Storymobile continues to roll through town and people continue to flock to it—not quite like the ice cream truck, but with more focus and sincerity… and you don’t have to ask Mom or Dad for money before Storymobile rolls by. We have young people pedalling hard to keep up with all of your stories. And Saint Paul’s arts community is giving us a lot to keep us busy, making new stories as we remember the old ones.
Time again for Golden Thyme. This week’s Soul Sounds Open Mic features literary and performance artist Chava Gabrielle. On Thursday, July 17, get a taste of her craft and share some of the verse and story you have spun. As always, it’s all directed by Tish Jones. Like a lot of the young and not-as-young regulars at Soul Sounds, Chava indulges in the idea of equity and justice—especially for women of color. Share your song for equity, justice, or whatever love is in your heart or on your mind. It all starts at 6 p.m. The Golden Thyme Coffee Café is at 921 Selby Avenue, at Milton.
Whether you are into spoken word or not, be sure to catch up with Storymobile at Rondo Days, Saturday, July 19. Have a story about Old Rondo? Can you give us an image of what Rondo looked like before the freeway? Do you have a story from today? We would love to have you share it with us. Rondo Days is an important place to remember history and to make history. Storymobile will be on site from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Drop a line or two.
The Great Outdoors
Music in the Parks, Music in Mears, Music Mondays and Groovin’ in the Garden at the Como Zoo and Conservatory. We’ve had theater in the parks, dancing downtown, and the first outdoor jazz fest. Maybe it’s time to grab a blanket and catch a movie.
The rest of the summer is offering a couple of opportunities for outdoor cinema. Saint Paul Parks and Recreation are sponsoring Movies in the Park. On Friday, July 18, Hillcrest Park will be the site for a screening of Blind Side. Hillcrest Park is at 1978 Ford Parkway.
Friday also marks the beginning of an outdoor film series presented by The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library called Writers on Screen. It is four weeks of free films, in the courtyard at the George Latimer Central Library.
The films feature fictional writers as the subject matter. This week’s selection is Stranger than Fiction, the story of a man who finds that the voice in his head is that of a fiction writer with a reputation for killing off his characters—and this writer is narrating his life into story. The Central Library is at 90 Fourth Street West, across from Rice Park.
These screenings, in both series, start at dusk, so you might want to get your spot on the lawn before 9 p.m.
This weekend, we have a couple of festivals that both started 31 years ago.
Friday, July 18, starts Highland Fest: Art and Music in the Village. Highland Fest this year includes live music, a beer tent, the juried art fair, a petting zoo, wiener dog races, the business fair, inflatable rides and games, the 5K road race, and an exciting array of food and beverage vendors. There are a lot more activities for everyone, including the First Annual All Ford Car and Truck Show, commemorating 86 years of the Twin Cities Ford Assembly Plant. The festival gets underway at 5:30 p.m. on Friday and goes through Sunday afternoon along Ford Parkway in the Highland Park neighborhood. This gathering is huge and a lot of fun.
It has been a couple of generations since the Rondo neighborhood was the center of Saint Paul’s largest African American community. In the 1960s, Interstate 94 geographically divided the community, took many of the homes, and displaced much of the population. Each summer, the festival gathers people from every neighborhood and every generation to remember the stories and celebrate today’s community. Rondo Days is an annual festival that, according to the sponsors, “celebrates the best and brightest of Minnesota’s African-American stories, achievements and culture. It reunites a dispersed people, welcomes new neighbors and encourages everyone to be mindful of the extent to which neighborhoods nourish our souls.” Over time, the festival has become a favorite for everyone in Saint Paul. The Frank Adams 5K run/walk starts at 8 a.m. A spectacular parade starts at 10 a.m. , beginning at St. Peter Claver Church on Central Avenue and Oxford through the Rondo neighborhood to the festival location at The Rondo Education Center’s Outdoor Field, 560 Concordia Avenue. Remember to catch the Storymobile. Bring the family, all the generations and stories of Rondo, old and new.
Maybe you want to get outside but don’t want to be stuck in one place. There are a few chances to learn some interesting things and history about the city’s neighborhoods and people. The first is the Working the West End History Pub Crawl. On Wednesday, July 16, from 7 to 9 p.m., you will be in Saint Paul’s oldest neighborhood (at least temporarily) and revel in vibrant tales of the Yankees, Czechs, Germans, and Italians who gave life to the historic West End. Drinks are not included in the price of the tour, and you must be age 21 or older to attend, but you will get more than an eyeful as you drink in this piece of Saint Paul history. This is one of many of the History Center’s quite popular History Crawls. Get tickets here. As always, the bus leaves from the History Center, 345 Kellogg Boulevard West.
