Klosterman and Maerz: two hipsters say “I do”

How one wedding showed that fame and class can be Minnesota grown.

Ashley Dresser

The night before my brush with fame, I drunkenly told my roommate that if I had to cater one more frat-boy-Señor-Frogs-fake-tan wedding at the Nicollet Island Pavilion, I was going to plant a cake knife in the bride and groom. âÄúHow can people be so wealthy, yet so ridiculously unoriginal?âÄù I complained. âÄúI feel like IâÄôm living the same night over and over again.âÄù The music selection is by far the worst aspect of the monotony. Without fail, after âÄúWe Are a FamilyâÄù comes âÄúSweet CarolineâÄù then âÄúTwist and ShoutâÄù followed by the version of âÄúSomewhere Over the RainbowâÄù sung by that fat Hawaiian guy with the complicated last name. It is hard being a hipster and working in the hospitality profession. I have to cover my tattoos, tone down my hair and worst of all, personally serve a bunch of uncultured mules. These mules think that âÄúVeckatimestâÄù (Grizzly BearâÄôs latest album) is what Aussies butter their toast with and Solid Gold is simply a cufflinks descriptor. ItâÄôs one of MinneapolisâÄô best new indie bands. But then came the blessed union of Chuck Klosterman and Melissa Maerz on Sept. 20, 2009; my faith in humanity was restored. The minute I realized that I cared I was catering the wedding of Chuck Klosterman âÄî music critic, sports journalist and writer best known for his book âÄúSex, Drugs and Cocoa PuffsâÄù and his quirky pop culture rants in Spin Magazine âÄî I realized I was officially a member of the much-hated sub-culture: âÄúhipsters.âÄù When I begged my boss to switch sections so that I could serve the bride and groom, she looked at me blankly and said, âÄúSure, I donâÄôt care. I donâÄôt even know who the hell Chuck Klosterman is.âÄù When I sent out a mass text to my closest friends announcing Klosterman was in the building, I received responses such as: âÄúI hope everyoneâÄôs drinking PBR and wearing chucksâÄù and âÄúI am not a hipster, therefore I do not care.âÄù I was baffled by their disinterest and worried that during my four years of living in the Twin Cities, I had somehow lost track of reality and joined a cult. Chuck Klosterman is not a particularly good writer by normal literary standards. His writing is somewhat nonsensical and periodically self-indulgent, and people love to discredit him by pointing out that he grew up in the culturally irrelevant zone of Wyndmere, N.D. He may even be most famous because so many people love to hate him. But lucky for Chuck, he has now acquired an exceptionally talented counterpart to back him up: Melissa Maerz, a former editor of Rolling Stone, Spin, New York magazine and even MinneapolisâÄô own City Pages. WhatâÄôs so cool about this match is that we in the Midwest can smugly play our trump card once again. Klosterman (and even Maerz since she was a resident for four years) are proof that people can and do rise from relative Midwestern obscurity to have successful careers. And they donâÄôt all have to be politicians (Mondale) or musicians (Dylan, Prince). Furthermore, they can remain grounded amidst all of their achievement. Admittedly, you have to either be a drug-dealer or carpet-bagger to have enough dough to rent out the Nicollet Island Pavilion, but beyond that, Klosterman and MaerzâÄô wedding was surprisingly modest. Surprising not because I harbored illusions of millionaire writers, but surprising that for two people who have spent a fair portion of their lives in close proximity to rock stars, they exhibited no overwhelming flair for the ostentatious (with the exception of MaerzâÄô uber-stylish feather boa that accessorized her wedding dress âÄî loved it). Even more endearing was the fact that KlostermanâÄôs family was so obviously Midwestern. Upon finishing their meal, they proceeded to clean and stack their plates before I even had a chance to clear their table. More than once, I was pulled aside by a grinning grandmother or boisterous uncle to be praised for my housework. âÄúYouâÄôre doing an excellent job,âÄù one man said. âÄúThis is some of the best service IâÄôve had. Your parents must be so proud of you.âÄù Oh yes, yes they are âÄî because I clearly went to college for catering. Yet I did appreciate their kindness; at most weddings, IâÄôm used to being ignored. My moment of Zen with Klosterman was brief. I served him his meat and potatoes and said, âÄúI know you donâÄôt want to get this on your wedding day, but IâÄôve read all your books and I think youâÄôre awesome.âÄù He shook my hand and asked for my name. I blurted out that I disc jockyed for Radio K, as if to reaffirm my hipster-ness, and Melissa smiled and said, âÄúWell, you should join us for a drink after your shift then.âÄù They did not wait for my shift to get done; they rode off into the Minneapolis skyline in a horse-drawn carriage instead. I am not bitter; however, I am realistic: Klosterman would have to be a total idiot to hang out with a fan on his wedding night. Afterwards, the DJ, who had been spinning anything but your regular wedding fare all night (thank God for Phoenix), came up to me and said, âÄúSo youâÄôre the Chuck Klosterman fan? Me too. I used to DJ at Radio K back in the day.âÄù And thatâÄôs when I knew where it all went wrong: Radio K is a hipster-breeding cult. To wrap this up, in the style of my hero Klosterman, this column may or may not have a point. But if it did, it would probably look something like this: IâÄôm proud to be Midwestern because weâÄôre so covertly culturally relevant. The University of MinnesotaâÄôs Radio K is the greatest cult/radio station of all time. Melissa, can I borrow your feather boa? And Chuck, you owe me a drink. Ashley Dresser welcomes comments at [email protected]