Lavender Magazine 750

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LAVENDER FEBRUARY 22-MARCH 6, 2024 4 OUR LAVENDER 8 From the Editor 8 A Word in Edgewise 9 A Day In The Life: Scott Bilodeau OUR SCENE 10 Travel: Puerto Paradise 12 Feast: For Those of Us Who Need a Mythical, Magical Being to Tell Us About Ourselves OUR LIVES 15 Pride Quarterly: At The Halfway Mark For 2024 16 A Grand Opening at The Rainbow Wellness Collective OUR RESOURCES 32 Community Connection 33 The Network 10 22 ISSUE 750 February 22-March 6, 2024 CONTENTS ON THE COVER Dr. Matthew Clark. Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum 22: Photo courtesy of North Loop Green 360, 10: Photo by Carla Waldemar, 15: Photo by Randy Stern, 26: Photo courtesy of Sarah Rostance. Spring Home & Garden Issue 18 Deep Roots in Minnesota: Advice from a Local Leading Horticulture Researcher 20 Light House: Dutton Brown Design Will Light Up Your Life 22 Get in the Loop – at North Loop Green 360! 26 What It Means To Have A Place To Call Home 28 Blooms and Boom: Navigating the Minneapolis Home + Garden Shows Growing Inspiration 26 15


Managing Editor Randy Stern 612-461-8723

Editorial Assistant Linda Raines 612-436-4660

Editor Emeritus Ethan Boatner

Editorial Associate George Holdgrafer

Contributors Lakey Bridge, Buer Carlie, Alyssa Homeier, Terrance Griep, Elise Maren, Jen Peebles-Hampton, Linda Raines, Gabrielle Reeder, Alexander Reed, Madison Roth, Jamez L. Smith, Susan Swavely, Carla Waldemar, Todd P. Walker, Spencer White


Vice President of Sales & Advertising

Barry Leavitt 612-436-4690

Account Executives

Nathan Johnson 612-436-4695

Richard Kranz 612-436-4675

Advertising Associate George Holdgrafer

Sales & Event Administration

Linda Raines 612-436-4660

National Sales Representatives Rivendell Media 212-242-6863


Creative/Digital Director Mike Hnida 612-436-4679

Photographer Sophia Hantzes


Publisher Lavender Media, Inc.

President & CEO Stephen Rocheford 612-436-4665

Chief Financial Officer Doug Starkebaum 612-436-4664

Administrative Assistant Michael Winikoff 612-436-4660

Distribution Metro Periodical Partners 612-281-3249

Founders George Holdgrafer, Stephen Rocheford

Inspiration Steven W. Anderson (1954-1994), Timothy J. Lee (1968-2002), Russell Berg (1957-2005), Kathryn Rocheford (1914-2006), Jonathan Halverson (1974-2010), Adam Houghtaling (1984-2012), Walker Pearce (1946-2013), Tim Campbell (1939-2015), John Townsend (1959-2019)

LAVENDER MEDIA, INC. 5100 Eden Ave, Suite 107, Edina, MN 55436 612-436-4660 Office 612-436-4660 Subscriptions/Distribution 612-436-4660 Lavender Advertising Entire contents copyright 2024. All rights reserved. Publication of the name or photograph of any person, organization, or business in this magazine does not reflect upon one’s sexual orientation whatsoever. Lavender Magazine reserves the right to refuse any advertising. This issue of Lavender® Magazine is available free of charge during the time period published on the cover. Pickup at one of our distribution sites is limited to one copy per person. Letters are subject to editing for grammar, punctuation, space, and libel. They should be no more than 300 words. Letters must include name, address, and phone number. Unsigned letters will not be published. Priority will be given to letters that refer to material previously published in Lavender Magazine. Submit letters to Lavender Magazine, Letters to the Editor, 5100 Eden Ave, Suite 107, Edina, MN 55436 or e-mail For our Privacy Policy, go to privacy-policy Lavender 2016 Magazine of the Year Volume 29, Issue 750 • February 22-March 6, 2024 LAVENDER FEBRUARY 22-MARCH 6, 2024 6 lawyers you know. Locally sourced advocacy and advice from 612.339.7121 Custody & Parenting Time • Child Support Dissolution • Spousal Maintenance Complex Valuation • Domestic Partnership Adoption • Third Party Custody • Appeals DREAM V ISION PLAN Relational Financial Planning Roya Moltaji, CFP®, ChFC®, CASLTM, CAP® Senior Financial Planner, Financial Services Representative 2013 Quorum Business Leader of the Year 100 S 5th St, Suite 2300, Minneapolis MN 55402 Call Roya today at 952-769-2126 WWW.ROYAMOLTAJI.COM Securities and investment advisory services offered through qualified registered representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC. Roya, LLC is not a subsidiary or affiliate of MML Investors Services, LLC, or its affiliated companies. CRN202010-238440 No one who ser ved deser ves to be homeless. Housing Employment Legal w w w.mac 1-833-222-6228

Welcome to the 750th issue of Lavender Magazine

It may look like any other issue we have published since 1995. But, there is cause for celebration.

Over the years, we evolved from turn to turn to where we are at right now. While we recognize that our core community has become “mature” in the way we no longer have gayborhoods and have changed in the way we socialize, it is far from perfect. The needs of this community now reflect new generations looking for outlets of support. It also reflects how much we have emerged exponentially across Greater Minnesota and smaller communities along the state line and international border.

This magazine recorded the evolution of our community as a whole. Today, we are more encompassing of both sexual orientation and gender identity – under the acronym of LGBTQ+.

We live in emerging times. This magazine is still here with the purpose of delivering a lifestyle


publication that reflects our evolution as a community.

When we celebrated our 500th Issue, our staff recounted the number of those that we worked on. In all honesty, I have officially lost count. My professional mantra is to not look back, but to acknowledge the past. I rather look forward and see where this publication will go and what stories will be told in future issues.

Considering my personal contribution to this publication, my byline has appeared in this magazine since 2008 – regularly since 2011. I just celebrated my second anniversary as Managing Editor of this publication.

Working in concert with our senior staff, our sales and office support team, and our Contributing Writers – I am personally committed to deliver a publication that engages with you. Every issue – all 750 – is published for you.

There is more to come.

In this issue, we continue to bring you stories that pertain to our normal everyday lives. That

includes caring for your home and garden. The Home and Garden Show will be underway at the Minneapolis Convention Center by the time you pick up a copy of this issue. We also chat about lighting design, new home developments, a look into the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance, and some advice and insight from the Minnesota Arboretum.

In addition, we look forward with the opening of an LGBTQ+ center for wellness and community in Saint Cloud. Not to mention, looking forward to Twin Cities Pride in June.

Importantly, I want to address a situation that was brought up in the last issue. We had a situation regarding the use of an image due to an editorial decision that was made unilaterally. The original cover idea fell through, and a hasty decision in regards to our cover was made. With that said, I personally apologize for the resulting issues that this cover has caused across our community. I personally will do better. 

Phone’s Ringing…Someone’s Dialed “M”

Playwright Frederick Knott was once described as a “reluctant writer.” Many writers are. But one must cede Knott was a successful reluctant writer, two of three efforts include Wait Until Dark and the hardy evergreen Dial M for Murder, playing nail-bitingly at the Guthrie.

Pondering differences between “Detective” mystery and “Thriller,” one may posit that the first may shock or horrify you, but you’re following a sleuth or detective you know will survive to nail the murderer. The second will shock or horrify you and immerse you in the action. You’ll know who-dunnit or who-will-do-it, but not whether they’ll pay. The emotion churns in your tummy to the finish.

Dial M for Murder now qualifies for “Chestnut” and one may know the ending through hearsay or Hitchcock’s Ray Milland/Grace Kelly film classic. And yet, even aware, here you are in your comfy seat, surrounded by a full house of theatergoers and you still keep wanting to yell, “Look out! He’s going to kill you!” You already know the ending, why is your stomach clenching?

