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My Best of Vita.MN, 2013

In preparation for all of the Best Of lists that are bound to start going around the internet, I've looked back at my first year as an arts correspondent for Vita.mn and picked out the most popular pieces I've done. It's worth noting that I treat this job as something of a cool hunt. I look for stuff that isn't getting much media attention but probably deserves to, then I put the article out there and see if the internet agrees with me. So far, it usually does.

All-Woman Poetry Slam Hits Twin Cities: This was one of those early articles I just pitched as a crawl piece, then a cover story spot opened up and I was fortunate enough to be in line. So, this became the first print story I wrote for the paper. It seemed pretty widely read. In fact, I remember standing in line for another show I was reviewing when the woman next to me picked it up off a rack and started commenting. As I recall, she liked "the way the writer tells this story." Naturally, I told her that I'd heard his books are pretty good, too.

'N-Word' Surpasses the Hype at Intermedia Arts: I'm still pretty sure most of the local media didn't touch this show because they didn't know how to deal with its title. Understandably, no one wants to put the N-word in print. Inconceivably, no one else could figure out how to get around it. Me? I just gave it the Jack Traven treatment: Shoot the hostage. Take him out of the equation.

'Kung Fu Zombies Vs. Cannibals' Delivers as Promised: Something I didn't know going in to this one was that Star Tribune was one of the show's media sponsors. Since they're also Vita.mn's parent company, that made reviewing the show a bit awkward. When it went online, it bypassed the top story spot that's normally reserved for the newest article. It was also unsearchable for a while. I've always quietly assumed these things were an editor's doing, due to the perceived conflict of interest it could generate if it got around... Still, the article was widely circulated, liked and shared despite its low profile. So it all worked out in the end. (Next time I went to review a show and found out I was in the same media sponsorship pickle, I just declined to write the review. Now I always check ahead of time.)

Chappelle Shout Out Boosts Visibility for Tall Paul I only saw Tall Paul for the first time in October, but I knew right away that he was just the sort of cool I hunt, so I added him to this list I keep. (It's a short list of stuff I'm pretty sure people will jump all over once I find a way to write it up.) Usually, I have to wait for a CD release, an unexpected sell-out, a major signing or a high profile show before someone on that list surpasses the minimal relevance threshold at which I can write them up without people wondering why, but I got an early break with Tall Paul. Just a few weeks after I started following him, he got mentioned in passing during our ongoing Dave Chappelle coverage, so I looked him up and found out that he had a pretty cool story just waiting to be told.