April 26-29, 2022
Tuesday 26 April 2022 was our 14th wedding anniversary and what better way to celebrate than to take a long, rather boring, car journey – quality time!
It was great to arrive in Minneapolis and see and stay with an old friend, James Everest. Our first evening we were treated to a preview of a new song that James, the Blue Lady and a choir were rehearsing prior to the performance on Friday (which sadly we wouldn’t be around to see). It was a beautiful melodic and upbeat piece. We were in the garden, and boy was it cold, but there was a fire and with James on the guitar it brought back fond memories of nights around the fire singing (Summer Breeze and other classics) deep in the sand dunes of Rhossili Bay on the Gower Peninsula all those years ago.
Later that evening we met up with Sarah, James’ partner, for dinner at Merlins Rest, a British style pub establishment.
Wednesday was a beautiful, cold, but crisp and sunny day. We spent the morning at the pretty city of Stillwater where we saw the local artist Jim Denomie’s final exhibition (he sadly passed away earlier this year). His work is extremely colourful and compelling. You can see an interview James did with Jim here.
We had a lovely walk around the city and by the river crossing the bridge so that we could walk from the state of Minnesota to Wisconsin as the state line is in the middle of the river.
In the afternoon, we walked around the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden which had a wonderfully interesting range of modern sculptures (from Henry Moore to current artists).
In the evening we went to Carbonne’s Pizza and Pub as they had a band playing (Art Vandalay). It wasn’t really a good place for a) a band to play or b) to see a band. James knew that but we persuaded him to take us there as we wanted to see some live music. Still the pizza was fine and there was cider (Loon Cider) for Richard.
Thursday was the main event, a tour of Paisley Park, Prince’s home and recording studio. It was extremely corporate and a bit full of itself, but the range of exhibits on show and the space itself captured the imagination. It was fascinating to see the main recording studio and to see collections such as Prince’s incredible outfits and shoe collection. No photos were allowed in most areas but there was a section at the end where you could take photos so here is a selection.
Lunch was a soul food delight at Mama Sheila’s House of Soul.
We then went on a sobering walk around the square where, in 2020, George Floyd was murdered and the surrounding area. The square has become a memorial site and there is tribute after tribute to George Floyd and the many others that have been murdered in the city and throughout the country. There is a lot of public art including murals and sculptures. One of the art installations in a nearby green space is the ‘Say Their Names’ symbolic cemetery which contains 150 headstone markers; one for each of the ‘People of Color’ killed by the police in the United States. Sadly, the ‘cemetery’ continues to be added to with numerous headstones marking the killings of people since George Floyd’s murder. When will it end?
That evening, James had a band rehearsal and so we took ourselves off to the Strike Theater to see a female sketch comedy group called LadyBrain performing their show, Resting Yuk Face. The sketches were great but it was a bit over priced for a 60 minute show and a bit lacking on atmosphere with only 9 people (including us) in the audience in a room with 100 person capacity. We then popped into a Cider House, Sociable Cider, to try a couple (or more) of their ciders. The Freewheeler was pretty good but we weren’t convinced by the cucumber and chilli cider!
And so, it being our last night and with a long drive ahead of us in the morning we knew the sensible thing to do was to go back to James’ for an early night. So, what we did was walk over the where James and co. were rehearsing and hang about with them over a few beers as they wound down and then we went back to James’ where we ate chips and James’ special recipe salsa (which includes corn), drank more and James treated us to a small sound garden demo before we finally headed to bed in the early hours.
Not surprisingly we were all late to rise on the Friday. Our aim of getting on the road early went out the window but a happy result was that we had a lovely final catch up with James and Sarah over brunch at the Standish Cafe. Many thanks to James for putting us up and showing us the sights and it was great to spend some time with James and also getting to know Sarah.