Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘night out

Opening Night

leave a comment »

After an afternoon of monkeying around to install a new replacement storm door over our front door –of which I only got halfway– we hustled to feed animals early and get cleaned up for a night out on the town with our friends Barb and Mike Wilkus. First stop, we met in Northeast Minneapolis for some Southeast Asian food at Hai Hai restaurant, a culinary departure for all of us. It was great!

From there, we drove downtown for the local opening night performance of “Ain’t Too Proud,” the story of the Temptations, at the Orpheum Theater.

Quite a performance that tells the story of ups and downs the group went through in their somewhat complicated history.

It made for a very late night. Driving for an hour to get home after the show brought us in long after our usual bedtime. We are not usually on the road when it starts to get foggy and young raccoons might be trying to make their way across the pavement.

I fear there is one less raccoon alive this morning because I chose not to make any evasive maneuvers that might put ourselves and our vehicle at risk.

.

.

Cosmic Evening

with 2 comments

Our experience last night was indeed cosmic in the colossal sense. Joined by our friends, Mike and Barb, we dined at the ever so fine Capital Grille before catching Neil deGrasse Tyson presenting his “Cosmic Perspective” at the State Theater.

Typically, I was rather lukewarm to the idea when Cyndie purchased tickets last fall. April seemed so forever away and why would I want to drive to downtown Minneapolis to sit and listen to an astrophysicist talk? Now I know why. Neil deGrasse Tyson is hilariously entertaining while expounding on mind-expanding perspectives from an astrophysicist perspective.

The icing on our cake of an evening was the fact that Cyndie included Barb and Mike in our plan and selected a fine dining establishment that shares a wall with the theater. We feasted like royalty and were lucky to be served by a sublime professional who guided our selections and timed our meal with impressive expertise, right down to slipping in a delectable coconut cream pie serving for dessert with just enough time to allow me to run a doggy bag of leftovers to the car in the parking ramp down the block.

Then, it was time for the show. From the moment Neil kicked off his shoes by the podium and addressed the crowd with his good-natured, approachable delivery, I felt myself becoming an instant fan, along with seemingly everyone else in the audience, if they weren’t already.

Almost every detail or relationship of the universe he highlighted was affirming in its scientific simplicity, even when it was equally mind-boggling in complexity. The molecules in the air we breathe and the water we drink have been on this planet for centuries upon centuries and passed through others for eons.

We are built out of the same elements as the stars of the universe. It isn’t our uniqueness that makes us special, it’s our ‘sameness’.

The hubris of thinking we are anything more than we actually are is laid bare by the multitude of examples presented from a cosmic perspective. For me, it resonates with my understanding that the more we come to know, the more we realize how little we actually know.

Neil’s sharp wit provided non-stop chuckles and frequent bursts of laughter throughout the delivery of interesting scientific details about our world and its place in the universe.

When the talk appeared to be going long, he put up a universal permission slip for us all to use, especially kids for whom it was a school night. He said to take out our phones and take a picture, so Cyndie did.

We just fill in our names and we have a ready made excuse for staying out too late.

I’m not sure it will hold much influence for our horses and Delilah if we don’t serve their morning meals at the expected hour, but it helps in our minds to feel justified in our exceptional evening.

It was truly cosmic.

.

.

Flavorful Fun

leave a comment »

Last night was supposed to be a dinner and concert outing in Minneapolis with our friends, Barb and Mike Wilkus. It turned out to only be a dinner date. We arrived at the location of the main event and found the place dark and the doors locked. Cyndie double-checked her email inbox and found a message informing her the concert was postponed. Oops.

Luckily, dinner was fun enough to make our outing already worth the drive through snow-congested traffic. We made our first visit to The Market at Malcolm Yards, an urban food hall in the historic Harris Machinery Co. building not far from the University of Minnesota. Wilkus Architects worked for several years as a partner in designing The Market at Malcolm Yards.

The food selections were varied enough to make decisions difficult because it all sounded alluring. Cyndie and I love to share so we each ordered something different and combined them for a feast of Korean Style Chicken with two sauces and kimchi slaw, grilled marinated cauliflower (yummy!), empanadas –one BBQ chicken and one chorizo– with two sauces, and good ol’ french fried potato strips to offset the bite of so many spicy flavors.

There were also some ice cream bites included that calmed our palates before we wrapped up our dining experience and drove off to find the concert that wasn’t to be.

The concert event was a fundraiser for “This Old Horse” and while the four of us lingered in the Wilkus’ car in the parking lot of the venue, we had a chance to meet one couple who are caring for rescued mustangs in Goodhue. Like us, they hadn’t learned of the postponement either. They were the second unaware couple with whom we were able to share our discovery before departing.

The lingering flavor memories of our fun dining experience more than compensated for our aborted concert date.

I’m already plotting what else I want to order next time we make it to The Market to eat.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

December 8, 2021 at 7:00 am

Leo Live

with 3 comments

Wow. Really wow. Last night, Cyndie and I met her parents downtown in Minneapolis for a wonderful dinner at Sanctuary restaurant across the street from the Guthrie Theater, followed by a fantastic night of live music on the Wurtele Thrust Stage.

I knew we were going to see headliner Leo Kottke, but the special guest warmup duo of music legends Peter Asher and Albert Lee was a fabulous unexpected bonus.

The Guthrie asked that no pictures be taken during the performance, so I snapped a shot of the setup for Peter and Albert in front of the Scrooge-ly scenery for “A Christmas Carol” before they came out.

Both Peter and Albert did a pleasing job of sharing tales from their storied past in the music biz to supplant their warm acoustic versions of classic songs from The Everly Brothers and Elvis, as well as several of their own. They offered a fair amount of name dropping from their musical past, not the least of which included Paul McCartney, whom Peter shared living space with for a couple of years.

