Item World: Eric Church schools scalpers, Oprah interviews Justin Timberlake, Mark Rylance gets Tony nods, more

  • Updated: May 1, 2014 - 2:12 PM
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Eric Church has no mercy for scalpers of tickets for his Target Center concert set for Sept. 16.

Photo: Chris Pizzello •Associated Press,

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No sinners allowed at Church concert

Eric Church is aggressive in his war on scalpers. Last Friday, the country superstar had 902 of the 14,000 tickets sold for his Sept. 16 gig at Target Center canceled because they were presumed to have been purchased by scalpers. Those tickets were then put back into the system for sale again. “A lot of acts just want to sell as many tickets as they can and they don’t care who they sell them to,” Church said in a statement. “I want my fans to be the ones who buy tickets to my shows, and I want scalpers to back off. I can’t stop ticket scalpers completely, but I can definitely make it harder for them.” Scott Stem, Church’s publicist, explained that scalper purchases “were identified via deep analysis of IP addresses, e-mail addresses, billing addresses, etc. that helped us identify the account purchases.” Church’s standard operating procedure is to delay fulfillment of all ticket orders — about 10 days — “until we’ve done the sweeps to see who is over the limits,” Stem told I.W. “No ticket orders are sent out until we know what is canceled.”

Jon Bream

Oprah in the house

There was no fanfare, but the Queen was here. That’s Oprah Winfrey, Queen of All Media. She snuck into town and shared a suite at Xcel Energy Center with Jessica Biel, watching Justin Timberlake in concert in February. I.W. wasn’t surprised to hear that Biel was there because she’s JT’s wife and one of us — well, she was born in Ely, Minn. Oprah was here to take in the concert and interview Timberlake for the fourth season of “Oprah’s Master Class.” In fact, the show is the season premiere on May 11 on OWN. We always thought subjects went to Oprah, but when she wants to learn how to find your voice, how to break the mold and how to hold on to your ambition, she’ll go to JT.

Jon Bream

Hey, I know her!

– up there in Canada. Vulture gave a nice shoutout to Sundberg for her funny work. Nice to see a local kid working.

Graydon Royce

A doctor in the house

Three of Minnesota’s esteemed theater practitioners will be receiving honorary doctorates this spring. Penumbra Theatre founder Lou Bellamy will pick up an honorary doctorate of divinity on May 18 from United Theological Seminary. Jack Reuler, who founded Mixed Blood Theatre, will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Macalester College, his alma mater, while Tony-nominated director Marion McClinton will be similarly honored by Concordia University. Bellamy and McClinton said they were honored to be honored, but Reuler told I.W.: “I do feel a little like Scarecrow from ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ Now, I’ve got to get up there and recite something.”

Rohan Preston

Kristal clear vision

Kristal Leebrick’s prize-winning love poem has it all: winter, North Dakota, young love, first love, the northern lights, sentimentality and the wise perspective of later years. It’s evocative without being sweet, nostalgic without being mawkish, and “New Year Love” attracted the admiration of the three judges of Common Good Books’ second annual Love Poems competition, who awarded it first prize and $1,000. Leebrick lives in St. Paul, edits a monthly newspaper and wrote the book “Dayton’s: A Twin Cities Institution.” The four runners-up, who each received $250, were Edwin Romond of Wind Gap, Pa.; Kathleen Novak of Minneapolis, Ann Harrington of St. Paul and Chet Corey of Bloomington. Judges were Garrison Keillor, Patricia Hampl and Tom Hennen. Read Leebrick’s poem at www.commongoodbooks.com

Laurie Hertzel

Kid rocks

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