Readings, storytelling, and lullabies at Northern Spark

Storytelling is a time-honored way to ward off the evil spirits at night – or just plain drowsiness. Laurie Hertzel has a nice blog post in On Books about the Bedtime Stories project, which is organized by the Rain Taxi Review of Books as part of the Walker Art Center’s Nightshift program for Northern Spark.

There are many other opportunities for storytelling at Northern Spark.

Piotr Szyhalski, Empty Words (so that we can do our living)

Piotr Szyhalski’s 9-hour performance is a participatory reading of John Cage’s “Empty Words” and is part of an ongoing series of works that examine the poetics and, particularly, the rhetoric of language. Empty Words attempts to “demilitarize language, by awakening its natural poetry and making it impossible for people to control one another through rhetoric. Hopefully some state government officials will be in attendance, but in any case come to Father Hennepin Bluffs Park on the east side of the Stone Arch Bridge and add your voice.

Skewed Visions, Please Remain Seated

Skewed Visions takes their storytelling on the free buses that will transport people from venue to venue in and between Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Sorry, no napping on the buses.

All My Relations Arts, Community Conversation

Hopefully no one will be sleep already at 5:30 pm – although this is Minnesota, so you never know for sure – but there will be a stimulating conversation between Rigo 23, Tom Poor Bear, Mona Smith, Bobby Wilson, Robert Two Bulls and Heid Erdrich about Rigo’s Oglala Oyate: Sister City for a Better Future, an 8-hour video, which he shot on the Pine Ridge Reservation last year.

Red76, Follow the Light, Let the Light be Your Guide.

On the steps of the Saint Paul Central Library, Red76 encourages you to bring a radical prophetic text, preferably of regional vintage, to declaim into the night. As more and more visions of the future are spoken aloud and shared, the darkened facade of the library will light, till there is a new dawn in the morning. At 5:28 am.

Works Progress, Mississippi Megalops – A Floating Chautauqua

While the free tickets are almost sold out for this river adventure orchestrated by Works Progress and Andy Sturdevant, there may be some left for the 5 am trip – the best time, in my opinion. Sparkling performances, illustrated presentations and other works of artistic and scientific expression will be presented aboard the Jonathan Padelford sternwheeler as it makes its way down the Mississippi River, illuminating the shores of Saint Paul. Featuring creative contributions from over a dozen artists, scientists and storytellers, who together will transform a common riverboat into a floating Chautauqua, a rollicking experience that will enrich the mind and delight the senses!

Springboard for the Arts, Two Story Love Story

Springboard presents a program of dialogue between staff, in their offices on the 2nd floor above Prince St., and visitors, on
street below.

Marcus Young and Grace Minnesota, The Lullaby Experiment

Ok, so you still can’t quite stay awake. Come back to the Walker and let Marcus Young and Grace Minnesota sing you gently to sleep.

Mississippi Megalops tickets

Jonathan Padelford at night

Mississippi Megalops is a floating Chautauqua featuring performances & presentations of history, art & science aboard an authentic paddle steamer riverboat. Tickets are free, but limited! To pre-book a ticket visit

Support Mississippi Megalops

And receive reserved tickets for one of the more than 90 highlight events of Northern Spark.

Mississippi Megalops – A Floating Chautauqua by Works Progress is a night of sparkling performances, illustrated presentations, and other works of artistic and scientific expression, which will take place aboard the Jonathan Padelford stern wheeler as it makes its way down the Mississippi River, illuminating the shores of Saint Paul, on June 4-5, during the Northern Spark Festival.

Jonathan Paddleford