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Continued: Item World: Local news and views

  • Article by: STAR TRIBUNE STAFF , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 15, 2011 - 10:07 AM
Low and behold

I.W. was starting to think John Stamos was truly following in Charlie Sheen's footsteps-- off the deep end -- when the "Glee" actor tweeted last week about filming a new video with his "favorite indie band," Low. It's true: The video of the Duluth trio's gorgeous single "Try to Sleep" features the "Full House" star and occasional Beach Boys percussionist at the wheel. Stamos told Entertainment Weekly that he got to know the band through the producer of their new album, "C'mon." The members of Low got to meet an even more famous fan this week at the State Theatre: Robert Plant, who sang two songs from the band's "spectacular 'Great Destroyer' album" (his words), both of which he recorded for his 2010 "Band of Joy" album. Word is Plant had much more praise for Low's members when he met them backstage after the show. The group celebrates its new CD (reviewed on page E5) with a concert Saturday at First Avenue.

CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER

The Longs view

I.W. got a report from our Tangletown correspondent, Kathryn Nelson, about a film shoot there:

Monday and Tuesday, the winding Minneapolis neighborhood became a full-scale movie set for "Lumpy," a comedy about the untimely death of a young couple's best man. Houses became HQs for crews or hotels for Hollywood stars. Older residents nonchalantly walked around the busy block, trying to catch a sight of Shelley Long's blonde locks, while teenagers peered into the backyard of a large stucco house to watch Justin Long rehearse. Next door, my childhood home was filled with extension cords, tables and Apple computers as filmmakers shuffled about, calling out "Rolling!" and "It's a wrap."

Plenty of gawkers were excited to meet Justin (including me, while he ate curry in my family's office) or watch Shelley transform into a motherly figure with cheetah-print rimmed glasses. Not everyone was mesmerized, though. Across the street, where neighbor Kris Novak was busy with a remodeling project, a dump truck struggled to maneuver around the traffic jam into her driveway. "It's interesting," she said, "but it's not very polite."

MN music strikes out

Those spruce trees in center field weren't the only thing with Minnesota roots that got cut out of Target Field this season. The locally flavored rally tunes by such Twin Cities music acts as Atmosphere, the Jayhawks, the Hold Steady and Tapes N' Tapes (many of them ticketholders, too) that were in rotation last season have been replaced with Auto-Tuned tracks from Anywhere, USA. The format switch can be traced to a change in Twins music directors: Longtime jock jockey Kevin Dutcher is out, and relief man Dan Edwards is in. Edwards happens to be assistant program director at radio station 96.3 NOW-FM, which, like the Twins, is owned by the Pohlad family. It seems this one is all about business.

CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER

Smog alert

This weekend's Golden Smog shows at the Fine Line were announced almost two months ago, and I.W. finally got an explanation from co-founder Dan Murphy. He visited Kraig Johnson in New York recently and they started playing a few Smog tunes "as the evening digressed, and it made me realize how much I missed the easy camaraderie." Gathering the all-star band hasn't been easy since Johnson moved. Co-founders Gary Louris and Marc Perlman are getting ready for a full tour behind the new Jayhawks album, and Soul Asylum has gigs lined up all over the map this summer (including South America). Smog is welcoming back Jody Stephens of Big Star in the rotating drummer slot, but they won't have Jeff Tweedy. Wilco's busy frontman played Smog's last gig in 2008, a pre-election rally at Target Center for his fellow Chicagoan Barack Obama. "The then-presidential hopeful referred to the band as 'Jeff Tweedy and the Golden Smog,'" Murphy laughingly recalled. "That will live long in Smog-dom."

CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER

Brought to you by the letters U-S-O

In December, the USO brought the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders to American soldiers abroad. Now it's bringing the Muppets. Minneapolis' VEE Corp., longtime producers of "Sesame Street Live," is staging "Sesame Street/USO Experience" overseas for a fifth tour. First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Jill Biden were in Ohio on Thursday to celebrate the event's kickoff. This presentation is a curious contrast to last month's USO show -- Chelsea Handler.

ANDREW PENKALSKI

River dance

Once again Old Man River has thwarted Frank Theatre, so the company is heading for higher ground. Flooding forced the cancellation of Frank's final two performances of "Cabaret" last month at the Centennial Showboat, resulting in a $10,000-plus loss. A benefit presentation of the Wendy Knox-directed show is planned for Sunday, but flood waters forced Frank to move the 7:30 p.m. performance from the Showboat to higher ground upriver -- the University of Minnesota's Rarig Center.

GRAYDON ROYCE

His goodbye is NOW!

Jeremy Walker is stepping down as artistic director of local nonprofit Jazz Is NOW! with a bang Friday at the Loring Theater. The pianist, who has been spending more time in New York City of late, is bringing in two heavyweight guests -- alto saxophonist Wess "Warmdaddy" Anderson and trumpeter Marcus Printup from the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra -- to augment his NOWnet band, which is also calling it quits after this night of original compositions, dubbed "The NOWnet's Last Dance" (8 p.m. Fri., 1407 Nicollet Av. S., $10-$25). Jazz Is NOW!, which is dedicated to fostering new work, should be in good hands under its new director, pianist Bryan Nichols, a talented young fellow with his own debut CD out soon.

TOM SUROWICZ

 

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