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Architect Julie Snow wins AIA Minnesota Gold Medal

Posted by: Mary Abbe under Architecture, Awards Updated: August 22, 2014 - 4:06 PM

Architect Julie Snow. Photo provided by AIA Minnesota

Modernist architect Julie Snow has won the 2014 Gold Medal from AIA Minnesota, a professional association. The award is for "a lifetime of distinguished achievement" and significant contributions to the field.

Snow and colleague Matt Kreilich run the Minneapolis-based firm Snow Kreilich Architects. She is equally adept at transforming and updating outmoded structures for new uses, and start-from-scratch designs for homes, offices and government buildings. Typically she details her sleek  geometric structures with glass walls and warm wood surfaces defined by narrow bands of metal.

Recent projects range from converting a shabby 1960s food distribution center in Minneapolis into a stylish headquarters for KNOCK, Inc., a design and marketing firm, to designing a handsome  U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility in Warroad, MN. One of her most high profile Minneapolis projects was the 2004 conversion of a Spanish Revival Congregational Church into the Museum of Russian Art, a transformation that created a spacious two story gallery from the former nave and intimate galleries in the basement. She has also designed houses in the Twin Cities and vacation homes in Northern Minnesota.

"Her graceful modernism -- from elegant cantilevered spaces in oceanfront houses to the elegant rooflines of U.S. border stations -- achieves simplicity that only comes from the highest rigor in design and attention to detail," said Tom Hysell, AIA Minnesota president, in a statement.

A graduate of the University of Colorado, Snow worked for various Minneapolis firms including HGA before starting her own practice while teaching at the College of Architecture at the University of Minnesota.

Previously her firm also won, among others, the AIA Honor Award, Progressive Architecture Design Award, and the Chicago Athenaeum's American and International Architecture Award,

"Within a rigorous underpinning, she and her studio make the marvelous happen," said the Amercan Academy of Arts and Letters in presenting her with its prestigious architecture award. "She is a ballerina who can dance in work boots."

Kyle Johnson memorial to be followed by Run Westy Run gig

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider under Music, Minnesota musicians Updated: August 22, 2014 - 2:34 PM
Run Westy Run's 1990 publicity photo for SST Records. From left: Kraig Johnson, Kyle Johnson, Terry Fisher and Kirk Johnson.

Run Westy Run's 1990 publicity photo for SST Records. From left: Kraig Johnson, Kyle Johnson, Terry Fisher and Kirk Johnson.

Kraig and Kirk Johnson have two big to-do's on their plates over the next few days: Saturday’s memorial for their brother Kyle Johnson, who died Aug. 12, and Monday’s Triple Rock gig by their band Run Westy Run. The timing is not coincidental.

“We thought since we’re all going to be around, why not see if we can do a show and make it a kind of celebration?” Kraig explained of the Triple Rock show, which was only just booked last week amid all the other details the family has been dealing with after Kyle’s passing.

“I don’t think it will be a somber thing,” he added of the gig. “It’s not the memorial. It’ll just be what we do.”

Kyle, 54, had been in declining health for several years and was too sick to perform at any of the Westies’ five reunion shows since the first at First Avenue just after Christmas – their first performance in a decade and a half. Not just a case of putting the old band back together, the string of gigs also reunited the three brothers, who were split between New York (Kraig), California (Kirk) and Minneapolis (Kyle).

“He rehearsed with us, but he just wasn’t up to doing a show,” Kraig explained, noting that Kyle did at least get to attend a couple of the gigs. He blamed his death on organ and kidney failure. “He was dealing with it for a long time. He’d get better for a while and you’d think he was doing OK, and then he’d get worse again.”

The lone sister among the four Johnson brothers, Kelly Abernathy posted this on Facebook following Kyle’s passing:

“His family was blessed with time to surround him with our love and support and say our goodbyes. On behalf of our family we would like to thank all his friends for their friendships, love and support that you shared with Kyle over the years. He holds a special place in our hearts and we will carry him with us in the days ahead. Kyle has a big heart and a kind soul and we will miss him so much.”

Run Westy Run's 1990 publicity photo for SST Records. From left: Kraig Johnson, Kyle Johnson, Terry Fisher and Kirk Johnson.

Though never as legendary abroad as the Replacements and Hüsker Dü (who preceded them on the Twin/Tone and SST labels, respectively), the Westies did gain a fanatical following locally in the late-‘80s with their rather crazed and unpredictable live shows. They also earned decent critical praise for their Peter Buck- and Grant Hart-produced albums on, loaded with a wild mix of danceable punk, psychedelic twang-rock and hard-grooving pop (and, sadly, all hard to find in stock nowadays).

At a 7th Street Entry gig in June -- timed to Kraig's return to town to play with the revamped Jayhawks -- the band took the stage in matching trucker hats, aviator sunglasses and '70s-porn mustaches. They were equally in sync musically, with ex-Son Volt ace Jim Boquist filling in on bass, a Gary Louris guest spot and a big singalong with "Mop It Up" and "Heaven's Not That Far Away." The latter one will surely sound more bittersweet should they play it Monday. 

Run Westy Run was formed in the mid-'80s by the three St. Louis Park-reared Johnson brothers and guitarist Terry Fisher. Kyle mostly served as rhythm guitarist through the early-‘90s, when he quit the group in the kind of informal fashion that the band operates with to this day.

“He just kind of drifted away from the band but was fine with us doing it without him,” Kraig remembered.

Kyle lived in New York for many years after his tenure in the band and became an artist and woodworker, but he eventually moved back to the Twin Cities. He is survived by two teenage children, Ruby and Jack. The family is asking for memorials to benefit them in lieu of flowers. Their service for Kyle is at Washburn-McReavy in Edina (5000 W. 50th St. at Hwy. 100) from 11 a.m. on Saturday, with visitiation starting at 10 a.m. Click here for the family's obituary.

