"Bar and Music Equipment Must Go." So reads the headline on a Craigslist ad that is sure to pour salt on the already wounded hearts of Twin Cities jazz lovers. It's a listing for all of the furnishings at the Artists' Quarter, the beloved downtown St. Paul jazz club that closed after a final New Year's Eve send-off. Not only does the ad put a price tag on the club's seemingly priceless property — $50,000 — but it confirms that owner Kenny Horst really does not plan to reopen with different partners, as has been sought by Mayor Chris Coleman and others. "Closing for business," the posting reads. "All equipment for sale. 40 plus tables. 100 plus chairs and bar stools. Beer, wine coolers." It sounds like everything and the kitchen sink. However, the listing does specify, "Sorry, no photos, or wall art included."
It can be daunting to do comedy when sharing a stage with famous comics like Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis, but that didn't stop former Semisonic frontman Dan Wilson from getting off a zinger last weekend when the St. Paul-based radio show "Wits" visited Los Angeles. The night was peppered with Minnesota jokes, including Galifianakis giving host John Moe the nickname of "Flyover." But Wilson, now a Grammy-winning L.A. songwriter who's worked with Adele, Pink and Taylor Swift, got off the best line when asked to describe the difference between Minnesotans and Californians. "Minnesotans are shy and passive-aggressive," he ad-libbed. "Californians are sleek, shiny — and passive-aggressive." The shows, which also featured Patton Oswalt, Sara Watkins and Anna Kendrick, will be broadcast on more than 100 public-radio stations.
Heather Johnson, who grew up in White Bear Lake and has lived in New York for 14 years, received some nice props for her starring performance in "Lizzie Borden" in Boston Lyric Opera's production. Writing in the February Opera News, Kalen Ratzlaff didn't have much good to say about the concept and staging. However, the critic waxed on about the singers. "If only one could have lifted them up lock, stock and barrel and dropped them into a production worthy of their gifts." "In the title role, mezzo-soprano Heather Johnson was fearless, channeling a seething fury worthy of Electra and singing with dramatic focus, power and control."
If I was your new girl
By now, you've heard that Prince will make another Super Bowl splash, this time by appearing on Fox's "New Girl," which gets the highly coveted postgame spot on Feb. 2. Now we have a few more details: The plot revolves around Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Cece (Hannah Simone) getting a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend a mansion party being thrown by the Purple One. This prompts the rest of the gang to try to crash the festivities. Fox promises several special guest cameo appearances and an unforgettable ending. Special cameos? Unforgettable ending? We're assuming that can only mean that the episode concludes with Morris Day moving in as the gang's wacky neighbor.
Turf's new terrain
While the Artists' Quarter just closed, another legendary St. Paul music venue has entered a new era: First Avenue's purchase of the Turf Club became official in December. Real estate records list the sale as $190,000, not much more the median home price in St. Paul. First Ave staff — who had already taken over operations of the long-lived watering hole — are now moving ahead with plans to invest more in renovations, starting in the basement this spring.
Moscow on the Pacific
Minneapolis author R.D. Zimmerman, who writes under the pen name Robert Alexander, is thrilled that one of his novels, "The Kitchen Boy," is becoming a film with prestigious names attached: Oscar-winning screenwriter Sir Ronald Harwood ("The Pianist," "The Dresser," "Quartet") has written the script, and Stefan Ruzowitzky, who won the Best Foreign Language Oscar in 2008 for "The Counterfeiters," will direct. Kristin Scott Thomas will star in the fictionalized tale of the tumultuous final ruling days of Czar Nicholas II before he and his family were banished to Siberia. Zimmerman, who two years ago sold a business he co-owned in St. Petersburg, helped raise Russian money to finance the project so his book could go Hollywood. "Or as they say in Russia, Gollyvood," he said.
Jazz Image restored
Retired jazz DJ Leigh Kamman is back on the radio in a fashion — KBEM is broadcasting a series of his vintage interviews with the likes of Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan and Stan Kenton. Thanks to a grant from Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, Minneapolis engineer Steve Wiese was able to restore Kamman's old reel-to-reel tapes and the DJ, 91, has added some fresh comments. "The Jazz Image: Special Edition" is broadcast at 11:30 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday on 88.3 FM.