Paying for an experience

I often hear people say that live music is too expensive; that it’s not worth the ticket costs. I do agree that concert tickets are pricey, but the costs really haven’t changed for many years. I paid about the same amount for tickets when I was in college as I’m paying today.

One thing that has changed, though, is (stupid) ticket fees that get tacked on to each sale, plus tax, of course. But some smaller venues are ditching the big ticket sellers, and that has helped a lot, since the venue’s ticket fees are a lot lower.

As a small-business owner and entrepreneur, I especially have to watch what I spend my money on. I have to pay rent each month, after all. But I still do my best to see as much live music as I can when my favorite artists roll into town. Living in Minneapolis, we’re pretty spoiled with the amount of killer shows that take place here. So, yes, I go to quite a few shows each year. I actually work music-show costs into my monthly budget.

One such killer show took place last Tuesday night. Surprisingly, it was at the Target Center, which is unusual for me, since I don’t go to many “arena shows” anymore. But my favorite band, The Black Keys, have sort of graduated from the smaller venues and their recent tour brought them to the Target Center, right across the street from First Avenue, where I saw them in 2010 (one of my favorite shows of all time).

The Black Keys on 05.15.12 at Target Center (photo by Jeremy Nelson)

The Black Keys on 05.15.12 at Target Center (photo by Jeremy Nelson)

I found myself about 25 yards from the stage, squished amongst 11,000 other concert-goers (no, not all of them were on the floor with me, but it seemed like it). And once the music started, I went somewhere else. The Keys just do that to me. Their music sends me to a different planet. There were many times during the show that I found myself looking up into the rafters, and as my physical body was moving to the music I felt like my mind—or my soul?—was somewhere else, floating above the crowd.

It’s happened many, many times before, and it’s such an amazing feeling. The word “amazing” is massively overused these days, but I mean it truly—it’s an amazing feeling.

The day after the show, I was driving and listening to the Keys on a CD in my car. I found myself literally dancing in my seat to the songs, especially the ones that were played live the night before. I also found myself visualizing the show, and the band playing those songs—what it looked, sounded, and felt like the night before.

To me, that experience is what we’re paying for when we plunk down our hard-earned money for live music. No, a live music show is not a tangible object like a painting or a piece of handmade jewelry is. But when we pay for a ticket to a show, we’re not only paying to see a musical act perform, we’re also paying for an experience. And so many times it’s one that not only sticks with us for days after the actual event, but for a lifetime.

What are your thoughts about seeing live music? What band or artist have you seen that you still remember vividly today?

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Color me excited

Earlier this summer I modeled in a library-themed wedding shoot orchestrated by Jeff Loves Jessica Photography. Jeff did a fabulous job on the photography, and Jessica styled everything to a T–I don’t think she missed one detail. The two of them corralled some of the most talented creators in Minnesota to dream up a beautiful “wedding,” including Cocoa & Fig, PAPERISTA, Brett Dorian Artistry Studios, Larissa Loden, and many more.

I had a blast at the shoot and was thrilled to be wearing an Anne Cramer skirt, since I’ve drooled over her designs for quite some time now.

Today, everyone’s hard work was rewarded when Style Me Pretty posted the shoot on their awesome website! Check it out here (and here’s a screen-shot teaser for you!).

Library-themed wedding shoot by Jeff Loves Jessica Photography, as seen on Style Me Pretty

Library-themed wedding shoot by Jeff Loves Jessica Photography, as seen on Style Me Pretty

Nice job, everyone! You made it fun and wonderful to look at.


What’s iconic to you?

Some of my most popular items at the local shops I’m in, the art shows I sell at, and in my Etsy shop are my mini framed illustrations of Minneapolis and St. Paul icons. I’ve currently got two sets of Minneapolis icons (six in a set), and one set of St. Paul icons, which I sell framed and also as boxed sets of greeting cards. (NOTE: my new Minneapolis card and illustration sets are not yet in my Etsy shop…I’m waiting on some potential new frames.)

First Ave. icon illustration by redshoes26 design

First Avenue icon illustration by redshoes26 design

I’m thinking of doing another set for St. Paul, but need some more ideas. Can I have your feedback? I have two right now that are “for sures,” and one “maybe” because it’s in North St. Paul, which is not technically St. Paul. So I might expand this St. Paul set to all of the “St. Pauls” in Minnesota: North St. Paul, West St. Paul, South St. Paul, and the East Side of St. Paul. Here’s what I am set on, and also what I’m mulling over:

St. Paul : Minnesota Centennial Showboat, Landmark Center (these two ideas came from a potential Etsy customer), Science Museum of MN

North  St. Paul : North St. Paul Snowman

South St. Paul: Wacouta Bridge

What other ideas would you throw into the ring? Should I stick with St. Paul specifically, or expand?

