Edited by Heidi Raschke, Words by Elizabeth Dehn, Kara Eliason,
Amber Erickson Gabby, Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, Allison Kaplan,
Jennifer Blaise Kramer, Stephanie March, Steve Marsh, Tad Simons, and Andrew Zimmern
Photographs by Stephanie Colgan, Katherine Harris, Steve Henke, and Cameron Wittig
MY CHILDHOOD WAS COMPLTELY NORMAL. I lived in a nice split-level house in Prior Lake with my brother, a dog, a cat, and two doting, stable, hard-working Lutheran parents.
My childhood was also completely bizarre. My dad was a full-time professional wrestler, Baron Von Raschke, “The Claw,” a behemoth bald man hated around the world by kajillions of rabid wrestling fans who sought him out at malls, restaurants, rest stops, church, and everywhere else we went. We went a lot of places. That house in Prior Lake was my 11th home in my eighth state and my second country (third if you count that summer on an Austrian campground with other wrestler families).
The people who came over for dinner were midgets and giants and freaks of all kinds. They all had amazing stories. There was the Samoan prince whose head-to-toe tattoos indicated his status among his people. There was Mad Dog Vachon, whose French-Canadian accent, rough voice, and dark humor were no put-on. There was the Japanese wrestler who, when complimented on a piece of jewelry, took it off and put it around my mother’s neck, a gift.
I learned from my mild (yes, my dad’s mild) Midwestern parents to be open to new experiences and people. And like Andrew Zimmern showed us on Bizarre Foods, I learned that one person’s weird is another person’s wonderful. That there’s beauty and joy and love and wonder in the things that set us apart, and that those unique expressions can also bring us together.—Heidi Raschke
Bizarre Foods: In a world where we define ourselves by our differences, perhaps we could celebrate the things we love and change the tenor of the conversation.
Restaurateur Leslie Bock, artist Steven Berg, comedian Miss Richfield 1981, and stylist Grant Whittaker push weird and wonderful to edges of the Twin Cities.
Our list of weird and wonderful, strange and surprising finds in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
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To see something really strange, head to a local museum.
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Our highly subjective matrix of local weirdness.