Off Beat

On the Street Where We Live

Last week Off Beat was inexplicably compelled to paw through piles of Garrison Keillor reviews. We're abashed to report that we find ourselves still immersed in the literary game. From out of nowhere there appeared in our office a copy of Gary Indiana's new book, Three Month Fever: The Andrew Cunanan Story--the second Cunanan bio to appear in as many months. We couldn't stop ourselves from surfing the databases for reviews, but there's not much out there. (Well, Time's Jesse Birnbaum does call it "a made-for-TV movie that nobody should want to watch.") Instead, Off Beat read the book. Though we're not in the lit-crit biz, we can tell you that the work occupies a very uncomfortable niche somewhere between the realms of nonfiction and fiction. We might also be able to save you the trouble of reading it yourself, by offering this smattering of Indiana's observations regarding our fair Cities--as delivered through the imagined voices and interior monologues of the protagonist and his victims as they make their way from the Monte Carlo to Nye's Polonaise Room, from the Gay 90's to the Saloon, from White Castle to Café [sic] Solo: "Everyone drove a sports utility vehicle, everyone worked for a corporation, everyone had a caller I.D. on the telephone....The ritual drive to the mall, the trip to the supermarket seemed to be the high points of everybody's week. The gay scene...could not have been more bland and unassertive in Montana....Tracts of empty space yawned between 'neighborhoods,' even the newest clusters of commercial architecture had a look of windswept vacancy. The buildings dwarfed the meager population, there simply weren't enough people to make the place feel like a city. Strangers had an unnerving habit of saying hello without following hello up with anything else....Everything looked brown....Minneapolis's bicycle trail network was the one piece of urban planning that [hadn't] run horribly askew...completely at odds with the insane Minneapolis habit of ripping out its historical buildings and replacing them with monstrosities....St. Paul has preserved its architectural heritage, whereas Minneapolis, its so-called twin, has raped and destroyed every building worth looking at except the Forshay [sic] Tower.... Andrew had noticed, on earlier visits, how perfunctory and incurious people tended to be in this frosty northern town, as if they begrudged any interesting qualities a visitor displayed and could only accept him as a grayish, peripheral blob." Well. At least we aren't the ones who got tarred with "In San Diego you were generally all right, and would never be questioned about anything, if people assumed you had money.... Later, when Andrew traveled"--though not, one can only presume, when he traveled to Minnesota--"he realized that people in other cities often asked what you did for a living, whereas San Diegans never did. The more pointedly idle you were in San Diego, the more other people took your success for granted."

Tune In Next Week for Another Episode of Where's Sharon?

While everyone with a light-rail-lovin' heart was falling all over themselves last Thursday as the Metro Transit System celebrated its two billionth bus rider, Off Beat got to wondering if we might have lost track of Minneapolis mayor Sharon Sayles Belton amid the crush. While St. Paul mayor Norm Coleman's appearance at Metro Transit's City Center photo-op served as a vivid reminder that dang it, his Twin City is entitled to a few miles of train tracks, too, Her Nibs was nowhere in sight. We checked the bathrooms. We checked the bushes. Worried, we checked in with mayoral flack Amy Phenix, who reported that no, her boss hadn't wandered away from the doings; rather, she'd had, "ummm...a scheduling conflict." Didn't Sayles Belton know that even Gov. Jesse Ventura was doing his part to buck up Metro Transit (which would operate the light-rail system) by riding the rush-hour bus to work, even as the House Transportation Finance Committee was putting the kibosh on his pitch for $60 million to keep the train on track? That shakers and movers from both sides of the river were out in force, publicly kvelling about the congested urban arteries? That if ever Metro Transit needed a friend, it was now?

 

At Off Beat our motto is "Staying informed so you don't have to." Call (612) 372-3788 or send an e-mail tooffbeat@citypages.com with any poop that's fit to print.

 
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