It’s Saturday night at Betty Danger’s Country Club and I’ve just taken delivery of a glass of blue wine. I didn’t know I was getting blue wine when I ordered it, but here it is and I’m trying to come to terms with the reality of it. It's like someone dropped a freezie in my champagne. Not bad, but not great, either.
Leslie Bock, who’s also responsible for the equally kitschy and outlandish Psycho Suzi’s, excels at taking trash, repackaging it, and selling it at a premium. People eat her brand of kitsch up with a spoon.
Ever since it went up, I’ve been meaning to take a ride on Betty Danger’s bar in the sky -- the ferris wheel that sits in the courtyard and illuminates Northeast’s sky each summer night. It’s just weird enough that even as a somewhat jaded local I wanted to go. Having out-of-town guests was the perfect excuse.
Blue wine in hand, we get $6 tickets to ride from our server. A few minutes later she comes by and tells us she’ll have to refund the money. There’s an isolated storm in the area and it could be dangerous to ride. We’re just boozed up enough to be disappointed. Safety before fun? Pish posh.
But soon enough the skies have cleared again and we’re back in business. The obvious pitfalls of trusting bartenders and cocktail waitresses with operating heavy machinery and safety mechanisms is not entirely lost on us, but then again, we trust the carnival dudes, and what’s the difference?
On our way to the line we pass a dozen bachelorettes, each one in a different shade of bobbed wig: fire engine red, canary yellow, the blue of my blue wine. A couple in sensible shorts and haircuts putts mini-golf. They’re checking out the bachelorettes. We order another $30 round of drinks. Save for the pops of color from the ferris wheel lights and the bachelorettes' heads, everything has gone a little hazy.
Between the ferris wheel tickets and expensive hooch, I’m trying to calculate how rich Leslie Bock is getting and how quickly. I only wish I’d thought of this first. A gorilla statue with his arms in the air gazes down at me. The cacophony is reaching ever greater heights. Is that Lou Bega on the sound system?
Finally at the front of the line, we’re told it will be a 20-minute ride. It sounds like a long time to be on a ferris wheel and it is. As we’re swept away from the noise and color, It’s only us, the black night sky, and downtown Minneapolis twinkling tinily in the distance, like some munchkin land on the other side of darkness.
We're sipping occasionally from glasses held steady by thoughtful little drink holders. Each time we whoosh down to the ground, we’re convinced we’ll be released, but then we whoosh back up. It’s hypnotic and peaceful and otherworldly. You can hold hands or kiss or just think. No one will see you.
There are no bachelorettes or gorillas up here. I can’t help but think that they should make more quiet, private bars, way up in the sky.
2501 Marshall St. NE, Minneapolis