Revolver Launch Party

The newest arts and cultural magazine to hit the Twin Cities lived up to its reputation for “rowdy reading” on Saturday, September 8, 2012. Revolver held its launch party at an unorthodox venue, Uppercut Boxing Gym in Northeast Minneapolis, with an equally unorthodox main event: boxing matches between four hip litsters.

Unorthodox, unschmorthodox. Uppercut was the right call for the evening. It would have been easy for a crowd of 300 people to seem small given the gym’s high ceilings and open space, but rumor has it the place reached capacity at 600 party-goers. From when I arrived around 10PM until I left at midnight, the party did seem perfectly plump with readers ready for a good time and a good fight. I slipped past the Polaroid booth, but caught glimpses of a bunch of the exposures and coordinating stories strung across the tables scattered throughout the space. Sadly, I only heard the tail end of the first match between the Architect of Destruction aka Chris Baker and The Polish Hammer aka Tony D’Aloia, but I was definitely there for the fight between The Killswitch aka Courtney Algeo and Bo Bo The Mutilator aka Sarah Moeding.

Now this wasn’t fake fighting or dance fighting, but train-for-it-at-Uppercut fighting. At one point, I said, “This is so weird,” and then continued to smile and cheer for @IceCrmSocialite aka The Killswitch, who did indeed kill it (without hurting anyone). It was probably the signs and shouts of the Paper Darts ladies that pushed her to glory. The reigning champ of the second half of the literary boxing match joined us later on the dance floor to bust a move to beats spun by DJ Shannon Blowtorch. It was like a middle school, high school, and college dance party all rolled into one, and there was definitely some sweating by the time the lights came up.

Bin Wine Bar kept the spirits flowing all night–we might be art hounds, but we can also be booze hounds, and Chef Shack provided the grub. I didn’t get the chance to snack at all, but people seemed pretty satisfied all around. There were also mirrors to dance in front of and ladies painted with words from the magazine’s first issue, but the best part of the evening was that more than the “usual suspects” came out to celebrate. Multiple attendees, many of whom are regulars on the TC literary circuit commented that they didn’t know most of the people there. This party accomplished what many launches, readings, panels, discussions, and shows fall just short of: literally bringing arts communities together.

Remember, Revolver is the online only (as of right now) baby of founding editors Alexander Helmke, Ben Barnhart, Esther Porter, Luke Finsaas, Marcus Anthony Downs, Ross Nervig, and Thorwal Esbensen. Read up–there’s great stuff from Alex Lemon and Laird Hunt among many others, and then check out photos from the launch on its Facebook page.


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! Be sure to check the schedule to the right and the Twin Cities Literary Calendar and be at the next LitSeen attended event. See you around!

Literarty Party: An Open Mic

Hazel & Wren and Ad Hoc Art Minneapolis came together Sunday night, August 26, 2012, to present Literarty Party: An Open Mic, held in a former condo staging office turned gallery space in downtown Minneapolis. The walls were covered with paintings, drawings,

Wren, doing her intro thang

photographs, and installments by local artists. The gallery was divided into  multiple spaces given its former use, but this worked to its advantage. Everything looked and felt creative, communal, and interactive. “Liter-arty Walls” where attendees could share their art-inspired thoughts were spread throughout the gallery rooms, and people could be entered to win a prize if they snapped a pic of a Hazel & Wren logo hidden among the art and then posted it on Twitter.

Rob, of “Rob Callahan and Courtney Algeo”

Art-goers had an hour to interact with the works and each other, eat some cold treats, and grab a lemonade or coffee before the hosts opened the mic. Six Twin Cities writers read or shared original poetry, stories, and even some nonfiction to an audience of about fifty. Each person was wonderfully dissimilar from the writer before and after him/her, giving us all a brief glimpse into the craft and style of a variety of writing. As one grateful participant commented, events such as this one gave creative shut-ins a reason to get out and share their work. Featured readers Rob Callahan and Courtney Algeo closed the open mic portion of the event. Again, the difference in works between writers was not lost on the audience. I especially liked Algeo’s decision to share some poetry, a short essay, and a nonfiction piece. Both Callahan and Algeo included a bit of humor in their work and reading, always a delightful way to end an evening.

Courtney Algeo, of just about every literary endeavor in the Twin Cities.

Ultimately, the night was a successful mash-up of the arts and allowed visual and literary artists to share their efforts in a public space for free. What better way to support the growth of a vibrant art community in the Twin Cities? What better way to connect this local community of artists with its audience and its members than through conversation over ice cream and popsicles, amidst the sounds of a jazz ensemble and surrounded by super cool art? I also snatched up two more letterpress bookmarks to add to my collection, making it a grand total of three (all freshly pressed by Hazel & Wren, of course)! I’m sure there will be more where those came from at the next Hazel & Wren Open Mic night. The affair returns to its birthplace at the Weisman Art Museum on the University of Minnesota campus in February. Be on the lookout for more details as the date approaches!


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! Be sure to check the schedule to the right and the Twin Cities Literary Calendar and be at the next LitSeen attended event. See you around!