The Soul of Saint Paul (with a little help from our Minneapolis neighbor)

The Soul of Saint Paul

Pardon the delay on this submission. In terms of timing, it is rather late to be writing simply about last weekend. However, that is simply because parts of last weekend are still sticking with me like the scrumptious BBQ ribs I consumed at the First Trinity church. Nevertheless, it is time I recount this experience and try to piece together what I feel was a very satisfactory weekend, and a clue to the soul of Saint Paul.

It certainly doesn’t hurt to begin with Garrison Keillor, the arguably beckoning voice of Saint Paul (I disagree, but so would millions of listeners to my idea), and his bookstore, Common Goods. Or, was it the musicians who invaded and Common Goods was merely an observant? No matter what, the combination of accordions and cozy bookstore settings was discovered to be a compelling match. Thanks to some strings, or, in this case, boxes being pulled, performers from the “Think Outside the Squeezebox” accordion gathering at O’Garas stopped by for an “impromptu” flash mob. It was later revealed that it was the most orderly flash mob ever, with a gaggle of accordion players lined up neatly in the back of the store, and surprisingly anticipated, but, the results were rather pleasant. Traditional waltzes mixed with Tom Jones’ Delilah and a hint of audience-participation via kazoos made for a pleasant jam of a morning. A Macalester first-year even made his St. Paul accordion playing debut! While the spontaneity may have faded in the background, the community of music was a welcome addition to a beautiful, crisp morning.

I had intentions to go to the Festa Italiana, but, due to time crunches, I was unable to attend. On my way to my next event down Marshall Ave. however, I stumbled across an equally interesting tradition. There, I spotted smoke on the horizon and as I pulled to the corner of Marshall and Chatsworth Avenue, I saw a smoker that stretched almost the entire block. Ok, a slight exaggeration, but forgive me if my newfound hunger clouded my vision. There, two young church community members were roasting up many racks of delicious ribs. I bought the $12 dinner plate, which included a full rack, coleslaw, beans and Texas toast, and I helped myself to a heaping plate of BBQ goodness. The ribs were tender, juicy and came with a homemade sauce, simmered on the stove for hours. I was told that the “Ribfest” as they called it happens every couple Saturdays, and they start grilling early in the morning (that’s 10 am, so translate early/late as you please). All I can say is that it is definitely worth a drive-by every Saturday to see if they are grilling up.

Sharing community food was a continued venture on the next stop of this interesting day as my girlfriend and I took in a showing of The Return of King Idomeneo: A Picnic Operetta at Swede Hollow Park. The play was a tale of the return of a King Idomeneo onto his unfamiliar hometown, a question of an unfulfilled sacrifice to King Neptune, which just happens to be his son, and, of course, diners and doo-wop galore. Thanks to the injection of 50’s choruses and fashion, Mixed Blood Theater produced another spectacular performance and provided delectable snacks to munch on such as cucumber boats and kale bites that matched the soaring ships and algae monsters in the show. The performance was filled with energy, wonderful musical arrangements, and enough clever translation of the epic opera for even the least-read opera fan to understand. It was unfortunate that it was the second-to-last performance, but, it was quite a joy to enjoy such a unique spectacle in one of St. Paul’s most beautiful natural spots.

