The roulette of guest writers: always fun, but you never know what you’re going to get. Check back often to see who we roped into sharing their Saint Paul top 10 picks and favorite itineraries, ice cream cones, and neighborhood joints. Emulate – you know you want to….
Artist Tracy Olson a.k.a. T.Young has been proving her artistic chops in the Lowertown Art District since ye olde 2008. An artist whose work is one part abstract and one part tangible, the colorful infusions and urban landscapes she creates are a representation of a contemporary artist living in the city. Stop into Tracy’s studio in the Jax Building (studio 204) during the St. Paul Art Crawl, happening this weekend, April 29th-May 1st and get an eyeful!
We caught up with Tracy this week to talk about her art, Lowertown, and more…
How long have you been working in Lowertown and why were you drawn to the area initially?
In February 2008 I saw an ad for studio space for rent at the JAX Building. The minute that I walked into studio 204 I fell in love with the space. At that time I was one of four other artists there. I actually use the space as a gallery I have an in-home studio that I work from. I now share 204 with Tom Dunn a local photographer that I’ve known for many years. We both participate in Art Crawl and the ongoing monthly event Lowertown First Friday. The draw to Lowertown is a magic one for me. When I walk around Lowertown, I get the feeling of a close community. I feel really at home when I’m there.
How would you describe your work? What is your creative process?
My work is abstract in form using color as my texture and expression. I am generally inspired by the things I see and hear in my daily life. Music is also a very important part of my art process as I believe both create an atmosphere for me to express my thoughts from my minds eye to paper or canvas. I most often title much of my art after tidbits of conversation that I may have heard or a line in a song that strikes a particular chord (pardon the pun) with me.
What do you have lined up for the Art Crawl? What can people expect to see at your studio?
Well I like to entertain so this is my shining moment for that. Visitors will see a lot of art – I hang salon style so it’s pretty much a floor to ceiling explosion of color and movement. I have some new work that I am really excited about. There is paper, ink, oil pastel, acrylic paint and beeswax involved. Tom Dunn will be exhibiting new images from his Saint Paul collection. We also have a really fabulous musician that will be performing on Friday night for our opening reception. Chris Schuette who is a local piano player, composer and overall really funny and nice guy! It’s pretty rare these days that he performs past the doors of his studio so we are excited and honored that he’ll be entertaining us on Friday evening.
What other artists or events are you excited about this art crawl?
Unfortunately I won’t get a chance to get past the JAX doors this whole weekend (except to go home and sleep : ) to see other artists or events. I do plan to take some time to visit many of the JAX Building artists though. I am REALLY excited about this as this is a rare opportunity to get to say hi and chat with fellow artists. I am also looking forward to hang out an browse through the art of Malcolm Myers in Studio 304. Mr. Myers was a Professor of Studio Art at the U of M. He passed away in 2002. Only two times a year is his space at the JAX open, and that’s for spring and fall Art Crawl. I love to look at his work that spans about 60 years. And the best thing is they are for sale, one day I will own a piece of his art. The JAX also has some several new artists that I’m really excited to meet. There are five floors and 19 plus artists that will have their studios open at the JAX for the spring Art Crawl.
How do you see the area evolving over the next few years?
That’s a tough question – I see the area evolving and that’s pretty prevalent with the Light Rail construction and that excites me. As to the direction, I believe that the Lowertown area will continue to be an important hub for the arts community. As with anything, growth produces a change and sometimes change can be awkward and uncomfortable, that’s because there is an element of the unknown. I believe in going with the flow and I think the flow will be awesome!
For more info on the Saint Paul Art Crawl, running April 29th-May 1st, visit www.stpaulartcrawl.com.
For more info on Tracy Olson’s art visit www.tyoung.info.
A tale of love, obsession and revenge, young Heathcliff falls in love, only to have it ripped away by circumstance and a young man of a higher social class. Heathcliff leaves, becomes mysteriously wealthy, and eventually returns to his homestead to punish those who sought to separate him from his now-deceased love, Catherine. His plot to destroy multiple generations of his adoptive family and extended family drives Heathcliff to madness and delusion.
