Staff Directory 10645126


Columnist | The Dish
Phone: 612-332-TIPS
C.J. is a columnist in the Star Tribune's Twin Cities section. Her column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
Recent content from C.J.
Dessa Doomtree: “Yes. I mean [Lin-Manuel Miranda] called me and ... that’s an amazing call to receive.”

C.J.: Dessa felt better after getting scientific assistance to mend her broken heart

Dessa is one of the talents on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” musical mixtape. She tears into “Congratulations,” a song that rips into Alexander…
“I’m trying to work my way up in the film and TV industry. I want to produce movies,” said Chelsea Babcock.

C.J.: Diana Pierce's daughter starts her L.A. climb in the film and TV biz

Chelsea Babcock has been working steadily on the sets of a few shows and movies.
Dessa's debut memoir is called "My Own Devices."

C.J.: Mindful rapper Dessa doesn't wander through chats about her memoir

Her brightness illuminates the new book, "My Own Devices: True Stories From the Road on Music, Science and Senseless Love."
Nick Prueher, right, VHS comedian
“We not only have a ‘Ventriloquism’ section, we have a ‘Religious Ventriloquism’ section.” (with Joe Pic

C.J.: VHS is not yet dead for the Found Footage Festival Tour dudes

Put on by comics originally from Wisconsin and who spent time in the Twin Cities, the festival will be at the Heights Theater at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1.
“The things I’m doing now are the things I am interested in,” said Diana Pierce, reinventing herself after her time at KARE 11.

Former KARE 11 anchor Diana Pierce relishes being in charge of 'What's Next?'

Former KARE 11 anchor Diana Pierce likes all her former producers, but she prefers assigning herself. Two years ago, Pierce left the station after…
“I wanted to empower people to help themselves in the kitchen and in life,” chef Marshall O’Brien said.

C.J.: Chef Marshall O'Brien has a new cookbook and healthy living streaming show

Between promoting a new book, "The Smart Nutrition Cookbook and Meal Planner," and a Facebook Live streaming show, O'Brien doesn't have time to be taken down by a bug.
“I was just tired of replacing bags that I spent good hard-earned money on,” Duluth Pack's Tom Sega said.

C.J.: Tom Sega proudly shoulders Duluth Pack tradition

And how many backpacks does he have? "Twentyish."

C.J.: Artist Joe Burns wants to bring people together with his paintings of immigrants

Burns' "Facing America" exhibit will be on display on the second floor of Capella Tower in Minneapolis until Oct. 31.
Joseph Hassan said it took about five years between coming up with the idea for Nitey Leash and holding the product.

C.J.: Nitey Leash lights the way for dog walkers after dark

Hassan came to Minnesota to test Nitey Leash with Costco members.
“It is more important that we address and dress her inside than her outside,” said Joi Gordon.

C.J.: Dress for Success prepares women for jobs with more than clothes

Joi Gordon, Dress for Success Worldwide CEO, is keynote speaker at the 2018 Conquer & Connect Retreat presented by Bremer Bank. The empowerment event…
Lou Eyrich, from left, Allison Leach, Rebecca Guzzi, and Nora Pedersen pose in the press room with the award for outstanding contemporary costumes for

C.J.: Minnesotans have cornered the costume design market in Los Angeles

And the winner of the 2018 Emmy for Outstanding Contemporary Costume Design was, of course, a Minnesotan. Lou Eyrich took home her fourth Emmy,…
“The best thing I can do is show other women that if they are interested they can do it, too,” Vanessa Silberman said.

C.J.: Multitasking musician Vanessa Silberman on deck for Minneapolis show

The vocalist, guitarist and songwriter is also an engineer and producer. All those hats keep her on the move.
T-shirts at the Minnesota State Fair: If you feel it, you may as well wear it.

