A Kinda Kinky Holiday

 

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Kinda Kinky take the stage at their 2016 Holiday Concert 

Been a busy holiday season, and I’m ready to start the new year! My lovely fiance and I are scheduled to tie the knot this spring, so it is going to be an exciting year for us (if not for the country). Let’s try to update what we’ve been up to this chilly time of the year.

A month or so ago, on a snowy evening in December, Lindsay and I attended one of the most joyful and kitschy pieces of holiday nostalgia you can experience in the Twin Cities. Kinda Kinky is an energetic, rocking tribute band devoted to the seminal ‘60s English band, the Kinks. Touted by the Star Tribune as the best cover band in town, it is easy to see why. Lindsay introduced me to the four piece band last spring and she had gotten us very excited to see their annual holiday concert and food drive this year, held at the Eagle’s Club in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis.  

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A snowy night at the Eagles Club

The 6th annual show, Kinda Kinky and a variety of other local guest musicians, including David Campbell (formerly of the Current), mounted the festively decorated stage and belted out a best of compilation of the Kinks’ classic songs. It really was quite the time! Fellow 30 somethings, if you are tired of feeling super old every time you decide to check out a show, stopping in here will make you feel like one of the kids, downright underage! It was, I think, the most fun I’ve had at a holiday event in a long time. The Minneapolis Eagles Club is quite a kitschy, cavernous venue by itself, appearing much unchanged since the ‘70s and the expansive dance floor made a great space for rocking out, even for those of us who are not really used to cutting a rug. I’m definitely looking forward to checking it out next year! With some food drive donations, tickets are discounted, so it’s definitely a fun, inexpensive treat in a season known for splurging. 

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The Cure in St. Paul

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The Cure, from the top of the seats!

So, seminal English post-punk band, The Cure, visited the Twin Cities for the first time in twenty years as part of their North American 2016 tour last Tuesday, packing the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, and Lindsay and I were there! Lindsay, a bit of a fan of the ‘80s band, picked up tickets for us and we were excited to be present! Of course, we had to be, I mean, these tickets weren’t exactly cheap, and, of course, The Cure! Growing up, I was a bit ignorant of much of popular music, but over the last few years I’ve been trying to increase my knowledge, so this was a great opportunity to see some giants play.  

This was my first real experience with a huge, arena rock show and it was quite the spectacle. Approaching the Xcel, we found ourselves swamped in a hoard of 40-something Cure fans, all clamoring to get through the metal detectors and into the stadium. Lindsay had gotten us some good seats, at least until the organizers decided to open up more of them, pushing us further away from the stage. Up there in the nosebleeds, it was like, as expressed by Lindsay, we were watching an audience watch a show! The flags of the United States and Canada hung above the space usually set aside for hockey, where instead an eager audience awaited a band from Britain. The Cure were opened by The Midnight Sad, a band from Glasgow, Scotland, whose lead singer bantered with the crowd in his Scottish brogue. After their set, the Cure came on!

Robert Smith, founding member and sole remaining original, performed plenty of Cure classics, for nearly three hours, pausing for an encore every forty-five minutes or so. The production values were quite impressive, rainbow lights and pulsing, themed images projected behind the band members as they went through their numbers. The air became thick and foggy with illicit smokes and the screams of fans who, having imbibed too much, were reliving their misspent youth. Lindsay and I realized that we were on the lower end of the average age bracket of the show. Upon the last encore, we left the Xcel along with a dazed crowd, who dispersed into the quiet, midnight streets of St. Paul, a city which had long since gone to bed.   

Light up the Night at the American Swedish Institute

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Rupert Angeleyes performs in front of Turnblad Mansion

Where does the time go? Last time I wrote, an entry for my “Where U Wanna Eat?” segment, I wasn’t even in Minnesota, but spending a couple weeks in southern California. Spring popped up while we were gone, and now it’s practically summer! We got back some weeks ago, and adventures were had, but what with the move to St. Paul and my goodbye to living in Minneapolis, I’ve had my hands full. Better late than never, over the next few entries I’ll write up accounts of a few fun things I’ve done recently, and some fun traditions and new things that I’m looking forward to in the next few months!

Last spring, I attended one of the elegant American Swedish Institute’s fetes, Cocktails at the Castle, an intermittent event in the spring. I attended again this year on May 6th with my girlfriend Lindsay, her first time visiting the American Swedish Institute’s “castle,” Turnblad Mansion. The theme this year was “light up the night,” and we arrived early and spent the entire evening there, eating Scandinavian delicacies like herring and potato salad and drinking some of ASI’s special cocktails on the mansion’s lawn. The entertaining local “music project” Rupert Angeleyes performed on the steps of the mansion, setting up an awesome vibe. Lindsay and I have seen them perform before and they always put on a great show, one that really suited the festive atmosphere.

