Station to Station rolls into town

by Alexander Brodsky

What’s the one criticism of every music/arts/film festival since they began? They’re not on trains. Doug Aitken’s Station to Station has remedied that problem. Arriving in St. Paul’s Union Depot on Thursday the 12th, the festival melds traveling works (“nomadic sculptures”) with local flavor. Each stop includes a different assembly of musicians and local artists. St. Paul’s stop, for instance, features the seemingly immortal “godmother of punk” Patti Smith, noise rockers No Age, City Pages’ Artist of the Year for 2012/mushroom enthusiast Kate Casanova, local dance company The BodyCartography Project and scores more.

Grasping the artsy goals set out by the self-proclaimed “nomadic happening” doesn’t seem particularly important to actually enjoying the event. You’re free to watch artists work on weird sculptures in teepees arranged around Union Depot. Previous stops have featured adult-sized playgrounds and some kind of smoke bomb installation. Think of it as Burning Man-lite.

It’s got a guy who plays piano backwards and a vintage car full of mushrooms, what more do you really want? A dance/harvest gathering? Because Station to Station’s got that too, whatever it is. Oh, and it’s all sponsored by Levi’s, so you know there'll be stylish blue jeans aplenty.