Posts Tagged ‘saint paul’

Gangster Burger (with a diet soda?)

Photo from Hillery Shay, Pioneer Press

Photo from Hillery Shay, Pioneer Press

The kids at MnSpeak (that’s what I’m still calling it) have already started talking about this, but I have a different angle.

When the Pioneer Press brought the Rice Street Deli’s famous Gangster Burger back to the office for this non review (they never say what it tastes like), for some reason photographer Hillery Shay decided to capture the five pound burger with a bottle of Diet Coke in the background.

Was that a joke? If your arteries can handle two half-pound hamburger patties, three six-ounce steaks, a half-pound of gyro meat, a half-pound of Italian beef and six slices of cheese, I think you can handle a full strength soda.

Selby Ave JazzFest Runs All Day Saturday, Sep 13

2008 Selby Ave JazzFest

2008 Selby Ave JazzFest, 11am-7pm, Saturday, Sep 13, 2008

2008 Selby Ave. Jazz Fest
Selby & Milton, St. Paul,
Sept 13, 2008
11a.m – 7 p.m.

The Selby Ave JazzFest was created in 2002 by Golden Thyme Coffee Café owner and community activist Mychael Wright. (Golden Thyme is on the corner of Selby and Milton.)

I used to hang out over there kind of a lot. That corner doesn’t normally look too exciting. In fact, it’s an oddly deserted and vaguely creepy feeling area considering Summit Ave, Grand Ave, and Selby-Dale are so close by. So I bet it’s quite a sight when the JazzFest is going on. Almost 10,000 people attended last year.

There’s food from “soul food” to “State Fair,” a marketplace, a health and wellness fair, activities for the kiddies, and music all day long.

More information is available at and on their facebook page.

11 a.m. Dick and Jane’s Big Brass Band with kickoff parade
12 p.m. Walker West Urban Legends of Jazz
1 p.m. Mikhalized
2 p.m. Wenso Ashby & Zsamé Morgan
2 p.m. – 6 p.m.Kids have the opportunities to engage in making puppets with Heart of the Beast
3 p.m. Yohannes Tona
4 – 4:15 p.m. Award Ceremony: Leigh Kammon & Merle Harris Awards
4:15 p.m. The John Raymond Project
5 p.m. Salsa Del Soul
6 p.m. Jason “Malletman” Taylor

So, who got arrested last night?

MnIndy’s Paul Demko writes up his experience getting detained while covering the protests

Star Tribune says 818 people were arrested over the 4 days of the RNC, including 396 last night

The UpTake’s volunteer coordinator Suzanne was shooting video of a police-protester confrontation when she got caught up in the melée and was arrested.

Video of WCCO photojournalist Tom Aviles being arrested

What’s your story?

Back home again

I made it back to the liberal stronghold that is Minneapolis, although it took me longer than normal. Definitely longer than it took me to get to St. Paul this morning. Granted, when I boarded the 94 eastbound bus, it was during rush hour, and coming home, I stopped at Innuendo for Happy Hour first. The 7:46 schedule 94 bus never came, so I caught the 16 instead, at 8pm. It got me to Minneapolis at about 8:45. I probably should’ve waited for the 94 at 8:16, but I figured I’d still get home around the same time.

My overall impression of the day, though, was…meh. In a phrase that would’ve made Yogi Berra happy, “if you didn’t know it was happening, you wouldn’t know it was happening.” Now, that’s not to say that there weren’t events, that there weren’t rallies, that there wasn’t stuff that was newsworthy. What I mean is, if you didn’t live in the restricted area, if you didn’t work near the zone, all you would see is a lot of people, and a lot of cops. In other words, it would look like you were living or working in a city. Now, for St. Paul, that’s a bit of a change. In fact, I’d say that St. Paul seemed a lot more like Minneapolis today, in terms of general activity.

There was lots of conversation. As you walked through the skyway, or rode the bus, you’d hear people say things like, “Did you see that guy with the bullhorn?” or “Man, there were loads of cops in riot gear at the park!” But unless you went looking for it, or by misfortune, lived or worked in the specific areas, it didn’t really affect you.

And there were lots of cops, both in St. Paul and in Minneapolis. At every street corner, there is a police presence. I don’t know that I necessarily felt safer. I mean, no one is going to mug me with a cop right there, but if someone did mug me, I don’t know that the cop would’ve done anything. If I had a placard denouncing the government, I think the cops would’ve done something. Not necessarily violently, but there would’ve been a reaction. I just didn’t feel like they were there to police “normal crime”. You could probably blow a stoplight without too much worry of getting a ticket, unless your car was decorated to protest something.

RNC Roundup: The Coverage of the Coverage

Jason DeRusha asks if this weekend’s citizen journalist effort is adding any value. He specifically mentions MnIndy and The Uptake. Good — and civil! — discussion in the comments.

Related to Jason’s question, MnIndy and The Uptake both have longer-form pieces up today addressing yesterday’s events. (Note that most of yesterday’s coverage was live, on-the-spot type stuff.) David Brauer’s got them all in today’s RNC-themed Daily Glean. Follow all of his links.

Glenn Greenwald has a long and oft-updated piece at Salon, focusing largely, but not entirely, on the arrest of Amy Goodman from Democracy Now!. And he has this to say on the Saint Paul PD’s press conference:

Interestingly, all of the standard journalists asked very police-sympathetic questions (“how much property damage was done? were all the criminals part of this same RNC Welcoming Group? How many police officers were injured (answer: none)), while all of the independent journalists — such as those from the superb, intrepid site, The Uptake — asked challenging and skeptical (i.e., real) questions.

