Mugging at the podium
The entertaining and energetic Eiji Oue, Minnesota Orchestra director from 1995 to 2002, joyfully led the orchestra's locked-out musicians in an all-Tchaikovsky program Saturday at the Minneapolis Convention Center. It turns out the master showman is also a master salesman. During the first encore, he twice ripped open his long silver brocade jacket to reveal a hand-scrawled "Minnesota Orchestra forever" sign tacked to his shirt. Then he held up coffee mugs supporting the musicians, leading to a sellout of those keepsakes. (More will be available at the Jan. 10 concert featuring Mozart's "Requiem.") Guest pianist Jon Kimura Parker was no slouch in the marketing department, either. After the rousing Concerto No. 1, he dedicated Scott Joplin's "Solace" "to all of you who are going to visit the donation table."
Two postscripts to the appearance by Minneapolis throb-pop act Poliça on Jimmy Kimmel's show Tuesday night: In addition to the powerful version of their single "Spill the Lies" aired on ABC, the band also covered Lesley Gore's 1963 girl-power anthem "You Don't Own Me" as an online exclusive (reposted at startribune.com/artcetera). Also, drummer Ben Ivascu's "Drone, Not Drones" T-shirt was the most high-profile appearance yet of the mantra/campaign made famous locally by Low's Alan Sparhawk at Rock the Garden. Minneapolis scenester Luke Heiken, the man behind the campaign, now sells the T's via Dronenotdrones.com and is staging a 28-hour drone concert Feb. 7-8 at the Cedar Cultural Center, all to benefit Doctors Without Borders.
'The Fall' gal
A British production crew recently checked out Minneapolis as a possible location for a U.S. version of the hit BBC serial-killer series "The Fall," which stars Gillian Anderson as a detective in Belfast on the tail of a killer (Jamie Dornan) whose day job is grief counselor. American author A.M. Homes, who will write the teleplay for the as-yet-uncast U.S. adaptation, came along for the ride. "Instead of just blowing into town to see if we'll give them the best deal, they actually talked to police officers about what particular crime problems we have," said Lucinda Winter, director of the Minnesota Film & TV Board. She whispered to I.W. that Pittsburgh and New Haven, Conn., are also potential locations.
Call him Al
For most of his 90 years, Minneapolis film lover Al Milgrom tirelessly promoted indie movies from all over the world. Now the longtime former director of the University Film Society has been immortalized in a new work by the state's most famous moviemakers, Joel and Ethan Coen. In "Inside Llewyn Davis," set in the Greenwich Village folkie scene of the '60s, a cowboy singer (played by Adam Driver) goes by Al Cody, but an envelope addressed to him reveals that his real name is "Albert Milgrom." He tells Llewyn Davis he's going to have it legally changed to match his stage name. When reached for comment, Milgrom, who hadn't yet heard, said "What?" He was typically self-effacing. "I take it as a high compliment, but it sort of surprises me," he told I.W. "I wouldn't think I'd be involved in their universe. How do they remember all this stuff?"
This year's annual holiday edition of Readings for Writers, led, as usual, by St. Paul Poet Laureate Carol Connolly, was unexpectedly raucous and, at times, side-splittingly funny. Not what you might expect for a literary evening at the sedate and dignified University Club. Poet Mike Finley randomly pulled slips of paper out of a big gold Christmas stocking and read them. Not poems, exactly, but more than jokes. Baker/poet Danny Klecko never opened his prop bag, just pounded it on the podium dramatically as he read a poem about urging one of his pastry chefs to steal Garrison Keillor's salt and pepper shakers. Tim Nolan, the last poet standing, removed his shoes and placed them on the podium in front of him before he read his poem, "Shoes." He made it almost all the way through the verses before stopping, sniffing the air, and saying, "Oooh, my shoes stink." And then, "That's not part of the poem."
A is for artist
Having just wrapped another successful John Lennon tribute at First Avenue, Curtiss A seems anxious to prove there's a lot more to him than singing the Fab canon. He will reprise his well-received Hank Williams show at the Dakota on Jan. 1, and he still plays every Thursday at the Belmore/New Skyway Lounge. And the longtime collage artist is bringing his visual works out of his famously stuffed basement for a new exhibit, "40 Days and 40 Nights." True to form, it's not showing in a gallery but rather the Corner Store vintage shop (900 W. Lake St., Minneapolis), where a free opening reception will be held Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m.
Going where not even a Canadian rock band has gone before, the Suburbs have emblazoned their logo on a hockey puck. Credit drummer Hugo Klaers and guitar tech Larry Case, hockey fanatics who play in a Twin Cities men's league. "I could sell 100 to the guys I play with on Tuesday nights and to the people who play on the rink I build every year on Christmas Lake," said Klaers, who describes himself as a "hack goalie." "We may be the first band to do this. What's next? Bowling balls?" Well, those wouldn't make good stocking stuffers. Klaers promises that if you order a puck for $10 from www.thesuburbsband.com, it will be there by Christmas. "I'll personally deliver it," he told I.W. "Not on skates. Cash only. No checks." Or checking.