If you've never attended one of the readings at the Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts, you should go. You should definitely go. It's not just that they often serve wine and delicious cracker-based snacks, and it's not just that the readings are both intimate and well-curated (though that is, of course, the main reason). But the building! A sweet white frame old building right on the banks of the Mississippi River in Fridley. It's a former stagecoach stop and tavern, built in 1847, and its little rooms now are hung with paintings by local artists.
Every month except December, they host writers. They started the year with Matt Mauch and John Jodzio last month. This month (tomorrow--Feb. 10) they're bringing in poet Ethna McKiernan to read from her new collection from Salmon Poetry, "Sky Thick with Fireflies," and prolific writer JoAnn Bren Guernsey to read from her latest book (of nearly 20), "Glass Asylum."
The rest of the year shapes up like this:
March 9: Joyce Sutphen and Sheila O'Connor
April 13: Sharon Chmielarz and Mary Francois Rockcastle
May 11: Ed Bok Lee and Danielle Sosin
June 8: A writing group reading
July 13: Dylan Hicks, reading and singing
August 10: Athena Kildegaard and TBA
Sept. 9 (the only one to be held on a Sunday): Heid Erdrich
Oct. 12: Sun Yung Shin and Scott Wrobel
Nov. 9: Katrina Vandenberg and Jim Heynan.
The events begin at 7:30 p.m. at the arts center, which is at 6666 River Road in Fridley.