Foggy Saint Paul Skyline © berry LLC.
Foggy Saint Paul Skyline © Berry Wing LLC.


The spectacle of the Fourth of July left us with a late night of fireworks after an exciting extra-inning ball game at CHS field. Last week was grand, but there are even more fireworks in store for this week. You cannot possibly catch them all, but Saint Paul is busy this week. Take a look, listen, feel, and taste. You will be glad you shared it with us.

Words and Letters

raising-twins-soft-coversI don’t know why, but this is a combination it seems I have been waiting to see for 25 years. Well, maybe not this specific combination, but a flavor of America’s jazz seems to be at least teased by the combined reading by Freya Manfred and Sherrie Fernandez-Williams at Common Good Books on Wednesday, July 8. They will be sharing from their respective memoirs, one storied remembrance of a legendary Minnesota literary lineage and another that is slowly achieving prominence in recent generations. Raising Twins is the second memoir from Manfred, the daughter of writer Frederick Manfred. It is the story of being the mother of fraternal twins. Soft is Fernandez-Williams’ first book. Author Patricia Weaver Francisco says, “Soft is about coming up through poverty and silence and getting ‘grown,’ about writing as an act of faith, adoption and the shock of motherhood, terror and the hard, true path of love.” Fernandez-Williams was a Loft Mentor Series winner for creative nonfiction and is a Givens Black Writers Collaborative Retreat fellow, among other honors. Common Good Books is at 38 South Snelling Avenue. The reading starts at 7 p.m.


greates-homerunWords. Letters. Baseball. A piece I read a couple of weeks ago reminded me that, unlike most sports, baseball has something about it that makes for real stories about the culture and history with which we live. Combining baseball and literature is not just joining two things that people like in one place. Baseball writing is a place where the pieces of our culture and society meet stories that are more interesting than most jock stories.


Cheryl-Wilgren-ClyneThe ballpark is also a place for poetry, or at least it will be on Wednesday, July 8. I will join writer, comedian, and “bearded genius” Brian Beatty and super-talented conceptual artist Cheryl Wilgren Clyne for Baseball, Poetry and Tube Socks. This isn’t a mere whimsical nod to “Mighty Casey.” This is a live performance of poetry inspired by space and personality that starts at 5 p.m. before the Ottawa Champions vs. Saints game in the Saints Art Park by the Fourth Street entrance of the park. Brian and I will continue to create poems during the game in the craft beer corner. YOU CAN MAKE POETRY, TOO. At the end of the game, we will read what we’ve created at the entrance. We will enlist manual typewriters, paper, megaphones—and fans of the game and the word whose ears might perk at the crack of a bat as well as the crack of the typewriter key. A note of adventure: Brian and I have never met. Improv without a net. If you don’t come for the baseball or the poetry, you can come for the cliff hanging. The Saints play at CHS Field in Lowertown, 360 Broadway Street. We would love to see you.


King-ThorsonThere is more. On Thursday, July 9, combine the words and the music at Khyber Pass Thursdays. The weekly jazz series will bring together poet Ted King and bassist Brock Thorson. They will be followed by the band Le Percheron. This spot is full of attitude and atmosphere and good food. This week’s show steps it up a notch. They begin at 9 p.m., a time for real jazz folks. Khyber Pass is at 1571 Grand Avenue.


davu-seru-dean-mcgrawIt is the first Tuesday this week and I am taking the opportunity to remind you, as I have before, that it is time for Dean and Davu. First Tuesdays with Dean Magraw and Davu Seru brings together each month one of the region’s most versatile guitarists, whose repertoire is as broad as his reputation and who has played with some of the jazz and folk greats, with one of the most sought-after masters of improvisation and percussion. If you have not caught this show yet, it might be time. The Black Dog is in Lowertown at 308 East Prince Street. They start at 7 p.m.

Mother-BanjoWednesday, July 8, kicks off the Music in the Café series at Landmark Center. Music in the Café is the noontime concert series that features some of the area’s most talented musicians in the beautiful Landmark atrium. The launching show brings Mother Banjo to the stage. The group features Ellen Stanley, a songwriter who has been called “an outstanding poet” by Inside Bluegrass and was a Midwest finalist for the prestigious Mountain Stage NewSong Contest. It is a good way to spend your lunch hour. Landmark Center is at 75 West Fifth Street across from Rice Park in Downtown.


Dread-I-DreadAlso, Wednesday’s Groovin’ in the Garden features Dred I Dread at the Como Zoo & Conservatory, 1225 Eastbrook Drive at 6 p.m.

