Hurricane Sandy forced hard-blowing Twin Cities pop/rock quintet Motion City Soundtrack to postpone a New Jersey show this weekend, but they went ahead with a concert Tuesday at one of New York's most famous rock venues, Irving Plaza . That day also saw the release of a 7-inch single that completes the band's "Making Moves" project -- a series of singles featuring an assortment of bands. MCS's contribution includes two new songs, "Severance" and "Major Leagues," plus a Rilo Kiley cover. (You can stream all three songs via the AOL Music Listening Party page.) Motion City will put a wrap on a steady half-year of touring with a sold-out homecoming concert Nov. 18 at the Varsity Theater . Meanwhile, Twin Cities tourmates Now, Now stayed in New York Wednesday to perform on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon."
CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDERJoel's Hodge-podge
Take a jigger of PowerPoint presentation, a gallon of nostalgia and a six-pack of genius and what have you got? Something like the one-man "Mystery Science Theater 3000" revue from the troupe's founder, Joel Hodgson. At Saturday's one-night stand at the Parkway Theater in Minneapolis, Hodgson opened with a slide show of his eerily wholesome childhood in Stevens Point, Wis. He shared old magic-trick catalogs, Yes album covers and ventriloquist dummy catalogs. While Act I posed the question, "Does Joel ever throw anything away," Act II allowed him a rest from audience questions and narration with a showing of the classic MST3K mockfest "I Accuse My Parents." The jokes were as enjoyable as the first time they aired on Twin Cities UHF television. Hodgson, now a transplanted Californian, made the local stop as an early leg of a multi-state tour.
COLIN COVERTCourting by Keillor
The way rock star Mark Knopfler said "glad to be back here" sounded so generic that you wondered if he had a clue where he was when opening for Bob Dylan Wednesday in St. Paul. But then he said the last time he was here was for "A Prairie Home Companion." The singer/guitarist said Garrison Keillor told him -- and here Knopfler shifted out of his British accent into a deep Midwestern voice -- "You could live here. We could get you a house." Sorry, Garrison, but Knopfler lives so far away from here.
JON BREAMSitcom for Diablo?
Diablo Cody is giving TV another try. The Oscar-winning former Minnesotan, whose last attempt at TV -- Showtime's "The United States of Tara" -- lasted only two seasons, has sold a pilot script to ABC for a sitcom, according to Entertainment Weekly. The script, titled "Alex + Amy," is reportedly about a romance between a twentysomething millennial guy and a thirtysomething Gen X woman. If the network is happy with the pilot, it might slot the show for Wednesday nights, which is already the home for "Modern Family."
NEAL JUSTINYou're gonna make it
As if his well-chronicled struggles with mental illness aren't enough of a hurdle, Daniel Johnston had to rush into last Friday's concert at the Cedar Cultural Center straight off a delayed flight from Milwaukee. When the Texas songwriter did finally take the stage, he not surprisingly seemed lost, and his guitar was hopelessly out-of-tune. After a short break, though, he returned with psychedelic local popsters Sleeping in the Aviary as his backing band and found his bearings -- literally. "What is this? Minneannapolis?" he asked (his pronunciation). He then smiled: "Mary Tyler Moore, right?" The crowd smiled all the more as he and the band spun through "Love Wheels," "Speedy Motorcycle" and other favorites from Johnston's canon. Afterward, he hung with the musicians, drew some artwork for them (he's an exhibited artist) and answered singer/guitarist Elliott Kozel's questions about songwriting. "I still try to write one every day," he told an awestruck Kozel.
CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDERLighting up Penumbra
Salvation and song are the catchwords for Penumbra Theatre, which has announced a slate of fundraising holiday shows to help the shuttered theater turn things around. On Dec. 3, actor/singer/director Austene Van presents "Divas of December," with singers Jamecia Bennett, Yolande Bruce, Dara Ceasar, Ginger Commodore, Debbie Duncan and dancer Alanna Morris. "One Holiday Wish," on Dec. 10, features holiday classics performed by Dennis Spears, Moore by Four and Greta Oglesby. Finally, Van reprises a holiday revue, "Hot Chocolate," centering on a couple (Thomasina Petrus and Julius Collins III) trying to cope with the expectations and stress of the season. Tickets are available at PenumbraTheatre.org or by calling 651-224-3180.
ROHAN PRESTONBrucato's back
Cyndy Brucato is returning to KSTP for a third time -- sort of. Brucato, who anchored the station's top news shows from 1979 to '86 and again from 2004 to 2010, will host a new show that promotes local businesses. It's being developed by the Minneapolis St. Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership (better known as Greater MSP). The show will air 10:30 a.m. Sundays starting Dec. 16.
NEAL JUSTINGuthrie wants youth
The Guthrie Theater has announced a new ticket-buying program to encourage a younger generation to see its shows. The "30 Below" effort will offer people who are 30 years old and younger tickets as low as $15. Qualified patrons can buy up to four tickets, which are subject to availability on the day of the show. More information at www.guthrietheater.com.