My favorite things Minnesota

No, I am not there, but this is atonement for my unintended slight of the state on Saturday.

Music: Dylan, Dylan, and Dylan.  Bringing it All Back Home is his best album, and don’t forget Blood on the Tracks and Love and Theft, among many others.  Did I mention the guy is a first-rate author, an amazing DJ, and a passable actor as well?  I’ve found that relatively few intelligent people appreciate Dylan as a vocalist (don’t forget the Bing Crosby influence) and guitarist (one of the best of his time, though not technically), don’t be distracted by the lyrics.

But yes there is more.  My favorite Prince songs include "Starfish and Coffee," "Glam Slam," the Purple Rain "medley" on side one, and "Seven," most of all the acoustic CD single version.  My favorite Replacements songs are "I Will Dare" and "Skyway."

Film: The Coen brothers have many good films, most of all Fargo, Raising Arizona, and Brother, Where Art Thou?  Much of Fargo is set in Minnesota.

Literature: F. Scott Fitzgerald is an obvious first, Sinclair Lewis I don’t enjoy much.  Tim O’Brien’s Going After Cacciato is a neglected classic.  Ole Rolvaag isn’t bad.  I believe Anne Tyler is from the state, Breathing Lessons is worth reading for a tale of dysfunctional families.

Artist: Duane Hanson — the guy who makes the sculptures that look like people — is the obvious pick.  Any painters other than (ugh) Leroy Nieman?

Small town: "Small" isn’t quite the right word, but Duluth is a beauty, and yes Highway 61 runs up there.

Museum: The Walker Art Center is one of the most dynamic arts institutions in the United States.  Here is a good article on the arts scene in Minneapolis.

I won’t call them "best", but Winona Ryder, Charles Shulze, and Garrison Keillor count for something.

The bottom line: Education and intellect kick in here in a big way.  Minnesota is one of the best states.


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