Knott’s play opened in 1952, and king of the stomach-clench and Master of Misdirection Alfred Hitchcock had his Dial M version in the can and on the screen by 1954. Hitch knew “Thriller” when he saw it.

Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation premiered July 2022, at San Diego’s The Old Globe. Other than trimming and tightening some of some lengthy exposition, modernizing some idiom, the San Diego Union-Tribune noted the lover’s gender change–Mark to Maxine– and that husband Tony’s no longer a retired tennis pro, but a failed writer working as Maxine’s book publicist. Wife Margot is now more complex, less “housewife.” Still retained were, as here, 1950s London setting and chic flat.

No need really to tinker with the basics: according to mystery author and death expert Maxine, there are only five motives for murder: “Money, Fear, Jealousy, Revenge, Desire to protect someone you love.” No need to tinker indeed–they’re all here from Knott’s original, as shiny and toxic as they were in 1952–AD or BCE, and, like Polonius, we’re all here behind the arras, absorbing every blow.

The single set contains all the information we’ll need; drinks cart, desk and corded telephone (no smart ones then), couch in front of a table bearing framed photographs, a sewing basket and its contents, a frequently used coat rack as the characters come and go, a briefcase and a hidden cane. Nothing gaudy or crowded, nearly

every object more a working piece than decorative frill or furbelow. (Kudos to the staging and props folk, and to the actors who internalized every step and measure of the dance).

Husband Tony ((David Andrew MacDonald): sleek graying locks, smooth, urbane–a more highly evolved, lethal Ted Baxter– coopts Lesgate (Peter Christian Hansen) as his catspaw through blackmail stick and £5,000 carrot. Tony’s candid: “I married for money, quite deliberately.” But, having seen wife Margot (Gretchen Egolf) in the arms of Maxine (Lori Vega) he’s angry; her murder and her money will soothe. To Lesgate’s “Why?” Tony explains, “Malice.”

There’s lots more, of course, as the plot twists and prop-legerdemain dazzles. Inspector Hubbard (Brian Thomas Abraham) a more pragmatic Poirot who’s not keen on Margot and Maxine’s predilections, arrives on the scene. Will stomachs un-clench?

High fives for a fine production, one for each murder motive one for each member of this sterling cast.

On the Guthrie’s Wurtele Thrust Stage through February 25. 


Scott Bilodeau

Where did you grow up? A suburb of Omaha, NE

Where do you live? In Minneapolis, dangerously close to Sebastian Joe’s ice cream.

Who do you live with? I live alone.

What is your occupation? Public Health – HIV care and prevention quality management

When did you come out? Officially right after I graduated from college in the early 1990s, although it had been on my mind for a couple years before that.

How’d that go? About as well as it could for someone coming out in Nebraska at that time. This was before Ellen DeGeneres and before Will and Grace. There was no gay marriage. Not even on the horizon. Very few celebrities dared to be open about their orientation because it ended many people’s careers. HIV/ AIDS was still a death sentence for most as effective meds had not yet been introduced. My friends were all great. One friend’s response after I finally built up the courage to tell him was, “That’s cool. Wanna go get a beer?” My family was not as accepting. We ultimately landed on a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” stance. My grandmoth-

er was cool with it and told me she suspected when she saw my senior picture in which I was dressed as a Solid Gold Santa dancer.

When do you wake up? Between 7:00 and 7:30

Phone alarm or old school alarm? Phone.

What’s the first thing you do in the morning? Open all my blinds.

Breakfast? Either a piece of toast with cream cheese or a protein bar. Sometimes a scone.

Coffee? Iced Americano (even in winter)

Cream or no? No

How do you spend your commute?

Mostly work at home but when I go in it’s just a 10-12 minute drive. I oftentimes turn up my music and during those 10-12 minutes play out my rock star fantasies as I sing along. Never sounds as good singing into a karaoke mike for some reason…

What do you nerd out for (gaming, music, history, etc.)? International travel, languages, public transit systems, reading/writing, local tap rooms.

What music have you been digging lately?

Old school alternative and classic rock. I always return to those.

Is your work space tidy or a hot mess?

Is there such a thing as a tidy hot mess? I organize things into neat piles and then have to go through the piles to remember what is in them.

What’s been your favorite job?

Sitting with people who have just been diagnosed with HIV, providing education, and creating a space for them to process and figure out what to do next. I also co-facilitated a couple of support groups for people living with HIV in that job that I also loved doing.

Favorite weeknight meal: Go out, take out, or cook in?

Definitely go out. I love exploring new foreign, dive-y, and/or quirky restaurants with friends.

On a usual weeknight, you are doing what? Reading, watching PBS Newshour, going for a walk, sometimes meeting friends as part of a beer group I’m in.

Bedtime? Midnight-ish

Favorite weekend activity? Exploring local and regional parks I’ve not yet been to, hiking, and taking pictures.

What are you most proud of, and why?

Rebounding from adverse events in my life and using that knowledge and experience to help others. In my experience, when I have appropriately shared overcoming a major life challenge with another who is also going through the same or a similar thing, there is a recognition that often occurs. It’s like a perceived “Oh you understand me in a way that these other people who may be very qualified and well-intentioned but who have not had this experience don’t and can’t fully.”

Words of wisdom to share: You don’t have to be hamstrung by other people’s limiting beliefs about you. I sometimes need to remember that, myself. I think sometimes others can’t even imagine the possibilities that you can. And that’s fine. They’re just different. I would also say to really pay attention to your likes and dislikes (and not things you think / others/ might like or dislike or things that you feel you /should/ like or dislike) and never lose sight of those. Let them guide you. 

Photo courtesy of Scott Bilodeau

Puerto Paradise

Any port in a storm, as the sailors’ saying goes.

Wait! You can do better than that!

In a Minnesota winter, a storm is always brewing, so employ this simple formula to avoid its wrath and wring the most pleasure out of your escape: 1) Jump on a flight to Puerto Vallarta (nonstops daily via Sun Country make it simple). 2) Slap on sunscreen and enjoy.

Bedding down in the Zona Romantica, just steps from the ocean in the heart of Old Town, is super-convenient and convivial 24/7, while an Air B&B in a comfortable, adjacent neighborhood offers a bit more authentic flavor: sidewalks (such as they are) patrolled by neighbors walking their dogs; the day-old bread truck blaring its looney-tune jingle; restaurants’ open-air patios wafting irresistible scents; and an auto or two lurching along the cobblestones.

Our neighborhood of choice is called Versalles—a middle-class enclave with more restaurants than I can count in my limited Spanish. If your Spanish, like mine, consists of “Hola” and “Gracias,” not to worry: English is spoken virtually everywhere tourists wander. From our sixth-floor walk- (or, more accurately: pant-) up, it’s a 15-minute ramble to the ocean and a 20-minute bus or Uber to Old Town. The weather forecast seldom veers from “Blue sky and 80” this time of year.

The sun rises soon after 7 and so do I, claiming a seat on the patio to supervise the morning’s patrol of pigeons, watch the pool cleaner start his rounds, and check on the security guards outside the condo of the mayor’s son, who earn their keep by polishing his car. Our only duty is to choose where we’ll enjoy breakfast each morning—maybe Noah’s for its chilaquiles verde, or El Negrito, where we caught a mariachi band livening our brunch.

Then it’s off to Old Town to spend the day meandering among its intrigue of tiny shops, bars and cafes, starting at the iconic Church of the Virgin of Guadaloupe (You’ll spot it by her crown atop its steeple). From there, it’s a leisurely stroll to Tile Square to rest our sandals on one of its vivid, tile-decorated benches before we mosey over to the adjacent English bookstore for a beach read. Then off to the beach itself in pursuit of a limespiked Margarita at a sand-anchored table. (Gotta keep hydrated, right?)