C.J.: At the State Fair you can learn a lot about the people from their T-shirts

Some Minnesotans were too reserved to play along, even if their T-shirts were not.
“If I’m perfectly honest, drugs and alcohol did save my life on a couple of occasions,” comic Sam Grittner said.

C.J.: 'Laughing at the darkest stuff is the best medicine' for comedian Sam Grittner

The comic shares thoughts on media coverage when someone famous dies by suicide.
“If people want to call me Doogie, there’s far worse,” said Darren Wolfson, KSTP sports anchor.

C.J.: Darren 'Doogie' Wolfson may have outgrown nickname, but fans haven't

The former KFANer has, maturity-wise, outgrown the radio nickname Doogie, but he still answers to it, even as a doting dad.
Sobriety has enhanced comedian Sam Grittner's appreciation for helping others by sharing what works for him.

C.J.: Comedian Sam Grittner takes what life deals because he survived his last suicide attempt

Sobriety has enhanced his appreciation for helping others by sharing what works for him.
“I’m so happy to be on a show that’s contributing to shift the culture in a positive direction,” comedian Ross Mathews said.

C.J.: Ross Mathews talks podcast, RuPaul, Melania and "Newsmaker-of-the-Week" -- Omarosa

He's working on a follow-up to his bestseller, "Man Up!: Tales of My Delusional Self-Confidence."
“My main priority in life is sobriety. That’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 on my list of things to do,” said comic and writer Sam Grittner.

C.J.: Comedian Sam Grittner finds his way around New York City and depression

The 2000 graduate of St. Paul Central has put his comedy career on the back burner while he concentrates on maintaining sobriety.
“If I want to wear one for some special occasion, I look it up. We have a ledger,” said Al Busch, a ballcap collection along with wife Kate.

C.J.: Jordan's Al Busch has your baseball cap ­— and hats for at least 1,600 other heads

Plus, he has 40 new acquisitions have yet to be logged, bagged and displayed in his barn.
“I grew up with hockey. … You don’t have to be from Minnesota to appreciate that,” said Matt Goldman, a TV writer and author.

C.J.: State hockey tourney is the scene of Matt Goldman's new crime novel

The Emmy-winning TV writer is Minnesotan to the bone-chilling bone.
WCCO's John Hines plans to retire in September after 45 years in the Twin Cities radio market.

C.J.: WCCO-AM's John Hines is calling it a career after the State Fair

Retiring Twin Cities broadcaster John Hines won’t have to juggle reading three books at once much longer. “I’m retiring because it’s time,” said Hines,…
Deborah Watts Justice advocate
“Have a moment of silence at noon. Say Emmett’s name. … We owe that to him.”

Emmett Till's Minnesota cousin says 'we want justice'

Deborah Watts co-founded the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation in 2005.
Nicole Hause launches out of the quarter pipe as she competes in the X Games women's park competition in 2017 in Minneapolis.

C.J.: Skateboarder Nicole Hause gears up for X-Games and Aquatennial honor

A child of Stillwater, Hause "never imagined" that she'd be grand marshal of the 2018 CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade.
Pictures of Prince's vault, from the Prince investigation.

C.J.: There are good things in Prince's musical vault, says former engineer who has heard songs

Susan Rogers has heard the new music from Prince that the rest of us may soon hear.
“This gives actual consumers the chance to learn from people they are following online,” says Pinners planner Roxanne Bennett.

C.J.: If you like Pinterest, you'll probably leave a Pinners Expo empowered

Pinners Conference and Expo exec Roxanne Bennett’s title says it all: “Pretty Much In Charge.” When you oversee Minnesota’s first Pinners Conference with aplomb,…
Susan Rogers Prince engineer 1983-87
“His well of creativity was so deep that he didn’t run out of ideas.”

C.J.: Prince ideas flowed fast and furious, engineer recalls

Boston-based Berklee College of Music launched its online master’s degree program with a video illustrating Professor Susan Rogers’ work as Prince’s recording engineer.…
“We are burdened by a history of racial inequality that has created a kind of pollution,” activist and attorney Bryan Stevenson said.

