Hi everyone, Marisha here. You're probably surprised by the title of this post -- so am I, trust me. Where to even begin?
This has been a crazy month here. Maybe not as crazy as the Winter Parade riots or when Sherman disappeared in Ireland, but crazy nonetheless. Like I said, I'm not sure where to even begin.
So I'll start with the show in Minneapolis that was written about Armitage Heights, sort of a dramatization of the Christmas Island trial (who were called "Moon Island" here). I actually took some vacation time last weekend to fly out to the Twin Cities myself and see what it was all about. I'd wanted Sherman to come out with me, but since he's returned from Washington at the end of Hillary Clinton's campaign, on which he was serving as senior youth advisor, he'd been lying low. So I went out by myself, planning to stay for about a week. I had some old friends from college that are in grad school at Madison that I wanted to visit while I was out that way.
The show, "Don't Crush Out Heart," was good, but confusing. It was a "radio show," apparently, though it didn't seem to be broadcast on the radio. The fellow they had playing Sherman, a very talented musical theater actor named P. Chris Bierbauer, was spectacular. The woman playing me (Jenny Adams) was excellent, though my character seemed to have been extensively altered. I was portrayed as being 23 years old, naive and kind of whiny -- not exactly the way I picture myself. The band "Moon Island" was great; frankly, the songs were quite a bit better than the real Christmas Island's ouevre, all things considered. It was a great experience.
I talked to the company afterwards, a group called Electric Arc Radio. They were some very interesting and wonderful people. In fact, I'm currently writing to you from Minneapolis. But more on that in a minute.
Anyway, while I was in Minneapolis, two very notable events occurred back in the neighborhood:
1.) 3rd Ward Seat Vacancy. The first was that Chick Cavalcanti, my boss and the 3rd Ward alderman, had a severe heart attack -- this was last Monday, October 20 -- and was hospitalized. Chick was in a coma for a few days, but when he came to, he of course announced that he had no choice but to resign as 3rd Ward alderman. Mayor Underdahl temporarily appointed -- of course -- Sherman as his replacement, and called a special election for December.
So Sherman is my boss again. It was assumed Sherman would run for his old vacant seat in the special election. Not so. This is where it gets complicated.
2.) The Mayoral Race. There is also a mayoral election in November. Underdahl, the Democrat, was thought to be a shoe-in earlier this year, but his administration has recently become the object of some serious scrutiny for ethics violations and ties to a few radical Esperanto separatist groups. He's running a tight race between a well-financed but widely-disliked Republican challenger, 8th Ward Alderman Reeves Sinderman, the smarmy Mitt Romney backer who regular readers might recall from the Dublin guest blogger fiasco of some months ago.
So a week ago, Sherman announces that he is entering the mayoral race as an Independent candidate, on a fusion ticket with dotcom billionaire and zeppelin magnate Rockwell Katz for County Commissioner. Underdahl and Sinderman are both so unpopular, and Sherman has such name recognition from his various escapades as Alderman (in addition to serious funding from Katz) that he's now polling between 35% and 38% in a three-way race.
It seems entirely possible that on November 4, Sherman Larson will be mayor.
Which leaves the special election for 3rd Alderman seat up for grabs. With Sherman announcing his mayoral run as Independent, the Democrats have been left in a lurch. The best they've been able to come up with is 28-year old Blake Timlin (above left), a shy, boyish mumbler who is fresh out of an internship with the City Council Transit and Bicycle Paths Subcommittee. The Republicans are running a paleolithic local millionaire, Branch S. Nickelbine IV (above right), who was primarily known as an advisor to right-wing martyrs the Johannsen family. He's running on a reform ticket of extreme budget-cutting, and the first thing he's vowed to cut is funding for this blog, which he calls a "treasonous, ribald, elitist joke at the expense of the hard-working citizens of the real Armitage Heights." He's running ahead by fifteen points so far. I know Blake Timlin, and he's a nice guy, but there is no way I'm working for him if he wins. Which he almost certainly is not. He tried to ask me out on a date once at a Democratic Party benefit, and he spilled Cabernet on my dress, then ran into the bathroom and left me to clean it up. I think if I was working for Blake Timlin, there'd be a lot to clean up after.
So here I am in Minneapolis -- I'm gone for one week, and suddenly Chick is retired, Sherman is shoe-in for mayor, and the Republicans will hold the 3rd Ward aldermanic seat for the first time since the 1980s. Suddenly I seem to be out of a job!
Sherman has offered me a position in his administration, but I honestly don't have any interest in working in the mayor's office. Especially as an administrative assistant. I'm not even sure I want to keep working in local politics. I do hold two Bachelors degrees in Womens' Studies and Semiotics, and a Master's degree in Urban Planning and Comparative Literature, after all. Not to brag, of course. But it might be nice to consider a more challenging career path beyond the usual.
Good thing, too. Because how about this: when I was in Minneapolis, a friend in Madison I knew from the MFA program at Mishipeshu tipped me off to an opening here in town as managing editor with a small poetry journal. She went to school with their executive director, and recommended me to him. I interviewed, and they offered me the position right off. So weirdly enough, I am now writing to you not as assistant to the 3rd Ward Alderman in Armitage Heights, but managing editor of the Mill City Poetry Review in Minneapolis.
I expect when Nickelbine is elected, this blog will be shut down almost immediately and the funding diverted to abstinence-only sex education. I'll try to slip in before and post updates, if there are any; perhaps some of you would like to know what's going on with Sherman, Chick, the Kaos Krew, the right-wing twee-pop vigilantes Willy + Safire, legendary novelist Kimball F. Burin and Vietnam-based urban vigilante Dr. Thomas Jefferson Harding.
But this really looks like it -- the end of the Clarion, and the end of my time here in Armitage Heights. Just like that. Funny how life works.
Email me at marisha.e.ferguson (at) gmail dot com if you need to get a hold of me.