It is So Beautiful, November 2, 2013

The State Theatre

Minneapolis, MN


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It is So Beautiful

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It is so beautiful, so beautiful, Minneapolis, November,
walking on Lake Street,
A girl in black leather jacket, black leather boots on her feet,
Blonde hair piled on her head, too much eyeliner,
Standing by the White Castle diner,
Smoking an E-cigarette,
Who is part of a quartet
Waiting for the bus to St. Paul
In front of the Somali Mall
Where a Somali woman, who is round and small,
Wearing a bright orange scarf and round glasses,
Passes
A boy with buzzed hair, skater jacket,
holding a skateboard, and he
Is not looking at a black lady yelling at an SUV.
She is really upset and distressed,
And the way you know you are in the Midwest
Is that the four people at the bus stop on this chilly day
Are all looking the other way,
Pretending they cannot hear
This outburst, trying to disappear.

Eight guys in a used-car lot as a woman in hot pink t-shirt walked past:
"Hey baby! Girl, where you walkin' so fast?"
"Boy, who you think you're talkin to?
I'm not lookin' at you!"
But she gives them a smile.
Flicking her hair back all the while.
Then at the next bus stop
Ingebretsen's Meat Market and Scandinavian Gift Shop,
Old white people with white hair who are wearing
Norwegian sweaters shop for pickled herring.
They look like Yonny Yonson's uncle and auntie.
Next door is Marisqueria La Que Buena Restaurante. Across the street is a Middle Eastern grocery store.
A bell jingles on the door
As two women wearing head coverings walk in,
dark-skinned, young,
Talking fast in a foreign tongue.
On 38th Street, in a bar, the bartenders dressed for Halloween that night,
One with a blood-stained shirt and fishnet tights,
One in a pink CareBear costume,
The people at the bar, a little drunk at mid-afternoon,
Applaud for him. A  woman with maroon
Lipstick, drinking ale. A chubby man with goatee.
A bald bearded man watching baseball on TV.
A man who grew up in Bemidji
In a red plaid shirt which he
Wears sleeves rolled up, and a top hat
With tea bags hanging from it that
He explains stands for the Tea Party who,
He makes clear, he doesn't belong to.

In Uptown, a man with big nose and shaved head in a café
Skinny black tie, black-rim glasses, fedora, suit (charcoal grey)
An Asian woman in black hoodie, black vest,
black jeans, black cap
With a silver laptop in her lap,
An Apple Mac Book Pro,
And a textbook at her elbow.
The girl behind the counter in faded flannel, green and red,
A rolled bandana around her head
To keep her long hair out of her face.
The place
Full of people on computers, reading books, reading the Star Tribune,
A quiet commune
Of turtlenecks, goatees, black yoga pants, running shoes,
Shaved heads, grey sweaters, a few tattoos,
Blue fleece, glasses parked on people's hairdos,
And how do we know this is Minnesota? It's not the white complexions
It's that people are sharing the newspaper, passing around the sections,
And though the WiFi here is painfully slow,
Does anyone complain to the barista? No.
No one has harassed her
Insisting that she make the downloads faster.
It's November. Winter is on the way.
We will take it as it comes, day by day.

Thanks for coming. Welcome to our town.
I hope that eventually your download comes floating down.

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

Available now»

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