C.J.: Lynching monument's Bryan Stevenson brings message of hope to Mia

Free tickets to social justice attorney Bryan Stevenson’s Mia talk went in 10 minutes, so it’s probably no surprise that he gave the greatest…
“He needed to make music as fast as possible. There could be no technical issues,” said Susan Rogers, Prince’s recording engineer.

From Prince to Ph.D., Prof. Susan Rogers knows music

Busy with teaching, the former recording engineer has no memoir is in the works yet.
Edward Moody III Duluth TV anchor
“I didn’t grow up thinking a city like this would suit me, but you get older, you get wiser, and you realize wha

C.J.: Duluth anchors new life for former WCCO-TV staffer Edward Moody III

Edward Moody III, 'member him?I went to Duluth to interview the former WCCO-TV staffer, who left the Twin Cities after two years to…
“It was a source of shame having your family involved in the darkest day in Duluth’s history,” Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken said.

C.J.: Duluth police chief's relative told the lie that incited 1920 lynchings

Mike Tusken was an adult when he learned his family's shameful connection to the most racist chapter in his city's history.
“It feels natural to me when you see somebody you like to give them a hug,” country singer Dave McElroy said.

C.J.: Dave McElroy, no stranger to bad luck, is 'about that happy vibe'

Lakeville's rising country music star is having a great ride with current hit "Nowhere With You."
“Walking around Minneapolis, Chicago is probably just as dangerous as going to Mexico,” says founder Jared Kamrowski.

C.J.: Even the guy has special TSA memories

Expert advice from Jared Kamrowski comes just in time for summer travel season.
“I just have always had a fascination with Marilyn Monroe and her life and stardom,” author/actor Lisa Ann Capozzi said.

C.J.: Marilyn Monroe comes back as ghost in new novel

A sophomore at St. Mary’s University in Twickenham, England, faints and has an encounter with Marilyn Monroe’s ghost. “I don’t think anyone has ever…
MacKenzie: “Unfortunately, Prince is no longer with us, but it’s almost as if he is.”

C.J.: NPG vocalist MacKenzie was a closet Prince fan (literally)

MacKenzie — one word, capital M and K, no last name — is special. His unique way with Prince songs stood out at…
“I don’t think I can thank every police officer, but we can thank every department,” says Tyler Carach, a k a Donut Boy.

C.J.: National media sensation 'Donut Boy' drops pastries on Twin Cities police

“Donut Boy” Tyler Carach was in the metro last week making deliveries to three police departments. With the help of Dunkin’ Donuts, the 10-year-old…
“I didn’t want to be the kind of person defending use of the word ‘ho’,” Rex Sorgatz said.

C.J.: 'Encyclopedia of Misinformation' author hit too close to 'Prairie Home'

NYC-based internet strategies consultant and author Rex Sorgatz showcased quite the sense of humor when he lived in Minnesota — although Garrison Keillor…
“Many of the things that interested me have to do with ... how people deceive each other,” author and consultant Rex Sorgatz said.

C.J.: 'Encyclopedia of Misinformation' author brings the facts home to Minnesota

A die-hard Minnesotan who has lived in NYC for 11 years, Internet strategies consultant Rex Sorgatz was the founder of
Keyboardist Cassandra O’Neal on her goodbye to Prince: “I said, ‘I love you,’ and blew him a kiss and he blew me a kiss back.”

C.J.: Cassandra O'Neal's goodbye to Prince was pitch perfect

New Power Generation and Prince keyboardist Cassandra O’Neal became his fan as a kid the moment she heard “I Wanna Be Your…
“I learned a lot about my character in Minnesota. Not everyone understood my brash personality,” said Jonathan Choe, now a reporter for NBC10 in B

C.J.: Catching up with former Fox 9er Jonathan Choe

Affable Jonathan Choe is fine with being recognized as “the Asian guy.” That’s because he’s a sweetie — although he claims to have…
“I was always tenacious. I’m all of those things that I was brought up to really value,” Fox News host Harris Faulkner said.

