An upper West Side ramble

I’ve been waiting (and waiting) for spring to make an appearance, to try out one of the hikes  that a friend told me about 50 degrees and 3 1/2 feet of snow ago.  Walk on the Wild Side Thursday Night Hikers, refers to itself as “an aggregation of hiking enthusiasts from the Minnesota Rovers, the North Star Ski Touring Club, the Sierra Club, and others”   They convene for “hiking, conversation and conviviality.”   The hikes take place throughout the Twin Cities greater metro area.  But their website  offers a comprehensive list of  St. Paul hikes under the category of “Architectural Hikes, House Information and Histories.”

Armed, as always, with a copy and paste screen shot of the hike I intended to take, “West Side St. Paul Architectural Hike”  on my iPhone,  I traveled a short distance to the upper West Side bluffs, where the hike started at the intersection of Prospect and Hall Street. I had every intention of photographing every house along the tour.  But within a block,  a query from a homeowner wondering why I was  camera stalking his property, and the social wrong headedness of carrying on a conversation about an elderly parent in hospice care while fiddling with camera settings – I abandoned my ambition and gave in to the pleasure of a friend’s company, the surreal green of spring, boulevard plantings, and eclectic architecture.

Hope you enjoy the photographic ramble,  then check out the dozens of other suggested architectural hikes, find a hiking partner or a moment of solitude and have a chance to  revel in the relief of spring.

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

St. Paul this week: some things you might have overlooked

Looking at the hundreds of events in St. Paul this week,  I combed through the many offerings to highlight some

And don’t forget….Save a tree – Reduce clutter -download St. Paul Spot  (iTunes & Android)


READING:Nina Revoyr Wingshooters

Date: Monday, April 04

Time: 07:00 PM – 08:00 PM

Location: Micawbers books

Address: 2238 Carter Ave,

St Paul, Minnesota

Phone: 651.646.5506

Event Description:

Revoyr will read from her novel, set in 1970’s Wisconsin, that is getting rave reviews from readers and book sellers alike.

Before or after the reading at Micawbers,  last chance to experience a wine supper at Highland Grill.  Here’s the information:

EVENT: Monday Night Wine Suppers

Date: Monday, April 04

Time: 05:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Location: Highland Grill

Address: 771 Cleveland Avenue south,

St.Paul, MN – 55116

Phone: 651-690-1173


Event Description:

Only one left! For only $15.95 per person, you get a two course meal with two carefully paired wines from yours truly and food from the amazing Joan Ida. We started this as an experiment, and I think it has been a tremendous success. If you have enjoyed the Monday Supper and want it to continue please email David Burley, President of the Blue Plate Restaurant Company, and ask that they continue!

Monday April 4th

Creamy cauliflower soup with bacon

(everything is better with bacon)

Paired with Naia Rueda from Spain

I can’t wait to try this pairing

Slow roasted lemon-garlic chicken with

mushrooms and yukon gold potatoes

Paired with Elsa Bonarda from Argentina

Never heard of Bonarda? Come taste something new!

First come first served, no reservations

*Menu and wine pairings subject to change based on availability and other factors beyond our control, though I don’t forsee any issues. Just gotta say it in case, as I’m sure you understand.


MUSIC: Beasley\’s Big Band

Date: Tuesday, April 05

Time: 08:00 PM

Location: O’Gara’s Bar & Grill

Address: 164 Snelling Ave. North,

St. Paul, MN – 55104

Phone: 651-644-3333



MUSIC : The Rose Ensemble Noon concert

Date: Wednesday, April 06

Time: 12:00 PM – 01:00 PM

Location: St Paul Public Library

Address: 90 West 4th Street,

St. Paul, Minnesota – 55102

Phone: 651-266-7000


Event Description:

The Rose Ensemble Noon Concert

Wednesday, April 6, Noon

Central Library, Magazine Room,

90 West Fourth Street, Saint Paul

The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library presents the annual noon concert with The Rose Ensemble, the Twin Cities’ premier early music vocal group. The Rose Ensemble reawakens the ancient through imaginative performances of vocal music, connecting each individual to past worlds with stories of spirituality and humanity. Don’t miss this annual event which provides the opportunity to hear an award-winning music ensemble in the beautiful setting of the historic Central Library.

