Joe's Blog 7.30.10
This past weekend, the local artsters put together an incredible night at the MN Original Party in the Park, the Redbull gang blew my mind with the crowd they drew for the flugtag, and then Sunday night Ursus Minor put on a spine tinglingly good show at the Black Dog Block Party. This week there are yet again some incredible art coming our way. W/ Cloud Cult and Mason Jennings at the Lowertown Music Fest on Saturday, the National Poetry Slam all over downtown next week, this year's big Circus Juventus show starts this week, and the Blind Boys of Alabama are coming to town for the Ordway's Gospel at Colonus. Lots of other fun stuff on Grand, at the Turf, the Fitz, History Museum, and and don't forget that the Wing Young Huie's University Avenue Project is still going on w/ a montly cabaret happening this weekend!
Lowertown Music Fest - Saturday
I have an idea... lets take the Annual Station 4Block Party, pump it w/ steroids, book the best local music acts, and give everybody great sightlights and a cool setting. Oh wait - thats exactly what they did for the Lowertown Music Fiestival. It will just be one more can’t-miss event in this great neighborhood. Mason Jennings, Cloud Cult, Tapes N’ Tapes, Peter Wolf Crier, Frank Turner, and Koo Koo Kanga Roo will all be playing. Gates open at 2:00 p.m. at 5th and Sibley, but come down early, get lunch in the neighborhood before the show and plan on hanging out after the music is done.
Lowertown Music Fest
“Sawdust” at Circus Juventas – July 29 to August 15
With apologies to my friends at Juventas, I admit that I usually have an aversion to the Circus. Circus Juventas, however, is the ridiculously successful performance company in Saint Paul with a string of annual productions that consistantly not only sell out, but get critical acclaim. I recently read the book, Water for Elephants, and I understand that their newest show, Sawdust, found some of its ealiest inspiration in the pages of that book. The show is starting this weekend (I've got tickets for next week), and running through the middle of August. Tickets go very quickly, so make plans now if you’re interested in seeing performers from 3 to 21 years old flying, jumping, and leaping all over the stage.
National Poetry Slam - Tuesday through Saturday
Last year, Saint Paul's slam team won the National Poetry slam for the first time ever. This year they get to defend their title on their home turf.
The 21st annual National Poetry Slam will bring together 84 teams from across North America. Hundreds of the world’s best poets will converge on St. Paul for a five day festival of non-stop performances, workshops and heated performance poetry competitions.
These events will be held in numerous venues throughout downtown St. Paul - All leading up to team finals on Saturday August 7th, at the Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium.
“The Gospel at Colonus” at Ordway – August 5 to August 11
This week, I am excited that Saint Paul will have the Blind Boys of Alabama just hanging out all over town as they prepare to put the Gospel at Colonus on its feet once again. This show will be familiar to a lot of locals. It premiered locally and then went on to New York and all over the World. The story takes Sophocles’ story of Oedipus at Colonus—which I’m sure you all remember from school, right?—and sets it to modern gospel. In addition to the music, Oedipus’ story is put in the context of a black church service. Even though the message of “The Gospel at Colonus” revolves around the meaning of death, it will be such a fun show that you’ll leave in a great mood.
Ordway's The Gospel at Colonus
Vic Volare at Minnesota History Center – Tuesday
Tuesday is National Night Out, so get your neighbors together and come down to the Minnesota History Center (I know, I know, not the point of NNO) to celebrate from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. outside with Vic Volare and The Fabulous Volare Lounge Orchestra. Vic holds a special place in the Spencer household. I courted my sweet Joanne by taking her out dancing to the swinging sounds of the Volare Lounge Orchestra on a weekly basis, and they later provided the dance music for our wedding reception. Needless to say, I am looking forward to hanging out on the beautiful patio of the History Center overlooking downtown Saint Paul and doing a little dancing. Join us!
Minnesota History Center Events
Chris Isaak at O’Shaughnessy – Wednesday
If you’re feeling a bit nostalgic for your younger days, you might want to head over to St. Kate’s next Wednesday to see Chris Isaak. Isaak hit it big in 1985 and has been living the dream ever since. He knows he’s been very fortunate, and therefore, his latest album is titled—not at all tongue in cheek— “Mr. Lucky.” So expect a more low-key show, with tracks from the new disk as well as old favorites.
Juliette Lewis at Station 4 - Tuesday
Juliette Lewis might be more recognizable as an actress from her roles in “Cape Fear", “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” and my personal favorite, Audrey in "Christmas Vacation", but if you haven’t checked out her musical chops, this is your chance. Lewis led the band Juliette and the Licks until just a year ago, and now has just formed The New Romantiques. They’ve recorded their first album, “Terra Incognita,” and you should expect to hear some cuts from that. I think she's still a bit annoying, especially as a rock star, but that doesn't mean it won't be a fun night. Head over to Station 4 if you want to rock out with this "Natural Born Killer".
Juliette Lewis at Station 4
Paws on Grand - Sunday
For those of you with four-legged friends at home, this Sunday will be a treat for you and for them. Here’s what the Grand Avenue Business Association has to say about Paws on Grand: “‘Paws’ as in your little friends at home and "pause" to shop, dine and conduct services on the Avenue. Besides great sidewalk sales and dining and services for pet parents, pets will be pampered with treats, toys, pet tags, pet food, photo ops and much more!” And on a beautiful summer weekend, this is a perfect excuse to get out on the town for an afternoon.
Grand Avenue Events
Thanks for reading my note again this week. Mark your calendars for next weekend, if it's not already, Irish Fair hits Harriet Island next Friday. Don’t forget to let me know highlights coming up in the City.