Book launch party planned for September 16, 2010 at Black Dog Café to celebrate the release of the popular and populistic anthology, event calendar and guide for visitors and residents of Saint Paul.

Cover of the 2011 Saint Paul Almanac, featuring an illustration by Michael Birawer. Click for enlargement

Now in its fifth year, the Saint Paul Almanac again offers its eclectic and quirky mix of essays, history, reviews, photography and poetry about all things Saint Paul, written by the people who know and love the city best. On Thursday, September 16, at 6 p.m., contributors, editors and fans will come together to celebrate the launch of the 2011 Saint Paul Almanac at its annual Celebration through Stories.

The Almanac is a year-round calendar and guide designed to take the curious urban adventurer through a year of seasons in Minnesota’s capital city, with essays that capture different aspects of daily life in Saint Paul. The launch celebration will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Black Dog Café, 308 Prince Street, in Lowertown, Saint Paul. It will feature live music, hors d’oeuvres and readings by several Almanac contributors including Saint Paul’s Poet Laureate, Carol Connolly and hip hop artist and “princess of the poem,” Desdamona. The readings will be presented beginning at 7:15 p.m. in the Clouds and Water Zen Center, also at the same address.

This year’s Saint Paul Almanac editors received nearly 450 submissions from seasoned authors, published poets, photographers, illustrators, journalists, lawyers, retirees, teachers, students, new immigrants, and other established and aspiring writers. The multicultural and multi-generational team of community editors—led by managing editor, Kimberly Nightingale—carefully reviewed them all and, in a deliberative and democratic process, winnowed down for inclusion those 450 submissions to 129 stories and poems by 116 contributors.

Nationally celebrated artist Michael Birawer’s fanciful painting, “Downtown Saint Paul,” wraps around the cover of the 2011 Saint Paul Almanac. Birawer’s urban cityscapes reflect his interest in architecture and the energy of urban communities: “Old buildings, ornate details, decorative facades, and the bustling of people and traffic are what make the most interesting subjects to me and that is why I love to paint them,” said the artist. The Saint Paul native has exhibited extensively and been featured on several local television programs and YouTube videos, including one that shows the cover image in time-lapse as it was being created.

He says of living and working in Saint Paul that he’s impressed by its rich history and “magnificent skyline.” Birawer feels a strong connection to the city of his birth, adding, “Saint Paul is a city I never feel lost in; it is always welcoming.”

The 2011 Almanac also features almost two-dozen photos by award-winning photographer, Wing Young Huie, who has received international acclaim for his many projects that document the changing cultural landscape of Minnesota. His most recent and largest-scale work is The University Avenue Project, revealing the everyday realties of the diverse neighborhoods connected by this changing urban thoroughfare. From May through October of 2010, the project, produced by Public Art Saint Paul, is transforming Saint Paul’s University Avenue into a six-mile-long, multi-media, public gallery. Embedded in this tapestry of words, music and images are a host of issues such as ethnicity, gender, and social disconnection. The photos ask such questions as, “Who are you? What advice would you give a stranger? How do you think others see you? What don’t others see? How has race affected you?” You can see more about The University Avenue Project on Twin City Public Television’s Minnesota Original online archive here:

Once aptly described as “a literary campfire around which the diverse Saint Paul community gathers to share its stories,” the Saint Paul Almanac, published by Arcata Press, provides entertainment, photography, maps and listings of events, bars and restaurants, theaters, museums, libraries and other cultural venues within a datebook format. By combining the calendar aspects of an almanac with literary stories, the Almanac encourages readers to use their books and read the stories throughout the year, bringing good writing and art into the daily life of the city.

All who love Saint Paul are invited to join in celebrating the launch of the 2011 Saint Paul Almanac at the book release party. Funders and supporters of the Almanac include: the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council with support from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, the City of Saint Paul Cultural STAR Program, The McKnight Foundation, Lowertown Future Fund of the Saint Paul Foundation, Travelers, the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, KFAI Radio, the Black Dog Café, Clouds in Water Zen Center, and Twin Cities Daily Planet. The 2010 Saint Paul Almanac sells for $11.95 online at, and will be available in bookstores after September 13, 2010.

“Celebration Through Stories”

Thursday, Sept. 16, 2010 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Black Dog Café, 308 Prince Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota
Readings • Book Signing • Hors d’oeuvres • Cash Bar • Artist Interpretations

About the Editor: Kimberly Nightingale, Executive Director and Managing Editor of the Saint Paul Almanac, has been with Arcata Press since its inception. She has 13 years experience as an editor and six years of teaching. Nightingale received her Masters Degree in Public Affairs from the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota.

About Arcata Press: The Saint Paul Almanac is a people’s meeting space for sharing the stories of our community through our annual book, public readings, community editor mentorship program, and other activities that showcase and honor local voices. Incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2005, Arcata Press was created with the goal of bringing the diverse Saint Paul community together by supporting local literary arts through an experiment in democratic publishing. The Arcata Press board of directors is an active board that is stunningly diverse and representative of the communities featured in the Almanac.

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