Item World: Betsy Hodges between the ferns, Howler's Soul Asylum connection & more

  • Updated: March 27, 2014 - 1:07 PM

Mayor Betsy Hodges has a ferny White House moment.

Photo: Provided by Betsy Hodges,

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Between the First Ferns

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges happened to be at the White House a day after President Barack Obama touted his health-care plan on that viral episode of Zach Galifianakis’ “Between Two Ferns.” Madame Mayor, who was there for a policy meeting, was too late to catch the taping of the parody celeb talk show on, during which Galifianakis, with a straight face, infamously goads/mocks his guests. (Example: “How does it feel to be the last black president?” he asked Obama.) But she figured, “I could at least meet the ferns, since they were still there.” She assured I.W. that Minneapolis’ pothole crisis was on her mind even as she posed with the infamous foliage.

kristin tillotson

Odds on Osnes

In a cover story in this week’s issue, Billboard magazine celebrates Idina Menzel and her transition from Broadway star to top-of-pop-charts hitmaker with “Let It Go” from “Frozen.” In a sidebar, Billboard asks: Who’s Broadway’s next great singer? Five candidates are cited, including Eagan-reared Laura Osnes, star of “Cinderella.” Of the five nominees, Osnes is the youngest (at 28) and the only one who gets her home state (Minnesota, duh) mentioned. Wonders Billboard: “Could her future include serving as the voice of Disney royalty on the big screen?”

Jon Bream

Karl’s kloset

If you looked closely at Howler frontman Jordan Gatesmith’s T-shirt during the band’s album-release party last week at the Triple Rock, you might’ve noticed the name of local ’80s pop-punk darlings Zuzu’s Petals. What you wouldn’t have known is that the shirt originally belonged to late Soul Asylum bassist Karl Mueller, who was Gatesmith’s south Minneapolis neighbor and saw young Jordan grow up from a snot-nosed punk to, well … . Karl’s widow, Mary Beth Mueller, who was at the show, let Gatesmith purge from a bin of old T’s a few years ago. An even better sign of Karl’s legacy living on, Mary Beth is preparing to launch with an April 18 fundraiser at the Cedar Cultural Center with Dave Pirner, Communist Daughter, Willie Murphy and others.


Our fair lady

Who was the Audrey Hepburn doppelgänger in the crowded lobby of the Heights Theatre last week at a screening of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”? It was Veronica Min Wotipka, decked out in a white fur stole and sporting a Hepburn updo with a thin braid where a tiara would be. Holly Golightly would have approved. Wotipka joined the sold-out crowd in Columbia Heights at the fourth annual Taste Night at the Heights. She may have been humming along to “Moon River,” one of the melodies played by Harvey Gustafson on the grand Wurlitzer organ before the movie. We sure were.

Lee Svitak Dean

Country roads, take me Home Free

– for a reverent rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” without microphones. After the Sing-Off Tour ends, Twin Cities-based Home Free will entertain on a cruise ship to Alaska, likely tour with country hitmakers the Eli Young Band in May and appear at Nashville’s huge CMA Festival in June as part of the Columbia Records show. In addition to doing its own CMA performance, the quintet will sing during set changes between other Columbia acts. “We don’t need equipment,” musical director/baritone Chris Rupp told I.W. Well, just five microphones.

Jon Bream

Dream weaver

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  • Veronica Min Wotipka styled herself as Holly Golightly at a screening of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

  • Laura Osnes

  • Rob Lundquist, left, and Chris Rupp performed with the rest of Home Free at La Crescent High School.

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