It was nice to be spoiled by the lovely sun and some warmth so late in the season, but last week’s chill and rain told me two things: one is that I have to go into some warm coffee shops and bookstores for the 2015 Saint Paul Almanac Literary Festival. The second is that we have to hope and pray for great weather for the Saint Paul Art Crawl this weekend!

Almanac Family

downrange-telemetricsThis week’s Soul Sounds Open Mic will feature Downrange Telemetrics. They are poet Becca Barniskis and musician Nick Jaffe. Becca is the curator of The Dirty Hands Banfill-Locke 2014 Reading Series. Her chapbook of poems, Mimi and Xavier Star in a Museum That Fits Entirely in One’s Pocket, is also available both in vinyl LP and in digital formats as a collaboration with musician Nick Jaffe. Becca is an associate editor at the Teaching Artist Journal. Nick is a Saint Paul–based musician, recording engineer, producer, and educator. As a guitarist Nick played in the Chicago hip-hop, soul, and funk scene for over a decade. Nick has performed with Common, Ice-Cube, Dwele, and Estelle, and has performance and studio credits with a wide variety of local and national artists in different genres. Soul Sounds meets at Golden Thyme Coffee Shop, 921 Selby Avenue (at Milton). Bring your own work. Listen to others’ work. Trade feedback, energy, peace, and power. It all gets real at 6 p.m.

cahoots-coffee-barThis year, the 2015 Saint Paul Almanac Literary Festival begins at Cahoots Coffee Bar on Thursday, October 9. Hosted again by Cracked Walnut, the Literary Festival features writers published in the 2015 Saint Paul Almanac reading their stories and poems in venues around the city. This first reading will feature Louis DiSanto, Mike Finley, Annette Schiebout, Sun Chi Som, and Beth Voigt. Cahoots is at 1562 Selby Avenue, just east of Snelling. The reading begins at 7 p.m.


The second Literary Fest event will be at SubText: a Bookstore on Friday, October 10. A great friend to the Almanac and local authors, SubText will present noted authors Paula Cisewski, Shira Granote, Rosemary Jensen, John Minczeski, and William Waltz. SubText is at 165 Western Avenue.

book-festivalCome see us and a ton of other book people on Saturday, October 11, at the State Fairgrounds’ Work Progress Building. We will be at the 2014 Twin Cities Book Festival. This festival is the biggest and most important annual gathering in the Twin Cities for our strong community of consumers and purveyors of literature. Come see authors, local literary heroes, publishers, and booksellers in the flesh. The Almanac will be there with a lot of books, great Almanac people, and a big hall full of friends. Enter the Fairgrounds at 1265 North Snelling Avenue. Festivities run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This is a true Minnesota get-together worthy of the Fairgrounds.


Also on Saturday, October 11, the Literary Festival ventures into a venue new to us, Artista Bottega Art Gallery. This reading features Colleen Casey, Sherrie Fernandez-Williams (whose new memoir was just published by North Star Press), Peter Rachleff, David Stein, and River Maria Urke. Artista Bottega describes itself as a place of artifacts. Our writers will speak some artifacts into existence this evening. This reading also starts at 7 p.m. Artista Bottega is at 937 West 7th Street.

More Words and Letters

write-itLiterature isn’t just about reading. It’s about writing. Today, Monday, October 6, you might want to check out a couple of writing workshops. One is a creative writing workshop with Julie Goldstein at SubText: a Bookstore, 165 Western Avenue. It begins at 6 p.m. The other is part of the Saint Paul Public Library’s WRITE IT! series, “Writing Literary Science Fiction.” This workshop begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Merriam Park Library, 1831 Marshall Avenue. Check one of them out.

underground-coverOn Wednesday, October 8, one of the deans of Minnesota poetry, Jim Moore, reads from his new retrospective collection, Underground. Underground gathers the best poems from Moore’s seven previous books and includes twenty new poems. The reading starts at 7 p.m. SubText is at 165 Western Avenue.


john-sandfordOn Friday, October 10, The Saint Paul Public Library presents An Evening with John Sandford. One of our most famed local mystery writers, Sandford will be at Landmark Center, 75 West 5th Street in Downtown next to Rice Park. You can get a free ticket with your library card by stopping by one of the following branches: Dayton’s Bluff, George Latimer Central, Hamline Midway, Merriam Park, Saint Anthony Park, Rondo, and on the Bookmobile. Check locations and hours here. Doors open at 6:30 with the reading beginning at 7 p.m.


On Saturday, October 11, in celebration of National Coming Out Day, Metro State is hosting an open mic Coming OUT! Speaking Our Stories. It will begin with a workshop by Almanac favorite Tish Jones. Tish will then emcee an eclectic series of spoken-word “Coming Out” stories. The featured performers include a host of Almanac veterans. Performers include Andrea Jenkins, Chong Moua, Jessica Lopez Lyman, Rebecca Song, and Xander Bilyk.

