Been too long at the fair

While watching the nightly pyrotechnics after her grandstand concert at the State Fair, Bonnie Raitt was hit by one of the falling fireworks. "She was standing by her dressing room trailer watching them," said Renee Pearson, the fair's deputy general manager for entertainment and marketing. "She was treated by EMTs and sent on her way. She was fine." The next night onstage in Omaha, Raitt discussed the experience. "She made a joke about looking like Harry Potter," Kevin Coffey, music critic for the Omaha World-Herald, told I.W. "She pointed to her forehead where, if you looked really closely, she had some makeup over something on her forehead. I wouldn't have noticed until she said something about it." And, no, she did not then launch into one of her 1970s signature tunes, "Been Too Long at the Fair."


Game for readers

Who says gamers never read anything but their scores? In a quarter that saw newsstand sales of magazines plummet a disastrous 10 percent, a locally published title got some good news: Game Informer now has the third highest circulation in the country, 8.2 million, lagging behind only a couple of AARP publications. Associate publisher Rob Borm attributes the 37-percent spike over last year primarily to a tie-in deal offering new subscribers a free discount card to use on games sold by the mag's parent company, the Texas-based retailer GameStop. Still, good going for a 21-year-old local magazine most people around here don't know is homegrown. While Borm chuckles about his youth-targeted mag getting bested by two aimed at the oldsters, one day they could be competing for the same audience: The average Game Informer reader age is now a practically decrepit 28.


Scenes from Summer Set

At a music fest where a hockey rink served as the rave-like dance party site and the fans wore costumes ranging from a banana to a Hobbit, it was no surprise there were a lot of funny things said onstage at last weekend's Summer Set Music & Camping Festival. Sensing the campers' youth and friskiness, Matt Johnson of indie-pop duo Matt and Kim told fans, "If any of you get pregnant, you'll need to name your baby Matt and/or Kim." Maybe the most amusing moment came when Brooklyn indie-rapper Mr. MFN eXquire showed up late for his set on the puny second stage and then proceeded to yell, "Sound man, turn it up!" about 30 times, even though there were only about 30 people watching him who could hear just fine. The crowd size for the fest was no laughing matter, though, with nearly 15,000 fans on hand at its peak during the three-day bash. Which means the fest will probably live on as more than just flashbacks.


King for a month

One of our own is gracing the cover of the new issue of Modern Drummer magazine. "Dave King brings it to a fever pitch with the Bad Plus," reads the headline on the October issue. The magazine's other recent cover subjects have included everyone from Blink-182's Travis Barker to metal giant Vinny Appice to jazz vet Roy Haynes. I.W. hasn't seen the article yet, but it likely keys off the Sept. 25 release of the Plus' eighth album, "Made Possible." We hope the write-up also shares a little love for last year's underrated Dave King Trucking Company album, and maybe the sorely missed Happy Apple, too, which is finally performing again Sept. 8-9 at the new Icehouse on Nicollet Avenue.


Lay one on Kamman

The dean of Twin Cities jazz DJs, broadcasting legend Leigh Kamman left a big mellifluous void when he pulled the plug on his long-running MPR program "The Jazz Image" five years ago. He's not an omnipresent figure at clubs anymore, either, so it'll be a sweet event Sunday as well-wishers turn out to celebrate Kamman's 90th birthday at the Artists 'Quarter. Musical guests were still being lined up at press time, but singing stalwart Carole Martin is planning to serenade the birthday boy, and drummer Phil Hey will anchor a band, with sax legend Irv Williams, trombonist Brad Bellows and others likely to join in.


End of an era

Steven Lockwood is retiring as executive director of Park Square Theatre. He has been with the organization since 1980 and has held the chief administrative job since 1995. No surprise, the St. Paul company has named C. Michael-jon Pease to replace Lockwood. Pease has been a key player in Park Square's ascent the past several years. Audiences are up 33 percent and the number of theater artists employed has nearly doubled. Overall, Park Square says its business has grown 27 percent in the past five years and a $4.2 million capital campaign has secured $3.6 million to date. Money was used to refurbish the main auditorium, and plans are still on track to build a 200-seat theater in the basement of the Hamm building. Park Square has an annual budget of $2.3 million -- nearly double what it was a decade ago.