The Paisley Park vault unleashing first tour

- They may have left the kitchen sink at home, but you’d never know.

For the first time Paisley Park is hitting the road.  The famed estate of legendary performer Prince, usually heavily under guard in Chanhassen, is now about to bare its flamboyant self in a London exhibition. 

The obvious, a purple jacket and white ruffle shirt, and the more personal, a Paisley Park garage door opener, have found a new home in the O2 entertainment complex.  For fans, it’s a chance to connect with an extravagant idol who, for much of his life, rarely put his private self on public display.

The glossy new exhibit, “My Name is Prince”, officially opens for a 3-month run October 27th.  If it feels odd to be parading Prince’s household wares in exchange for tickets less than two years after his death, Paisley Park is aware of the timing. 

Angie Marchese, Director of Archives for Paisley Park, is part of the team now working across the pond.  For Marchese, this exhibition is about far more than making the estate profitable, it’s about breathing life into old memories.

“We’re doing more than just taking things from the collection - it’s about bringing pieces that can bring people back to the first time they experienced Prince,” said Marchese. “We want to give people in the U.K. the chance to feel as close to Prince, as we do in the states.”

With a royal resume of sorts, Marchese knows a thing or two about rekindling connections - she’s on the payroll for a Prince and a King - pulling double duty at Paisley Park and Graceland. 

Prince, ever the innovator, gave curators a lot to work with.  Marchese made sure to bring her personal favorite, the cloud suit worn in the 1985 Raspberry Beret video.  Also leaving Paisley Park for the first time, the Gibson L65-S guitar that Prince used when he made his national television debut on American Bandstand in 1980.

Mixed in with the Minnesota nice, the exhibit does have a decidedly British feel.  In fact, it’s a homecoming of sorts.  In August and September of 2007, Prince held court in this same space, selling out the O2 for 21 nights - a record that still stands today.  Nearly everything from that unprecedented run - minus Prince himself - has returned.  Likely the most memorable item - a striking orange cloud guitar.  The instrument was originally created for an American audience at the 2007 Super Bowl, but got pulled at the last minute and instead found itself rocking away in London.

“To be in the same building is amazing. It’s kind of like Prince is back in residence here,” said Marchese.

Of course, you hardly need to be British to appreciate the life and work of this Minneapolis native.  The exhibit opening just happens to be timed with an American invasion.  The Minnesota Vikings play the Cleveland Browns down the road at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday.

“We would love to have everyone that’s in town, including the Vikings, to experience a bit of home and Prince - we hope the Vikings win!” said Marchese. “If you haven’t had a chance to make it out to Paisley Park, and you’re here overseas, it’s a great opportunity to experience Prince in a whole different way.”

As for any Prince fans who don’t see a trip to Europe in their near future, there’s hope the exhibit may get new life post-London.

“Anything is possible - right now we’re focusing on opening this exhibit at the O2” said Marchese. “After that, you never know, just like Prince he may just show up in your hometown.”

“My Name is Prince” opens October 27th for a limited 3-month engagement in London - tickets are on sale now at officialpaisleypark.com

Abraham Swee is a multi-media producer at FOX 9 covering the arts across central Minnesota.  Send story ideas to abraham.swee@foxtv.com

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