St. Paul's History Theatre is taking its act on the road this summer. "Beyond the Rainbow," the durable Judy Garland vehicle, has been touring Detroit Lakes, Dawson and Grand Rapids (where Garland, as little Frances Gumm, first did stage time). The show will then head for Florida (in July!?) for a run at the Arts Garage in Delray Beach. Jody Briskey is doing the lead singing role again, and is the best Garland performer pretty much anywhere. Norah Long does the heavy dramatic lifting as Judy through the years. Long is staying extra busy as History Theatre will bring "Lombardi" to L'Homme Dieu in Alexandria on Tuesday. Jim Detmar stars as coach Vince Lombardi and the versatile Long portrays his wife, Marie. I.W. is wondering how the Packer stuff will play in hard-core Viking country.
Sheryl Crow took about two steps into her country career last weekend at Mystic Lake Casino. With her first country album due Sept. 10 on Warner Music Nashville, she previewed three numbers — her single "Easy," "Shot Gun" (it's about riding in a vehicle, not firearms) and "Why Does He Always Gotta Be Calling Me When I'm Lonely" (great title). Unlike most country stars, she didn't make much spontaneous small talk, except when introducing her early pop favorite, "Leaving Las Vegas." "How many of you are gamblers?" she asked. There was not much response. "This is a casino, right? How many of you are drinkers?" More applause. "How many of you are strippers?" Big applause. Said Crow: "I had no idea Prior Lake was so free."
Avett to remember
Before launching into a fiery cover of Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" during her set Saturday at Somerset Amphitheater, Brandi Carlile coolly mentioned that she'd met Mac's Lindsey Buckingham a week earlier. Apparently, she wasn't so nonchalant, however, about running into Saturday's headliners, the Avett Brothers, backstage before taking the stage. "I said, 'We must read a lot of the same books,' " Carlile goofily recalled. And then she got all geeked out: "I've been obsessing over your lyrics for the past year." Wonder if this means she'll be covering "Kick Drum Heart" or some other Avetts tune next week.
May the Purple force
be with you
Since George Lucas, the filmmaker behind the "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" franchises, paid the freight to bring Prince and his 20-piece NPG to Chicago for a wedding reception Saturday (his bride, Mellody Hobson, is a Windy City businesswoman), the Purple One figured why not play his own gig. So that afternoon, Prince announced a midnight show for that very night at the intimate, 500-capacity City Winery. Tickets were $75 online in advance, $100 at the door — a bargain compared with his $259-a-ticket hometown performances in May at the 3,200-capacity Myth nightclub. The Chicago late show started about 2 a.m. and, after three encores, lasted until nearly 4 a.m. He apparently performed with both the NPG and 3rdeyegirl. Now that we know that Prince will play weddings, I.W. wonders if he'll do bar mitzvahs.
The design of death
Lakewood Cemetery Garden Mausoleum has won dozens of awards for its serene, minimalist building, nestled into a hill overlooking a reflecting pool near Lake Calhoun in south Minneapolis. Its latest prize, a best of competition award from the International Interior Design Association, is unusual because it swept a field that included interiors of hotels, clothing stores and country clubs worldwide. Typically, mausoleums just don't compete well against such commercial enterprises. Architect Joan Soranno of HGA Architects and Engineers, Minneapolis, led the winning team. Their design was cited for "the grace with which it seamlessly blends dignity with comfort, beauty with gravity, and the contemplative with the familiar." Other 2013 IIDA awards included Calvin Klein Jeans, New York; Louis Vuitton Yayoi Kusama Pop-Up Store in London, and the W Paris-Opera hotel in Paris.
Local Oscar flavor
When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences added 276 members earlier this week, it made the Oscar voting pool younger, more diverse, and just a scooch more Minnesota-centric. Minneapolis native Kimberly Elise ("Beloved," "The Manchurian Candidate") was one of just 22 inductees in the acting category, an honor her father, Marvin Trammel, called "very significant." Prince ("Purple Rain," "Happy Feet") was in the group of 10 new musicians. Before expanding its ranks the Academy was nearly 94 percent Caucasian and 77 percent male. Move over, Coen brothers.