However, I believe I saved the most beautiful part for last, and that was at the Twin Cities Funk and Soul revival show hosted by Secret Stash Records at the Cedar Cultural Center. The event coincided with a new collection put out by Secret Stash that brings together songs from many groups that helped establish the scene in the Twin Cities. The event got major buzz as Mayor R.T. Rybak stopped by to visit with the old stars during rehearsals, and both cities declared through official proclamations last week to be Funk and Soul week in the Twin Cities. When I arrived, I had never seen a more diverse crowd. There were a lot more older people than I am accustomed to, including a rollicking seating section, but there were also a fair amount of younger folks, including kids. A lot of people appeared to share some sort of connection to the old bands, as there was a great deal of buzz as the house band was introduced, but, eventually, everyone became connected by the fantastic music pouring out. The main band was electric. A three piece horn section, guided by a sharp bass and guitar from one of the Secret Stash Records employees ripped through hit after hit as singers rotated in from groups and singers such as The Valdons, Willie Walker, Jackie Harris and amny more. My favorite was from a sultry starlet, Wanda Davis, as she wailed a passionate version of “Take Care”, a mid-tempo letter to a lover that got the crowd moving and grooving. Perhaps the most rewarding part of the evening was seeing the true emotion pour out of bandmates who hadn’t played together, let alone seen each other in over thirty five years. As the show became older, the crowd and the bands seemed to get younger. I was shocked that more dance songs occupied the set instead of slow jams, as burners such as “Thieves in the Funkhouse” and “The Maxx” got even the oldest groovers to shake off any rust and take a strut. In the end, I developed a further respect for those whose names may not have gotten big, but certainly made an impact in the community.

So, what do all of these events have in common besides making for an exhausting day? I think they show how well engrained St. Paul’s history is, and how tradition and reinterpretation can create a wonderful concoction. From two young men carrying an outreach tradition with time-honored staples, to a remix of a centuries-old theatrical tale, or a new vision of an old bookstore (with kazoos) and the reunion of classic singers with a familiar and foreign crowd, St. Paul (and a little help from Minneapolis) provided a vision of community give and take. As I told my twin brother visiting from Chicago, this line of events may happen in other cities, but, at once, on the same day, in a way that is accessible to all? Well, the next time that happens is when I finally start to get opera. Oh wait…

Edtor’s Note

The writer,a guest blogger for St. Paul SPOT is Harry Kent , currently a senior at Macalester College, and a student employee at Macalester’s Civic Engagement Center.  Prior to that time, he was a community outreach coordinator and eventually, serving  a brief stint as Office Manager of the University Avenue Business Association.


St Paul events – weekly roundup

StPaulSpot’s weekly round-up (Aug. 20-24) includes hand-chosen events for all ages and interests. If an event catches your eye, make sure to click on the link for more information.
Monday, at Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, come to  a Gallery Talk and Discussion  at 6:00, about the Edward Curtis exhibit that is on display through the month of August.

On Tuesday, Summit Brewing Company continues their reservation-required, free brewery tours beginning at 1 p.m. (tours also offered Thursday and Saturday). The tour guides lead you through the process of brewing beer – from hoppy copper kettles to fermenting tanks, filtering, and bottling and kegging. Stay afterwards for several hefty size portions of your choice of Summit’s many brews, and get to know the Minnesota nice crowd while exchanging critiques. The Amsterdam Bar & Hall’s “Books and Bars” kicks off at 6 p.m. and will discuss “Ready Player One.”  Reading the book is optional; consider this an enhanced review.  (though the book is a couple day read, max) If you’d like a free opportunity to work on your dancing, the Minnesota History Center’s “9 Nights of Music”, featuring Ross Sutter and Friends, takes place from 6:30 to 8:30. Bring a lawn chair and pack a picnic or purchase food from the Café Minnesota terrace grill. Come early and take advantage of free admission to the museum galleries from 5 to 8 p.m.

On Thursday, “Music in Mears”, featuring Savannah Smith, The Brian David Band and Honeydogs, takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. in Mears Park. Last appearance of the Honeydogs  in St. Paul, at the Real Radiophonic Hour was memorable. We are psyched to see them in Mears. Also taking place that evening is a high-energy comedy and magic show, featuring Suzanne and Matt Marcy, beginning at 6:30 in the Twin Cities Magic Jewel Theatre ($15-20).  This venue is on the periphery of St. Paul’s event menu but shows take place there every month or two.