This program is free and open to the public. Seating is limited. For more information, please call The Friends at 651-222-3242. For more information on The Rose Ensemble, please visit


Premier of Smart House, Livable Community: The Movie

Date: Thursday, April 07

Time: 06:00 PM – 08:00 PM

Location: Goldstein Museum of Design

Address: 1985 Buford Avenue,

St Paul, Minnesota – 55108

Phone: 612-624-7801


Event Description:

Premier of Smart House, Livable Community: The Movie

April 7, 6-8 PM, 33 McNeal

Join us for the premier screening of “Smart House, Livable Community” a tpt production based on our current exhibition, Smart House, Livable Community, Your Future.

There will be a question and answer conversation and a reception following the screening. The exhibition will be open and visitors will be able to try out the materials profiled in the program. Q&A panelists include:

Helen Q. Kivnick, professor of social work, founding executive director, CitySongs

Lois Cutler, PhD, research associate, Division of Health Policy & Management, School of Public Health, and director of Graduate Studies, gerontology minor

Jodi Riha, exhibition co-curator, masters student in Housing Studies, College of Design

Hlee Lee, program producer, tpt

Facilitator: Brad Hokanson, associate dean for research and outreach, College of Design

Smart House Workshop



Date: Friday, April 08

Time: 08:00 PM

Location: The Palace Stage at Wild Tymes

Address: 33 West 7th Place,

St Paul, MN – 55102

Phone: 651-224-8181


Event Description:









Citywide Spring Clean- up

Date: Saturday, April 09

Time: 08:30 AM – 11:00 AM



Event Description:

Citywide Spring Cleanup

Date: Saturday, April 9, 2011

Time: 8:30 – 11:00 a.m.

Kickoff locations: Como Park Lakeside Pavilion, Phalen Park Pavilion

Volunteers needed: 1,000+

Description: The Citywide Spring Cleanup is a large-scale, annual litter cleanup held throughout the City of Saint Paul. The event is part of a year-round City of Saint Paul program called Come Clean, that works in cooperation with local District Councils and engaged community members to help keep Saint Paul clean. Each spring, approximately 1,000 community volunteers unite to remove tons of trash from Saint Paul’s parks, natural areas, recreation centers, and neighborhoods. This important event helps ensure the beauty, safety and environmental health of our City. Volunteers pick up their supplies at one of two Kickoff Celebrations or at one of several satellite locations across the city, then go to the park, natural area, or neighborhood of their choice to pick up trash. For more information about the new Come Clean program, click here.

Registration: Click here to register now

Saturday : Later in the day


Date: Saturday, April 09

Time: 03:00 PM – 05:30 PM

Location: Lowry Lab Theatre

Address: 350 St. Peter St.,

St Paul, Minnesota – 55101

Phone: 651-330-2404


Event Description:

A seminar featuring: �Judi Nelson-Hall, an advocate from The Sojourner Project, a safe shelter for women and children providing advocacy and education for those victimized by domestic violence, presents “The Legal Issues of Battered Women Defendants in Homicide Cases.”

Sylvia Galvan-Kupke, Twin Cities psychologist and Co-Founder of Su Familia Multicultural Counseling, presents “Crimes Girls Commit: why they are on the rise.”

Lori Stee, Program Director for Rebuild Resources, a non-profit social enterprise helping recovering men and women rebuild their lives, speaks on “Women and Violence in Movies and Television.”

Composer Anne Lorentzen from Oslo, Norway, speaks on “Women and Violence in Art and Performance,” and performs selections from her musical play, Alias Belle Gunness � a serial killer from Selbu. For more information about her play, visit

Stay for a picnic supper in the atrium accompanied by live jazz entertainment duo Connie & Herb. Close the evening with a performance of Murderess by Anne Bertram.


