Two authors walk into a church
“You’ve been reading since you were 5?” a pointedly incredulous Dave Eggers asked fellow author Marlon James at Central Presbyterian Church in downtown St. Paul last week. “Hmmm, so you say. I was finger-painting at 5, with one finger up my nose.” Trading friendly gibes and revelations on their work and backgrounds, the two literary powerhouses had joined forces to raise money for the Mid-Continent Oceanographic Institute, a tongue-in-cheekily named creative writing and homework help program for Twin Cities youths. After pointing out that James, an English professor at Macalester College, is the first Jamaican to win Britain’s prestigious Man Booker prize, Eggers said, “More importantly, he’s the first Minnesotan.”
A Lizzo party
A beaming Lizzo was trying to explain why Saturday was a special day. Because it was her first time selling out First Avenue? The Minneapolis rapper/singer didn’t say that. No, it was because Beyoncé dropped a new video that day. You’ve heard all about “Formation,” right? And because it was Har Mar Superstar’s birthday. So Lizzo, who had pulled various friends like her Grrrl Prty bandmates DJ Shannon Blowtorch and Manchita into her show, called Har Mar to the stage. Along with her pal Caroline Smith, Lizzo serenaded the birthday boy. He blew kisses — and kept his clothes on, for a change.
Brass is dismissed
Although they had competing parties in downtown St. Paul on Tuesday night — as in Fat Tuesday — New Orleans’ world-revered Dirty Dozen Brass Band respectfully tooted its horns for the Twin Cities’ own second-line music traditionalist Mike Olander and his group Jack Brass Band a night earlier at Vieux Carre. “This young man was an aspiring musician, and his mother used to bring him out to all our shows here in Minneapolis,” DDBB trumpeter Gregory Davis bragged of Olander before bringing him up to the stage. Not only did Olander hold his own on his baritone sax, he also brought his 16-year-old daughter Molly up to play a little alto, too — much to the delight of the veteran blowers. “It just goes to show you how things come full circle,” Davis beamed.
Timotha Lanae has joined the sisterhood for the remaining performances of “Sister Act” at Chanhassen Dinner Theatre. She takes over the lead role of Deloris Van Cartier for these few weeks. Regina Marie Williams has delivered Deloris in big style since the show opened last fall. She had arranged to leave the show to prepare her performance in “Nina Simone: Four Women,” which opens March 8 at Park Square Theatre in St. Paul. The play, by Christina Ham, is a world premiere. In 2011, Williams sang the music of Simone at the Capri Theater. It will be sad to see her leave “Sister Act,” a production that had such heart. At the same time, I.W. would love a chance to see Lanae handle the role.
Prince and Kendrick
Prince could have been a player in Monday’s Grammy Awards. Not with his “HitNRun Phase One” album. No, with Kendrick Lamar and his critically adored “To Pimp a Butterfly” album, which scored 11 nominations. Lamar had several guests on the project including Snoop Dogg, George Clinton, Bilal and Rapsody. Lamar wanted Prince to sing the hook on the song “Complexion (a Zulu Love).” “Prince heard the record, loved the record, and the concept of the record got us to talking,” Lamar told grammy.com. “We got to a point where we were just talking in the [Paisley Park] studio and the more time that passed we realized we weren’t recording anything. We just ran out of time, it’s as simple as that.” Maybe Prince will have to settle for presenting a Grammy Award like he did last year. J.B.
After Bob Dylan’s concert in Atlanta last year, he gave one of his harmonicas to rocker Lenny Kravitz, who knew exactly where to put it — on the mantel in his bedroom in Paris. “I see it when I wake up,” Kravitz told Rolling Stone. “I’ve picked it up a few times and looked at it. It has a piece of tape on it with the keys written on it. I’ll play it someday.” Kravitz explained that he puts special things from his life on the mantel, including crooner Bobby Short’s Cartier watch, Jimi Hendrix’s handwritten set list from Woodstock and a ceramic mask Lenny made in art class when he was 7.J.B.
Nowhere to hide
Even though she’s from the Midwest and had performed twice before at the Dakota Jazz Club, Motown survivor Martha Reeves kept thinking she was in Milwaukee, not Minneapolis. Twice she mentioned Milwaukee last Friday during her opening show at the Dakota. After one of her Vandellas corrected her, the voice of “Heat Wave” and “Nowhere to Run” admitted that she knew where she was. “I’m going to the big shopping mall tomorrow,” she announced.J.B.