Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow, by Andy Sturdevant, is funny, authentic, and completely original. Although Sturdevant isn’t originally from Minnesota, his collection of essays represents Minnesota and the Twin Cities beautifully. In fact, many, if not most of the essays actually taught me something about the Twin Cities’ art scene, history, and/or culture, and I’ve lived in the Cities all my life!
The essays cover a variety of topics, from the life and times of the resident artist of the Metrodome (that no one I know even knew existed) in “Dome Light: The Life and Art of Martin Woodrich;” to an examination of the portraits of every one of Minnesota’s governors that hang in the capitol building in “‘Have a seat, citizen, I’m here to help’: The Completist’s Guide to the Thirty-Nine Gubernatorial Portraits of the Minnesota State Capitol;” to a rather heated email exchange between Sturdevant and the Senior Associate Director of Marketing and Brand Communications of Buffalo Wild Wings in “‘Don’t you think it’s extremely arrogant to presume that because I enjoy the music of Wayne County & the Electric Chairs I am somehow obligated to share your worldview?'” There is something in this book to make everyone at least crack a smile!
Sturdevant’s voice is amazingly clear. I was fortunate enough to attend a reading of this book, and as Sturdevant read I realized that hearing the essays in his own voice was exactly the same as I had heard them in my head while reading. He has a knack for seeing things as they really are and describing them in such a way that the reader feels like Sturdevant has written down a feeling they’ve always had but have never been able to articulate.
Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow is the kind of book that will make you laugh out loud, and that is my favorite kind of book! If you are Minnesotan, this book should be required reading, and if you’re not Minnesotan, well, you should read it anyways because you just might get an idea of why we all choose to live here despite below-zero temperatures half the year!
Sturdevant, Andy. Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow. Minneapolis: Coffee House Press, 2013.
Cover and book design by Andy Sturdevant and Linda Koutsky. Image from coffeehousepress.org.