Then it was Leo’s turn. Stagehands had removed all the gear except for one chair and a couple of microphones. Leo doesn’t even use guitar stands. He came on stage with a guitar in each hand, laid one on its side on the floor by his chair and started right into “Pamela Brown.”

His quirky humor and somewhat convoluted stories were thoroughly entertaining and helped to convey a feeling that we were just hanging out with him in a far less public social setting. His complicated fretwork was as intimidating and inspiring as ever.

I caught myself grinning all evening long.

It really was “Wow.”

.

.

Written by johnwhays

November 26, 2019 at 7:00 am

Fun Surprise

with 2 comments

What could be more fun than getting together with life-long friends and heading out on a beautiful spring evening to see a Minnesota Twins baseball game at Target Field? I’ll tell you what. Discovering that your cousin from Duluth, whom you infrequently see, is at the same game and then sleuthing out his location to surprise him for a brief visit during the 7th inning.

Yes, that became my adventure the night before last. My son, Julian, brother-in-law, Steve, and four other Eden Prairie friends gathered downtown to see the Twins play game 2, of a 3-game series, against the LA Angels. It was a gorgeous night, and a delight to be out with treasured peeps to check on a team that has achieved an impressive amount of success recently, as compared to what Minnesota sports fans usually face.

As per today’s de rigueur trend, one of the guys snapped a phone selfie with the rest of us mugging around him for the shot. In an instant, our whereabouts were broadcast over the internet, where my sister, Judy, happened to see it. How many other spectators were simultaneously sharing pictures of their night at the ballpark? Well, it turns out Judy also found a post by our cousin, Charles Moulton, revealing his spectacular vantage point from behind home plate.

Suddenly my phone pings me with a message from Judy, showing me that our cousin was at the same game!

I could tell from the view in his image that we were on the same upper deck level, so Julian and I walked that direction to see if we could connect.

Since Charles had no idea we were at the game, I knew we had the upper hand in surprising him, as long as we spotted him first. It didn’t take long to confirm a sighting. He was in the first row, on the railing, and there just happened to be two open seats beside him. At the close of the sixth inning, we stealthily made our way down to the row behind him and then climbed over the back of the seats, asking, “Are these seats open?” without waiting for the answer he was politely offering.

He gave me a glance, as I smugly focused on him and not the field down in front of us, which subsequently induced a second look.

That’s when I was granted the ultimate reward of the surprise, as his face revealed the transforming expression of recognition and delight. We both had our sons with us, so there was also a meeting of second cousins. It was a real treat and a special bonus to an otherwise fabulous outing.

The Twins deserve some credit for putting on an exciting finish for the home crowd, despite the fact it was because they allowed the Angels to climb back from 4-0 to make it a one-run game. A big throw from center field to home for a lead-saving out gave us all much reason for revelry.

To top the night off, the sudden downpour of rain that popped up, waited until the game was over and we had made our way out of the stadium.

It was a wonderful week-night outing, topped with a special surprise that definitely qualified as my idea of fun!

Thanks, Judy!

.

.

 

Written by johnwhays

May 16, 2019 at 6:00 am

Out Late

with 2 comments

Cyndie and I had a night out on the town with her brother, Ben, last night.

Guess what city we were in?

We met for dinner in a historic diner.

Guess who we saw in concert at the Palace Theatre?

Guess who didn’t get enough sleep last night?

Yeah, that’d be me…

.

.

 

 

Written by johnwhays

March 20, 2019 at 6:00 am

Downtown Again

leave a comment »

Once again, we made the easy dash from our beautiful countryside into the metropolitan energy buzzing just 45-minutes away. Last night, it was the precious Palace Theatre in downtown St. Paul for the Iron & Wine concert.

It was another fabulously successful adventure for Cyndie and me. As a soaking rain settled over the land, Cyndie was able to escort the chickens into the coop early, allowing us to venture through fading daylight and blurring road spray to compete for parking with NHL’s Minnesota Wild hockey fans.

My first parking ramp option just happened to be closed for construction, so it was a single trip around the block, barely squeaking through an intersection on the brink of gridlock, to reach an easy and convenient second choice.

We arrived at the theatre early and took some time to explore the layout, as this was our first event at the renovated historic venue. It is a wonderful mashup of new and old. The almost scary looking ceiling made an early impression, but every other sense was extremely positive for a place to enjoy music performance.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

I had chosen to buy reserved seats in the balcony over the main floor standing general admission. Even though I purchased the tickets as early as possible, the best available was half-way up from the front of the balcony. Cyndie captured a shot while I was checking out the view from the first row. Really nice seats, if you can get them.

We aren’t overly familiar with the full career of Sam Beam as Iron & Wine, but being repeatedly struck by the sound every time I hear a cut played on the radio, I wanted to see where it comes from in person. We weren’t disappointed.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

The giant hanging cotton balls were a little funky, but they captured the colored lights nicely. The dancing light on the back curtain was perfect, every song.

Sam Beam was wonderfully social and totally obliterates any concept of a fourth wall separating the performer from the audience. At one point, he graciously interacted with a fan who shouted a knock-knock joke.

Almost every time, just as the interactive banter approached a point of being too much, the imaginary veil would fall and a song would swiftly transport the ambiance to a far away place of Sam’s creation. He does well with plying a craft of sparse quiet guitar work with delicate instrumentation from his supporting musicians, bolstered by moments of full momentum and volume.

Even though the show started around the time we often head for bed, we hung around for the full show, including the perfect encore song, for which the female members of the band returned wearing beards that looked mysteriously similar to Sam’s.

What?

A wonderful time was had by all. We chalk it up as one more good experience heading downtown from the countryside, again.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

October 15, 2017 at 10:37 am