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Alexa Horochowski's 2014 installation at The Soap Factory. Star Tribune photo by Tom Sweeney
A lot has changed in the 25 years since The Soap Factory art complex started life as No Name Exhibitions.The popoular outpost for Halloween fun and experimental art is celebrating its quarter century anniversary with a benefit party from 6 p.m. to midnight, Saturday, Nov. 15 in its cavernous, brick-and-timber warehouse, a former soap factory, at 514 S.E. Second St., Minneapolis.
The Factory's presence there has been a spur to development in what is now a fast-gentrifying neighborhood near the Mississippi River. Back in 1989, what is now a rough-hew home to avant garde art was still a functioning factory.
"There have been a lot of changes in this building," said Ben Heywood, executive director of The Soap Factory. "Back then they were literally melting down animals and turning them into fat and then throwing lye into it and turning it into soap."
Back then a group of local artists banded together and started No Name Exhibitions in another quasi derelict building known as the Skunk House. On the opposite side of the Mississippi and just west of Hennepin Av., the Skunk House was subsequently acquired by the Federal Reserve bank to house its air conditioning plant, Heywood said. No Name then moved into the bottling house of the former Grain Belt Brewery and from there to the Soap Factory in 1995.
"Our exhibition space went from 600 square feet to 50,000 square feet when we moved here, so that's a big change," Heywood said.
The Factory building is still pretty raw, but it too has changed over the years. Now, for example, it has bathrooms. And in January it will add heating and air conditioning for the basement and first floor. Previously the place closed in winter months when there was no heat.
Other improvements include the addition of a permanent staff, rather than volunteers who ran the place until 2002. With staff came a year-round exhibition and performance program. And the ever-popular Haunted Basement Halloween shindig. And now the 25th anniversary party.
Billed as a "day of citywide fun," the anniversary committee may have overpromised a bit. There won't be hot air balloons or marching bands on Nicollet Mall, much as Heywood would love such stuff. By "city-wide" they mean art impressario and cultural gadabout Andy Sturdevant leading a Soap Factory History tour starting at 3 p.m. Saturday in a vintage bus that will roll past previous Factory locales.
"Andy is a city-wide celebration in himself," Heywood explained. Indeed.
The Factory invited 9,000 people to the shindig and expects a good turn out.
"We can hold 700 people on the first floor and we should have a full house," Heywood said.
Party goers can expect Beatrix* JAR and Solid Gold to kick off the event with DJs Diarrhea (Jackie Beckey) and Christopher Saint Christopher (Christopher Allen) commanding the dance floor and emcee Ian Rans running the show.
There will be complimentary cocktails by Bittercube, gourmet nibbles from Fabulous Catering and Common Roots catering, small plates from Tilia, Heyday, Haute Dish, Third Bird, and the University of MN College of Design. Plus art by Aaron Dysart and Andy DuCett. Performances by artist Jaime Carrera and theater company Live Action Set. Plus an auction, of course.
(Party 6 p.m. to midnight, Nov, 15, tickets $50 to $2,000. The Soap Factory, 514 Second St. S.E., Mpls. For tickets: www.soapfactory.org)
POSTED BY KAREN ZAMORA
The night doesn’t have to end after Tuesday’s All-Star Game at the Twins Stadium. The usual 2 a.m. last call will not apply to many Minneapolis bars celebrating the main event.
All-Star Gamers have plenty of options to continue their fun.
Thirty-one downtown bars will remain open until 4 a.m. on game night. Many of which will host DJs and really late-night happy hours. Click here for an interactive map with street addresses.
Bars in Kansas City where the 2012 MLB All-Star game took place did not have extended bar hours.
“Ironic” seems to be the theme of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game experience in the Twin Cities.
After we finally build a gorgeous outdoor ballpark, we land the Home Run Derby during a record cold-day for July. Nice.
And the timing of this all-eyes-on-Minneapolis event couldn’t be better. The Twins biggest star, Joe Mauer, can’t qualify for the All-Star Game because he pulled his obscure, er, oblique muscle. An extraordinary injury for Above-Average Joe, whose only weaknesses are bilateral.
To add insult to injury, the Home Run Derby gets delayed on Monday by an hour because of rain, and then the contest provides all the drama of a Brazil-Germany World Cup soccer match.
After Monday's snooze fest at Target Field, MLB tapped Aloe Blacc for its post-Derby All Star Gala at Mill City Ruins and Museum. I guess they couldn’t find Alanis Morissette to sing “Ironic.”
So they got the voice (and songwriter) of Avicii’s worldwide smash “Wake Me Up.”
And that’s exactly what Aloe Blacc did to the crowd of a few thousand ticket-holding partiers outdoors behind the Mill City Museum – and to untold residents on the opposite side of the Mississippi River.
With show-time temperature hovering at 57 degrees, the pop-soul star played a 50-minute set that featured his big hit, “The Man,” which has become something of a theme for All-Star Game promos, and a slow-downed, almost jazzy reading of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.”
“I apologize for doing a Michael Jackson song in Prince’s city,” Blacc, who lives in Southern California, said after the tune. “But we don’t know any Prince songs.”
