The weekend kicked off not, as I expected on Friday morning with WomenVenture’s Marketplace and Luncheon, but with a surprise invite from the Tretter Collection at the University of Minnesota to go to the premier of TPT’s LGBTQ MN history documentary, Out North (airing tonight on TPT) at the Cowles Dance Center on Thursday night. The documentary is pretty good, though there are inevitable gaps. It would have been outstanding to hear something about immigrant queer history, for example, which doesn’t turn up much despite the longevity and legacy of local organizations like Shades of Yellow. I’m sure other folks with more knowledge about the queer history of the Cities as well as the rest of Minnesota will have additional thoughts, but with that caveat, I enjoyed it. Coverage of the early organizations and samesex marriage history is pretty detailed and there are some great interviews with Lisa Vecoli of Tretter, Rep. Karen Clark, Andrea Jenkins, Lou Hoffman and a number of other activists, artists, politicians and religious leaders. I really liked the presentation and I’m hoping they do some more followup posts on their blog or interviews on a different show to add some more depth and voices to it. I should mention that I have a moment of glory during Lou Hoffman’s interview; a number of years back, I wrote an article about the Bisexual Organizing Project for an indie newspaper that no longer exists and there is a brief shot of the paper, the article and my byline. Only problem is that it is the article where the paper misspelled my last name (“Lundhoff”), and thus I will be remembered, I suspect. Oh well, nice to be included.
After that, we headed home and I rose in the wee hours of the morning to head over to run a Queen of Swords Press book table at WomenVenture’s Luncheon and Marketplace at a fancy hotel in downtown Minneapolis. And it was fancy! And likely very successful for some vendors. But not, alas, me. Tables were quite spendy, and we were charged extra for Wifi and parking, and while lunch was good and it was nice to see both my Senators on stage congratulating WomenVenture on its 40th anniversary, it was not a couple of hundred dollars worth of “nice.” I think it would have helped had they not enthusiastically sold us on the “giant crowds eager to spend right before and right after lunch” angle. I sold a couple of books, handed out a few cards and flyers for my November talk at DreamHaven, politely discouraged people eager to send me their latest opus and had some nice chats with the vendors around me, but that was it. I did, however, spend the time fine-tuning my table rap, so there was that.
At 3PM, I had to throw everything together and motor over to the Fairgrounds in St. Paul to set up our table for the Twin Cities Book Festival That part went well, and Michael and Sherry and I got things set up and ready to go for Saturday in time to meet up with Kevin for a nice dinner at ChinDian Café (Indian/Chinese fusion food). Mike showed up early the next day and we zipped back to the Fairgrounds. We were pretty much a table-setup machine so we each had time to make a quick tour. I scored a copy of Edward Gorey’s The Haunted Looking Glass: Ghost Stories, which made me happy.
The day was a whirlwind – I sold a fair number of books and a few mugs, Mike sold some books and we talked to a ton of people. Lots of folks stopped by, including Rachel Gold, Paul Weimer, Charlie Jane Anders Venus DeMars and Joyce Sutphen. I chatted with acclaimed local cartoonist Rob Kirby and bought his latest. And then at the end of the day when we were tired and crispy, Matt and Kevin turned up and helped us load out. So big thumbs up on the TC Book Fest. I’ll definitely look at it for next year. Many thanks to Mike Merriam for being an excellent companion and fine tablemate!
This week is a mad scramble to get the new Emily Byrne book prepped and other stuff before I take off for Sirens next week. Gonna be lively.