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Posts about Openings + closings

Morris Day inaugurates Hard Rock Cafe at Mall of America

Posted by: Jon Bream Updated: October 23, 2014 - 2:30 AM

The Hard Rock Cafe, that institution known for music memorabilia and souvenir T-shirts, had its grand opening at Mall of America Wednesday night starring a Minnesota institution, Morris Day & the Time.

Looking dapper as always in a bright yellow suit, Day did his part, including the ceremonial smashing of a guitar and an entertaining 80-minute set filled with such hits as “Cool,” “Jungle Love” and “The Bird.”


However, this Hard Rock ain’t built for live music. With so many hard surfaces in the sprawling two-story building in the midst of Nickelodeon Universe theme park, the sound recalled that of a rock concert in a high-school gym. And that’s not a good thing.

Luckily, the Hard Rock served up tasty food (granted they were appetizer portions) and alluring memorabilia.

Minnesota is well represented with an autographed Replacements guitar, a polka-dot Jesse Johnson guitar (he's no longer in the Time) and three articles of Prince clothing – a gauzy black shirt/blouse, a sparkly purple trench coat and an orange suit with “Minneapolis” sewn on the left sleeve (he wore it on the “Sign o’ the Times” Tour).

All kinds of musical eras are represented. There are a 1964 contract for bluesman Jimmy Reed, a Carl Perkins guitar, a James Brown jacket and a backstage photo of Elvis Presley in his underwear (briefs, for inquiring minds). There’s memorabilia from Jimmy Page, the Clash, the Knack, Bush and Soundgarden, and tour jackets from the Rolling Stones, Wings, Ozzy Osbourne, the Eagles and Bruce Springsteen.

Displayed in cases are outfits worn by Madonna, Linda Ronstadt, Paula Abdul, Alanis Morissette and Rihanna (her skimpy getup isn’t as impressive on a headless manikin.)

And you wanted the best, then you get an autographed Gene Simmons Kramer axe bass, number 142 out of 1,000. How rare is that?

The highlight, though, is something very contemporary. The sinks in the rest room have a touch-

free faucet that has two touch-free dryer blowers connected to it.



David Bowie exhibit and documentary gracing the Midwest

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: September 11, 2014 - 9:04 AM

It’s been 10 years since Minnesotans last saw David Bowie in person at his breathtaking Target Center concert, and who knows if and how long we’ll ever see him again. A couple upcoming to-do’s could give local fans a nice little fix in the meantime.

Lagoon Cinema in Uptown will screen the new documentary, “David Bowie Is,” on Sept. 23 (info and tickets here). Check out the movie trailer below. The new film is timed to the opening – also Sept. 23 -- of a new exhibit of the same name a half-day’s ride away from the Twin Cities at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Fans will have until January to make the trek to see it there.

Both the movie and the exhibit are centered on the British rock legend’s fashion and imagery, and they originated last year at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. The Guardian said of the exhibit at the V&A, “[It] transforms the human being into a mutant, the pop star into a poet, the pin-up into a culture vulture who prepared for his career, according to an early Decca press release, by 'reading through The Oxford Companion of [sic] Music, memorising much of it.' "

More Bowie news: Two new songs will be packaged into a new career-spanning anthology, “Nothing Has Changed,” which drops Nov. 18.

Get your Fringe on: an early look at what's in store

Posted by: Graydon Royce Updated: July 29, 2014 - 11:17 AM

Do you have your comfy walking shoes, shorts and t-shirt ready for Thursday night? That’s our first taste of the Minnesota Fringe Festival and by Saturday the sidewalks and lobbies will be full of avid Fringers dishing recommendations and pans.

I posted some titles from the first Fringe Preview that seemed worthy of a chance. Last Monday’s second preview yielded these possibilities. Again, this is based on three minutes of what you have to assume is the best face the producers could put forward. Go to the Fringe site for more details.


“The Jungle Book” seemed so charming in a little song; “The Confederate” is an interesting story; “Fifth Planet” (at left) is by David Auburn (“Proof”) so it has a pedigree; “Mainly Me Productions’ Our American Assassin” has Shanan Custer – good enough for me; Same with Sam Landman in “Kitty, Kitty, Kitty;” “Into the Unreal City” is a musical that seemed good in preview; “Sole Mates: An Almost Romantic Comedy” is iffy but maybe worth a look; “The Finkles Theater Show” has a clumsy humor that’s well done; “Hi! Hello! Namaste?” had an exciting, slightly ragged and energizing dance in the preview that had me writing “Yes!” until they got to the wooden dialogue; “The Sex (Ed) Show!” (below right) should be enjoyable, the Dirty Curls; “Shakespeare Apocalypse: A New Musical” was great – again, for three minutes.


Glancing through the schedule yielded a few other nuggets that weren’t seen in preview. So this is based

strictly on reputations and hunches (isn’t that how the world works?).


