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Convention Beat: August 28, 2008 Archive

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Authorities in mirror may be closer than they appear

Posted at 12:51 PM on August 28, 2008 by Tim Nelson (0 Comments)
Filed under: Photography, Police

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This is what Michael Shapiro saw Tuesday afternoon after a trip through St. Paul with his camera. He says he'd been taking pictures along Robert Street, on the north end of downtown, when he apparently caught the attention of the unmarked car you see in his rear view mirror above. That car and another squad pulled him over near University and Marion, by the looks of the old Saxon Ford building in the background.

"They wanted to know what I was taking pictures of, why I was taking pictures of it, Shaprio said. "They said, 'Didn't I know that the RNC was coming?' and then said I took a picture of our headquarters."

Technically, its the Fire Department's headquarters these days, up near Robert and 10th Street. The police moved across the freeway years ago. But it seems the historic Public Safety building in St. Paul might still be worthy of some vigilance.

Shapiro, a photographer who says he moved to St. Paul last spring, says its the third time in six weeks that he's been stopped for taking pictures in downtown St. Paul. He says he's been IDed at least twice.

He took a picture of a St. Paul Hotel ad in a skyway near the First Bank building. He also took a picture of a garbage can outside what turned out to be the front door of the Republican convention offices in Lowertown, although Shapiro apparently didn't know that at the time. (They're unmarked and mostly undisclosed.)

St. Paul police spokesman Pete Panos said last week that there are no restrictions on photography in downtown St. Paul. I asked today if the situation has changed, but they seem a little, well, preoccupied.

I'll update if they get back to me.

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The Daily Show today

Posted at 11:41 AM on August 28, 2008 by Tim Nelson (0 Comments)

Comedy Centrals' biggest star is setting up shop over at the History Theater, in what used to be the Minnesota Science Museum.

Here's a glimpse at what the Daily Show will look like when Jon Stewat moves his show to St. Paul next week. It looks EXACTLY like the show did in Denver, but with the St. Paul skyline behind the desk.

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(h/t MPR's Tom Weber, who popped in to McNally Smith College of Music earlier today)

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Think Pink

Posted at 5:46 PM on August 28, 2008 by Tim Nelson (0 Comments)

elephant.jpgIt's a sobering thought: the trumpeting elephant that's rearing up on the south end of the Xcel Energy's facade was once a very different shade.

It was no illusion, says Roger Leary, who's Liftec Sign and Crane Company installed, then re-installed the banner in the Republican's traditional hue. The first version was a little fancier, he said, and featured a fade from the edges of the banner to the center.

The elephant in the middle "was real, real, real light red," Leary said. "Well, it was pink."

Leary said it wasn't apparent until his sign crew had put the banner up on the outside of the Xcel. Convention organizers came out and discovered the difference between the plans and the execution. "They said, 'It looks great, Rog. You did a real good job of putting it up. Just make sure its down before you go home tonight."

Another version was ordered from the printer and is the banner you see now. Leary says he's still got the pink one down in his warehouse in Montgomery, Minn.

It was just another day in the life of a sign installer, Leary said. He thinks the signage his company put up for the NHL All Star game in 2004 was even more extensive, including all the skyway banners, and the display wrapping the front of the X that February.

"We do a lot of the big signs around here," Leary said. You can see his work on the History Center, the Science Museum and other venues. "It'll take us three or four days to take it all down, and then we'll be back to put up some more at the Science Museum."

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Photo by Bill Alhofer

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