You Don’t Have to be Cool

Just so you know, I wasn’t the biggest Prince fan.  I could have seen him a few times while he was alive, and for whatever reason, I didn’t.  I sort of took for granted that he was a Minnesota institution and he wasn’t going anywhere.  When he died, I surprised myself by how sad I actually was.  Like, crying, mopey, down-in-a-pit sadness.  It was confusing and weird because I’ve been bummed by musician/celebrity deaths before, but never like this.

What I’ve figured out in the year since he passed, is that firstly, he was probably the greatest musician of our time, so mourning him is completely appropriate and, secondly, you can’t not be sad when everyone around you is letting loose with their emotions.  The street dance in front of First Ave the night of his death made so much sense to me (no, I didn’t make it to that either–I just watched livestream).  People were there to grieve, pay tribute, maybe just watch the spectacle happening in person.  They were sad, and yet they were listening to his music and dancing because that’s what you do when you hear a Prince song.  I loved seeing the community come together and it was really moving that some local musicians, people he worked with or inspired, were there to perform.

So now I want to go to all the Prince-related events and be with all the people and just take it all in.  Plus, I don’t get tired of his songs and it’s fun for me to see different artists’ interpretations of them.  When the whole Prince memorial weekend was announced, I was excited to go to as many events as possible.

First, I went to the Saturday night street party.  You’d think that after a year, and several Prince-related concerts and events, I’d own something purple to wear.  Nope.  Then I got a brilliant idea and bought a purple (or raspberry?) beret, the kind you find on Amazon Prime.  It was cheap and it looked stupid.  My kids and husband vetoed it when they saw it on me.  And then I wore it anyway.  Hey, I got a bunch of compliments from strangers, and anyone who didn’t like it was kind enough to not say anything.


It was a lovely night for an outdoor concert.  The music could have sucked and I would have been content just standing there in the warm breeze.  We got there early enough to see Prairie Fire Lady Choir perform near the beginning.  Check out the amazing group of Millennials in denim the foreground.  I could not stop staring at their outfits that were so throwback, but looked so good.


I didn’t get pictures of everyone or even remember who all performed.


Mark Mallman was fun.


Dave Pirnir singing, “The Cross” was beautiful, and a highlight of my night.


Cutey-pie rapper Dem Altas just nailed it singing “Let’s Go Crazy”. And later I spotted him on the side of the crowd, and some embarrassing dorkiness ensued.  Does he get mobbed by 40-something moms everywhere he goes?  He must.  But he seems really good-natured about being showered with praise (which he totally deserves).


I didn’t take anymore pictures that night because I was a little nervous about my phone battery and I wasn’t sure if I’d need to take an Uber home.  I successfully made the switch from one friend, who had to leave early, to another group who came later for the First Ave (inside) dance party, which was fun, sweaty, and crowded.

The next morning, tired as I was, I coaxed the whole fam to the kid-oriented dance at First Ave.  This had all the makings of a disaster from the moment we stepped through the doors.  You know how sometimes movie theaters have showings for people with sensory issues, and they keep the lights up and the sound down for a less overwhelming experience?  I think I was expecting something like that.  But it looked like a regular old First Ave dance party, plus some balloons.  My kids took one look and wanted to leave, but we did a few laps around the place to stall them.


There were also donuts and coffee for sale, an overcrowded craft corner, changing tables in the restrooms, and a photo backdrop.  My son spotted the vending machine, something I’ve never seen in the years I’ve been going to First Ave, and convinced us some candy would help him get through the assault of noise and flashing lights.  My daughter demanded that the bar serve her some pink lemonade and was furious to find out they didn’t have any.


Our family stayed for one hour, which was enough to satisfy me that we had all given it a try.  What was the point of all this?  Well, it’s a silly idea to bring kids to the First Ave and expect them to appreciate it.  This event was 100% for the parents; so they could take all the pictures and show everyone they were the type of laid-back folks that could bring their kids to a rock club.  Make no mistake, that’s what I was doing too.  I just felt dorky doing it.


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