 

On Friday, Trotter’s Cafés’ “Meet the Farmers BBQ” takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. Enjoy live music and meet some of the people that grow Trotter’s Café’s local and sustainable ingredients. On the menu will be fresh organic produce from Blackberry Hills Farm, Northern Organic Farm, and Whole Farm Co-op; grill items such as buffalo burgers from Shepard Farm, pulled pork from Hidden Stream, and pesto chicken from Callister Farm; and desserts, including fresh fruit pies, red velvet cake, and Castle Rock organic ice-cream sandwiches. Poor Benny, an old-time trio with fiddle, banjo, and guitar, will provide live music as guests mingle with the people who labor to raise their food.


Music in St.Paul this weekend – Aug. 17/18/19

Friday, August 17
04:00pm MUSIC at Station 4 -varied times   @  Station 4
04:00pm MUSIC: Wabasha Days   @  See event notes
04:00pm MUSIC: Wabasha Days #9 – Sunny Era | Actual Wolf Band | Farewell Circuit | We are the Willows (solo)  @  See event notes
04:00pm Music: This month   @  Station 4
05:00pm – 07:00pm MUSIC: Free Buffet every Friday 5-7pm   @  Wilebski’s Blues Saloon
06:30pm – 10:30pm MUSIC: Live Jazz at the Lex – August Calendar   @  The Lexington
07:30pm Monthly Music   @  Dunn Brothers – Music
08:00pm MUSIC: DEMO (Diverse Emerging Music Organization) presents from New York City HOWTH   @  The Palace Stage at Wild Tymes
08:00pm Weekly Music   @  The Palace Stage at Wild Tymes
08:30pm MUSIC: Midas Touch   @  Mancini’s Char House
09:00pm MUSIC Jonny James and the Hall of Fames | Courtney Yasmineh | Kevin Bowe + Okemah Prophets  @  Amsterdam Bar and Hall
09:00pm MUSIC: Big Wave Dave and the Ripples   @  The Shanty at O’Gara’s
09:00pm MUSIC: Musicology 101   @  Ras Ethiopian
09:00pm MUSIC: WEAKWICK | ED SCHRADER’S MUSIC BEAT (Load Records from Baltimore, MD) | CHILD BITE | ANMIAL LOVER   @  Turf Club
09:00pm MUSIC: Westside Band   @  Minnesota Music Cafe
09:00pm MUSIC: Brandon Wozniak, Adam Linz, Eric Kamau Gravatt ( 9:00 pm, $10 )   @  Artists’ Quarter
09:30pm MUSIC: Cody McKinney   @  Dubliner Pub
09:30pm MUSIC: Prior Avenue   @  Wilebski’s Blues Saloon
10:00pm MUSIC: Old School R and B Latenight   @  Wilebski’s Blues Saloon
Saturday, August 18
04:00pm MUSIC at Station 4 -varied times   @  Station 4
04:00pm Music: This month   @  Station 4
06:00pm – 08:00pm MUSIC: Local Nights- Mike Felten   @  Trotter’s Cafe – Since 1989
06:30pm – 10:30pm MUSIC: Live Jazz at the Lex – August Calendar   @  The Lexington
07:00pm MUSIC: Heather Styka   @  Ginkgo Coffeehouse
07:00pm MUSIC: Soul at the Village   @  Mai Village
07:30pm Monthly Music   @  Dunn Brothers – Music
08:00pm – 11:00pm MUSIC: Flamenco Fiesta with Sendero Flamenco   @  Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar
08:00pm Weekly Music   @  The Palace Stage at Wild Tymes
08:30pm MUSIC: Midas Touch   @  Mancini’s Char House
09:00pm MUSIC: Paul Spring   @  Ginkgo Coffeehouse
09:00pm MUSIC: Dime-Store Watch; Third Time; Square Halo   @  Hat Trick Lounge
09:00pm MUSIC: Bedlam   @  Dubliner Pub
09:00pm MUSIC: Brandon Wozniak, Adam Linz, Eric Kamau Gravatt ( 9:00 pm, $10 )   @  Artists’ Quarter
09:00pm MUSIC: DEMO (Diverse Emerging Music Organization) presents THE EFFENHEIMER SISTERS   @  The Palace Stage at Wild Tymes
09:00pm MUSIC: INVISABLE THINGS (Members of US Maple)   @  Turf Club
Sunday, August 19
08:00am – 05:00pm MUSIC: BIRTHDAY BLUES BASH WITH CURTIS BLAKE & GREAZY GRAVY   @  Minnesota Music Cafe
03:00pm Music in the Parks – Joe Meyer Finesse Band   @  Como Lakeside Pavilion
04:00pm MUSIC at Station 4 -varied times   @  Station 4
04:00pm Music: This month   @  Station 4
06:00pm MUSIC: Open Mic with Bill Hammond – Bring your Guitar   @  The Coffee Grounds – neighborhood coffee shop- Como
06:00pm – 09:00pm MUSIC: Soultree   @  Shamrocks Grill and Pub
07:00pm MUSIC and Dance – Krewe de Walleye   @  Half Time Rec
07:00pm MUSIC: S.I.N. Fashion Show and Happy Hour With DJ Stevie Ray & DJ XM   @  Amsterdam Bar and Hall
07:00pm Music in the Parks – Kenwood Symphony Orchestra   @  Como Lakeside Pavilion
07:30pm Monthly Music   @  Dunn Brothers – Music
08:00pm – 11:00pm MUSIC: Mia Dorr Live   @  CAMP Bar
08:00pm MUSIC:Composer/violist Catherine Lamb and  electronicist/soprano saxophone player Bryan Eubanks  @  Studio Z
09:00pm MUSIC: MARY BUE (Record Release) | BRIAN JUST BAND | AMERICAN REBELS   @  Turf Club
09:00pm MUSIC: Lip sync Contest   @  Dubliner Pub
09:00pm MUSIC: The MN Songwriter Showcase – Open Mic   @  Plums

