Things are heating up

100 degrees!!!

The Hummingbirds

Temperatures in the Department have swung this week from a windchill of -20 (we woke up with frost covering our sleeping bags and steam issuing from our bodies) to 100 degrees in the daytime when our stove was blasting and the sun coming in through our beautiful wall-length windows.

The second weekend was a busy one in the Department of Everything Else.  So far we’ve naturalized 224 citizens, processed over 150 permits, and have shelved 19 remedies in the Popular Apothecary.  Henrietta and Cora were in seventh heaven with all of the filing that had to be done throughout the weekend.  On Saturday the Department hosted the lovely Hummingbirds in our loft.  Folks were stomping their snowboots and clapping mittened hands.  Sunday featured another musical performance by Ghosts I Have Been.  We loved seeing how many fine citizens could squeeze into the Department to listen to some otherworldly tunes.

We have been quite busy documenting life in Shantytown for our public records.  People have been eager to record each other’s portraits in our Facebook and share home remedies for the zine we’ll be publishing.  The Popular Apothecary has cured a number of irksome ailments such as modern apathy, indecision, stuckness, and not enough time.

This week should be quieter as all the residents of Shantytown settle into their routines. Maybe we’ll even have time for a sewing circle.


A Busy Week At The Department

What a week!  When Kelsey arrived in Minneapolis on Friday after 30 plus hours of driving cross-country, Alicia had a mostly assembled shanty waiting in our build space.  With just a week to go until Opening Day the next several days were a whirlwind of activity.  Long days of building and running around preparing forms and files but mostly helping the 20 Shanties install on the ice.  The weather swung from 55 to 7 in just a few days and so out on Medicine Lake Shanty Wrangling became our daily occupation.

From levering shacks out of gaping holes to chasing down speeding runaway shanties, we were kept very busy.












Opening Day in Shantytown was on the 14th.  The Department of Everything Else was bustling with activity as visitors applied to become Shantytown citizens and filed for permits for hot dogs, dancing, building, children and yellow among other things.  We are sleeping on the lake full-time now.  With no running water or electricity our lives have become slower, colder, and simply beautiful.  Our oatmeal tastes better cooked over a woodstove.


The Popular Apothecary will be open next weekend. Come concoct a cure for what ails you – homesickness, envy, terrible dance moves – the possibilities are endless. Bring a jar or ingredients (such as herbs and found objects) to help make your cure.

We’d love to get a letter from you! Send us notes, poems, drawings, knitted things, or other creations to:

The Department of Everything Else
c/o Alicia Dvorak
2205 Bloomington Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55404

(be sure to let us know where to send something back!)

Kickstart it!

As the opening weekend of the projects nears, the Department of Everything Else is hard at work nailing, typing, sewing, driving cross-country and raising funds.  As we prepare to abandon our former lives for a new life in Shantytown, we’re asking for your help to make our month on-ice sustainable.  Check out our video on Kickstarter and peruse the great thank-you prizes we’re offering!  Strap on your boots everyone, the lake is firming up!

Kickstart it!

Things are happening!

Shanty season is in full swing and things are falling into place for the Department. There’s a large pile of lumber ready for building (pictures of the process will be coming soon!). We’ve secured a woodstove source (thanks soozin!). The Kickstarter proposal in submitted (you’ll be hearing from us when it’s up and going!). There’s a website (you found it!).

Wool and mittens and books and accordion files – in a few short weeks we’ll be on the ice!