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Non-Divisive Celebrity Pals Grab Lunch at Lotus

Plus crybaby St. Paul developers, Minnesota's own Thoreau, and the return of Richard Painter in today's Flyover.

Dave outside Lotus; Justin inside Lotus.
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Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily noontime(ish) digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Chappelle and Biebs, Local Lunch Buds

Dave Chappelle—who’s either the greatest living stand-up, a raging transphobe, or some combo of both, depending on who you ask—was in town this weekend. The 48-year-old comic appeared at Target Center on Sunday for a four-hour performance that included a screening of his new documentary, Untitled, plus performances from transgender L.A. comic Pink Foxx, Comedy Central “Roastmaster General” Jeff Ross, and Borat star Luenell. Two megastar pop acts—domestically mellowed, monkey-less Justin Bieber and Usher—even popped in for an extended jam session, the Strib’s Neal Justin reports. Celebs, as Us Weekly has stressed for decades, are just like us, and for Chappelle and Bieber that meant grabbing lunch at popular Vietnamese joint Lotus Restaurant on the outskirts of downtown Minneapolis. How’d they choose Lotus? Were they chill to hang with? Most importantly, what did they eat? We posed all those Qs to Lotus owner Yoom Nguyen, but never never heard back. Chappelle was also spotted buying vinyl at Electric Fetus; Bob Saget approved with a heart emoji in the Insta comments:

St. Paul Developers: Waaah, Waaah, Waaah

For decades, the real engines of major American cities have not been the mayors’ offices or the city council chambers. They’ve been the C-suite executives of property developers, the very folks who attempted to blast away Twin Cities rent-cap ballot questions with a firehose of cash. Their applecart was upset last week in Minneapolis and, more concretely, in St. Paul, where voters decided to enact the Midwest’s first, and therefore toughest, rent-control measures. Huffy developers wasted no time threatening to take their balls and go home… or to the suburbs; Jim Stolpestad of Exeter is deciding out loud whether to halt or move current projects, as is Tony Barranco of Ryan Companies. Tram Hoang, who pushed for rent stabilization with Housing Equity Now St. Paul, is calling their bluff. “This happens in every city where new regulations are passed … because they want to scare the city into changing the ordinance,” he tells the Star Tribune.

Meet the Coolest, Most Isolated Guy in Minnesota

The modern world, as we’re sure you’ve discovered, is noisy, stressful, and profoundly dumb. Gleefully ignorant to most of that is Beryl Novak, the northern Minnesotan woodsman who’s the subject of this wonderful Duluth News Tribune profile. In it, we learn of Beryl’s love of hunting—it’s time-pegged to the deer opener—but the details of his unique, isolated lifestyle really stand out: Beryl has lived for decades in a tiny hunting shack with no running water, no car, and no outside contact save for a couple trips into town each year. Novak’s existence might seem lonely, sure, though the wooly-bearded devotee of Henry David Thoreau wouldn’t have it any other way. “If people would read what Thoreau wrote in the 1800s it might help them today,” Novak concludes. “Simplify your life. That’s what I’ve done. … People out there working to make more money are just chasing their tails.” Amen, Beryl. (Also: Subscribe now to Racket!)

Get Ready to Hear More From Richard Painter

If I had served as an ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush White House, I would simply keep my mouth shut in perpetuity unless I was apologizing ad nauseam to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Richard Painter, the civility-worshipping U of M law professor, has chosen the opposite path. In 2018, Painter challenged Tina Smith in the DFL U.S. Senate primary, but received just 14% of the vote on a platform that hinged largely on his being appalled by Trump and, to his genuine credit, the northern Minnesota mining that Gov. Tim Walz has insufficiently opposed. Now, MinnPost reports, Painter is pondering an independent run for governor, hoping to hoover votes from Never Trump GOPers and moderate Democrats. Your uncle who purchased an It’s Mueller Time T-shirt is listening.