Davy Jones was easily Twin Cities PR woman Mary Haugen's favorite Monkee.

The sudden death Wednesday of the 66-year-old Monkees singer from a massive heart attack at his Florida home brought instant e-mails and texts to Haugen.

"Oh, that's so sad," she said.

The Haugen Public Relations exec was Jones' handler in September 2005 when "The Davy Jones Band" headlined Septemberfest at Eagan's Faithful Shepherd Catholic School.

"He was just fun. He's on all the time. Funny, engaging, never turned it off. He knew how to work a crowd. He just knew how to be a performer, but he was a really nice person. He would just charm people instantly," she said. "He was nice to me, he was fun with my kids -- I had them along.

"You would think of somebody like that maybe being a little bit aloof when nobody's watching. ... He kept a sense of humor with the people who were with him and everyone."

Jones brought his group to Minnesota after a band member had a chance encounter at an airport in Italy with Father Charlie of St. John Neumann, said Haugen. Their conversation turned to Septemberfest, and the band mate offered to play it for cost, said Haugen. And a booking was born.

Jones endeared himself late one night to Haugen after a long day of media interviews.

"I was really tired and I knew we were going to have a long day [coming up]," said Haugen. When she walked up to Jones and his band mates "talking to them to indicate what we are going to do for the next day," Davy created an indelible memory for her. "He starts singing to me: Mary, Mary, where you goin'..." she said, singing it and laughing.

Late start not Prince's fault

According to Dakota owner Lowell Pickett, Prince cannot be blamed for the late start to a performance by Portuguese fado star Ana Moura.

Shucks. I so enjoy blaming Symbolina, who's almost never on time. But fair is fair.

Donna Rose and Sue Wiltgen, sisters who drove from Mankato to hear Moura, were not amused by the late start of the mid-February performance.

"I wondered why I didn't see anything in the newspaper about the LATE start," Rose wrote to me in an e-mail. "We in the audience, who waited for 50 minutes for the show to start, found out 'through the grapevine' that Prince bought out the mezzanine and didn't arrive for the 7 p.m. show until 7:45, so we all had to wait for him. I don't mind waiting 15 minutes or so, but 50 minutes is excessive, and especially so when it's because one person feels he doesn't have to arrive on time. Does the Dakota management do this often?" Rose wanted to know.

Pickett said, "I apologize to those ladies." The reason for the delay, he said, was so the jazz club and restaurant, where the food is exceptional, would not have staffers moving around during Moura's performance. The atmosphere for Moura has to be different from, say, New Orleans' raucous Malone Brothers, who were playing Sunday, Pickett said.

So while the scuttlebutt may have been that Moura was held for the arrival of Prince, the real reason was the enchanting environment the Dakota wanted to create for the singer of Portuguese-style blues.

"She is so quiet and absolutely intense," said Pickett, "we even taped one of our kitchen doors shut to keep the noise down. We were trying to control the environment to create a nicer show for her. It didn't have anything to do with Prince.

"Prince," he said, "was really nice and really cordial. ... He loves Ana Moura. He actually flew to Lisbon to play fado with her." Moura is Prince's type, if you get my drift.

Prince returned to the Dakota on Valentine's Day, so he was there "two nights that week," said Pickett. He said that he did not notice the woman who might have been with Prince during his visits.

On Tuesday, NBC Nightly News did a piece on American Ballet Theater soloist Missy Copeland that did not mention Prince, who may have had more of a working relationship with Twitter's @mistyonpointe than some believed. Copeland, whose Twitter account doesn't suggest she was in Minnesota, talked about how ballet was her passion.

Neither Rose nor Wiltgen found humor in the way Moura's late arrival was explained. They said Pickett had joked that "Portugal was far away," and "that she had come so far and [that was the reason] it had taken so long," Wiltgen told me.

Pickett believes the remarks he made were a reference to an earlier booking of Moura that fell through due to the cost of travel.

C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or cj@startribune.com. E-mailers, please state a subject -- "Hello" doesn't count. Attachments are not opened, so don't even try. More of her attitude can be heard Thursday mornings on Fox 9.