This fun version of pop singer Katy Perry's hit video "California Gurls" is a YouTube sensation.
Amanda Schultz was sitting with some friends at Burrito Loco in Dinkytown near the University of Minnesota, sharing a Grain Belt -- what else? -- toast when a couple girls approached her table and timidly asked for a photo with the University of St. Thomas senior.
And why not? Schultz and two friends have become local stars since their parody of Katy Perry's music video hit "California Gurls" splashed on YouTube in early June.
Their "Minnesota Gurls" video -- complete with flannel shirts, parkas and even Spam -- is a spoof of Perry's glitzy, highly stylized video that shows the singer trouncing through a Candyland forest while hyping the appeal of "Golden Coast" women.
"I thought it was cute; I saw a lot of potential in it, but I don't think any of us ... we had no idea it would get this big," Schultz said about the project, which has been getting lots of buzz this summer. "I don't think anyone expected the responses we got. All the sudden I was like 'Whoa, this is crazy.'"
It all started in late May, when Luke Thompson, who has made a hobby of creating music video parodies, was driving to Menard's with a couple friends. Perry's song started playing on the radio, prompting the friends in the back seat to sing along.
"It felt odd that us people in Minnesota were jamming out to a song about another state," said Thompson, who did all the editing and performed the "Snoop Dog" rap in the middle of the song. "I felt like we needed to step up and be proud of our state. Minnesota's a great place, too."
Since he had been wanting to do a song about Minnesota, he seized the opportunity.
"When I heard this song, I basically just told my sister we needed to do this quickly, because otherwise someone else is going to," said Thompson, a senior at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn.
Schultz (the blonde in the video), Luke and his sister, Maggie, who all grew up in Fridley, spent about 25 hours over three days writing, filming and editing to create the local tribute and get it online. The number of views started out slow, but it now has had well over a million hits on YouTube.
Luke Thompson and Schultz will be performing the song next week at the 93.6 NOW radio tent at the Minnesota State Fair. Maggie, who attends the College of St. Benedict, is studying abroad in Chile.
Thompson was right on with his prediction that other people would try to do the same thing. The Minnesota video is one of about 30 amateur videos nationwide -- including North Dakota Bois -- celebrating their state's culture in a Katy Perry takeoff.
"I knew it had potential to be a hit because so many people could relate to it all over our state and the Midwest," he said.
Amelia Rayno • 612-673-4115