 

After the show, we painted a watercolor together, explored the mansion from top to bottom, searching for clues for the scavenger hunt, and then got a tour of the entire universe courtesy of the Bell Museum’s traveling planetarium. It was a lovely, warm night and a great time. Like last year, though, it was definitely a bit on the steep side, with a ticket price of $22 each, not counting the food or drink.

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Our watercolor masterpiece! 

As the summer progresses, some of my favorite local events are coming up, many of which are free to experience! Northern Spark is approaching in just a few weeks and looks wonderful, as usual. I’m also looking forward to visiting the Floating Library again later in the summer, and to the many Open Streets events that occur throughout Minneapolis. There will be new events to report on this summer as well, and I’m so excited to experience all the great things Minneapolis and St. Paul pull out for these months of warmth in Minnesota.  

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Enjoying a Scandinavian beer at Cocktails at the Castle. Not a cocktail, I know! 

Minneapolis Reading Time: Jazz Music at the St. Paul Public Library

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Rice Park’s statue of F. Scott Fitzgerald on a snowy spring day not unlike today. You know, Fitzgerald hated snow!

[Cross post with my Reading Rainstorm blog segment, Land of 10,000 Pages]

I attended a very interesting little event at the St. Paul Public Library a few weeks ago and have just gotten around to writing about it! Music of the Jazz Age was a relaxing, casual Sunday afternoon event held at the ornate Magazine Room on the third floor of the George Latimer Central Library. This was one of the first events by a new literary group in the Twin Cities, Fitzgerald in St. Paul, a nonprofit dedicated to celebrating the achievements of classic American author F. Scott Fitzgerald in his hometown of St. Paul.

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George Latimer Central Library, St. Paul

This is particularly interesting to me as I prepare to move in with my sweetheart into Fitzgerald’s very own neighborhood in St. Paul! Yes, I’m crossing the river and moving into the other Twin City! As was mentioned by the librarian in the introduction to the Music of the Jazz Age program, we were walking in the footsteps of Fitzgerald in at the George Latimer Central Library, and in my own daily life too! Of note, the Magazine Room also houses the F. Scott Fitzgerald Reading Alcove. It was a superb space to listen to some of the music of his time. Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda Fitzgerald themselves coined the term “the Jazz Age,” to refer to the era they lived in, and some very talented musicians were invited to perform some examples of the jazz that inspired the moniker.

Vocalist Connie Evingson, accompanied by Dan Chouinard on piano and Chris Bates on bass, performed some elegant renditions of some popular pieces from the 1920s, including some mentioned in a few of Fitzgerald’s stories. Three O’Clock in the Morning, one of the songs sung by Evingson, was mentioned in The Great Gatsby, for instance. A few excerpts from Fitzgerald’s works were read and one felt almost as though one had gone back in time, to when you were actually allowed to smoke in the library! Although Lindsay and I were among a handful of people under age 50 in the audience, I would recommend people of all ages keeping an eye on Fitzgerald in St. Paul, which will be offering a monthly series the first Sunday of every month at FitzFirst@Four. The next one, at Common Good Books, discusses Fitzgerald’s story The Rich Boy on April 3rd at 4 pm. Similar stories appear in one of the books I mentioned in my entry My Twin Cities Reading List, The St. Paul Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

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153518Next, I think I’ll be reading this book, A Guide to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s St. Paul.l Perhaps, as I walk in the footsteps of the great writer, I’ll share more of my discoveries!

 

 

 

 

 

A January of Music

 

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Interior of George Latimer Central Library, Loud at the Library

During the dead of a Minnesota winter, whether during biting subzero temperatures, dreary winter thaws, or majestic but disruptive blizzard is to take advantage of some of the Twin Cities’ venues for live music, listening to bands both local and visiting our cities. Over the past month, Lindsay and I have seen some pretty awesome shows, in some pretty awesome and intimate settings. In all of them, it felt like we were just hanging out with the bands! Here are a few highlights from a January of music!

