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I’m really excited to announce that our song, “Meet Me Where I Am“, will be part of Wing Huie’s “University Avenue Project”.

Presented by Public Art Saint Paul, Wing Young Huie’s University Avenue Project: The Language of Urbanism, a Six-Mile Photographic Inquiry, will transform a major urban thoroughfare in Saint Paul, Minnesota, into a six-mile public gallery of over 400 photographs. Wing’s images reveal the dizzying socioeconomic, cultural, and ethnic realities of the citizens who work, live, and go to school along this corridor that is jammed with storefronts, taverns, big-box retailers, blue-collar neighborhoods and condominium communities.

Built and still sustained by immigrant populations of the late 19th century, the University Avenue corridor is now home to one of America’s highest concentrations of new immigrants. Blending documentary photography with revelatory statements by his subjects, Wing has created a tapestry of images and words that raise complex issues of race, class, gender, sexual preference, immigration, religion and cultural disconnection. The University Avenue Project is a chronicle the colliding and evolving American experience.

More than than 70 store windows and surfaces form the gallery and stretch from the Minneapolis border to the Minnesota State Capitol. Large mural scale images on building walls will be visible for blocks.A spectacular Project(ion) site created by Northern Lights.mn will nightly project Wing’s images onto billboard-size screens, accompanied by recorded soundtracks from local musicians.

This opportunity was a huge honor for me as a songwriter. I am not only an appreciator of Wing Huie’s work, but credit him as partially responsible for a song like “Meet Me Where I Am” existing in my songbook.

At twenty years old, I lived in Uptown Minneapolis. As a young adult who had been raised in the suburbs, lived in Uptown, and played gigs downtown and in Dinkytown, I had never ventured into the Chicago/Lake area of South Minneapolis. I had been warned for years about how dangerous it was and avoided it at all costs.

In July of 2000 I had to take the 21 Bus down Lake Street all the way to downtown St. Paul. I remember passing by the boarded up Sears building (now the Midtown Global Market) and seeing Huie’s photos up from his “Lake Street USA” exhibit. I peered out the smudged bus window with eyes wide open and curiosity piqued.

On the way back to Minneapolis I nervously pulled the stop cord on the 21 Bus and stepped out onto Lake Street and Chicago Avenue. I wandered up and down the street all afternoon looking at Wing’s stunning photography. When the sun was starting to creep below the buildings I noticed that I had been on those “dangerous” blocks for hours and had not yet been robbed or beat up. In fact, no one even looked at me funny (which is something that happens to me daily in the Uptown neighborhood).

Fast forward a few years and you’ll find me riding in a car driving around the urban neighborhoods of South Minneapolis and writing down some of the thoughts that would go into “Meet Me Where I Am”. I also spent nearly two years living at Oakland Ave. and Lake St., which is the very same neighborhood I had been so terrified to set foot in.

To me, Wing Huie’s work does not say that these neighborhoods are impoverished and in need of assistance. I don’t see gangs, crime, drugs. These images do not strike me with fear. No, I look at those photographs and see beauty that I may not have ever seen without his nudge to get outside myself and off of the bus. In the eyes of the people Huie has photographed, I see hard years which have apportioned them rich with cognition, substance, and plenty of joy.

Please join me and several others as we celebrate the opening of this extraordinary exhibit on May 1, 2010. Details can be found HERE.

Ryan Paul
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Hi there. Hey there. Ho there.

We have announced some February and March dates. There will be plenty more to come. The first is Feb 4 @ The Turf Club in St. Paul. We love that venue and absolutely love the bands we are playing with. Check HERE for all of our announced dates!

@RPandTA

Ryan Paul & THE ARDENT, Al Church & State, Sam Keenan at Turf Club


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Inspired by “Meet Me Where I Am”

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Ryan Paul & THE ARDENT with Kid Dakota

Photo by Alexandra Khttp://www.alexandra-k.com/

In a previous post, I mentioned that the upcoming date at The Turf Club would require it’s own blog entry. The reason behind that is because I finally get the chance to share an evening with a musician who I hold in high esteem.

In 2001, I was passed a copy of Kid Dakota‘s “So Pretty”. I listened to it on repeat for quite some time. In 2004, before leaving Minneapolis, I picked up “The West Is The Future”. I was immediately sucked back into that binge cycle that pissed off friends and roommates (“Are you listening to that again?!?”). Even from afar, I tracked Darren Jackson’s projects and was routinely kicked in the head by them. I have been spinning “A Winner’s Shadow” regularly for the last year.

So here is what happened with December 3rd at The Turf Club… We were given the evening as a headliner. For whatever reason, I felt like I needed to stop looking for openers, went with my gut, and emailed Darren asking him to have Kid Dakota take the evening. I received his affirmative response as I was standing outside of an electric supply store, in the rain, after having bought fuses for a blown amplifier. I was thrilled.

I was also able to pull my good friends Breaksea Caravel to open the evening up. I never really know what to expect with them. Nikolas already emailed me asking if a bicycle powered generator would be ok to bring. This night is going to be pretty wacky.

Also to be noted is the image we are using for this particular show. The photo was taken by a friend in Brooklyn named Alexandra K. She has done work for Beirut, Magnetic Fields, and many others. Check out her website. She’s really talented.

The big news of the end of 2009 is that we signed on with a new management agency. Invisible Button Entertainment will be working with us in 2010 to see what we can get ourselves into in the coming year. I’m walking into this extremely confident and hopeful. I have a feeling that there will be some cool advances. This will also give me a chance to spend more time on writing and rehearsing. Feel free to check out their other bands. I think you’ll recognize a few…

.rp
OFFICIAL SITE: http://www.ryanpaulandtheardent.com

If you happen to be unfamiliar with Kid Dakota, check out the video below. If you haven’t checked the first instalment of “Video Confessions by Ryan Paul”, check it here.

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