Mayor for Craig Finn; or Craig Finn for mayor?

We're usually not the types to quote a rah-rah speech by the mayor, but we have to admit we were impressed by R.T. Rybak's introduction of the Hold Steady at the Basilica Block Party last weekend. "I'm tired of seeing movies and TV shows set all in New York or Los Angeles -- isn't it nice to hear somebody sing about Minneapolis-St. Paul?" Rybak said, wearing the band's Twins-logo-copping T-shirt. "This should be a town that supports local music. Put your money where your ears are." We'd like to see the mayor give the same speech at tonight's city-backed, Gin Blossoms-headlined Aquatennial Block Party. But as a speechmaker, Rybak still can't hold a candle to Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn -- who went to the same high school and college as Rybak (Breck and Boston College) and even had the mayor's mom as a guidance counselor. Talking about how much downtown has changed since he left town, Finn said, "One thing that never changes is Minneapolis has two of the greatest houses of worship: the basilica and ... First Avenue."


Recount fallout

The publicists for the Starkey Hearing Foundation's annual So the World May Hear gala put together a media photo packet of celebs attending last Sunday's event at St. Paul's RiverCentre. That way the media would recognize Vikings wide receiver Bernard Berrian and Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald Jr. without their football helmets. There were photographs of Gov. Tim Pawlenty, U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen and former U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy. There also was a photo of former Sen. Norm Coleman with a strip pasted over his photo announcing "cancelled."


Accidents will happen

Elvis Costello just wanted some sushi. But the night before his July 4 headlining set at Taste of Minnesota, his jet-lagged party of five was denied a table at Origami, in Minneapolis' Warehouse District. Although they'd called ahead to the first-come, first-served restaurant, general manager Tim Choi told them upon arrival that he no longer had room. Lilly Schwartz, director of Orchestra Hall's pops and special projects, has worked with Costello in the past and saw the whole thing as she dined with conductor Sarah Hicks. Said Schwartz, "They shouldn't have treated anyone like that, let alone a music icon like Elvis. It's our responsibility to make this community welcoming." Choi said the incident was merely a misunderstanding: "We tried to accommodate him. We were trying to find a seat for him, but, unfortunately, he did not want to wait." Schwartz said Costello and friends had a good sense of humor about the incident.


Zak Sally creates 'Fear'

Former Low bassist Zak Sally has been a busy guy of late. He sold his cloudy painting on the cover of Low's "The Great Destroyer" for a cool $1,200 on eBay this week, and he continues to print graphic novels and other artwork via his publishing company, La Mano 21. But what about music? Sally has recorded a new nine-song album -- "Zak Sally's Fear of Song" -- on which he wrote, sang and played everything. "Low hit it hard and was pretty all-consuming, so when I left the band I thought I was done for good," Sally said when asked about the title. "But after about two years away from it, I realized I was missing it." Low's label Sup Pop is releasing one song from the disc, "Why We Hide," as a 7-inch single, while Sally himself is printing copies of the full album (hence the need to sell the "Destroyer" painting). With mastered copies unavailable at press time, he was able only to give me his descriptions of the music: "The sound of one man clanging" and "noisy, but song-oriented." Sally's noisy release party is Wednesday at Eclipse Records in St. Paul, with Skoal Kodiak, the Seawhores, Paul Metzger and his own hopelessly named Wipers tribute band T.O.G.P.T.F.F.S.O.T.W.O.T.E.R.A.T.S.Y.O.A. (5:30 p.m., $6).