Had a great day touring around St. Paul today- First stop was the Economic Development department at City Hall, where I turned in my final paperwork for St, Paul's AWESOME home improvement loan! You can apply for up to $20,000 for thirty years, INTEREST FREE. I'm not kidding. This is like Chris Coleman walking up to you, handing you 20 grand, and saying "Make your house a little better- it will make your city a little better." How cool is that? Granted, it's not available to every neighborhood, but if you're in Hamline Midway, at least, GO APPLY! Super Cool. After that I swung into St. Paul City Hall (not just cool- Freaking SPECTACULAR) and tried to surprise the unstoppable Joe Spencer, St. Paul's Arts & Culture guy. Have you met him? You need to. He's funny, smart, and is a total advocate for artists here in the city. Sadly, Joe wasn't in his office, so I didn't get a chance to tell him about my idea for a project that would involve 5 plays at cafes along the Central corridor, where you follow a character from one play, hop on the light rail, and follow that character to the next play location. Next time.
After that, it was over to the east side and Mounds Park Academy, where I'm directing their middle school play. Mounds Park is a pretty awesome institution, if you're unfamiliar with it. K-12, smart, funny kids and an AMAZING facility. Should all schools be so lucky! It's a private school, but the teachers really care for their students, and the environment is top notch.
The East Side of St. Paul consistently amazes me with its resilience and diversity. Rivaled only by Frogtown in its diversity, take a bus through the East Side, and you'll see every shape, size, age, and color of person. Having grown up in Roseville, I'm not used to such diversity, but I love it. It's a pretty good snapshot of the world we live in, I think. It may be a little rough around the edges, but it's AUTHENTIC.
Finally, the night ended with a St. Paul Community Ed class at Homecroft Elementary school. My roommate Rachel and I are taking a Chicago Style Steppin' course- $50 for ten two hour classes? An amazing deal! The teachers, Tina & Dwight are great, the class is composed of about the nicest people I've met, and the dance is getting more and more fun every time. Rachel and I are having a blast, although we'd love to get into something a little more "swing". Suggestions? I know, I know, THE CAVES...
So, now I'm nestled up in my (relatively) new home in Hamline Midway. The 8 squirrels that live in a 100-foot radius of my house have stopped their frantic search for black walnuts and food and are, until tomorrow, quiet. We've got a gallon of tea going on the stove for kombucha (tips anybody?), and will commence my evening with a brainstorm about how to spend the money that this awesome city is giving me. Goodnight, St. Paul!
Until next time,
p.s. Official NOT cool thing of the day- why is it that EVERY restaurant I go to in St. Paul uses styrofoam containers? I know, part of St. Paul's charm is that it never really left the 1960's, but STYROFOAM? Seriously, folks. I'd rather you just put my leftovers in my bare hands than carry them out in that toxic waste.