Overheard at the RNC

In the great tradition of Overheard in Minneapolis and the rest of the Overheards

Overheard at the RNC, which now has one post:

Woman #1: So, I was watching the Democratic National Convention last night…
Woman #2: Oh, is that here?

Saint Paul, Women’s restroom just a few block from where the RNC will be next week…
Overheard by Amazed and saddened.

Definitely add it to your RSS feeds for the next couple weeks.

Laughing Liberally, Saturday at the Ordway

I got an email via the Minneapolis Drinking Liberally mailing list about a Laughing Liberally event this Saturday at the Ordway.

(I’ve never actually attended a Drinking Liberally event, but it seems interesting in theory.)

(Laughing Liberally “showcases the brightest progressive comedians from across the nation.”)

So I read the email and I was all, “That’s nice. Wait, that’s in St Paul, not Minneapolis. RNC ongoing? Traffic? Anyway.” In spite of that gut reaction, I clicked through to the Ordway’s Laughing Liberally event page and saw that my man Baratunde Thurston is going to be performing. Dude, you didn’t even tell me you were going to be here!

So, if you like your comedy and your progressive politics all mixed up together, this should be worth a trip to St Paul during the RNC (in case you, like me, were trying to stay far far away from it).

Saturday, August 23, 2008
$15.00 (plus fees)

Purchase tickets by calling the box office at 651.224.4222
Or online at Promo Code: DRINK

Make sure you use the promo code, whether you call or order online. My girlfriend bought ours today and found out those seats are normally $45. Ticketbastard charges still apply.

This is part of the Ordway’s Urbanites series, so you can also use the promo code URBAN, though I don’t know how much of a discount that is.

(And yes, I know that the RNC doesn’t actually start until September 1.)

Frugal things to do you’re in Minneapolis

The Money Life Network has a series called “Frugal things to do when you’re in…“ featuring free or cheap things to do.

From the Minneapolis-St. Paul list:

  • Lake Calhoun: A great place to go for the day to enjoy some sun, a canoe ride, maybe some beach volleyball and a nice walk around the 3+mile lake. It is the place to see and be seen in the summer months (FREE)
  • Minnehaha Falls: The falls are a natural wonder, and definitely a must visit for shutterbugs. In the area surrounding you can take nice long walk from the falls down to the Mississippi river. Beautiful! (FREE)
  • Minnesota Landscape Arboretum: A 1,047-acre garden and arboretum about 20 minutes outside of Minneapolis. Because of it’s natural beauty this is often a chosen as a great spot for weddings and for just getting some great pictures. (15 and under free, $7 adults. Free all day Thursday in the winter, and free on Thursday evenings from 4.30 p.m. until 8 p.m. or sunset in the summer)
  • Lyndale Park Rose Gardens at Lake Harriet: Lake Harriet in south Minneapolis has a beautiful Rose Garden that has been blooming every year since 1907-1908. It’s a popular place for weddings, photography and peaceful reflection. If you’re going to Lake Calhoun anyway, stop by the Rose Gardens, it is just a short walk away. Also, right across the street is a beautiful Japanese Gardens (FREE)

Also on the list, Como Zoo, MOA, Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, Sculpture Garden, MIA, food, sports, museums, etc. etc. Full list here.

Dragon Festival this weekend, cymbals optional

This weekend marks the 12th Annual Dragon Festival,

The Asian-Pacific Minnesotan festival features cultural performances, artists, music and yes, Dragon Boat Races!

These sleek, ornately designed boats are each 40-ft long and under 4-ft. in width. Each comes with a drum to provide the rhythm for the paddlers. The character of each boat is shown through its intricately designed head and tail representing the most venerated mythical beast in Chinese folklore–the dragon. The dragon is a believed to be a benevolent creature with powers to bring rain (that guarantees good harvest) and the power to ward off illness…Each team consists of 20 team members: 18 paddlers, one flag catcher, and one drummer.

I would love to be the drummer. I would bust out some sweet John Bonham licks and power my team to victory. There should be one rower who gets a cymbal or maybe a kazoo, too.

Dragon Festival is located at Phalen Lake Park in St. Paul, MN this July 12 & 13 from 9 am-5 pm. More info here.

Zoo Blogging (pt. 2)

zoologo.jpgWhile the Minnesota Zoo is always a favorite, there’s a special place in my heart for the Como Zoo.

According to Wikipedia (which someone has yet to update to reflect the new Tropical Encounters Exhibit):

The first zoo in Saint Paul was on Harriet Island when in 1897, the city of St. Paul received a gift of three deer. Additional animals followed, when more room was needed to house the animals they were moved to facilities at Como Park.

Set within the lush 384 Como Park in North Saint Paul, Como Zoo has all the animals you would expect at a zoo (including many the Minnesota Zoo doesn’t) — namely lions, tigers, (polar) bears, seals and penguins.

Sparky the Sea Lion presents "Sparky's Coastal Journey"
Since I was too little to sit up in a stroller, I’ve been coming to Como to see Sparky the Sea Lion. Sparky turned 52 years-old this year, and he’s looking as spry as ever.

Sparky the Sea Lion presents "Sparky's Coastal Journey"

His new show is called “Sparky’s Coastal Journey” and features all sorts of propaganda about recycling, polar bears and global warming. Apart from the messaging, Sparky turns on the stereo, jumps through hoops, barks and waves on command — all to the delighted satisfaction of the children under 10 in the crowd (including myself).


This summer Como also has a temporary walk-through butterfly exhibit in the shape of a giant caterpillar. At any time there are 300 butterflies fluttering throughout the 2,500 sq. ft. greenhouse.


It’s the best butterfly garden I’ve ever seen and is highly recommended for a trip in itself.

Parking is free, and the donation to attend the zoo is a suggested $2 adult/$1 children donation.

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