C.J.: Fox's Harris Faulkner salutes military upbringing, Minnesota

Fox News Channel’s Harris Faulkner is a player in the media world, having gone from correspondent to hosting two weekday shows. In Part 2…
Harris Faulkner.

C.J.: Fox News Channel's Harris Faulkner is never genuinely 'Outnumbered'

Fox News Channel’s Harris Faulkner’s web show “Outnumbered Overtime” did so well online that it earned a spot on TV. A former KSTP-TV anchor…
NPG music director Morris Hayes: “When I go to do something, I always think, ‘What would Prince do?’ ”

C.J.: Music or basketball, Prince executed what was in his head, says NPG's Hayes

Morris Hayes’ height advantage was irrelevant when Prince was on the basketball court. That was the case even when the New Power Generation…
“Filmmaking on this topic has been very therapeutic, actually,” said Laura Farber, who made her feature directorial debut with "We are Columbine."

C.J.: Columbine survivor's documentary will premiere in Minnesota

"Parkland — that just seemed very similar and familiar to Columbine," said Laura Farber, who survived the April 20, 1999, massacre in Littleton, Colo.,…

C.J.: At least monster trucker Becky McDonough slows her roll when the roads are slippery

The Brainerd native won her first stadium freestyle event in 2016 at U.S. Bank Stadium and is back for more Saturday.
Louie Anderson attends FX Networks' annual all-star party at SVA Theatre on Thursday, March 15, 2018, in New York.

C.J.: Get out the tissues for Louie Anderson's new book 'Hey Mom'

Anderson is scheduled to autograph "Hey Mom: Stories for My Mother, But You Can Read Them Too," at the Mall of America April 14 at 2 p.m. It's the book his fans have been waiting for since "Dear Dad: Letters from an Adult Child," because he's basically playing his mom on "Baskets."
Aisha Walker, Mary Joyce Owens, Henry Murry
“Hearing her voice in those old clips got me a little emotional.”

C.J.: Recy Taylor's family members are conflicted about the documentary

“The Rape of Recy Taylor” documentary was difficult for family members to view, for reasons obvious and unexpected. Three members of Taylor’s family were flown…
“I love watching games, but games where there are a lot of strikeouts and walks get tedious,” baseball author Dan Levitt said.

C.J.: Baseball fans get their rankings in the paperback "In Pursuit of Pennants"

The paperback version of 2015’s “In Pursuit of Pennants” has been freshened up with the stuff readers seemed most curious about when talking to authors…
“My comedy birthplace is Minnesota,” comic turned snowbird Jeff Gerbino said.

C.J.: Jeff Gerbino, now snowbird, reviews Franken, Louis CK, Leno

The former Twin Cities radio show host, with a gift for impersonations, now lives in the Tampa-St. Pete area.
Jasmine Brett Stringer Lifestyle expert
“It makes my heart smile to know my words are still empowering.”

C.J.: Oprah dishes the dirt about Minnesota soil with Jasmine Brett Stringer

While lifestyle expert and author Jasmine Brett Stringer was in Croatia on a farm conference trip, Amazon was preparing a delightful surprise. “Last…
“I am not going to leave it up to schools to teach my grandchildren about black history,” Monique Linder said.

C.J. : 'The Rape of Recy Taylor' documentary keeps speaking to the woman bringing it to St. Paul

Members of Taylor's family are expected to attend and speak, Monique Linder said.
“We felt we would, in a way, be dishonoring her by not calling it what it was,” director Nancy Buirski said.

C.J.: 'The Rape of Recy Taylor' documentary set for a Twin Cities screening

The first time most of us heard Recy Taylor’s name was during Oprah’s stirring “Me Too” speech at the 2018 Golden Globes, shortly after Taylor’s…
“This was a way for me to feel better about myself,” lawyer Judy Samson said.

