Thursday, March 17, 2011

You can call him Al

By Gary Buiso

Aw jeez — Minnesota Sen. Al Franken is coming to Gowanus!

Franken, the bespectacled former “Saturday Night Live” scribe who went onto become the Land o’ Lakes’ liberal lion will be at the Bell House later this month as part of the venue’s “state fair” series, this one feting the Gopher State.

Franken, a Manhattan native, won his seat by a scant 312 votes, but in Brooklyn, the Beltway will be a distant memory for Franken, as he’ll have a very specific task: he’s the judge for the food-on-a-stick competition, a time-honored Minnesota State Fair tradition.

At press time, Franken’s office did not return a request for comment.

The event, a recreation of the state fair, will feature all things Minnesotan, including food, drink entertainers, culture, and, of course, food on a stick.

Transplanted Minnesotans said their state and the borough share a lot in common, making the fair a natural fit.

“Some people consider Minnesota to be a flyover state, but if you come from there, you realize there’s an incredible arts, theater and music scene,” said Minneapolis-native and Fort Greene resident Sam Utne, co-founder of the Minnesota Culture Club, a group that promotes the state’s arts and culture to a nationwide audience.

“And Brooklyn lives in the shadow of Manhattan, so people consider all the culture in Manhattan, but yet we have BAM and the Botanic Garden and Prospect Park. Brooklyn is an amazing cultural center.”

You betcha.

Minnesota State Fair at the Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643-6510], March 20 from 3 pm to 7 pm. Admission is free. For info, visit


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