, spectators, vendors, and artists.  A sculpture contest, plenty of beer and brats, skijoring, ice-cycling, and lovely luminaries make for an amazing weekend.  Hopefully, Minnesota will do its share and provide the perfect weather conditions for this famous festival.

2012 Saint Paul Winter Carnival
St. Paul, MN
January 26 – February 5, 2012
The 126th Annual Saint Paul Winter Carnival promises to pack a whole lot into a little time yet again this year.  Dogsled racing, geocaching, fashion show, Medallion hunt, coronations, Klondike Kates, and so much more.  If you register as a queer Medallion hunting team, let us know.  We’d love to keep up with you and post your progress online.  Go team!

Science Museum of Minnesota Omnifest
St. Paul, MN
Through February 17, 2012
Five films. One amazing theater.
Omnifest 2012 brings you five new films showing daily in the Science Museum of Minnesota’s Omnitheater. The films run in daily rotation, giving you the opportunity to see up to five films in one day.  Stay warm and hunker down. Showing this year: Journey Into Amazing Caves, Amazon, Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure, Wolves, and Search for the Great Sharks.

7th-annual U.S. Pond Hockey Championships
Minneapolis, MN
January 20 – 22, 2012
Pond Hockey.  In Minnesota.  We breathe ice, we smile to hear the scraping of skates, and it’s all the better when the sun is on our faces.  The wind might be whipping, but we’re on Lake Nokomis and life is good. Coed divisions for competition include Open, Open 40+, Open 50+, Rink Rats, Women (not coed), and Boot Hockey.

Wells Fargo WinterSkate
St. Paul, MN
Through February 5, 2012
Visit Saint Paul, the City of Saint Paul and Wells Fargo invite you to experience Wells Fargo WinterSkate, downtown Saint Paul’s free, outdoor, artificially-chilled ice skating rink in the shadow of Landmark Center.  Skating is free and skate rental is $2 per person. Receive free skate rental for you and your immediate family by showing your Wells Fargo check card or credit card.  Be sure to check the online schedule as there are times for open skate as well as hockey times, corporate events, and broomball teams.


From the Editor: Person of the Year

We have multiple people within the issue who have done amazing things this past year: Stephan who outlived homelessness in Justin Jones’s piece; the politicians and organizations who spoke out against the atrocities in Uganda as detailed by John Townsend; donors and artists and musicians and all sorts of patrons. People do great things. And, people deserve recognition.

This year, we chose John Kriesel, Minnesota Representative of District 57A, as our 2011 Person of the Year. We chose a white man. A heterosexual. A politician. A Republican. A veteran. A person with artificial limbs. A young adult. A suburbanite. A husband. A father. A guy with a great smile.

Without blinking.

It was a fascinating process. As we talked about the issue in the office, the idea was mentioned. Immediately, there was recognition. Of course we know who he is. Of course we know what he did. Of course.

He accepted it humbly. When I called to discuss the issue, I approached as a friendly. My call wasn’t expected. It wasn’t foreseen. I doubt it could even have been dreamed up as a possibility. Likewise, his allegiance and leadership regarding Marriage Equality was just as much of a surprise to many of us.

But, it wasn’t a surprise to him. He knew he was going to stand and speak out for Marriage Equality before he did it. Then, back on that day in May, he did it with conviction and strength.  And, as of press time, he’s planning to do it at the Minnesotans United for All Families event on December 12 with Governor Mark Dayton, Senator Scott Dibble, and others.

Of course.  It’s about rights.  It’s about putting himself in the position of others, some of whom are his 40,000 or so constituents, some of whom are fellow citizens. It’s about not going with what is popular, but what is the right thing to do.

And, for Lavender, recognizing him as Person of the Year was the right thing to do.

We hope you agree.

With thanks,

See the video here via UpTakeVideo:

From the Editor: Local Music

This is our first Local Music Issue.  Are you kidding?  Every issue could be a Local Music Issue.  Every issue should be a Local Music Issue.  

