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.

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St Paul Music – July 20-22

Holy Batman. There’s a lot of music this weekend.  Don’t let the heat keep you in your AC womb of isolation.  Come on out and rub elbows with all your St. Paul friends, all around town.

Music everywhere.

Music all around St. Paul – on and off the river.

 

 

Friday, July 20
10:00am – 05:00pm HIGHLAND FEST 2012 -MUSIC   @  Hillcrest Recreation Center
12:00pm Music in the Parks – July – all show schedule   @  See event notes
04:00pm MUSIC: Wabasha Days – the Pretty Kids Collective   @  See event notes
06:00pm MUSIC: Inside Straight Blue Band with the Big Horns   @  Wilebski’s Blues Saloon
06:00pm MUSIC: This Week   @  Amsterdam Bar and Hall
07:00pm – 11:00pm MUSIC this week MMC   @  Minnesota Music Cafe
07:00pm – 10:00pm MUSIC: Annie Lawler   @  Burger Moe’s
07:00pm – 09:00pm MUSIC: Herringbone Badgers   @  Claddagh Coffee – West 7th Street
07:30pm MUSIC: Buddy & the Boys: A Musical Tribute to Buddy Holly   @  CAMP Bar
08:00pm MUSIC this week   @  The Palace Stage at Wild Tymes
08:00pm MUSIC: DEMO (Diverse Emerging Music Organization) presents BOB NORDQUIST & THE INTANGIBLES NARROW VINES MAHLE & FEATHERLEGS THE PERSPECTIVES   @  The Palace Stage at Wild Tymes
08:00pm MUSIC: Laura Caviani Quartet with Pete Whitman   @  Artists’ Quarter
08:00pm MUSIC: Quasimofo   @  Hat Trick Lounge
08:30pm MUSIC: July   @  Dunn Bros Coffee – Snelling and Grand
08:30pm MUSIC: The Players   @  Mancini’s Char House
09:00pm MUSIC: Musicology 101   @  Ras Ethiopian
09:00pm MUSIC: TEENAGE MOODS | GUANTANAMO BAYWATCH (Dirtnap Records) | ICE ROD | THE SEX RAYS  @  Turf Club
09:30pm MUSIC: Buddy & the Boys: A Musical Tribute to Buddy Holly   @  CAMP Bar
09:30pm MUSIC: Jim Behinger   @  Shamrocks Grill and Pub
10:00pm MUSIC: Old School R and B Latenight   @  Wilebski’s Blues Saloon
Saturday, July 21
10:00am – 05:00pm HIGHLAND FEST 2012 -MUSIC   @  Hillcrest Recreation Center
12:00pm Music in the Parks – July – all show schedule   @  See event notes
05:00pm MUSIC at Station 4   @  Station 4
06:00pm – 08:00pm MUSIC: Local’s Night – The Lazy Kids   @  Trotter’s Cafe – Since 1989
06:00pm – 08:00pm MUSIC: Pete Mulligan   @  Claddagh Coffee – West 7th Street
06:00pm MUSIC: This Week   @  Amsterdam Bar and Hall
06:30pm – 10:30pm MUSIC: Live Jazz at the Lex – July Calendar   @  The Lexington
07:00pm – 11:00pm MUSIC this week MMC   @  Minnesota Music Cafe
07:00pm MUSIC:Blue Pepper   @  Ginkgo Coffeehouse
07:30pm MUSIC: Pianist Evgeny Brakhman   @  Sundin Music Hall
07:30pm MUSIC: A Sundin Music Hall Special Presentation: Pianist Evgeny Brakhman in concert   @  Sundin Hall at Hamline University
07:30pm MUSIC: Buddy & the Boys: A Musical Tribute to Buddy Holly   @  CAMP Bar
08:00pm MUSIC this week   @  The Palace Stage at Wild Tymes
08:00pm – 11:00pm MUSIC: Flamenco Fiesta with Sendero Flamenco   @  Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar
08:00pm MUSIC: Laura Caviani Quartet with Pete Whitman   @  Artists’ Quarter
08:30pm MUSIC: July   @  Dunn Bros Coffee – Snelling and Grand
08:30pm MUSIC: The Players   @  Mancini’s Char House
09:00pm MUSIC: DEMO (Diverse Emerging Music Organization) presents OPEN BONES DAVID BOOTH COURTNEY YASMINEH (Band) STONED ACOUSTIC   @  The Palace Stage at Wild Tymes
09:00pm MUSIC: Lou Shields   @  Ginkgo Coffeehouse
09:00pm MUSIC: THEE MIGHTY MOFOS (FINAL SHOW) | BABYLON PINK | Dave Moe presents: The Silverteens  @  Turf Club
09:30pm MUSIC: Shake the Shanty Dance Party: Summer Edition   @  The Shanty at O’Gara’s
10:00pm MUSIC at Station 4   @  Station 4
10:00pm MUSIC: George Hottinger   @  Shamrocks Grill and Pub
Sunday, July 22
10:00am – 05:00pm HIGHLAND FEST 2012 -MUSIC   @  Hillcrest Recreation Center
12:00pm Music in the Parks – July – all show schedule   @  See event notes
06:00pm MUSIC: Gastro Non Grata with Pink Mink   @  Turf Club
06:00pm – 09:00pm MUSIC: Mouldy Figs   @  Shamrocks Grill and Pub
06:00pm MUSIC: This Week   @  Amsterdam Bar and Hall
07:00pm – 11:00pm MUSIC this week MMC   @  Minnesota Music Cafe
07:00pm MUSIC: S.I.N. Fashion Show and Happy Hour With DJ Stevie Ray & DJ XM   @  Amsterdam Bar and Hall
07:00pm MUSIC: Rockin Eastside Reunion   @  Minnesota Music Cafe
08:00pm MUSIC: JJ’s Zydeco Paydirt   @  Half Time Rec
08:30pm MUSIC: July   @  Dunn Bros Coffee – Snelling and Grand
09:00pm MUSIC: The MN Songwriter Showcase – Open Mic   @  Plums

