Rallying Buddy's buddies

Graham Nash, Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys and Joe Ely have all committed to join Maria Elena Holly, Bobby Vee and members of the Crickets at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, on Monday for the 50th anniversary of the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. Organizers can, of course, thank the late musicians' legacies for the starry turnout. But they also owe gratitude to Nate Westgor, owner of Willie's Guitars in St. Paul, who counts all of the above as clients. He and Tommy Vee (Bobby's son) made the calls to assemble the lineup, which is sponsored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and will be filmed for a PBS TV special. There will be an all-star house band with auxiliary Stones members Chuck Leavell and Bobby Keys, drummer Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp) and bassist Hutch Hutchinson (Bonnie Raitt). "We simply had to spread the word," said Westgor. So who else did they call? Bruce Springsteen was tied up with the Super Bowl, and Neil Young is in New Zealand. Beyond that, he said, "There might be a couple surprises."


The master writer's singing club

After reading aloud from her latest book, "The Red Convertible," to a packed church in Kenwood last week, Minneapolis writer Louise Erdrich took questions. A few tentative hands went up, asking about the writing process, the significance of the book's title and what Erdrich's mother thought of the mother in the story Erdrich had just read. She looked a little surprised. "That character is not my mother," Erdrich said firmly. Then someone asked, "When you reread your stories years later, are you delighted and surprised by them?" Erdrich reflected, and then, with a comic's perfect timing, replied wryly, "Not always delighted." (Pause.) "Surprised, sometimes." Warm laughter. It was an indulgent, happy crowd.


Fun with Barack and George

Lyrical content aside, Rhymesayers labelmate P.O.S. has concocted a unique album for his third solo effort, "Never Better," which drops Tuesday. The limited first edition comes crammed with a barrage of images -- six transparent and 16 paper inserts, ranging from a silhouetted Barack Obama to a pair of pears -- that can be rearranged into your very own customized cover. He's also created a YouTube video, available at Myspace.com/POS, to show fans how to play with the intricate puzzle. A skull over that smiling Danny Glover? Why not? Pink-and-yellow striped George Washington? A Founding Father has to look fabulous, too. Thanks, P.O.S. -- this is fun!


Dances with cougars?

Kevin Costner and his band Modern West drew a packed house of ga-ga women (and a few men) at the Cabooze on Tuesday night. "We're only four minutes into the show, and I feel this is already the best audience we've ever played for," he said after the first song. The laid-back Americana/roots music wasn't bad, with former Minneapolis guitarist Teddy Morgan adding tasty seasoning and much-needed energy. After singing the only cover song ("Mr. Tambourine Man") of the 95-minute set, the actor declared: "I will never forget this place."


Give 'em an 'Inch'

"Please don't spoil the movie by adding your own soundtrack"? Tim Massett loves loose talk during a screening, if it's by the director. In Jacksonville, Fla., he mounted live filmmaker events with 1960s gore godfather Herschell Gordon Lewis, provocateur John Waters and horror icon George Romero, whose "stories got better the more he drank," Massett said. Now a Minnesota resident, he is bringing the concept to the Heights Theater, presenting the gender-bending rock musical "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," narrated live by writer/director/star John Cameron Mitchell (9 p.m. Thu., $20-$25). According to Mitchell, it's superior to a director's DVD commentary because "I can hear people laughing. ... Direct interaction is hard to come by in these technological days. Getting people together to watch a movie in the same space is a revolutionary act." Massett agrees: "Cinemas need to do a little more to bring people back into the theater." If the event goes well, he intends to make it a continuing local series. "I'll be firming up dates with Todd Solondz, Richard Linklater and Gus Van Sant," he said. For details, see TheTalkies.net.


Senior A+E Editor •

Tim Campbell


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