Katy Perry and Kacey Musgraves throw a roller-skating party in Burnsville

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider under Music, Celebrities Updated: August 22, 2014 - 10:38 AM

Singer Kacey Musgraves, center, hangs out with patrons and workers at Skateville in Burnsville. (credit: Scott Wittnebel of Skateville)

What to do on a night off in the Twin Cities when you’re on a major arena tour and it’s your opening act’s birthday? If you’re Katy Perry, you head to Skateville in Burnsville for a neon-tinted roller-skating party where you slow dance/roll to Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” with an inflatable green alien.

The Rolling Stone cover girl and rumored 2015 Super Bowl half-time performer -- who plays Target Center tonight – joined opener Kacey Musgraves at the latter's birthday bash Thursday night and posted a video clip on Instagram of the festivities. Musgraves also tweeted several photos from the party. The East Texas-reared country-pop rising star, who won the Grammy for best country album, turned a mere 26 on Thursday. Here are their postings.

Skateville co-owner Jason McKenzie said he was contacted about two weeks ago by a Musgraves rep about hosting the party. “They told us that Kacey had been checking us out online and on our new website and just fell in love with the place,” McKenzie said, bragging about recent renovations.

He went into detail of the festivities, which he said lasted around four hours:

"They bought Kacey a pair of rollerskates, a pink skate case, and pink laces to gear her up for her birthday. They brought in several cakes and decorated the place up.  It was clearly not their first time skating as I saw pretty fancy footwork out of both Kacey and Katy.  I even saw Katy do the limbo out on the skating floor.”

In addition to the publicity coming their way, McKenzie and his staff were given a batch of tickets to tonight’s concert as a thank-you.

Twin Cities blues/folk legend Dave Ray's three-disc rarities set coming Oct. 28

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider under Music, Minnesota musicians Updated: August 21, 2014 - 6:17 PM
Dave Ray, right, with Spider John Koerner and Tony Glover at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. Yep, that Newport Folk Festival.

Dave Ray, right, with Spider John Koerner and Tony Glover at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. Yep, that Newport Folk Festival.


Like a lot of musicians with cultish fame and lengthy careers, Dave Ray’s recordings are spread out over a wide swath of record labels, including quite a few that – like the Minneapolis acoustic blues hero himself -- are no longer around. At last, though, one of Ray's oldest cohorts and the Twin Cities' longest-running label have taken on the hard task of sorting through Ray’s unreleased material and compiling it into one thorough and deservedly bulky anthology.

Dave Ray, right, with Spider John Koerner and Tony Glover at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. Yep, that Newport Folk Festival.

Red House Records announced today it will release the three-disc set “Legacy: Rare and Unreleased Recordings from an American Blues Master (1962 - 2002),” due to arrive Oct. 28. “Long in the making,” are the first words of the press release for the collection, which was “painstakingly” compiled by Ray’s longtime collaborator Tony Glover.

The collection includes some leftovers from Ray’s most famous group, Koerner, Ray & Glover – you know, the one that influenced everyone from Bob Dylan and John Legend to Bonnie Raitt and Beck – as well as tracks as a duo with Glover and various solo work.

Here’s the breakdown of what’s on each disc, per Red House:

  • Disc One: Originals and classic blues covers by Lead Belly, Skip James and Brownie McGhee, to name just a few. Most of the recordings are Ray solo performances with a few Ray and Glover tracks, including an electrified, dark version of the Skip James’ number “Devil Got My Woman.”  
  • Disc Two: A Ray and Glover collection covering Ray’s work from 1988 through 1994, which included four album releases, including four songs from the out of print "Ashes in My Whiskey" album they did for UK label Rough Trade in 2000.
  • Disc Three: Four tracks from "One Foot in the Groove" sessions, a Koerner, Ray & Glover live album recorded live at Minneapolis’ Bryant-Lake Bowl for Tim Kerr’s Portland-based underground label Tim/ Kerr.  There are tracks from a DIY album, "A Hollow Body Experience," by Ray’s combo 6L6, that was available only at gigs, as well as one of the last recordings by KR&G, Big Bill Broonzy’s “Key to the Highway” recorded live at the Toledo Art Museum in 2001. The CD includes two tracks recorded live at Ray’s last hometown performance in November, 2002 just weeks before he died. 

The anthology will include a 32-page booklet with photos and liner notes. Here’s a taste of what Glover had to say for the collection: “To me he was a brother from another family – the family of sound. He brought a vitality to the blues that the scholars who’d been on the scene couldn’t muster.”

Ray died on Thanksgiving Day in 2002. Click here for the story we ran at the time on Koerner, Ray & Glover’s legacy, which was in the works at the time of his passing.

Red House is helping organize a release party at the Minnesota History Center on Nov. 9 with performers yet to be announced (details here).

Beer and a movie on the bikeway

Posted by: Claude Peck under Culture, Movies, Red hot Updated: August 21, 2014 - 5:16 PM

Weather looks iffy, but the Bike-In Movie is on for Thursday night (Aug. 21) on the Midtown Greenway. The 4th annual event features food by Taco Cat, beer by Indeed Brewing Co. and a screening, about 9 p.m. or a bit earlier, of "Elemental," a documentary about three committed eco-activists in different parts of the world. In case of rain, the event will take place inside Freewheel Bike Shop.

A pre-movie mixer is scheduled for 6:30 to 8 p.m. More Info: facebook.com/events/440636552743931
On Twitter: @aigamn #bikeinmovie


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