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same old new

A year ago I yearned for escape. Although I love Minneapolis I still wanted something more... exotic but homey. I thought it might be India or China, or perhaps somewhere in Eastern Europe. However, to my surprise I discovered Saint Paul instead. In this neighboring city I find the people foreign, the streets windy and ancient feeling, and yet there is a run-down slightly back-water-hickish feel about the place that reminds me of where I grew up. The streets are empty at five; parking is free after four-thirty, yet there are lots and lots of nice restaurants and neighborhood pubs. I swear the place is Minneapolis's best-kept secret.

Tonight I visited the Artist's Quarter for the first time. It was exactly what I imagined. People of all ages were appreciating the CD release party of a Jazz musician. The place was a dark basement with dim lighting and a low ceiling. There were pictures of famous musicians on the walls and the audience was rapt by the music, nodding in time to the beat, with a wine or whiskey glass in hand - just like Jazz clubs the world over.

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