Bieber's Princely move
Justin Bieber welcomed 2016 with a mini-concert at a private party in St. Bart's hosted by Leonardo DiCaprio. Always media-conscious, the singer wanted to keep the performance on the down low. So when a slew of cellphones came out as he launched into his recent hit "Sorry," he asked people to stop, according to Billboard.com. "This is not a Prince concert," he declared, referring to an adjacent restaurant where Prince had just performed at Russian mogul Roman Abramovich's New Year's Eve party. "I know when Prince said put your phones down he wasn't even connected with anybody. For real, though, let's just have some fun."
Not so 'Nice'
A show calling itself "Minnesota Nice" is triggering some not-so-nice feedback. Producers for an upcoming series posted a casting call Monday on Facebook for a co-host for a program about "luxury product placement." The notice requested a Caucasian woman 5 feet 8 or taller with no visible tattoos. After several complaints, the word "Caucasian" was dropped from the posting, and the post was pulled altogether that afternoon. Director Michael Thomas Cox said producers decided the issue was "getting out of hand." About 15 people showed up for the Monday evening auditions, and none appeared to be people of color, according to the director. "I've worked in the industry for five years and that's how casting works," Cox told I.W. Although the initial posting claims the show will air on Fox 9, a station spokesperson said "Minnesota Nice" is not a Fox 9 production and will not be not airing on KMSP or WFTC. Stations routinely sell time to outside entities for "infomercials." No word yet where — or if — the show will be broadcast.
Lover not a farmer
I.W. thought there was something familiar in the handsome mug of actor Kevin Massey, who plays Monty Navarro in the national tour of "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" now at the State Theatre in Minneapolis. He seemed far more suited as the lightweight British ingénue in this play than he did in 2008, when he played Almanzo Wilder in the Guthrie Theater's original production of "A Little House on the Prairie." I.W. went back in the files and found that we thought Massey was too soft and good looking to convince us he was a prairie dirt farmer. Yep, he's the same guy.
'Love' from Fenway
When the Jayhawks got to their early '00s fave "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" during their encore at First Avenue on Saturday, it wasn't the first time the sold-out crowd heard the song that night. The band broadcast a special cover version of the tune as their walk-on music: a recording of Boston Red Sox organist and Jayhawks fan Josh Kantor playing it during a game at Fenway Park this summer. We expect to hear the Kantor rendition again on a future boxed set, but meanwhile it's on YouTube. The Jayhawks also offered six new songs Saturday from "Lies in Black and White," which drops in April (after a PledgeMusic.com campaign). We couldn't help but notice a little extra organ in those tunes, by the way.
"On the Fly," the pop-culture driven show that debuted in June 2013 on WFTC, My29, was grounded this week by parent company Fox due to low ratings. It will be replaced by the national series "Hollywood Today Live" starting Monday. The show was led by longtime Twin Cities radio personality Tony Fly, who was dropped by 96.3 FM in 2012. Original co-host Kelsey Soby left the talker last June. "Hollywood," which launched nationally this past fall, is taking over the local late-night time slot, 11 p.m. on weekdays.
Prince Popo and Princess Pipi will no longer be making their scheduled appearance in Minneapolis on April 6. The two whimsically named characters were to be portrayed in Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal's staging of "Leonce and Lena," part of the Northrop's 2015-16 dance season. The event has been canceled after the loss of a major sponsor, said Northrop director Christine Tschida. Ticketholders will receive an e-mail detailing refund, exchange and credit options. Jan. 29 is the deadline for refunds.
Cluck, cluck, cluck
Bird metaphors abound in photographer Donna Schwartz's new book, "On the Nest," which showcases two series of her photos. The first shows expectant parents in the cozy "well-feathered" rooms they've set up for their soon-to-be-born kids. The second shows "empty nesters" whose now grown kids have "flown the coop." All the excitement, hope, pride, anxiety, exhaustion and satisfaction of parenting are there, too. Most of the pictured people are Minneapolis acquaintances of Schwartz, who taught photography at the University of Minnesota for 32 years. Now an associate professor at the University of Calgary in Canada, Schwartz will be in Minneapolis at 2 p.m. Saturday at Moon Palace Books, 2820 E. 33rd St.