Under an early deadline, I’m listening to Rogue Valley’s “Onward and Over” right now as I’m typing this letter, a wee bit frantic.  This morning, I drove to the office with the soon-to-be-released Minnesota Beatle Project Vol. 3 playing old songs done in new ways by the likes of Cloud Cult, Charlie Parr, Cantus, and the Anoka Middle School for The Arts.  Tuesday, I received no fewer than eleven press releases for Holiday music shows happening in the upcoming weeks.  Monday, we shot the cover with Erin Schwab at The Town House just a day after I’d heard her open up the Charlie Awards at the Pantages with a rousing rendition of “Be Our Guest” Sunday afternoon.  Sunday evening, those of us at the Transgender Day of Remembrance Vigil closed the ceremony with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”  The other weekend, people gathered at Blue Moon Coffee Cafe to hear Ann Reed perform and raise money to fight the anti-marriage amendment.

Music is soothing.  It’s reminiscent.  It’s new. It’s seasonal.  It’s celebratory. It’s theatrical. It’s an obituary.  It’s political.

Music is around us.  People here steep in the arts, no matter what our heritage.  Drum circles happen.  Gospel moves.  Strings pull us. Woodwinds mellow.  Rock courses through veins.  Rhythm makes us move.  The moment a voice finds harmony with another is ecstasy.

The welcoming arms of music have always been a safe haven.

It’s now December.  Time for the holidays, time for memories, time for warmth and welcoming.

I was born in St. Paul, squalling in four-part harmony in Bethesda Hospital’s nursery. I can’t not find music.  I might be the one standing next to you at a candlelit service, singing the alto part.  Or, I may be rubbing elbows with you at the the Mixed Blood Theatre (Erin Schwab, December 10-11), Ginkgo Coffeehouse (Ellis’s annual food drive, December 16), or the Varsity Theater (Rogue Valley, December 21).  Perhaps we’ll sit next to each other at the TCGMC show at Tedd Mann Concert Hall–I love me some swing.  Or, maybe we’ll ring in the New Year together?

I hope you find time to find music this season.  Or, let it find you.

Many thanks,


From the Editor: Gifts. Holidays. Giving. Doing. Showing. Asking.

Researching and sourcing items for the Gift Guide has as much to do with you, as the readers, as it does with us, as the writers.  We think about what you might want, being members of this community, but we also think of what we might want, being similar members.  We hope that by thinking about what we might like, it might resonate with what you might like.  The same happens with every article that is written: “What might the readers want to read?” is hand in hand with “What might I like to read?”  Then, when we have a wide representation of writers, we get closer to meeting the needs of the community.  Or, so we hope.


Have you noticed just how diverse this community is?  How many facets there are to this diamond?  It’s brilliant.


We’re not quite there in our goals of being representative, but we’re getting closer every day.  So, I would like to run my Wish List past you and see if it resonates.  Let’s see if by articulating my wishes they might turn into another set of gifts.  For you.


An Editor’s Wish List:

1.  Feedback.  If you want something or like something, let us know.  If you dislike something or have a suggestion as to what we’re missing, clue us in.  The more you can tell us, the better.


2.  Give us story ideas.  At this point, the Editorial area at Lavender has undergone a reorganization of Franklin-Covey proportions.  We are more equipped than ever to take your ideas and thoughts and news.  If we have been remiss in the past, we apologize.  We’re listening now and, though it may not be immediate, we hope to follow-up on any leads you send our way.


3.  Use our online Calendar.  Yes, let us know that you’ve got an event in case we want to cover it, but please take the control in your hands to upload your events so our community can see them.  Because I ask for feedback (see also #1) and story ideas (see also #2), our resources need to be dedicated elsewhere.  Your events are just as important, so please share them.


4.  Ask the businesses you use if they would consider partnering with Lavender for advertising.  No, we don’t want to return to the days when we looked like a “shopper,” but yes, advertising is a healthy relationship for publications to have benefiting both the advertisers and the readership.  Just think if every reader asked a business about advertising in the community’s publication–it would have a ripple effect that would benefit the whole community, simply by illustrating how important it is for this community to be part of the larger business conversation.


5.  Ask us how we can help your business.  It’s a funny thing, how the GLBT community fits into the categories of small business, big business, minority-owned business.  It does, to be certain.  And, there are success stories and stories of struggle that span well beyond sexual orientation and identity, but how? What does it mean? We want to know your business, how you do it, and how you can share with the community what you’ve learned as you go.


