the listenerd

optimized for maximum incontinence

Tag: local

Video: Minneapolis’ Dessa performs “Anabel” at the Fitzgerald

There’s an Ani DiFrancoesqueness happening here.

The Hidden Gems of Saint Paul (some are not hidden)

This post is a continuation of The Best Places to Go in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

The Black Dog Cafe: There are many things worth noting about The Black Dog Cafe. There’s the fact that the establishment is a bohemian stronghold, holding steady for more than a decade in an ever-changing Lowertown neighborhood. It has weathered dug up sidewalks and diverted streets in an area that seems to be under constant construction.

There’s the solid coffee, the homely sandwiches, the beer and wine license, the neighborhood regulars who have been coming back for years. There’s the fact that it’s a pretty damn decent place to get some work done, mid-week, late-afternoon. And the soundtrack at the Dog is sometimes even quite GOOD, making you jealous enough to pop out your earbuds and listen. (“What is this Monster Mash bullshit?” asked one teen with disgust, in as authentic a word-of-mouth endorsement of an establishment’s aesthetic as can, perhaps, be had these days.)

But all of these characteristics pale in comparison to the true spiritual core of this cafe. They are Lilliputian relative to a single epic painting that once graced the Black Dog’s walls — maybe even for just a month or two — but whose lavender glow suffuses the space to this day.

The Black Dog has long hung the work of local artists from its exposed timbers. And nigh on ten years ago, a truly EPIC painting was hung. Imagine, if you will, an outsized masterpiece, 10 feet high by 6 feet wide (mind and memory may be exaggerating this beast’s scope and quality, but go with it). Limned with a gold filigree frame, it was. In the center of the painting, astride a mighty white steed, sat Napoleon Bonaparte. His war horse rearing, the martial figure sat resplendent in military garb.

And YET. The features gracing the Little Corporal’s mien did not add up to the familiar mug of the diminutive French Emperor. INSTEAD, peering out from beneath that famous bicorne, was the familiar (and, let’s be honest, innately sexualized) visage of one PRINCE ROGERS NELSON. Yes. Prince. (He may have even been wearing a purple uniform? Prince-as-Napoleon astride a white stallion in epic scale. It was incredible.)

Also, the bathrooms here are quite roomy.

The Blue Door Pub: Everyone knows about the dripping cheese coming FROM INSIDE THE BURGER, the craft beer selection, and the ubiquitous TVs forcing sporting events into your line of sight at the Blue Door.

Everyone also knows about the fried green beans. And the peanut butter on the hamburgers. So I will not waste any time recommending nearly all of those things. Instead, I will offer this tip: Should you find yourself waiting for one of the tables (which are frequently in high demand), ask one member of your party to stand diligently outside the Pub while you wander over to the antique mall next door. There, you should look for two things:

1) Bottle openers
2) Pendleton wool shirts

The shop frequently has an excellent selection of both, and I highly recommend buying bottle openers when you need to either break a $20 or alleviate your own guilt for browsing in a thrift shop or antique store for too long.

Micawber’s book store: It is an old and tired man that endorses a neighborhood bookstore. But let’s be honest with ourselves: I just bought a 1984 Dodge Ram pickup truck. What other kind of man could I be? Micawber’s is the rare sort of book shop where, when one asks the proprietress about a novel that’s slated to come out, she will not only be conversant in said author’s oeuvre, but will also know offhand the UK and American release dates of the publication in question. It is the kind of place that has a generous children’s section that isn’t too babyish and that’s easy to sit down and have a read in. It’s the kind of place that offers cogent, well-argued, on-shelf book recommendations that were written by ACTUAL HUMAN BEINGS on the staff, and who may even be in the store. There is wood there. And paper. And ideas. You can wander for an hour.

Additionally, if you cross the street to the Finnish Bistro kitty-corner, you can DEFINITELY order a Finnish breakfast, which includes both pickled herring and lox. You dig?

