I'm physically sore and completely hoarse today from dancing so hard at our Prince party here in Venice all day and all night yesterday. And it's totally worth it. My Minneapolis friends and I out here have been having a very hard time of it after the world lost Prince last week, and it's been tortuous to see all the outpouring of love for him back home and not be able to be there with everyone. Like actually super painful, in a way that we had no way of anticipating.
So we decided to dance. We decided to sing. We decided to party so hard that our friends back home could hear us ... and we did. My awesome friend Shane is real serious about Prince. He drove out his vast vinyl collection from Minnesota because it was too massive to ship. He generously offered to host a listening/dance party for all of us transplants that are seriously grieving, and the friends who sympathize with us, and it would be an all day bbq affair. A real Housequake.
I could already hear the tunes blaring from blocks away when I arrived early to help set up (and watch the Wild lose the last game of the Season - but not after an awesome Prince tribute on the ice!), I almost cried - again - because there was Shane up on a ladder, hanging massive sheets of purple and paisley fabric as our mourning bunting, to set the tone of the day. He meant business.
I got out the kids' sidewalk chalk and did my best to draw Prince's symbol to invite the guests in, and then we thought it would be nice if everyone signed their names on the driveway, so we could have a big physical memorial of our own. Some might think this is all over the top for a rock star, but then they don't know how Minneapolis feels about our Prince.
So we show them. We wear purple. We wear paisley. We cry. We share stories. We DANCE.
The kids all got into it, not exactly clear on why the grownups were all so sad about this fun guy with the fun music, but they were happy to wear purple and jump all day (and night) in the trampoline along to the hours and hours of classic Prince hits.
People showed up in mostly Prince, purple, paisley, or Minneapolis clothing.
I had my First Avenue sweatshirt on, of course, and underneath the shirt they gave me at Paisley Park when I did my college senior project there. It's a simple, boxy, pre-ladies cut shirt, but I'll never get rid of it now, and wore it with great pride yesterday.
Folks brought purple potato salad, purple cupcakes, and purple drank. One friend had stopped and had custom purple tear stickers made, so we all walked around like purple gangsters all night.
I really appreciated the school spirit for Prince that everyone displayed, with even the most casual fan in attendance decked out in purple and offering their sincere comfort to their clearly upset friends.
We told stories, of all the shows we'd seen, and all the Prince sightings we'd had back home. We taught the cleaner song words to the kids and seriously danced our faces off.
One song would end, and an even better one would begin, making it impossible to get off the dance floor that was the entire yard. I didn't actually take too many photos of things when they were in full swing, because I was far too busy getting DOWN.
Minneapolis came together in Venice, and we really needed that. We needed the solace of people that understand, and share the same super insane crushing sense of loss. No, most of us didn't know him personally, but that doesn't matter. We grew up with him in the very fabric of our days in Minneapolis, and for me, he was a big influence on my world views and possibilities. There was never, and will never be, another entertainer like Prince. Period.
People came and went as the day went on, but most everyone just stayed and danced. It was next to impossible to walk away from yet another masterpiece being spun, and so we just kept at it. I think there were times when I was actually asleep on my feet, but just needed to listen and move.
It was a Sunday night, long after the Purple Rain credits ran on the t.v. inside, and the kids were all spent and long asleep, but still we danced. Monday was looming pretty large, and still the cries for "One more song!" continued, but ultimately ...
Life is just a party and parties weren't meant to last.
I still really can't believe it's real.
THANK YOU to Jenny and Shane for letting us all party like it was 1999 ... and to everyone who was there and understands. It was cathartic, and so, so needed. Minneapolis, I hope you feel the love from absolutely everywhere, and I hope you know that we're all the way there with you in spirit!!! LOVE.
*Photos by Paddy Wilkins, Paul Gronner, and me.