Making Whoopi? Or waiting for Goldberg
The e-mail warned ticket holders not to enter the building until 8:15 p.m., and I.W. follows the rules — even though that seemed a pretty short time to get everyone seated for the 8:30 start of the 50th anniversary Guthrie gala Saturday night. It was after 9 p.m. when the show began with a medley of Broadway show tunes, because the Guthrie is known for its Broadway show … hmmm. Still, there was Whoopi Goldberg to look forward to, right? Her entrance was dramatic, wired up to cables and dropping down from the ceiling. But then, when she asked for her script, was that a bit? Was it all unscripted improv? Was it just chatter? Whoopi is a funny character, but when she disappeared through one of the Guthrie’s trap doors in the stage, it seemed just right. I.W. sorta expected more Whoopi.
Don’t worry, Brian
Minneapolis filmmaker William Pohlad is set to direct “Love & Mercy,” a biography of reclusive, psychologically troubled Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson. Paul Dano (“There Will Be Blood”) portrays the young Wilson. John Cusack (“High Fidelity”) will play him later in life. Paul Giamatti (“Sideways”) plays Wilson’s controversial therapist, who became the singer’s manager and claimed credit for co-writing the genius’ first solo album. Elizabeth Banks (“Hunger Games”) co-stars as the woman who met Wilson under the shrink’s care and helped him to recovery (and marriage and more children). Pohlad’s River Road Entertainment funded Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain,” Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” and Robert Altman’s “A Prairie Home Companion.” Principal photography for “Love & Mercy” begins July 15 in Los Angeles. Coincidentally, Wilson, who still lives in L.A., will perform July 27 at the Minnesota Zoo.
Kick-start the ’Burbs
A band that had its fair and completely unfair share of record-label experience back in the 1980s, the Suburbs will join the 21st century in more ways than one when they issue their first studio album in 27 years. The Minneapolis rockers have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund their 10-song record, “Si Sauvage,” due in September. “We’re going to act as our own record company, and that is a freeing and wonderful thing,” singer/keyboardist Chan Poling said in a video posted on the Kickstarter page. After recording with Minneapolis’ indie Twin/Tone, the ’Burbs released albums for Mercury Records and A&M in the mid-’80s, the former of which helped turn their “Love Is the Law” into a modest hit. Rewards for Kickstarter supporters range from a digital download of the album (for those who donate $10) or a signed CD and cocktail coasters ($50) all the way up to a private performance by the band ($10,000).
Gift of gab
Ever-charming, award-winning Irish novelist Colum McCann was in town Monday at Minneapolis’ Central Library to promote his latest novel, “TransAtlantic,” three overlapping tales of real people mixed with the fictitious. His book is about “men who tried in different ways to take the war out of the machine,” he said. It opens with two British World War I aviators attempting to fly from Newfoundland to Ireland in order to reclaim flying as a joyous thing rather than a deadly one. Other sections tell of Frederick Douglass’ trip to Ireland during the beginning of the Great Famine, and of U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, who flew to Northern Ireland repeatedly to forge what became known as the Good Friday Agreement. McCann made very clear his deep admiration for Mitchell, of Maine, and what he did for the Irish people, hammering out the peace agreement over years and years of tedious and contentious meetings. “The Irish never shut up, you know,” McCann said. “They just keep going and going. [President Bill] Clinton had asked him to go over for two weeks. Three years later, he looks up and says, ‘That was a long two weeks.’ That’s because we tend to prattle on.”
Blame it on sliders
Did an impromptu White Castle run by a mini-burger-seeking rapper delay the Geto Boys performance at the Fine Line Sunday by 90 minutes? That was the unofficial word from a reliable source. Rapper Bushwick Bill reportedly went missing before showtime, seeking out a meal at the Midwest fast food chain, which isn’t anywhere to be found in the group’s native state of Texas. Bill’s Boys didn’t go on until after midnight, which might seem OK for a current Top 40 hip-hop act but came off as an insult to Sunday’s mostly middle-aged, blue-collar crowd, which had to wait two hours after Haphduzn’s second of two local opening sets. Fans even turned to booing several times during the wait, prompting Bill to come out and apologize and ask them to wait patiently. But another 45 minutes went by before they finally hit the stage. Hey, those sliders do take a while to digest properly.