The Malecon beach walk is at its best on a Sunday evening, when local families gather their kids to take the air. We witnessed a made-forHallmark marriage proposal, with a dude down on bended knee as a mariachi quartet offered musical encouragement. In the park’s adjoining gazebo an energetic band lures couples of any ilk to practice their two-steps, if not their vows: people-watching at its best!

We ended our Sunday at Travieso’s, a homey hole in the Old Town wall where you can take your pick: husky beefsteaks or shrimp and tuna fresh from the sea. Should you visit Old Town on a Wednesday evening, you might choose to trek the DIY art gallery tour (22 stops; maps available).

Speaking of tours, a taco tour is the ideal way to investigate small, under the radar operations that lure locals to their venues. We signed on with one offered by Vallarta Food Tours (www. or 888-360-9847). Our choice: a tasting trek though the working-class neighborhood called Pitillal, to enjoy 12 visits over a three-hour ramble, which our guide, Fernando, peppered with lots of local lore, history, photo ops and shopping hints for, say, handmade leather sandals, pottery, or candy.

But first, a lucky, seizethe-moment intro to a seafood vendor who’d just pulled open his truck. We snapped photos of one finny critter after another, which he held up for our inspection. Then, right across the street, a peek into a local butcher shop, spying mammoth sides of beef in the cooler along with ready-topurchase chicken feet.

The Zona Romantica is a magnet for the LGBTQ+ crowd—another reason Puerto Vallarta wins the unofficial title as North America’s most gay-friendly vacation destination, where the dress code starts and stops with a Speedo. The ZR borders the ocean’s shore, dotted with sand castles, stone sculptures, and even the occasional crocodile. (Yes, we spied a huge, toothy critter lounging in the sun.)

But we were here to taste: taco after primo taco, from birria (stewed beef accompanied by a rich broth) to nopales (cactus) to a shellfish mix, each sided with a local drink: horchata, limonata—or Coca Cola, if you must. We watched women making the corn-based tortilla shells, wandered through the parish church, then a shop offering full-skirted ceremonial dresses

(This Page)
Palms and waves, margaritas, strolling the Malecón. (Opposite Page) Murals liven Old Town, taco maker on the Taco Tour. Photos by Carla Waldemar

which would make Scarlett O’Hara’s look shabby, plus another boutique selling infantwear for your plaster Baby Jesus.

But the beach was calling. After another breakfast for the record books, we set off for a day at the ocean’s edge, dipping our ankles in the crisp water, strolling amid the locals on an uncrowded Tuesday morning, then heading back to our Versalles home to lounge by the pool, while a cat chased a giant lizard into the water.

Dinner tonight at A Mar Y Sierra introduced new flavors, starting with a manta-ray machaca taco with cheese crust (verdict: fun to try but very fishy flavor), on to stuffed squid or braised oxtail, a pork belly/octopus combo, or maybe the braised beef cheek with truffles and pasilla chilies— one of the best menus of our visit.

Another dinner standout: Abulon Antojeria del Mar, where tuna steak, seafood fettucine, and a ceviche cocktail were among the standouts, enjoyed in an inviting open-air atmosphere. El Negrito, with its Sunday mariachi band, proved endearing, as did lunch at tiny El Porco de Oro, saluting pork belly in all its luscious, fatty glory.

Next day, rinse and repeat. Next week, too, if you’re one of the lucky folks who can tele-commute to work. For me, it’s back to the computer and scary windchill readings. But I’m already planning my port call for next year.

For more info, pick up a free copy of Gay Guide Vallarta, with listings of PV’s 30-plus gay bars, plus clubs, restaurants, hotels, saunas and events ( 

Suite 1600 Medical Arts Building, 825 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55402

Feast For Those of Us Who Need a Mythical, Magical Being to Tell Us About Ourselves

The tale of Beowulf has been recirculated for over one thousand years. The victory of man over monster and then again over monster’s mother apparently resonates with people across millennia. Playwright Megan Gogerty shifts the perspective of the story in Feast, taking the spotlight away from the hero who slayed the monster and giving it to the mother of the slain monster instead.

Walking Shadow Theatre first mounted Feast last year and – in response to the popularity of the show – they are remounting it this March. All the core elements are the same. The show includes dinner at Black Forest Inn, it is once again directed by Allison Vincent, and it stars Isabel Nelson (who recently won Best Dramatic Performance by an Individual for last year’s performance). A few of the Saturday shows will be preceded by a one-person show of Beowulf.

I had the opportunity to chat with Vincent and Nelson about bringing the show back, although our conversation was early enough that they had not even started rehearsals yet. “We’re looking forward to get back in the room together,” says Vincent. The two have worked on various projects together over the last fifteen years. Their long history is immediately apparent in their easy riffing.

“We’ve been working together for 15 years?” Vincent says.

“Our relationship is a teenager. It’s oily and smelly,” laughs Nelson.

“I just turned to ash and blew away,” Vincent deadpans.

Despite their long working relationship, Feast was new for them in two ways.

“It was our first time working off of a script,” says Nelson.

“And my first time directing Isabel,” Vincent continues.

Both elements made the prospect of collaborating on Feast exciting, but the script was what sold them on the project. “I wasn’t surprised by the positive reception [last year] because the source material is so good,” says Vincent.

“It’s meaty,” Nelson continues, “The premise is that Grendel’s mother has magicked herself into a human body in order to demand justice for her son,” says Nelson, “The show is funny and rageful and weird. It’s a wild ride.”

“And there’s dinner,” says Vincent. She laughs, but quickly goes on to explain that the dinner was a key component to planning the piece. “The dinner is called for in the script,” she says, conceding that some theaters would just suggest the remnants of a meal on stage, but that Walking Shadow wanted to go all in. “We wanted bones on tables and the smell of food in the air.”

Nelson agrees. “Food feeds into this profound, earth-shattering joy of what it means to be alive and embodied,” says Nelson, “I hope people take away [that feeling in addition to] wrestling with the darkness.”

The darkness is integral to the show. Feast is funny, but it also wrestles with tough questions, many of which are socially and politically charged. All of these questions are asked by the mother of a “monster” whose story was flattened into one of defeat and popularized over a millennium ago. The audience is put in the hot seat. Was Grendel – her son – actually a monster? And if he wasn’t a monster, what does that make our hero, his murderer, Beowulf? What does that make us, who have celebrated him for centuries?

Continued on page 14


“As our world evolves different people have the right and ability to share their story. It’s that classic Howard Zinn thing: history is written by the winners…I love that Walking Shadow pairs this with Beowulf,” says Vincent, “In Feast you think ‘oh man that’s someone’s kid’ after you hear the story of the guy who killed him…that vantage point of seeing both sides of a story is so important right now.”

At the beginning of last year’s run Nelson was hesitant to chat with theater patrons after the show. They worried that stepping into the space out of character would shatter what was built during the performance. Instead, they soon realized that many attendees wanted a chance to talk about the experience. “People who I didn’t know would come up to me and share something very personal that the show had surfaced for them,” says Nelson, “This show cracked open this space for another kind of connection.”

“I really do think the reason why people have such a reaction at the end is we trick them into being a community,” piggybacks Vincent, “In the age we live in…what are our opportunities for connection? This play does that.” Feast offers connection in a unique way, and a tricky one: it toys with people’s political ideas. “You can feel shifts in the crowd…You feel the waves of connection shifting around. It’s an amazing audience experience.”

The show is powerful for everyone, although some elements are especially resonant for women. “[This character] gave me permission to take up space,” says Nelson, before launching into a list of contradictory adjectives that they say the character gave them renewed ownership over, “Physically I move through the world differently…I can be weird, funny, gross, and sexy. [T]hat’s powerful for a lot of women. I’m allowed to be monstrous and beautiful and tender and frightening. Sometimes in the space of three breaths.”

