From Zero to 629.4: Surviving the North Star Bicycle Race — Part 3

I thought I knew what pain was. I was wrong. Just outside of Two Harbors, I was facing wind gusts of 20–35 mph as I moved one painstaking mile marker at a time. Everything I owned was wet, and my ass felt like ground beef. I had cried in a Kwik Trip that morning, almost … [ Read more]

Artist Profile: Carving out space with designer Leslie Olson

Leslie Olson likes her space. In her art, she visualizes pictures and carves them out of negative space. In her free time, she rock climbs and boulders, literally hanging off into empty space. But, in every aspect of her life, her style is her own.  “People tell me I have a very linear approach to … [ Read more]

Bite of the Week: Pho’s heartier, lesser-known cousin, Bún bò Huế, at Co Tu

Co Tu is refreshingly simple. Tucked in a Bloomington strip mall with a leather shop and a liquor store, they don’t pull you in with gimmicks—they just make good food. With an intoxicating aroma and only a handful of tables, eating here feels like you have discovered a secret treasure, because you have. Bún bò … [ Read more]

Artist Profile: Luis Fitch’s art is at the intersection of graphic design, fine art, and vandalism

You may not know who Luis Fitch is, but you have probably seen his art. From T-shirts to taco shops, Fitch has been consistently using a combination of gallery openings, street art, and branding opportunities to make himself a recognizable symbol wherever he goes. Other artists might think he is selling out, but he doesn’t … [ Read more]

Artist Profile: The Natural and Vivid Watercolors of Xee Reiter

Xee Reiter’s backyard is bursting with life, with three gardens, a hen house, an in-progress worm farm, and a beehive. Some may think it looks chaotic, but to Reiter, who grew up with fresh produce from a garden and helped butcher the chickens her family raised, it looks like an organic canvas.  “I grew up … [ Read more]

Artist Profile: Lisa Friedrich’s explosive gunpowder art

Lisa Friedrich has perfected the art of playing with fire. While some artists prefer the more traditional media of pencils and paintbrushes, Friedrich reaches for gunpowder. “There was no research on how I could make my own gunpowder art. So I asked my school to fund me a grant to study gunpowder and they went … [ Read more]

Mistaken Minnesota: The mapmaking errors that shaped our state’s landscape

It’s not hard to find Minnesota on a map. Drag your finger as far north as the continental United States goes. We are the one that looks like a bizarre “K.” So how is it that we live in a country with states that are tidy rectangles and squares, and then states that look like … [ Read more]

From Zero to 629.4: Tackling the North Star Bicycle Race — Part 2

When we last checked in, I was still training in the storage room staring at drywall, and we still had snow on the ground. Our weather has come a long way, and with the first days of summer under our belts, it’s time for another check up on training for the North Star Bicycle Race, … [ Read more]

5 Most Extreme Outdoor Activities to do in the Midwest

This article is a part of The Growler’s Outdoor Guide. Find more tips for outdoor adventure and dining here.  Thrill-seeking has become a traveling sport, with adrenaline junkies posting online from states out west and far-flung destinations across the world. While those places look incredible, why go through the hassle and expense of travel when … [ Read more]

Game On: Virtual reality parlors transform the once-insular activity into a social experience

When most people think about virtual reality, they likely picture someone with a cardboard apparatus over their face and a phone hanging from the end. Or maybe a dark room where someone sits, alone, completely immersed in their video game experience. This is indeed VR, but only a very small sliver of it. But because … [ Read more]

From Zero to 629.4: Tackling the North Star Bicycle Race — Part 1

When I announced to my family in February that I intended to participate in an unsupported, 629.4-mile bike race this September, they started planning my funeral. When I get up in the morning and look in the mirror, I see an oft-unemployed 25-year-old man, roughly 40 pounds overweight, balding and out of breath from climbing up … [ Read more]