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The Anonymous Choir, at Icehouse

Probably my favorite show of the month (and the year so far) was the Anonymous Choir Sings Leonard Cohen, a beautiful and romantic interpretation of Cohen’s classic songs by Anonymous Choir. Nona Marie Invie of Dark Dark Dark’s fifteen person women’s choir, . The venue, Icehouse, was a particularly apt place to experience the dulcet vocals and piano the choir specializes in. This was made even more enjoyable as Lindsay and I enjoyed a few of Icehouses’ heady, delicious cocktails at the site of our first date! Wow, romantic!

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StoLyette at the Nomad World Pub

Another of my favorite local bands I found out about a year ago at the Cedar Cultural Center, StoLyette played a few weeks ago at the Nomad World Pub, part of Bones and Beeker’s Minneseries, held there every Thursday night. The Nomad is a great, relaxed pub with a pretty strong list of craft beers and cocktails (in both senses of the word) and is a great place to experience some live music. Dosh had some interesting and hypnotic tunes, mixed live, and again StoLyette entranced me with their ethereal, eerie sound and modernized Russian folksongs sung in Russian! Pretty cool.

When seeing shows at First Avenue, I think I prefer the 7th Street Entry which, while a little cramped, always seems to be a cozier, more intimate space for listening to bands. Earlier in January we went to see one of Lindsay’s favorite bands, Lower Dens, an indie pop band from Baltimore on their return to the Twin Cities. The group performed a lively and energetic show for a packed audience eager for their dreamy but upbeat sound.

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Straining to see Lower Dens through the crowd at 7th Street Entry

The last music event we experienced in January was one of the most interesting. Celebrating the reopening of the historic, elegant George Latimer Central Library branch of the St. Paul Public Library, this year’s first Loud at the Library concert was awesome. Featuring local sibling singers The Ericksons and the headliner, folk rock singer Reina del Cid, it was a great location for some awesome, upbeat songs, like this one!

In between sets, a DJ played selections from the St. Paul Public Library‘s own, awesome vinyl collection (which are available to check out!) Thanks to sponsor Summit Brewing, another local St. Paul institution, bottles of free beer were provided. I will definitely have to pay off the fines I owe to the St. Paul Public Library so that I can make use of their collections (in particular their vinyl) in the future!

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Reina del Cid, Loud at the Library

Loud at the Library will be continuing to bring live music to the George Latimer Central Library in February and March, so definitely check that out!

 

 

Day Trip: A Winnipeg Adventure

Here I talk about some destination we in the Twin Cities can get to in less than a day’s driving in order to get a change of scenery for a bit

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Downtown Winnipeg

While some people in Minnesota go on vacations to Florida or Cancun in the middle of January, my sister and I decided to instead take our short winter trip to Winnipeg, Manitoba! We made the seven hour drive from Minneapolis to see a special concert, the Love, Lake Winnipeg concert, a tribute to Canadian folk singer Sol Sigurdson, which included one of our favorite musicians, John K. Samson of the recently disbanded Weakerthans.

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Just past the border!

I can’t think of a better long weekend escape than driving up to Winnipeg, such an interesting and fascinating city that offers a lot of fun things to visit even in the dead of winter with temperatures hovering around -2 all day(-18 celsius!). As we drove up through northern Minnesota and into North Dakota, we crossed the border with no trouble and headed north through the vast, flat prairies of the Prairie province, covered in layers of snow. It seemed snowier than we’ve had down here yet. After checking into our hotel and getting a wad of lovely Canadian currency from the ATM, we spent the rest of the day exploring downtown Winnipeg. Here are a few highlights you should check out if you visit.

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Canadian Museum for Human Rights, at twilight

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights– An amazing feat of architecture, the glistening, glassy spire of the museum towers over the banks of the Red River and affords a commanding view of the Winnipeg skyline on both sides of the river. Opened a little more than year ago, in September of 2014, this was a thought provoking, informative, and affirming museum to visit, one of the best I have visited so far on my blog. With glowing marble ramps and interactive, bilingual displays discussing human rights and Canada’s triumphs and failures throughout its history in terms of racism, sexism, gender, ableism, and labor, making me wish that the United States, and Minnesota in particular, had more to offer here. Truly an awe inspiring place.

The Forks Market

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Forks Market on a subzero morning

A cozy indoor market at the historic confluence of the Red River and the Assiniboine River in a converted rail yard horse stables, the Forks Market is definitely a fun place to go for lunch, breakfast, or just to do some shopping. There’s all sorts of different quick and tasty food to grab, Sri Lankan, Chilean, Ukrainian, crepes, and  Caribbean, among others, and plenty of places to grab those needed Canadian souvenirs as well.

