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Mpls, MN, United States

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Incidents & Accidents

Monday, July 20, 2009


Internet, let's just say I'm making up for a series of bad weekends with a series of really good ones. I'm pretty sure I had a series of fairly lame weekends sometime this past winter. (I wasn't actually able to find much evidence of that on this blog, but then you can't really take everything here at face value, either.) I would like to say that I'm making up for the past year's less fortunate weekends, ones filled with grading or writing conference papers or simply staying home alone under my covers, because the past few (and, hopefully next few) have been so otherwise embarrassingly awesome.

This one started Friday evening with a small dinner party at the Swinjarnary. I didn't get to see the Peanut crawl (seriously, watch that video), but I did, for the first time, feel like we had real human interaction. I talked to her quite seriously about the delicious orange vegetables she's been eating recently, and when, as I held her at the table, she alternately stretched forward for the edge of the table and then threw herself back again into my arms, repeatedly, she looked into my eyes as if she knew that she had devised quite the clever game. She has always had personality--she's been a charming little extrovert as long as I've known her (our first meeting, on May 20, is pictured on the left)--and been ridiculously good-looking, but those brain cells she inherited from her brilliant parents have apparently recently begun firing in earnest. Awwww.

Saturday, David and I drove to Portland, arriving in time to pick up my replacement contact lens (I don't think I mentioned that when my new pair arrived several weeks ago, the left lens had some foreign material stuck to it, rendering it unwearable) before making it to Edgefield McMenamins for an evening concert by Andrew Bird and the Decemberists.

I'd purchased our tickets to the (eventually sold-out) show months ago, after missing Andrew Bird in Minneapolis the weekend of the Pop Culture Conference and discovering to my joy that he'd be in the Northwest at the same time I would. I'd seen him before and was really excited about this show, but the large, grassy amphitheater was sadly not the best venue, in my opinion, to display his considerable talent. He was also technically an opening act, so he didn't play long, either, and not my favorite tunes.

The venue was spot-on, however, for the headlining act, the Decemberists, whom I had never seen live and whose music I had only begun listening to in earnest in anticipation of the concert. Their most recent album, The Hazards of Love, is what is often referred to as a "concept album," but in my estimation is more accurately considered an epic modern opera. They played the entire opera, from prelude to final reprise, in one seamless flow, quasi-costumes such as a spangled white dress for Margaret and a sparkly, red-belted black number for the Queen adding to the engagingly theatrical effect. It was unlike any other concert I'd ever been to, and deeply emotionally and aesthetically satisfying: there's something about being able to follow the story and know what's coming next that's a bit thrilling, even though the tale itself is terribly sad.

After the concert, from which we escaped a bit early, allowing us to get out of the parking lot in reasonable time, we met college/camp friends of mine in Sherwood. We stayed up late eating and chatting with them before heading back with Beanna to her apartment in Vancouver.

Sunday morning David and I had brunch with Beanna before heading back to the east side of the state in time to catch the matinee of Harry Potter with his parents. Oh! But on our way, we stopped at the Bonneville Fish Hatchery and Sturgeon Center and got a few pictures with the sturgeon (our only photos of the weekend, sadly, on the real camera):

If it gets better than this, it's not much.


Nothing said...

Wow! That's a big fish! I'd hate to run into one of those bad boys whilst I was swimming in a dark river.

mandy said...

you are definitely having an epic summer!


Ted (er, Logan) said...

The Hazards of Love: Best rock opera ever.

Curly Sue said...

I've never listened to the Decemberists (though I love their name), but I'll have to check them out now.

Also, that's the classic definition of opera, the way you described their show.