Ohio balloon sculptor Aaron "Doc" Hay made his first trip to the Twin Cities last weekend to see his beloved Trampled by Turtles at Festival Palomino in Minneapolis. Hay, who has been a professional sculptor for 25 years, saluted the Duluth band with a sculpture of an owl — there's a drawing of a barn owl on the cover of the band's "Palomino" album — that he blew together in 45 minutes in the festival's VIP Tent. "It was very spontaneous and challenging because of the limited balloons with me," he said. "I used every last white balloon I could find in my bag." He presented the owl to a TBT roadie (whose arms were covered with tattoos of owls), and the owl ended prominently onstage during the band's performance. "It became the centerpiece for this amazing band," Hay said afterward, showing off his photo of the owl in concert. At set's end, when the lights came on, the owl, with an assist from a roadie, did a stage dive into the crowd.
If you went to the Chanhassen Planning Commission meeting Tuesday night, you could confirm rumors about the Paisley Park museum, due to open Oct. 6. Graceland Holdings CEO Joel Soden explained that there will be themed rooms, Channel 9's Maury Glover reported on fox9.com. We've heard that the rooms will be focused on various Prince albums and tours — the "Controversy" room, the "Purple Rain" room, etc. As explained in the business plan filed last month, Graceland Holdings, which is operating the museum and runs Elvis Presley's open-for-tours mansion in Memphis, is considering building a hotel on the site, possibly in the round, unoccupied building to the east of the complex. The most disheartening news is that the chain-link fence around Paisley Park will be converted into a solid fence for security purposes. Hmmm. Neither Prince nor Elvis needed a wall between him and his fans.
TPT isn't planning to abandon the kiddie lab anytime soon. The Twin Cities PBS station just received a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to further the outreach of "SciGirls," its signature show aimed at engaging girls ages 8 to 13 in science, technology, engineering and math. The NSF and TPT relationship is nothing new. The independent federal agency's blessing was key to the series' launch six years ago. The new money will go toward the SciGirls CONNECT project, which supports hands-on professional development workshops based on the Emmy-winning series. The station is also developing a Latino version of "SciGirls." The new funds boost TPT's reputation as the go-to station for science initiatives for young people. In December, it received $37.8 million from the Department of Education to develop a tech-friendly animated show based on the popular "Superhero School" book series.
Most rock musicians have day jobs. So it was with great joy that Mary Jo Olson of Park Nicollet Health Services sent a mass e-mail to her colleagues who work with Robert Wilkinson, who has toiled in the Park Nicollet radiology file room since 2002. His gig is "burning CDs, digitizing film, sharing images across organizations and assuring images are where they are needed in support of patient care." Added Olson: "In his spare time he plays in the band the Flamin' Oh's." And he has for four decades. As the band (including other original members Jody Ray and Johnny Rey) celebrates its 40th anniversary Saturday night at Famous Dave's, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges has declared Saturday to be Robert Wilkinson Day.
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