Feast is the kind of show that will leave you a lot to nibble on – and not just leftovers of the dinner provided by Black Forest Inn. After all, when “A mythical, magical being comes and tells us about ourselves,” as Vincent quipped, you are left with lots to think about.

Who knows what you might learn about yourself and the world you inhabit with an experience like that? 


At The Halfway Mark For 2024

We’re weeks away from the start of Pride season in Minnesota. That also means we’re inching closer to our main event – Twin Cities Pride.

Last month at the Bauhaus Brew Labs in Northeast Minneapolis, Twin Cities Pride’s Executive Director Andi Otto previewed this year’s festivities. The theme for 2024 is called “Show Your Colors 365.”

There will be changes and additions that will benefit every corner of the LGBTQ+ community. For example, Otto announced putting the Rainbow Stage into the Youth Hideaway up Friday night for a couple of hours where LGBTQ+ youth can feel safe and welcomed.

This year should see an emphasis on welcoming younger LGBTQ+ people to Loring Park by creating a space within Loring Park. Otto mentioned that the space will be open to let them have a space to play and be themselves.

Many other spaces at Loring Park will return for 2024, one of which is the Living Well Park. This area will feature health and wellness organizations and programs in a single space as a crossroads for information and resources.

A sports field is to be opened up for the local sports organizations, expanding to accommodate more activities at Loring Park to create an environment intersecting the sports and LGBTQ+ communities

On the same theme, one of our professional notables was announced as a Grand Marshal of Twin Cities Pride. Carley Knox, the President of the Minnesota Lynx, has been named because of her leadership at one of our favorite sports teams. From the beginning, the Lynx welcomed LGBTQ+ fans to Target Center, as the Lynx won championships against the best of the WNBA. Knox continues to provide leadership for the team as it continues providing LGBTQ+ the most exciting sports experiences in the country.

Looking back at 2023, Twin Cities Pride welcomed our community with open arms the last weekend of June at the festival held at Loring Park, along Hennepin Avenue for the Twin Cities LGBTQ+ Pride March Honoring Ashley Rukes, and other events across the Twin Cities.

Seeing a crucial need for our community, Otto’s vision was to create programming yearround. One of these programs that was started in 2023 was the Rainbow Circle. This program offers gender-affirming clothing for the community, along with binders. The Rainbow Circle was one of the successes that Twin Cities Pride accomplished during 2023.

Another program that began recently was a radio show and podcast called Twin Cities Pride Amplified. It is currently broadcasted Friday evenings on AM 950. The podcast is released afterwards. “We created this podcast so we can talk about these tough things,” said Otto. He also added those topics they will address various issues Twin Cities Pride had encountered throughout the years.

In future episodes, Twin Cities Pride Amplified will feature guests. One of those guests will be Zaylore Stout, author of Our Gay History in 50 States

Also, Otto mentioned that Twin Cities Pride donated $75,000 to programs across Minnesota. Those donations included assistance in small town pride events and other programs benefitting LGBTQ+ people.

With only over four months to go, there is a lot more planning ahead. Right now, Pride March contingent, booth and food vendor applications are now being accepted for this year’s Twin Cities Pride. Log on to tcpride. org to apply for your spot at Loring Park and/ or along Hennepin Avenue this coming June. Don’t wait to get in on this year’s activities. 


A Grand Opening at The Rainbow Wellness Collective

The dilemma is simple: You live in a rural part of the country, and you are coming out as LGBTQ+. There is no support for miles. The largest city is hours away. Even with the Internet and video conferencing, it is not enough to find a physical space to be yourself – and to find community.

A Pride celebration may not be enough. It is just one or two days a year. At times when you need that connection outside of the confines of your room, they simply are too far to go.

In recent years, the effort towards creating a physical space for us in smaller communities has been gaining momentum. Not just in the number of Pride celebrations in Greater Minnesota, but the want to create more spaces in those same cities and towns.

A small group of people in Saint Cloud have taken a major step forward towards creating a yearround space for our community. Towards the end of 2023, the Rainbow Wellness Collective in the heart of downtown Saint Cloud opened their doors. It has become a beacon for our community that will shine across Central Minnesota and beyond.

The Collective’s location is perfect - a historic two-story corner building on West Saint Germain Street that is a part of a resurgence of the Saint Cloud Historic District. According to the National Register of Historic Places, the location was once known as the Lahr Building, owned by a blacksmith named Nicholas Lahr. Originally built in 1887, it was last used as retail space with upstairs offices.

Getting the building for the Rainbow Wellness Collective was quite the story unto itself. “We were originally going to buy a different building and that one fell through,” said Toni Rakke, the Co-Chair of Rainbow Wellness Collective and proprietor of EveryBody Wellness. “Eric said, ‘Why don’t you come take a look at this building?’ Knowing that we probably couldn’t afford it in the first place and we came in and looked and of course fell in love with it because the aesthetics and everything just fit so perfectly with what we had been looking for.”

After meeting the criteria for what they were looking for – including meeting the Americans with Disabilities Act standards – Rakke and the Rainbow Wellness Collective board purchased the N. Lahr Building. They achieved this through donations and financing – including an owner buy-back program.

The vision and the goals of this center for wellness and community were spelled out by the Rainbow Wellness Coalition’s Executive Director, Jennifer Potter-Vig. She said that her vision is to be

“a safe place for community, for a population of people that often in Central Minnesota especially, don’t have just a place where they can just go and do the things that they want to do.”

“I envision it being a place where they know they can just show up as they are in whatever form they are and present themselves,” PotterVig continued. “And that is my goal here as their executive director, is whatever that is, make sure that they can do that in a safe space.”

So far, the Rainbow Wellness Collective have several tenants making space inside the building, providing services with an emphasis on individual LGBTQ+ wellness. The building’s tenants include Seal Dwyer Counseling, EveryBody Wellness, and Jamie Jones Physical Therapy. Also, Saint Cloud Pride, QUEERSPACE Collective and Outfront Minnesota also have offices inside the building.

Currently, the Great River Children’s Museum is taking temporary space in the building’s basement until their new location is complete in Saint Cloud.

“All these different organizations, mental health therapy and physical therapy, and all the queer organizations and all of these different folks are coming together and supporting each other rather than competing, because there’s plenty of queer folks for us to go around,” said Seal Dwyer, Rainbow Wellness Collective Tenant At-Large Board Member and proprietor of of Seal Dwyer Counseling

The Rainbow Wellness Collective also host several programs inside of their space. “There are various dance and movement classes, [and] yoga classes,” explained Potter-Vig. “Focusing on wellness in that aspect. Obviously, we do have partners in the building that offer support groups with Pride and QUEERSPACE Collective and OutFront [Minnesota].”

Dwyer added that, “We’ve got a dozen movement and dance teachers, we’ve got a local artist who’s an incredible artist, and she’s teaching art classes and how to draw and how to paint classes and things like that. We’ve got all these community organizations that are not actually housed here who are just like, ‘We want to support this, we need to support this.’”

The response from the community has been extremely positive. Accord to Rakke, the LGBTQ+ community were “so happy there is a place they can come and just be. No judgment.

(Opposite Page) Rainbow Wellness Collective Excecutive Director Jennifer Potter-Vig. Photos by Randy Stern

When we had our Queer Year’s Eve [at the Rainbow Wellness Collective]… it was wonderful. People could wear what they want, they could be who they are. It was lovely to see couples of all genders and presentations enjoying that kiss, that wonderful time at midnight. It was awesome. So yeah, we’ve heard nothing but good from the community.”

From this strong start, there are talks of bringing more programming to the Rainbow Wellness Collective. For example, Potter-Vig said that they are “working on an MOU with The Aliveness Project…to bring HIV testing, Tea Time, and even beyond HIV testing, preventative care at some point, someday down the road in a couple of years would be wonderful. We’re having those discussions and getting that rolling.”

