The Great Minnesota Get-Together is still happening, and there are still seats available for that ride. There is a lot to see there. There is a lot to see everywhere else in town, too. I have a little sample.
Use Your Words, Kids
The pervasive narrative about drugs and mayhem is usually set in the big city, while in the rest of the landscape, and in the collective psyche, it is ignored. Maybe that is how Tim Jollymore found the fresh territory for his new novel, Observation Hill, which he will present at SubText Books on Tuesday, September 1. Jollymore’s tale of mystery unwinds in 1960s Duluth with high crimes involving drugs and extortion set against the industrial backdrop of the port town. Police detective Paul Tuomi navigates the city’s east and west sides and his equally divided heart in the pursuit of solution and resolution. This second book from Jollymore has been described as “tightly constructed as a rubik’s cube, every scene leading into the next with unrelenting suspense.” The suspense can end at 7 p.m. that night at the bookstore. SubText is at 6 West Fifth Street in Downtown.
Not enough mystery? Need something else to do at the state fair? SubText joins with Sisters in Crime and the Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA) on Wednesday, September 2, for a little “murder on a stick” as part of Read & Ride Day at the state fair. Come to Carousel Park (in front of the Grandstand) to meet over a dozen mystery writers, including Kristi Belcamino, Midge Bubany, Jessie Chandler, Tom Combs, Barbara Deese, Allen Eskens, Sheyna Galyan, John Gaspard, Christina Glendenning, Annika Hansen, Erin Hart, Christine Husom, Susan Koefod, and Sherry Roberts. With so much nefarious activity rustling between the pages, we will have to call the literary police. Join the sleuth all day, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Rain Taxi will be at Carousel Park on Wednesday as well for Rain Taxi at Read & Ride Day. Its station will be filled with interesting authors and activities. From 9 to 10:30 a.m., join Minnesota poet John Colburn for “Good Morning Poems.” At 10:30, make cardboard animals with Moorhead teacher Kevin Carollo for “Animal Lit.” At noon, try “Poetry Tarot” with Paula Cisewski. Mixed in is a 1 p.m. book signing with Dessa and her chapbook, Pound of Steam. Singer/songwriter Brian Laidlaw presents “Songwriting Mad Libs” to create fair-inspired tunes at 2 p.m. Comics professor Ursula Murray Husted will lead us in creating a gigantic collaborative comic at 3:30 p.m. Rain Taxi will also be holding drawings for prizes.
Lowertown is getting a new hot spot this week. On Thursday, September 3, the doors will open on Music Forest Cafe, the latest venture by Hosko Gallery owner Bill Hosko. In the days to come, it will be a place where the artwork of established Saint Paul artists adorns the walls (and is available for sale), as well as a place where emerging and established musicians play everything from Celtic to folk to classical to jazz to whatever else crosses the Lowertown landscape. The word is that a cover charge of $5.25 will be taken at the door on opening day and during regular business hours afterward. Guests will receive up to three complimentary beverages and snacks. Food for order will be available, too. The musical headliner for the grand opening will be Pippi Ardennia singing with an accompaniment comparable to her stylings and voice. Find the new space at 151 East Seventh Street. They will welcome folks into the space at 3 p.m., with a program starting at 7:45 and the show at 8.
On Friday, September 4, it is Lowertown First Fridays. As part of this month’s buzz, starting before the official start, stop by the Positively 4th Street entrance of CHS field before the game. I will be there at 5 p.m. and later inside the ballpark during the game with Saints art director Cheryl Wilgren Clyne, video artist Brian Dehler, and poet Brian Beatty. We will have our typewriters again so you can leave a poem (or you can just write it out) or you can leave a prompt to inspire us to write one. Brian Dehler showed off his video mixing chops earlier this month and will show them off again on Friday. Besides poetry, video, and baseball, there will be fireworks after the game. Send a poem to the Saints. Leave a haiku. Then see a game or enjoy the rest of Lowertown’s First Friday. CHS field is at 360 Broadway Street. The Positively 4th Street entrance is on the back side of the ballpark, down Prince Street and then curl around to the left until you see us. Or just get a five-dollar berm ticket and join us inside.
If you are trying to get away from all the crowds, state fair or otherwise, you might want to try something more cerebral that also hits at the heart. On Saturday, September 5, head to the East Side Freedom Library for a Celebration of the Arts in Labor. This is a celebration of music, poetry, visual art, puppetry, fiction, theater, and storytelling that provide the animation and backdrop for the lives of people where they work, live, worship, and make community. It is about celebration—and struggle and triumph. This Labor Day–inspired event will bring together a group of terrific artists with a program that includes: an original puppet show telling the story and history of the East Side Freedom Library, including its origins as a Carnegie library in 1917; Megan Marsnik reading from her novel, Under Ground; a celebration of the Saint Paul Labor History Mural, which was painted eight years ago by local artists Keith Christensen and Ta-coumba Aiken; a dramatic storytelling by Javier Morillo; and a performance from the Twin Cities’ best known labor troubadour, Larry Long. The celebration goes from 1 to 4:30 p.m. The library is at 1105 Greenbrier Street.