I might also do *another* set of Minneapolis icons because I thought of more good ideas, and had one tossed my way from a visitor at Art-A-Whirl last weekend. Here are my ideas:

Minneapolis : Varsity Theater marquee, Weisman Art Museum (visitor’s idea…I’ve thought of this before but didn’t pull the trigger because I wasn’t sure it would work with my style…but on second thought, I think it could)

I’d love to do the Walker Art Center, but I think in my style it would look like a big grey box. And as many of you know, Spoonbridge and Cherry is out, due to the designer’s estate poo-pooing an old illustration of mine.

I think the state of MN in general should get some love. I had a request a few weeks ago to do an illustration of Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox. So that one is definitely on my radar. I think it would be so cute. What other general MN icons would be good fits for my illustration style?

Should I expand to other icons throughout the world, or keep these local? Notre Dame, La Tour Eiffel, Sacre Coeur, Big Ben, the Golden Gate Bridge, etc., etc.?


Fashionably inspired

What inspires you?

I’ll probably write in this blog quite a bit about inspiration. I’m a designer, an artist, a writer, after all. I post a lot about (these days, it’s all I’ve been posting about) Etsy Treasuries my work has been added to. Today I created a Treasury of my own. It’s called Spring Stripes, and my inspiration was a beautiful top that we just got in for spring at the clothing store I work at. Yep, I made a Treasury based off of visions I have of this lovely shirt. I love it, I want it in my closet. It’s out of my price range at the moment, but maybe once it goes on the sale rack, I’ll bite. If there are any left, that is.

Being around beautiful clothes while I’m working at my retail job is nonstop inspiration. It’s torture sometimes, in fact, since I wish I could buy about a quarter of our pieces. Some of you know that my first career aspiration was to be a fashion designer. I wanted to do that for many, many years; from fifth grade into high school. I collected fashion magazines, drew in my sketchbooks, researched colleges that offered fashion-design degrees. But my love of sports won out, and I ended up choosing a school that had a major I could study and also play competitive softball.

Sometimes I wonder if I should have pursued my dream to be a fashion designer. Recently, I’ve really been wondering about it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with the route I took in becoming a photographer/writer/graphic designer. But clothes do remain a passion of mine.

Two of my friends are fashion designers. Stacie is studying in Chicago to earn her degree, and Kori graduated recently and is currently a manager at my clothing store. She’s even gotten the chance to show her designs to Tim Gunn!

For now, I’ll continue to read my fashion magazines, live vicariously through Stacie and Kori, lust after clothes at my retail job, talk fashion with my coworkers and friends, and rock my wardrobe in my own style. I know I’ll be in the audience at Fashion Week someday (hopefully in Paris), and maybe my job–as a graphic designer–will even land me in the front row.

Hey, a girl can dream.


A new member of the redshoes26 design fam

I got a new computer yesterday–a MacBook Pro. My old computer has been giving me clues that she was getting ready to crap out, so I heeded her warning and rambled over to the Apple store and made my purchase (and I even got a free iTouch thanks to a back-to-school promo Apple is doing now…niiiiiice). I’d wanted a laptop for about 1.5 years, and so this wasn’t a rash decision, but it still wasn’t an easy one. I am going to have a hard time sending my old G4 in to Apple for parts/recycling. She’s been such a good computer the last 7.5 years, which is ANCIENT in computer years. I got her when I was still in school at Ai. But her time has come, and she was kind enough to warn me. Thank you G4. You’ve been a doll.


(Almost) ready to rumble

The work/kitchen table I’m making with my dad is almost done! I think we’ll be ready to move it into my apartment next weekend. I’m so excited. All that’s left is to finish the drawer and then stain/seal/finish/paint it. I’m going to use the most earth-friendly products I can find. I still need to decide what color to paint the base. Suggestions? The top will be a reddish brown, which will match the baskets that will be below.

I also need to find some cool drawer pulls. I love the ones at Anthropologie, Restoration Hardware, and other fancy stores, but I’m really interested in getting used ones. I’m gonna look on craigslist today, and my dad and I are going to hit the ReUse Center in Maplewood to see what they have, too. Again, suggestions on places to find cool, used or affordable pulls/handles?


The Swell Season was…well, swell

I went to see The Swell Season at First Ave. last night. I saw them for the first time this winter and after being completely hypnotized that night, could not wait for last night’s show. I’ve been a HUGE fan since I saw “Once” in the first week it was released to theaters several years ago. The show this winter, at the State, was amazing, and last night’s had a slightly different vibe because of the smaller venue (and my back and legs screaming after standing for three-plus hours) but it was equally amazing. I know people use that word too much these days, but I can’t think of a better one to describe this band. I had goosebumps the entire show despite the sweltering heat in First Ave. I am not ashamed to admit crying during many songs this winter, and doing so last night as well. This band touches me like few others, and I can’t wait their next album. Marketa played a new song, Crossroads, last night, and it was gorgeous. She also has chopped her long hair into a style pretty similar to mine, and she *rocks* it! You can truly see how beautiful she is with the new ‘do, because it highlights her face.

Anyway, I can’t wait to make some art this weekend while listening to The Swell Season, over and over. I’m inspired!