Thursday, April 20, 2006

arts and culture reveries

This year, the St. Paul Art Crawl coincides with the opening of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival — and it's all this weekend. I have a feeling we're not going to get much painting done after all!

Steve and I have gone to both events every year since we've been together. Four years ago, on the Saturday of the spring Art Crawl, we took our first big step toward getting engaged: We booked our reception site — the same Victorian home on Summit Avenue where Steve's sister and brother-in-law had had their reception some years earlier. It was definitely out of the regular order of a traditional engagement. Even though we'd been talking about marriage for a while, and even pencilled in a non-binding date at our church, Steve hadn't popped the question officially — yet — or given me a ring. (And we hadn't written any checks yet!)

It was grey and drizzly the Saturday we left that downpayment with the owner and talked vaguely about what type of food we might be offering an undecided number of guests more than a year in the future. I remember wandering around the art studios afterward in my raincoat, in a bit of a daze, thinking, We're getting married! We've put down money! It was a totally new experience to me, kind of surreal and giddy at the same time. But I also realized that I didn't want that event to be what I remembered as the beginning of our engagement. I was an old-fashioned romantic at heart, and I told Steve that day, "Just because we've done this doesn't mean I don't want you to propose to me, for real." So he did, sometime later — and he even managed to surprise me. I have very fond, romantic memories of that!

The Art Crawl is held twice a year, in spring and fall. Last October, it fell at a time when I was taking a poetry class at The Loft. (It was a struggle; poetry doesn't come easily to me.) We had an assignment to write some cinquains — short poems containing five lines, with 2, 4, 6, 8 and 2 syllables in each successive line. It was the one assignment I really loved; cinquains were fun, and I found the structure and limitations strangely freeing. (I could shed my tendency to write complete sentences, for one thing!) I must have written at least a dozen cinquains that week. The Saturday night of the Art Crawl, as Steve and I went out to dinner and then hung out in an artsy Lowertown bar, I wrote these two:

Dinner at LoTo (Looking Out at Mears Park)

Dusk falls
Lamplight glows on
Downtown park. Tattered man
Spits on sidewalk, oblivious
To us

Lowertown After the Art Crawl

Patchouli, wine
Mothers with dyed-black hair
Stare. Trance music. Two outsiders

(The art is the St. Paul Art Crawl poster competition winner Tom McGregor's "Spring in Como Park")


liz said...
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liz said...

I think we're planning on going for a little while on Saturday - maybe we'll see you!

Do you know where the poster can be purchased? I think my mom would love it for Mother's Day. I just went to the website, but it doesn't say much. :)

liz said...

argghhhhh. Sorry for the delete!

Emilie said...
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Emilie said...

Oh for heaven's sake - you can delete these comments?! I just figured it out - it's that little garbage can icon. LOL - I feel like a ditz!

Anyway, Liz, I'm not sure where the poster can be purchased. Sorry I can't be of help. At any rate, it would be fun to run into you!

Now I'm about to go visit your blog and see if you are feeling better.

Ellen said...

Beautiful cinquains!! They make me feel like I'm really there.