September 1 is, once again, the first Tuesday of the month, which means it is time for First Tuesdays with Dean Magraw and Davu Seru. The regular improvisational kaleidoscope features special guest Joseph Damman, sitting in this month for Dean. Damman describes his guitar compositions as “American folk and jazz with catchy, elaborate melodies and swelling improvisations.” It’s a new mix and a new concoction for this first Tuesday. Check it out. They are scheduled to get underway at 7 p.m. The Black Dog is at 308 East Prince Street in Lowertown.
On Thursday, September 3, the Black Dog welcomes a new performer, String Bikini. If the name catches your ear, the sounds of this solo cellist will engage you a little deeper in your senses. String Bikini is composed of Emily Dantuma, who performs both original compositions and Bach Suites with the aid of a Fender Showman amp and a few pedals. Check out her show to see what she puts together. The strings vibrate at 7:30 p.m.
Summer is ending, or has ended for many of us. That reality is being marked on Friday, September 4, on the Magnolia Blossom riverboat with Jazz88’s Last Days of Summer Rivercruise. While aboard, you will be treated to the music of two young and accomplished musicians, trumpeter Cameron Kinghorn and keyboardist Joe Strachan. This is a great setting where you will enjoy wonderful food, prize drawings, and more. The boat departs from Crosby Park at 7:30 p.m., with boarding starting at 7. Crosby Park is at 2500 Crosby Farm Road.
Also on Friday, we move from old-style jazz by a couple of youngsters to the newest sounds on Earth by a couple of music veterans. At Studio Z, crow with no mouth presents an evening with German composer Gerhard Stäbler and Korean-born German composer Kunsu Shim. From 2000 to 2010, Stäbler and Shim founded the EarPort Centre for Contemporary Music in Duisburg, Germany. The two have been influenced by and studied with some of the giants in avant-garde music and will bring their collaborative electroacoustic performance to Lowertown. This rare musical opportunity begins at 8 p.m. Studio Z is at 275 East Fourth Street, Suite 200.
Later in the evening, Pocket of Resistance will expand your universe of sound even further. PoR frontman Nigel Parry fashions it as a folk, punk, world, jazz fusion band and sees the sound evolving with the bursting Lowertown music scene. Pocket of Resistance has been “killing it” at its monthly gigs at Public Kitchen + Bar. You can see the band there on Friday, September 4, at 10 p.m. This month’s lineup features Nigel Parry with original songs, vocals, and guitars; Will Wood on guitars; John Hess on bass guitar; and Aaron Tafoya on cajon and percussion. Public is at 229 East Sixth Street.
You can end your musical weekend at Walker West Music Academy with the Nicole Mitchell Quartet. Nicole Mitchell’s cred is repeatedly recognized with “Top Flutist of the Year” awards by industry star makers. She is a “creative flutist, composer, bandleader and educator” and the founder of Black Earth Ensemble, Black Earth Strings, Ice Crystal, and Sonic Projections. Her music crosses genres and is influenced by jazz, gospel, experimentalism, pop, and African percussion. Be at Walker West, 760 Selby Avenue at 7 p.m. on Sunday, September 6.
School has started for almost every young person. We don’t want them to forget that books are not just for homework: They are for fun! Join the crew at Red Balloon on Tuesday, September 1, for the launch of Pete Hautman’s latest book, The Flinkwater Factor. What kind of sci-fi fun can you find in Flinkwater, Iowa? Can Ginger Crump save the town (and humanity itself) from Flinkwater’s rogue robots? Come find out and stick around for a book signing, Q&A with the author, refreshments, and whatever else you can fit into a book party. The Red Balloon is at 891 Grand Avenue. The party starts at 6:30 p.m.
It is time again for The Stuffed Animal State Fair Show at Dreamland Arts. On Saturday, September 5, kids ages 3 and up are invited to bring their favorite stuffed animal and join Zip the chipmunk as Leslye Orr shares creative ideas for imaginative play and animates the whole gang with wacky sounds and voices. If your child is ready for some interactive fun, this is the place. There will be snacks. There will be other stuffed animals. There will be a tea party. It is 45 minutes of intense revelry that starts at 11 a.m. Dreamland Arts is at 667 North Hamline Avenue.
What a busy week. I must be forgetting something. If I am, maybe you can find it on your Almanac arts and culture calendar. At any rate, you will be busy. So will I. Be safe and have a great week.