C.J.: Twin Cities attorney sews 'bridge' to help buxom women stand tall

Criminal defense attorney Judy Samson tired of her breasts bouncing around and, instead of turning to a surgeon, went to her sewing machine.
William C. Rhoden

C.J.: Media racist and exclusionary, says retired New York Times sports columnist

Award-winning sports columnist William C. Rhoden picked the wrong off-the-beaten-path spot for our interview, so there is no video. A columnist for ESPN’s…
Opening screen shot of a preview of Mark Saxenmeyer's documentary.

C.J.: Former KSTP reporter covers 'slim niche' with 'Queens' documentary

Former KSTP-TV reporter Mark Saxenmeyer wrote, edited and produced the documentary "The Queens," which is about the transgender subculture of competitive female impersonation.
Maggie Faris' comedy aspirations include a third album and hopes of staying in the Twin Cities.

C.J.: Granddaughter of the late Judge Miles Lord aims to remain a Minnesota-based comedian

Comic Maggie Faris was fascinated by Donald Trump’s hair before he was elected president. I learned about her curiosity over the fibers swirling…
“If somebody tells you they are sick, you can pray; but there is still [medicine] they can take,” said Yvonne Orji of "Insecure."

C.J.: 'Insecure' co-star Yvonne Orji lives her values, not her character's

Orji, who has freely talked about being a 30-something virgin in interviews, has a personal life that is the opposite of her character, Molly.
“Love veterinarians, use them a lot, adore them, respect them, couldn’t do it myself,” TV animal expert Larissa Wohl said.

C.J.: Playtime at the 'Kitten Bowl' should've been fun

The constant line of fans showed how very popular this Super Bowl Live pastime was.
“I don’t believe I ever come across as a know-it-all," ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said. "I’m willing to say, 'I don’t know.' "

C.J. : ESPN's Stephen A. Smith says he is humble about many things

Insults from detractors may be taking a toll on the "First Take" host.
“After playing for them for 20 years I’ve learned never to criticize what happens on the field,” Vikings legend Jim Marshall says.

C.J.: Yes, retired Vikings Purple People Eater Jim Marshall is tired of those questions

In the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, something laid low Purple People Eater Jim Marshall. When the famed Vikings defensive lineman couldn’t…
“I don’t care about the fashion industry. I care about how I carry and present myself,” ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith said.

C.J.: 'Nothing' makes ESPN's Stephen A. Smith nervous

The relentlessly verbose lightning rod will host "First Take" at the Hard Rock Cafe as part of ESPN's presence during the Super Bowl.
“I’d rather be at a restaurant, drink sake, have the fish and then have the beautiful belly later,” Jeremiah Tower said.

C.J. : 'Magnificent' Jeremiah Tower goes on about Champagne, goes off on Chef Gordon Ramsay

Jeremiah Tower, the subject of Anthony Bourdain’s documentary “The Last Magnificent,” recently graced the metro with his elegant presence. I was able to…
Three generations of Fitzgerald's. Left to right: Marcus, his son Jaylen, Larry Sr., Devin, Apollo and their dad, Larry Jr.

C.J.: Medical matters may be nudging Larry Fitzgerald Sr. toward the Sun Belt

The longtime Spokesman-Recorder sports columnist and broadcaster had a transcatheter aortic valve replacement, necessitated by the narrowing of an artery.
Minnesota Vikings fans do Skol Chant at US Bank Stadium.

Trash talking with Philly? Not exactly a tough assignment

The Philly columnist kicked things off with: "Like almost all Americans, I've never been to Minnesota. What am I missing, other than frostbite...?"
“I was not going to have my son subjected to that kind of modeling,” Shawn Brundidge said.

C.J.: Shawn Brundidge wouldn't have subjected his model son to H&M monkey business

The fallout continues for H&M over an ad featuring a black child modeling a hoodie emblazoned with the words “Coolest monkey in the jungle.”
Attorney Clinton Collins, shown in 2015.

