Joe's Blog 8.6.10

Hello friends, I suppose we’re officially in the dog days of summer now. I’d like to keep enjoying the rest of the season while we can, but I’m already starting to see signs for “back-to-school” sales everywhere I go. I (and I’m sure I can speak for all the school-aged kids out there) am not ready to move on from these long, hot days. So before we all really do have to head into fall, I’m planning on taking the opportunity to enjoy all the fun summer events around.

Melissa Etheridge at O'Shaughnessy - Friday

I once got to share the stage w/ Melissa Etheridge (she kissed me), and I'll forever be a fan. There aren't many that pull off her consistently high level of musicianship, consciouness, stage presence, and that great straight-ahead bluesy rock. She's in town as a part of the Women of Substance series at O'Shaughnessy this week. I think Etheridge fits that definition perfectly. Since the late 80s, Etheridge has exemplified the rocker-with-a-conscience mold (not many people can pull off rhyming “carelessness of youth” with “inconvenient truth” and not sound ridiculous). She’s still got all the classic elements you’d expect, but on her latest album—and most likely at O’Shaughnessy—there are also new features like more piano and some mandolin. All in all, this should be a great way to finish out this year’s “Women of Substance” series. O'Shaughnessy Events

Lowertown First Fridays

This has been a great summer in Lowertown w/ the terrific Jazz Fest, Music in Mears, Black Dog's Lowertown Block Party, last week's Lowertown Music Festival, and the opening of Heartland. This year, Lowertown artists have been working on these mini-art-crawls on the First Friday of each month and that day is upon us (the real crawl comes in October). Lots of local art hot spots like the Jax Building, the Northern Warehouse, the Tilsner Artist Cooperative, and the AZ Gallery, among others, will be open from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., some offering special deals. So get out and enjoy a great night in a great neighborhood with great art. Lowertown First Fridays

Parasota: A Midwest Paranormal Event at Landmark Center - Friday through Sunday

Parasota (like Minnesota, get it?) is a little different than the typical events I tell you about. It’s a three day event featuring an investigation of, “the amazingly beautiful, historical and haunted Landmark Center.” Over the next two days, there will be lectures, psychic readings, a guided tour of Saint Paul, and many workshops. So if you feel like getting in touch with your mystical side and examining some paranormal mysteries, I think you know where you should be this weekend. Parasota

2010 National Poetry Slam Finals at Roy Wilkins - Saturday

This is the 21st year of the National Poetry Slam competition, and we are lucky enough to host the event here in Saint Paul. This is basically the Olympics of Slam, and there will be over 500 poets competing in our own backyard this weekend. There will be events at venues throughout Saint Paul (Artists’ Quarter, The Fitz, McNally Smith Auditorium) and the finals will be at Roy Wilkins. This is a huge deal—the largest annual Slam event in the country—so even if you’ve never checked out a Slam before, this one is worth your time. NPS at Roy Wilkins

Nancy Harms at AQ - Saturday

The Cities are losing one of our exciting jazz stars. Nancy Harms is moving to New York, but before she does, there will be a goodbye concert at The Artists’ Quarter. NPR has said that Harms’ voice, “is warm, with a touch of vulnerability, and a believability...a young jazz singer worth discovering.” If you haven’t discovered her yet, you’ve got one last shot before she leaves for the Big Apple—so don’t miss it. Artists' Quarter Calendar

Yeti Records Benefit at Turf - Saturday

My kids are almost old enough for me to bring the record player back out of the basement (after 3 needles in 2 months, I threw in the towel a while back). There is something delicious about flipping through your records for the one you want, slipping it out of that jumbo sized cover, sliding it onto the turn table and dropping the needle right where you want it. If you share my tactile love for vinyl records, stop by Turf on Saturday. They are hosting a benefit for the Cities’ newest record store, Yeti Records. Haunted House and Velvet Davenport will both be playing, starting at 9:00 p.m. Both groups are largely pop bands, but with different influences—punk as opposed to psychedelic—so this should be a very fun show w/ a great crowd. Turf Events

MidCity Fest - Friday through Sunday

While you usually hear me talking about how the artist district in Lowertown is the center of the universe, there is another important artist district in Saint Paul around University and Raymond. This neighborhood is filled with a great mix of established artists and aspiring artists, a lot of media artists, and thanks to the Carleton lofts, there are a lot of performing artists in the neighborhood. The area is kicking off its new name (and its new tagline, “It’s more fun in the middle”) with MidCity Fest, featuring an art fair and free live music, while showcasing neighborhood businesses, organizations, venues and artists. MidCity Fest will coincide with Gremlin Theatre’s and Sacred Path's participation in the Twin Cities Fringe Festival. The music will be held from 6-9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 6, and noon-9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7. The tentative line-up includes students from the Rock Star Supply Company and School of Rock, Alissa Barthel, Lulu’s Playground, Medusa Cabaret and Rass Kwame and Ananse Band. An all-day art fair will be held at the Lyric on Saturday. An art exhibit and sale will be held next door in the Carleton Artist Lofts Community Room, 2285 University Ave., and in the outside courtyard on Saturday. MidCity Fest Thanks for reading the blog again this week. Keep letting me know what cool events you’re going to be at in the City. Joe