Speakeasy Series @ McNally Smith

McNally Smith “Speakeasy Series” featuring JT Bates

August 10, 2012

Soundbite Café, 4-6 p.m.

This weekend I ventured down to McNally Smith College of Music’s brand new “Speakeasy Series” in the third floor Soundbite Café. While there I took advantage of a great spread including complimentary coffee, white and red wines (I chose the white, hoping to avoid purple lips), and chips and salsa. I also got the chance to speak with local drummer and featured guest JT Bates, McNally Smith College of Music’s president Harry Chalmiers and by chance a local DJ who gigs at Minneapolis’ Honey and also previously toured with the hip-hop enigma MF Doom.

Listen in on the event here:

At the Soundbite Cafe, McNally Smith

Speakeasy Series, McNally Smith

The next Speakeasy takes place Friday, Sept. 21 from 4-6 p.m. and features guest DJ Derrick Stevens, 89.3 The Current Production Manager. More information on McNally Smith and the Speakeasy Series can be found on the calendar at St. Paul Spot.


Music for your St. Paul weekend – August 9/10/11/12

Irish Fest or India Fest,  downtown, Lowertown, or braving the Corridor,  if music is on your agenda, there’s a perfect place  for you to be.

 

Thursday, August 09
04:00pm Music: This month   @  Station 4
05:00pm MUSIC: Mitch and Friends   @  Minnesota Music Cafe
05:30pm MUSIC: Ordway Summer Dance   @  Landmark Center
06:00pm – 09:00pm MUSIC IN MEARS – Mayda / Kill the Vultures / No Bird Sing   @  Mears Park
06:00pm – 09:00pm MUSIC IN MEARS 2012 – Complete Summer Calendar   @  Mears Park
07:00pm MUSIC: McNally Smith Ensembles: 2012 Summer Venue Nights   @  See event notes
07:00pm MUSIC:Anna Dagmar Satellite CD Release and Co-Bill with Barb Ryman   @  Ginkgo Coffeehouse
07:00pm Music in the Parks – Swing Beat Big Band   @  Como Lakeside Pavilion
07:30pm Monthly Music   @  Dunn Brothers – Music
08:00pm MUSIC: Wolff Jabbr   @  Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar
08:00pm MUSIC: This Week   @  Amsterdam Bar and Hall
08:00pm Weekly Music   @  The Palace Stage at Wild Tymes
08:30pm MUSIC: Midas Touch   @  Mancini’s Char House
09:00pm MUSIC: Blueprint   @  Minnesota Music Cafe
09:00pm MUSIC: CAVALIER CROOKS | THE FAREWELL CIRCUIT   @  Turf Club
09:00pm MUSIC: Scottie Devlin   @  Dubliner Pub
10:00pm MUSIC : Karaoke Night with Katalina Lindgren   @  Senor Wong Restaurant / Cocktail Lounge
Friday, August 10
10:00am IRISH FAIR – Music events   @  Harriet Island
04:00pm Music: This month   @  Station 4
05:00pm – 07:00pm MUSIC: Free Buffet every Friday 5-7pm   @  Wilebski’s Blues Saloon
06:30pm – 10:30pm MUSIC: Live Jazz at the Lex – August Calendar   @  The Lexington
07:00pm MUSIC: Bryan Duerfeldt in Recital   @  The Baroque Room
07:00pm MUSIC: Cold Play   @  Xcel Energy Center
07:30pm Monthly Music   @  Dunn Brothers – Music
