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He’s back! After a two-year absence from the State Fair, Garrison Keillor will bring “A Prairie Home
Companion” back to the grandstand on Aug. 29.
Before his hiatus (to undertake “Prairie Home” cruises), Keillor had performed eight consecutive years at the Great Minnesota Get Together. Tickets, priced at $25 and $32, will go on sale at noon Saturday.
Country superstar Tim McGraw (right, Star Tribune photo by Renee Jones Schneider) will be returning to the grandstand for the second consecutive year, with an Aug. 27 concert. Tickets, priced at $56 and $71, will go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday. It will be his fifth appearance at the state fair.
The fair also announced DigiFest Minnesota, starring the vocal group Fifth Harmony of “X Factor” fame and YouTube favorite Cimorelli, on Aug. 24 at the grandstand. Tickets, priced at $20 and $30, will go on sale at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Tickets can be purchased at mnstatefair.org, etix.com and -1-800-514-3849. The state fair box office will be open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.
These three concerts join the previously announced shows: Kid Rock on Aug. 23, Linkin Park on Aug. 26 and the Happy Together Tour starring the Turtles on Aug. 25.
Cathy Wurzer and Eric Eskola have decided to get a divorce
Wurzer confirmed the separation by e-mail Tuesday after posting a short notice on Facebook. The couple, who have been married for 20 years, will continue to co-host "Almanac," TPT's long-running news program.
Eskola was a high-profile reporter for WCCO radio before leaving in 2010. Wurzer continues to work mornings at MPR.
In her e-mail, Wurzer said "all is well between Eric and me. We have the full support of TPT."
Wurzer and Eskola started co-hosting the Friday night show in 1994, the same year they got married.
Photo: From left to right: Eric Eskola, Tom Emmer, Mark Dayton, Cathy Wurzer and Tom Horner in 2010 "Almanac" debate. Photo by Jeff Wheeler
John Munson (left) and Dan Wilson/ photo by Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune
LOS ANGELES - One of the great aspects of St. Paul's WITS radio show is the unexpected mesh-ups of musicians. That vibe continued as the weekly program made its first road trip this past weekend with a two-night stint at Largo, one of the premiere comedy/acoustic music clubs in the country.
Not only did former Semisonic members John Munson and Dan Wilson reunite for some of Wilson's new songs, but they were joined by bluegrass queen Sarah Watkins and banjo player Ed Helms, perhaps better known for his work on "The Office" and "The Hangover." In fact, Helms nearly stole the show with an original song of his that could pass as a classic country-music drinking ballad.
The Sunday night show also featured Oscar nomineed Anna Kendrick, who showed off her vocal pipes on a group version of "I'll Fly Away," and Zack Galifiankis, who, thankfully, left the singing to others and stuck with his surreal brand of comedy..
Lots of jokes about Minnesota (Galifiankis once referred to host John Moe as "Flyover"), but the prize for best home-state zinger went to Wilson, who now lives in Los Angeles. When asked to describe the difference between Minnesotans and Californians, Wilson ad-libbed: "Minnesotans are shy and passive aggressive. Californians are sleek, shiny -- and passive aggressive."
Air dates for the Largo shows have not yet been determined.
Star Tribune photos by Renee Jones Schneider
Bravo for iHeartRadio, the much-hyped but little-listened entity of Clear Channel Media. That brand was responsible for the significant upgrade in the production quality of KDWB’s Jingle Ball 2013 on Tuesday at the X.
Giant video screens with live action, slick graphics, flamethrowers, indoor fireworks, confetti cannons and even a revolving stage platform, which made this the most efficient Jingle Ball ever (eight acts in 3 ½ hours, not the usual five-hours-plus).
There was one annoying aspect of the production, though – the playing of TV commercials (like teens care about furnace repairs) instead of music video clips between acts. Leave the commercials (KD DJ Big D’s daughter Hailey may be cute but seeing her seven or 10 times was too much) for the radio – when we can change the channel.
In my review in the paper, there wasn’t much space to discuss anyone beyond Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke, the main attractions.
So here are some thoughts on the other acts:
Fifth Harmony, the female vocal quintet from TV’s “X Factor,” displayed nice hair, four quality singers but no charisma. These young women seemed stiff and manufactured.
Austin Mahone, a 17-year-old YouTube sensation from Texas and Justin Bieber wanna-be, manifested more swag than genuine talent.
Accompanied by four dancers but no live musicians, Nickelodeon-launched Ariana Grande (below), wearing a short skirt featuring a holly pattern, came across like a pint-sized Mariah Carey, complete with the breathy,
affected vocal gymnastics but minus the va-voom personna. With her big voice, Grande has potential but, considering that she’s only seven months younger than Cyrus, well, everyone matures at her own pace.
Backed by an eight-person band, Jingle Ball returnee Enrique Iglesias unleashed his sex appeal for a fast-paced 17 minutes of invigorating, Latin-tinged dance-pop.
Fall Out Boy, those emo rockers from Chicago, thrilled the few guys in the arena with "Thanks for the Memories," "The Phoenix" and "Alone Together," though this band is starting to sound more professional than punky.
Flo Rida (below), the hard-working rapper from, of course, Florida, shifted the party into overdrive with such sing-along hits as "Good Feeling" and "Whistle," which featured a dancing, present-delivering Santa Claus, wearing a giant "HoHoHo" pendant. For his finale, Flo removed his shirt to show off his famous tattoos while three dozen Minnesota girls danced around him onstage as he implored them to "Turn Around."
Fox 9 has finally landed on its replacement for Heidi Collins.
Kelcey Carlson, who has spent the past decade manning the desk at WRAL in Raleigh-Durham, NC, will join Jeff Passolt in early February as anchors of "Fox 9 News at 5PM" and "Fox 9 News at 9PM."
She takes over for Heidi Collins who left under mysterious circumstances in July after a somewhat rocky three-year stint at the station.
"This opportunity is like winning the jackpot," Carlson said in a statement. "I have fond memories of my summer vacations in the Midwest and I'm so excited to move back here with my family and be a part of the talented Fox 9 news team."
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