Franklin Avenue, Main Street for Hipsters?

web_banner_homepage-genBY ED FELIEN

Recently BuzzFeed named Minnesota the Most Hipster State in the U.S., and City Pages named Seward as the most hipster neighborhood.  Would that make Franklin Avenue Hipster Boulevard?
BuzzFeed used these criteria to evaluate hipsterness:
The Lumberjack Look—New Yorkers try to look like Minnesotans by wearing flannel, growing a beard and carrying a guitar over their shoulder, but it doesn’t look authentic.
Live Theater—Minneapolis is second only to New York City in theater seats per capita.
Food co-ops and farmers markets—biggest system, earliest (after San Francisco) and the West Bank and Seward is where it began.  They’re so big Seward Co-op is spending $15 million to open a new co-op in the Bryant/Central neighborhood.
The Music Scene—BuzzFeed lists the big names: Bob Dylan, Prince, Soul Asylum, Hüsker Dü and Atmosphere, but that’s not the local music scene.  They came from here, they got their chops here, but those guys don’t play at the Eagles Club or Merlins.  The local music scene for more than 30 years has been Papa John Kolstad, Willie Murphy, John Koerner, Tony Glover, and it used to include Dave Ray and Lazy Bill Lucas.
Bike obsession—Minneapolis is No. 1 in bike friendliness.
BuzzFeed concludes: “A hipster is just a Brooklynite who wishes they were from Minnesota because it’s ‘more real,’ while genuine Minneso-tans are exempt from the label.”
And City Pages says:
“Last summer, Minnesota was named ‘Most Hipster State in the U.S.’ by BuzzFeed, a website that regurgitates all viral media it considers worthy of regurgitation. As BuzzFeed put it, while Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood is allegedly the hotbed of hipsterism, it is actually the Minnesota hipster aesthetic that Williamsburg hipsters seek to imitate. So what is the most hipster neighborhood within our hipster state? Well, if you use BuzzFeed’s categories of analysis, it ain’t Uptown, it’s Seward. Consider first the ‘Lumberjack Look.’ Folks who live between Hiawatha and the Mississippi, I-94 and the Greenway are a veritable sea of fuzzy red-and-black-checkered blue-collaredness. Never mind that many of them are men of a certain age who have been rocking this look since the 1950s. And speaking of that Greenway, consider also the category of ‘Bike Obsession’ — check! ‘Food Co-Ops’? The Seward Co-Op is always a hotbed for dudes in flannel, shopping for organic pomegranate seeds and hummus. And how do they get there? This is the Seward, not the Wedge, so they come by bike, not by gas-guzzling SUV. ‘Live Theater’? Better than that, Seward is home to the Playwrights’ Center. And as for a thriving music scene? Chances are your favorite local band practices in Seward, lives in one of Seward’s charming (or not so charming) duplexes, or performs onstage (or on the bowling alley) at the Hexagon or Memory Lanes. Oh, and let’s not forget this one important bit of Seward history: Our original Minnesota hipster Bob Dylan recorded portions of his acclaimed ‘Blood on the Tracks’ album at Seward’s Sound80 Studio, now home to Orfield Labs.”
The Seward Co-op and the Seward Café used to be the hipster anchors of Franklin Avenue when they were across the street from each other, but the co-op had to expand so it moved down to the fancy end of Franklin Avenue, and, thankfully, the Welna II Hardware Store moved into Seward’s old place and preserved the down home nature of the neighborhood.
Be sure to get a taste of Franklin Avenue at Open Streets on Sunday, Aug. 16, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  It’s a block party that goes on for miles with music, food and neighbors walking right down the middle of the street.

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