Al Justiniano of St. Paul’s Teatro del Pueblo: “The people who live here proudly say they’re West Siders”

Though I grew up in St. Paul, my level of familiarity with the city’s West Side is such that after I crossed the bridge from downtown, I made one wrong turn after another and had to recalculate the route to Jerabek’s New Bohemian Coffeehouse four times before I finally found in on a quiet residential stretch of Winifred Street. My visit turned out to be well worth the trouble: not only did I have a delicious hot breakfast wrap, I enjoyed a long conversation with Al Justiniano—director of the nearby Teatro del Pueblo. Continue Reading

THEATER REVIEW | Minnesota Centennial Showboat’s “The Vampire!”: Dracula in a kilt

The Minnesota Centennial Showboat has opened another season and, for at least the fourth time since it started presenting plays in 1958, they are doing a vampire-themed show. The first was staged in 1978: Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which was the first Showboat production that I ever attended. They have done Dracula at least two more times since then, but this year the Showboat is going with a Scottish kilt-wearing vampire named Lord Ruthven in a play by J.R. Plance titled The Vampire! Peter Moore directs this melodrama written in 1820 involving a Scottish vampire who must drink the blood of a virgin bride every month or perish.

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St. Paul’s West Side Community Health Service serves many immigrant communities

Some advocates of a public healthcare option have argued for a national system of community health clinics because in this they see a wholesome and affordable approach in providing quality healthcare. The West Side Community Health Services (WSCHS), the largest community clinic organization in Minnesota, clearly demonstrates the value of community clinics. When it began as the People’s Heahlth Center, forty years ago in a church basement, and then expanded to La Clinica, it served mostly Spanish-speaking residents. Today, WSCHS has expanded to serve Hmong and East African refugees and immigrants as well.  Like most community clinics, WSCHS has community programs on preventative healthcare and providing healthcare services to patients who would not afford a doctor’s visit. WSCHS runs several healthcare services in 18 different areas within the Twin Cities. Continue Reading

They’re going to the Extreme on the West Side of St. Paul

It’s the talk of the town – Ty Pennington has brought his Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’s design team to the West Side of St. Paul, and YOU can get in the act!  Neighborhood House and the St. Paul Chapter of the American Red Cross, both located on the West Side are sponsoring an “Extreme Food Drive” and an “Extreme Blood Drive” to accompany the build.

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Extreme Makeover continues in St. Paul

Just hours after pouring the foundation on the house workers and volunteers were already completing placement of the floor on the 1st level.For additional information, see Extreme Makeover: St. Paul and They’re going to the Extreme on the West Side of St. Paul.   At times 50 or more volunteers were simultaneously working on all aspects of the house. Workers guided the first of the walls that were craned into place. Constant coordination between TJB homes, subcontractors, and volunteers was critical in order for progress to continue. Continue Reading

Minneapolis, St. Paul – Mexican Independence Day

September 16 marks the 199th year of Mexican Independence and Minneapolis and St. Paul are ready to celebrate! This important holiday commemorates the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence against Spanish rule and is celebrated by those of Mexican Heritage the world over. In Minneapolis, a large celebration is planned for Sunday September 13 between noon and 7 p.m. on Lake Street and 4th Ave South. This family-friendly event will include a parade at 1 p.m., running from Bloomington to 3rd Avenue on Lake Street, which is expected to draw more than 50 participants including dancers, musicians, and decorated vehicles. Continue Reading