If you are interested in performing as an open mic speaker, sign up for a spot during the event! The workshop starts at 6 p.m. There is a dinner at 7 p.m., but make sure you RSVP if you want to eat with the crew. Performances start at 8 p.m. The location is the New Main Great Hall at Metropolitan State University, 700 East Seventh Street.

Art Crawl

Tom Reynen - New Day in Lowertown
Tom Reynen – New Day in Lowertown

Yes, it is time again for the Fall Saint Paul Art Crawl. In its twenty-third year, the event has grown to promote over three hundred exhibiting artists. They will be displaying and selling their original artwork at twenty-one building locations throughout the city, primarily in Lowertown but also including locations along University and Grand Avenues, the West Side, and in the Eastside and West 7th neighborhoods of Saint Paul.


The Art Crawl is always a great way to see Saint Paul. The Crawl shows off great visual artists working a range of media in their work spaces and surroundings that often inspire and provide the subjects for their art. It is more than visual arts. The sights are accompanied by sounds from a lot of music ranging from jazz to folk to new sounds to classical and old world tunes. Vivid flavors are ramped up on the street and the shops for the influx of the great collection of visitors that come every year. There are a score of music venues, and the usual places to eat (I can’t mention them all). A lot of the special events can be found in the Almanac arts calendar. You are sure to see someone you know, have great conversations with a few people whom you’ve never met, and maybe make a few friends. And even if you think you don’t have any room left on your walls, maybe you will buy a piece of art or two.

green-line-at-depotA special feature of the Crawl this year is free Metro Transit rides for the entire festival. It is the first Crawl since the opening of the Green Line, which will take you right to Lowertown and along University. Metro Transit will take you to the other spots in town as well. Just print off your free metrotransit ride ticket at home or at the library and ride for free!

The Saint Paul Art Crawl starts on Friday, October 10, at 6 p.m. and goes until the afternoon of Sunday, October 12. Check the Crawl web site for a listing of buildings, artists, and a little good art community philosophy.

motion-poems-union-depotDuring Art Crawl, Lowertown’s Union Depot will be the location for a huge multimedia public art piece called “Arrivals & Departures at St. Paul’s Union Depot.” Poems from local writers have been selected on the theme of arrivals and departures and have been set to video animation that will be cast on the facade of the block-wide Union Depot. This massive project is a collaboration that includes Motionpoems and poet Todd Boss. The project is a celebration of the renewed life and identity of Union Depot as a progressive transportation hub in Saint Paul. The poems and film will run every five minutes during the Art Crawl. Union Depot is at 214 East 4th Street.



Today, Monday, October 6, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Music Room with host as Wilco’s Glenn Kotche joins Third Coast Percussion and their new music “Wild Sound.” The Chicago Reader calls Third Coast “One of the country’s finest new music ensembles.” Their dynamic sound is matched by a brilliant on-stage presence. The Music Room is a delightfully intimate venue for this great show. Check out the details here. This event is part of the SPCO’s Liquid Music series and begins at 7:30 p.m. The Music Room is in the Historic Hamm Building, 408 Saint Peter Street, Third Floor.

There is a whole lot of music going on during the Art Crawl. It’s not hard to find, but if you stop by the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Bedlam Theatre, The Dubliner Pub, two family concerts featuring Macalester College’s orchestra, Señor Wong’s, AZ Gallery, The Fitzgerald, The Ordway, the 262 Studios Loading Dock, The Khyber Pass, and MORE you will find enough to fill your brain, heart, and free time.

opus-and-olivesAfter all of this, especially the Art Crawl, you are certain to be tired. It’s time to have a seat and let someone else do the cooking. On Sunday, October 12, it is time for The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library’s Opus and Olives event. This year’s theme is Fine Print and Fine Food. The cocktail reception starts at 5 p.m. with author meet-and-greet, autographs, and book sales. Dinner and author presentations are at 6:15 p.m. Stick around for the prize drawing at 9 p.m. This is one of Saint Paul’s finest benefits for one of the finest causes and one of the strongest Friends of the Library organizations in the country. The event is again at Saint Paul River Centre, 175 West Kellogg Boulevard. Check here for tickets and more information.

I’m tired just talking about all of this. But what a glorious way to get worn out. Remember, check out the Almanac arts calendar for even more ways to wear yourself out. Sunday evening, you can pass out with a smile on your face and a new mindset that will give you energy, verve, and an attitude that will make everyone else jealous they didn’t spend the week in Saint Paul. It’s going to be a great week!

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