What looks like a modest T-shirt vendor site at first glance marks the first thaw in a glacial ice pack that formed in early 1988, when the influential Minneapolis punk trio Hüsker Dü broke up. "Just 30 years in the making," bassist Greg Norton quipped of the band's first-ever official merchandise site (officialhuskerdumerchandise.bigcartel.com), which debuted last weekend. Per Norton, the three long-feuding band members finally came together and agreed to recruit Dennis Pelowski, Minneapolis-based manager of the Meat Puppets, to "help us figure out how to get a foothold back in the business." The band first sorted out licensing issues with old label SST Records, which led to the 1984 classic "Pink Turns to Blue" being featured in a recent episode of the AMC TV series "Halt and Catch Fire." Next up, an official Facebook page is likely to debut, replacing several fan-run pages. Will this new business front lead to the old recordings being freshly cultivated? "There are more moving parts than we'd like to deal with, but we'll see what happens," Norton told I.W., pointing to vaulted live recordings and film footage that could be issued anew. "The main thing is, there's ongoing communication between the three of us now."
The morning after
After winning the prestigious Man Booker Prize for his third novel "A Brief History of Seven Killings" on Tuesday in London, novelist and Macalester College professor Marlon James, a gym regular noted for his imaginative brilliance as well as his tiptop physical shape, was feeling the effects of his blazing new spotlight. He stayed up until the small hours in London, posting images of his award and responding to kudos that came flowing from across the globe on social media. By Wednesday, after more events and interviews with media such as the BBC and National Public Radio, he was losing his voice and his New York press reps declined further interview requests. Because of the award, his publisher on Wednesday ordered another 75,000 copies of the paperback edition of "Seven Killings," just one month after the release of the paperback edition.
What was the highlight of the two-hour freewheeling conversation between "Real Housewives" poobah Andy Cohen and CNN/ "60 Minutes" newsman Anderson Cooper last weekend at the State Theatre? Was it a not-on-the-Internet film of such celebs as Kelly Ripa, Susan Lucci and Jerry Seinfeld reading Cohen's letters to his mom from childhood camp and his mom reading her responses? Or the "Housewives"-inspired taglines that Cohen's writers for "Watch What Happens Live" penned for Cooper? The newsman urged people not to tweet or video them as he read them: "I've been rich and I've been famous and now I'm both, bitches" … "I might be the silver fox but that doesn't make me any less of a cougar" … "I don't keep up with the Vanderbilts; I am the Vanderbilts" … "Climate change may be real but there's no way to turn down the A/C."
Germans love Cadillac
A woman walks into a bar, hears a band and decides the band needs to play in Germany. The bar was Palmer's on Minneapolis' West Bank, the band was Cadillac Kolstad and the woman ex-Minneapolitan Tanja Moore. With the help of her friend, Hastings band teacher Katy Linne, Moore figured out how to bring Kolstad and his four-man band, the Flats, to Besigheim, Germany, for Winzerfest this month. They played five marathon shows, and Flats saxophonist Tom Zosel, who teaches jazz band at Hill Murray High School, and Linne conducted clinics in German schools. For Linne, who was serving as unofficial band manager, the highlight was that by the third performance, "the Germans were coming in ties, sport coats and fedoras — dressed just like Cadillac and the band. It was hilarious."
People are scrambling over one another to get into "Glensheen" at the History Theatre and "Sweeney Tood" by Theater Latté Da. "Glensheen," with book by Jeff Hatcher and music by Chan Poling, has been selling out the 500-seat-plus History Theatre from Day 1 and the St. Paul troupe has added shows to deal with the demand. "It's been an explosion of demand at the box office," artistic director Ron Peluso told I.W. He's trying to jam more performances into the run, which ends Oct. 25. Latté Da's "Sweeney," which stars Mark Benninghofen and Sally Wingert, is sold out (save for this Sunday's evening show) through Oct. 22. It runs to Nov. 1 at the Ritz in northeast Minneapolis. How rare is it to have two scorching hot musicals playing at the same time?