Sep 3, 2009

Vacation Retrospective 3: Guthrie and MPR

Thanks to Marc and Vikki, I got an insider's tour of two spectacular places in Minneapolis/St. Paul. And you know there's an Iceland connection.

Vikki works at the Guthrie Theater which, as many of you know, is one of the foremost theaters in the U.S. What you probably don't know is that the Guthrie is pet friendly: there are a few employees who bring their pets to work every day, and others who do so occasionally. The picture to the right is of a staff door that also features a picture of the "Company Dog" in a theater seat, presumably awaiting the beginning of a theatrical production.

Dog Door at the Guthrie

The architecture of the Guthrie is awesome, with a huge, cantilevered wing, and creative graphics displayed on interior and exterior walls that highlight different performances. There are lots of blue glass windows (plus yellow on one floor)--a feature that I don't particularly care for, as the windows literally "color" the interior, in an obtrusive way. The views of the surrounding city and the river are spectacular. I hope to attend a performance during our next visit.

Marc took us on a tour of Minnesota Public Radio. We got to see the intimate performance hall, recording studios, music library, a display of old radios, and met lots of interesting people. I recorded a copy of "Where the Wild Things Are" in Spanish, for baby Coco. An absolutely fascinating tour!

Tuning in to Nostalgia at MPR

Three things that are on my list to do when I return:

1. Tour the Cathedral of St. Paul

2. Visit the Minnesota Center for Book Arts (ok, I already went there, but they were closed). This looks like a really amazing place! First, they have a nice coffee shop--always a plus. I can't begin to tell you all the things they do, but here is a brief synopsis:
As the largest and most comprehensive center of its kind in the nation, Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) celebrates the book as a vibrant contemporary art form that takes many shapes. From the traditional crafts of papermaking, letterpress printing and bookbinding to experimental artmaking and self-publishing techniques, MCBA supports the limitless creative evolution of book arts.
Check out their webpage to see the list of classes they offer, and all of their wonderful events. For example, they will feature "A Week for Peace" September 19-28, with "readings and presentations to encourage dialogue regarding America’s responsibilities to returned veterans and an understanding of the dehumanizing effects of warfare."

The MCBA was established in 1983, and since '86 it has been located in the Warehouse District of Minneapolis. The building they are in also houses The Loft Literary Center, and Milkweed Editions. Yes, you heard right: Milkweed, publisher of Bill Holm's books! Now that is a definite must visit for my next trip!

3. Hear Marc's band, Les Ourses, play.

Although I'm finally posting this a month after my return from Minneapolis/St. Paul, I have to say that the city has been on my mind a lot. First, it was a refreshing change from the humid summers we have here in Virginia. But mostly I was impressed by the neighborhoods, the architecture, and the cosmopolitan feel of the Twin Cities. I found myself wondering if the trade off (severe winter weather) would be worth it. Think I'll ask Jody and Skip that question, come next June ...

1 comment:

Professor Batty said...

Interesting that you should comment on the colored windows. The old Guthrie's lobby area was a "crystal palace" with three floors of floor to ceiling clear windows, overlooking the Walker Art Center's sculpture garden. I always have a huge psychic disconnect when I'm in the new one, especially when I leave the thrust stage auditorium (which is a virtual clone of the old theater) and enter those lobbies.