Mississippi Megalops: Floating Chautauqua


Not sure what a chautauqua is? Here are a couple of hints: It's not a kind of chupacabra, nor is it a kind of chalupa. It's actually a place set up for people to hear lectures, listen to music, and watch theater. But primarily it is an opportunity for people to learn -- particularly in an outdoor setting. Local collective Works Progress (Cokin Kloecker and Shanai Matteson) and local artist Andy Sturdevant have decided to spice up the concept by putting all of it on a boat. The event is titled Mississippi Megalops: A Floating Chautauqua and it's part of the Northern Spark Festival.

[jump] Throughout the evening and into the very early morning, the Jonathan Padelford will be departing from its dock at Harriet Island, traveling on to where the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers meet, and returning again. During the hour-and-a-half excursion over a dozen artists, scientists, and storytellers will get down to business entertaining and informing audiences.

Special guests includes musical groups such as the Como Avenue Jug Band and Prairie Fire Lady Choir; writers Wang Ping and Brad Zellar; and artists Pete Driessen, Landland, and Mike Davis.

There will be four excursions, each unique in its contributors. Departing times are scheduled for 8 p.m., 11 p.m., 2 a.m., and 5 a.m. Guests will be invited to board the boat 30-minutes prior to departure. Tickets are free, but booking in advance is recommended and can be reserved online. Food and beverages will also be available for purchase, along with limited-edition souvenirs. Unclaimed tickets will be redistributed on a first-come, first-served basis 10-minutes prior to departure.

This event is part of Northern Spark, a festival featuring parties, pop-up art shows, sound installations, performances, and other great free happenings around the Twin Cities from dusk to dawn. For a complete schedule, visit