08:00pm – 10:00pm MUSIC: Dreamland Faces   @  Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar
08:00pm MUSIC: My Funk Brother   @  Wilebski’s Blues Saloon
08:00pm MUSIC: This Week   @  Amsterdam Bar and Hall
08:00pm – 09:30pm THEATRE: Pretentious Music for Everyone   @  Dreamland Arts
08:00pm Weekly Music   @  The Palace Stage at Wild Tymes
08:30pm MUSIC: Midas Touch   @  Mancini’s Char House
09:00pm MUSIC: Musicology 101   @  Ras Ethiopian
09:00pm MUSIC: Scapegoat   @  Hat Trick Lounge
09:00pm MUSIC: Anthony Cox Group   @  Artists’ Quarter
09:00pm MUSIC: Doug & Shane   @  Dubliner Pub
09:00pm MUSIC: NU SENSAE | BRAIN TUMORS | TOTAL TRASH | TIPS FOR TWAT   @  Turf Club
09:00pm MUSiC: SPStyle Double CD Release   @  The Shanty at O’Gara’s
09:30pm MUSIC: SoulTree   @  Shamrocks Grill and Pub
10:00pm MUSIC: Old School R and B Latenight   @  Wilebski’s Blues Saloon
Saturday, August 11
09:30am – 04:00pm MUSIC: Youth Early Music Day   @  The Saint Paul Conservatory of Music
10:00am IRISH FAIR – Music events   @  Harriet Island
04:00pm Music: This month   @  Station 4
06:00pm – 08:00pm MUSIC: Local Nights- Eisner’s Klezmorim   @  Trotter’s Cafe – Since 1989
06:30pm – 10:30pm MUSIC: Live Jazz at the Lex – August Calendar   @  The Lexington
07:00pm MUSIC: Andrew Spreck and Friends   @  Ginkgo Coffeehouse
07:00pm MUSIC: Cold Play   @  Xcel Energy Center
07:30pm Monthly Music   @  Dunn Brothers – Music
08:00pm MUSIC: DEMO (Diverse Emerging Music Organization) presents THE SPENT 50’S THE SERFS   @  The Palace Stage at Wild Tymes
08:00pm MUSIC: The Good The Bad The Funky   @  Minnesota Music Cafe
08:00pm – 10:30pm MUSIC: Dave Olson   @  Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar
08:00pm Weekly Music   @  The Palace Stage at Wild Tymes
08:30pm MUSIC: Midas Touch   @  Mancini’s Char House
09:00pm MUSIC: Anthony Cox Group   @  Artists’ Quarter
09:00pm MUSIC: FRANCE CAMP | RADIATOR GIRLS | TICKLE TORTURE   @  Turf Club
09:30pm MUSIC: Kurt Jorgensen   @  Shamrocks Grill and Pub
Sunday, August 12
10:00am IRISH FAIR – Music events   @  Harriet Island
02:00pm Music of Lisa Renee Ragsdale   @  Studio Z
03:00pm Music in the Parks – Como Pops Presents   @  Como Lakeside Pavilion
04:00pm Music: This month   @  Station 4
05:00pm MUSIC: PipJazz Sundays at Landmark Center -Yolande Bruce   @  Landmark Center
06:00pm – 09:00pm MUSIC: Mouldy Figs   @  Shamrocks Grill and Pub
07:00pm Music in the Parks – Honeywell Concert Band   @  Como Lakeside Pavilion
07:30pm Monthly Music   @  Dunn Brothers – Music
08:00pm – 11:00pm MUSIC: Mia Dorr Live   @  CAMP Bar
08:00pm Weekly Music   @  The Palace Stage at Wild Tymes
08:30pm MUSIC: WILLIE WALKER   @  Minnesota Music Cafe
09:00pm MUSIC: THE ERICKSONS   @  Turf Club
09:00pm MUSIC: The MN Songwriter Showcase – Open Mic   @  Plums

