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Is Prince's 'Purple Rain' 2nd best album ever? Yes, says Entertainment Weekly

Posted by: Jon Bream Updated: June 27, 2013 - 5:21 PM



Entertainment Weekly has published the list to end all lists: The 100 All-Time Greatest – movies, TV shows, albums, novels, plays, etc.

Prince’s “Purple Rain” is ranked No. 2, behind only the Beatles’ “Revolver.” Debate amongst yourselves. We’re just delivering the information. EW asks if “Purple Rain” is the “sexiest album ever”? You might ask where is “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” ? Not on the EW list.

As for other Minnesotans, Bob Dylan checks in at No. 6 with “Blood on the Tracks” and at 27 with “Highway 61 Revisited” while the Replacements’ “Let It Be” lands at No. 62.

On the sidebar chart of 10 Biggest Heartbreaker songs, two were penned by Minnesotans: Dan Wilson co-wrote No. 5 “Someone Like You” with Adele, and Prince penned “Nothing Compares 2 U,” rated No. 9 as sung by Sinead O’Connor. On the 10 Greatest Dance Jam list, Prince's "Kiss" is No. 2, behind Beyonce's "Crazy in Love."

On the greatest plays of past 100 years list, August Wilson’s “Fences” rated No. 5 and his “Piano Lesson” placed 48. “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller was No. 1.

In TV, the Minneapolis-based “Mary Tyler Moore Show” shows up at No. 4, with “The Wire” topping the list.

In a list of 10 Greatest Graphic Novels, Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" ranks No. 4.

I think it’s safe to speculate that Gen X critics, for better or worse, dominated the judging.


First Avenue is finally on Rolling Stone's list -- for best big rooms

Posted by: Jon Bream Updated: May 1, 2013 - 4:05 PM



Star Tribune photo by Rich Tsong-Taatarri


Many Minnesotans whined when Rolling Stone’s recent list of the 20 best clubs in America did not include Minneapolis’ revered First Avenue.

Turns out that our favorite club apparently is considered a “big room” by the big magazine, which lists First Ave at No. 3 on its new list of 20 best big rooms.

Somehow our iconic 1,600-person nightclub is on the same list with New York’s redoubtable 6,000-seat Radio City Music Hall, Atlanta’s renowned 4,700-seat Fox Theatre, Nashville’s landmark 1,300-seat Ryman Auditorium and the 2,100-capacity Surf Ballroom in Buddy Holly, Iowa, er, Clear Lake.

Topping First Avenue are the 1,200-capacity 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco’s legendary 1,100-capacity Fillmore.

To our way of thinking, the "best clubs" list probably should have been labeled "best bars." This is all part of Rolling Stone's series on "Venues That Rock." Amphitheaters, stadiums/arenas/ dance clubs and "readers choice" lists are yet to come.

But what does Rolling Stone know?

As a “fun fact,” it mentions that Prince reunited with his “Purple Rain”-era band, the Revolution, at First Avenue last year.

Fact: The Revolution went on without Prince.

Video of Elliott Carter, the composer who died Monday at 103

Posted by: Claude Peck Updated: November 6, 2012 - 10:14 AM

This is a delightful recent interview between Pulitzer-wining composer Elliott Carter and cellist Alisa Weilerstein. She has just released a Decca recording of his Cello Concerto, and he listens to her play a bit of it. Though he claims he's growing deaf and won't offer a critique, Carter goes ahead and gives her several tips on playing the difficult cello part.

Carter died Monday at 103 in Manhattan.The New York Times ran this obituary. This is very likely Carter's last appearance on a video.

Osmo in Chicago: A good review and a plea from the musicians

Posted by: Claude Peck Updated: October 30, 2012 - 10:41 AM


It was supposed to be opening night of the 2012-13 concert season of the Minnesota Orchestra, but the lockout over a labor dispute resulted in cancellation of six weeks of musicmaking in Minneapolis. 

That allowed music director Osmo Vanska to be in Chicago on Oct. 18, leading the famed Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the Symphony No. 1 and the Double Concerto of Brahms.

That same night, the locked-out musicians of Minnesota Orchestra played a sold-out concert at the Convention Center, led by Stanislaw Skrowaczewski and reviewed here.

Vanska was retained by the CSO following the sudden cancellation of a guest appearance by conductor Bernard Haitink.

Reviewing the concert for the Chicago Tribune, critic John von Rhein said Vanska "kept the audience on the edge of their seats." He noted the Finnish conductor's "excitable and somewhat unorthodox podium manner," and credited Vanska for improving the artistic fortunes of the MO. Read his complete review here.

The musicians off the CSO handed out a flyer at their concerts that urged Vanska "to use his influence to persuade the Board and Management to negotiate in a spirit of compromise and respect. The musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra support their Minnesota colleagues in their efforts to achieve a contract that will preserve The Minnesota Orchestra."


No talks are currently scheduled between management and musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra. An announcement is expected in mid-November regarding concerts in December that remain on the schedule.



Minnesota Orchestra violinist Peter McGuire and contrabassoonist Norbert Nielubowski, who were substitute musicians with the CSO for the concerts with Osmo Vänskä, helped distribute leaflets to CSO audiences.

'Tales from Hollywood' post-show party pics

Posted by: Claude Peck Updated: September 24, 2012 - 5:01 PM


"Tales from Hollywood" stars, from left, Lee Sellars, Allison Daugherty and Keir Dullea. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.


The Guthrie Theater opened its 50th season -- and its festival of works by British writer Christopher Hampton -- Friday night in Minneapolis. Post-play festivities were chock-a-block with local actors. We spotted Tracey Maloney, Sarah Agnew, Mo Perry, Barbara Bryne, Richard Ooms, and many more. Also present were "Tales" stars, both local and out-of-town. 

Go here for Rohan Preston's play review.


Immediately following the show, Guthrie director Joe Dowling brought St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak on stage with the show's cast to proclaim it Christopher Hampton day in both cities.



From left at the post-show party were "Tales from Hollywood" director Ethan McSweeny, Lee Sellars (Odon von Horvath) and playwright Christopher Hampton.







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