Unique Thrift Store: Let’s not bullshit bullshitters here. Unique Thrift Store has some pretty weird shit going down. It sells big-ass motel art – trees with blue leaves and pink flowers in some sort of hideous-bullshit modern-expressionist morass of a style. It sells bags of toys, grouped in a way that seems to have some sort of inscrutable organizing principle (perhaps organized by weight? Or volume?) for $2 or $3 apiece.

I once bought some Don Ho tumblers there that loop through the absurd and swoop right back toward the divine. I think the place might also sell used mattresses? Which is unsanitary at best and illegal at worst. To look at the clothes section is to look at row upon row of heavily used and frequently stained garments of innumerable eras.

Product turnover at Unique Thrift Store is high. The sewing machine you see there one morning is replaced by two others eight hours later. This place moves product. It also moves people. Located off of Rice Street (and around the corner from The Lamplighter, Saint Paul’s only strip club), the Unique draws patrons from all walks – down-on-their-luck dads looking to outfit the family home, thrifty hipsters trying to find the leather jackets of a just-right era, power-shopping deal-hunters who have a load of laundry in the ‘mat next door, kids begging parents for cheap toys, assholes trying to procure reasonably priced kitsch barware. Everyone. It’s almost always grubby, frequently crowded and more-often-than not chaotic. I recommend it.

[Please note: I might do a couple more of these.]

The Best Places to Go in Saint Paul, Minnesota

I would like to preface this post by saying that I do not know the best places to go in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I will not, however, let that stop me from telling you what the best places to go in Saint Paul, Minnesota are.

(Please remember this: Vanity and humility are at constant war within any written piece.)

The Saint Paul Bagelry: The first, best place in Saint Paul is not IN Saint Paul, however, it is NAMED the Saint Paul Bagelry. It is also named Maui Wowi Smoothies. You’re not reading that wrong. It has two names. (You may, at this point, be questioning my competence. And for that I applaud you.)

Know this: The Saint Paul Bagelry not ONLY cooks their delicious bagels daily, they not ONLY whip their own cream cheese, they not ONLY blend a lip-smacking array of smoothie and coffee drinks (the likes of which Jamba Juice could not, in a thousand pear-lives of juicing, come close to touching), BUT they ALSO play real, vinyl records. They play shit I hate: Joni Mitchell (sorry), they play shit I love: James Brown (sorry). Most importantly, they play all this shit on actual records. Their bagel sandwiches, should you care about the menu, include The Al Green (egg and veggie – a personal favorite), The Luther Vandross (bacon, ham, sausage, egg and more) and the Isaac Hayes Hot-Buttered Soul (bacon, egg and cheese).

And so you may find yourself one Sunday, mid-morning, at the very time a more pious family would be attending church, sitting in a Roseville, Minnesota strip mall at a restaurant named after a municipality in which it does not even do business, listening to Bob Marley and The Wailers on vinyl over the loudspeakers, eating an Al Green sandwich on a toasted salt bagel, drinking a Kona Hawaiian coffee and sipping a brain-freezing Black Lava Beach smoothie.

It is due to this perfect combination of insanities that the Bagelry earns the listenerd’s highest recommendation.

Swede Hollow Cafe: Located in the Dayton’s Bluff area of Saint Paul, Swede Hollow Cafe is notable for the following things (in order of importance):

-Delicious mochas and cubanos, each complemented by a delightful little cigarette-sized lagniappe of chocolate
-An inviting ambience made extra cozy by the limited seating
-No fewer than TWO kinds of cobbler on weekends
-An outstanding French toast that requires no additional syrup
-Inadequate hours of operation
-An awesome painting of a lady with raven-black hair and a red skirt that I would like to someday purchase (the painting, not the skirt).

Swede Hollow Cafe is closed on Sundays. Go for brunch on a Saturday, sit outside if it’s warm enough. Order one dish and split it. Do not buy that painting (it is mine).

Choo-Choo Bob’s: I would expect that Choo-Choo Bob’s holds the greatest concentration of cooties in the Twin Cities metro area, if not the entire Midwest. The absolute PINNACLE of toddler train culture, CCB sells toy and model trains, from the highly commercialized Thomases and Berties holding down the back wall to the adult electrics enticing passersby out front. They also peddle tiny trees, faceless little men and cows, anomalous outbuildings and pretty much anything else it would take for a certifiably crazy person to recreate a realistic miniature landscape whose sole purpose is for a tiny train to repeatedly drive past it.