Music on Wednesday in St. Paul

 

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Wednesday, November 09
12:00pm MUSIC: Coffee Concert: Eastern European Musical Gems   @  University Club of St Paul
05:00pm MUSIC: Leo Presents – Plea For Purging   @  Station 4
07:00pm MUSIC: Steve Kenny & The Bastids   @  Artists’ Quarter
08:00pm MUSIC: Corey Dargel Song Cycles   @  St Paul Chamber Orchestra Center – Music Room
08:00pm MUSIC: DEMO (Diverse Emerging Music Organization) presents Alex Stone The Blackbird Darlings AND new group formerly know as STAGGER LEE Armstrong Clawhammer   @  The Palace Stage at Wild Tymes
08:00pm MUSIC: MMC All Stars Band   @  Minnesota Music Cafe
08:00pm MUSIC: Todd Snider   @  Fitzgerald Theater
08:00pm MUSIC: The Players   @  Mancini’s Char House
08:00pm MUSIC: Two Tap Trio   @  Dubliner Pub
08:30pm MUSIC: Rock Comes to Wilebski’s – Ladies’ Nite   @  Wilebski’s Blues Saloon
08:30pm MUSIC: Scott Benjamin Solochek Piano Furniture Music   @  Dunn Bros Coffee
09:00pm MUSIC: Colonization – The Sheridan Fox, CoEd, Jim and French Vanilla   @  Amsterdam Bar and Hall
09:00pm MUSIC: Doug Haining Quartet   @  Artists’ Quarter
09:00pm MUSIC: Neil Hamburger   @  Turf Club

On Alcina’s Island

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An all night trucker hears the siren call of home cookin at  Alcina’s oasis, and so begins the adventures of an evil truck stop temptress with a potent toxic brewery, a bevy of ex boyfriends who have been transformed into inanimate garden sculptures, and a shunned lover who assumes the role of a pest control team to rescue her trucker and  break the spell.

Part opera, half musical, classical ,western, a capella, and balletic  romantic comedy.  That’s Alcina’s Island. Confused?  Not at all. Just completely engaged.

Relax on the picnic blankets, get cozy with your neighbors, rule number 5, pass the trays.

Reserve tickets on line.  No fee.  Come to the show, throw some $’s in the bucket, buy a tea towel, volunteer. Share the sheer abundant  joy of the  creative folks from Mixed Precipitation in the community gardens.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFUrAZOtN3w

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVwUm1MPcs8