The “Twin Cities” of Minneapolis and St. Paul are world famous for their rich art and music history. Thousands of tourists also flock to the most populated area of Minnesota to vacation, whether for outdoor adventures, shopping, or just enjoying the local scenery.
When I personally visited there for the first time, I was captivated by the First Avenue Theater, made world famous in Prince’s 1984 classic film Purple Rain. I also got caught up for a couple of days in the enormous Mall of America, as many visitors do. Suffice to say, between shopping, time with friends and enjoying the great food there, I didn’t get to see much else!
In order to find out more about what’s really happening in the Twin Cities, we got with iconic band Mint Condition for their recommendations on everything from family fun to strip clubs!
On the verge of releasing their seventh album 7…, Stokley Williams, Ricky Kinchen, Homer O’Dell, Larry Waddell and Jeffrey Allen are bursting with excitement for all of their new endeavors.
Check out Mint Condition’s Top 7 places to visit in their cities in UrbLife.com’s exclusive Run This Town feature!
1. Walker Art Center (725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis)
Larry: They have a lot of ongoing exhibitions come in. They have theater productions and a number of things. It’s worth going. The building itself is amazing – it’s like an architectural icon.
2. Hyland Lake Park Reserve (10145 Bush Lake Rd, Bloomington)
Jeffrey: It’s a downhill ski place, but they also have innertubing.
3. The Guthrie Theater (818 South 2nd Street, Minneapolis)
Stokley: They put on a lot of great productions. If you’re here from New York and you like Broadway plays, we have a lot of theaters in Minnesota. That’s one of our premiere spots. We have other lesser spots, but it’s really well known.
There’s also a place called Penumbra Theater Company in St. Paul (270 Kent St). It’s a very small, Black theater company and they put on a lot of plays. Incredible! I had my little star there as a little theater guy.
4. Augie’s Bourbon Street Cabaret (424 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis)
Ricky: If you want to go to a place that’s a party and you forget that it’s a strip club… and if you want something raw and dirty, you’ll like Augie’s. You can wear whatever you want. If you don’t feel like getting dressed up and just wanted to go to a spot and have a drink and hear some music. Girls and guys go there. It’s a party. They have cameras, its dope!
5. Water Park of America (1700 American Blvd E, Bloomington)
O’Dell: It’s right across from the airport, and it’s a good place if you just want to hangout and just splash around. It’s across from Mall of America, so you can go shopping and later on go to the waterpark.
6. Bunkers Music Bar & Grill (761 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis)
Jeffrey: If you want live entertainment, go to Bunkers on a Sunday or Monday night. Minneapolis on a Monday night is a good night to go out – it feels like a Saturday. You go to Bunkers, and then you go to a club called Envy (400 N 1st Ave). It’s packed in there on Mondays!
7. El Meson (3450 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis)
Stokley: El Meson is kind of like a Latin place – they have Flamenco dancers [on Fridays and Saturdays], and it’s some really good food.
That’s a fun list! On the flip side, you guys have been working steadily for over 20 years now. Tell us a little about the new 7… album project – what are your fans going to get?
O’Dell: I’m trying to do different things, talk about different things. I want to get away from the relationship thing on a couple of songs and just talk about something real. People around me have interesting lives and I definitely want to touch on that. I still want to talk about the things I’ve been talking about. It’s easy for me to write a song and come up with ideas lyrically. All I have to do is pick a girl – there’s like five that I can write a song about. We have six different people and five writers – from funk to European, overseas and jazz.
Stokley: Not unlike the other Mint Condition CDs, it’s a combination of what we feel about life. It’s like we always do. We have all of this eclectic music we put together. We tried to make this a universal one so we were going to self-title the CD, but it’s the seventh and we call it 7… – with the ellipsis to signify that we’re continuing our brand of music.
You always hear some surprises; you’ll find that out once you open the package and hear it. We have the classic stuff we like to do. The feel good music that people know us for. We put it in there, stirred it up, and we think that it is great. It’s always different. We all contribute since day one writing and producing and getting the word out.
We just want to thank all of our fans, old and new. It’s been an incredible journey so far. We just traveled to Iraq and had some new experiences there. It’s been a really reflective time for us.
Ricky: It was something about the women in Baghdad being soldiers. Like a woman carrying a machine gun in a uniform? That was just sexy to me. I loved that! I got an idea of a song I’m trying to finish up. Hopefully that will make the record.
Jeffrey: It’s going to be great! I’m excited as ever about this project. Things seem to be lining up. We are also co-hosted a show on TV One for the month of February called Way Black When and we’re excited about that. We are the house band, and we got to play with a lot of great artists from the past, Bobby Brown, Sheila E, Cuba Gooding Sr., The Emotions, Miki Howard, James Ingram, Guy and BBD. It was a great experience, and we’re looking forward to doing it again next year.
Larry: The music is about each of our experiences. You’re going to have songs about the fall from grace, dealing with the ladies, what it’s like to be a guy to fall, and the redemption later. Each of it has different stages. It’s basically writing about the human experience from our perspective.
Listen to Mint Condition’s latest single “Caught My Eye” from their album 7…, slated for release on April 5!