The play tables in the back of the store sometimes host birthday parties and they regularly draw armies of children, snot-nosed and entranced – each seemingly with a thousand germ-laden hands (think Sleipnir, but with mucus) – to come, play, move freight, and buy.

The Midway Ramsey County Yard Waste Removal Site: It is only if you have never BEEN to the Ramsey County Yard Waste Removal Site that you would question that such a place deserves its spot on this list. The RCYWRS has EARNED this praise. And I spit upon you for thinking otherwise.

Do you have yard waste? Great. Take it to the RCYWRS and dump it there in a stinking heap. Empty your bag and drive away with the satisfied air of a person who has simply left his problems for someone else to clean up. (You must be a resident of Ramsey county to take a dump here; if you are not a resident, though, I still encourage you to do a ridealong.)

Here, at the Ramsey County Yard Waste Removal Site, you will see the largest leaf pile you have ever laid eyes upon. Here, you will witness an ORDERLY procession of civic-minded Ramsey-county citizens pulling up their cars, trucks and trailers to an ENORMOUS pile of yard waste, wearily getting out of those vehicles, SLOWLY dumping out their sticks, leaves, branches, clods of dirt and the occasional, accidental hunk of dog feces and then nearly backing into someone as they hastily attempt to leave the facility.

To me, this yard waste facility is the essence of America. I just don’t know why. (It is a HUGE pile of AWESOME waste. That is why.)

[Please note: I will write one or two additional posts in the upcoming week to complete this list. Included: The Blue Door, The Black Dog, Micawbers and more.]

Video: Hüsker Dü live at First Ave, 1985

Video: Kristoff Krane on The Current

Those tasty guitar licks are from a No Bird Sing guy.

Video: Jared Allen’s theory of the mullet

I have to admit that his argument is impeccable. Not all YouTube commenters agree, though – “There’s nothing nice about this man’s mullet, it makes him look like his ass stinks really bad. Just my opinion.”

Links for 4.21.09: Cloudspeaker, green porn, Anvil and Absolut…

*Music 2.0: I haven’t really poked around Cloudspeaker, but I’m trying to figure out if it’s a busier Hype Machine. [shorties]

*Green: We wrote about Isabella Rossellini’s “Green Porno” ages ago for the day job. Now she’s back with a series of films about how aquatic life does it. And by it, I can’t even say what I mean. At all. [cinematical]

*Movies: Anthony Lane, my favorite writer working today, gave the heavy metal documentary “Anvil” a rave review in the most recent issue of the New Yorker. [tds]

*Local: Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) singing “A Satisfied Mind” at Eau Claire’s Memorial High School. Who has two fingers and likes Bon Iver? [chuckles]

*Video: An ad for Absolut vodka, called “A vodka movie,” by Zach Galifianakis. Men. Wigs. [hotdogsladies]

*Apps: Capo is a $40 iPhone app that allows wannabe musicians to slow down tracks so they can learn to play them. I can play nothing, though I tried to learn the flute once. [daring fireball]

*Lastly: In place of today’s grades, an editorial comment. I hate City Pages.

Video: Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon pitches in on “Lovin’s for Fools”

Also, Sarah Siskind and Bill Frisell.

[cp via chuckles’ facebook]

Links for 3.15.09: Moustaches, guerrilla preservation and lasagne

*Hair: The 2009 NYC Beard and Moustache Championships were recently held in Brooklyn. I shaved today with minimal blood loss. FYI.

*History: The Kingston Lounge is a blog dedicated to “guerrilla preservation and urban archaeology.” The images are whatever the combination of haunting and awesome is. [bad banana]

*Media: Clay Shirky thinks the unthinkable about newspapers.

*Blankets: Rob Walker makes his way to the Snuggie and the Slanket for the New York Times Magazine.

*Twitter: WeFollow is a user-generated index of Twitter users from Digg’s Kevin Rose. I considered registering myself under the category of lasagne, but to this point have abstained. Any suggestions welcomed. Regards.

