Joe's Blog 6.23.10

Hello friends, We’ve already arrived at the last weekend in June. The summer is flying by as always. Before I move on to all the great events for this weekend, I have to take just a minute to recognize all of the work that went into making this past weekend's Jazz Festival such an overwhelming success. The Festival set a new record, set a new standard for itself, and the park has never looked more beautiful as it did filled with all you beautiful people. Looking ahead, Thursdays are always huge with Music in Mears (tonight will be huge with Idle Hands), the new Ordway Summer Dance Series (tonight featuring swing dance), and Movies and Music in District Del Sol (tonight's show is Napoleon Dynamite)! There are three giant shows at the X and Roy Wilkins this week with Ween, Santana, and Tool. And there are new gourmet food trucks delivering some of the best food in the upper Midwest in Saint Paul (another sweet advantage over our neighbors!). Now, as for a look ahead, we’ve got some really exciting things coming up. If the weather delivers, head outside to the concerts, cool parks, or the farmers’ market. But if things turn ugly, no worries, because there are just as many cool shows indoors. Take a break from work or that house project and take at least a few hours to sit back, relax, and enjoy the summer!

Movies and Music at District del Sol - Thursdays

Nobody delivers a community experience like the beloved West Side; take a look at the Movies and Music event. Its run by the uber-cool Brian Goielli and It’s basically what it sounds like: family friendly activities like creating some Mexican-inspired art of your own at 6:30, a concert starting at 7:30, then a movie to finish off the night (This week’s concert is Javier Trejo and the movie is Napoleon Dynamite). If you can’t make it this weekend, you can stop by Parque Castillo on the West Side any Thursday night until July 29.

Blooming Butterflies at Como Zoo - All Summer

I was heartbroken last year when the Blooming Butterflies show was scheduled to end a two year run. Its honestly one of my favorite things on the planet and it just opened for its third and final year (and will be around until Labor Day, but why not check it out this weekend?). There are literally hundreds of butterflies from around the world flying around in a butterfly garden greenhouse shaped like a caterpillar. Like everything at Como, It’s free to hang out in the garden, but if you really want to get up close with nature, you can release a butterfly into the garden for $1. There is nothing more joyful that having a butterfly choose you to land on and have a rest.

Idle hands at Music in Mears - Thursday

You really do have to take a look at the line up for Music In Mears this summer - its really strong. Brian Horst has been partnering w/ the City to put this show together for the past 6 years or so and has really done a terrific job. The line up this year includes Romantica, Idle Hands, Halloween Alaska, Molly Dean (next week), and Caroline Smith. The food has gotten better, the crowds are terrific, and it has steadily just become one of the best weekly music series around. The Idle Hands are up tonight with a lot of continued buzz and a few radio hits. Next week's show, Molly Dean bring a polished ambient pop sound that will be worth you time. Make it a regular part of your week's agenda - Music in Mears. Thursday nights. Good times.

Mark Mallman, Pink Mink, and International Espionage! at the Turf - Saturday

Mark Mallman is returning to the Turf this weekend—you might remember his Marathon I and Marathon II shows there from several years ago. His show this weekend won’t be a marathon, though Mallman (who now does composing for movies like Wall-E during the day) should deliver another great performance before he hands will hand over the stage to Pink Mink and International Espionage! (that’s the band’s exclamation point). Pink Mink has been getting some buzz lately, which makes sense considering the band includes some great local talent—Christy Hunt of the Von Bondies and Arzu Gokcen of the Selby Tigers. For something a little different, stay for International Espionage! who will be performing some of their songs with spy-agency themed lyrics. Seriously. Check out the website for more info.

A Family Movie Party Featuring Laurel and Hardy at the Fitz - Saturday

If you and your family are looking for a good old-fashioned riot, head over to the Fitz on Saturday for MPR’s movie party. To go along with four Laurel and Hardy silent films, MPR's film guru (or "movie maven") Stephanie Curtis, Mike Grandchamp, and A Prairie Home Companion’s sound man Tom Keith will provide sound effects and music. Free popcorn, bowler hats (worth it alone) for the little ones, and a half-time slapstick show add to the fun.

Ron Thompson at Wilebski Blues Saloon - Friday and Saturday

Since it reopened early this year, Wilebski’s has been on a mission to revive the blues scene in Saint Paul. This weekend, with Ron Thompson’s shows, they are well on their way. Thompson is mainly known on the West Coast, but the Grammy-nominated blues man’s intense shows are sure to be a big hit here too. Thompson has collaborated with Mick Fleetwood, Bonnie Raitt, and Carlos Santana among others. Johnny Lee Hooker was even quoted as saying, “Ron Thompson, he’s my main man!” On Friday, Thompson is joined by saxophonist Stevie Boom Boom Vonderharr and on Saturday by the blues duo of Paul Metsa and Sonny Earl. For more info, hit up these websites.

Natalie Merchant at The O'Shaughnessy - Saturday

The Women of Substance Series continues this weekend with Natalie Merchant. She’s promoting her new album “Leave Your Sleep,” which promises to deliver more of what her fans have loved for decades now, but also a more mature Merchant (the album is partially inspired by her experiences as a mother). Expect a good turnout for this event. Before I close I have to pass along a couple more things. First of all, tomorrow night is a wonderful fundraiser event for the Artists Access to Healthcare prorgam at Springboard for the Arts. Formerly known as the Osgood Do-good, this event annually features great local aritsts (previous years included Dan Wilson, Catalyst Dance, Jeremy Messersmith), a wonderful art auction component, fun food, and the coolest people around. Most of all, its a great program and a great cause. Secondly, I'd be remiss if I didn't tease out next week's Taste of Minnesota celebration. This isn't your grandma's Taste event, this year's event will feature top shelf bands (Atmosphere, P.O.S., The New Standards, Haley Bonar, and the entire Red House line up), some great new food attractions (including a demonstration kitchen hosted by my pal BT), a new look and fee for the event, and of course a tribute to the inimitable founder, the late Ron Maddox. There's a ticket now required so it may be worth your while to buy early. That’s all for now. Thanks for taking the time to read my note. As always, pass along any recommendations for next week. Have a great week! Joe