One thing I’ve noticed about the literary scene in Minneapolis is this tendency to constantly place itself in relation to other artistic hubs, mostly New York. So often people seem to need to proclaim that we are also hip, that this is a place where creative ventures can take flight, and that the work being done in this snowy tundra is important, too. Revolver is, of course, further evidence that those concerns are false insecurities. The literati are still buzzing about their September launch at Uppercut Boxing Gym, which drew a crowd of 600 (!). They have received glowing praise from the writing community at-large, and—most importantly—the work they have published online has been excellent.
Friday night I stopped by Revolver’s release party for their inaugural print edition. This time, the event description was simple: an invitation to grab a drink with the staff and pick up a copy of the magazine. I’ll admit, after their last gathering, I hoped Friday would turn into an epic party. Instead, a group of about forty people, constantly rotating in and out, were tucked into the dark back corner of Eat Street Social schmoozing and sipping specialty cocktails inspired by the magazine. There were no readings or speeches. The bar was kind of loud. A lot of people seemed to know each other. I attended with friends who don’t frequent the literary circles, and they still agreed the party vibe was intimate and inviting. Maybe it was the whiskey, but the occasion definitely left this Revolver admirer with warm feelings.
Plenty of the usual suspects were in attendance. I saw contributor and Coffee House Press poet Lightsey Darst milling around. Jeff Kamin, moderator of Books & Bars, seemed to be telling a lot of good jokes. Courtney Algeo, from Paper Darts and The Loft, was spotted (sans boxing attire). The editors of Revolver were making rounds and saying hello to familiars but also stopping to talk with strangers (me). Local writer John Jodizo was present, but that doesn’t distinguish this event from any other event ever. (Am I right or what? That dude’s at everything.) I’m sure there were other notable names I didn’t recognize.
The magazine itself is a beaut; the aesthetic is simple and content-focused, much like the Revolver website. I haven’t had a chance to read it through yet, but the lineup is stellar. I do think several of the pieces may have already been published online, but it would make a great addition to a bookshelf or gift for someone who has yet to discover the publication.
I’m glad I stopped by Friday’s release party, supported another great venture, and put a few more faces to bylines. And I know Minneapolis is probably always going to be a little worried that we’re missing a bigger, better scene because those hip parties and exciting new projects—though they do happen—don’t pop up every weekend, but Revolver reminded me that sometimes it’s equally pleasant to spend a night having smart conversations with nice people as it is to dance to Hot Cheetos & Takis with a boxing gym full of sweaty writers.
Were you There? Have something to add, or a different take on this event? Chime in on the comments below, or send us an email at LitSeen.Mpls@gmail.com! Be sure to check the schedule to the right and the Twin Cities Literary Calendar to be at the next LitSeen.org attended event. See you around!