Write (and sing) About Love

Local musicians and performers collaborate for Valentine’s themed show

Simone Perrin (right) will join Kevin Kling at the O'Shaughnessy Auditorium for a night of love-inspired songs, stories and poems.

Photo courtesy O'Shaughnessy Auditorium

Simone Perrin (right) will join Kevin Kling at the O’Shaughnessy Auditorium for a night of love-inspired songs, stories and poems.

Griffin Fillipitch

With mid-February days away, ValentineâÄôs Day is right around the corner, as is the backlash that accompanies it each year. Public displays of affection and mushy subplots on every episode of network television can feel assaultive to the hopelessly alone. Denouncements of the holiday may be more common than endorsements.

It is a state of mind that local playwright and storyteller Kevin Kling understands but that certainly does not mean that he subscribes to it. âÄúThere is a negative impression of ValentineâÄôs Day because there is a pressure associated with it.

The last thing anyone wants is pressure to feel love,âÄù said Kling. âÄúMaybe people have begun to associate the word âÄòloveâÄô with sappiness, but it is still crucial to have love, to be human and have a full life.âÄù

This Saturday, Kling will host and curate âÄúCold Feet, Warm HeartsâÄù: a night of songs, poems and stories all dedicated to the subject of love at the OâÄôShaughnessy Auditorium in St. Paul. The evening will feature an impressive roster of local musicians and performers, including Dan Chouinard, Bradley Greenwald and Simone Perrin.

âÄúThis is a group that represents long-standing, deep connections and collaborations,âÄù said Dan Chouinard, a local musician and public radio contributor who will play piano in the show. âÄúWeâÄôre good friends, and we have worked on various projects in the past.âÄù

It is the same group that performed in the similarly themed show âÄúBreakinâÄô Hearts and TakinâÄô NamesâÄù three years ago.

âÄúThat show was incredibly successful,âÄù said Kling. âÄúThe audience responded so well. It was absolutely one of the highlights of my career. I couldnâÄôt wait to try it again, but you donâÄôt try to repeat something exactly. It never seems to work.âÄù

One of few things that will remain from the previous show is a âÄúpiano bar renditionâÄù of the B-52âÄôs classic, âÄúLove Shack.âÄù

Kling will be the focal point of the show, but it is very much a collaborative effort.

âÄúEveryone in the show is an expert in these different kinds of music, so I asked them to bring in their favorite love songs âÄî songs they wanted to do or a genre theyâÄôd never tried before,âÄù said Kling. âÄúFrom this mixture, there will be threads and through-lines. We take these different, seemingly disparate pieces and from them, a show forms.âÄù

Some of the overarching themes of the show are what one would expect from a show near ValentineâÄôs Day but not all.

âÄúMost of the stories are autobiographic. Most are humorous. Not forgetting that love has a lot of different values and can be very serious, but love thrives in audacity,âÄù Kling said. âÄúIt dies in carelessness and thrives in audacity. That is becoming clearer and a main theme of this show.âÄù

Themes of different sections may fall in line, but content within each individual piece will vary just as the style of performance does.

âÄúIâÄôm trying to work through the ages. From Bible stories, modern stories, stories from my own childhood and songs that span centuries,âÄù Kling said. âÄúI want to capture something about the timelessness of love in ourselves. When someone talks of a love that is no longer there, the love still exists in them. We carry them in our hearts.âÄù

While themes like this might make it feel mandatory to bring a date, more than romantic love will be explored.

âÄúCourtly love is just a sliver of the spectrum,âÄù Kling said. âÄúThere are so many forms, but the simplest is just a recognition. Looking at someone and seeing something of yourself.âÄù

Rumors of the appearance of a pink horse live on stage have circulated, which Kling would neither confirm nor deny.

âÄúThereâÄôs a bit of this show that is still up in the air. There is a bit of the unknown coming in. ThatâÄôs the reason to have a live show,âÄù Kling said. âÄúYouâÄôre in a real room with real people, and thereâÄôs an exchange that is greater than the topic. ThereâÄôs an exchange of an understanding and a recognition of something in each other.âÄù