Excess is the name of the game when it comes to Bloody Marys, so it should come as no surprise that there is a world record for the largest build-your-own Bloody Mary bar. Now the Happy Gnome is pulling out all the stops to take that title. Known for its popular Sunday Bloody Mary bar — with nine different mixes and 25 condiments — the St. Paul pub is setting up a tent in its parking lot and will offer 60 garnishes, from various meats and cheeses to a ton of pickled things. One catch: The April 9 event is being treated as a "dress rehearsal," meaning the Gnome will not fly out an official from the World Record Academy, which is required to claim a record. (It plans to do that next year.) But the pub still expects to top the record of 45 condiments held by the Silver Grill in Fort Collins, Colo. The event will piggyback on the pub's annual Firkin Fest for beer lovers April 8. "It turned into a big beast quicker than we thought it would," said assistant general manager Cia Nypower. A $25 ticket will get you access to the Bloody bar and a brunch buffet, plus a keepsake glass from event partner Surly Brewing, whose Hell lager will be the official beer chaser. Go to TheHappyGnome.com for more info.
Ari's new gig
Singer/songwriter Ari Herstand landed a nice side career as a TV actor after leaving the Twin Cities for Los Angeles in 2010. Remember the hippie hitchhiker in the "Mad Men" finale? Yep, that was him. Now, he's added yet another job to his résumé: author. Herstand turned an online musician's DIY advice blog, Ari's Takes, into a full book, "How to Make It in the New Music Business." As he explained it, "I had been getting so many questions from musicians that eventually I didn't have time to respond to everyone." Hence the book, which has landed him upcoming speaking gigs at South by Southwest and Berklee College of Music. First, he's returning to town for two free appearances Friday at McNally Smith College of Music (noon) and Magers & Quinn in Uptown (7 p.m.), then a music gig Saturday with old pal Chris Koza at the Aster Cafe's River Room (6:30 p.m., $10).
The Palace amps up
First Avenue representatives promised a steady string of shows at the renovated Palace Theatre in St. Paul, and they're keeping their end of the bargain. In fact, some fans are starting to complain about the venue tapping heavily into their budget. Shows announced this week include the Pixies (Oct. 11), At the Drive-In (July 17) and Old Crow Medicine Show (June 10), who will perform Bob Dylan's entire "Blonde on Blonde" album plus their own tunes. All told, 15 concerts have been announced for the Palace, which opens March 10-12 with shows by Atmosphere, the Jayhawks and Phantogram.C.R.
In the proud tradition of "Cool Runnings," a new film tracks a group of Somali men who emigrate to Sweden and take up bandy — a hockey-like sport that uses a ball, not a puck — in hopes of competing for their home nation at the world championships. Since Minnesota has its own bandy community, plus a sizable population of Somalis, the American Swedish Institute thought that screening "Nice People" would be a nice thing to do, so they teamed up with the Somali Museum of Minnesota to show the film Wednesday night. But the only copy with English subtitles got lost in the mail, said Karen Nelson, ASI's marketing and communications manager, so the event was canceled. A Swedish-language version did show up, and Nelson said the museum would consider showing that — if enough bandy fans showed up.
Veteran Twin Cities saxophonist Merlin "Bronco" Brunkow, who has played with Willie & the Bees, Lamont Cranston, the Big Wu and others, recently fell and broke his hip. He hasn't been able to gig at night or do his daytime job of repairing instruments. So a bunch of local musicians are getting together to play a benefit from 3 to 9 p.m. March 5 at the Minnesota Music Cafe in St. Paul. He'll get by with a little help from friends Willie Murphy, Maurice Jacox, Renee Austin, the Butanes, Jellybean Johnson, Mark Arneson, David Eiland, Lonnie Knight and many more. There also will be an auction, run by Karen Sorbo.
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