6.  Tell a few people about us.  About one in every ten conversations that I have about Lavender includes a moment when I think, “Have you cracked open one of our magazines lately?”  When I hear, “You don’t cover women’s issues.”  “I don’t see any people of color.”  “Is Mr. Andy Lien available?”  “When did you go glossy?”  “It’s all bars and sex.”  We have a tremendous growth opportunity here…and, the converse of all those statements are not bad, in and of themselves.  We can cover men…and white people…and I can be a guy…and we could be in newsprint…and content about bars and sex isn’t bad content…but, we’re moving into a broader spectrum.  I understand that I have to make sure that the proof is in the pudding.  But, if you were to simply name-drop Lavender in your circle of friends or colleagues, it may jog a thought in their minds that maybe they should give us a second glance (or third…fourth, even).


And there it is.  I’m sure I’ll think of things as I’m falling asleep that I wish I would have included, but really…I’ve asked for enough.


Groan if you want, I’m going to say it anyway:  Your readership is a gift.  And we are grateful.


Lavender’s New Website: Our Community – Online, Part 2

In the last issue, the website tour included the upper navigation to find the Online Magazine and the Calendar for submitting events.  This time, let’s talk about articles and submission guidelines.

If there is a boom  and a bust to expanding from a print-dominant media platform to a online-plus-print platform it’s that there is an overwhelming excitement that is tempered by a, “Okay, but what does it mean?” Basically, we’ve heard a resounding “YES!” and a quiet “…what?”

You’ve read about it in other publications–the death of print, the predominance of all-things-online.  It’s partially hype, it’s somewhat true.  Our publication will still be printed with photos and articles and ads…and our online presence will also have photos and articles and ads.  So, what’s the difference?

More.  There’ll be more.  Online.  For you.  Any time of day or night.

We have already been publishing material on our website that is not in the magazine. Reviews? Restaurant blips. Theatre blurbs. Music blats. We want you to revisit the site often to see if there’s more content.  We’re making feeds available for each of the content areas for the savvier readers who know what that means.  We can have video and music and all sorts of things that just don’t quite fit the print magazine.  And, together, it will be an impressive collection.

Discreet, if need be.  Open, to an extent.  But not a Pandora’s Box.

You can access it anywhere, publicly or privately.  This community requires discretion and is vulnerable.  We’ve buttoned up our whole website so that nothing can be nabbed and used by ne’er-do-wells…or do-gooders.  In terms of photos, do us and yourself a favor and leave them there.  They’re copyrighted for everyone’s protection.  We don’t make it easy to take stuff from our site to use for vindictive or political purposes.  If you trust us with you, we will safeguard you.  And, we will go after those who might abuse our media platform.  We’ve got your back.  We’d appreciate your support.

Your stuff.  Written by you.  Performed by you.  Reviewed by you.

We will be posting submission guidelines on the website regarding how to reach this community.  You have much to say, we have the platform on which you could say it.  If the two elements collide to make mad, passionate media brilliance, we will all only be the better for it.  Look for the guidelines, sharpen your proofing skills (I know, I know…people in glass houses…), and send us some stuff to consider.


Lavender’s New Website: Our Community – Online, Part 1

Lavender developed a new website with multiple goals at the fore, the most important of which are 1.) organization, 2.) accessibility, and 3.) space.  Really, space is what dictated the entire project as now that we’ve got more space than ever, it means that we can have more content—which needs to be organized and accessible.

But, we’ve always had a lot of content.  It’s both revolutionary and business-as-usual.  Now, we’re organizing it for you better with a format that requires some eye-training.  Once you start familiarizing yourself with the website, your eyes will know where to look and expect to find things.  It’ll become more comfortable and, eventually, even easy.

Let me draw your eyes up to the top of the site as that grey bar is where you’ll find a great deal of organization and accessibility for the clicking.  There are links to our very popular Big Gay News and Wanda Wisdom sites which will be integrated into LavenderMagazine.com soon.

But, more noteworthy, that’s where you’ll find links to our Contests, our Online Magazine, and our Calendar.

