Bye-bye, Mpls. Hello, Florence!
Talk about upward mobility. Eike Schmidt, an expert on European sculpture who has led the Minneapolis Institute of Art's decorative arts department since 2009, has been named director of the prestigious Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. The German-born curator is the first non-Italian to head the Uffizi in its 250-year history. The Uffizi complex — which includes the 16th-century Pitti Palace and historic Boboli Gardens and about a dozen smaller museums — attracts 3.2 million visitors annually and is Italy's equivalent to the Louvre in Paris or the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. Schmidt is one of seven foreigners picked this week to lead top Italian museums in Rome, Milan, Venice and elsewhere. Chosen in an international competition, their appointments are part of a dramatic shake-up and modernization of Italy's legendarily creaky culture bureaucracy. "We are very sorry to see Eike leave us, but we're delighted for him," said institute director Kaywin Feldman. "The Uffizi is one of the world's greatest museums, and I am terribly proud to have [a curator from Minneapolis] assume the directorship there." Schmidt was instrumental in mounting the museum's big spring show "The Habsburgs" and has significantly beefed up its sculpture collection with important purchases.
Bob Dylan tops Rolling Stone's list of the 100 greatest songwriters. That's no surprise considering how the magazine has championed the Minnesota-born bard since its inception in 1967. Prince rates No. 18, right behind Neil Young and ahead of Leiber and Stoller, Lou Reed, Van Morrison, Robert Johnson, Elvis Costello, Randy Newman, Ray Davies of the Kinks, Buddy Holly and Pete Townshend of the Who. And the reclusive and reluctant Paul Westerberg of Replacements ranks No. 92. While all three Minnesotans deserved the love, you still wonder how much cred to give this Rolling Stone ranking when Max Martin is listed at No. 41, ahead of Sly Stone, Johnny Cash, Tom Waits and Willie Nelson, to name a few.
A new agency
At least one of the "Mad Men" isn't through with television. According to Deadspin.com, Minnesota native Vincent Kartheiser, who played ambitious Pete Campbell on the beloved drama, is attached to "Debt," a series in which a desperate man joins a collection agency in hopes of getting back at the rich and giving back to the poor. If picked up, the series is expected to debut next year on WGN America, a cable station that is quickly building up its portfolio of dramas. Neil LaBute, whose film and play credits include "In the Company of Men" and "The Shape of Things," is slated to direct the pilot. Kartheiser, who spent the summer of 2013 at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis as Mr. Darcy in "Pride and Prejudice," is also starring in the National Geographic Channel miniseries "Saints & Strangers," which will premiere this fall.
Yet another First Avenue event has to be moved to a new location, following news that the venue would remain closed into next week: The club's first Garage Sale & Open Streets Market on Sunday no longer can take place in its large garage, where construction crews are loading and unloading. Instead, it will happen on a closed-off section of 1st Avenue (the street) as part of the Open Streets festival happening throughout downtown Minneapolis. Look for club memorabilia and merchandise from such friends as the Electric Fetus and Burlesque of North America, plus food trucks. No word yet on whether pieces of the old ceiling will be part of the sale. Tickets can also be purchased to these First Ave events: the rescheduled Transmission dance party, Sept. 19, and the relocated Psychedelic Furs/the Church double bill, now at the State Theatre on Tuesday.
Sip and snap
It was the coffee shop opening heard 'round the world — or at least the local Instagram world. Few caffeine purveyors in the history of caffeine purveyors received the opening-day fanfare of Spyhouse's fourth location last Friday. Twin Cities Instagrammers lit up mobile screens all weekend long with artsy-fartsy shots from the new Minneapolis North Loop digs. People snapped precious pics of the light fixtures, the wall art, the tile flooring, the stools. The beautifulness was overwhelming, their Instagrams cried out. But was the coffee any good? I.W. got a taste — and took a required Instagram, of course. Both were delicious.
Now read this
Rain Taxi likes to tease us (in a good way), leaking out the names of some of the writers who will be in town for the annual Twin Cities Book Festival, leaking out a few more a little later. The festival takes place over one busy, frenetic, inspiring, heady day in October — this year, it will be Oct. 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the State Fairgrounds. More names will be released later, including Minnesota writers, but here's a partial list of guests, and it's a good one: Susan Cheever, novelist, biographer and memoirist, whose new book is "Drinking in America"; Rupert Thomson, British author of "Katherine Carlyle," and Joy Williams, whose short stories are collected in the new "The Visiting Privilege."