The Minnesota Opera’s production of Wuthering Heights is based off the Emily Brontë classic as reimagined by contemporary composer Bernard Herrmann. A Hollywood legend, Herrmann famously composed the scores to numerous films, including Hitchcock’s Psycho, Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane, and Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. Wuthering Heights was his only opera, and coincidentally, was penned in Minneapolis in 1951.
This is the first major production of Herrmann’s Wuthering Heights; it will be staged by the Minnesota Opera April 16th-23rd at the Ordway. Sung in English with English captions projected above the stage. Estimated run time, including intermission is 3 hours and 35 minutes. For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.mnopera.org.
The legendary Mancini’s Char House & Lounge downtown St. Paul will host a Beer Tasting on Thursday, April 14th benefiting Wishes & More, a local non-profit organization that grants wishes to children with terminal or life-threatening illnesses.
ESPN Broadcaster, Clay Matvick, will assist in showcasing a variety of beers from across the nation. Participating breweries include: Stone Brewing, Odell Brewing, Goose Island Beer Co and Tallgrass Brewing. Now that’s something to toast to! Attendees will also enjoy specially paired food samples to compliment the beers. Live & silent auctions will be held throughout the night with all proceeds funding wishes, memorials and scholarships given to the children of Wishes & More.
Attendees may purchase tickets for the Beer Tasting by calling the Wishes & More office at 763-502-1500 or online at www.wishesandmore.org. Tickets are $30 in advance and $50 at the door. Attendees must be over 21 years of age to purchase tickets.
A Message from Jake Spano, Marketing Director for the City
of St. Paul
Saint Paul was named one of a Dozen Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Cities on the list of 12 demonstrated a commitment to historic preservation and fostered a “unique sense of place”. Included in the naming is a competition to see who can get the most votes for #1 over the course of the next month. The winner gets a year long contract with a web based company that targets travelers interested in cultural and historic travel destinations which boosts business throughout our community.
Now, it’s not that we don’t like being one of a dozen cool places but let’s be honest, who wants to be 12 or eight or four when you can be #1? Unless you are on a most wanted list in the post office, it’s the place to be. It’s in that spirit that I’m asking you all to assist us in spreading the word about this competition. You see, after 5 days of voting we are firmly in the middle of the pack which is led by Paducah, KY a town of about 30,000!
Now I like bluegrass more than most folks but I can’t let this go so please CLICK HERE to register, and you will be able to vote once a day, every day for a month. Registering and voting takes about 2 minutes. I’ve contacted several partners throughout the city and they are circulating it to their groups, we need your help as well. We continue to include it in press releases, our Facebook postings, Twitter, and YouTube channel. We’ve gotten coverage on Kare11, 5 Eyewitness News and Star Tribune. Please post your home pages, social media, tattoo it on your forearm, and ask others to assist as well.
Come on 651! Vote St. Paul!
Since 1992, the Ordway has been bestowing honors on local arts instigators via the prestigious Sally Award. The annual awards are presented to “individuals and institutions that strengthen and enrich our entire state with their commitment to the arts and arts education.” Inspired by the “First Trust Award” presented in 1986 to Sally Ordway Irvine, whose vision inspired the conception of the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. The original award is permanently installed in the Ordway’s Marzitelli Foyer.
Only five awards will be dealt out to five inspiring Minnesota arts activists in the realms of vision, initiative, commitment, education and Arts Access. Who do you think is most influential individual or organization? How have they pushed local art and artists to flourish and excel or appreciators to engage in the local scene? The five categories are listed below:
Vision recognizes exemplary creative thinking and strategic leadership in support of a particular project or development of a body of work that will have long-term impact on the community. Examples include creation of new artistic/cultural opportunities, expanding access to the arts, or leading the community in new directions.