3:00-5:30pm: Mean Girls & Dangerous Women

5:30-7:00pm: Picnic Supper

7:30pm: Murderess


Seminar & Supper: $25

Seminar & Supper + Murderess: $35

Some things you might have overlooked – Friday/April 1

We scrounge through a lot of sources to populate our events calendar.   Despite the long hours of content management, events continue to pop out at me as being especially intriguing in one way or another.

Here are a couple  to check out tonight.

1. House of Mercy Recordings Presents: The First Friday Showcase at Ginkgo Coffeehouse on Snelling Avenue and Minnehaha.

Here’s the description :

The First Friday Showcase

Friday, April 1, 7 – 9 pm

Ginkgo Coffeehouse, 721 North Snelling

Chris Larson & Angie Talle: Fresh off their performance at the Fitzgerald Theater at Kevin Kling’s “Scarecrow on Fire” performance, they will be singing new and old songs from The House of Mercy Band’s repertoire.

Jon Rodine: Soulful, honest, hard-working piano man, Jon Rodine is a West Bank and Twin Cities music fixture. Expect to be lifted off this earth while listening to his beautiful voice.

Brett Larson: Brett’s songs are funny, cutting, honest and always relevant. He is coming out of a musical semi-retirement to play!

And I had to learn a little more about the House of Mercy. Have to love their message “You should come -it’s not that bad.”

2. Manya – A Living History of Marie Curie  – at The Shaughnessy, Friday night 7:30

Maybe you went to the Social Science event at the Minnesota Science Museum and it stirred up your curiosity.  Here’s the description of this event.

This one-woman drama exposes the struggles and triumphs of Madame Marie Curie (ne Maria Sk?odowska) an academically impassioned, vehemently private, fervently Polish scientist, mother,and teacher. From the political oppression of her childhood, to scientific emergence and fame to the tragedy that forced her into single motherhood as well as further world prominence, this is a life that challenges our assumptions about what one person can achieve and the responsibilities of science.Special School Performance:
“A Visit with Madame Curie
Consists of a 40 minute presentation followed by at 10-minute Q&A with Marie Curie followed by a 10-minute Q&A with the artist, Susan Marie Frontczak.Tickets: Adults $20
Students/Children $16


The Mobile app for city Sidewalks

I learned from reading the NOAA website, that February is typically a dry period in Minnesota.  The snowstorm from last weekend appears to be the largest snowfall ever recorded in February.   March,  on the other hand, is typically the snowiest  month.  So despite the fact that daylight savings time is only  a couple weeks away, don’t trade your snow shovels in for gardening tools just yet.

Last year, a friend of mine was running up the steps to the St. Paul Public library, and suddenly found herself lying on her back and forgetting where she was.  The concussion that followed her sidewalk spill also robbed her of her sense of smell. Another friend lost her footing when she was out walking her dog. Nine months later, the broken bones in her foot are finally healing.

Snow shoveling is a civic duty.  30 + years ago, as a struggling poet living in an upstairs duplex in the Lexington -Hamline neighborhood, I used to run a 3 mile circuit down Summit Avenue during all four seasons.  I remember my indignation at the Summit Avenue homeowners who refused to shovel their sidewalks, and finally firing off a letter to the St. Paul paper, which they published, admonishing these wealthy (relatively!) homeowners for shirking their responsibilities.

Walking, I should saying trudging, or slipping, through the snow, when not dangerous, just generally detracts from the quality of  urban life.   Being involved in the mobile app business,  I would  love to create an app that chronicles the state of city sidewalks.  It could be crowd sourced; just enter the state of the sidewalks on your street into a database.  It would help the city find and tag the shoveling shirkers and help walkers plan their daily routes.

This video, found on Twin Cities Streets for the People,  of a citizen who started a small brigade for clearing her neighborhood streets,   makes me believe that with   community (and a smart phone) anything is possible.