New kid in town
If Mikell Sapp got chills on Monday when fellow actor Tyler Michaels called his name as the recipient of this year’s Ivey award for emerging artist, it’s because he knows the journey he has traveled so far. Sapp hails from Phenix City, Ala. Where’s that? “Don’t worry, I’ll put it on the map,” he told I.W. He loves his hometown, pop. 37,500, even though they did not believe in him. “I call it the city of buried dreams, because you can have dreams of going to the moon, but once you get out of high school, the dream’s over. Go get a job at a fast-food restaurant or something.” Sapp, who studied theater at Alabama State, moved to the Twin Cities after being scouted by Faye Price, artistic director at Pillsbury House Theatre, where he made his professional debut in 2011 in “Broke-ology.” Sapp has since gone on to act at Penumbra, the Guthrie, Mixed Blood and elsewhere. On Monday, he was double-fisted, with an Ivey in each hand — one for the emerging artist and one he shared with the ensemble of Marion McClinton’s staging of “Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet.” But Sapp remains humble, and will keep pushing for his dreams. “Coming from where I’m from, you’ve got to stay grounded,” he said. “But a star can shine from anywhere.”
Timing is everything
The Iveys always perplex I.W. with their choices. We’ve made our peace with it to a large degree. This year, though, Ivey reached back and honored shows that were first made years and years ago. “We’ve enjoyed doing this play since 1993,” Claudia Wilkens said of the recognition she and Barbara Kingsley received for “Gertrude Stein and a Companion.” Wilkens quipped, “I guess we finally got it right.” Similarly, “Trick Boxing” has been around since 2002 for Brian Sostek and Megan McClellan. Good people, well deserving. I.W. supposes Ivey is just cleaning up old business.
Cue the cameras
Quite a momentous fall is being cooked up at east metro meat haven Bayport BBQ, which will be featured in the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives” this week with TV’s most polarizing foodie, Guy Fieri. Then in mid-October, the eatery’s owner, Chris Johnson, will stage his revamped version of the Deep Blues Festival — which he launched in the Twin Cities in 2007 — down in Clarksdale, Miss. Moreover, Johnson’s barbecue joint is at a crossroads music-wise, as he decided to stop presenting live music there after recent complaints from neighbors and city staff. “What was fine for many years suddenly became a problem,” Johnson told I.W. He showcased the likes of Charlie Parr, Alvin Youngblood Hart and T-Model Ford. Names on the calendar through November include Eleganza (Oct. 3) and Jon Rodine (Nov. 6). He’s especially happy that local players Crankshaft and Javier Matos were a part of the filming with Fieri. “It’s been gratifying supporting the music I love, but it’s taken up a lot of time and money.”
Dealing with Dad
Minneapolis writer Kate DiCamillo’s new novel, “Raymie Nightingale,” is the story of a 10-year-old girl who enters the Miss Central Florida Tire competition in order to get her father back. “I thought, ‘Oh, it’s going to be a funny book about all those Little Miss contests that were around when I was a kid,’ ” DiCamillo told Entertainment Weekly in an exclusive interview. “I was in one of them and failed spectacularly. But then it’s like, ‘Why does she want to be in this contest?’ She wants to get her dad back. And then it turned into something different than I thought it would be.” DiCamillo’s father left the family when she was a young girl, just as Raymie’s father did. “I guess it is [autobiographical],” she told EW, “Although I wasn’t thinking that when I was doing it. I was more like, ‘Let me tell this story right.’ But when you’re done with something you think, ‘I have some distance, and I can start to see what I’m doing.’ ” The book will be published by Candlewick Press on April 12.
Stromae, Kanye West’s and Lorde’s favorite Belgian/French dance-pop star, canceled his well-attended concert Tuesday night at Myth nightclub in Maplewood just before showtime, due to a “small accident.” Fans who left the club in bewilderment remained confused well into the next day. The incident was widely reported in French media outlets on Wednesday, but fans and media back here on the American prairie did not receive any further explanation or information until late Wednesday when a representative for promoter AEG Live said the show could not be made up during Stromae’s limited time in America, and thus refunds will be given. The accident in question was reportedly a cut to the mouth that required several stitches — and the doctors said those stitches wouldn’t stay in place if he had to sing. At the show, a member of Stromae’s crew announced: “He had a small accident this afternoon. He’s fine. He’s not in danger, but the show is canceled. He can’t sing tonight.”