*Eco: Your term to know: Bright Greens. As a colleague of mine pointed out, a run at using the Obama hope/effectiveness paradigm to frame the sustainability movement.

*Local: Here’s a video of Minneapolis band Hyder Ali playing at the Nomad World Pub. You may recognize the guy on the right as Chuckles.

*Periodic Tables of Things: How far away from a periodic table of periodic tables are we? HOW FAR?

*Grade for today’s links: Crying into my cupped hands.

A Great Recession Guide

I link to economy stuff sometimes, and it’s often pretty depressing. Sorry. The global economic meltdown itself isn’t anything close to a light topic, but there are a growing number of sites out there aggregating the ideas, images and other ephemera that detail our economy’s decline – often explicitly referencing the 30s and The Great Depression as they do so. Below is a mini-guide to the lighter side of the current, prolonged recession.

*Brands: Salon has created a brand graveyard for dying companies.

*Images: The Guardian has started a recession photo pool on Flickr (apparently with a good number of fakes finding their way in there).

*Markets: This tumblr aggregates pictures of stock brokers with their hands on their faces. Crying, crying into their cupped hands.

*Work: Try reading Unemploymentality, “the definitive unemployment blog.”

*Housing: Slate launches a photo gallery of abandoned houses.

*Happiness: The Bright Side Project – “sunshine delivered daily” to offset the gloom. [kate]

*Facial hair: Buzzfeed calls recession beards the look of the day. I always called them drifter beards.

*Fashion: The Recessionista is a blog dedicated to “savings on fashion, dining out, and entertaining in the global economy.” (I couldn’t find much in the way of Depressionistas…yet.)

*Video: Gawker recently created compiled a collection of recession-themed ads that you may watch.

*Music: Here’s Phish’s summer touring schedule, and some comments from Trey Anastasio: “As a longtime fan of Depression-era swing bands, he has been thinking about Phish’s role in the current recession.

“For people in hard times, we can play long shows of pure physical pleasure,” he said. “They come to dance and forget their troubles. It’s like a service commitment.” (Earlier this year, I noted that Bonaroo, Coachella and other music festivals were offering layaway as an option to fans who didn’t have the immediate funds to purchase tickets.) [via itsworsethanyouthinkitis]

*Local note: Good news. The casserole is the king of recession-era foods.

*Note: Kansas has been considering ending the death penalty in the state. Due to recession-fueled budget pressures. The bill moving to abolish it is was on hold, but is now BACK on the table. Regards.

Quick links 2.17.09: Music vs. Sex, Minneapolis food and blogging, SPARK and whatever…

*Time: I have awoken at around 4 a.m. the last two days. Due to my own deliriousness, I will keep this short, though there is actually much I’d like to crank out right now.

*Performance: SPARK, a totally geeked out music thing – I mean a “Festival of Electronic Music and Arts” – is hitting the Twin Cities tonight through Sunday. (Warning: This festival was recommended to me by a diehard Burning Man attendee and it features a performance called “Rocks and Bottles.” ) [steuer]

*Sex: 60% of 16 – 24-year-olds would rather go without sex than go without music for a week. (I haven’t had time to read the linked-to study yet. Maybe at 4:30 tomorrow.)

*Cinema: If you like looking at things (and I, for one, love this activity), I will recommend to you Film Stills. “I feel like certain frames of films should be studied like photographs.” I barely read any more words than that. Nice pictures, though. [coudal]

*Local: With Denton-esque flair, The Deets’ Ed Kohler holds a blog post (about alt-weekly City Pages Advertising Department employees writing positive reviews for companies who advertise with them) hostage, asking prospective readers to bid money to see the post killed or released (they paid; and it was released early). **Side note: Ed Kohler has made an implicit promise to teach me how to twitter correctly.

***Further, somewhat related note: Heavy Table, a new online food magazine for the Upper Midwest has launched. Reading about food is like eating newspaper. I just made that up. I think. And in the nick of time, given the impending death of print. And the imminent food shortage.