Another fun event is the Lowertown Historic Walking Tour. You might have enjoyed the atmosphere of Lowertown during an art crawl, one of Saint Paul Almanac’s Lowertown Reading Jams, the Farmers’ Market, or many of the other aspects of community and atmosphere at the end of the tracks, but there are a lot of stories and history, old and recent, behind the classic buildings. This week, tours will be held on Tuesday, July 15, and Thursday, July 17, and will be held each Tuesday and Thursday through August 7. The tours are sponsored by Lowertown Landing and the Lowertown Future Fund. Participation is free, but space is limited. Sign up here and let them know your are coming. Tours start at 6 p.m. at the Northern Building, 308 Prince Street.
The next tour is of the Twin Cities’ natural history using the Green Line as your guide. Artist and naturalist Sarah Nassif invites the community to explore the city’s fascinating urban ecology from the past and present using her free field books available at local businesses on the Green Line and at an artist-led foray through Lowertown. Nassif’s Irrigate-sponsored “TRAIN STOPS = TRAILHEADS: Step into Twin Cities natural history along The Other Green Line” lets you choose guided and self-guided “forays” from eight Green Line LRT stations, and learn stories of the land, plants, animals, and forces that have shaped this place over thousands of years. Sarah and a group of explorers will meet at at 11:00 a.m. at Bedlam Theatre Lowertown for coffee and an introduction. Walk around Lowertown. Take and draw pictures of urban life. Post on social media with the hashtag #theothergreenline. Participation is free. See more at The Other Green Line.
Maybe you are taking the idea of foraging more literally. If that’s the case, you might want to check out the Minnesota History Center’s University-Rondo-Frogtown History Food Crawl. The History Center invites you to “explore University Avenue, the former country road that both divides and defines the district. Investigate the immigrant enclave of Frogtown and the African American neighborhood of Rondo.” The tour leaves from the Minnesota History Center on Saturday, July 19, at 1 p.m.; some walking is involved. Food samples are included in ticket price. Get your tickets soon. There is still room on this bus, which leaves from the History Center.
It’s Composer Night again at Studio Z. On Tuesday, July 15, The New Ruckus presents Composer Night and the work of Karel Suchy and Michael Flomer. Composer Night is an opportunity for composers to present their work, chat with the audience, receive feedback, and connect with others who have a passion for musical adventure. The event begins at 7 p.m. Studio Z is at 275 East Fourth Street, Suite 200, in Lowertown. The event is free and friendly.
The long-running “Gathering” is on again this week at the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar. Hosted by Sendero Flamenco, each month they present a “unique music and dance event featuring Gypsy-inspired performance.” On Saturday, July 19, The July Gathering will feature performers Akiko and Gabe Barnett. The best feature is that The Gathering wants you to join in. You can come early for a nosh and then watch a great, energy-packed show. You can also let them know that you want to be a part of their OPEN STAGE. Advanced ticket seating starts at 7:30 p.m. with table service and tickets sold at the door. There are only three events left this year before the format changes, so you might want to catch it now.
Maybe you have looked at all of this or have seen how big the Almanac arts calendar has grown. Maybe it is too much to handle, too much of a lot of good things. Maybe it’s time to dabble in a little minimalism. On Sunday, July 20, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ray Nicodemus will be at Dayton Avenue Presbyterian Church to talk about the book Everything That Remains. Millburn was a successful twenty-something who thought he had everything he wanted. Blindsided by the loss of his mother and his marriage in the same month, he started questioning every aspect of the life he had built for himself. Then, he accidentally discovered a lifestyle known as minimalism…and everything started to change. This event is co-sponsored by SubText: A Bookstore and begins at 7 p.m. Dayton Avenue Presbyterian Church is at 217 Mackubin Street.
If you haven’t let go of everything after listening to Millburn and Nicodemus, you might have room for one more thing the next day. It is a week from now, but you might want to take this chance to recall one of the special features of the last Saint Paul Art Crawl.
Nigel Parry’s 2nd place winning entry
You might remember the “Art of Baseballs” exhibit cosponsored by the St. Paul Art Collective and the St. Paul Saints baseball club during the last Saint Paul Art Crawl. Now the sponsors are auctioning off the unique works of art Monday, July 21, at Midway Stadium when the Saints take on the Sioux Falls Canaries. This Art Baseball Auction is your chance to revisit these items of creativity, art, and fancy. It is a silent auction, and 40 percent of each baseball sold will go directly to the creating artist. Proceeds from ticket sales and the auction will benefit the programs of the St. Paul Art Collective. The game starts at 7:05 p.m., and anyone with a ticket can bid on these superb and sublime items.
As you know by now, there is more in the Almanac’s arts calendar. Take a trip around the neighborhoods. You’ll fall in love with the past, with today, and with our future. Have a great week!