C.J.: Attorney Clinton Collins' spirit is light as he awaits a double organ transplant

He talks about needing a new kidney and pancreas.
“Sometimes the most powerful song a person can write in times like these is a love song," Larry Long said.

C.J.: Troubadour Larry Long's American Roots Revue drops by the Dakota

American Roots Revue presented by Larry Long returns Saturday to the Dakota. This is Long’s 12th Revue with its revolving roster of talent from…
Soledad O’Brien on interviewing: “I don’t do it surreptitiously just to fight with people. I want to have a real argument.”

C.J.: Interviewing is a sport to Soledad O'Brien: 'You execute on the field'

The territory she likes best? Uncomfortable questions about sex, race and politics.
“It’s really fun to be with young women who have so much potential,” Soledad O’Brien said.

C.J.: Soledad O'Brien thanks hubby for their PowHERful homel ife

The already immensely busy Emmy-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien wishes more of the young women who attend her “PowHERful” conferences would hit her up for…
“I’ll bet there was not a woman in that room to say, ‘Whoa, that is a creepy idea,’ ” comedian Lizz Winstead says.

C.J.: 2017 offers feminist feast for Lizz Winstead annual show: Franken, Louis CK

There is always a lot of laughter when I hang with my friend Lizz Winstead, the satirist. Years before she became co-creator of Comedy…
Former NFL and Gophers player Ben Utecht says he hopes the Vikings "can find a way to improve ... and not get comfortable.”

C.J.: Former NFLer Ben Utecht is channeling Andy Williams

Former Super Bowl winner Ben Utecht is channeling Andy Williams. The former Gopher who won a Super Bowl with Peyton Manning’s 2006…
Evan Kail ‘Ubered’ Author
“Maybe I’ll call the sequel ‘Lyfted’ so I can broaden my copyright assets.”

C.J.: 'Ubered' author Evan Kail riding high after finding publisher

Evan Kail, the author of “Ubered: My Life as a Rideshare Driver,” has found himself a book deal with Texas-based Black Rose…
Clothiers Danny and Kenny King. “If what you look like matches the person you are, people are going to be attracted to that,” Danny said. “As tw

C.J.: Twins behind King Brothers Clothiers have book about passion for fashion

The more time I spend with King Brothers Clothiers owners, twins Danny and Kenny King, the less red and blue they become. To…
“I am so lucky my kids are nothing like me at all,” Vanessa Williams said.

C.J.: Vanessa Williams embraces a new interpretation of 'Save the Best for Last'

Vanessa Williams’ aspirations never included becoming a beauty queen. That’s one of the many revealing tidbits from her book “You Have No Idea,” which…
Vanessa Williams, shown last month performing during the 2017 Gershwin Prize Tribute Concert honoring Tony Bennett at the DAR Constitution Hall in Was

C.J.: Multitalented Vanessa Williams tells why she stays so grounded

Vanessa Williams’ breathtaking beauty might be her least interesting attribute, I can report after interviewing her in November at Evine, the Eden Prairie-based online…
“It’s the trick itself, as well as the comedy and other things around it,” comic/magician David Harris said.

C.J.: Jokes take shape when comedian/magician David Harris takes stage with contortionist Cheryl Birch

As soon as I downloaded the video of the comedian/magician and the contortionist, it was obvious that she should’ve been standing on a chair.…
Read our comment standards welcomes and encourages readers to comment and engage in substantive, mutually respectful exchanges over news topics. Commenters must follow our Terms of Use.

  1. Keep it civil and stay on topic.
  2. No profanity, vulgarity, racial slurs or personal attacks.
  3. Comments with web links are not permitted.
  4. Comments that violate the above will be removed. Repeat violators may lose their commenting privileges on

Comments will be reviewed before being published.

More from Star Tribune