Withering Glance: What we want for the holidays

  • Article by: RICK NELSON and CLAUDE PECK , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 24, 2012 - 3:01 PM

Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.

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We'd love for the St. Anthony Main movie theater to get a makeover.

Photo: David Joles, Star Tribune

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Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.

CP: Having paged through catalogs from Toys 'R' Us to the Wine Enthusiast, I have begun narrowing down a giant list of things I want for the holidays.

RN: Whereas I have been channeling the spirit of the season, unselfishly brainstorming a greater-good wish list. All I want for Christmas is an urban forest, so please, dear Santa, plant zillions of trees on the barren sidewalks of downtown Minneapolis.

CP: That might make downtown more inviting. So might going back to free street parking on Sundays.

RN: Some serious architectural and urban-design chops for the Vikings' soon-to-rise palace would be a lovely bauble for taxpayers to find in their Xmas stockings.

CP: I know. Is it asking too much that for almost $1 billion we get something -- I dunno -- attractive? We'll see. What about a giant, citywide, coordinated happy hour for a week or a month, to enliven those dreary hours when the office towers -- and the streets -- go empty?

RN: Or finding this gift-wrapped under the tannenbaum: Supermarkets selling beer and wine, and liquor stores open on Sunday.

CP: We need a brill re-use plan for the depressingly vacant Ford Plant over in your St. Paul 'hood. Talk about a great location.

RN: Agreed, along with the southwest corner of 5th and Hennepin, celebrating its 72nd year as, yes, a parking lot.

CP: Now that our steady and shrill carping about the shabby state of the Uptown Theatre has helped spark a redo...

RN: We're taking credit for that one, eh? Sure, OK.

CP: ...we must ask for a similar gift at the down-at-the-heels St. Anthony Main theaters. Perched riverside in a historic district, the theaters are dark and dingy, the seats cockeyed and sprung, with all the ambience of a musty basement. This deterioration is especially inexcusable since the venue now hosts the big annual Mpls.-St. Paul International Film Festival.

RN: That reminds me. Could a preservation-minded Kris Kringle please rescue two crumbling theatrical beauties, the Orpheum in downtown St. Paul and the Hollywood in northeast Minneapolis?

CP: Reviving these old places is a chore. The Capri in north Minneapolis has been a longtime labor of love. Now it's a nifty 250-seater.

RN: As is the fabulous Heights Theatre, the jewel of Columbia Heights. By the way, here's my letter to the elves at Macy's HQ: "Please restore your historic Nicollet Mall store to the flagship property it once was. Season's greetings, Rick Nelson."

CP: I thought your therapist told you: Just stay out of there. It does terrible things to your blood pressure.

RN: Dr. Jeff might prescribe -- and this is a long shot, I know -- an exhibition of pretty art at Walker Art Center. A Joan Mitchell retrospective, maybe?

CP: That's it. Count to 10, and release that inner curator.

E-mail: witheringglance@startribune.com Follow on Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib

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