 


Music – St. Paul Feb. 2-5

The party is starting early in St. Paul this week. 


Thursday, February 02

12:00pmMusic In Rice Park- Winter Carnival Event   @  Rice Park
05:00pmMUSIC: Dana Thompson happy hour   @  Amsterdam Bar and Hall
05:00pmMUSIC: Mitch and Friends   @  Minnesota Music Cafe
06:00pmMusic – Pocahontas County   @  Dubliner Pub
06:30pmMUSIC: Book It: The Party – Murzik   @  James J Hill Reference Library
07:00pmMUSIC: Roots Music Showcase   @  The Coffee Grounds – neighborhood coffee shop- Como
07:00pm – 10:00pmMUSIC: Greg Inhoffer   @  Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar
07:00pmMUSIC: Wine & Music Lover Thursdays   @  
07:00pmMUSIC:BackYard Nynjas Presents: HomeGrown’s High Times &   @  Station 4 
08:00pmMUSIC – Reverse Cowboy   @  Dubliner Pub
08:00pmMUSIC: DEMO (Diverse Emerging Music Organization) presents “a special benefit for suicide awareness” featuring ESSENTIAL REMEDY   @  The Palace Stage at Wild Tymes
08:00pmMUSIC: Gina Frances Acoustic/ Open Mic   @  O’Gara’s Bar and Grill
08:00pmMUSIC: HAIL! HORNET/ ZOROASTER/ SLOW SOUTHERN STEEL DOCUMENTARY   @  Turf Club
08:30pm – 10:30pmMUSIC: Jeff Ray – Foot-Stompin’ Slide Guitar   @  Dunn Bros Coffee – Snelling and Grand
09:00pmMUSIC: BLUPRINT   @  Minnesota Music Cafe
09:00pmMUSIC: Mother Banjo Presents: Mother Banjo, Daddy Squeeze, Baby Grant Johnson   @  Amsterdam Bar and Hall 
09:00pmMUSIC: Thursday Night Open Mic   @  Cherokee Tavern 
10:00pmMUSIC : Sing for your drink Karaoke   @  Senor Wong Restaurant / Cocktail Lounge

Friday, February 03
12:00pmMusic In Rice Park- Winter Carnival Event   @  Rice Park
05:00pmMUSIC: Friday Happy Hour Show with Mary Elias   @  Minnesota Music Cafe
05:00pmWinter Carnival MUSIC: Vulcan’s Ashes Swing Party   @  Minnesota Music Cafe
06:30pm – 08:30pmMUSIC: Brian Peterson   @  Claddagh Coffee – West 7th Street
07:00pm – 10:00pmMUSIC: The Senders   @  Wilebski’s Blues Saloon
07:00pm – 11:00pmMusic – JoAnn Funk Jazz in the Lobby Bar   @  The Saint Paul Hotel
07:30pmHamline University Music Faculty CD Release Event   @  Sundin Music Hall
08:00pmMUSIC: First Fridays Showcase   @  The Coffee Grounds – neighborhood coffee shop- Como
08:00pmMUSIC: Tadd’s Delight   @  Hat Trick Lounge
08:00pmMUSIC: Bua in Concert   @  Celtic Junction
08:00pmMUSIC: CONCERT: Chamber Music Series #4   @  St Paul Chamber Orchestra Center – Music Room
08:00pmMUSIC: Music in Restoration England – Purcell and friends   @  The Baroque Room
08:30pm – 10:30pmMUSIC: Celtic Cat and Prairie Dog   @  Dunn Brothers – Music
08:30pmMUSIC: TOXICITY & LITHIUM (SOAD & Nirvana Tributes)   @  Station 4 
08:30pm – 09:30pmMusic – Hula Peppers   @  Claddagh Coffee – West 7th Street
09:00pmMUSIC: BOMBAY SWEETS   @  Turf Club
09:00pmMUSIC: Brian Just Band, Parlour Suite, Lucy Michelle   @  Amsterdam Bar and Hall 
09:00pmMUSIC: Dave King Trucking Company   @  Artists’ Quarter
09:00pmMUSIC: Big Lake   @  Dubliner Pub
09:00pmMUSIC: Pocket full of Change   @  Hat Trick Lounge