“And, then just building other programs as far as third space and a Hangout for the 18 to 23-year-old range, just because there’s a lot of availability for hangouts for younger and older, but not so much that range group,”

further explained Potter-Vig. “Then, we’re partnering Planned Parenthood for Reach One Teach One on various topics. And then also with the Whitney Senior Center is another group that we’re partnering with. I actually am giving a talk to grandparents and educating them on their grandkids.”

That is just scratching the surface. Rakke adds that the Rainbow Wellness Collective is also “planning on doing a binder library and education for how to wear those binders. We’re talking about doing some education on issues that affect trans people, both [masculine] and feminine.”

“There’s different things that go with them, and just trying to figure out what the community needs and meet those,” explained Rakke. “Some people just need to know how to do their finances. So, planning on some classes to talk about finances. Some people don’t even know how to do a checkbook or banking, unfortunately, because we know how families have not supported in some things. So things that we take for granted that we’ve learned from our families, we need to have that available for them.”

According to the website, the Rainbow Wellness Collective stated that there are 14,000 LGBTQ+ people living in the greater Saint Cloud area. Perhaps even more, if you expand that territorial footprint across Central Minnesota.

To reach these people, you have to start somewhere. As Dwyer explained, “not a lot of nonprofits start out with a building and then go from there. But that’s how we did this. It was kind of a, if you build it, they will come. And, we got this amazing building at an incredible price and we were able to bring this together and use our community resources and then be like, all right, everybody’s housed. Everybody’s doing this, everybody’s here and let’s go expand and expand into the space, expand into the community, expand our presence. Let’s expand our power, expand our voice.” 

Rainbow Wellness Collective

601 W. St. Germain St, St. Cloud MN 56301

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Deep Roots in Minnesota Advice from a Local Leading Horticulture Researcher

When considering what to plant in Minnesota or areas with similar USDA plant hardiness zones, the insight of a Minnesota-grown horticulture researcher is unmatched. We had the remarkable opportunity to learn from and about the talented Midwesterner and LGBTQ+ community member Dr. Matthew Clark (he/him). Dr. Clark is the Director of Research of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Horticultural Research Center (HRC), which has become a leading center of fruit research for the upper Midwest. Additionally, he serves as an Associate Professor of fruit breeding at the University of Minnesota. Previously, he focused on grape breeding and the science of winemaking (enology). He described to us his recent transition from studying grape genetics to a focus on apple breeding.

Dr. Clark’s longtime expertise is in using both traditional and molecular plant-breeding approaches to cultivate grapes for cold-climates. He used his knowledge of grape genetics to discover the mechanisms of resistance to common grapevine pests in order to help cultivate new grape varieties with resistances that allow for reduction of pesticide use. Dr. Clark applies such knowledge daily as a member of the team working on the Triumph apple at the HRC. The Triumph apple was developed to balance sustainability with consumer enjoyment; it is a delicious and tart red apple with two forms of resistance to a common fungus that causes apple scabbing in order to increase storage life and decrease need for fungicides or pesticides.

Although he is currently focused on apples, Dr. Clark is excited to announce that the University of Minnesota will be releasing a table grape variety that grows well in Minnesota’s climate and will “knock the consumer’s socks off.” He reports that there are currently not many grape options for fresh eating rather than winemaking that grow well in our region.

Dr. Clark has an interesting origin story for his work as a scientist. Although he reports a lifelong love of plants to the extent of reading every book in his hometown library about plants, his

bachelor’s degree was in Psychology. His initial career plans included graduate programs in psychology and gender studies. After starting the process of applying to such graduate programs, he attended the workshop of a horticulturalist. He was previously unaware of people with such prolific careers working with plants. It was then that he shifted gears and applied for master’s degrees in Applied Plant Science which culminated in a Ph.D in the subject from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Clark is grateful for the researchers who saw a promising young scientist in him despite an unconventional path to advanced plant biology.

Photos courtesy of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

His favorite parts of his research include choosing plant parents for HRC apple breeding and training graduate students in the art and science of plant breeding, which can be a long but rewarding process that is vital for agriculture. Dr. Clark notes that the discovery phase is the most energizing aspect of the fruit breeding research process. This phase is where new tastes, textures, and colors are observed for the first time. He finds joy and motivation in discovering these new sensory experiences and other helpful characteristics like resistances. Finding enjoyment in the process of his research is important as the development of a new apple variety can take twenty-five years. Novel grape varieties take three to five years.

Graciously, Dr. Clark has provided us with recommendations for Minnesota plant hobbyists of all skill levels. For beginners, he highly recommends winter squash as nearly foolproof. When drought occurs, growing just about anything becomes a challenge. However, squashes often turn out alright nonetheless. For annual flowers, consider marigolds. They come in such a wide variety of colors, textures, stem heights, and flower sizes that Dr. Clark suggests one could plant a beautiful garden of marigolds exclusively. Additionally, marigolds are often edible and provide historical learning opportunities as they are treasured by many cultures around the world. For advanced growers, he recommends visiting specialty nurseries to find unique options like magnolia trees or delicate stone fruit trees that can still do well in Minnesota with proper care. Generally speaking, his favorite plant for Minnesota gardens is the Eastern hemlock due to its form and adaptability. For apartment dwellers, Dr. Clark recommends nasturtium as

a versatile and lovely flowering plant. If he only had one basket, he says he would grow nasturtium.

For his own garden, Dr. Clark opts for both native and non-native plants where appropriate. While he encourages use of native plants to support birds and insects, his garden is reportedly not complete without two plants not native to North America: roses and tomatoes. Roses predominantly originate from Asia with a small number of wild roses being native to various parts of North America. Tomatoes are native to South America. He protects and highlights his roses by planting green herbs next to them for texture, color change, diversity, and utility. He describes tomato growing as essential, delicious, and fun.

In 2024, we can look forward to quite literally tasting the fruit of his labor with the release of a highly anticipated table grape variety. Currently, the University of Minnesota only offers two table grape varieties as opposed to eight wine grape varieties with the most recent table grape having been introduced in 1977. To learn more about the exceptional fruit breeding research performed at the HRC, visit the Landscape Arboretum’s Farm at the Arb. The best time to see the grapes is usually late summer and early fall. 

Grow your own!

To see all of the University of Minnesota’s hardy plant introductions, go to

Check local nurseries for these varieties, which are suitable for home gardeners: Apples: Haralson, Triumph, Zestar

Wine grapes: Clarion, Itasca, Frontenac noir / gris

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Light House Dutton Brown Design Will Light Up Your Life

It’s the first thing that’s needed to appreciate any décor, so obvious that it’s often overlooked. The eggheaded refer to it as “electromagnetic radiation that can be perceived by the human eye.” The rest of us simply call it “light.” But light doesn’t just let us appreciate decorative décor…sometimes light is decorative décor.

If you yearn to experience one of those sometimes, you have friends in the light décor business, friends who long ago decided to pool their redoubtable talents. Founded by Zachary Dutton and Thomas Brown, their company is, according to its website, “an LGBTQ+-owned made-to-order high-end décor manufacturer that specializes in the design and assembly of color lighting and hardware.”

That company’s name, you won’t be surprised to learn, is Dutton Brown Design.

“My name’s first because I’m the prettiest,” Zach Dutton asserts credibly.

“His name is first,” Thomas Brown refutes just-as-credibly,” because Brown Dutton sounds like something you’d do to a drunk friend.”

That sense of irreverent familiarity serves as the company’s North Star…perhaps because the union of Dutton and Brown (or Brown and Dutton) became a life partnership before it became a business partnership. “We met on a website in 2005 called Connexion,” Dutton remembers. “So like, before cell phones had cameras… but we worked corporate jobs for five years and started this company in 2013.”

