Sunday, September 16, 2012

Another Minnesota Kind Of Day

Showing off my finds
As I previously mentioned, my intent is to really begin to dive right into life here in Minnesota.  And so I've continued with another Saturday of activities.

First friends, meet my friend, Beth.  Beth and I have become friends through our husbands as David and Beth's husband work together.   Beth had emailed me with the thought of going on a little excursion to shop at the "Junk Bonanza".  WHAT is that????  Well....for those familiar with WNY, you might somewhat compare it to an ultra Clarence, NY Antique World.  Yet the Junk Bonanza is only held 2 weekends a year.  The bonanza goes on & on with one treasure after another.  After meeting for a Panera's for some energy to start our day, Beth and I spent a good part of the day visiting each of the vendors at the bonanza.  I was happy to leave there with my finds - an old school ice tray and an old school black rotary phone that is in working order (calling out on it from my house was the first hing I did when I got home).

Just a spur of the moment trivia game inspired by the junk of the vendors had a couple bins with miscellaneous game pieces.  Do you know the name of the games to which these cards belong? (Check comments for the answer)
Picture A - Name the game

Picture B - Name the game

Outside the Fitzgerald Theater
Date Night
In the evening, David and I had our babysitter come over.  David and I have been long time fans of Garrison Keillor.  We have listened to his Prairie Home Companion shows for years and have previously saw live broadcasts of his show in Buffalo, NY (Shea' which we ended up, by chance, sharing some drinks at a neighboring bar with Fred Neuman, the sound effects guy, after the show) , Kettering OH and Lewiston, NY (Artpark).  Since Garrison's "home turf" is the Fitzgerald Theater here in St. Paul, we vowed to see Garrison here before his retirement.  Each year, Keillor kicks off his season with an annual "Meatloaf Supper and Street Dance".  You could buy tickets to see the show inside the theater however for the annual street dance it is set up that you can head downtown, listen to the live broadcast from outside, grab a meatloaf dinner ( Minnesota is that??) and enjoy a beautiful late summer's evening.  After the live broadcast, Garrison and the band take to a street stage for music and other entertainment.  David and I recall listening, in the past, to the broadcasts that were held on the evenings of the street dance and thinking what a neat idea that is.  Who would've thought that we would actually not only attend but attend as *residents* of the St. Paul area.

Diving in the deep end!
We arrived outside the Fitzgerald Theatre to see several tables set up in the street along with a few snacks stands and a beer/wine stand.  On the other side of the street, up on a small hill was a  tent where they were selling a meatloaf dinner.  Typically I am not the type to partake in this kind of meal, yet since the organization of the meatloaf dinner was a planned Minnesota culinary cliche that was meant to be part of the experience, I felt that I could make an exception.  For $5 you got a slab of meatloaf, mashed potatoes gravy & a biscuit.  I must say, dinner was actually pretty darn good!  David and I enjoyed the beautiful evening as we hung out enjoying a Summit Beer (local beer) and listened to the "News From Lake Wobegon". 

View of Garrison Keillor as I waited my turn (You can't tell here but he is a close talker!)
Prior to Garrison Keillor coming outside, event organizers wanted to get outside audience members to participate in various contests that would occur throughout the evening's outdoor portion.  Contests such as Loon Calling, 30 Second Acting, Minnesota Accent, and Dancing were planned.  And so this is where I jumped in the deep end.....

This was my I NUTS?!?!
You can't really tell but that is me with Garrison Keillor on stage (center, in crook of tree)
For those who know me, you might think that I would participate in the dance contest.  Yes, that would be my desire yet the reality of the situation is that I have no real technique when it comes to dance.  I am more of a free styling freak on the dance floor.  Think Elaine on Seinfeld.  No...I opted to do the Loon Calling contest.  The problem, however, is that I had no idea what a loon's call sounded like.  And so, I made the daring decision to take a non-traditional approach to this front of Garrison Keillor and oh, about 1000+ people watching.  Yep, talk about jumping into the deep end.

Inside Fitzgerald Theater
Knowing that my approach would either be a hit or could potentially get us thrown out of Minnesota, my heart was thumping out of my chest and my hands were shaking.  As the 9th contestant out of 10 I watched one loon caller after another.  I waited, wondering what Garrison Keillor would say to me and worried about the crowd reaction.  Do or die, or die.  I have a few pictures of the stage.....unfortunately, the only picture of me ON stage with Garrison Keillor was taken by David and due to David's location in the audience and the lighting on the stage you could not make out anything other than a lit silhouette of me.  Finally it was my turn.  Garrison asked me where I was from.  I told him originally Buffalo, NY (and got a lot of cheers for that) but that I moved here last year.  Garrison's advice to me on adjusting to Minnesota was, "There is no way you are going to get them (Minnesotans) to talk.  It is just not going to happen.  So fiction.  I recommend fiction if you want to understand Minnesotans.  Make up stories."  And after the brief on stage banter, I was ready for my call......oh, yeah and my debut as a political satirist. 

Lobby of Fitzgerald Theater
Guts, yes....and despite your own political views, at least appreciate the fact that political humor has to take a stand one way or another.  Appreciate that I did this, on stage in front of over 1,000 people.  Appreciate the risk and the fact that I could've been a huge hit or escorted to the Minnesota border with a big boot to my ass.  And then appreciate the fact that I am now ready for a Saturday Night Live debut (okay....not really, but given the opportunity...)  In preparation of my loon calling turn, Garrison asked me where my loon is from.  I responded by saying that he can be seen all over.  And so it was my turn.  Before my loon calling I said, "I am not really familiar with the whole Common Loon thing so this is actually a Political Loon Call." (cheers from the crowd)  Dramatically I closed my eyes, wet my lips as though I was getting ready to make a bird noise, deeply inhaled...and then put my cell phone to my ear and said, "Hello, is Mitt there?"   (Ba dum tss!!)  As like any political jokes, I got mixed reviews.....yes, some groans but definitely enough "Woo Hoos" to stir things up in Minnesota. 

Afterward I calmed my nerves and adrenaline with another Summit Beer with David as we meandered inside the opened doors of the Fitzgerald Theater to take a peek.  For anyone that listens to Prairie Home Companion on the radio, I was actually surprised as to how small and intimate is the interior of the Fitzgerald Theater.  Since our sitter needed to be home early that night, David and I had an early night too......and with one ear on the door listening for rioters/autograph seekers I wondered what kind of trouble can I get into next weekend???


Amy said...

Trivia answers:
Picture A: Authors (card game)
Picture B: Probe

Margaret said...

Amy, I knew both. I just thought of the Authors game today, no lie!!! I have screen savors on my Kindle, the author of the day was one I remember from that game. The other...I own the one we had.