Seven seconds with Hillary
Hillary Rodham Clinton brings her traveling book show to St. Paul this month when she — and her entourage of Secret Service — will spend two hours at Common Good Books on July 20 autographing her memoir, "Hard Choices." Clinton has faced a lot on the book trail so far, including persistent questions about high speaking fees and low book sales (she was No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list this week, but reportedly is nowhere close to earning back her $14 million advance). She also endured a person dressed up like a giant squirrel, who followed her from signing to signing in Washington, D.C. Clinton finally gave the squirrel — who was wearing a T-shirt that said, "Another Clinton in the White House is nuts" — a free copy of her book, asking the squirrel to make the hard choice to read it. In St. Paul, dressed as a squirrel or not, you'll have to buy the book in advance. Tickets for her signing go on sale Saturday at Common Good Books and cost $35 (the price of the book). There will be plenty of precautions in place for the former secretary of state, who, as a former first lady, qualifies for Secret Service protection. The store will be closed that day to other commerce; people with tickets are not allowed to bring in bags or cameras (but cellphones and wallets are OK) and might have to endure a metal-detector wand. The line will move swiftly, since Clinton plans to autograph 1,000 books in two hours, which translates to about 7.2 seconds per book. No selfies allowed. Not even for squirrels.
Even though he's been dropping fewer and fewer references to home in his songs, Edina native Craig Finn still offered plenty of localized shout-outs during the Hold Steady's debut at the Minnesota Zoo last weekend. After singing the line about Joe Strummer being "our only decent teacher" in "Constructive Summer," he pointed out Breck School math teacher Brad Peterson in the audience. "He was a really good teacher, too," Finn said apologetically. The Brooklyn resident also dedicated a new song to a first-time concert attendee: his 3-year-old niece, Stella, there with headphones on. Appropriately, the song was "I Hope This Whole Thing Didn't Frighten You."
The St. Anthony Brass Quintet, a Minneapolis-based group, gets the rare opportunity to represent Minnesota and the United States at the 32nd Harbin Summer Music Festival in Harbin, China, this August. The quintet is the first performing group from Minnesota to be invited to China through the Sister Cities Program. Harbin and Minneapolis, if you haven't heard, are sister cities. Previous exchanges have focused on business and government.
Local theaters are keeping up with the Joneses, and with the latest technology, in a round of significant improvements. The Science Museum of Minnesota is preparing to convert its Omnitheater from film to Imax's next-generation digital laser projection. The 370-seat St. Paul venue will be the first Imax laser dome theater in the world, promising images with greater brightness and clarity, a wider color spectrum and inkier blacks. The Omnitheater will close Sept. 2-Oct. 3, reopening with "Flight of the Butterflies." The St. Anthony Main Theater is in the midst of ongoing renovations. With new rocker seats and added aisle space, the five-plex's capacity drops from 1,000 to 790. The humongous Imax theater at the Minnesota Zoo is also upping its game. It recently added Imax's incandescent-bulb digital projection technology to complement its existing Imax 70mm film projection system, a setup that will remain at least through November for the release of celluloid purist Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar."
Right on cue for next week's release of their seventh album, "Wild Animals," Trampled by Turtles are predictably picking up steam. The Minnesota string band will return to "The Late Show With David Letterman" on Tuesday night, the day the record comes out. That's in addition to other East Coast media gigs next week including a CBS' "Early Show" appearance (airing July 19), a WXPN/World Café Live noontime broadcast on July 18 and a "Tiny Desk Concert" at National Public Radio headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Turtles also took care of their own first, by playing a hometown release concert Thursday at the Cedar Cultural Center. They'll celebrate in grander style locally with their Festival Palomino — featuring the Head and the Heart, Low and others — on Sept. 20 at Canterbury Park.
$$ for Springboard
National attention for Springboard for the Arts is starting to snowball. In June, the St. Paul nonprofit that fosters community togetherness and economic development through the arts received a $100,000 grant from ArtPlace America for its Fergus Falls office to help with a project that will solicit residents' input on what to do with their city's behemoth of an old mental hospital known as the Kirkbride. Last week, the New York-based Surdna Foundation pledged $750,000 over the next three years to advance Springboard's artist-organizer program, which trains artists to make stronger connections between residents and business owners in the neighborhoods where they live.