Item World: Local news and views

  • Article by: STAR TRIBUNE STAFF , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 3, 2013 - 2:41 PM

Maya Rudolph bringing Princess to First Ave; 400 Bar auction update.

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David Anderson, who has ALS, DJed a dance party on NY Eve using special technology.

Photo: Nityia Photography,

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Princess and the Revolution

Last year, Minneapolis music man Bobby Z scheduled his first annual Benefit 2 Celebrate Life to not conflict with the Super Bowl, Grammys or Oscars. The former Prince & the Revolution drummer has booked his second annual shindig to raise heart-health awareness around Questlove's schedule. The drummer for the Roots works weekdays on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" so he wanted to perform in Minneapolis on a Saturday night, not a Sunday like last year. Thus, the gig is set for March 9 at First Avenue. Questlove will DJ for the second consecutive year. No, Bobby Z, who suffered a nearly fatal heart attack two years ago, is not reuniting the Revolution as he did last year (minus Prince). The star attraction will be Princess, a Prince tribute band featuring "Saturday Night Live" alum and "Up All Night" star Maya Rudolph and singer Gretchen Lieberum. Twin Cities soul man Alexander O'Neal is also on board. Look for other Prince-associated figures to be announced later.

JON BREAM

A piece of the 400 Bar

Figuring that the Somali community center taking their place won't have much use for neon beer signs, a vintage cigarette machine or Replacements and Soul Asylum posters, the proprietors of the recently sold 400 Bar have put those items and other memorabilia from their 17-year run up for auction on eBay. A Jayhawks smashed drum head -- "very used," the description understates -- appears to be one of the hotter items in the big sell-off, with bids at $200 at press time. Another popular souvenir is the club's red upright piano, up to $510 with the pitch that Willie Murphy and, yep, the Jayhawks played it during their weekly residencies there (and it's still playable). Not selling so well, however, were the Elvis lamp that adorned the bar (the $500 starting price might be a bit much for kitsch value) and a grayish couch that's covered in band autographs, green-room graffiti and odd stains. Yeah, ewww. Go to www.400Bar.com for a link to the auctions, most of which end Friday afternoon. If their plans of reopening in a new location hold true, the 400 crew should at least have a little money to take to Ikea toward decorating the new place.

CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER

With the blink of an eye

He can't move anything besides his eyes. Still, David Anderson of Fridley had a rockin' New Years Eve. Anderson, who is in an advanced stage of ALS, DJ'ed a set at a dance party at Old Arizona Studio in south Minneapolis with electronic equipment that reads his eye movements. "The biggest problem we had was David getting the room dancing so hard that his set-up moved more than we anticipated due to floor bouncing, so we had to recalibrate the eye-tracking hardware mid-set," said Harley Sitner, a friend from Seattle who led 1 Blink=Yes, the Kickstarter project that funded the technology. "But we dealt with it instead of asking people to dance less. All in all, a good problem." Sitner and other pals created a custom DJ rig to work with the Ableton DJ software platform, and a PC monitor stand that pivoted to optimal angles. He called the sold-out event, also live-streamed to a worldwide audience, "magical. David got to get back to doing what he loved, and it's inspired thousands of people around the world." Fittingly, he closed his set with "Do You Realize" by the Flaming Lips.

KRISTIN TILLOTSON

The write stuff

Did you miss Benh Zeitlin's film "Beasts of the Southern Wild" in theaters? Now you can read the Oscar contender's script online, or download it. The website Dear Cinema is collecting screenplays for movies released in the past year, as it becomes more common for Oscar-hungry studios to make them easily available to voters. Other highlights among the 22 amassed thus far are "Moonrise Kingdom," "Lincoln" and "Amour." Access them at startribune.com/a1948.

KRISTIN TILLOTSON

Vikings vs. Brandi

The woman next to us at Brandi Carlile's sold-out concert Sunday at the Varsity Theater was nine months pregnant. So I.W. had to ask: What does the baby think? "He's kicking a lot," the expectant mom said. She explained that earlier in the day she'd also attended the Vikings' big victory over the Packers. She volunteered that the baby -- a boy -- prefers the concert.

JON BREAM

The gift of full houses

Little Yellow Tree Theatre in Osseo reported another Christmas miracle. The company exceeded its attendance goal for "Miracle on Christmas Lake II," which was written by Jessica Lind and features actor Jason Peterson -- the theater's two founders. Nearly 4,000 people saw the show that ran for the month of December. Lind said there was even more magic. One actor fell ill, and company member Mary Fox had to fill in with just six hours notice (understudies are rare to nonexistent in small theaters). "At the risk of sounding Hallmark-y," Lind told I.W., "this show keeps producing one miracle after another."

GRAYDON ROYCE

Jeanne's last jam

Her singing daughters doted on her, and her musician sons tried to joke with her. Why should it be any different than any other Peterson Family holiday show? Well, this one Saturday at Hopkins Center for the Arts was the concert swan song for Jeanne Arland Peterson, Minnesota's grand dame of jazz and matriarch of the state's first family of jazz. At 92, she seemed a bit frail as daughters Patty and Linda Peterson escorted her to the grand piano. But it was magical when she performed on the 88s. Her timing was impeccable, her flair for jazzing up standards admirable and her ability to improvise impressive. She received three or four standing ovations. One of the many highlights was when Peterson joined the rest of her family band on "What You Won't Do for Love," Bobby Caldwell's late 1970s soul hit. Announced singer/organist Ricky Peterson afterward: "That's my mom playing some funk. Way hipper than us."

JON BREAM

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