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Teens Reluctantly Curate NJ Prince Exhibit

Plus St. Paul's alley captains, the local Krampus community, and a meh flag finalist in today's Flyover news roundup.

3:21 PM CST on December 18, 2023

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

'A Prince Exhibition, Curated by Teens Who Don’t Especially Like Prince'

Look, we're not gonna do any better than the headline above, as yoinked from a wonderful New York Times story published over the weekend. In it, Tammy LaGorce reports from a Newark, New Jersey, art exhibition... "celebrating" Minnesota's most famous export. Newark high schoolers curated "Remembering the Purple One: A Tribute to Prince Rogers Nelson," and the student docents freely admit that they don't get Prince—they tell the Times they'd have preferred to oversee an exhibit highlighting someone like, say, SZA, from nearby Maplewood (the one in Jersey). “People ask us, ‘Why Prince?’” said Princess Clarke. “That’s just the cards we’ve been dealt.”

It's not all ambivalence, though. The show, which includes 300 artifacts on loan for the first time from Minneapolis-based private collector Rich Benson, has made fans out of some students, and Prince obsessives and young folks alike say they've enjoyed sharing their perspectives with one another. And so, even though large purple text under a set of Prince portraits reads “I wouldn’t listen to Prince’s music,” the show has had lots of repeat visitors, and was just extended through December 31.

The Alley Captains of St. Paul

Last January, writing for Racket about St. Paul's shoveling woes, Dan Marshall enlightened me (and many other Racket readers) to a St. Paul civic oddity: the city doesn't handle alley snow clearing, and instead, "alley captains" organize plowing contracts for their blocks. Since then, I've wanted to interview the folks who oversee their alleys—but Bill Lindeke at MinnPost beat me to it, chatting with guys like Jim Sissini, an alley captain on West Seventh for more than 40 years, who are responsible for the city's patchwork plowing system. “It’s more like a ‘guy with a truck’ kind of service,” Highland resident and new alley captain Christina Morrison tells Lindeke of tracking down someone to take on the wintry responsibility. “Those people are kind of hard to find. They don’t have websites, and you just sort of get a phone number from neighbors.”

Putting the 'US' in Krampus

Perhaps you already know about Krampus, the horned folklore figure who's like Santa's creepy counterpart. Rather than convincing kids to be good with promises of Christmas gifts, Krampus keeps kids from being bad with the potential punishing or even kidnapping them, depending on the legend. The hairy, horned monster has had a cultural resurgence of late, appearing in a few recent horror movies, and—as you may have noticed—showing up at more and more gift markets and brewery holiday parties. In the Twin Cities, those Krampuses are often members of Minnesota Krampus, a group recently profiled by the Star Tribune's Alex Chhith. Founded in 2014 by Tyrone Schenk, Minnesota Krampus now boasts about 50 members, who are in increasingly high demand at live events, where they'll sit for photo shoots with people and pets. (Hope those gigs pay well: Schenk says a Krampus suit can cost up to $3,000.)

Our Flag Interest Is Flagging

Flag discourse: Racket has engaged in it repeatedly, and now, with the selection of a winning design (see above)... we're either underwhelmed by the winner or really burnt out on talking about it. Possibly both! The State Emblems Redesign Commission officially picked Luverne resident Andrew Prekker's design on Friday afternoon, to a resounding chorus of "could be worse!" The eight-point star, the blue and white and green stripes—it's all fine. It looks like a flag. It doesn't look like a cool flag—still can't believe we don't at least get a loon on there, glowing laser eyes or not—but it doesn't look as stupid as Nevada's? That's something? The commission is in the process of tweaking the design now; they're working against a January 1 deadline to finalize the flag.

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