There were plenty of Minnesotans in the crowd, judging by all the Twins gear (people still love Kirby Puckett and Justin Morneau). There were a few faces well-known to local baseball fans: Clark Griffith, Dick Bremer and Frank Viola. But there were many out-of-towners showing their love for the L.A. Dodgers, Detroit Tigers and, of course, the Yankees. Too bad it was so chilly that the visitors were ignoring the fabulous Izzy’s ice cream desserts set up next to space heaters on the riverbank.
The out-of-towners seemed captivated by the fireworks above the Stone Arch Bridge – which started at 12:20 a.m. and lasted for 13 minutes. But the fireworks seemed like an impossible-to-ignore snooze alarm for nearby residents who didn’t abide by Aloe Blacc’s “Wake Me Up.”
We imagine the Twins, Major League Baseball and Minneapolis officials might be receiving some uncomplimentary phone calls, emails and Tweets.
For serious night owls a 2 a.m. closing time is too cruel a rule. Although bars still have their normal curfew, one night per year Twin Cities culture junkies are encouraged to stay out until dawn.
The fourth annual all-night art festival Northern Spark, which last year drew 45,000 attendees, returns Saturday. From 9 p.m. until daybreak, artists of all mediums will perform and exhibit their work at locations across Minneapolis.This year's theme: “Projecting the City.”
While there is much to see and experience during the sleep-depriving arty party, anyone whose get-down urges extend passed bar close might head to Kim Bartmann’s coming-soon Loring Park restaurant, where the music won’t stop till the birds are chirping. The restaurateur behind Barbette, Bryant Lake Bowl, Pat’s Tap, the newly opened Tiny Diner and more is staying tight-lipped regarding her plans for the former Cafe Maude and Nick and Eddie space at 1612 Harmon Place. But Bartmann will open its doors starting at 9 p.m. for a late night of music and performance art.
“We’re excited to bring a little bohemian life back to Loring Park,” she said.
Presented by the Bedlam Theatre and DJ Rambo Salinas, indoor performers include singer/songwriter Brian Laidlaw, who’s teaming with literary rag Paper Darts for a vaudevillian music and poetry piece, rockabilly quartet L’Assasins, energetic soul rockers Black Diet, DJs Dan McAllister of Worldwide Discotheque, Soul Togetherness’ Brenda Hernandez and Kevin Jones, and more. Outside the restaurant Lea Devon Sorrentino and Forever Young’s Chris Cloud host a silent dance party, while the Independent Filmmaker Project MN screens silent films in the alley scored live by local bands. Plus an outdoor ping pong tourney and a sunrise yoga session (see full schedule below).
Though the unnamed restaurant is still under construction, food, booze and much-needed espresso will be available. Bartmann had hoped to open before Northern Spark, but had a hiccup with an energy-inefficient back door. The Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission denied her request to have the door replaced, so she essentially built a door within a door as a workaround. The restaurant is about three weeks away from opening and more details about the concept and her collaborators (which include a former Minneapolitan who’s returning after running a Brooklyn bar) will be announced next week.
Until then, tell the Sandman to shove it and enjoy the dusk-till-dawn art extravaganza.
Inside performances at 1612 Harmon Place:
9:10 p.m. Frank Theater
9:30 p.m. Paper Darts
10:20 p.m. DJ Tarik Thornton
11:20 p.m. L'Assassins
12:20 a.m. DJ Brenda Hernandez
1:30 a.m. Black Diet
2:20 a.m. DJ Dan McAllister
3:20 a.m. DJ Kevin Jones
4:20 a.m. DJ Rambo Salinas
Outside performances at 1612 Harmon Place:
9 p.m.-3 a.m. IFP MN presents Out of the Shadows - Movies & Music in the Dark (live score by local bands at the top of each hour)
9 p.m.-1 a.m. Happenstance...Negative Jam (Silent Dance Party!) by Chris Cloud & Lea Devon Sorrentino
9 p.m.-3 a.m. Ping Pong by Starlight - Register for tourney online at http://tinyurl.com/NSpingpong or sign up on site by 10:45 p.m. (open pong before & after tourney)
5:30 a.m. Sunrise Yoga in Loring Park (located on north side of the park, across from 1612 Harmon Place)
No formal announcements. Which is what you might expect from the Sullivan brothers, who ran the 400 Bar on the West Bank in its indie-rock heyday.
Their new 400 endeavor at Mall of America – part of the entertainment complex that includes the just-opened Midwest Music Museum – has several bookings, Bill Sullivan told me at a preview party for the exhibit “Ladies and Gentlemen, the Beatles” at the museum.
He said the first shows will probably be after July 4.
But they haven’t posted anything on their website yet – except to follow them on Twitter @400Bar.
And he said the new space is still under construction at 400 East Broadway at the Mall of America. A "400 Bar" sign -- which looks just like the one at 400 Cedar Av. S. -- has been painted on the outside of the new club.
Meanwhile, the only announced show is Aug. 1 with Denny Laine, former member of the Moody Blues (remember “Go Now” from his era) and Wings (Paul McCartney’s post-Beatles band). However, tickets haven’t gone on sale yet.
Tom Sullivan said it has been a “condensed” learning process with this new endeavor, which will also include a restaurant.
He promises that the new 400 won’t be dependent on a group of hard-core fans (like the old corner bar was) but rather draw from the entire Twin Cities as well as the millions of tourists who come to Mall of America each year.
Mason Jennings, a regular performer at the old 400 Bar, was at the preview as were Lori Barbero of Babes in Toyland and other members of the Minnesota music community.
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