Call me an introvert if you must–you wouldn’t be wrong–but I have to admit that there are few things better than a weekend to myself. It’s been a busy couple of months (as evidenced by the lack of blog posts), and I was more than happy to spend a couple of days re-charging from all the goings on of late while my husband and daughter traveled for the weekend.
I decided to avoid planning too much, to just do whatever I felt like doing at the moment. It felt like the height of luxury. I highly recommend the experience if you have the opportunity.
My weekend consisted of books, art, and writing. Here are some highlights:
- Live-tweeting my reading of Dangerous by Shannon Hale with the hashtag #dwoh (or Dangerous with one hand). It is the only novel I recall reading with a main character with a congenital limb deficiency, and I couldn’t help but be excited about it. Shannon Hale has some interesting things to say about why she chose to write a character who is differently abled, among other things, in this essay.
- Exploring the meditative quality of writing with Karen Hering, author of Writing to Wake the Soul, at a Sacred Salon at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. The Sacred exhibit and the Salon were wonderfully inspiring, and I recommend both experiences to anyone interested in meditation or Buddhist ideas. I’ve mentioned my interested in meditation here and here.
- Turning up the volume on my latest musical obsession: Catbath. What says spring more than opening the windows and playing the music a little bit louder?
How would you spend a weekend to yourself with no obligations?
Live music doesn’t have to be about huge arenas and screaming fans or late nights at crowded rock clubs. Sometimes it’s about connection. I recently had the pleasure of attending an event at Torch, a new performing arts space in Minneapolis that puts the audience-artist connection at the forefront of the experience. It’s a great space with a strong vision, and I am excited to see what’s next there.
I caught the final date in the Raw Deal concert series that ran on Sunday evenings in December and January. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect at Torch, but I couldn’t help but smile when I walked in to find friendly faces and the smell of brownies baking. “Homespun” is the way it is described on the web site, and I think that describes it well. Torch has a homespun feel to it in the most complimentary way possible. This is a venue where you introduce yourself to your fellow audience members and you talk about what brought you there. It’s a venue where you can, not only meet the artist, but also have a conversation with them. When the show started, we all paid attention.
Hannah von der Hoff performed first. Her bluesy style radiated warmth and fit perfectly with the setting. There was no set list. The audience drew the song names from a couple of hats, which kept things conversational and open.
Matt Latterell closed the night with songs that told stories. His album Life on Land has been in regular rotation on the playlist at our house for a while, and my husband and I were happy to have the opportunity to see him perform in a venue like this one.
Yesterday was a long day. I was up early for last minute stapling, and then I was off to spend my day asking where people were from. Last year I asked people at the Zinefest to share a book they had read recently. This year I tied my question in to my new zine, Whereverland, which explores my here-and-there roots, with a new question: Where are you from?
For many, it was a straightforward question. They wrote their answers with confidence. Others shared several answers. “I’m not from only one place,” a woman said almost apologetically as she wrote the names of three different cities. By the end of the day, I had collected many, many places. Some came with tidbits of trivia: Did you know that Waseca, WI is the home of Cool Whip? I did not. Some were from far away (three from China, two from Germany, one from Australia), but most were from Minneapolis or very close. I loved the neighborhood pride that popped up occasionally. Powderhorn, Northeast, Bryn Mawr, and Uptown are all represented at least once.
As for me, I like to say that I’m from Minnesota, but you can read more about that in Whereverland. :)
Twenty years ago I might as well have been living in a bunker without access to the outside world for all I knew about music or pop culture. Don’t get me wrong. My family owned a television and lived a generally normal life. We just weren’t tuned in to some things. Mostly I think that was a good thing. But occasionally I find that there are gaps. For example, I would not have recognized a Beatles song until I was an adult. Not kidding.
This weekend I found another gap: Nirvana. I’d always told myself that I was too young. I was only a young teen in the early 90′s after all, but the crowd at the Uptown Cheapo store for the In Utero tribute on Saturday afternoon wasn’t any older than me. Actually many were younger. The musicians on stage spoke of memories of Cheapo, Nirvana, and being a teenager, and I found myself considering my gaps. So I missed it the first time around. This is clearly something worth going back for.
HighTV covering Nirvana at Cheapo
When it comes to books, I live in the future. The nature of my job means I’m reading books before they are released. My desk is stacked with 2014 titles right now, and it’s hard to look back to a previous publishing season to a title I didn’t get around to last year, or even earlier. If I miss something, I’ve missed it. Or so it seems sometimes.
I feel like I should conclude with something profound about balance, but I think I’ll just turn on some music.
