Re: Some new news, a look at the Louvre, and how about some macaroni and cheese?


So, what's new?

For one, Lee Lynch's new car. It is green, of course, because almost everything he has is green, but it is a green to his liking. The ad man and theater lover picked the color. Originally, it was called "fresh chive." "But after looking at it in the sunlight, I have changed it to 'cartoon green,'" he said. "You know how green those old cartoons used to be." Uh-huh!

For two, Don Stolz has written a book, "The Old Log Theater and Me." It makes sense, because Stolz and the Old Log are the perfect picture of togetherness. For more than 60 years, he has been at its helm, directing, training the troops and occasionally cooking some of the good food served at the Excelsior playhouse. And, oh, yes, he also raised a family and won fame as the criminal in "The Front Page" who hid in a rolltop desk during most of the action. Cheers to Don, and I can't wait to read his book.

And, finally, for three, the house on Lake Minnetonka where the late John S. and Eleanor (Juty) Pillsbury raised their family will be auctioned. The Wall Street Journal reported that Sheldon Good & Co. is handling the sealed-bid auction; deadline for bids is Dec. 9. The house, which was bought about 10 years ago by Jim and Joann Jundt of Minneapolis, has been on sale for more than $50 million. My favorite memory is of the summer night when I was part of a group of people invited to dine with Norway's Prince Harald, now that country's king. He had a question for me: "Are there any Indian burial mounds around here?" Well, yes, I said, but I never learned if he found them.


On Nov. 19, there will finally be a ground-breaking for the rehabilitation of the historic Shubert Theater on Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. They waited until they raised the money, and that's good. I am sorry, though, that there won't be 2,500 tap dancers on Hennepin again as there were 30 years ago when the Hennepin Center for the Arts opened. A new play is being written about that tapping event by Elissa Mautner of Minneapolis. Its title is "Tap or Get Out of the Way."

"I should like you to know," she said, "that you are a character, and also a character in my play." Well, keen. Never had that happen before.

She hopes to have it ready for the grand opening of the Shubert next autumn.


You have until Jan. 10 to view the "Louvre and the Masterpiece" exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. I would put it on your list of perfect wintry things to do.

The Louvre museum in Paris has this presence in our town because we have lent them some of our paintings. Ditto Atlanta, which had the show before us.

I have seen it twice -- once at the opening party, which was more party than arty. My second trip was on a Saturday morning, just to look.

Don't expect to see the "Mona Lisa." It doesn't travel, as it is too fragile. And don't look for the fabulous "Winged Victory" sculpture that dominates the top of the grand staircase at the Louvre. But you will be surprised and delighted, I think, by what is in the exhibit, including paintings, prints, sculpture, silver and such, all well worth a close look.

There are some special tours, including one on Nov. 19 that will take you on a gallery treasure hunt for French art. And Dec. 17 there will be a high-styled tour with some last-minute shopping opportunities. Check the MIA for details.

Once upon a time, I visited the Louvre in Paris and loved it. But I am thrilled that the Louvre came to us.


When San Franciscans come to town, you eat out. Oh, you could beguile them with some tasty dish at home, I suppose, but they like eating out. They do it regularly because San Francisco is a superb restaurant city.

So, where do you go in the Twin Cities? Lots of places, including Vincent, 112 Eatery, Heidi's, Café Lurcat, Campiello and more. This trip, we did the new D'Amico Kitchen in the Chambers Hotel and the new Sea Change at the Guthrie Theater.

Sea Change features great seafood, and many in San Francisco love seafood, so my visitors liked Sea Change's fare. I liked it, but didn't love it, although it was quiet enough to talk across the table, and that is something to boast about in today's restaurants.

D'Amico Kitchen is on the main floor of the Chambers -- not down in the basement where an original café was stashed, thank goodness -- and it has gloriously good food. It is noisy, however, but once in a while, you can stand it. And the San Franciscans went home happy.

Incidentally, macaroni and cheese is apparently sweeping New York and it's supposed to be the new good thing to eat. Well, there is great mac and cheese here at McCoy's in St. Louis Park, at Café Maude in Minneapolis and at Tosca, also in Minneapolis. We are ahead of the so-called sweep. How about that?


Reading poetry is something I haven't done in years, but publisher Norton Stillman came up with several books of poems he thought I should try, and I did. Two are by women I know -- Beverly Rollwagen, who wrote "Flying," her second book of poems, and St. Paul's first and only poet laureate, Carol Connolly, who wrote "All This and More."

Both books are worth rambling through, reading aloud if you want and enjoying. Actually, I identified with one Rollwagen poem, "Math in the Old Days." I almost cried, it was so, well, me. They are in bookstores now.


Finally, if you want to warm up nicely, don't miss the final two sing-alongs of the season at the Loring Park Arts Center in the park at 7 p.m. Nov. 17 and Dec. 15.