This week in Saint Paul: Monday, March 24–Sunday, March 30, 2014

The calendar on my kitchen wall claimed that spring had sprung last week, but Minnesota still predictably holds out. As a kid, and even now as an adult, I didn't understand the connection of the equinox (nor that Pennsylvanian hedgehog) to any change in season. As a kid, I wasn't sure if the groundhog myth was about adding six weeks or six months to winter. Hey, I was growing up in Minnesota! Anything is possible. Spring coming before the Ides of March would be pretty sweet. Then the University of Minnesota's baseball and softball teams wouldn’t be playing anywhere that’s elsewhere. But what do we have? We have art. Spoken word. Literature. Music. The season is full.

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I lost a billion dollars today

I lost a billion dollars today.

I've never lost that much in a day, so I don't know how I'm supposed to feel. But it was sunny and gorgeous outside, so I know I don't feel as bad as I should.

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REVIEW | Fire Drill and Friends' "Bring In The Indigo": Mixed Bag of wonderful strangeness

The artists of the Bring In The Indigo showcase; photo courtesy of Fire Drill

One of the benefits of starting off all this critical writing I do these days in the crucible of the Minnesota Fringe Festival is that I got (and continue to get) introduced to all manner of artists with which I might otherwise have never crossed paths. And they in turn introduce me to still other randomness. As a consequence, I can get invited sometimes to some pretty odd stuff. It might not always be my thing, but if I have no idea what’s coming next, I certainly don’t get bored.

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East Sider crowned King Winter

(Photo courtesy of St. Paul Winter Carnival)

When a friend first approached lifelong East Sider Greg Pluff about applying for the position of King Winter, he wasn't too sure about taking on this new role. After all, he is a busy grandfather, he owns his own business as a wedding officiant (ceremoniesbygreg.com), is Chairman of the Trustees at Mounds Park United Methodist Church, is groundskeeper at the church and the parsonage, helps organize a summer community outreach called Urban CROSS (Christians Reaching Out in Service in St. Paul), is an active member of ESABA (East Side Area Business Association), and tends a plot at Skidmore Park Community Gardens – to mention just a few things! But his friend knew Greg's love for people and his heart for volunteering made him a perfect candidate for the role of King Winter.

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COMMUNITY VOICES | Darryl M. Robinson, ¡Presente! - Tribute to honor his life and work March 23

It is with very deep sadness that we announce the sudden passing of longtime friend and Communities United Against Police Brutality vice-president Darryl Robinson. His passing leaves a giant hole in our organization and in the community.

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This week in Saint Paul: Monday, March 17–Sunday, March 23, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day! If you have ever seen the sea of faces at Saint Paul's St. Patrick's Day parade, maybe you wonder, like I do, why March 17 is not a government holiday in Saint Paul. With all the crowds, as there should be in our city, my biggest question is whether the mayor will take out his bagpipes.

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Sketching Twin Cities snow piles

Winter in Minnesota does not favor plein air sketching – ink freezes in pens, watercolors turn to ice and fingers develop frostbite. Fortunately, there are many good places to sketch indoors in the Twin Cities (watch this KARE 11 report about the Metro Sketchers sketching at the Como Conservatory). Towards the end of the season, I get bored of sketching indoors and venture outdoors into the cold. I put on my fingerless gloves and dilute the ink in my fountain pens with alcohol and step outside to sketch the predominant feature of late winter in Minnesota: snow piles. Snow piles are a ubiquitous, though fleeting part of the urban, winter, Twin Cities landscape and every year, a few of us urban sketchers take up the challenge to celebrate and immortalize snow piles on paper before they melt away.

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REVIEW | Wrestlepalooza III brings the best kind of bizarre to First Avenue

Photos By: 
Emmerlee Sherman

Friday, March 14th's Wrestlepalooza event, the third of its kind, saw three distinct Minnesota scenes converge on historic First Avenue for a rare and amazing variety show which provided an experience like no other.

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Humbly musing on borrowed ideas that somehow ended up on my hard-drive…

“I loved my mother and father, not because they were perfect parents, but because despite whatever lenses they saw the world through, they held me in the deepest part of their hearts.” They struggled, with much effort, in extremely difficult circumstances, to give me the best of what they had materially, spiritually and intellectually. I certainly didn’t understand this on too many occasions as I was growing up and moving into my own adulthood, but now I see more clearly as I push toward 70 years. And yes, I am laughing out loud as I write this now!

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