Far from Main Street

The current Entertainment Weekly features a two-page, full-color map of “The United States of Books,” one work that best defines each state. Some are obvious — Anne Tyler’s Baltimore novels for Maryland; John Updike’s “Rabbit, Run,” for Pennsylvania; Larry McMurtry’s “Lonesome Dove” for Texas. Others are obscure — “Geek Love,” for Oregon; “True Grit” for Arkansas; and, happily, Mary McGarry Morris’ “Songs in Ordinary Time” for Vermont. And what about Minnesota? No Sinclair Lewis, no Garrison Keillor, Charles Baxter or Judith Guest. No, we get the “Betsy-Tacy” children’s series, written by Maud Hart Lovelace back in the 1940s and ’50s and set in a town based on Mankato. Because nothing says Minnesota like happy little girls in a bucolic small town. Or, as EW put it, “a rosy remembrance of a region already known for its niceness.” Time for some John Sandford thrillers, to cleanse the palate.

LAURIE HERTZEL

Big sticks

You wanna know why there’s no MN Music on a Stick concert this year at the Minnesota State Fair? Because neither the Replacements nor Prince would commit, says State Fair Deputy General Manager Renee Alexander, who books the grandstand. Yes, the fair reached big. “You never know how close you really are,” Alexander told I.W. about the ’Mats. “There was interest. But then I was told there was a scheduling conflict.” That was in late spring — before the ’Mats pulled the plug on their tour in early June. Alexander contacted Prince’s agent but “that wasn’t going to work.” No, instead Prince is playing three nights this weekend at Paisley Park. “I could have given him a much bigger place,” Alexander pointed out.

JON BREAM

Thriving art

Christian art rarely gets attention from international culturati, but then comes “Global Corporate Collections,” a sleek, copiously illustrated 536-page book published in Germany with sponsorship from Sotheby’s and the Russian Gazprom group, among others. Of the 81 featured collections, only eight are American and only one based in Minnesota: the Thrivent collection of religious prints and drawings by Rembrandt, Rouault, Picasso, Franz Marc, George Bellows and other top talents. Crucifixion and manger scenes, martyred saints and resurrections are typical subjects in the 1,100-piece museum-quality collection that spans 800 years. Thrivent, which sells insurance and financial products to Christians, is the only collector with a religious bent in a group that includes Daimler, Statoil, UBS, Deutsche Bank and other international businesses. The others collect everything from Old Master paintings to a dress-sculpture made of green beetle carcasses. Selections from Thrivent’s collection are usually on view at its Minneapolis headquarters, 625 4th Av. S. (You can read about its current show on page E11.) As for the Global Corporate Collections book, it is available for purchase for about $90 at daab-shop.com.

Mary Abbe

Big Boss tale

In his pre-gubernatorial days, Chris Christie was an avid Bruce Springsteen fan, posting comments about the Boss in an e-mail listserv, recently unearthed by Politico. In a posting dated Jan. 21, 2000, Christie, then a lobbyist, boasts how he and his wife encountered Springsteen on a flight to New Jersey. Christie reports that the rocker was wearing a ball cap, jeans and jean jacket and carrying copies of the New York Times and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The post says the Christies had attended a Minneapolis concert the night before. I.W. did some fact-checking and Springsteen played Target Center on Nov. 28 and 29, 1999, but not in January 2000. So we don’t know how much credibility to give the rest of the story but the future guv’s tale involves telling Springsteen about being in the front row of a New Jersey concert with his 6-year-old son, Andrew, to whom Springsteen had dedicated the song “Sandy.” The Boss pointed at the kid and declared, “We’re gonna send you home with a little lullaby.” The e-mail explained: “Bruce said he remembered and called Andrew ‘crazy’ with a big grin and chuckle.” J.B.