Let's hope Mr. Newton is still smiling come 1 a.m. on Aug. 20. / AP photo by Lennox McLendon

Let's hope Mr. Newton is still smiling come 1 a.m. on Aug. 20. / AP photo by Lennox McLendon


I would have loved to have listened in on the conversations with the agent over this one: "Ah, yes, we would be honored if Mr. Newton could join us on a 4½-hour cruise down the Mississippi with some of the Twin Cities' best-loved rock bands. ... Who? Well, there's the guy who played for three days straight once. ... Oh, just because. ... And then there's the band that injures itself a lot on stage. ... Oh, just because."

Somehow, against what most people would deem common sense -- but no doubt all for the charitable effort involved -- Wayne "Mr. Las Vegas" Newton has agreed to be the "celebrity captain" for the Aug. 19 Rock the Boat music cruise with Mark Mallman, the Goondas, White Light Riot and the 4onthefloor. The veteran lounge god will probably pose for a lot of photos and act as the ship's co-host along with the Current's Mary Lucia (who must be pinching herself today; and/or working on her tan).

Rock the Boat is an annual big to-do by local do-gooders Vega Productions, a nonprofit known for donating instruments and money for local schools' music and arts programs. This year's cruise will specifically benefit St. Paul's Creative Arts High School and Open World Learning Community. Tickets ($25) can be bought online here or in person at the Electric Fetus. The cruise will leave the Padelford docks on Harriet Island in St. Paul around 9 p.m. and return by about 1:30 a.m. It actually takes place on two of the big Padelford boats, which are tied together to create one "super-vessel." I'm wondering if that's actually how they described it to Mr. Newton.

Rock the Boat is one of two big Vega gigs coming up: The organization also just announced a benefit show with Trampled by Turtles and Charlie Parr on Oct. 6 at Duluth's Clyde Iron Works. Click here for details.

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