From outward appearances, you might assume that these photos are simply grainy nightclub photos like a million others. And you would be correct, in one way. These photos were taken Saturday night at the Chase and Ovation show at Bunker’s Music Bar and Grill in Minneapolis. But dig deeper, and there is much more to the photo than meets the eye. Each of these women is connected in an unexpected way.
Karen Turman is the selfie taker in the bottom left wearing purple lipstick. I elect her “Best Dancer.” Karen is the one who can get the whole dance floor doing the electric slide. She’s such an expressive dancer that I’ve learned more about her by watching her dance than I could ever learn in hours of conversation. Karen is an academic who was teaching French at Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota, until this spring, when she packed up her apartment and prepared to move to Cambridge, Massachusetts, because she will be teaching at (drumroll, please) Harvard University. But I didn’t meet her through the Prince fan community. Karen came to me through a friend of her mother’s who met me at an Open Art Studio class at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.
Kristen Zschomler is next. If Prince’s homes and workplaces get recognized as historic properties by the City of Minneapolis, the state or even the federal government, we will have Kristen to thank. Kristen is a Historian and RPA-Registered Archaeologist with the Office of Environmental Stewardship at the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDot). Until I met Kristen, I would never have imagined that MNDot would employ a historian, and fortunately, Kristen did not hold that against me. I met Kristen at the Prince in Minneapolis Symposium and then realized she was at every event I attended. Do you remember the David Byrne song with the lyrics about mistakenly getting someone else’s groceries and then discovering that by eating the groceries, you begin bumping into that person everywhere you go, at the park or the movie theater or a baseball game? That’s what it feels like with Kristen. If I hadn’t met her one way, I would most certainly have met her in another way.
Stacy Semler is next, and then Stacy Morgan. One of their best collective qualities is that they are incredibly good-natured and don’t mind being called “The Stacies.” It’s hard to even recall meeting Stacy and Stacy, because I feel like I’ve known them forever, even though it’s likely been no more than a year. Stacy Semler is a Chanhassen resident like me, and Stacy Morgan is our cosmopolitan New York City friend. We bonded instantly and see each other all the time. Stacy Morgan, who works as a Workforce Planning & Analysis Senior Manager at a Fortune 500 company, pops into Minnesota so regularly that I see her as much as my friends who actually live here. Stacy Semler and I hang out at exciting Chanhassen venues like City Hall, where we listen in on Planning Commission meetings (if they’re talking about Prince’s property, well then, someone from the Purple Fam has to be there). For nearly eight years, Stacy Semler worked at recording schools in the Minneapolis area. As a result, she got to know many local musicians and engineers in a town where most roads led to Prince. At Saturday night’s Bunker’s show, Stacy Morgan knew the lead singer of Chase and Ovation (of course she did), and Stacy Semler knew the saxophone player. (By the way, Chase and Ovation put on a great show. They manage to channel Prince without imitating him. It’s a fine line and they walk it gracefully).
Then there’s Michelle Streitz. We happened upon each other at Steve Parke’s book signing at the Edina Barnes & Noble last fall. She sat in the row in front of me and as we chatted I immediately knew: This is a friend. I think a lot of people feel that way because everyone wants to be her friend. As it turns out, Michelle is an artist who made Prince’s mirror jewelry for the Lovesexy tour and the world-famous glitter canes. She is as sparkly in person as you’d expect. Next time you’re in Minneapolis, message Michelle to set up a tour of her exhibit, “Prince Love: Minneapolis Collections,” in her studio in the Solar Arts Building. You’ll come away with a new understanding of how local artists contributed to Prince’s aesthetic.
Last is me. I changed my hair color and am no longer blonde because I like to keep people on their toes. They ask me what my real hair color is, and I answer that I no longer know. But if I had to venture a guess, I’d guess that my natural color must be purple.