Saturday, February 04
12:00pmMusic In Rice Park- Winter Carnival Event   @  Rice Park
12:00pm – 01:00pmThe Baroque Room Presents: Open Rehearsal / Glorious Revolution Baroque: Music in Restoration England-Purcell and Friends   @  The Baroque Room
03:00pmThe Saint Paul Conservatory of Music: Saturday Matinee   @  The Saint Paul Conservatory of Music
05:30pmMUSIC:FALLING IN REVERSE w/ Oh, Sleeper & More   @  Station 4 
06:00pm – 08:00pmMUSIC: Local’s Night Andrew Smith – Folk/Rock/Pop   @  Trotter’s Cafe – Since 1989 
06:00pm – 07:30pmMUSIC: Beth and Matt   @  Claddagh Coffee – West 7th Street
06:30pm – 10:30pmMUSIC: Arne Fogel and Maud Hixson   @  The Lexington
06:30pm – 08:30pmMUSIC: Variety Show Benefit for the Hamline Midway Heartwood Festival   @  Turf Club
06:45pmMUSIC: MN Philharmonic Orchestra – MPO Salon and Silent Auction   @  Sundin Hall at Hamline University
07:00pmMUSIC: Optimum Trajectory   @  Ginkgo Coffeehouse
07:00pm – 11:00pmMusic – JoAnn Funk Jazz in the Lobby Bar   @  The Saint Paul Hotel
07:00pmSaturday Music   @  Ginkgo Coffeehouse
07:30pm – 09:00pmMUSIC: Michael Zeighan   @  Claddagh Coffee – West 7th Street
08:00pmMUSIC: DEMO (Diverse Emerging Music Organization) presents RUBEN STEALING FICTION GENERAL B & THE WIZ   @  The Palace Stage at Wild Tymes
08:00pmMUSIC: Pocketful ‘A’ Change   @  Hat Trick Lounge
08:00pmMUSIC: Power Of Ten   @  Minnesota Music Cafe
08:00pmMUSIC: Felonious Bosch   @  The Palace Stage at Wild Tymes
08:00pmMUSIC: Music in Restoration England – Purcell and friends   @  The Baroque Room
08:30pm – 10:30pmMUSIC: Ash Saint John   @  Dunn Brothers – Music
09:00pmMUSIC: SPEEDBOAT GIRLS | RED PENS | DIRTY DANCING | UP SIMBA!   @  Turf Club
09:00pmMUSIC: Dave King Trucking Company   @  Artists’ Quarter
09:00pmMUSIC: My God the River   @  Ginkgo Coffeehouse
09:00pmMUSiC: Girls Night Out: The Pinch, Cadette, Hot Rash bar stage 9pm w/ DJs Dana Raidt and Travis Ramin!  @  Amsterdam Bar and Hall 
10:00pmMUSIC: Electric Feel   @  Senor Wong Restaurant / Cocktail Lounge

Sunday, February 05
11:00am – 05:00pmMUSIC: Brunch music with Jason Roberts   @  Amsterdam Bar and Hall 
02:00pmMUSIC: CONCERT: Chamber Music Series #4   @  St Paul Chamber Orchestra Center – Music Room
04:00pmMUSIC: A Night to Remember w/ A Day of Plague and more.   @  Station 4 
05:00pmMUSIC: TEX MEX with LOS COINCIDOS featuring LOW RIDER BILLY 5-9 Elijah Acoustic 9-12   @  Minnesota Music Cafe
07:30pm – 09:30pmMUSIC: The Silver City Millers Folk, Bluegrass, Old time   @  Dunn Brothers – Music
09:00pmMUSIC: The MN Songwriter Showcase   @  Plums

Monday, February 06
06:00amMUSIC: Artists Happy Hour   @  Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar
07:30pmMUSIC: Hill House Chamber Concerts: 26th Season   @  James J. Hill House
08:00pmMUSIC: MMC Jam & Open Mic with Mary Elias   @  Minnesota Music Cafe
08:30pm – 10:30pmMUSIC: Mirror Image – Acoustic/Pop/Jazz   @  Dunn Brothers – Music
09:00pmMUSIC: Phillips Phonograph, Dustin Lee   @  Amsterdam Bar and Hall 
09:00pmMUSIC: The Cactus Blossoms   @  Turf Club