Louis on Louis
When all-universe comic Louis C.K. talks — about anything — people listen. On Tuesday morning, he sent an e-mail to fans. The 1,880-word "long winded, unedited coffee-addled, had to [poop] the whole time while my kids yelled at me to take them sledding-written material" is meant to explain why he shot the new downloadable special, "Louis C.K. Live at the Comedy Store," at that famed Hollywood club. But, mostly, he waxed nostalgic for comedy clubs in general, detailing his 30-year history of performing at them. He mentioned nine independent clubs by name and Minneapolis' Acme Comedy Co. was first on his list. He wrote: "When you could get a week at Acme, you know you could continue having the will to do this [work] for another few months." Of Acme owner Louis Lee, he said: "There were club owners that were part of Comedy History. Who knew how to shape comedy." Of seven owners cited, Lee was No. 2. High praise from the caffeine-addled, constipated king of comedy.
Down for Abney
After the abrupt dismissal from her midday DJ duties at 89.3 the Current on Tuesday due to a "programming decision," Barb Abney was given a classy if vague tribute when her replacement took the airwaves Wednesday. "I'm thinking about a friend of mine and sending along my love and support," said Jade Tittle, the former late-night DJ and morning-show producer, who likened this to being an understudy in a play where the "leading lady" is suddenly out. The station's actual leading lady, Mary Lucia, was conspicuously missing in her afternoon air slot on Wednesday, supposedly just due to illness. One thing all parties involved can see as a mixed blessing was the huge reaction the news received in both traditional and social media. Whether it was Minnesota Public Radio members pledging to un-pledge in protest or folks pleading for less of Hozier's music, the sheer number of people who expressed strong opinions was impressive.
She should be dancing
Plymouth native Justine Lutz moved to California for college and began to pursue a career in dance. She auditioned twice for "Dancing With the Stars," where judge Travis Wall discovered her. He hired her for his own touring show, "Shaping Sound," which is performing Saturday at the State Theatre in Minneapolis. Lutz never did land on "Dancing With the Stars," but she ended up in some huge music videos, including Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off," Carrie Underwood's "Something in the Water" and Ed Sheeran's "Don't." I.W. would call that dancing behind the stars.
What's in your closet?
An overflow crowd gathered Sunday at the Grand Ballroom of the St. Paul Hotel to honor Leigh Kamman, the calming, sonorous radio voice of jazz in the Minnesota night for six decades. Kamman, who died in October at 92, was saluted by many of the Twin Cities' finest jazz musicians, including Debbie Duncan, Connie Evingson and Irv Williams, the 95-year-old saxophonist who sounded terrific. As wonderful as the music was, the speeches were even more moving. Granddaughter Shannon Foreman recalled when the Dakota Jazz Club held a retirement party for him in 2007, he asked her: "Why are they making it such a big deal?" She said: "Because you're my grandpa." Kamman's eldest daughter, Kathy Vye, promised that his interview tapes of such stars as Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker were being transferred to a digital format to be broadcast on the radio. That prompted a factoid from Vye about the Kamman household filled with albums, books and tapes of interviews. "There were no towels or washcloths in our linen closet because Rosie Clooney and Mark Murphy were in there."
One booth, five Tonys
After a night on Broadway at "Hedwig" with originator John Cameron Mitchell, I.W. was summoned to theater-district Bar Centrale by three theatergoing friends from Minneapolis. Having a hoot in a big booth across from our perch were Martin Short, Steve Martin, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick and Katie Finneran. We figured that table alone was good for five Tonys, some Emmys and at least three Grammys. A New York friend figured, "When Steve Martin comes to your show, you have to go out afterward." Broderick, Short and Finneran are in "It's Only a Play" on Broadway. The bonus round was Bryan Batt, of "Mad Men" fame, seated in the booth just behind the startstruck I.W. Holy Salvatore.
The Garth factor
Target Center should send a thank-you note to Garth Brooks. The Minneapolis venue ranked No. 6 in the United States (and 17th in the world) in concert tickets sold — 506,847 — in 2014. New York's Madison Square Garden topped the U.S. list with 793,395 and London's O2 was No. 1 worldwide with 1,818,742, according to Pollstar, the concert trade journal. This is the highest ranking ever for the Timberwolves arena, which opened in 1990. Brooks accounted for more than 40 percent of the venue's concert tickets with 203,235. Now if Target Center could just get the Wolves to rank No. 6 in anything other than injuries.