The Exchange District

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Stephen Juba Park, just outside the Exchange District

There are a lot of fun things to do around this well preserved historic neighborhood, including Corrientos Argentine Pizzeria, with served up some delicious Argentine-Italian style pizza. For dessert, we stopped in at a really cool place, Across the Board Game Cafe, which, for five dollars minimum for drinks/snacks, you can play an unlimited number of awesome board games. The place was hopping, I had a few local Manitoba craft beers, and missed having more of these in the Twin Cities. I’ve seen them in Winnipeg, Victoria, and Toronto and I wish they would start to catch on around here. We certainly have the market for them!

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Some highlights, via Adventure Sibs

We ended the night by heading down Ellice Avenue to the West End Cultural Centre to see the Love, Lake Winnipeg Concert, which featured four groups of Manitoban musicians from diverse genres, including John K. Samson, formerly of our favorite band, The Weakerthans, interpreting songs from a cult classic lp, The Lake Winnipeg Fisherman, by folksinger Sol Sigurdson. A handful of audience members had a coveted copy of the 1970 original, which has become a hard to come by and much sought after item! It was definitely an awesome show, supporting the Lake Winnipeg Foundation’s efforts to preserve the great lake for the future. With our tickets, everyone got a cool EP featuring the covers and mixes of the groups so that we could keep on listening to them. 

The EP features the electronic artist DJ Co-op, alt country/folk singer Jess Reimer, Scott Nolan performing with John K. Samson and Christine Fellows, the young indie rock group from Gimli, Manitoba, Mise en Scene. Energetic performers, I definitely am excited to see more of them! All in all, it was a great show and I am totally excited to make up another excuse to visit Manitoba, maybe in the summer next time so we can stop by Lake Winnipeg, and the Icelandic community of Gimli as well!

Wrestlepalooza VII

 

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The Crime Fighting Feline, Wildcat! 

Last Friday, Lindsay invited me to experience something new in my explorations of the Twin Cities this new year. Neither of us have been a big fan of wrestling in any sort of way, but Lindsay’s friend Andy talked up the utter spectacle and bizarre exuberance of this ongoing professional wrestling extravaganza at First Avenue, Wrestlepalooza. In the nostalgic style of over the top personas and high drama, one would get to see such personages as Wildcat, the Crime Fighting Feline, get in each other’s grill and work the crowds. He did not exaggerate. I did find it funny that the last time I was at First Avenue, I was seeing The Mountain Goats perform their latest album, Beat the Champ, focused and inspired by the wild world of professional wrestling, so it felt appropriate to be returning to the scene to find a ring set up and a dozen eccentric fighters ready to duke it out for the entertainment of the crowd.

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Heidi Lovelace talks up her upcoming victory over the Anarchist Arik Cannon

 

For those who may not have been super into the professional wrestling world in their childhoods, myself included, there was enough action, humor, music, and titillation to go around during the proceedings. The seventh Wrestlepalooza held in Minneapolis, live music from beatboxer DJ Snuggles, the bouncy hooliganism of Madison based pop punk band Masked Intruder, and the tongue in cheek burlesque of Queenie Von Curves and Sweetpea ensured that even those with less of interest in the speedoed and musclebound fights were entertained. While temperatures plummeted outside First Avenue, large, bare chested men plummeted towards the mat to body slam their opponents.

As with any professional wrestling, the choreographed fights display clear heroes and villains, though good does not always triumph in these rings. While Heidi Lovelace defeated the Anarchist Arik Cannon, marking a victory for women in the ring, the villainous Sheik sucker punched another wrestler at the very beginning and then claimed victory over his hapless opponent, as the crowd cursed his name and he preened and postured. 

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Sheik Ariya Daivari presents his champion belt (photo courtesy of Lindsay Cameron)

One has to admit that one might not be entirely comfortable with all of the retrograde stereotypes and over the top villainy on display here, complete with rather… uncomfortable use of ethnic stereotypes (the Sheik suffered an abundance of hot dogs thrown into the ring before he put his opponent down for good with a well placed flying carpet to the torso), but then, that is probably a part of the retro appeal here. Can one laugh at a guy drinking a beer and then punching a woman, even if she then punched him the balls in return, before holding him down for the requisite three seconds, prompting him to toast a PBR in her honor and welcome more women to the arena?

The most amusing fight had to be the four man battle royale, which included a kilt wearing Trump supporter against another guy, as well as an Estonian farmer frog man and a cat man known as Wildcat, fierce in battle but easily distracted by laser pointers. Along with copious amounts of Pabst Blue Ribbon (the sponsors of the event) much fun was had.

