Can't hardly tape
The you-know-what has hit the fans once again. A bootleg recording of the Replacements' reunion gig Sunday in Toronto hit the Web first thing Monday morning, originating from the fan-driven Replacements Live Archive Project page on Facebook. Even Rolling Stone posted the entire 75-minute performance on its site (so did we, at startribune.com/artcetera). The quality of the recording is pretty substandard, but it's good enough to clear up some things frontman Paul Westerberg muttered between songs. Of greatest/charmingest note, the reclusive singer dedicated "I Will Dare" to "anyone that was dragged here tonight against their will. Did somebody tell you, 'You gotta get outta the house, it'll be good for you?' This song is for you, and me." In a separate recording, creepily caught on phone-camera at the airport, Westerberg told a fan who inquired about a Minnesota show, "I'm sure we'll do something." That clip, too, was splashed over the Internet. Things sure have changed from the old bootlegging days.
Playwright James Vculek is something of a staple at the Minnesota Fringe Festival. This year, he took one of his best works, "Carol and Cotton," to the New York International Fringe Festival with great results. The festival concluded Sunday and Vculek was one of five playwrights selected for Overall Excellence Awards, chosen by an independent panel of 40 theater professionals. FringeNYC is the largest multi-arts festival in the United States. More than 200 producers this year had work presented. Unlike the Minnesota Fringe Festival, the New York gig is juried — which means Vculek's show had to jump a hurdle to get in. "Carol and Cotton" is about the infamous case of lawyer T. Eugene Thompson and his wife, Carol; he was convicted of having her killed in their St. Paul home in 1963.
Have Yoak, will travel
It seems nearly every out-of-town entertainer at the Minnesota State Fair feels obligated to make some kind of reference to something on the fairgrounds — rides, animals or deep-fried something or other. I.W. favorite's quip so far this fair came from Dwight Yoakam on a muggy 90-some degree night. "I'm thinking I'm overdressed," announced the California cowboy in a long-sleeved white shirt, jean jacket and, of course, cowboy hat and those famous tighty Dwighty jeans. "I was at the Colorado State Fair last night stomping around in bull turds. So I'm just wearing what I wore there."
Shoutout for Stella's
Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst (looking very Tobey Maguire in his new bowl cut) and his band Desaparecidos were loud and political in a blistering hour-long concert Wednesday at First Avenue. Oberst said the band had spent the past 10 days near Battle Lake in northern Minnesota, working on four new songs. (The crowd didn't get to hear any of the new songs, as they weren't ready yet, Oberst said.) "I've never spent this much time in Minnesota; it's beautiful here," he said, praising the Battle Lake bistro Stella's as full of "good people." Afterward, the owner of Stella's approached I.W.'s photo-snapping friend and shared tales of their nights in a local karaoke bar with Oberst and his bandmates.
Lights, cameras, SVU
During a recent trip to New York, I.W. observed Mariska Hargitay haphazardly aiming a pistol at equally blasé suspect Cybill Shepherd in a Greenwich Village brownstone. OK, we thought — it is the 15th season of "Law and Order: SVU," but must they phone it in this blatantly? Turned out it was merely rehearsal for the death scene in a story line ripping not one, but two plots right from the headlines: a mashup of the Trayvon Martin tragedy and the Paula Deen scandal, with Shepherd in the Deen-like role. When it came time for the real thing, both stars brought it like the pros they are. At that point, the only one looking bored was Ice-T's stand-in. How long has he had the job? "Sixteen years," he said. "It's a living."
The readings at Intermedia Arts this week ranged from a young-adult novel about a transgender teen by Mankato's Kirstin Cronn-Mills to topical poems by a Hamline Law School professor and a memoir about working with homeless teens. And let's not forget the true-life stories of lesbian nuns. For the Queer Voices series at Intermedia, it was par for the GLBT course. The every-other-month reading series has been an Intermedia staple since it was launched in 2005. On Tuesday, the writers were Ann Tweedy (of Hamline), recent New York transplant Ryan Berg, Cronn-Mills and Nancy Manahan. It was an often intense evening, as Berg chronicled a tragically troubled young person in his care at a group home, and Tweedy delivered poems touching on race, white guilt and family intimacies. Some welcome comic relief came when Manahan read about a 1960s gender-bending Girl Scout troop leader, from her anthology "On My Honor: Lesbians Reflect on Their Scouting Experience."
A novel honor
Twin Cities author Vince Flynn has had his name emblazoned on the covers of millions of books across the world, and now he's getting his name emblazoned, posthumously, on a building. Flynn was a 1984 graduate of St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights, and for years had been a trustee and a benefactor of the school. He was co-chair of the academy's recent capital campaign, working even after his 2011 cancer diagnosis, and helped raise more than $18 million for an expansion. The building, which includes a fine arts center and athletic facilities, will be dedicated as Vincent J. Flynn Hall on Oct. 4 during alumni reunion weekend.