Bad news for fans of Wisconsin indie-rock bard Justin Vernon: He and his team have called off their Eaux Claires Music & Art Festival for 2019. But they plan to bring back the fest in a new location in 2020, and in the meantime they will offer a big outdoor Bon Iver gig at Milwaukee's ever-popular Summerfest on June 29. "We find ourselves wanting to move out, change things and take stock of who we've become," read a posting on the festival's website. Vernon's hometown newspaper, the Leader-Telegram, reports that the singer's crew and city leaders are exploring the idea of moving the festival into or near downtown Eau Claire (90 miles east of the Twin Cities), where a new performing arts venue, the Pablo Center, recently opened. In its first four years, Eaux Claires was held a few miles out of downtown at Foster Farms along the Chippewa River. The Summerfest gig should draw plenty of Twin Citians, although it's the same day as Rock the Garden in Minneapolis. Eaux Claires alumni Lord Huron and Julien Baker will open the Milwaukee show. Tickets go on sale Friday at 11 a.m. via Ticketmaster.
Helping fill 'Blank Spaces'
A simple thank-you led to a special Twin Cities appearance by up-and-coming country star Jay Allen last weekend. The Nashville-based singer originally from Dike, Iowa, performed at the Moments Memory Care facility in Lakeville, following the do-gooder success of his viral hit song "Blank Stares." The single is raising money for the Alzheimer's-fighting organization Abe's Garden and addresses the singer's own dealings with the disease via his mother, Sherry. When the president of Moments, Robyn Johnson, sent a note of appreciation to Allen for the song, he offered to perform there. He even brought his mom along. "It was very moving for everyone," Johnson said. "He articulated the emotions of what all those families are going through, and it was a real we're-not-alone moment." C.R.
A friend in high places
As Minneapolis Institute of Art director Kaywin Feldman steps into her new leadership post at the National Gallery of Art, she'll encounter a friendly Minnesota face in Congress: Rep. Betty McCollum. Federal funding provides about 75 percent of the National Gallery's annual budget, so its relationship with Congress is key. And McCollum is set to become the chair of a House appropriations subcommittee that plays a crucial role in that funding. "It's a real feather in Minnesota's cap ... to have two women overseeing the National Gallery from different perspectives," the St. Paul Democrat said Tuesday. She praised Feldman's ability to draw new audiences. "That's one of the things she really showed a flair for in Minnesota. Her bringing that spark and sparkle of energy to the National Gallery is just going to be fabulous."
New Purple reissues
Three of Prince's albums from the '00s will be reissued Feb. 8 by Sony Legacy, including vinyl releases for the first time. The fairly well-received records "Musicology" and "3121," from 2004 and 2006, respectively, will be issued on vinyl — including a collectible purple edition — alongside new digital and CD releases. The most notable titles are 2004's "Musicology," a retro-soulful and timelessly funky collection that earned Grammy Awards for title track and the romantic gem "Call My Name," and the 2006 release "3121," which landed the minor hit "Black Sweat" and became his first No. 1 album since the "Batman" soundtrack in 1989. The third title is "Planet Earth," which Prince famously gave out for free with editions of the national U.K. newspaper the Main ahead of his 21-night run at O2 Arena in London in 2007. The record never really got a proper release, though it included appearances by the Revolution's Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman as well as Sheila E.C.R.
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Latté Da wins N.Y. raves
All is not so calm in the world of "All Is Calm." The Theater Latté Da production that played here in early November has earned raves in a 53-performance New York run that concludes Dec. 30 at the Sheen Center. The New York Times called the show "tremendous" and the New Yorker dubbed it "heartbreaking." For Peter Rothstein, who wrote and directed the show, the coolest thing is that the production was entirely designed by Minnesotans and its cast either lives in the state or used to. "The producer asked, 'Do we cast it out of New York?' And certainly it would be a lot cheaper to do that than housing 10 actors in New York City, but I really advocated for these guys, many of whom have done it four years in a row," says Rothstein. Performers sing and act the roles of dozens of people involved in World War I's Christmas truce of 1914. "You don't sing like that, a cappella, after just three weeks of rehearsal. It's incredibly challenging." In addition to the Latté Da version, Rothstein says there are generally about 10 licensed productions each year, including a San Diego Opera one that was broadcast live last week on the city's PBS affiliate.