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What It Feels Like...

What It Feels Like...
Photo by Jeff Johnson

(page 1 of 3)

Yes, you’re a Minnesotan. You know what it feels like to take a dip in one of the state’s 10,000 lakes, to scrape that thin layer of ice off your windshield with a credit card, and to tilt back the waxy bag of State Fair mini doughnuts to catch those last crumbs of cinnamon sugary goodness in your mouth. But there are a few quintessential Minnesota activities that simply are not possible for everyone to experience. You probably don’t know what it feels like to wake up at 2 a.m. to plow the roads after a two-foot snowfall, or what it’s like to perform in front of 60,000 purple-and-gold clad fans at the Metrodome. You definitely don’t know what it’s like to win a lutefisk-eating contest. Not until now, that is. We asked a few exceptional Minnesotans to share their stories about carving butter sculptures, performing in a Coen brothers film, and holding the Winter Carnival Medallion in their hands. You may never do any of those things, but you’ll finally know exactly what it feels like...


Ari Hoptman is an actor/comedian/German professor in Minneapolis.

I auditioned for A Serious Man in a small, abandoned-looking room in downtown Minneapolis, like the one in Goodfellas where Joe Pesci gets shot. The casting director asked me to read for Arlen Finkle, a professor who desperately wants to say something to help the protagonist and for various reasons cannot. And the whole time I’m thinking, This is too big. There’s not a chance in heck. But I couldn’t believe it: I was in and they got a trailer for me that said, “Arlen Finkle” on it. Not my name—they were ready to replace me if necessary. The Coens were very nice. There’s no ad-libbing, though—the script was completely unchanged from start to finish. I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to make suggestions so I made a couple, and they said, “Well, that’s interesting,” and everyone forgot about it. I think my part is about four-minutes total with no bloopers, nothing for the gag reel. I’ve now seen two premieres of the movie, and then saw it once more, and it still hasn’t sunk in.

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