Lileks: Keeping up with the Vulcans

  • Article by: JAMES LILEKS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 21, 2012 - 11:06 PM

It's the second year of the Minneapolis Post-Solstice Festival, the Mill City's answer to the St. Paul Winter Carnival, and I'm pleased to announce that it's going well.

Huge blocks of artisanal ice were imported for the Modern Sculpture Ice Carving Competition, and local artist Hannah Botello's "Incomprehensible Thing Meant to Encourage Despair" won top honors, with second prize going to a piece of conceptual art called "Essence," a dish of liquid water over a can of Sterno.

"Challenges our very notions of ice," said one judge.

Around town last week, the Hipsters -- the Minneapolis version of the Vulcans -- embarked on their usual hijinks, bursting into public places and delighting all the occupants by standing along the wall and looking derisively at people's choices in beer and reading material.

But the real fun is always the Medallion Hunt. Like the paper across the river, we print clues, and it's up to you to find a small, buried object somewhere in the continental United States. In case you missed it, here was the first clue:

By the shores of Gitche Gumee / distant screams do gently waft / some now wish they'd covered up / the hole over that old mine shaft

That was a bad idea, really; we're sorry about that one, and we hope everyone has been rescued, and all the bones are knitting nicely. On advice of counsel, we changed the location, and this was the next clue:

Big tree, small bush, by a street sign / You may have a pang of doubt / Obviously we're killing time here / so no one finds it first week out

And no one did! Tension mounted. The next clue was a bit more helpful:

There's a place called Prairie Island / home to things like nuclear fission / you can see the prize quite clearly / if you use your X-ray vision

Some people deduced that the prize was inside the nuclear power plant, shielded behind lead, and 16 intrepid medallion hunters made it as far as the control room before security got control of the situation. But Bob Harwood of Maplewood got the closest to the nuclear pile, where the medallion was indeed hidden, and he wins the $500 prize. Or would have if he hadn't succumbed to radiation.

Next week: The Ice Castle! Can't tell you where yet -- we have to wait for an abandoned house to burn so the firefighters can hose it down.

jlileks@startribune.com • 612-673-7858

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