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Red Bull Ice Crash Course – Oh My! by Ann Treacy
January 15, 2012, 12:01 am
Filed under: St Paul

Last year we went to the Red Bull Flutag – and I will give it to those guys – they know how to do it big! This year they have brought the Ice Crash Course to St Paul. The Ice Crash Course is 1300 feet of a downhill ice skating race track. It is hardcore. Aine and I went to check out the course this afternoon. I don’t’ know what I was expecting, but I completely forgot that Red Bull does things big.

The course starts at the Cathedral and winds down across Summit and down towards downtown. It is sheer ice. And it’s very steep in places (both going up and down) and there are a lot of intended bumps. In a million years I can’t understand why anyone would want to skate down it – but I’m now seriously tempted to go back to watch it!

Art Shanties 2012: Wear warm boots! by Ann Treacy
January 14, 2012, 11:26 pm
Filed under: Minneapolis

I’ve been very negligent with updates but I did two fun things I wanted to post about today – first the Art Shanties. The Art Shanty Project is a collection of arty ice fishing houses. I don’t know the rules but it seem like you just have to have something that will last out on the lake. Some include ice fishing holes; many don’t. Some include heaters.

For folks outside Minnesota (or other cold parts), some people around here like to fish in the winter by drilling a hole in the ice of a frozen lake. They like it so much they have houses they can put around the hole. Some folks have huge mansion type ice fishing houses and they usually include heaters – because the ice is generally so thick around here by this time of year, it’s safe. This year has been unseasonably warm. It was 50 degrees earlier this week. So we were worried about the Art Shanties – but they got permission from the County to move forward. And on Wednesday it got cold. Today it was about 10 degrees when we were out there.

Due to the earlier warm weather, the shanties are much closer to shore than in the past, but that’s OK. There were a couple dozen I think. They are very cool (no pun intended)and the artists who create the shanties are generally pretty friendly and are happy to tell you about their project and they might even have an interactive component to the shanty. Here are a few brief descriptions of some of the shanties:

  • Basketball Shanty – has a baseball hoop set up with bleachers and a score board outside the shanty. Inside the shanty is a locker room with the smallest lockers I’ve ever seen. The artists bought them on eBay and apparently they were in a school. The only graffiti we saw said “ACE ‘79”. The artists thought that it was probably a kid named Ace. I pointed out it could be an Ace Frehley fan.
  • Robot Reprise – giant robot – think transformer in looks – shoots rocket-like fireworks. Need I say more?
  • Reflection Shanty – include a glass wall (well not glass, but transparent and very clear/clean wall) and a few mirrored walls. Very calm – beautiful view of the frozen lake.
  • Fort Shanty – don’t think army. Think card table and all of the blankets in your house – plus a few cubbies.
  • ICE-Cycles Shanty – ride a bike around the like! Include at least one bike with an ice skate for a wheel.
  • Nordic Village Bridge – bill goat clothing for you, a bridge, a troll – be sure to have a fast answer to get by is all I can say.
  • Camera Head: Invert Your World – very cool idea where they have head-mounted camera obscura. Look through and see everything upside down. (Cemented lessons we learned about camera obscura in Scotland.)
  • Monsters Under The Bed Shanty – very cute inside and out, inhabitants are monsters. They asked Aine to give a monster description to their sketch artist.
  • SitandSpinShanty – This has to be a crowd favorite. It looks like an ornate egg. You go into it and it’s like the tilt-a-whirl. You turn the wheel, it spins. The artists mentioned that it took a lot longer than they expected, but it’s cool. I took a quick video from inside, which I actually wish was longer – and I rarely wish that.
  • Letterpress Shanty – another cool one. They have a working letterpress and will be creating a newsletter/newspaper each day based on Tweets they receive online and pen and paper Tweet on site. Aine and I each made a postcard. It’s very cool to see how the presses work – and amazing to think what was involved in spreading the news back when they used them.

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