Initiative recognizes bold new steps taken by an established or emerging artistic or cultural individual/organization that has had a significant impact on strengthening Minnesota’s artistic/cultural community.
Commitment recognizes lifetime achievement, contribution and leadership in the arts and culture.
Education recognizes an individual/organization or particular project that has had a significant impact on education or mentoring in the arts and has contributed to increasing knowledge about the arts throughout the community.
Arts Access recognizes an individual/organization in their extraordinary efforts to increase the depth and breadth of citizen participation in the arts.
Not sure what to go as this Halloween but want to keep it simple, elegant and artistic? Pairing a fancy masquerade mask with a sparkly ball gown, a sexy little black dress or a sharp suit might just be the ticket this Halloween. Us? We’re going to the MN Opera’s opening night of Cinderella followed by a masquerade ball at Sakura in downtown St. Paul, so we want to keep our look classy, unique and easy to manage. Hence, a hand made masquerade mask!
We’ve put together a handy guide on how to make your own mask, using affordable supplies from local businesses. You can copy ours or you can improvise your own by adding fake flowers, feathers, jewels or what-have-you. This could also be a fun, artsy Halloween project to do with the kiddies on a weekend afternoon.
We found this simple little number at Party City (1671 Robert St S, West St. Paul) for under $5. They come in many shapes and sizes and range from simple to pre-made with lots of glitz. For a larger selection of pre-made masks, check out Twin Cities Costume & Magic shop (250 7th St E, Downtown St. Paul).
We made our mask out of real leaves. If you’re going to go this route, find nice thick, waxy leaves that won’t easily crumble when they dry out. As an alternative, you could also find thin twigs or sweet grass to create something with more height.
Even though you may end up covering your whole mask in whatever decoration you choose, it’s still good to have a base coat of paint that’s complimentary to your design. In our case, it’s light gold. We only did one coat but if any of your mask is going to show, use two. We used Stephen Quiller Iridescent Pale Gold acrylic from Wet Paint in St. Paul.
We used the same pale gold paint we used on the mask to do light brushings over the leaves. The paint also acts an adhesive of sorts for the glitter that we use in the next step. Do a few leaves at a time so it doesn’t have too much time to dry. You want the glitter to stick!
Use a plate or tray when glitterizing so you can catch and reuse extra glitter. Hold the glitter shaker at least a foot or more above the leaves and lightly shake to ensure even placement. We got our glitter from Michael’s Craft Store (Har Mar Mall, 2100 Snelling Ave, St. Paul) in an autumn themed variety pack. Make sure to get micro-glitter, it’s the prettiest!
Use a glue gun to ensure the leaves or other decorations don’t come loose. If you’re going to be out partying all night, you need to make sure your mask doesn’t come apart before the stroke of midnight! Glue guns rule and everyone should own one. Michael’s carries a good variety.
Since we went crazy with glitter, the last thing we want is for it to get all over us come Halloween night! We sprayed our mask down with Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic Gloss (also available at Michael’s) to seal the deal. Let your mask dry and viola!
Content shared with l’etoile magazine
Looking for a cultured Saturday adventure? The Saint Paul Hotel is offering afternoon teas.
Lance Knapps, Saint Paul Hotel’s Executive Chef, creates a five-course tea that will delight your taste buds! The tea course features fall delights such as Brie and Cranberry in Phyllo Cup, Ham and Preserves on a Cheddar Biscuit and Spinach Basil Pesto with Oven Dried Tomato. Wow, that is just the first course! The second course features a Braised Lamb and Wild Mushroom Leek Strudel with Port Wine Sauce. If you’re not drooling yet, there’s something wrong with you! For the third course, you’re served a Cranberry Scone with Lemon Butter. For the fourth course consists of a Mini Corn Muffin, a Carmel Pecan Bar and an Apple Cheddar Tart. If that isn’t carb overload at its finest, I don’t know what is. Finally, you get rolled out the door after consuming a Pumpkin Cheesecake with Carmel Sauce.
