Have jokes, will travel
Acme Comedy Co. is taking its show on the road in the biggest way possible. Louis Lee, owner of the Minneapolis club, is taking three comedians to Hong Kong, Singapore and Macau, the first time the Acme brand has traveled outside North America. Lee, who is from Hong Kong, thinks there's a lot of potential in an area that is just starting to get a taste of American comedy through movies and TV sitcoms. "It's like the '80s were over here," Lee said. "Beyond bars and restaurants and hotels, there really isn't a place for comedy yet. But I think it's in the early stages of it happening. The main reason I'm doing this is to see how feasible it is and how the media reacts." Lee purposely picked three comics — Pete Lee, Tom Segura and Chad Daniels — who have never performed in the area. "That part of Asia gets the same 10 or 15 guys all the time," he said. "I want to try to bring something new and generate some interest over there." No word yet if the frequent flier miles go to the comedians or Acme.
Steady, girls: Word is that Pete Campbell's finally, officially off the market. People magazine reports getting confirmation that Minneapolis-raised actor Vincent Kartheiser, who plays the smarmy, hapless account exec on "Mad Men," got quietly hitched to Alexis Bledel, best known for playing Rory on "The Gilmore Girls," in California in June. The two met when Bledel guest-starred as an adulterous lover of Pete's who forgets who he is after electroshock therapy.
Are you experienced?
Twins officials like to talk about the "fan experience" of attending an event at Target Field. Well, those Twins types were ill-prepared for Saturday's Paul McCartney concert. It took more than 45 minutes just to get into the stadium. Why? 1) Minnesotans will always wait in a line if they see one and not bother to walk around to look for a shorter line. With massive queues in front of Gates 29 and 34, why didn't Twins personnel direct ticketholders to Gates 14 and 6? 2) If you had a ticket on the field, ushers gave you a yellow wristband and then put on "X" on the back of your ticket (so you couldn't let someone else re-use it). So when I tried to go from the stands back to my seat on the field, I held up my arm to show my wristband but some young usher put her hands in my chest to stop me from proceeding. She needed to check my ticket and see that it had an "X" on it. Then what was the purpose of the wristbands? The fans were experienced, the Twins staff was not.
With a night off between their Lollapalooza set Sunday and their sold-out First Avenue show Tuesday, Oscar-winning Irish folk-rocker Glen Hansard and his band enjoyed what they perceived as an everyday Minneapolis experience. "What a blessing: You come to Minnesota, and there's Prince sitting up in the booth" at the Dakota Jazz Club, the "Once" movie star and Swell Season co-leader told his First Ave crowd. Hansard's drummer, Graham Hopkins, got up to join that night's Dakota performers (Tommy & the Liebermen), thus giving him bragging rights of playing for Prince. "He needs his own dressing room now," cracked Hansard, who was most impressed by Prince's exit: "I swear he just disappeared through the wall."
Coast to coast with Gil
Turns out star violinist Gil Shaham isn't just a phenomenal musician. He's also a real mensch, according to four Minnesota teens who just finished performing eight concerts coast to coast with him. Violinist Emma Richman of Minneapolis, violinist Anna Humphrey of Rogers, violist Arjun Ganguly of St. Cloud and percussionist Liam Smith of Minneapolis were among 120 teens chosen to play with the prestigious National Youth Orchestra, a Carnegie Hall-funded program in its second year. Shaham was "the nicest guy, such a joy to work with," Richman told I.W. "You never know if you're going to get a diva, but [Shaham] had this amazing way of making eye contact and smiling at everyone in the orchestra while he was playing," said Ganguly, in his second summer with the NYO. The final concert was performed Monday at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
Rivers on film
Calling all moviemakers who also love the Mississippi in its urban setting. The Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership has issued a call for one-minute movies and DVDs about the urban river and its surroundings. For the competition, the Mississippi River has been divided into four categories: River Gorge: Ford Dam to Washington Av. Bridge. Downtown Riverfront: Washington Av. Bridge to Plymouth Bridge. River North: Plymouth Bridge to Lowry Bridge. Upper Harbor: Lowry Bridge to City Border. Submissions for the Minneapolis Minute Film Festival are due by Sept. 4. Top movies will be shown Oct. 20 at Mill City Museum.
Watch your step
It was Lyle Lovett's third consecutive year performing at the Minnesota Zoo, and his fans weren't shy about shout-outs Sunday — including the cousins of cellist John Hagen, Lovett's sideman of the longest standing. But I.W.'s favorite fan volley was from the guy who praised Lovett's work on FX's "The Bridge." He plays a sharp-dressed Texas lawyer who represents a cartel in this borderland drama about drugs and a serial killer. "I'm still hopeful my character will turn out to be a good guy," said Lovett, who has acted in a few Robert Altman movies and several TV series. "They don't tell you anything. They don't tell you what you're doing till you're stepping in it."