Mayor Chris Coleman and student photographers Kaying Thao, Tanisha Brandt, and Brittany Andrews from Gordon Parks High School outside the launch party of the 2011 Saint Paul Almanac.

It has been a busy end of summer for the Almanac! In August we launched our new website, with the most comprehensive City Guide to St. Paul available anywhere on the Internet. In September, we held a glorious launch celebration for the 2011 Saint Paul Almanac at a packed event in Lowertown that included readings by a host of contributors from all corners of the city—and even the mayor! And this month we launch our new blog, Pig’s Eye Post! Each week, we’re going to be sharing our stories and letting you know what’s going on in the city we all love.

Upcoming Almanac Events

The first of a brand new series of Saint Paul Almanac Lowertown Reading Jams takes place on Monday, October 11th, from 7:00-8:30 p.m. at the Black Dog Cafe. Curated by Deborah Torraine, the theme of this reading jam is “The Sacred.” Deborah says that when she reads the word “sacred,” she stops to re-read it again because at first glance it looks like the word “scared.” Also reading will be Dara Beevas, Natalie Delgado, Q, Darah, Shawn Hawley, Sheronda Orridge and Mickey Rich. More information, including performer bios, on the October 11th event page.

The Almanac is excited to announce the continuation of its Celebration through Stories readings through October in coffee shops around Saint Paul. Contributors to the Saint Paul Almanac will be reading their pieces from the 2011 Almanac. This month sees four weekday and weekend reading events at Fresh Grounds (Oct 9th), Groundswell Coffee (Oct 12th), the EDGE Coffee House (Oct 19th), and Polly’s Coffee Cove (Oct 26th). For more information see our Celebration through Stories event page.

Also happening in the City

A totally sweet event begins this month at the Minnesota History Center. You’ve surely seen it in stores, you’ve definitely eaten whole chunks of it, now head to Chocolate: the Exhibition:

“From rainforest treasure to luscious treat — immerse yourself in the story of chocolate. Explore the plant, the products, and the culture of chocolate through the lenses of science, history, and popular culture. The exhibit features experiments and hands-on activities, as well as Mayan, Aztec and 17th-century European artifacts, including items to find, make, and sell this tasty treat. Exhibition text presented in English and Spanish.”

You’d be smiling like a crazy person too if you were sitting in front of a chocolate box this large. Yes you would. Don’t even try to pretend otherwise. (Photo: Handout)

October until January. Visit for more information. For more event listings, check out our Saint Paul Calendar at

Around the country

Gatz. It’s called “Gatz” for the love of corn dogs! (Photo: Handout)

Some crazy New Yorkers are putting on a 6-hour-long reading/performance of Saint Paul native F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. To be fair, these Right Coasters are self-declared crazies who proudly fly the loony flag under the excuse of being an “experimental theater company,” but still—can someone please just tell these people that we already have these newfangled things called “books on tape” these days? Just to demonstrate that we’re not total parochial haters, here are details of the performances in their own words:

One morning in the shabby office of a mysterious small business, an employee finds a copy of The Great Gatsby in the clutter on his desk. He starts to read it out loud and doesn’t stop. At first his coworkers hardly notice. But after a series of strange coincidences, it’s no longer clear whether he’s reading the book or the book is transforming him.

Six hours long and with a cast of 13, Gatz is by far ERS’s most ambitious endeavor yet — not a retelling of the Gatsby story but an enactment of the novel itself. Fitzgerald’s American masterpiece is delivered word for word, startlingly brought to life by a low-rent office staff in the midst of their inscrutable business operations.

Read more from these slick big city theatrical types at:

New Almanac stories: Skyway love & August Wilson memories

THINGS WE LOVE: Saint Paul Skyways = Freedom

I’m sure there are many who say they love Saint Paul more than any other place on earth, but for me to say that would be an understatement. That’s because living anywhere outside of downtown Saint Paul would be like being in jail. I live in the heart of the skyway system in downtown, and for me it is freedom. You see, I am both deaf and blind. Read more.

PEOPLE & HISTORY: August Wilson’s Early Days in Saint Paul

Tennessee Williams. Arthur Miller. August Wilson. When you list the playwrights of American theater whose work transcends all others, those three names stand at the top. Much of Wilson’s defining ten-play saga of African American life in the twentieth century, a massive undertaking with a play for every decade, was written right here in Saint Paul. That includes the first to hit Broadway (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) and the Pulitzer Prize winners Fences and The Piano Lesson. Read more.

Saint Paul Facts: We got ’em, now you know ’em

DID YOU KNOW? John Hays, whose body was found in the Mississippi River near Carver’s Cave in September 1839, was the first person murdered in Saint Paul. (Photo: Dave Wallick/Flickr Creative Commons)

Opportunities for Writers

The Minnesota Book Awards are coming! You can nominate the work of a Minnesota author; or primary artistic creator such as an illustrator or photographer whose contribution is essential to the work. The deadline for book nominations is Friday, December 10. The deadline for judge applications is Friday, October 15. For more information, see nomination guidelines.

The Givens Foundation for African American Literature is pleased to announce the opening of applications for the Givens Black Writers Collaborative Retreat Program to promote the “writing life,” to support the crafting of excellence in African American literature, and to provide opportunities for the creation of literary collaboration, community, and the sacred space within which art is born. Application deadline is October 14, 2010. See for more information.

Help the Almanac

Stay in touch. Please join our e-mail list. Sign up in the red box on the right column of every page on this site. We’re also on Facebook and Twitter. Use the share links on this page to let your contacts know about material on our site.

Buy the Almanac. You may have a copy, but do all your friends? Or your enemies? Scientific studies have shown that prolonged reading of the Saint Paul Almanac increases both longevity and quality of life, and reduces general crabbiness! Visit our online store.

Support the Almanac. The Saint Paul Almanac builds community through providing forums—in print, online, and at events around the city throughout the year—to share our individual stories. The Saint Paul Almanac is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and donations to our mission are tax-deductible. If you love Saint Paul as much as we do, and recognize the value of the Almanac, help us get it out there with a generous donation. Every year, every 11th Grader in St. Paul’s high schools receives a free copy of the Almanac. Your donation of $25 will help pay a poet, essayist, or short story writer, or make an almanac available to two Saint Paul Public School students. Donate online now at

Photo of Carver’s Cave plaque courtesy Dave Wallick. Visit Dave’s photostream on Flickr.

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