Posts Tagged ‘St. Paul’

Friday evening found me at The FItzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minn., for an evening of “A Prairie Home Companion,” you know, Garrison Keillor’s public radio program that airs live around the country. Lake Wobegon? A Hollywood movie of the same title was made several years ago starring Keillor, Merrill Streep and several other big name actors. Does any of this ring a bell?

Anyway, we sat in the first balcony and watched Keillor (who must be 65 by now, but looks only 45 from a distance) do his show with his posse of musicians, actors and others. The show is highly entertaining in and of itself. From one word guy to another, Keillor still has it goin’ on with the writing and story telling.

But the highlight of the evening was hearing the music of Nick Lowe. Lowe, if you don’t know, is a musician, singer, songwriter from London and has written some very memorable tunes…stuff like “Cruel to be Kind,” and “What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love and Understanding.” While these songs left a mark on the music world, the best news is this: Lowe still has all the talent from back in the day and then some.  On Friday evening he performed, masterfully, “The Beast in Me,” a song he originally wrote for Johnny Cash. He also sang, “I Read A Lot,” and “When I Write the Book.” His voice, the lyrics and the performance won’t be forgotten by this Guy Noir.  (Oh come on! Google Garrison Keillor and you’ll get it.)

Here’s Lowe with Elvis Costello singing “What’s So Funny…” together a few years ago.



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Weezer rocked the house on Friday, Oct. 3 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.  As if hearing the band perform its hits including Beverly Hills, Islands In The Sun, El Scorcho, Troublemaker, and Perfect Situation wasn’t enough, it also happened to be my son’s first-ever concert.

We sat in a suite far away from the mosh pit on the floor and enjoyed the ramp up provided by the Tokyo Police Club and Angels & Airwaves. Weezer owned the stage for a solid 90 minutes and put on an awesome show with humor, great guitar and a hootenanny consisting of more than 30 local musicians.

Here’s Weezer and the bands video for “Pork and Beans.”  Betcha recognize more than one familiar YouTube face…


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A New Mac

Remember the old Mac SE computer? Remember the constant disc swapping in order to simply launch a program like MS Word? After learning how to compute using a Mac in college back in the ’80s (yes, I am that old), I entered the business world and promptly shifted over to PC computing using the once known as IBM platform. I even labored for Gateway, where there was ready access to all the latest and greatest PCs as they were rolled out in the late ’90s. For the past 10 years, my employers issued to me the standard office Dell portable computer – a new one every 3.2 years (approximately). Hell, I even own a Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop as my home computer. I’m a guy who sticks to what he knows apparently.

But, on July 26, I made a sojourn to St. Paul to purchase a Macbook. It’s the first Mac I’ve ever owned and it’s not even for me. It’s for my teenage daughter whose hand-me-down Gateway portable took a dump of largess proportions. Something with the power cord jack being connected to the motherboard and the repair costing twice what the computer could possibly be worth.

So sitting on my desk (see photo) is a nice shiny white Apple-made computer direct from Cupertino, Calif., (or perhaps China) to replace that archaic Gateway. With luck, this computer will take my daughter through her college years. In fact I know a couple people who are still using Mac portables that are nearing the 10-year-old mark. I’m guessing there are far fewer disc swaps required to make this Macbook run smoothly.

There’s Always A Happy Gnome

After picking up the new computer, my accomplice and I stopped at the Happy Gnome on Selby Avenue in St. Paul for some fine patio dining.

Gnomes are bizarre fantasy creatures and why someone would name a bar/restaurant the Happy Gnome remains anyone’s gnuess. A more appropriate gname might be the “Creepy Gnome.” This particular establishment, though, features a cool menu of items along with some of the standard bar foods. Fortunately, the gnome decor is kept to a minimum.

The bar at the Gnome, offers about a millionty-six different bottles of beer including the very tasty pale ale brewed in Wisconsin called Fatty Bombalatty. A few Fatties and appetizers later, the mosquitos arrived, chasing us off the patio and back to Minneapolis where gno mosquitos exist whatsoever.

Macs. Fatties. Gnomes. Mosquitos. There seems to be a Lord of the Rings episode in here somewhere.


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Night Out in St. Paul

Even though I’m a resident of the Twin Cities, there’s a lot I don’t know about either Minneapolis or St. Paul.  It’s my duty to get to know the area better. After all, I live here and from time to time, people ask me about details that I have no clue about.

Tonight I explored St. Paul a little bit.

St. PaulMy first stop was Nina’s Coffee Cafe.  Nina’s sits on a corner in the Catherdral Hill historic area of St. Paul. The St. Paul Cathedral is within eyesight of Nina’s front door, which overlooks the intersection of Selby and Western. Inside Nina’s rests dozens of small tables along with some overstuffed chairs and sofas. At 5 p.m. on a Friday, the place was buzzing with people – students, transients, locals, and professionals ending their day with a latte. I liked Nina’s atmosphere with the sky high ceilings and huge windows facing the street. It’s a great place to people watch.

Just below Nina’s sits Common Sense Books, a bookstore owned by Garrison Keillor. I’m not Keillor’s biggest fan, but if you live in Minnesota, you have to at least try to appreciate his Prairie Home Companion show.  His bookstore, however, is a thing of beauty. It’s located in the basement of a historic, refurbished building (a beautiful location) and the shelves upon shelves of books would make any bibliophile drool.

My last stop of the evening was at the Happy Gnome bar and restaurant.  This privately owned establishment not only has 100s of beers and wines on the menu, they also have a great food menu. I ordered the salmon cake followed by sea scallops and was thoroughly impressed with the food. Enough so, that I’d go back. Soon. Of course the Gnomes are a little freaky, scattered around the restaurant watching patrons eat and drink…smiling as if they know something.

St. Paul, Minnesota – specifically this historic district in old St. Paul – is a great place to spend a Friday evening. Who knew?!!


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