The-Twilight-HoursThis week’s edition of Music in Mears headlines The Twilight Hour with Irie Sol opening. That’s Thursday, July 9, opening act at 6 p.m. at 221 East Fifth Street in Lowertown.

all-originals-jazz-series-logoAlso on Thursday, Studio Z’s All Originals Jazz Series presents the James Buckley Trio: James Buckley, bass; JT Bates, drums; and Bryan Nichols, piano. This weekly offering showcases some of the best local jazz ensembles. This show starts at 8 p.m. Studio Z is at 275 East Fourth Street in Lowertown.
Deeper into the jazz night, remember Le Percheron + Ted King and Brock Thorson at Khyber Pass. (See above in “Words and Letters.”)


More Than Music

The-New-Standards-2There are a handful of Bastille Day celebrations around town this week. One has the flavor of jazz in it, so we will lead with that. On Saturday, July 11, the Seventh Street Mall in Downtown will be the site for Bastille Day, presented by Alliance Francaise and the Dakota. It is a jazz fest, a gathering of fun, and a celebration. The event will have live music from The New Standards, Francine Roche Trio, and Lo’ Jo. There will be an artist marketplace with screen printing and a silver smith demo. Among the refreshment co-stars is fare provided by Indeed Brewery and Meritage Crepe Stand. Ride in a classic Citroen car. Enjoy kids’ activities and crafts. Also, catch the after party at Vieux Carré. It’s more than just music. It’s more than just fest. It’s more than just fun.

Family, Fun & Fests

Summer-SparkIt is still Summer Spark at Saint Paul libraries with events on Tuesday, July 7, including: Bill the Juggler at Merriam Park Library (1831 Marshall Avenue), the Shiffelly Puppets at the Saint Anthony Park Library (2245 Como Avenue), “Reading with Horse Power” at Riverview Library (1 East George Street), and multilingual storyteller Paulino Brener at the West 7th Library (265 Oneida Street). Check here for times.

<img class=”alignright size-full wp-image-19239″ src=”” alt=”drive-way-tour” width=”275
” height=”375″ />We are not done with the puppets. The Open Eye Figure Theatre has launched its Driveway Tour with three traveling shows this year: Tucker’s Robot, The Adventures of Katie Tomatie, and The Adventures of Juan Bobo. The first Saint Paul date will be on Wednesday, July 8, when the Dayton’s Bluff/Metropolitan State libraries host a showing of Tucker’s Robot and a community event where you can meet neighbors, meet folks from other neighborhoods, and have fun. Open Eye has a national reputation for its art and shows that are filled with sound, color, and surprise.


Storymobile-first-crewAlso, Storymobile will make a special appearance, so you can not only listen to stories but leave one yourself. The libraries are at 645 East Seventh Street. The action starts at 7 p.m.

Movies in the Park start this week on Thursday, July 9, at Arlington Hills Community Center and Library, 1200 Payne Avenue on the East Side. The evening starts off at 5 p.m. with a night of “Community Fun for All” that includes free food off the grill. At dusk will be a screening of the movie Spiderman 2.

movie-postersOn Friday, July 10, the projector moves to Northwest Como Recreation Center, 1550 Hamline Avenue North. It is a night of movies and camping for families (there still might be time to register for the family camping part; call 651-298-5813 to get details). Whether you care about camping or not, you can check out the screening of The Goonies at 9 p.m. Concessions will be for sale from 6 to 10 p.m.

Como-FestFriday also marks the start of three days of Como Fest. The first day, Friday, July 10, will be held at Northwest Como Rec Center and is part of the Movies in the Park camping event. There will also be outdoor ball games and family activities. Saturday, July 11, the fun and fest move to the Lyngblomsten campus for Lyngblomsten Mid-Summer Festival. The event will include top-rate performances from Titambe West African Drumming and Dance Ensemble; global music from Sounds of Hope, an ensemble of 10- to 23-year-olds from around the world; Kalpulli Ketzal Coatlicue Aztec Dancers; Wild Goose Chase Cloggers; percussion quartet MATRA; dance from Sendero Flamenco; OboeBass!; VocalEssence Ensemble Singers; selections from the Minnesota Opera; Center City Opera: Opera on a Schtic; autoharp and mountain dulcimer player Karen Mueller; classical and popular music from Red Rose Trio; the Afro-Caribbean rhythms of The Maroons; the big band sounds of the Red Rock Swing Band; Ticket to Brasil;
1st Things 1st big band; Walker West Music Academy Jazz Ensemble; Marimba Bullies; and Northern Gael. If your Saturday is not all filled up with sound, check out the festival’s wealth of arts and activities, where you can see, make, and buy art. There are a lot of games to play and food to eat. It’s the busy day of the festival.