At $27 per person, these teas are very affordable – tax and gratuity are included!
Tea Times: October 2, 16 and 23
For reservations or further information on these afternoon tea, call (651) 228-3860 or visit http://www.saintpaulhotel.com/special_events/afternoon_tea/
Who doesn’t love the cozy feel of cotton! It’s hypoallergenic, keeps us cool, and it’s resistant to those nasty dust-mites we all hear about.
Do you enjoy singing or should I say, can you sing? Enter the display closet at Rosedale Center where you can enter “The Fabric of My Life®” Song Contest. Once you enter the closet, you can listen to the each artist’s rendition of “The Fabric of My Life®” song. The closet will also feature the latest cotton trends from Macy’s and don’t forget to leave without grabbing a $10 Macy’s WOW Pass. Five videos will be selected as finalists; the finalist who receives the most votes will win a four night trip for two to New York City, a $1,000 cotton shopping spree at Macy’s and a recording studio experience.
Two young performers, Leona Lewis and Colbie Caillat are headlining the campaign by showing fashionable women around the Twin Cities their unique style – in cotton fashion, of course! Cotton Incorporated partnered with Macy’s to feature beautiful cotton clothing inspired by these two artists.
In addition to stopping by Rosedale Center, you can also visit TheFabricOfOurLives.com. All you need is a webcam and an internet connection to enter. Entrants can also share their videos on Facebook and invite others to join in the fun!
10 Rosedale Center
Roseville, MN 55113
Contest dates: from 9/24 – 10/31 to enter
Sleep Deprivation Chamber
Now through Oct 10th
Penumbra Theatre kicks off its new season with Adam and Adrienne Kennedy’s intense drama, Sleep Deprivation Chamber. Revolving around an African-American college student who was senselessly beaten by police officers and who, upon testifying in court, is accused by the officer of throwing the first punch. Told in an autobiographical format focusing on the mother’s point of view, Sleep Deprivation Chamber tells the tale of a woman fighting for her son at the risk of her own sanity.
For more info on Sleep Deprivation Chamber click HERE.
Black Nativity: Now’s the Time
Nov 26-Dec 26
A rousing romp through contemporary gospel, this holiday musical rejoices in music, family, faith and love. Black Nativity: Now’s the Time brings together an all-star ensemble of the Twin Cities top jazz and gospel singers as well as members of the always-spectacular TU Dance company. Ring in the holiday season with this heartwarming, soulful spectacular!
For more information on Black Nativity: Now’s the Time click HERE.
Julius by Design
Jan 20-Feb 13
Written by Kara Lee Corthron and directed by Penumbra’s fearless leader and creative director, Lou Bellamy, Julius by Design weaves the heartbreaking tale of a couple, Josephine and Laurel, whose teenage son was murdered. As the two struggle to get through each day, Josephine secretly begins writing letters to her son’s killer in prison. A story that defines courage and forgiveness in the aftermath of tragedy.
For more information on Julius by Design click HERE.
I Wish You Love
Apr 21-May 22
This intimate portrait of music legend Nat King Cole tells the inspiring tale of one man whose talent transcended racial boundaries in the 1950s. The dapper crooner paved the way for so many other artists of color to be accepted by the mainstream media in a time when civil rights were not exactly civil. I Wish You Love explores the dreams and beautiful music of one man, and the hope of a nation in racial peril. After its world premiere at the Penumbra, the play will be presented at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.
For more information on I Wish You Love click HERE.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Feb 11-Mar 6
This special Penumbra production staged at the Guthrie Theater follows the tale of blues-woman Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, who, in the attempt to record a hit record with her bandmates, encounters a little competition. A young ingenue enters the scene and threatens to knock Ma Rainey off her pedestal. A soulful play filled with heart-twisting melodies and plenty of attitude, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is a knock-out end to Penumbra’s winning season.