Jazz at the “O”


Patty Peterson sings during a jazz evening at the Carlton Room in the Oldenburg House. (Note their logo on the ceiling!)

If you like jazz in an intimate setting paired with great food, the Oldenburg House in Carlton, Minnesota, is for you. One weekend each month the homeowners turn their living room into a jazz club called the Carlton Room, pulling in talent from Chicago, the Twin Cities, and other far-flung places.

They don’t ignore local talent, either – including one guy who lives right in the house. Co-owner Glenn Swanson is a leading drummer in his own right, and he performs during the sessions.

When I attended earlier this month, brother/sister Ricky and Patty Peterson from Minneapolis were performing. Ricky is best known for his twenty-year association with saxophone legend David Sanborn and for having produced, written and played keyboards for Prince. Patty is an award winning vocalist, live jazz radio host, and inspirational speaker; she has received the coveted Minnesota Music Award seven times for best vocalist.

We sat at a round table with several other couples. The food was great. The music even better. There’s no better way to spend a snowy spring evening. Someday, I would like to go back during the summer to see the grounds of the house. Under all that snow lie fountains and gardens among the rocky outcroppings that are a signature of the small town of Carlton.

The house itself is on the National Register of Historic places. The owners have oodles of other things going on besides jazz. A blogger friend of mine, Ed Newman, has written many stories about the place. Check out this one for a good overview.

Writing for Money (Yes, it is possible!)


I took part in a public panel recently at the Duluth Public Library. The topic was “Writing for Money,” and the panel featured three other local writers besides myself. It was sponsored by Lake Superior Writers, and facilitated by Felicia Schneiderhan, noted writer in her own right.

The audience was comprised of mostly writers who work for “free” and writers who currently receive pay. A few writer-wanna-bes were sprinkled throughout. I suspect everyone walked away with some new ideas to pursue — including me, who has been in this business for way too long.

Local blogger, Ed Newman, wrote this post about the panel in his blog, Ennyman’s Territory. Newman, a former PR man for Amsoil (a synthetic motor oil company), is also an artist, writer and culture buff who gets around to all the local arts events and shares his insights.

Hosting free panels like this are a valuable public service. This is the second of three planned by Lake Superior Writers. The next will focus on arts grant writing.