Originally published in OUT November 2008, issue 179
How many global star architects can you pack into one heartland city? Ask Minneapolis, birthplace of the Purple One, which commissioned many of the world?s top names to work on its recently unveiled citywide redesign to become one of the country?s most coherent cultural capitals. The epicenter is Jean Nouvel?s Guthrie Theater, a spanking fresh complex sitting on the Mississippi River that features a network of bars and restaurants and three stages to accommodate one of the nation?s premier dramatic companies.
The conga line of innovative landmarks also includes the new metal wing of the Walker Art Center, designed by the Swiss team Herzog & de Meuron, Cesar Pelli?s glass-walled, light-filled Minneapolis Central Library, the Michael Graves addition to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and a whole constellation of designer hotels and restaurants meant to entertain the hip, artsy crowd.
A city that finds its driving force in art, theater, and design is, of course, a city that is essentially gay at heart, though in a singular way. Able to blend its new, chic self with its old, wholesome heartland heart, the gay community of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis together with its neighboring, sister city St. Paul) maintains a sporty, backslapping friendliness. There may be a full calendar of art openings and theatrical debuts, but nothing will sideline the busier calendar of games maintained by the approximately 44 local gay softball teams.
490 N. Robert St.; (651) 292-1844
A mix of high camp (drag queens, diva anthems), low camp (sing-along cabarets), and summer camp (especially on Saturday nights, when the boys of Boylesque perform and the bar serves $5 Stoli vodka).
115 N. First St.; (612) 339-3933
Famous for its smooth martinis and smoother lounge vibe, Jetset is all minimalist sleek; think a loft-like warehouse space punctuated by exposed brick, a Euro sound system, and streamlined ottomans where aspiring jet-setters perch.
830 Hennepin Ave.; (612) 332-0835
The city?s premier gay dance club, featuring global guest DJs, this all-in-one hangout also offers a newly built lounge, a grill that dishes up a Saloon omelet (for an early breakfast), and a shower platform where nude dancers soap up, because even the porn shows stay relatively clean in Minneapolis.
901 Hennepin Ave.; (877) 767-6990
Matching the city?s new arty brio, this 60-room, well-feathered downtown nest offers boutique amenities including contemporary art, a subterranean Chambers Kitchen with menu by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and monochromatic rooms with black leather headboards and walk-in rain showers.
Part One | Part Two