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Dave Roepke, Published September 11 2008

I’ve had enough summer solitude

I don’t like what college kids and cabin-dwellers do to this town in the summer.

It’s nothing personal with the collegians. I used to be one. Still have the hacky sack. As long as you don’t try to tell me how awesome O.A.R. is or draft me for your beer pong league, we might get along.

Cabin people, I’m sorry, we just can’t be friends. You have access to a cabin. I don’t. Even if you invited me out for the weekend, I still won’t have a cabin. Even if you give me the deed to your lake place, I’d be obligated to invite you to visit – which I wouldn’t want to do because it would be awkward. Unless you have a spare cabin to donate, we’ll have to agree to disagree on your foulness.

College students who have cabins? Inherently loathsome, no matter how many free lake homes they give me. (Feel free to test my hypothesis, kids.)

Yes, the solitude can be nice when the metro goes all “I Am Legend” from Memorial Day to Labor Day. But Fargo’s a city, not the lakeside. The opportunity for tranquil reflection is not its allure. Fargo is most enjoyable when its nightlife, concerts and culture hum along at their usual school-year pace: at least steady and often better.

So my beef boils down to this. When lake traffic and the nine-month class cycle take a bite out of the pool of possible ticket-buyers, entertainment options sink faster than a quartz kayak.

It’s simple promoter math. Fewer bodies mean more risk means fewer shows. From the Fargodome to the Red Raven and all points between, shows are way more no-show during construction season.

A peek at the upcoming weeks shows we’re finally getting past the summer doldrums. Break out a fresh sponge and flip it over to the rough side. It’s time to start washing off hand stamps.

Courtney’s Comedy Club’s lineup of stand-up every week from Thursday to Saturday is back. The cover bands are getting more active, like out at the Monkey Bar, where house act DK Allstars returns to its regularly scheduled programming. Jazz is starting to pick up, from the club shows to the Jazz Arts Group – which hosts its first hired gun of the season on Saturday at the Fargo Theatre. Also at the Fargo Theatre, midnight movies are rolling again.

The most consistent local venue for original bands, The Aquarium, has a stellar week ahead. In addition to the two shows mentioned in the Weekend Watch blurbs on the front of the Life section, Minneapolis pop gem Mark Mallman, the bohemian Billy Joel, is on Saturday. Tuesday brings Neil Hamburger, the anti-comic king of flop sweat.

That’s definitely not a comprehensive list. So get out and see something, anything. Before you know it, winter will hit and pickings will be slim again until spring.

And seriously, I’ll gladly take any cabin-like structure off your hands. Converted boathouse? Unconverted tool shed? Large crate? Furnished cardboard box?

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Roepke at (701) 241-5535 or

by e-mail at droepke@forumcomm.com