“Amateur Hour” has the Scrimshaw magic, Levi Weinhagen, Joe Bozic and Mike Fotis. Great potential. Speaking of Fotis, he’s back with “Fotis Canyon,” which sounds like Mike sitting around telling funny stories. Fotis is always worth the effort.

Colleen Kruse and Karen Paurus team up for “Becoming Inga.” Funny story teller, great singer and lots of blue material. Definitely worth considering.

I love the Ausland boys, Andy and Rick. They’re back with “Buckets and Tap Shoes” this year. If you need to get your heart re-started, this is the show.

“Crime and Punishment” has this going for it: Live Action Set in the basement of the Soap Factory. ‘Nuff said.


"Unreal City" at the Fringe Preview No. 2. All photos by Renee Schneider Jones.


“Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend” is by Hardcover Theater, which does well with its literary adaptations. More traditional for those who want to feel like they are actually watching a real play at the Fringe.

“Habibi” has James A. Williams in the cast. Not often you see a Broadway actor in the Fringe. “History of Minnesota – Unscripted” has the imprimatur of Theater of Public Policy. “Native Man” is a new musical by Minneapolis playwright Rhiana Yazzie. “Natural Novice” is an out of towner that has gotten some good notice at other festivals.

I like Minnesota history, so “The Ohman Stone” caught my eye. It’s about the controversy over whether the Kensington Runestone is real or a fake. “One Arm” is a Moises Kaufman project using a Tennessee Williams screenplay. Those are pretty good names.

I trust Nautilus Music Theater implicitly so “Reach” should be well worth your musical tastes; “Real Dead Ghosts” is by a New York company that has done good work in this Fringe. You can also trust Peter Moore to do well with “The Second Oldest Profession,” a memoir of sorts of his 40 years in the biz.

Some Shakespeare buffs are putting together “Twelfth Night” and “What You Will,” two pieces of the same script, it appears (I could be wrong). Terry Hempleman, Catherine Johnson Justice, Alayne Hopkins, Sasha Andreev and Sam Bardwell are some of the actors involved. Very impressive.

Finally, “Four Humors Do Every Show in the Fringe” banks on this talented gang of pranksters to find something funny in each of the other 168 shows in the festival.

Otherwise, look for reviews starting Friday morning online at Star Tribune.    

It's gonna be Bedlam in Lowertown Saturday

Posted by: Kristin Tillotson Updated: May 30, 2014 - 1:31 PM

A couple weeks in advance of the happy chaos that the opening of the Green Line will create, Bedlam Theatre opens the door on its new digs in Lowertown St. Paul (213 4th St. E.) on Saturday with a day-long party from noon till after midnight. The festivities begin with kid-friendly puppet activities, followed by cabaret performances, live bands and wee-hours dancing to vinyl spun by KFAI music director Miguel Vargas.

In keeping with Bedlam's philosophy of putting the community in community-based theater, the space will serve food and drink daily from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to encourage residents and visitors to stop in, share ideas and be part of whatever creative process might be going down at the moment. The same concept was behind their popular happy hour at the former West Bank location in Minneapolis, but they're opting for midday this time around because the lunch hour is more of a peak activity time in downtown St. Paul, said director John Bueche.

Bedlam's first Lowertown show opens June 13, the night before the new Green Line brings thousands of Minneapolitans who hate driving on 94 pouring into St. Paul's streets. Titled "The Beast," the play written by Ryan Underbakke follows events leading up to a fictional massacre of an immigrant family in northern Minnesota.

For now, the theater's website is calling for deep-pocketed beer drinkers to fork over $1,000 to help them stock up for tomorrow's party, with the payback being free beer through 2020. Good luck with that, guys -- we're guessing there might be a few takers. See more info here.

Critics weigh in: 55 Film Festival reviews

Posted by: Claude Peck Updated: March 31, 2014 - 11:16 AM


A still from the documentary "Afternoon of a Faun," about New York City Ballet great Tanaquil le Clercq.


Star Tribune writers and freelance contributors have been scanning advance copies of movies that are part of the Minneapolis-St.Paul International Film Festival. Their reviews are online now. The festival opens April 3 and runs through April 19, with more than 200 movies in all.

In reviews of 55 MSPIFF titles, our critics were, in general, enthusiastic. While they gave 4-star ratings (the highest) to just four movies, they handed out the coveted 3.5-star ratings to 13 films.

The movies that won four stars are: "Afternoon of a Faun," a documentary about legendary New York City Ballet dancer Tanaquil le Clercq; "Boyhood," a 12-year project of director Richard Linklater; "Flashback Memories," a music documentary in 3D about a Japanese didgeridoo player who suffered a brain injury; and the two-part crime saga from India, "Gangs of Wasseypur."

Here are the titles that won 3.5 stars:


Bicycling with Moliere

Blue Ruin



Concrete Night

Harmony Lessons

Ilo Ilo

Just a Sigh

Metro Manila

The Overnighters

The Trip to Italy



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