Working with one’s domestic helpmate might, in other instances and with other people, be too much of a good thing, but such is not the case with this photocentric pairing. Reports Brown: “We spend a lot of time together which may not work for some, but it helps that we’re best friends and share a vision to create a colorcoordinated home décor company.”

The members of this dynamic duo have even assigned themselves complementary roles in business and in life. “I’m the fierce one because of the energy I bring,” Dutton diagnoses. “I am admittedly stubborn about never settling and am unafraid of taking risks involving things I understand. I was once asked if I ever thought our business would do this well, and I said, ‘Yes, absolutely. That’s sort of the point.’ That’s not to say we aren’t humble. We just know what we bring to the table.”

The table receives something much different from Thomas Brown. “’Nerd derp’ is the quickest way to describe me as one who is visibly ebullient about learning new things, especially as it relates to e-commerce, AI, or [financial technology],” Brown says. “I worked as an engineer for five years, and I’m always looking for ways to apply what I learn to our business. Our method is that Zach helps drive forward all of the systems I create.”

(L to R) Zachary Dutton and Thomas Brown. Photos courtesy of Dutton Brown Design

With two such complementary forces at the company’s helm, it’s easy to overlook a frequent third collaborator: sometimes prospective customers can become customizers in their own right. “People come in at all levels of understanding, but at our price point, we tend to attract people that know the importance of lighting to their project,” Dutton notes. “People that treat lighting as an afterthought can usually find what they need in a home improvement store.”

Which leaves only the customers who take illumination seriously. “We schedule appointments to show people products,” Brown explains. “If they decide to purchase, our team builds their order in-house in one-to-four weeks. We are also honest if our products aren’t a good fit. We don’t want to sell people on things they don’t need.”

This collaboration can be a rarefied one. “Our goal is to elevate our products to earn the value-focused customer, not the price-focused one,” Brown outlines. “We understand not seeing something in person can be a challenge, so we provide free samples, drawings, and a top-notch support team.”

Every collaboration has its limits, naturally. “We learned to say no to things that won’t be profitable for us,” Dutton says. “’Custom’ reads as ‘low margin’ and often leads to problems. We often reiterate our products are not ‘custom’ but rather ‘customizable.’”


The distinction between the two notions is profound. “That means we provide a variety of products with sizes and finishes designed for multiple situations,” Brown deduces. “But the world is full of ‘imagineers’ who ask ‘why not this’ or ‘can’t you that’. It’s not hard to have an idea; it’s manufacturing something quality profitably that’s the challenge.”

That’s not the only challenge that commonly faces Dutton Brown Design. Just as light can be overlooked, so, too, can its providers. “We often hear we don’t do a good job showing what we do…or that we aren’t on social enough,” Dutton acknowledges. “We’re just more focused on adding capabilities that can grow our brand.”

Adds Brown: “Just because someone isn’t visible on social doesn’t mean they aren’t doing big things. It just means they’re too busy to care if someone else knows about it.”

That too-busy-ness has paid off where business is concerned, connecting the company to clients and collaborators all over the world. Observes the nerd derp digitally, “With over 20,000 customers in all fifty states, we’ve grown our trade program to include 3,500 designers and architects, and they are eager for something new.”

When it began its existence a decade-or-so ago, Dutton Brown was easy to overlook…but as with the light it artistically presents, the company is unlikely to be overlooked again. As declared on its website, “We started with one light fixture design in 2013…and here we are.” 

Dutton Brown Design 1995

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Get in the Loop – at North Loop Green 360!

If you’re in the market for a new home this Spring, you’re in luck! The newest addition to the iconic Minneapolis skyline: a mixed-use development called North Loop Green, has officially launched leasing for its residential component, North Loop Green 360. This sleek, beautiful residential complex is in the heart of Minneapolis’ North Loop neighborhood and is changing the game when it comes to dynamic, upscale places to live.

First of all, North Loop Green 360 offers a variety of unit sizes to meet the needs and lifestyles of every resident. So no matter what you’re looking for: from a place to live with roommates, to a studio by yourself, or space for your family, North Loop Green 360 has you covered! With a bright, open and distinctly you space, you’ll feel right at home in this gorgeous new residential tower in Minneapolis. North Loop Green 360 offers studio, one-, two- or three-bedroom unit floor plans. Each unit comes with modern European-style cabinets, quartz countertops, a gas-range kitchen, modern wood-style flooring, custom closet systems, a full-sized washer and dryer, and attractive, designer bathroom

fixtures. The views from every window in the building are simply breath-taking, and select units offer private balconies as a way to take in the city from your own personal space.

Luke McDonough, Director of Multifamily Leasing at DRG, which is a boutique real estate brokerage focused on the Minneapolis residential real estate market, says, “We are

Continued on page 24
Photos courtesy of North Loop Green 360
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excited to introduce North Loop Green 360 to the North Loop neighborhood… It has been inspiring to see the response of our prospective residents as they take in the spectacular views, the array of amenities, and the community park now that tours are underway.”

The incredible units of North Loop Green 360 would be enough by themselves, but upscale amenities sweeten the deal even more. Residents of North Loop Green 360 will enjoy access to the lovely one-acre park and event space known as The Green, which will host various public events throughout the year. These events cater to residents and guests of all ages, lifestyles, and interests. There truly is a little something for everyone to enjoy… and the best part? It’s right in your backyard! The building also features a state-of-the-art fitness center for all the gym-lovers, dual outdoor terraces with panoramic views of the city, outdoor grilling areas for all your cookout needs, a sky lounge with a chef’s kitchen, billiards, a creative studio for the artists in the building, and a golf/game simulator.

Amenities of North Loop Green 360 also include on-site parking, a video entry system so residents feel safer at home, a secure package room, plenty of work-from-home spaces, and a dog lounge with a dog wash and run. Basically… if you’ve ever wanted access to it in your home, North Loop Green 360 has it!

Living at North Loop Green 360 also puts you right in the heart of the energetic pulse of the city. The North Loop neighborhood is known for its access to tons of activities for people of all types of lifestyles. For those looking for active ways to enjoy the natural beauty of Minnesota, at North Loop Green 360, you’ll have direct access to the Cedar Lake Bike Trail, as well as the river, North Loop Park, Gateway Park, and of course, The Green.

The North Loop neighborhood is also full of delicious chef-owned restaurants and craft breweries. Some of the amazing restaurants right around the corner include Pizza Lucé Downtown, Guacaya Bistreaux, Cowboy Jack’s Downtown Minneapolis, Graze, Spoon and Stable, Trax Burgers and Bar, Soul Bowl, 112 Eatery, and more! And for a night out on the town, at North Loop Green 360, you’ll have bars, breweries, and entertainment like The Basement Bar, Fulton Beer Taproom, Modist Brewery, #12 Cidery, Inbound Brewing, The Lab, Acme Comedy Club, The Fillmore Minneapolis, and Target Field Station Plaza & Amphithe-


ater, just a stone’s throw away from home! And that doesn’t even include all of North Loop’s adorable coffee shops and amazing shopping options.

North Loop Green 360 will have a phased opening beginning in mid-February, starting with residents on the lower floors and gradually moving up through the building as final touches are made on the project. Leasing starts at $1,616/ month, and more pricing details for each individual unit can be found on North Loop Green 360’s website.

Bob Pfefferle, Managing Director at Hines, which is a global real estate investment, development and property manager, says, “We are thrilled to have our first residents move in mid-February, and for the whole community to have an opportunity to experience what we’ve been building for the neighborhood over the past couple of years.”

Your home and your personal space have such a direct impact on the quality of your life, and at North Loop Green 360, you can rest assured that your space will be absolutely perfect for you. Your new home is calling, and you’ve gotta answer! If you could see yourself living somewhere as luxurious and beautiful as the brand new residential building, North Loop Green 360, you’ve definitely got to check it out for yourself!

Want to see for yourself? Explore each unit’s layout or schedule a tour to view them in person on the residential tower’s website! 

