Now that the frigid winds of the polar vortex have retreated back to the habitat of fluffy killer bears and—like most Minnesotans—you’re back to wearing shorts and sending outdoor T-shirt selfies to Facebook friends in Florida, there’s no excuse to stay inside. This week, let Saint Paul provide a post-chill sensory explosion.

Literature and Readings

carolyn-holbrookAt the Almanac, we are dedicated to creating communities where everyone has access to transformational arts experiences. Like us, Carolyn Holbrook has been a local leader in creating access to venues and platforms for quality artistic expression and experiences. Holbrook knows her work and the work of artists are about building strong communities where people are connected to their stories.

In her book Ordinary People, Extraordinary Journeys: How St. Paul Companies Leadership Initiatives in Neighborhoods Program Changed Lives and Communities, she tells the stories of twenty inspirational figures from the LIN program, a social innovation initiative that helps develop leaders and forward-thinking ideas.

A Minnesota Book Award Kay Sexton winner, Holbrook will be at SubText: A Bookstore on Tuesday, Jan. 14, to talk about her work and the people she profiles in the book. SubText is at 165 Western Avenue North. The event begins at 7 p.m.


Rosanne-Bane-Writers-BlockDo you need help getting your Saint Paul story onto paper—or onto your flash drive or the computing cloud? On Wednesday, Jan. 15, return to SubText to hear Roseanne Bane, author of Around the Writer’s Block, conduct a free writing workshop. Wonder about getting started? Worried about criticism or rejection? Do you find you sabotage your own intentions? Roseanne brings twenty years as a writing teacher and creativity coach to explain what’s happening inside your brain. Bring your ideas and enthusiasm. The workshop begins at 7 p.m.

On Thursday, Jan. 16, at this week’s Soul Sounds Open Mic, facilitator, teacher, and curator Tish Jones welcomes multi-talented poet and spoken word artist Clara Yonge. clara-younge Clara works in Saint Paul as a math tutor and pastry chef. Her work has been published in the Feminist Wire, and, in 2010, Clara won Macalester College’s Cultural House poetry slam. She is an alumnus of the Voices at VONA writing workshop, and her poetry is “obsessed with sound, seek[ing] truth through themes of identity and ancestry.” The event takes place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Golden Thyme Coffee Café, 921 Selby Avenue. Remember, both the very young and elders are always welcome to join this open mic and feedback event, and there is never a cover charge.


You have two opportunities to check out the latest installment of The Dream Songs Project. Their work, “L’Etoile du Nord,” will feature new works for voice and guitar by Minnesota composers Christopher Gable, Katherine Bergman, Gary Ruschman, and David Evan Thomas. The first performance is at 7:30 on Wednesday, Jan. 15, at Studio Z, 275 East Fourth Street, Suite 200. On Thursday, Jan. 16, they will perform at Dreamland Arts, 677 Hamline Avenue North. Tickets for both performances can be purchased in advance or at the door.

repetition-ritual-exhibitThe Minnesota Museum of American Art is currently hosting the exhibit Repetition & Ritual: New Sculpture in Fiber. On Friday, Jan. 17, the museum hosts a unique event featuring singer/songwriter Rachel Sara Roberts, accompanied by musical partner Benjamin James Kelly (pictured below). Roberts is a folk musician with a strong, versatile voice and lively acoustic rhythms. The duo’s performance will take inspiration from the exhibition, which offers a great backdrop to take in this intimate concert.

The event is part of the new Art + Music series at the MMAA Project Space. This series of monthly social events was created in partnership with McNally Smith College of Music. Be sure to check out future concerts. The project space is at 332 North Robert Street, and the event begins at 7 p.m. This is a free event. Read a great description of the MMAA’s exhibit from Saint Paul arts and literary “fixer” Susannah Schouweiler HERE.

Some of you may have seen the work of Studio Sendero. A Lowertown fixture, they offers classes, workshops, performances, events in flamenco, and more. You may have seen them adding flair amid the bustle around the farmer’s market, at an Art Crawl, or at Northern Spark. This weekend offers two opportunities to soak in the sight and sound of their lively work.


On Saturday, Jan. 18, Studio Sendero presents The Gathering, a monthly “music and dance event featuring Gypsy-inspired performances” at the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar. Their esteemed company of dancers will be joined by featured artists Laura Horn aka La Gatita, flamenco dancer, and guitarist Ben Abrahamson. This will not be a quiet night. Tickets are $5 in advance and $8 at the door. Come early. Seating starts at 7:30 p.m. for this 8 p.m. show. The Black Dog is at 308 Prince Street in Lowertown.

Kids and Family

On Sunday, Jan. 19, bring the whole family down to the Landmark Center, where the Studio Sendero dancers will be featured at the start of Landmark’s Urban Expedition series, which celebrates and explores cultures from around the world. This edition is called Urban Expedition: Spain. The event also includes language lessons and live animals common to Spain. Children will have the chance to make crafts and write postcards to family members. The fun gets under way in the Musser Cortile at 1 p.m. The event is free. The Landmark Center is at 75 Fifth Street, across from Rice Park. For more information call 651-292-3063.

(Photo: Henry Jackson)
(Photo: Henry Jackson)

Maybe, after all that excitement, you’ll need different pace. Early in December, the Highland Park and Sun Ray libraries closed for renovation. We will miss them, but our fondness will grow in their absence. The good news is that two other libraries have expanded their hours. How many times have we thought of things that we need to do or that could be done at the library, especially when we are looking for diversions in the harsh weather?

During the renovation and maybe beyond—if we are lucky, and find some political will and mojo—both the Merriam Park and Hayden Heights libraries will be open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Find out information about all the events, programs, and activities at the Saint Paul Public Libraries calendar. There is something for EVERYONE!

As you know, things are always busier than what I can fit in this blog, so remember and check the Almanac Calendar to be fully informed of our city’s shared creative wealth. Have a blessed, balmy, and bold week.

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