Paisley Park in Chanhassen, which once served as rock star Prince's recording studio and home, is offering more than a glance at the past.
The site, which has served largely as a museum since Prince's death in April 2016, has recently started adding more programming.
Something Prince said stuck with Alan Seiffert, executive director of operations at Paisley Park. Someone had once asked Prince why he went to the bakery everyday. Prince answered, “because I want fresh bread everyday.” At Paisley Park “we want to create that fresh bread,” Seiffert said.
Paisley Park isn’t a place only looking back at Prince’s brilliance, although that’s part of it. “We want to be able to celebrate and honor, but also continue to push boundaries,” Seiffert said. That means continuing to find innovative artists, music and people who tell stories.
“We don’t want to be stagnant,” he said.
Some at Paisley Park don’t like to describe it with the term "museum."
“It’s really about honoring a legacy, celebrating it and enjoying it,” Seiffert said. Not just what Prince did, but the inspirations he offered up for others, he said.
More than museum
“We have intentionally started to open the aperture for what Paisley Park is,” Seiffert said.
All in the name of creating what Prince was hoping to do with the space. In the future, ongoing activities will be announced, he said.
One of the activities, a three-film series with emphasis on music that ended Jan. 25, was inspired by Prince’s love of movies. He would often invite people over to Paisley Park, or to the nearby Chanhassen Cinema, for movie nights.
“Our thinking was ‘Let’s invite people over to see great music on the big screen,’” Seiffert said.
The films received positive feedback, he said. Seiffert heard from viewers “Wow, those films were the ones Prince would have selected.” There is something special about watching these films on the big screen using Prince’s sound system, he said.
“Real music by real musicians was a phrase he used to shout out from the stage,” Seiffert said.
With "Musicology" being one of Prince’s signature albums, Paisley Park felt like it was an important part of who Prince was. So, it decided to launch Musicology in 2020 as a concert series.
The first artist Paisley Park is bringing to the sound stage is critically acclaimed and Grammy nominated Meshell Ndegeocello. She is a renowned bassist and lyricist, Seiffert said. The show is on Saturday Feb. 15. It’s the first of an annual series.
Ndegeocello will reimagine Prince in her performance. “She’s taking the magic of his music and making it her own,” he said.
Paisley Park will serve alcohol at the Feb. 15 Musicology concert. It has selectively served alcohol including wine and spirits for events in the past, Seiffert said. “There is a bit of a misnomer that alcohol wasn’t allowed” at Paisley Park, he said, adding there’s a lot of dispute about the subject.
Seiffert assures that Paisley Park is careful and selective about its events, activities and serving of alcohol. Paisley Park works closely with the city of Chanhassen. It wants to make sure that if it does serve alcohol, that the city, community and Paisley Park are all comfortable with it, he said.
“We are Paisley Park, but we are a part of this community and that’s really important to us,” he said.
Another event to look forward to is the Celebration 2020, June 4-7. Paisley Park wants this to appeal to hardcore fans, as well as those who have only heard a few songs on the radio, he said. 2020 is “a really critical year. We’re still mourning Prince,” Seiffert said, adding “we’re at the point where we want to lean into the celebratory part.”
Paisley Park decided to move the celebration to June to give it distance from the day of his loss, Seiffert said. It will be a robust weekend to hear his music and enjoy what he’s created and who he’s inspired.
The schedule for the rest of the year is full at Paisley Park and long-term ideas are in the works. Over the next couple weeks it will announce more information about the Celebration and other events, he said.
But, Paisley Park doesn’t plan to share all its secrets. “Prince was famous for doing a last minute concert and having some mystery, some surprise,” he said, adding “we’re trying to keep a little bit of that magic.”