I have been thinking about this week for some time. I have been wondering what I would say, what I would tell you about, and have been feeling overwhelmed. The summer is busy and is even more so this weekend with the Light Rail Transit Green Line Opening on June 14. With free rides from Lowertown to our neighbors in Minneapolis, there’s a lot to see, with activities, entertainment, and art at each stop. The Saint Paul Almanac will be at the Victoria Station with our Storymobile. Hopefully, we will see you there as well as a few other places this week.
As we said before, the Storymobile will make its first public appearance during the Green Line Opening Day Events on June 14 all day at the Victoria Station on University Avenue. The Storymobile will be part of the celebration of the art, culture, and history of the Rondo, Summit-University, and Frogtown neighborhoods. Wherever you find the Storymobile, you will find a place to make your own history. It is the Saint Paul Almanac on wheels, honoring place, connection, community, and process through the power of story. Take hold of our iPads, microphones, amps, and keyboards—as well as good old paper and pencil—to share and record stories. Come be a part of the event. The train emerges from behind the ribbon at 9 a.m. Read more about this first-of-its-kind project here.
The Storymobile by the Mississippi on it’s first full test run.
Words and Stories
On Wednesday, June 11, Rachel Freed will be at SubText: A Bookstore with her book Your Legacy Matters. Freed invites us to do what we at the Almanac practice and preach: write letters to create a legacy, both for those we love and for ourselves. These love letters are about our values, history, and personal peace and blessings for people we care about. Come to join the discussion about what we leave for those we love. The event starts at 7 p.m. SubText is at 165 North Western Avenue.
The Minnesota Museum of American Art opens its 2014 Minnesota Biennial on Thursday, June 12. This is a juried exhibition featuring the work of thirty-six artists from within the Twin Cities to parts in Greater Minnesota. The exhibit is a snapshot of some of the best art happening in the state today. It celebrates different forms, ranging from painting, photography, sculpture, installation, and ceramics to other forms. The Biennial is a showcase of artistic ingenuity. The museum is at 141 East Fourth Street (the corner of Fourth and Robert Streets). The event begins at 7 p.m.
Things Happening Not on the Green Line on Saturday, June 14
You can spend all day on the Green Line on Saturday, but you might want to take a break from the masses while not missing any fun. One thing to do is to head to the Wellstone Center at Neighborhood House for World Refugee Day. More than 100,000 refugees are living in Minnesota today from an array of countries, cultures, and ethnicities. This event will include song, dance, spoken word, visual art, and a community-wide gathering of stories that need to be shared. The event runs from noon until 5 p.m. The Wellstone Center is at 179 Robie Street East on the city’s West Side.
Earlier this year, Ellis Paul was supposed to join us at the Ginkgo Coffeehouse Music Series. His plane was snowed in during what was supposed to be spring in most places. This musician that the Boston Globe calls a “songwriter’s songwriter” will return to share his songs and maybe a story or two. Ginkgo is at 721 North Snelling Avenue. The show starts at 7 p.m.
Also, that morning, bring the kids to Ginkgo to hear Ellis Paul and the legendary Pop Wagner’s kids show. It might be a great stop off before showing the kids the new trains at the Snelling station. That show starts at 10 a.m.
There is too much going on to mention during the Green Line opening day, but we have included a long list of events along the Green line that will catch your attention while you are not visiting the Storymobile. There are big parties at the Black Dog Café, Union Depot, Raymond Avenue, and every other stop. You can enjoy ballet dancers, flamenco dancers, dragon dancers, jazz and bluegrass, and more.
When the festivities end, be sure to head to the opening night of the Little Mekong Night Market. This isn’t just another farmers’ market. It’s a happening. This first date is the first of many throughout the summer. It’s fresh food with performance, art, and culture. You can experience it at University Avenue between Mai Village Restaurant (394 University Avenue) and Little Szechuan Restaurant, near the corner of University and Western. It starts at 5 p.m. and goes until 10 p.m.
Last Tuesday night Downtown, I was greeted by a long line of people that stretched the length of 7th Place, up Wabasha Street all the way to the caramel corn store in the middle of the block. They were waiting to be a part of the opening night performance of The Red Box at Park Square Theatre. The show is a fun murder mystery. A poisoned lovely young woman, an eccentric orchid lover detective who rarely leaves his Manhattan apartment, a funny sidekick with a flair for the drawing room mystery, The Red Box promises entertainment and art worthy of Park Square’s reputation. The show runs through July 13.
After the dust has settled from the Green Line festivities, on Sunday, June 15, you can take a free ride to a free production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night by Theatre Pro Rata at Union Depot. This is a modernized production of the classic in a modernized, classic space. Behind Pro Rata’s mission is the intent to honor the scriptwriter’s work while creating moving, thought-provoking theater. They say of their work that they want to “give the audience something to take away and artists to sink their teeth into.” This is a great way to experience the new train and our new public art and transportation space in Lowertown. Artists take the stage at 6:30 p.m. If you don’t think you can make this show, you might want to catch them earlier, on Friday, June 13, at the Lake Phalen Amphitheater, 1600 Phalen Drive. This show is also at 6:30 p.m.
It is a busy week with the Green Line opening. There is a lot to do over the next seven days. The Saint Paul Almanac arts calendar will tell you about some gems on that day and for the rest of a week in this very unsleepy city.
I also want to give recognition to a special person who has, for the past thirty weeks, been a strong part of the team that has made this column so special—and pretty. Nigel Parry has edited and done some amazing and beautiful online layout for each week of TWISP. We appreciate what he has done for us at the Almanac and for this labor of love. We will miss him on these pages, but will be happy to see him in Lowertown, maybe with more frequency with the running of the Green Line. He is a man of many talents and many projects, and we wish him well as he continues to wish all of us in the Almanac family well in our quest for all of our stories. Thanks, Nigel.