North Loop Green 360 60 N. 5th St., Minneapolis


What It Means To Have A Place To Call Home

Throughout a person’s life, there are several intense changes that come along with the trials and tribulations of what it means to grow. One of these changes is finding a place to call home.

For the LGBTQ+ community, this change can be especially difficult due to potential discrimination against them. This is where groups like the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance Minnesota chapter come in.

Sarah Rostance, the newest president of the Alliance Minnesota chapter, has been a part of the Alliance for the past three years. According to her, Alliance Minnesota is a “non-profit that advocates and educates for equal housing for the queer community.”

Rostance has switched her career a few times throughout her life before becoming a realtor three years ago. She said she is an open and personable person, which helps her connect with and help potential clients.

People usually buy one or two houses throughout the course of their lives, according to Rostance, and the market may change from when people bought their first home to when they start looking for their next. To her, this job provides her with the opportunity to help people through their journey of finding the next place to call their own.

This journey isn’t always the easiest, though, for the LGBTQ+ community. When it comes to discrimination in housing, 15% of LGBTQ+ couples face discrimination compared to the 6% of heterosexual couples, according to the Alliance website.

Rostance stressed the safety Alliance Minnesota can provide to people who may be moving to Minnesota from states that do not protect the LGBTQ+ community. She said if someone is looking for an LGBTQ+ friendly realtor, Alliance Minnesota is the place to go.

Minnesota, along with 19 other states in the U.S., have full LGBTQ+ non-discrimination protections for those seeking housing. Two states have some with specific limitations, while 29 states do not have any protections for LGBTQ+ people, according to the Alliance website.

The website also states that over the past three years, 21% of people believe discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community has increased.

Sarah Rostance. Photo courtesy of Sarah Rostance

One of the main goals of Alliance Minnesota is to limit discrimination in the housing world for the LGBTQ+ community as much as possible.

“No matter who the person is, we are a neutral party and treat everybody the same,” Rostance said.

Alliance Minnesota is an all volunteer organization. All of the professionals who volunteer at the Alliance are either in the queer community or are allies of the community with professional jobs outside of the organization.

“It’s a place where people can come and be around like-minded people who are fighting for the same kind of stuff,” Rostance said.

Alliance Minnesota tries to host events once a month so the members of the group can get together and give back to the community. Whether it’s their quarterly “Lunch and Learn” events where they invite guest speakers in or their many volunteer opportunities, there is always something for the members to do to progress the organization.

The Alliance is all about education around housing. For those who are interested, the Alliance offers a two hour training session titled the Ally Certification Course. When completed, a certification of completion and badge will appear on their website profile.

For those interested in events, the Alliance has an annual convention for real estate and housing professionals to attend. The 2024 convention will be held in Las Vegas from Sept. 25-27.

These events help those who are in the Alliance network with others and build upon the hard work that has already gone into the organization, Rostance said.

Looking forward, Rostance hopes to use her presidency to expand the Alliance and get more members involved. As of now, there are about 65 to 75 members in the Minnesota chapter of the Alliance. One of the ways she plans to expand that number is having a booth at the Twin Cities Pride festival this summer.

“We’re opening it up and welcoming people in, and I’m excited to get people that I have yet to meet involved in the Alliance and finding out what they expect from the Alliance,” Rostance said.

According to Rostance, everybody wants three basic things in their lives: a safe place to sleep at night, good food to eat and people to love.

“If I can help with one of those three things in my life, then I feel like I will have succeeded,” Rostance said.

When it comes to the mission of Alliance Minnesota and what they hope to provide people, Rostance puts it simply.

“Love is love,” Rostance said. “Everybody deserves a safe place to call home.” 

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Blooms and Boom

Navigating the Minneapolis Home + Garden Shows Growing Inspiration

The Minneapolis Home + Garden Show has been gearing up for its 90th anniversary, taking place at the Minneapolis Convention Center. It is a vibrant mix of tradition and innovation and awaits attendees. Show Manager Bruce Evans orchestrated this dynamic celebration, and he provides insights into what makes this year’s “Growing Inspiration” theme a unique blend of the past and the future.

“The ‘Growing Inspiration’ theme is not just a celebration of our rich history but a commitment to staying at the forefront of home and garden trends. We want to provide attendees with an experience that’s not only nostalgic but also forward-thinking,” said Evans.

The Home + Garden Show prides itself on adapting to the times, carefully curating a diverse array of exhibitors. This harmonious blend features both cherished returning contributors and fresh faces, ensuring coverage of every aspect of home and garden, from cutting-edge technology to time-honored traditions.

“Growing Inspiration” goes beyond a theme; it’s a guiding philosophy, influencing the selection of events and features. Attendees can expect a mix of innovative presentations, interactive workshops, and expert

advice—all aimed at sparking fresh ideas and transforming living spaces.

One standout addition to this year’s lineup is the “Make It, Take It” Floral Arrangements workshop, offering a hands-on experience where attendees can unleash their creativity with guidance from experts at The Flower Bar. Evans remarked, “We want people to not just observe but actively participate and engage with different aspects of home and garden. This workshop is a perfect example of that immersive experience.”

Dunwoody College of Technology takes center stage with the Tomorrow’s Designer Showcase, featuring student-designed custom chairs inPhotos courtesy of the Minnesota Home + Garden Show

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spired by iconic brands. Evans notes, “This collaboration between education and creativity adds a unique dimension to our show, showcasing the talent and imagination of emerging designers.”

Nature takes the spotlight with The Living Wall by Lost in the Forrest, a mesmerizing display of houseplants accompanied by expert advice on selecting the perfect green companions for homes. The Flower Bar enhances the sensory experience with a vibrant floral display at the main entrance of Hall D, a welcoming burst of color for every visitor.

For those seeking a more active experience, Smash Park presents a Pickleball court, inviting attendees to try out this trendy new sport. Meanwhile, the Family Area introduces a student-built playhouse available via silent auction, with proceeds benefiting Spot’s Last Stop Canine Rescue. Evans remarked, “It’s not just about the show; it’s about making a positive impact in our community. We’re excited to contribute to a cause that resonates with our attendees.”

And who could resist the allure of adoptable pets strutting their stuff in a fashion show at the Pet Zone on Thursday night?

To add a melodic touch to the event, local musicians like Matt Yetter will entertain visitors in the Food & Drink Pavilion. “It’s a perfect opportunity for attendees to relax, refuel, and soak in the ambiance as they explore the latest trends in culinary delights,” says Evans.

Adding a sprinkle of celebrity flair to the show, Stephanie Hansen, Emmy Award-winning TV and radio host, cookbook author, and local food enthusiast, takes the stage. Hansen, known for projects like “Taste Buds with Stephanie” on FOX+ and her podcast “Makers of Minnesota,” brings a wealth of culinary inspiration to the Fresh Ideas Stage at 1:00 PM on Saturday, March 1.

We were able to sit-down with Hansen as she reflected on her culinary journey, and shared, “I wrote the True North Cabin Cookbook partly due to the pandemic. There were favorite recipes that we were making every summer in steady rotation, like Kurt’s Ribs, Janice’s Potato Salad, Grandma’s Rhubarb Custard Pie, and my Rhubarb Bars that I knew would be worthy of documenting in cookbook format as a way to keep the recipes together for future generations and friends of the True North Cabin.”

She added, “The other reason was that I had always wanted to document our family’s recipes. My mom and I talked a lot about food and recipes; she was a great Midwestern cook. She died at 63 from breast cancer when I was 40, and we lost a lot of her recipe knowledge because we didn’t have any of the recipes she used to make written down. I knew recipes and the lore surrounding them in a family are essential to document, so this book is also a love letter to her, my mother-in-law, and my family. I knew the recipes in the book would be keepers and loved by many.”