Stan-BannOn Sunday, July 12, head to the Como Lakeside Pavilion for more Como Fest art and fun. Join as a spectator or participant in the Como Family 5K Fun Run & Walk around Lake Como starting at 8 a.m. (Get there early if you want to join the run/walk.) There is more art to see and for sale at the pavilion. There is a free Children’s Make & Take craft from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Join the Watershed district lake clean up and climbing wall. The day ends with Stan Bann’s Big Bone Band at Como Lakeside Pavilion at 3 p.m. The pavilion is at 1360 North Lexington Parkway.

st-kates-artists-circleAlso this weekend, Saturday, July 11—in another one of our dozens of favorite Saint Paul parts of town—is the Art at St. Kate’s Art Fair. Presented by Artists’ Circle, a Minnesota nonprofit art organization, and Textile Center, the fair brings artists from all over in every arts medium to display and vend their works. This show is a highly anticipated annual one-day outdoor art fair in Saint Paul with 100 juried artists who create and sell fine crafts, including clay, fiber, glass, leather, jewelry (gold, silver, stone, beaded), metal, paper, wood, and mixed media, as well as fine arts, including painting, watercolor, photography, printmaking, and sculpture. This year’s six featured artists are: Megan Moore, Minneapolis; Jill Lynn, Minneapolis; Bernadette Mahfood, Winona; Karin Kramer, Duluth; Craig Richardson, Saint Paul; and Brenna Klassen-Glanzer, Minneapolis. The St. Catherine University campus is at 2004 Randolph Avenue. The fair runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Find-WaldoEven with all of this, are the youngest people in your house getting bored with summer break? It might be a little early, but by the end of the month, the drone of “I’m bored” will waft through the house, mixing with misdirected flows of air conditioning. The Red Balloon Bookshop has one solution. It is sponsoring a “Find Waldo Local” 2015! for the entire month of July. Pick up your “Find Waldo Local” passport and then go to the 25 local businesses along Grand Avenue and find the well-hidden Waldo. The folks at the business will stamp your passport; save all your stamps for the Where’s Waldo Celebration on Thursday, July 30, at 6:30 p.m. If you have 20 stamps or more, you can enter a drawing for gift cards from local businesses. It is a great way to spend July and, as they say, “Shop local: Find Waldo here!” Look here for participating businesses. The Red Balloon is at 891 Grand Avenue.

Big Fest

For-The-Love-LogoStarting in the afternoon and going until the late hours in Lowertown is the huge, star-studded For the Love, A Community Celebration. This one-day event is so big it needs three stages, all of which will be busy and full. For the Love says the event was created to “showcase the beautiful Saint Paul Lowertown area to all people of the Twin Cities and surrounding areas, while showcasing some of our favorite TC Hip Hop Talent.” This event is full of strong spoken-word and musical voices that are creating a strong and rich musical and literary scene that builds on an already strong artistic culture here in the Twin Cities.

Included in the lineup are some Saint Paul Almanac Lowertown Reading Jam veterans, Soul Sounds Open Mic/Re-Verb Open Mic regulars, and poetry slam champions.

EnsembleThe lineup includes:
Ashley DuBose
The Big EPIC Show
Carnage the Executioner
Alissa Paris
Rogue Citizen
Tish Jones
Manny Phesto
Nsikak Essien
Megan Hamilton
Chris Lawrence
Old Friend
Greg Grease
Saymoukda Vongsay

Serena Black
Lizz Brazen
ShaVunda Horsley
and more

Two great things about this event: One is that it is strong, diverse, and not lacking in new talent; two, some of the strongest stars are lending their presence to hand the stage to some of the rising stars.

Stages are at Bedlam Theatre, 213 East Fourth Street; the Union Depot, 214 East Fourth Street; and the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, 308 East Prince Street. This is a great event with great, life-giving energy: “for the love.” Be there between 2 p.m. and 2 a.m.

The Other

I know you are worn out. You might think this is enough, but you only need to look at the Almanac arts and culture calendar to see that we have barely begun to art! I would love to see you along with all the other cool kids all over town this week. If you see me or any of our neighbors, say hello. Have a great week!

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