Ah, the Calendar.  Yes.  We’ve opened up accessibility for you to post your own Calendar items.  We want this to be the resource for the Lavender community.  Once you click on Calendar, you get a listing of everything that’s happening.  You can sort by event type or by date if you click in the sidebar on either the categories or the miniature calendar.  Once you click the miniature calendar, you’ll get to a page where you can choose a date and see what’s happening.  Again, back to having space, organizing it, and making it accessible.

On the issue of accessibility, it’s your Calendar.  By being your Calendar, it’s our Calendar.  Upload your events!  For free!  With a photo, even!  It’s yours.  And, the more you add, the more it will become a resource for your community.  Our community.

See the Submit an Event button beneath the categories and miniature calendar?  That’s where you can do it.  Each event needs to be approved after they’re submitted, but they’ll show up shortly. You can even upload a picture.  Make it appealing, tell us about it, and then we all know what’s going on.

Have at it.  Right here.

From the Editor: Lavender's Land of Oz


Fab.  I’m feeling fab today.  It’s Friday.  We’re sending the second half of the Fab 50 issue to press.  The weekend is next.  And I’ve got so much to tell you.

I realize that I’m running the risk of overusing a tired metaphor in this community when I make this next statement, but I’m going to do it anyway: Running a magazine is a lot like The Wizard of Oz.  There are yellow brick roads leading to this place and that.  Sometimes, there’s singing, even a little dancing.  People of all ilk and ages and interests are cheering and waving while conducting their business and going about their daily lives.  There might be a few flying monkeys—maybe even some nefarious characters, but I’m not going to take the metaphor into too dark an area.  We have quests and challenges and guards to convince to let us through the big doors.  We’ve got Kings of the Forest and people with heart and brains and courage.  The horse has changed its color every time you turn around.

Smoke and mirrors would be easy to employ as a means to distract and divert, but I’m just not interested.

Here is where we start to depart from the comparison a bit.

I’m not interested in a curtain to hide behind, either.

This community has historically had its fill of run-around and double-speak.  We’re analytical and tend to default toward the skeptical.  It makes sense.  It’s been a requirement for survival.  As we venture outward and upward, out of closets…and out from behind curtains…we get stronger as a community.  Issue 429, though thin, is huge.  In its pages is content that is bona fide.  It’s backed by stats.  It’s truthful and honest and representative of you.  And, it represents you more the more you participate.

The 2011 Fab 50 contest was tightened up this year to include Fabulicious Finalists that were determined based on previous Fab 50 winners, the results of other publications’ award programs, and new industry knowledge.  Not everyone could be a Finalist, so write-ins were encouraged.  Using an online survey platform, voting was easier and the results were crystal clear and beyond reproach.  See?  There’s no big green projected head telling you what you should hear or think or know—while scaring your terrier and sending your Cowardly Lion running with a booming voice and flamethrower.  They are your results as determined by you.  And, if you don’t agree, perhaps you should cast your votes next year.  We hope you do.

Many congratulations to the winners.  Our community thinks you’re fabulous.

Also, this issue has in it one partial page that is the key to Emerald City.  It’s ridiculously understated for its significance.  It is the introduction to Lavender’s new website.  Go to lavendermagazi.wpengine.com and turn the key.  What you’ll see is the framework that is ready for you and what you want to know about.  Being a publication that has always been free to its community, our page numbers have gone up and down with advertising dollars.  We get to give you more content when we have more advertisers in our pages.  Advertisers get more readers when we get to present more content.  This relationship works best when we understand that we have to deliver great content at the same time as the advertisers understand that they need our readers to see their businesses.  This economy isn’t making this relationship very easy, either.  So, in order to make sure that our audience gets what it deserves (breadth and depth in content), we developed our new website.  The website will be the primary vehicle for both the content and the advertisers as we evolve into embracing new media and everything it can offer us.  And, the biweekly glossy magazine will become more of a cherrypicked showcase of what is the best our community has to offer to itself every two weeks.

What will happen is that we’ll have this gorgeous collection of content.  My role as an editor will turn into more of the role of a curator—finding talent and content and figuring out when and where to display it; accepting submissions and assigning commissions; looking to the future and keeping my eyes and ears open to what the community wants.

Here’s the key.  Walk in, take a look around, see what you think, and let us know.