12.13.08: Brown M&M riders, Year in Ideas, Oasis on Mpls…

*Riders: The Smoking Gun has uncovered Van Halen’s famous “No Brown M&Ms” rider. [vulture]

*Ideas: The New York TimesYear in Ideas includes avian dancing, neo-neo soul, and spray-on condoms. Oh, and some other, more important stuff, like having to do with the economy and science and shit like that.

*Movies: An orchestral version of the Star Wars saga – Star Wars: A Musical Journey – that has been condensed down to just two hours will play in London’s O2 arena.

*Economics: Hypebot tracks some of the big layoffs happening in the music business.

*Songs: The Indie Music Alphabet for this year includes Bon Iver, so I was contractually obligated to post it. [shorties]

*Television: The Benny Hillifier will add Yakety Sax to anything. [mefi]

*Video: I probably already should have linked to the Robocop Rap, so I shamefully do it here, buried. Where the readers are fewer. Whew. Feel better already. OOH! Watch this video! [waxy]

*Packaging: This is sort of off-topic for the blog, but packaging that upcycles (as in the case of this wine box that becomes a lamp) – or in the case of this knoend lamp, uncycles – itself is worth thinking about. Look, I try to stay somewhat on topic around here, but it’s hard.

*Local: Oasis on Minneapolis: “the middle of nowhere.” Weeeee.

Links for 11.25.08: Bono’s music store, Forte’s pardon, Obamafy yourself…

*Downloads: Bono is going into the business of selling music with (Red) Wire, a digital download and discovery service. He’ll give a portion of the proceeds to the Global Fund, but he’ll probably be a prick about it.

*Pardon me?: President Bush pardons rapper John Forte, who was in jail on drug charges. Could Dubya be a closet Fugees fan?

*Digital music: Sales for Atlantic Records’ digital music eclipsed sales of their physical music for the same period.

*Nose flutes: If you can’t appreciate a good roundup of nose flute videos, I don’t know what you can appreciate. Though it’s probably some highfalutin’ bullshit. As I will point out in the comments of the linked-to post, however, they have forgotten the unforgettable “Sophie Monk Double-Nose Flute Incident” in their collection.

*Biz: How tethered to Apple is the growth of digital music (the paid kind)? I would just like to point out that wide swaths of the economy are going into the shitter. WIDE swaths. OK?

*Propaganda: The Obamafy plug-in allows you to turn your Photo Booth photos into Shepard Fairey-like propaganda. HOPE. [the duty]

*Black Eyed Peas: Fergie is recording vocals for Slash’s – formerly of a little band called GUNS N’ ROSES – forthcoming album. I feel sort of bad for almost abandoning Fergie content, but she hasn’t peed herself in years. OK?

*Local: Oh, look. Nine Inch Nails is in town, and Trent Reznor is taking pictures of manhole covers!

*Twitter: Shaquille O’Neal has been twittering his thoughts on the Natalie Holloway case. What?

*Personal: Seriously. I’m very tired by the end of the day. OK?

Links for 10.2.08: Nintendo’s music machine, Clown calendars, KFC rocks…

*Videogames: A next-gen Nintendo DS that takes pictures and plays music is ready to launch in Japan. I almost bought a DS a couple months ago, but I felt like too much of a 12-year-old girl in doing so.

*The Years: The 2009 Naked Clown Calendar will break your heart if it doesn’t break your eyeballs first. It’s not safe for work. And it’s not safe for posterity. [best week ever]

*Age: Lil Wayne thinks Brett Favre is 3900 years old.

*Product placement: KFC will appear in the Guitar Hero World Tour game with “cameo” appearances. I don’t know what this means, but I do think the Famous Bowl is the most depressingly genius invention of the 21st century.

*Politics: John Hodgman handicaps tonight’s vice presidential debate in a post called ADVANTAGE PALIN. The guy knows how to write a kicker.

*More politics: Obama (iPhone app) vs. Palin (ringtones) [licensing plate and fimoculous]

*Local: Poetry has been embedded in my neighborhood. Originally, we thought it was ambitious graffiti artists, but apparently this is state sanctioned verse. (You will note that the “Advice for Gardeners” poem featured in the above link is an acrostic.)