Saturday, July 29, 2017

Two Big North Star Events, One Special Weekend -- The Carlton Room and the Summer of Love, Baby

There was a lot of synchronicity in the air last night where Pippi Ardennia with Glenn Swanson and Friends christened the new Carlton Room at the Big O. You could feel it and breathe it, taste it and see it. The Oldenburg House is officially opening its doors and windows to ring in a new chapter in this historic and fabled B&B on the edge of Paradise. Though tonight is the official Carlton Room Grand Opening, Glenn and Emily Swanson opened their hearts with a special evening of good vibes and music as a way of thanking everyone who helped make it possible... as in the electrician and the plumber, the painters and landscapers, the floor finishers and a few other select special people.

The newly refinished Carlton Room includes a stage perfectly sized to intimately showcase Pippi Ardennia and a jazz band extraordinaire. Having heard Pippi and friends here a couple years ago, it was impossible to not think we were in the presence of a modern Ella Fitzgerald as she exuded her own blend of love and soul.

Pippi and Billy: Still at the top of their game.
So tonight is the Grand Opening for a series of monthly dinner concerts with three course meals, complimentary beverages -- including "A Rose for Emily" Cocktail, 17-7 Pale Ale or Lemonade -- and an inimitable top-drawer accompaniment. That Rose for Emily Cocktail is not only an amusing tip of the hat to Glenn's wife Emily, but also to the Nobel Prize-winning author who penned this famous short story.

Tonight's Carlton Room dinner show is full, but upcoming dates for those who desire a most memorable experience can contact the Oldenburg House. Upcoming shows are slated for August 19 & 20 and September 29 & 30.

Now here's the uncanny part where the synchronicity began to kick in. Billy Peterson, for those who don't know, is the son of a Minneapolis jazz great Willard Peterson. His son is also a phenomenal musician (keyboards.) Kevin Odegard, a guitar player who co-wrote with Andy Gill the book A Simple Twist of Fate about the making of Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks (BOTT) album, introduces Billy into the story with this sentence: "A little way across town, Billy Peterson, Minneapolis' most talented and prolific bass player, was gigging six nights a week with the jazz group Natural Life at The Longhorn in the Lumber Exchange Building at Fourth and Hennepin."

Dave King with Dan Hansen
Billy Peterson, the bass player on BOTT, has played with some of the best in the business, continues to record with the likes of good friend Steven Tyler. As we talked he mentioned that the drummer that he performs with in Minneapolis is Dave King, who just happens to be the fave musician/artist in the world of my friend Dan Hansen who is an artist who did a digital art piece of Dave King.

For more Twilight Zone elements on all this, one of the songs Pippi sang was Stand By Me, the title of Dan's favorite Hollywood film, or at least a fave at one time and deeply meaningful to him. She did it in a form of sing-along style, so natch I was singing along.

Now while all this was going on, other members of those BOTT recording sessions that Kevin Odegard wrote about are performing this tonight at 6:00 p.m. in St. Louis Park for a free Summer of Love Concert in the Park on behalf of Guitars for Vets. The lineup includes Odegard, Peter Ostroushko, and a cast of some of the Twin Cities' best at the Wolfe Park Ampitheater, 3700 Monterrey Drive. It's a Magic Marc Production saluting the 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love.

What I especially like is the tag line: Healing the Planet One Song at a Time. If you're anywhere near the Twin Cities tonight, make your way to this Free love-gift of music to any and all.

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One of the highlights of last night in Carlton was Glenn and Emily's tribute to Helen Swanson, whom everyone knows as Mama. A kind, cheerful, generous presence year-round. Everyone who comes to Oldenburg House has been gently touched by the sweet savor she brings to the atmosphere here.

The evening opened with Glenn and Emily jointly reading an Official Proclamation regarding the renovation, acknowledging the past (The Oldenburg House was built in 1894), foreshadowing the future, and thanking one by one all the partners and purveyors who participated in this new chapter in the Big O's multi-storied history.

Looking for a special place to get away? Place the Oldenburg House on your short list.

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Meantime, let the music move your soul.  And have a great weekend. Yeah.

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