Sparks of love

When I think of sparks, I think of Frankenstein.

(Okay, I think a little about the malted/caffinated beverage that used to help mamma dance all night, too.)

It's not Mary Shelley's Frankenstein that I think about, though. It's that scene in the old movie where Frankenstein hoists the monster up toward the heavens through a hole in the ceiling, where the corpse gets struck by lightening and then LIVES. There are sparks flying everywhere, and everyone in the room is bewildered or terrified. That's what I think of.

And you know what? It works, because come to think of it, Northern Spark reminds me a little of Frankenstein's monster.

A whole creation out of parts.

Parts of the city coming together during a time when the city is supposed to be dead quiet and asleep. It takes that spark, that shock, of creativity and mad genius to get the city rumbling out of its midnight silence. 

All I'm saying is don't be surprised if around 2:30 a.m. I can be found outside the Open Book building staring at our city and screaming, "It's alive! Alive!"

Anyway, monster of mad genius or not, the second annual Northern Spark festival is going to be amazing. Between those of us at Paper Darts and those of us at the Loft we have some pretty kick ass stuff prepared for Saturday night/Sunday morning. Music, movies, snacks, a freaking magazine, and a TON of readers that are going to knock your weekend socks off. Whaddya say we get to know a little more about our #NSPK line-up?


The Early Show (9:30 p.m.):

Michael Kiesow Moore

Michael Kiesow Moore is a published and award-winning writer whose work has appeared in publications including Talking Stick, Water~Stone Review, Evergreen Chronicles, The James White Review, and the book Losing Loved Ones to AIDS. Michael received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Hamline University. His awards include a Minnesota State Arts Board fellowship and a Loft Mentor Series Award. Michael teaches creative writing at The Loft Literary Center and curates the Birchbark Books Reading Series.



Eric Vrooman

Eric Vrooman’s short fiction has appeared in The Kenyon Review, The Cream City Review, Passages North, Monkeybicycle, Hobart, Twelve Stories, and Ninth Letter. He is the recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant and a SASE/Jerome Award. He lives in Minneapolis and teaches at Gustavus Adolphus College.



Heid Erdrich 

A member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibway, Heid Erdrich grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota. She earned degrees from Dartmouth College and The Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. A recipient of Minnesota State Arts Board fellowships, awards from The Loft Literary Center, the Archibald Bush Foundation and elsewhere, Heid Erdrich has four times been nominated for the Minnesota Book Award which she won in 2009 for her book National Monuments from Michigan State University Press.

Peter Bognanni

Peter Bognanni's first novel, The House of Tomorrow (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam 2010) won the L.A. Times Book Award for First Fiction. His short fiction, essays, and humor pieces have appeared in the New York Times Book Blog, The Huffington Post, Large-Hearted Boy, Five Chapters, Gulf Coast, The Bellingham Review, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency. He dreams of the most amazing sandwiches. 

Koo Koo Kanga Roo at Midnight

The Late Show (3:00 a.m.)

 John Gordon

John Gordon works at a science museum, because educating children is the most important thing. It's vital that they know the difference between dinosaurs and pterosaurs, because if they mix them up later in life, someone will probably attack them. And that someone is John Gordon. To read more from John, attend your local museums and make wild guesses about the copy!

Jen Kohan

Jen Kohan lives in Minneapolis. She writes and teaches writing.  

Mostly, she is frustrated. Always, she is grateful.  The days that she doesn’t sink into her skin and look out through her eyeballs are not the best days. They are always better days when she knows they’ll end, hopefully, in an orange chair.




David Mendez

- Poet, Educator, Actor, Narrator, and Activist

- Main male lead narrator for the play Sigan La Bandera: Guadalupe's Journey with Mexico

- 3rd Generation Chicano

- Raised in St. Paul's West Side

- Traveled to to parts of the US, Mexico, Canada, and Chile




Brian Laidlaw

Brian Laidlaw is a songwriter from San Francisco, and a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota MFA program in poetry. His poems have appeared in New American Writing, Volt, The Iowa Review, and elsewhere, and his song lyrics have appeared in American Songwriter Magazine. Brian's sound is a word-rich take on Americana, and owes a stylistic debt to a long lineage of writers, romantics, nostalgics, and drunks. After several years as a touring folksinger, he currently teaches songwriting at McNally Smith College of Music. Brian is also a founding member of a Twin Cities arts cohort called the Yes!Lets Collective, and the ringleader of a messy folk orchestra called The Family Trade.

Brian Laidlaw & The Family Trade at 4:00 a.m.


Come hang out for all or part of the night. Hang in our dream theater, munch on some popcorn, get some dranks, and no matter what submit something to the magazine we're making that night. We want your brain goodies!



One more Northern Spark Post

Because We May, a game sale