Without the smoke and mirrors, you’ll see that all of this is still a piece of work that’s under development.  It’s evolving.  It’s got its flaws and we’ll fix them as we find them.  There are articles on that site that are years old that have yet to be categorized, but we’ll get to them.  They’re both time capsules of policies past as well as being articles that are still relevant and worth revisiting.  There is so much—and I am incredibly fortunate to have inherited what I have.  Fortunate and tired.  Believe me, taking over the role of editor of a biweekly magazine at the same time as developing a website is not the sanest career move—more than once did I want to find a hot air balloon and fly back to Omaha and out of Oz.  But, if Lavender agrees to pay for reblonding my new grey hairs for a while, we’ll call it good.  And, we’ll keep plugging away at making our community more interactive in all its differences and similarities.

Hopefully, we’ll find that staying in Oz and going Home aren’t mutually exclusive options any longer.

With thanks,


From the Editor: Politics as Usual?

Halloween and Politics: Two subjects that our publication should be soaking in until our fingers get pruney.  The season is changing, the costumes are coming out, and the politics are borderline gruesome—as usual.

I ran up to Duluth for a day this past week and landed smack dab at the right place at the right time.  I wasn’t supposed to be there—it was a whim.  My friend Chrissy is a faculty member at the University of Minnesota in Duluth and I arrived at her office door on National Coming Out Day just in time for a special 6th Annual National Coming Out Day Luncheon. I joked that only I could manage to take off a day and head up to the North Shore and end up at a Coming Out Day event. Timing.  It’s all in the timing.  And what a time it was.  The ballroom was full of people observing a day that demands reverence and celebration.  We listened to Deborah Petersen-Perlman (top, left) recount the history of National Coming Out Day.  UMD student, Sovann Khong (middle), told us of bullying and being locked out of his own home as brutal accents of his own coming out story. Jake Caceres (top, right) regaled us with “The Caveman Song” which was a crowd-pleaser to say the least.  Gary Anderson (lower, left) gave a moving update of what’s going on with Duluth and Minnesota United for All Families and Angie Nichols (lower, right) ended the program, leaving us all with a sense of empowered togetherness.

Sitting there, I looked around at a group of people that was gathered for greatness.  I thought about how these issues of bullying and civil rights are drawing us out in greater numbers.  How, by being drawn out and united, we’re actually making the world smaller.  I certainly didn’t feel like I was in a ballroom on a university campus 160 miles from where I’d started that morning. I could’ve walked into an event happening downtown and been hit with the same purpose, the same sense of accomplishment, and the same sense of unity.

Unity.  As you read through this issue, think of the politics that are presented.  We’ve got five of the more recognized parties speaking out in these pages—many of which talk about personal agency and rights.  Oddly unifying. From the people of faith to the atheists against the marriage amendment, there are differences to be sure.  But, there are so many points of unity.  There is an abundance of ways to make this world smaller as we fight the same fight toward the same goal: Rights.  Civil, human, equal.

Sometimes it’s being in the right place at the right time…and sometimes it’s simply walking out the door and looking around.  Look around.  See each other.  Feel stronger.

As the only GLBT publication in the region, Lavender is there with you.  We’re unifying and presenting information to foster a continued discussion.  I really mean it when I say that I’m committing Lavender to this conversation.  Please hold me to it.


With thanks,



Letter from Editor: Rocky Horror Heels

There’s something about growing up in Minnesota that makes the prospect of seeing Don Shelby in fishnet stockings and heels a little bit thrilling. We went to THE LAB theater to do a photo shoot with the actors of The Rocky Horror Show in preparation for this Fall Arts & Entertainment issue and I found myself surrounded by beautiful, talented people made up and dressed in all sorts of costume finery for their opening weekend. The props were ready, the smoke machine was prepped, the lights were up, and the camera was hot.

As was the shoot.

Each time we have a photo shoot, I want to push the limits. Any of the other magazines in town can get the standard photos of what to expect during the production. I like to put the Lavender spin on the artwork. What we can do is mix and match with a little more wanton abandonment than the other publications. We can showcase the intersections of sexuality. We can get a little cheeky. And, we can ask more of the models.

