Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Event Horizon

It's hard to believe that the Republican National Convention will be kicking off in less than thirty days here in the Twin Cities. A few convention related items of note:

- Pending the confirmation of passing grades on all of our background checks, the Northern Alliance Radio Network has been granted preliminary access to the convention. We'll be located alongside our broadcasting brethren in the glass enclosed hallway of "radio row" at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul (not to be confused with the glass partitioned sniffers row at the Lamplighter). The exact lineup has yet to be determined, but we'll be on the air Monday through Thursday nights during the convention from 8pm-10pm.

- As our own Saint Paul detailed on last week's radio show, there are a lot of local events planned around the RNC. Those who want to "rock the vote" will have plenty of opportunities.

Provention Concert at O'Gara's:

The Republican National Convention is coming to the Twin Cities in September, and wouldn’t it be a shame if there was no one to play some deafening power chords in celebration? Our line-up will offer relief from the constant trumpeting and stampedes of agitated elephants. Maybe you should come down and do some trumpeting yourself!

"Welcome to the Neighborhood" Block Party in Lowertown!:

Join us! Make this an event that those visiting St. Paul will long remember, and that will do our community proud!

We don't get the world coming to Saint Paul very often...let's make the most of it!

The lineup includes:

Carnage, Desdemona, M.anifest, The Brass Messengers, The Honk Fest All Stars, The Rude Machanical Orchestra, Kill the Vultures, Big Quarters, Junkyard Empire, Back Street Boogie Band...

Make the most of that if you will.

The SEIU Labor Day Festival on Harriet Island:

On the opening day of the Republican National Convention, the Service Employees International Union will sponsor a festival on St. Paul's Harriet Island to celebrate workers' achievements and "promote a New Vision for the 21st Century," organizers said.

The festival will run from noon to 7 p.m. on Sept. 1, Labor Day, at Harriet Island Regional Park in the Mississippi River in downtown St. Paul. The Republican National Convention, which runs from Sept. 1 to 4 at the Xcel Center in St. Paul, is expected to draw 45,000 attendees and equal numbers of protesters.

The festival will feature musicians Steve Earle, Allison Moorer and Tom Morello
(of Rage Against the Machine fame) and speakers will include former U.S. Senator and presidential candidate John Edwards, SEIU President Andy Stern and Change to Win Chair Anna Burger.

In addition to the Labor Day concert, the festival will include a You Tube station, a fully equipped blogger lounge, a children's area and a large audience-participation art project. The festival will be free and open to all.

Those interested in more athletic pursuits also have options:

The host committee, invested in shining a spotlight on the area's commitment to fitness and to keeping the event green, will offer free bikes for conventiongoers during the week in coordination with health insurance company Humana. The committee will sponsor a triathlon event led by the mayors of St. Paul, Minneapolis and nearby Bloomington, who will bike, swim and run each morning with conventiongoers. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak was named one of the nation's fittest mayors by Men's Fitness magazine in 2006.

And those wealthy cigar-smoking, Republican fat cats (like Hugh Hewitt) will no doubt be hanging at the venerable Saint Paul Hotel:

The hotel is hosting both Arizona and Nevada delegations, along with 35 convention-week events and receptions. Their famed English garden in front of the property will boast four topiary elephants in a nod to the Republican faithful, he said.

At the bar, deep-pocketed Republican power brokers will be offered a drink befitting their stature, bottles of 55-year-old Macallan scotch - one of a batch of just 400 bottles produced worldwide - that is available for toasting or sipping at $525 a shot.

If any said GOP fat cats want to buy a drink for a certain local blogger when you're in town, you know where to find me. And I think I can speak for the entire Fraters crew--I know I can speak for Saint Paul--when I say that we welcome any and all RNC related social invitations.

And if out-of-towners are still looking for entertainment at their RNC gatherings, the Hillbilly Swing Kings are always a good option.

- There have been reports that most reasonably priced hotel rooms in the Twin Cities are already booked for convention week. I've heard that people are staying as far out as Delano to avoid being gouged. [Since I've mentioned Delano, a brief digression is in order. The name is pronounced just like it's spelled, as in Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Edina is ee-dine-ah, Shakopee is shock-oh-pee, and Mendota is men-doh-ta. if you're ever in doubt, go with the long "O" as in boht for boat and you should be okay.]

If you still need a place to stay for the RNC and don't want to spend a small fortune, you may want to consider the newly opened Atomizer B & B (booze and a blanket). It's not the Saint Paul Hotel by any means, but you do get a place to rest your head (a floor more precisely). Entertainment is available in the form of watching Atomizer meltdown over every missed pitch during the Twins games on TV and staying up until 3am drinking gin until you pass out. Make your reservation now as space (and Atomizer's patience) is limited.

- Finally, Jeff Williamson and crew at Flat Earth Brewing Company have made the most important contribution to the convention hysteria by brewing up a special beer for the occasion:

Convention Ale is Belgian red ale. We combined a lot of different ingredients to make this beer. Made with American, English and Belgian malts, English and German hops and Belgian yeast. Very refreshing, smooth and easier to swallow then the up coming election cycle and you'll still want more of it later. At 5.5% abv you can enjoy more then one.

The planned protests, the rhetoric from the podium, and the media coverage may all fall flat, but you'll still be able to down a Convention Ale (or eight) to keep things in a fresh and tasty perspective.

UPDATE-- Tom e-mails to inquire:

In my alcohol addled memory I seem to recall an episode of the NARN that covered (eg. read directly from) the Star Tribune's listings of highlights and happenings during Celebrate Diversity Week or Celebrate LGBT Month. One event reported in a matter-of-fact manner was a sex toy party at a lesbian themed drinking establishment. In your recounting of events for the upcoming RNC Convo, no mention of these (sex toy parties or lesbian themed drinking establishments). Are you waiting for the complete list of events or is this post merely a tease for the show on Saturday?

Well, you'll just have to tune in on Saturday and find out, now won't you Tom?

Sadly, the truth is that to the best of our knowledge there aren't any RNC related sex toy parties at lesbian themed drinking establishments. Believe me, if there were our own Saint Paul would be the first to know. And the first to try to wrangle his way onto the invite list.