Item World: Local news and views 11/4

  • Article by: STAR TRIBUNE STAFF , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 3, 2011 - 2:52 PM

Paul Westerberg surfaces with Glen Campbell; a local movie gets a distribution deal.

Kii Arens and Paul Westerberg

'Ghost' writer

Here are three names I.W. never thought would be mentioned in the same sentence: Paul Westerberg, Glen Campbell and Ellen DeGeneres. Westerberg, who has been out of the public eye for five years, makes a surprising yet typically coy cameo in the video for the title track of Campbell's new album, "Ghost on the Canvas." The video actually starts off as a a homage to the Replacements' classic "Bastards of Young" clip, with Westerberg playing the part of the dude loafing on the couch, staring at the stereo speaker. He reappears throughout the video, too. The Minneapolis music hero's involvement makes sense because he wrote "Ghost" for Campbell. Here's where things really get six-degrees odd: The video, co-directed by ex-Minneapolitan Kii Arens -- late of the band Flipp and now a L.A. graphic artist -- made its debut Tuesday on DeGeneres' website, preceding an appearance by Campbell on "Ellen." Campbell, who was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's, will be honored at the Country Music Awards on Wednesday in a tribute segment featuring Brad Paisley, Keith Urban and Vince Gill. Apparently, Westerberg wasn't invited to that one. --CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER

Time is money

Morris Day and Jimmy Jam understand what fans might be thinking. In August, folks got to see Morris Day & the Time for free at the Minnesota State Fair. On Saturday at the State Theatre, it'll cost from $53.50 to $83.50 to see the Original 7ven, which is Day and the Time's 1981 lineup. "A lot of it is educating the public that it is the original members," Jam told I.W. "I'm not assuming that means a lot to everybody. A lot of people might be like: 'I don't care who's playing "The Bird" as long as I hear Morris Day up there.'" Day is concerned about paying his bills with income from both groups (he's got six kids, ages 4 to 34). "Even though the tickets were free [at the fair], I still got paid the money I like to get," he said. --JON BREAM

Why so blue?

Not sure if it was S.A.D., book-tour exhaustion or what, but novelist Colson Whitehead stressed his downbeat, pessimistic (and funny) side Wednesday night at Talking Volumes. Though admitting that "part of me is optimistic," Whitehead told the Fitzgerald Theater audience that "another part of me despises all humanity and wishes I were alone, walking the streets of a deserted New York" like the zombies that populate his new novel, "Zone One." He described his writing life as: "Tweet, couch, depressive stupor, idea, computer, couch, depressive stupor." Whitehead's mood should get a lift Sunday when his book appears (No. 16) on the New York Times fiction bestseller list. --CLAUDE PECK

'Stuck' no longer

What sounds like a hipsters-only theatrical distribution deal is in place for "Stuck Between Stations," the 2010 Minneapolis-shot love story starring Sam Rosen, Zoe Lister-Jones, Michael Imperioli and Josh Hartnett. Wrekin Hill Entertainment will open Brady Kiernan's story of unlikely overnight romance this weekend at Brooklyn's indie-friendly reRun pub/cinema for an exclusive one-week run, then bring it to Minneapolis' St. Anthony Main Dec. 16. --COLIN COVERT

What would Dillinger do?

Don't think of the Twin Cities as an adventure destination? Think again. "Off Limits," a Travel Channel series hosted by Don Wildman, will wrap up its season with an episode exploring the old gangster hangouts, monster mills and subterranean breweries of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. The episode airs at 7 p.m. Nov. 17. That's fine, but if Wildman wants a real adventure, he should try navigating downtown St. Paul. --NEAL JUSTIN

Brave New building

There is no going back now. The Brave New Workshop officially opens its downtown Minneapolis theater tonight. "Skyway to the Manger Zone" kicks off the comedy troupe's residency in a buffed-up, tricked-out upstairs-downstairs funhouse at 824 Hennepin Av. S. Owner John Sweeney told I.W. that the company spent $750,000 on paint, carpet, lights, fiber optics, chairs, tables and bars. The downstairs mixes talk-show glitz with blue-light-lounge leather. The shows are upstairs, and the beer stations are everywhere. Citing what founder Dudley Riggs has always preached about making improv comedy work, Sweeney said, "You take what you have, expand it, make it better and give it away." --GRAYDON ROYCE

Ice balls cometh

Finally, Minneapolis is ahead of the curve! In the latest issue of Details, the men's fashion rag wets itself while singing the praises of a new bar tool that produces perfectly-round ice spheres. The magazine says the Cirrus Ice Ball Press might "usher in a new ice age" in cocktail culture. Hold on. Our very own Bradstreet Craftshouse has been wowing drinkers since 2009 with its ice balls. Bradstreet's floating spheres -- which look wonderful in the bar's colorful cocktails -- are made using a similarly-designed aluminum press. So there. Minnesota might be late to the game on a lot of hot trends, but we had ice balls way before they were considered cool. --TOM HORGEN

Prince o' Canada

Prince is showing some love for his old stamping grounds -- Toronto, not Minneapolis. His Welcome 2 Canada Tour kicks off the day after Thanksgiving in Toronto, where he used to live with his wife, Mani Testolini (who divorced him and married Eric Benet in July). After performing in New York, New Jersey, the Carolinas and California earlier this year, Prince has booked 11 Canadian concerts for November and December. Still no love for his hometown, where he hasn't played since 2009 at Paisley Park and 2007 when he did a triple play on July 7. What, no 11/11/11 hometown gig? --JON BREAM

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