Maybe I should start listening to The Current’s Teenage Kicks occasionally? I’ll catch up with the rest of you eventually.
Fall is for dreaming. The leaves haven’t even started to turn yet, but it seems that we have our eyes fixed on what lies ahead.
My daughter’s school sent home a blank cloud for us to share our hopes for the new school year. The new minister at the Unitarian Universalist church I’ve been attending asked the audience at last Sunday’s service to scribble aspirations for the upcoming season of assemblies on scraps of paper, which he collected and read aloud. My partner is already figuring out ways to make his fall as fulfilling as his summer was with music and travel at the forefront. It’s catching, I think. The more everyone talks about their dreams, writes about them, the more I start to imagine my own cloud filled with writing and ideas and opportunities. Thanks for the push, everyone.
Fall is in the air, and it is beautiful.
This week and next are all about zines. The Twin Cities Zine Fest is September 21st at Powderhorn Park. I’ll have new stuff available, and I hope to see you there.
My partner and I don’t agree on everything. But we do agree on post-rock. Friday night we were out together without the five year-old for the first time a what felt like a long time, but it wasn’t really a date night. His band was playing that night and celebrating the release of a split EP, so he was busy with last minute details for the show and networking–the life of a local rock star is a glamorous one–while I enjoyed the music.
Falcon Arrow, a local post-rock duo, opened the show. They have been around for a couple of years, but they were new to me. And I loved it. When I re-connected with Chad later in the evening, he had procured a Falcon Arrow CD. It seems we still have something in common, after all. :)
Check out Falcon Arrow on Bandcamp for their latest. Here’s a video from the album:
I always seem to grab my notebook when Dessa is on the radio. Her songs have a way of sparking my own creative spirit, and her commentary on her craft become journal entries and eventually blog posts. Today, as I listened to the rebroadcast of Dessa Deconstructed on the Current’s Local Show, I once again found myself jotting down quotes and scribbling poetic jumbles. When you have some time, watch the program or listen to her latest record. Perhaps it will have the same effect on you.
A zine hiding at the Minneapolis Central Library last week.
Art is everywhere. I say that all the time, but on Fridays, that’s actually a little more true because there are people in the Twin Cities hiding art in unexpected places for you to find. I’ve done it the last couple of Fridays with my zine about becoming a mother, Will There Be Smoking?. You can join too as a hider or a seeker. Read more about it in this article from the Pioneer Press:
Here’s how it works: Artists are invited to create a small piece of work, hide it somewhere in the Twin Cities, then on Friday, post photo clues on Facebook and/or Twitter. The finder is asked to post or tweet a photo to let the group know the art has found a good home.
Of course, not all of the art is found by group members. A random passer-by could just as easily snag a piece, adding to the mystery.
“There’s some joy thinking about who discovers it and thinking about where to hide it,” Wang said.
There’s a Facebook group and a hashtag to use. Keep your eyes open. The whole city is a potential hiding place for some little treasure. If that isn’t a happy thought for today, I don’t know what is. :)
My partner says I have a type when it comes to music. He’s probably right. Look at some of the artists I’ve blogged about: Haley Bonar, Zoo Animal, Lucy Michelle. I can’t deny it. I like female singer-songwriters, especially those who write folky indie pop. For the record, I’ve also blogged about totally different music (See Bloodnstuff, M83, and GY!BE), so I’m not completely stuck in a genre bubble.
I bring this up because Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps is so my type. The recent documentary about the Minneapolis-based singer-songwriter, My Way Back Home: Caroline Smith, highlights Smith’s evolution as a songwriter, her relationship to her family and hometown of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, and finding her voice.
As we walked to our car after spending our Sunday at the May Day Festival, a fellow pedestrian wished us a happy May Day. He added, “It’s Minnesota Christmas!” We laughed, but it wasn’t far off.
Spring returned in time for the celebration of art and community. I’d been worried that we would have to bundle up to watch the parade since it snowed only a few days before, but whatever the weather, I was happy that it was happening at all. There was some possibility that it wouldn’t happen due to limited funds this year. That certainly would have been like canceling Christmas. The May Day parade is more than just another parade. It reminds us of where we are in the world, that we’re part of a community, that we can make our world a better place. As a sign in the parade stated, “May Day feeds our souls.”
This year, in particular, the parade story celebrated people everywhere and wished us well with a larger than life cautionary tale themed “See the World.” The program quoted Carl Sagan’s words from The Pale Blue Dot:
“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives . . .”
Here we are, and we’re in this together. Let’s see the world and cherish it. My soul is full, and I am well-fed.