This week in Saint Paul: Monday, September 15–Sunday 21, 2014

Our neighbors are fabulous and brought that to Thursday’s book release party, as they do to everything Saint Paul. Even though the festiveness of the summer weather is escaping, our warmth and energy were enough to make it a great gathering. I hope you had a chance to get your copy of the 2015 Saint Paul Almanac. If not, there are still many chances, at our local coffee shops, bookstores, and even at the airport (a great idea as you are headed out of town to meet people who need to know Saint Paul). The community of arts events continues. Just check out the Almanac arts calendarand keep reading!

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Honoring Saint Paul legend Leroy Neiman

When I was a kid, I watched the Olympics on television and they had this artist with a big mustache painting a big canvas. That painter was Saint Paul native Leroy Neiman. Whenever there was a dull moment or a break in the action, the announcer would ask, “What’s Leroy Neiman up to?” and the cameraman would pan to the painter daubing the canvas with bright pigments. Somehow, Neiman was able to finish the painting just as the games ended. It was real performance art. Here’s a YouTube video showing Neiman painting. Here’s another one.

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For Twin Cities readers, book fair trumps the state fair!

For some among us the iconic Minnesota State Fair should eschew the politicians, dump the Skyride, douse the corndogs and replace it all with a tasteful gathering of bibliophiles, Minnesota writers, readings, book talks, exchanges of bon mots among the literati. That’s why we have the Twin Cities Book Festival, the ultimate antidote to the State Fair.

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IGGERS DIGEST | Somali singer-songwriter Mohamed Alta

(Video below)

Iggers Digest is where I usually blog about food and restaurants, but I have decided that I want to expand my horizons, and occasionally take on other topics - like cool things I discover around the Twin Cities, or maybe even my musings about journalism ethics.

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MUSIC REVIEW | The Birthday Suits are back with Blind Shake at the Turf Club

Photos by Ann Treacy

Sometimes a monopoly is a good thing. First Avenue seems to have a finger in anything musical happening in the Twin Cities but it does lead to some nice double headers. After seeing The Replacements at Midway Stadium, I was happy to hop over to the Turf Club to see The Birthday Suits and Blind Shake. Luckily it had occurred to me to buy tickets in advance because the show was sold out by the time I got there. And a lot of people milling about outside humming "Waitress in the Sky" and asking about other places to go in St Paul.

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MUSIC REVIEW | Buzzcocks get an eager crowd at the Varsity Theater

Photos by Todd Wardrope

The world of punk music has a particular problem with eating its own young. Whether it's compulsive self-destruction, glamorous nihilism or the power of raw instinctive passion, the history of punk music is full of artists who died well before they should have. Someone or other said that these artists spare the rest of us the disappointment of them getting bad or selling out. Their legacy and youthful energy is forever frozen in time. They may be dead, but they never got old. Yet, there are a few stalwarts that carried their careers on with integrity. Others have merely cashed in on the promises of their younger selves. When a band like the Buzzcocks, who created the very genre that so many others have taken as thir own, play a live show in 2014 these thoughts begin to buzz like guitar feedback.

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Photo essay captures bizarre phenomena of college move-in week

(Photos by Wendy Schreier)

Last week photographer Wendy Schreier witnessed something many college students overlook entirely. Her latest photo essay captures the bizarre phenomena of move-in week.

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Penumbra Theatre: Making an artistic statement with style

(Photo by Allen Weeks) Bianca Williams performs on stage at Penumbra Theatre as part of a three-year leadership development program that aims to teach teens how to translate their love for the arts into social justice and equity.

With the spotlight squarely on her, Bianca Williams strutted to the center of Penumbra Theatre’s stage last summer.

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