With Stephanie’s culinary wisdom and the exciting array of features at the Minneapolis Home & Garden Show, this year’s event promises not just to be a celebration of the past but a journey into a blooming future. As the doors swing open, attendees are in for the immersive experience that marries floral design with pickleball, leaving them with a trove of fresh ideas for their homes and gardens this spring.

The five-day extravaganza began on Wednesday, February 21. There are still some time to catch before it closes on Sunday, February 25. 

Minneapolis Home + Garden Show

Running through Sunday, February 25 (Thursday: 12:00 PM-8:00 PM; Friday and Saturday: 10:00 AM8:00 PM; Sunday: 10:00 AM-6:00 PM)

Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis $13.00-15.00 with discounts available

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Foster Adopt Minnesota

Finding families and providing information, education, and support to Minnesota Adoptive, Foster and Kinship communities.

2446 University Ave. W., Ste. 104 St. Paul, MN 55114 (612) 861-7115, (866) 303-6276


Second Chance Animal Rescue

Dedicated to rescuing, fostering, caring for, and adopting out dogs and cats into forever homes.

P.O. Box 10533

White Bear Lake, MN 55110 (651) 771-5662



Minnesota's LGBTQ+ and Allied Chamber of Commerce working to build, connect, and strengthen for a diverse business community.

2446 University Ave. W., Ste 112 St. Paul, MN 55114 (612) 460-8153


Mystic Lake Casino Hotel

Nonstop gaming excitement with slots, blackjack, bingo and more plus distinctive bars and restaurants.

2400 Mystic Lake Blvd. Prior Lake, MN 55372 (800) 262-7799


The Nature Conservancy

TNC is an environmental nonprofit working to create a world where people and nature thrive.

1101 W. River Pkwy., Ste. 200 Minneapolis, MN 55415-1291 (612) 331-0700


Landmark Center

A classic venue, with a grand cortile and beautiful courtrooms, accommodates celebrations of all sizes.

75 W. 5th St. St. Paul, MN 55102 (651) 292-3228


PFund Foundation

PFund is the LGBTQ+ community foundation that provides grants to students and grants to non-profits. PO Box 3640 Minneapolis, MN 55403 612-870-1806



Aliveness Project

Community Center for individuals living with HIV/AIDS – on-site meals, food shelf, and supportive service.

3808 Nicollet Ave. S. Minneapolis, MN 55102 (612) 824-LIFE (5433)

Family Tree Clinic

We're a sliding fee sexual health clinic and education center, now in Minneapolis. 1919 Nicollet Ave. Minneapolis MN 55403 (612) 473-0800

Keane Sense of Rhythm

Celebrate your true self with Tap dance! 1st week free, Join us now!

2161 University Avenue W., Ste. 117 St. Paul, MN. 55114 (612) 251-4744

NAMI Minnesota

(National Alliance on Mental Illness)

Providing free classes and peer support groups for people affected by mental illnesses.

800 Transfer Rd. #31 St. Paul, MN 55114 (651) 645-2948

Rainbow Health Minnesota

Providing comprehensive health services for LGBTIA+ people, those living with HIV & folks from underserved communities facing healthcare barriers.

701 S. 4th Ave. #1500 Minneapolis, MN 55415

General: (612) 341-2060, MN AIDSLine: (612) 373-2437

Red Door Clinic

Sexual health care for all people. Get confidential tests & treatment in a safe, caring setting.

525 Portland Ave., 4th Fl. Minneapolis, MN 55415 (612) 543-5555


Quatrefoil Library

Your LGBTQ+ library and community center. Free membership, events, and e-books/audiobooks. Check us out!

1220 E. Lake St. Minneapolis, MN 55407 (612) 729-2543


Radio K

Radio K is the award-winning studentrun radio station of the University of Minnesota.

330 21st. Ave. S. Minneapolis, MN 55455 (612) 625-3500


Minnesota Historical Society

Create your own adventure at MNHS historic sites and museums around Minnesota.

Walker Art Center

Showcasing the fresh, innovative art of today and tomorrow through exhibitions, performances, and film screenings. 725 Vineland Pl. Minneapolis, MN 55403 (612) 375-7600


Chanhassen Dinner Theaters

The nation’s largest professional dinner theater and Minnesota’s own entertainment destination.

501 W. 78th St. Chanhassen, MN 55317 (952) 934-1525

Children’s Theatre Company

Children’s Theatre Company excites the imagination with world-class familyfriendly theatre for kids, teens, and adults. 2400 3rd Ave. S. Minneapolis, MN 55404 (612) 874-0400

Guthrie Theater

Open to the public year-round, the Guthrie produces classic and contemporary plays on three stages. 818 S. 2nd St. Minneapolis, MN 55415 (612) 377-2224

Lyric Arts Main Street Stage

Theater with character. Comedies, musicals, & dramas in a professional, intimate setting where all are welcomed. 420 E. Main St. Anoka, MN 55303 (763) 422-1838

Minnesota Opera

World-class opera draws you into a synthesis of beauty; breathtaking music, stunning costumes & extraordinary sets. Performances at the Ordway Music Theater - 345 Washington St., St. Paul, MN 55102 (612) 333-6669

Minnesota Orchestra

Led by Music Director Designate Thomas Søndergård, the Minnesota Orchestra, one of America’s leading symphony orchestras.

1111 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403 (612) 371-5656, (800) 292-4141

Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

Leading performing arts center with two stages presenting Broadway musicals, concerts and educational programs that enrich diverse audiences. 345 Washington St. St. Paul, MN 55102 (651) 224-4222

Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus

An award-winning chorus building community through music and offers entertainment worth coming out for! 1430 W. 28th St., Ste. B Minneapolis, MN 55408 (612) 339-SONG (7664)


All God’s Children Metropolitan Community Church

A welcoming, inclusive, safe place to explore and discover God’s love for ALL God’s children.

3100 Park Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55407 (612) 824-2673

Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church

Everyone is welcome at Hennepin Church! Vibrant Worship. Authentic Community. Bold Outreach. 511 Groveland Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55403 (612) 871-5303

Plymouth Congregational Church

Many Hearts, One Song; Many Hands, One Church. Find us on Facebook and Twitter. 1900 Nicollet Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55403 (612) 871-7400

St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral

An inclusive and affirming community transforming lives through God’s love. 519 Oak Grove St. Minneapolis, MN 55403 (612) 870-7800

Westminster Presbyterian Church

An open and affirming congregation, welcoming persons of all sexual orientations, gender expressions and identities.

1200 Marquette Ave.

Minneapolis, MN 55403 (612) 332-3421


Friends & Co

Fostering meaningful connections for older adults for 50+ years. Offering quick drop-in chat line, phone & visiting companionship services.

2550 University Ave. W., Ste. 260-S St. Paul, MN 55114 (612) 721-1400

Senior Community Services

Providing non-medical services that meet the changing needs of older adults & support their caregivers.

10201 Wayzata Blvd., Ste. 335 Minnetonka, MN 55305 (952) 541-1019


Lutheran Social Service of MN

Serving all Minnesotans with personcentered services that promote full and abundant lives. | 612-642-5990 | 800-582-5260

Adoption & Foster Care |

Behavioral Health | 612-879-5320

Host Homes |

Supported Decision-Making | 888-806-6844

Therapeutic Foster Care | 612-751-9395


Discover St. Louis Park

Minnesota’s Sweet Spot! Visit us for exceptional dining, attractions, shopping, hotels and event space.

1660 Hwy 100 S., Ste. 501 St. Louis Park, MN 55416 (952) 426-4047

Discover Stillwater

Get away to Stillwater for delicious dining, fun shops, and unique nightlife in this charming rivertown!


The Bridge for Youth Emergency shelter, crisis intervention, and resources for youth currently or at risk of experiencing homelessness.

1111 W. 22nd St. Minneapolis, MN 55405 (612) 377-8800 or text (612) 400-7233

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