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The crowd at First Avenue enjoys some ‘rasslin’, Wrestlepalooza 7!

 

 

Autumn Lū’au at United Noodles

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Dancing and Food at United Noodles’ Autumn Lu’au

United Noodles is an established Asian supermarket tucked away in South Minneapolis’ Seward neighborhood among warehouses and factory buildings. I remember first being introduced to it by students from a Japanese Student Association at the U of M. I recommend it for hard to find produce and grocery items as well as its delicious, and cheap restaurant, Unideli. My family liked to get huge sacks of rice to keep us supplied over the year, as well as treats like umeboshi and that Singaporean ginger drink I really like, Gold Kili. Importing products from nations across the Asian continent, and catering to the metro’s immigrant and expat communities as well as locals interested in trying some new recipe or food, I really enjoy stocking up for a staycation at United Noodles.  

On Sunday, the grocery store had a special event that made for a very nice staycation, their fourth annual Autumn Lū’au. This was the first time I attended this event, and it was definitely a fun one to visit. As I have not yet had the chance to visit Hawaii, I really enjoyed getting this sample of island cultures in the heart of the landlocked continent heading towards its months long deep freeze. Celebrating Hawaiian and Polynesian cultures in Minnesota, the event featured a special on Hawaiian specialties at Unideli and some demonstrations of hālau hula dancing and music from Keola Santos. Along with that Hawaiian specialty incorporating a beloved Minnesotan export, spam, spam musubi, and a plate of Hawaiian delicacies which really highlight the fusion of cultures in the state, the shoppers watched the elaborate dances, creating a cool beach festival like atmosphere inside a grocery store.

It was a very fun way to experience some things we might not have seen in the metro before. Keep an eye on the events hosted by United Noodles, and check it out sometime!

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United Noodles entrance

United Noodles, 2015 East 24th Street, Minneapolis, open daily 9-7, Unideli 11-6

Halloween Music Awesomeness

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Halloween in Minneapolis, outside Orchestra Hall

Now that its November, you know, NaNoWriMo month, where those of us who have any inkling of being a “writer” spend an hour or so each day hammering out some pointless drivel, er I mean, novel ideas (maybe that’s just me), I have not yet had a chance to report on my Halloween activities! Since I’ve been attempting NaNo for about five years now, Halloween has kind of become that last shindig before the writing crunch begins.

It’s always fun when Halloween falls on a weekend. Or at least, that’s still how I feel nowadays even though I’m out of school and I’m just as likely, and happy, to work weekends as not. Still, for our nine-to-five friends, weekend Halloweens still make things convenient. I think I may have mentioned that Halloween remains my favorite holiday, what with the creativity, imagination, and, yes, adventure, that goes along with it. I may have been a fairly timid kid, in general; scared of jump scares, horrible things, and the littlest drop of blood, but I also found Halloween, and spooky things in general, fascinating. This nostalgia has remained with me, and like any true millennial “kidult,” I still can’t get enough of it. I mean, check out this Huffington Post article from last year, Halloween Can Save Democracy. All very convincing arguments to me!

For me, I prepare for Halloween by reading spooky books and listening to spooky music, so when too awesome Halloween concerts popped up on my radar, I had to attend.

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Waldo enjoys MC Lars at the Amsterdam Bar and Hall, St. Paul

Over in St. Paul, at a nice early hour so the kids could still go Trick or Treating and the grown-ups could head to their parties later, the Amsterdam Bar and Hall hosted the Minnesota stop for Koo Koo Kanga Roo and MC Lars’ Joyful Smiles Tour, which definitely brought a lot of joyful smiles to all of people in the audience. It was definitely a fun time for all ages, whether hip young parents and their kids, and random kidults alike. MC Lars’ ode to Edgar Allan Poe was a particularly thematic part of the show, and of course, Koo Koo Kanga Roo, who I have talked about before, put on an awesome live show. It’s just like going back to Saturday morning as a kid- the only thing missing was breakfast cereal- though there was plenty of candy, of course, and for those over 21, the Amsterdam has a very nice list of craft beers and the little sandwiches we all love. Of course, seeing all of the costumes was a good part of the fun.

