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.

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.

Fairs, Circuses and All Things Fun

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It’s Minnesota State Fair Time! I love an excuse to eat some crazy food and mingle with the great people of our diverse state.  Since I am a bit of history nerd I was really excited to hear that one of St. Paul’s biggest celebrities, James J. Hill, used to lend the best pieces from his private art collection to be displayed at the State Fair’s J.V. Bailey House for all of Minnesota to see.

My excitement doubled when I heard the Minnesota Museum of American Art, (St. Paul’s only art museum) is carrying on that tradition with their Fairs, Circuses and All Things Fun exhibit in the exact same historic home on Cooper Street and Cosgrove.

This all ages, crowd pleasing show will make you and the whole family smile and it brings to life all the reasons we love to go to the State Fair or similar events.  Don’t miss the fantastic kinetic sculpture, Shoe Fly, by Norman Andersen and get inspiration on how to use leftover egg cartons from Clement Haupers’, frame of the painting Vulcan Victory.  Read the labels carefully and see just how many Minnesotan artists are represented, one more reason to be a proud Minnesotan!

Hope to see you there, the exhibit was created special just for the State Fair, so don’t miss out!  Make sure to send pictures and comments to the MMAA and the St. Paul Spot, we’d love to know what you think. In addition, MMAA will participate in the Fine Arts Exhibition by including three paintings by Minnesota artists in the special show Marking Time: Looking Back at Minnesota Artists and the Juried Exhibition, located in the Fine Arts building near machinery hill.

Happy Fair Days!

-Minnesota Museum of American Art

P.S. Catch gallery talks at JV Bailey house exhibit:
– Thursday, August 25, 5 and 6 p.m.
– Wednesday, August 31, 5 and 6 p.m.
– Friday, September 2, 1 and 2 p.m.

Guest blogger from MMAA, Shelby Matula

St Paul’s got talent

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St. Paul artists are well represented at this year’s juried Minnesota State Fair art show.  Here is a sampling of St. Paul talent.   To experience the show without the distraction of reflecting lights and glass (but with the distraction of hundreds of elbowing state fair visitors and whatever weather conditions may be dictating the building’s unconditioned space),  walk to the north-eastern  ends of the fairground.  Afterwards you can rest up with a milkshake and a corn dog, then proceed to the Green Living expo.


Patio Nights – past, present, and future

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The Minnesota Museum of American Art has brought back their popular musical event, Patio Nights for three nights this summer.  If you are a music lover, history nerd, St. Paul enthusiast, foodie, community explorer, want to support the MMAA make their comeback or are just looking for an excuse to get out of the house next Friday night, then make sure you are there!

You can expect beyond amazing meals from the truck of Café 128.  I had the ginger-soy sirloin skewers washed down with handmade ginger basil lemonade, both were perfection and were a great way to start the night.

When I walked into the City House space , a former municipal grain elevator, I confess I had a history nerd moment and proceeded to read almost every sign in the place.  I literally jumped up and down at the sight of a Humphrey Man Lift.  The patio offers sights of this working river (I talked to the crew of the “Betty Sue” who were maneuvering a loaded barge) and the cool breeze that rolls right across the seating area is so refreshing.  Thanks to the city of St. Paul for renovating this spot and making a great place for the community to come together in.

The music hosted by the MMAA was top notch, Communists Daughter played the first night and offered up their classic indie music.  Everyone was tapping their toes and grooving to their all pleasing style.  Matthew Inkala & the Hostages  had a host of people up and dancing. Their folk style is upbeat and great for all ages.  Up next Friday is Mr. Rowles and Band  who state they like to rock, but not in your face.  They have a bit of funk and jazz mixed in their tunes and are sure to please all in family.

Lastly when the night and sun are winding down you can wander down the path to Upper Landing Park to visit Jim Campbell’s light sculpture, Scattered Light.  The MMAA helped bring this work to St. Paul for the Northern Spark festival and it is truly a treat to be let inside and experience the 1,600 LED light bulbs moving about.  Don’t forget to stand and view it from afar so you can experience figures walking across the pixilated “screen.”  If you take some unique pictures with the sculpture, make sure to share them on the MMAA’s Facebook page!

If you live in the neighborhood, walk on down or if you drove to the city you can find Patio Nights at City House just off Shepard Road and Chestnut Street, on the path behind the Caribou Coffee. Check out the map for more details.  If a short walk along the river suits you, there’s parking underneath the High Bridge, accessed via Randolph Avenue off Shepherd Blvd.

Some St Paul Spots to check out this week

Monday, April 18 08:00pm MUSIC: McNALLY SMITH COLLEGE OF MUSIC SHOW!!!!   @  Minnesota Music Cafe 
Tuesday, April 19 All Day Event Public Eco-Art   @  Macalester College 
07:00pm Azar Nafisi – The Republic of the Imagination   @  St Catherine University 
Wednesday, April 20 07:00pm – 09:30pm At the Movies with Colin Covert   @  Macalester College 
07:00pm – 08:30pm LECTURE;Chris Hedges   @  Macalester College 
Thursday, April 21 07:30pm THEATRE: I Wish You Love   @  Penumbra Theater 
07:30pm Emerging Artists –   @  McNally Smith Auditorium 
Friday, April 22 07:30pm – 11:59pm MUSIC: DEMO weekly showcase   @  St. Paul Eagles Club 
08:00pm MUSIC: The AMAZING LEGENDARY WILLIE MURPHY BAND   @  Minnesota Music Cafe 
Saturday, April 23 07:00pm TC Terrors vs. Race City Rebels (Indianapolis, IN)   @  St Paul Armory 
08:00pm Paranormal Pajama Party   @  The Historic Mounds Theatre 
Sunday, April 24 08:00pm – 11:00pm MUSIC: Second Harvest Zydeco Benefit   @  Half Time Rec

Kickstarter – projects looking for a little help in St. Paul

Do you know about Kickstarter?  It’s a creative micro-finance  program for all kinds of projects.

I came across  this yesterday while snooping around for fun things to do in Santa Fe, New Mexico. With the  St. Paul Sidewalk Poetry contest coming to a conclusion on April 17, poetry has been on my mind, and this concept for a road side attraction twitched my imagination.  Can you see it at the top of Ramsey Hill? While revving in neutral at a 30 degree incline  while in line at the stop sign?

Kickstarter offers people a place to make a plea for financing their projects, and encourages very creative attempts at persuading funders.   Videos are recommended.  Premiums for donating are offered for  most pledges – the magnitude of reward in geometric proportions to the size of the pledge.   Here are some examples.

You get the drift. The website makes for an interesting hour or more of reading, and is a great editorial on the creative juices flowing in this country.

An interesting “kicker” is that if the project does not reach its full funding needs,  your pledge to the project is never realized. So you can give a project a moral boost, while waiting for it to reach  its goal. When it reaches the funding goal, the funds you have committed are withdrawn.

Here are the projects vying for funding in St. Paul this week.   After reading the descriptions and watching the videos, I will definitely be making a pledge to help out.  It provides a more immediate  pleasure to help out a struggling artist with a face and a personal message, or even an established artist making a creative plea,  than to be one of thousands of donors to a large institution.   $50 just seems to stretch a lot further with Kickstarter.

Start Seeing Art

Snowy day. Facebook  and twitter are full of posts about restaurant closings and snow plowing.   A little web surfing and spring dreaming compels me to share a map published a few years ago,  just before the Republican National Convention stirred things up in town.  Since the publication of this map,  some other public art projects have grown underfoot.  Other local art projects have been temporary, but left a lasting footprint.

There’s an invitation on the Start Seeing Art website for additional staff.