Brits love Minneapolis at the movies
Minneapolis film producer William Pohlad had a fine night at Sunday's 62nd Annual British Academy Film Awards. His weighty historical drama "12 Years a Slave" took the best picture prize. Its star Chiwetel Ejiofor was named best actor. "We're honored '12 Years a Slave' received best picture from the BAFTAs," Pohlad commented Monday. "This kind of bold storytelling is always what interests [Pohlad's production company] River Road and for it to be embraced and championed in this way is incredibly gratifying. Producing a film like this alongside [Brad Pitt's company] Plan B, with the vision of [director] Steve McQueen and the affecting performances by a remarkable cast was a humbling experience and one we're proud to have had a guiding hand in." It was a night of celebration as well for Minneapolis actor Barkhad Abdi, who won best supporting actor for his turn as a Somali pirate in "Captain Phillips." It's not clear whether these wins boosted the Minnesotans' odds of winning an Academy Award. In the past 30 years, the BAFTA best picture winner matched the Oscar winner 40 percent of the time. The best supporting actor went on to accept the Academy Award 26 percent of the time. Jared Leto, the clear Oscar favorite in that category, was not nominated for the BAFTA.
Brits love Prince
London has plenty of princes of its own, but the city is gaga over our Prince. He is there this month doing a bunch of guerrilla gigs at intimate venues announced on Twitter — performing at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club one night, King's Palace another and Electric Ballroom on another. Prince and his band, 3rdEyeGirl, have performed at least six late-night shows in the past two weeks. He's announced two gigs in Manchester, as well. The Rock Hall of Famer has been drawing famous faces, including pop goddess Adele, supermodel Kate Moss, actress Michelle Rodriguez, model Cara Delevingne, British pop star Rita Ora, rocker Noel Gallagher and British comedian/actor Stephen Fry. On Wednesday night at London's O2 Arena, Prince presented a Brit Award — England's answer to the Grammys — to Ellie Goulding for best female artist. British TV star James Corden, who hosted the show, crashed the presentation to snap a selfie with a mugging Prince. The Minneapolis music icon reportedly has negotiated a deal to return to Britain this summer to headline Glastonbury, the U.K.'s most prestigious festival.
Say it ain't so, Joe
Joseph Scrimshaw — the comic entrepreneur extraordinaire and hardest working man at the Minnesota Fringe Festival — is leaving town for Los Angeles. In a Facebook post this week, Scrimshaw said he and his dancer wife, Sara Stevenson Scrimshaw, are looking forward to new adventures in a warmer climate. Scrimshaw and his brother, Joshua, started their two-man routine more than 13 years ago, and it felt as if they would remain fixtures of the Twin Cities scene, like the big cherry and Garrison Keillor. The brothers pursued their own agendas, and Joseph has in the past few years built a small business trading on his written work and performances. Scrimshaw had that angry-man thing going in his comedy but was very charming in real life. I.W. wishes the Scrimshaws the best in sunny California, but we hope they come back to visit often.
According to a review in Publishers Weekly, crime novelist Nevada Barr has set her latest mystery in "upstate Minnesota." The latest Anna Pigeon saga, "Destroyer Angel," is actually set along the Fox River on the Iron Range. Barr, who wrote her first novel while living in Minneapolis in the 1980s, will be in downstate Minnesota for two appearances this spring — April 6 at Barnes & Noble in Roseville and April 7 at Once Upon a Crime in Minneapolis.
Sure, she remembers the times Sonic Youth performed at First Avenue and Walker Art Center. But indie-rock heroine Kim Gordon isn't too cool to also have a story about hanging out at the Mall of America during one of her many gigs in the Twin Cities: "We went to Camp Snoopy one time," remembered Gordon, who returns Thursday with her new duo Body/Head to perform at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Aw, fer cute. She must've hit the indoor amusement park — now Nickelodeon Universe — with her now college-aged daughter, right? "No, I didn't go with her," Gordon laughed. "I actually went there with Julie [Cafritz, of the band Pussy Galore] on a Free Kitten tour. We had a good time." This story might help the MOA-bound 400 Bar in convincing other indie musicians to play at the mall.
When in doubt, punt
Tenor James Valenti, who will sing Rudolph Valentino in Minnesota Opera's "The Dream of Valentino" in March, was home in New Jersey during Super Bowl week. Tall and well-muscled, Valenti faced constant questions while he was out on the town about which NFL team he plays for. At first, he explained that he was an opera singer but toward the end of the week, Valenti decided to play along with the confused fans. "I made up this story that I'm a punter for the Browns," he said. Ah, Cleveland. The perfect cloak of NFL anonymity.