Later in the evening, after relaxing a bit from all the jumping around we did earlier, we kept on with the nostalgic theme and headed into Minneapolis to the beautiful new Orchestra Hall to watch the Minnesota Orchestra perform Danny Elfman’s score for the Nightmare Before Christmas. Conducted by Sarah Hicks, it was difficult to focus on what to watch more, the musicians or the movie. The costumes were even more elaborate and creepier here, even among the orchestra itself, and everyone seemed to be in quite the mood for some nostalgia. As director Henry Selick says, Nightmare is totally a Halloween movie, so it was perfect excuse to check out the Hall, which I have not done since its renovation.

Another fun aspect was the interactive Halloween animation filmed before the show by local arts organization Intermedia Arts, aided by concertgoers and show at the end of the show. It was fun to help put together this fun stop-motion mini-movie, with its skeletons, pumpkins, leaves, ghosts, and musical instruments. It looks like, if you missed this piece of nostalgic holiday fun, the Minnesota Orchestra will be performing the score to Home Alone, that most nostalgic of early ’90s Christmas movies later in the month. Not really as exciting as Halloween, but some may be excited!

MSP Reading Time: Talking Volumes talks Welcome to Night Vale

[Cross post with my BookLikes book blog, ReadingRainstorm]

Minnesota Public Radio’s nearly twenty season old program, Talking Volumes, always has some fascinating, inspiring conversations with some of the best authors working today. As the autumn begins, new shows begin to appear, marking the perfect time to grab some new books and listen to the authors expand upon their writing. Hosted by Kerri Miller with the help of the Loft Literary Center, I always like to attend at least one of them a year.

Back in 2013, I attended the thought-provoking conversation with everyone’s favorite Canadian speculative fiction rock star Margaret Atwood, getting a couple of my books signed. It was very interesting to listen to her thoughts on the use of science in literature, and writing about the apocalypse, which seems to have become a bit of a theme for me.

On Sunday, I attended the equally thought-provoking show with Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink, creators of the super popular podcast Welcome to Night Vale and the new tie in novel, at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul. Perfect for the coming Halloween festivities, I’ve been listening to Cranor and Fink’s creepy, witty, inexplicable stories, utterly mystified by its popularity. The two writers’ voices mesh so seamlessly into one stylish, eerie whole, aided by the pitch perfect announcing of voice actor Cecil and the atmospheric music of Disparition.  How did something so weird, so admittedly inaccessible, become such a big thing? It was very informative to listen to Kerri Miller chat with the two writers about their philosophies and craft, especially in the portions where she disagreed with them. These were some of the questions I had with the show too, and I am very curious to see how it all translates into a novel.

It was an intriguingly appropriate venue to discuss the meanings of Night Vale and how the authors create such a memorable, intricate, and bizarre, every myth is true setting. After all, Night Vale is a radio drama in the form of a podcast, detailing the community news, eccentric personalities, tongue in cheek commercials, and musical interludes. Seems familiar, eh?  I have a deep interest in fictional towns, so this parallel made for some cool discussions.

In fact, the podcast has often been described to me as Garrison Keillor meets H.P. Lovecraft, or the Prairie Home Companion crossed with the X-files. This is, as Kerri Miller pointed out, we were sitting in “the house that Lake Wobegon built.” The show started off with a trivia contest, asking audience members questions of whether something happened in Night Vale or Lake Wobegon, which again hinted at the parallels between these two imaginary communities and the weird relationships they have with the “real world.”

I am captivated, obsessed with this theme that both radio dramas share, the fictional town or community set in our world, but just a little bit outside of our normal, everyday experiences. In some ways, they are able to express the feelings of place, and of region even better than an actual location. Fink, for instance, spoke about how he sees “the places often pretty clearly, the place is important, I feel, the setting” and mentions using the hometown library he remembered growing up, a weird, inexplicable place” as the real world inspiration for Night Vale’s own “unknowable” library and its dangers.

Throughout my attempts to dabble in fiction, I have always found myself captivated, obsessed with some of the ideas explored in Welcome to Night Vale and found myself drawn into these elements specifically. One thing that Night Vale seems to specialize in is a juxtaposition between the mundane world that we all live in, and the weirder, stranger world that exists just outside our understandings. Things are weird in Night Vale, and the people accept this.

Meanwhile, the music highlighting the show, original songs by Aby Wolf, were a great compliment to the eerie, beautiful atmosphere of Night Vale and is definitely worth checking out by itself. After all, one of my favorite aspects of the Welcome to Night Vale podcast is being exposed to new, local music scenes.

I’m looking forward to reading the book!

You can listen to Sunday’s show here right now, and keep an eye on the future scheduled shows as well!