Saturday, May 14, 2016
Then, finally, there was a day without Prince.
On a glorious day a week or two ago my wife and I had a day, a Minnesota day, a regional day. It was a day rich in what the greater twin cities had to offer. We went to a better than you would think is possible Minnesota winery. A person there took us on a tour of the place. We tasted half a dozen wines until we were too drunk to drive, so instead we wandered among the just budding vines and flowering apple trees. Mostly sobered up we drove back to the cities. We poked about a couple new, interesting restaurants without eating at them. We went to an art opening at a gallery near our modern art museum. I had champagne there, perhaps inadvisably. We took a walk in one of my favorite neighborhoods, up by Groveland Terrace with all its mansions and views. We managed to squeeze in, without reservations, at a high end but fun restaurant, where a snack turned into something of a feast, scallops and lemongrass aioli. From there we went to a chorale concert, a composer's doctoral thesis concert for free, held at the beautiful Tedd Mann Auditorium pitched up high on the banks of the University over the Mississippi River.
And then we were out of things to do and drove home. And driving home I thought about how it was the first day in maybe a week and a half where Prince didn't come up. I know that internationally his death was a big deal, with major musicians doing tribute covers from out of nowhere and famous monuments being lit in purple, but in his home that was multiplied exponentially. Billboards all filled with Prince here. He was on everyone's lips. No event excluded his memory. All the spring flowers turned purple. The city was renamed with a symbol. Highways suddenly had lanes strictly for the use of purple motorcycles, and all shirts were ruffled. Even those of us with no notable memories of Prince recounted them somberly and reverently as if we were at a never ending funeral of reflection.
But it was finally over. Prince was gone. The funeral was done. The city moved on and he was invisible to us for our whole day.
And then, within just a few blocks of our home and bed for the night we drove past the local old art deco theater. A late show of Purple Rain was starting in five minutes. Neither of us had ever seen it. We looked at each other. We pulled the car over onto a side street and raced over to the packed movie house.
No one ever mentioned to me that Purple Rain is a very awful movie about wife beating, interspersed with a sort of funny movie about an ambiguously aged Prince, interspersed with a truly great concert film. Whatever it was it was for me the brilliant last gasp of the death of Prince.
And then it became a new time in Minneapolis, and it was history.