Hurricane Gustav had not taken the wind out of Lizz Winstead's sails Monday afternoon. President, vice president and perhaps candidate will pass up the St. Paul convention, but Winstead was marching the aisles of the Parkway Theater in Minneapolis, steadfast in preparations for "Wake Up World," her spoof of morning news programs that opens today for three nights.
Producers shouted over each other and drills whirred on the makeshift set where Winstead and her cast will take aim at two targets: the GOP convention and the media. "Wake Up World" has a regular gig at a small theater in New York but Winstead reckoned it was time to "go on location," when she heard the convention would land in her native state.
"I called my brother and said, 'I'm coming,'" she said. "He said, 'Don't get me in trouble.'"
Her brother, Gene, is the Republican mayor of Bloomington.
The show will start at 7 p.m. with "Wake Up World," which skewers vapid fare such as "Fox and Friends." Video from the convention will be next -- with a few tart remarks along the way. Tonight and Wednesday, Jim Walsh -- the music writer and impresario who is Winstead's longtime friend -- has hooked up British rocker Billy Bragg and Chicago singer Ike Reilly, among others.
Last Thursday, Winstead munched on tacos at Pepitos Restaurant. She said she chose the Parkway because of her long friendship with Joe Minjares, who recently bought the movie house with an eye toward instituting live performance.
Most of the material for the show will be written fresh every day, specifically for Minnesota.
"We'll have a lovely Michele Bachmann tribute and a lovely Laurie Coleman tribute," Winstead said. The show will then be put up the following morning on the website Truebluemn.com.
Winstead said Republicans have "done the heavy lifting for me," from Phil Gramm saying the country was in a mental depression to John McCain not knowing how many houses he owned to Cindy McCain trying to closet her half-sister. And that was before the news broke Monday afternoon about grandma-to-be Sarah Palin.
Among Winstead's sidekicks is comic Baron Vaughn, who noted Gustav's impact on the convention.
"John's turning his name into Hurri-McCain," he said.
Graydon Royce • 612-673-7299