The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Big and Little Dan Tell All

By Nora Clancy

Rainstorm and root-beer float aficianados Dan Allen ’07, of Iowa City, and Dan Risch-Boody ’07, of Minneapolis have been roommates since sophomore year. In between discussing their young-at-heart hobbies, the light-hearted boys revealed a serious side—they’re committed to their ongoing documentary film about Minneapolis neighborhoods.What is a typical night with Dan and Dan like?

Allen: Both of us have pretty busy schedules this year. Especially because I’m doing two honors projects in Math and Political Science.

Risch-Boody: Yeah, I decided not to do that…

A: A typical night is, we get home and crash. We usually bust out some sort of root-beer float.

RB: We probably have root-beer floats four nights a week on average. Breyer’s natural vanilla ice cream and A & W root-beer, every time.

RB: We usually do that while we watch one to four episodes of Entourage or Weeds. But Lost is on TV right now, so that’s easy.

What do you like about Weeds?

A: Besides Mary Louise Parker?

RB: The last few episodes have been getting a little strange. But it’s just a great critique of suburban life.

What is it about Mary Louise Parker?

A: For me it was watching her on the West Wing. She was a women’s rights advocate and her and Josh Lyman, who was Bradley Whitford’s character, had this really dynamic tension between them. He was my favorite character on the show so I always imagined it was me, in fact, trying to woo Mary Louise Parker.

RB: She’s obviously very cute.

I’ve heard you did something outrageous at a Twins game.

RB: Dan came to a Twins game with us where my friend Mike and I wore big paper-machéd Bert and Ernie heads to the Twins game with our sweaters and hands.

A: It was ridiculous. You should have seen the kids’ eyes light up as they sat down. They would come from all different sections to shake their hands.

Why did you have paper-maché Bert and Ernie heads in the first place?

RB: There’s this race called the Arena 5K on Thanksgiving morning that we would run every year with our high school in Downtown Minneapolis. Last year we just decided we needed some outfits for it so we spent about a week paper-machéing these big heads, found sweaters to go with them, and sewed big hands.

You’re not just all about Sesame Street, though. You two also have a film project going together.

RB: It’s a documentary video that we started working on sophomore year.

A: It’s about two neighborhoods in the Twin Cities, Jordan and Linden Hills.

RB: Its [focus] is economic inequalities between Jordan in North Minneapolis and Linden Hills in South Minneapolis. We have lots of interviews done and we’re mostly now just looking for grant money just to be able to not work over the summer and work on our video only.

How did you get the idea to compare Jordan and Linden Hills?

A: We picked these two neighborhoods because Dan had done a project on Jordan in high school. We picked Linden Hills because it is a really good example of a comfortable, semi-urban environment that’s got a lot of qualities of a suburb but it’s not as removed from the city. It’s a really good model in a lot of ways for economic development. We were trying to figure out why Linden Hills had done some much better than Jordan and talk about things that Jordan can do to get back on the right track. Especially recently in the last year, they’ve been in the news a lot.

RB: We talked to the mayor and the police chief.

What is the goal for the film?

RB: Our goal changed. We were gonna use it to get a bunch of people to volunteer and start some programs in the neighborhoods. That was assuming we would have every thing ready by this year. Then when we didn’t get any grant money it kinda changed. Now it will be sort of an informational video possibly starting programs. We don’t know.

A: If nothing else it will be at least a positive look at North Minneapolis, not just the sensationalist perspective you get from the media. It will talk about things you can do to actually make it better as opposed to not just the depressing, “here’s how many awful murders there have been and here’s why you should be so scared and not go there at all.”

Can you tell us about the special weather-related hobby you two share?

RB: Every single rainstorm that has happened that we’ve been aware of we like to spend outside. Sometimes running around in it sometimes just laying, watching in it, sometimes sliding across the grass.

A: I think the most fun was last year. Shaw field had a flood, so you could run down the side hills and slide across. I remember freshman year there was a big one outside of Dupre. We actually created a nice mudslide. There hasn’t been that energy from everyone else, but we’ve decided to bring [back] it each time the rainstorm comes.

RB: We got to watch one last year from a lightening storm on the horizon to rain to hail to rain again to a lightening storm again on the other horizon. That’s just one of the regular activities we do. Usually we watch it till the end.

A: We’ll be doing something else or in different rooms or whatever and then one person will come out and say, “I think it’s about to rain.” There was the time we walked to Target last year for some reason in the middle of a rain storm. We went to buy stuff I don’t remember why. It was a brutal downpour. We actually stopped at Cadenza on Snelling cause we needed a break halfway through because it was so cold.

Are you storm trackers?

RB: Thunderstorm wise, but not for a dangerous storm. Just for the ones that are fun to be in–flooding storms.

A: It has to be fun to play in or else its no good. Like when you were six years old you would run and jump in the puddles and slide across the grass.

RB: Lay and watch the rain come down.

A: It’s a good release.

Jumping in puddles, Bert and Ernie, root-beer floats…sounds like the Dans like to relive the best parts of childhood.

RB: We strive to do that as much as possible–taking enjoyment in the simple things. The leaves falling and food and basic things, songs.

A: And Swinging.

RB: There’s a good swing set around Lake Calhoun. It’s right next to the lake so you are looking out over the lake as you swing. You can take a radio out and listen to Twins games while you’re swinging.

A: There was one night when it was sunset and we were out there. It was really pretty.

Swinging together?

A: Well, yeah. Me, him…and his girlfriend. It was very romantic.

View Comments (1)
More to Discover

Comments (1)

All The Mac Weekly Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • N

    Nicola ClarksonSep 5, 2019 at 3:37 am

    I got what you mean , thankyou for putting up.