I said to Don, “You know, I want to make sure that you’re comfortable doing whatever it is you end up doing. I’d like to push a little, but not too far. I’ll follow your lead.” I’d been thinking that it’d be fun to put him in a silk dressing gown with feather accents…you know, make it a little saucy, but not over the top.

The Narrator and Rocky. Photo by Mike Hnida

A wry look crossed his face. He was game.

Don found himself a boa and offered to don his platform heels. I declined the heels, thinking we could tease the readers to come and see the show rather than show too much in the magazine. We’d keep his coverage fairly tame.

Then, he pulled his “sassy” move.

As it turns out, I didn’t need to worry about Don Shelby. He improvised his own shots.

Enjoy this issue, readers. We are rife with arts and entertainment here in the Twin Cities and it’s our pleasure to show it off for you in Lavender’s pages.

With thanks,

From the Editor: Always Learning

Back To School

A trio of lovely ladies spoke with me at the meet-up at the State Fair the other day. The meet-up was informal, the 5th Annual Gay Day was unofficial, the people were real. As always. Quite seriously, they talked to me about how they thought that other T-girls might be afraid to come out in public to a large event such as the Fair. No doubt, they would be greatly outnumbered. But, Susanna, Brenda, and Tracy eagerly disagreed with that conclusion–there was nothing to fear coming all dressed up to the Fair. They do it all the time, dressed as any women would dress who are going to the Great Minnesota Get Together (better than most, in my opinion).

I opined with them over how I wondered if it is really safe and, if it is, do we just not know it, yet. Are we waiting for an all-clear signal? Proof? Perhaps. Or, is it generational?

My theory is that it is generational.

“It” being defined as being able to express whatever gender identity someone chooses to express. Of course, “choose” could be a problematic term, too, as choice may not be part of the equation.

I told them about the incredible young people I met while putting together this issue: the campers at the GLBT church camp “The Naming Project” and the older students involved in our fashion photo shoot later in these pages. With grace and humor, the campers were your usual squirrelly high-schoolers…but with a more evolved sense of self than most high-schoolers I’d encountered. They had language with which they could define themselves, if they wanted to, or they could decide to leave themselves undefined. But, somewhere along the way, they’d been given the gift of that language. We didn’t have it yet in college back in 1995, I know that. When they were given it, I don’t yet know. In one of the multiple poignant interviews that I taped (that can be seen online), one of the students introduced himself: “My name is Caleb…I am a heterosexual transgender male and I am also a Christian. Um…I guess the big thing I’d want to say would be that just because I haven’t had the surgery does not mean that I’m not a man and I am not a human being.”

He broke my heart. There might be language, but there is still a hard reality despite the beauty of the language.

We held the photo shoot for the fashion portion of this issue at Macalester College, my alma mater and one of the gayest/gay-friendly colleges in the United States. When I sent out my requests for student models, I specifically asked each for an “Identified Gender” and wanted them to fill in the answers themselves rather than give them options from which to choose. Not surprisingly, one of them returned the questionnaire with “genderqueer.” As I recounted this experience to the ladies at the Fair, I told Susanna, Brenda, and Tracy that it all seemed so normal to the students.

Normal. How do we define normal? Perhaps the definition I’m looking for is one that’s claimed by the people—rather than assigned to the people. In their state of being normal, there seemed to be an ease to them. When one of the students replied that she dresses in men’s clothing, I asked, “Would you like to get outfitted for a swank suit at Heimie’s?” She enthusiastically replied that she would. She didn’t skip a beat. I don’t know how Nichole felt when going to the Haberdashery and getting sized for her clothes, but she donned them for the photo shoot and everything appeared to be done with ease.

Maybe she wouldn’t have batted a mascara-less eyelash at joining us at the State Fair, either. Plenty of the students would’ve been there with Susanna, Brenda, and Tracy—and the other fine folks in their Gay Day glory—in a heartbeat in all their genderqueer ease. Their apparent fearlessness. Their comfort. Their normalcy.

It would have been wonderful for them to meet their predecessors—all of the folks at the Fair who were wearing red for Gay Day. The people who, largely, enabled the community to have a shift in language simply by existing…or fighting…or demonstrating on college campuses like Macalester.

And, I think that Susanna, Brenda, and Tracy would’ve been so proud of them and their fearlessness. Just like I am.

With thanks,