River City Revue returns with five gloriously nerdy nights of art, science and local history on the Mississippi River

Arts / Article

The River City Revue returns this week for another summer of “babysitter-worthy events for people of the Twin Cities to come out and experience their national park.” In a video promoting the event (see above), Dan Dressler of the National Park Service describes the Mississippi riverfront as natural treasure hidden in plain view, “going from bluff to bluff and the river in between, right here in the middle of three million people.”

River City Revue – presented by Mississippi River Fund, the National Park ServiceWorks Progress Studio and artist Andy Sturdevant – brings together park rangers, biologists, poets, filmmakers, historians, public works experts and interested members of the public for an engaging mélange of art, science and history intended to draw attention to the natural and cultural legacy of this vital waterway. Offerings, both on and off the river, will include short science talks and artists’ presentations, as well as a bit of food and drink, art-making activities, live music and lots of river-centered storytelling.

The 2014 iteration of the series runs from June 27 to September 10 and includes five events: an evening of walking tours in St. Paul; a fishing/cycling expedition along a Minneapolis stretch of the river; a canoe trip on the Mississippi up in Hastings, Minn.; and a couple of evening paddleboat rides, featuring local stories by turns saintly and profane, themed around “Purity on the River” and “Filth on the River” respectively.

Colin Kloecker, from Works Progress Studio’s multimedia “Dear River” project.

The Revue kicks off this week with an array of brief, topical walking tours addressing “life and work on the Mississippi in St. Paul;” visitors will be led by artist Andy Sturdevant and a number of special guests who can speak to the wide range of civic, commercial and leisure activity centered on and around this downtown St. Paul-run of the big river. Guest experts will include park ranger and historian John Anfinson, authors Mary Lethert-Wingerd and Mike Mosedale, labor historian Peter Rachleff, artist Molly Balcom Raleigh and the Saint Paul City Choir; walking tour guests also include University of Minnesota River Life program director Pat Nunnally, Barbara Heitkamp and Jessica Kozerak of the Saint Anthony Falls Research Lab, and representatives from Upper River Services and District Energy.

From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday, June 27, walking tours will proceed along the riverfront from St. Paul’s historic City House, Upper Landing Park on the river, at the intersection of Shepard Road and Old Chestnut Street begin from the Science Museum of Minnesota (scroll down for updated details). On-site, visitors will find food by Café 128 and a cash bar, as well as a “water bar” staffed by environmental scientists. There will be live music by Ben Weaver, screenings of film and video work by Works Progress and others, and lots of opportunities for mingling. Tickets are $10.

Photo: Ryan Siemens, courtesy of Works Progress Studio

Photo by Ryan Siemers, courtesy of Works Progress Studio

Find the full schedule of 2014 River City Revue events on the Mississippi River Fund website

UPDATE (6/24/14): Due to flooding from the recent rains, the venue for River City Revue’s Friday, June 27 walking tours has changed from the City House to Science Museum of Minnesota, where attendees will convene at the National Park Service Visitor Center, 120 W. Kellogg Blvd, St. Paul, Minn.