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You Could La La La La

daytripping:  The little man spent the weekend with the grandparents, so that a certain someone and I could have some much needed alone time. Friday night itself was unusual. Being able to lounge languidly…the spontaneity of dinner and a movie. And then, even weirder, not having to worry about staying up too late…because we could sleep in, if we so desired. Whoa. Although that threw me off a bit. The game plan for Saturday morning was to get up and leave for Duluth as early as possible (marking my first road trip since 1998). But after staying up past my usual bedtime, I felt like I was moving underwater all morning. Thus we didn’t get on the road until noonish. Which was fine. The trip took under three hours. The main reason for heading up to Duluth was Low’s record release party/show, but playing tourist was a lovely fringe benefit. I hadn’t visited Duluth for at least six years, and someone else hadn’t been there in many more. The vastness of Lake Superior always surprises me. And gloomy as it was, with fog clinging to the hills below a gray sky, I still found it to be beautiful.
dining:  Upon arriving we needed food. I’d compiled a list of veg-friendly restaurants for us to choose from. We didn’t make it to Pizza Luce, but we frequent the Minneapolis locations enough. We were told they have the same menu anyhow. Perhaps another time. First we headed to India Palace, but were chagrined to find we’d missed lunchtime by about a half hour, and they wouldn’t reopen for dinner until 5:00pm. Doh. So instead we lunched on fairly tasty black-been hummus sandwiches at the Amazing Grace Bakery and Cafe. It’s located in the DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace, a nifty renovated warehouse in Canal Park.
dawdling:  Afterwards we embarked on a chilly stroll around the park area. We crossed the Lift Bridge and were promptly stranded…by the bridge being raised. Doh. At least we witnessed the spectacle of a huge ship passing through. We weren’t the only tourist gawkers there, either. The canal was lined with ‘em. And we were all taking snapshots. After the bridge was lowered we crossed and got back into the car to warm up, and to locate the venue for the evening’s show. It seems that in the main downtown area everything is contained within a few blocks (kind of like Reykjavik) so it wasn’t difficult. We wondered if tickets were being sold in advance, but nobody seemed to be around. Until we walked to the side of the building. We were treated to the sounds of Low warming up, playing one of my favorite songs, “Words”. We stopped long enough for me to take a few photos while listening, then were on our merry way again. We had a few hours to kill, and no clear idea of how to kill ‘em. So we drove. Past Fitgers and Pitwicks, through Leif Ericsson Park, down London Road a bit, near UMD and past the Congdon Mansion, I’m pretty sure. All places I’d visited years ago…but was in no rush to revisit. Instead we looped back to the downtown area. Spent an hour or so browsing and buying at a crazy old used book store. Can’t figure out the name of it, for the life of me, but a sign out front declared it “Duluth’s finest tourist attraction”. We meandered through the haphazardly piled stacks, coming across the damndest things.
dining (again):  Still sated from our earlier lunch, we nonetheless headed to dinner. It was cold enough to store leftovers in the car (one of the benefits of living in Minnesota). India Palace had indeed opened for the night. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the menus not only indicated vegetarian items, but vegan as well. The appetizers, breads, Aloo Gobi, and Chana Masala were all tasty (but nothing beats the Batura and Chole Peshwari at Udupi). I only sampled a bit, didn’t want to get all full and logey before the show. Had intended to stop into a coffee shop down the way, Jitters (not sure if it is related to the Minneapolis coffee shop of the same name), but, being Duluth, it was only open until 7pm, even though it was Saturday night. Instead I had a cuppa bad restaurant coffee to perk me up just enough, and we were on our way.
delightful:  We arrived earlyish to find the doors to Sacred Heart open. People were just beginning to file in so we were able to nab some decent seats. There’d been some confusion regarding what time the show was supposed to start. The web site said 8pm, but the band had thought it was 9pm. To compromise they announced they’d start playing at 8:30. By that time the place had filled to capacity anyhow. A little before they were to take to the stage we found the personable Alan manning the merch table. I approached to pick up the Canada CD single just as a friend of mine was making his purchases. We seemed to embarrass Alan a bit by commenting on how much we enjoyed his weblog. He remarked that “some people” think he may be giving too much away. By “some people” he was likely referring to Mimi. Heh. But I don’t think it’s too much. And that’s not just the fangirl in me piping up. I’ve always liked the behind the scenes snapshot into the creative process. It started with a Mr. Rogers episode when I was a kid, when they toured the Crayola factory and showed us how our beloved crayons came into being. And continues today with my regular reading of Neil Gaiman’s journal. Umm, anyhow…on with the show. The lights dimmed, the audience hushed, and Low did their thang. It was beautiful. The acoustics inside the former church were good. They mainly performed songs from their new album, but threw in a Pink Floyd cover, and a few of their own classics. Including an ode to their DJ friend turned rock-star nanny, Starfire. It was a lovely end to a lovely day.

stranded on the wrong side of canal park