Last week, I made my long-awaited, surreal, exhausting pilgrimage to the Twin Cities to attend the Prince from Minneapolis conference and Paisley Park’s Celebration 2018. I have complicated feelings, which I’m still processing–and will continue to do so, with the help of some other people who were there, on the podcast in the coming weeks. For now, though, I have some basic reactions to Celebration, and to the newly-released Prince song that was debuted on the event’s first day.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Celebration coming in–reports of last year’s event suggested a combination music festival, fan convention, and cult indoctrination–but in my experience, it was basically a corporate retreat for hardcore Prince fans. There were hours of panel discussions with ex-band members Gayle Chapman, Dez Dickerson, Matt Fink, and Bobby Z; photographers Allen Beaulieu, Nancy Bundt, Terry Gydesen, and Nandy McLean; and dancers Tomasina Tate and, um, Wally Safford. There were screenings of Prince concerts from the Piano & A Microphone, HitnRun 2015, and–via the associated “Prince: Live on the Big Screen” event at the Target Center–Welcome 2 America tours. There were live performances by Sheila E, fDeluxe (née the Family), and a (fantastic) new supergroup of New Power Generation alumni dubbed the Funk Soldiers. And, of course, there was the debut of the music video for Prince’s previously-unreleased studio version of his pop standard “Nothing Compares 2 U.”
As listeners are no doubt aware, next week will be a big one for Prince fans in Minneapolis: Monday through Wednesday is Prince from Minneapolis, the second-ever (and first in the States) academic symposium devoted to papers about Prince; then, from Thursday to Sunday, Paisley Park will open its doors for its second annual posthumous Celebration event. I will be there for both, so I thought now was the perfect opportunity to talk to Stuart Willoughby, whose book Minneapolis Reign: A Guide to Prince’s Hometowndocumented his own trip to last year’s Celebration 2017. Stuart and I had a really fun conversation, which will hopefully give everyone else out there planning their own pilgrimages some pointers about where to go and what to do in Prince’s hometown.
As always, remember to subscribe to the d / m / s / r podcast on your service of choice (iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play), and to leave us a review if the spirit moves you. I look forward to meeting some of you in Minneapolis next week!
I’ve been trying to squeeze in at least one guest spot on Darren Husted’s Prince: Track by Track podcast per album, and for The Black Album I couldn’t resist taking on what is arguably its goofiest track, “Dead on It.” Listen to Darren and I dissect Prince’s skills on the mic here:
Yesterday I sent the first physical issue of Dystopian Dance Party, the magazine I create with my sister Callie, to the press. I initially tried to share a preview of the page layout, but apparently the service we’re using doesn’t allow that without it being listed for sale on their storefront; so, what the fuck, you can now order our inaugural Prince issue a week earlier than planned!
If any readers out there are wondering why I haven’t been posting much lately, this is pretty much your answer. We put a lot of work into the magazine, and I hope that shows in the results. Included is work by myself and Callie, obviously, but also poets (including friend of the blog Jane Clare Jones!), artists (9T99, Jonathan Caustrita, Purple Project, and more), and even an honest-to-goodness spiritual medium. It’s exactly what I wanted it to be: eclectic, slightly irreverent, and unlike any other Prince tribute on the market.
For those interested in a digital copy, those will be available next week at a slightly reduced price (I’m thinking $6.99). And if you happen to be in Minneapolis next week for the Prince from Minneapolis conference and/or Celebration 2018, I’ll have about 50 extra copies for sale at $9 each!
You guys know I hate sounding too sales-pitchy, but I really am proud of this and want to get it into the hands of as many people as possible. I’ll be back to giving away my work for free soon, I promise!