The Twin Cities for bookish sorts
My oh my, how fast January went by. If you are in tune with the groundhog, it seems we will have an early spring. Trees are already budding in Texas, I’m told. Of course, that’s why we live here. Things are a bit more sensible.
If you are getting a little bit of cabin fever, you need not look far to find a lovely event to go to this month. We’ve got some great authors launching books, like Wendy Webb and Erin Hart, and some great poetry on tap, as well as other fun shenanagins. February is the month of love, isn’t it? Well, show your very own lit community some love this month, and come on out and celebrate it! While you're at it, show your Minneapolis Books Examiner some love by subscribing to this column, and sharing this post!
First up, tonight (well, at 4:30) is Wendy Webb’s first reading for her new, highly-anticipated novel The Fate of Mercy Alban. She will be at the Totally Criminal Cocktail Hour, hosted by Valley Bookseller, at the Dock Café in Stillwater. This one always sneaks up on me, because it’s the first Wednesday of the month. Look for this event every month with a different mystery writer. Call ahead, reservations are required, as there is a charge ($10), which includes appetizers. There’s a cash bar and delicious discussion. Put it on your list for next month, and don't fret, you can still see Wendy Webb, as she'll be at the Fireside Reading next week.
Thursday, Feb 7
Maeve’s Sessions/Our Flow Is Hard, 7:30 pm
Maeve’s Café, 300 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis
This session teams up two reading series: Maeve’s Sessions and The Flow Is Hard. As they say, “Our Flow is Hard is teaming up with the bi-monthly Maeve's sessions (run by the illustrious Matt Mauch) for a heavy hero stocked po-extravaganza.” Presenting this superhero-themed reading will be Elisabeth Workman, Steve Healey, Meryl DePasqual and Brad Liening. Who doesn’t like poetry about superheroes? It’s sure to be quirky, and you’d have to be crazy to miss it.
Wednesday, Feb 13
Birchbark Books Reading Series 7:00 pm
The Bockley Gallery, 2123 W 21st St, Minneapolis
This embattled reading series, which lost its space last year, has apparently found a new location at The Bockley Gallery, just a couple doors down from Birchbark. And what a line-up! Join them for a pre-love poetry fest with Clarence White, Katrina Vandenberg, Mary Francois Rockcastle and Jude Nutter. Sponsored by Birchbark Books, curated by Michael Kiesow Moore.
Saturday, Feb 16
MN Publishing Tweet Up 10:00 am
Moon Palace Books, 2820 E. 33rd St., Minneapolis
Join the Tweet Up at the Twin Cities’ newest indie bookstore this month! This one on the weekend for all those who work evenings. If you haven’t been to a Tweet Up, be prepared to meet some of the funnest lit folks in the area. And enjoy the ambience at Moon Palace! This continues the partnership with the MN Book Publishing Roundtable, so come on down! There’s bound to be coffee…
Thursday, Feb 21
Plots & Pints
Registration at 6:30, trivia at 7:00 pm
O’Gara’s Bar & Grill, 164 N. Snelling Ave, St. Paul
The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library present a Minnesota-literary quiz, to help celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Minnesota Book Awards. Each team of four members requires a $200 registration (of which $160 is tax-deductible), which includes appetizers and a round of beers. Then it’s on the mayhem! Match your wits with the best minds of the Twin Cities, and help benefit the MN Book Awards at the same time (Gala is in April, you know). Prizes (even one for best team name, so be creative), beer and books. What more could you wish for? Register online. If you don't have a team, let them know and they could possibly hook you up with someone else.
Tuesday, Feb 19
Third Tuesday Readings by Writers 7:30 pm
University Club, 420 Summit Ave, St. Paul
Billed as ‘Women Poets Celebrate Valentine’s’, and called a ‘poetry extravaganza’ by moderator Carol Connolly, this should give you an idea of what’s in store. The line-up, of course, is extra-ordinary. This month, enjoy Molly Culligan, Sharon Chmielarz, Dana Elkun, Julie Hart, Kathleen Jesme, Roseanne Lloyd, Leslie Adrienne Miller, and Joyce Sutphen. I would list credits for these, but that would take another column. I can tell you that there are numerous award winners, and at least one poet laureate. Some serious talent here, folks, and all of it for free. Music will be provided by Mary Scallen (violin) and Jim Miller (flute). The U Club is private but you can come early and eat dinner, if you say you are there for Poetry Night (651-222-1751). Readings last about an hour, and writers will have books for sale (cash only). Sponsored by Public Art Saint Paul/Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk.
Wednesday, Feb 27
Words at WAM, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Weisman Art Museum, 33 E. River Parkway, Minneapolis
Join Hazel & Wren for the Second Annual WAM event. Last year’s was so much fun, they’re doing it again! Co-hosted by the Weisman Art Museum on the Univ of MN campus, this event features a mingling time, with appetizers, which allows folks an opportunity to sign up for the Open Mic session. Because this, this is the thing. Anyone can sign up for the Open Mic, in any genre, and that will go from 7-8:00 pm. (Get there early to sign up, as you go in order of the sign-up sheet.) Then it’s on to the featured readers, who include Tish Jones and U of M student Matthew Ullery (who was chosen by the staff of the lit mag Ivory Tower). But wait, there’s more! This year, there will be a community poem, projected via Twitter, and musical entertainment by U of M student composers. Free and open to the public and includes museum exhibitions. “This unique style of collaborative open mic between a literary and art organization reinvents the open mic model as something fresh, inspiring, and welcoming for all.” Follow along on Twitter at #wordsatwam13.
Wednesday, Feb 27
Murder in Minnesota, 7:00 pm
Plymouth Congregational Church, 217 Mackubin St, St. Paul
Hosted by Stan Turner, this gathering will focus on true stories of murder and diabolical deeds that happened in Minnesota. Authors included will be William Swanson (Dial M for Murder: The Murder of Carol Thompson), Larry Millett (Strange Days, Dangerous Nights), and Joe Kimball (Secrets of the Congdon Mansion). Sponsored by Subtext: A Bookstore. What a delightful way to spend an evening! Call the store with questions.
If you’re like me, you will undoubtedly find yourself double-booked on at least one occasion this month. Take a chance and go somewhere you haven’t been before. Get on out and see now only the headliners, but the authors that may seem faintly familiar, or those you’ve never heard of. You cannot imagine the gratitude you will receive from an author when you show up at one of their events.
And don’t forget, support our local literary institutions: the libraries, the indie booksellers, the literary and book centers, and all the rest. They are what make this a great bookish town! Think, just think – do you know how lucky we are?
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