Brazil connection

Like most soloists of his stature, Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto, who was named the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra's newest artistic partner this week, continually travels around the globe. Still, the classical music world can sometimes seem quite small, he told I.W. from Rio de Janeiro. He was hoping to make dinner plans in Sao Paulo with Minnesota Orchestra music director and fellow Finn Osmo Vänskä. "He's conducting Lindberg's Violin Concerto there, which will be played by Patricia Kopatchinskaja, who is also an SPCO artistic partner," he said. "And it's the same concerto I am playing here in Rio this week." Envious of Vänskä's upcoming trip to Cuba with his orchestra, Kuusisto said, "I've never been. Maybe he could sneak me along, way in the back of the second violins."


Sommer books it home

Ad man Harry Crane of "Mad Men" spends more time schmoozing clients and women than frequenting his neighborhood library. But the guy who played him, Rich Sommer, actually hung out the library while growing up in Still­water. Sommer, who will headline two fundraisers May 9 at the Lowell Inn for the Stillwater Library, said that his dad's apartment was right behind it and "from the end of junior high through high school, I was there a lot reading or getting a movie." Sommer said he'll miss everything about "Mad Men," which ends May 17, except maybe Harry's trying-too-hard wardrobe. "He really swung for the fences, fashion-wise. I'm keeping a couple of jackets and a pair of glasses." See www.stillwater for benefit info.


Girl from the South Country?

Rock fans know Pete Townshend has issues with his ears, but who knew about the brain farts? Last week, while performing on the Who's farewell tour in Duluth, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta, the guitarist expressed his enthusiasm for being in Duluth. "[Bob] Dylan was born here," he said. Duluth, yes. But not the one in Georgia.

Jon Bream

'Insatiable' changes

Good and bad news for "Golan the Insatiable," the animated Fox series set in Oak Grove, Minn. The show will return for a second season, moving to prime time, at 8:30 p.m. starting May 31. But St. Paul's Josh Miller, who created the show and provided the voice of Golan, has been replaced by Rob Riggle. Minneapolis comic Mary Mack has lost her role to "Parks and Recreation" star Aubrey Plaza. At least Maria Bamford, who started her stand-up career in the Twin Cities, remains in the cast.

Neal Justin

From Mac to HBO

Macalester College professor Marlon James' critically acclaimed novel, "A Brief History of Seven Killings," may be coming to TV. HBO has optioned James' rangy epic, inspired by a 1976 attempt to assassinate reggae icon Bob Marley. James is doing the adaptation, overseen by screenwriter Eric Roth, who won an Academy Award for "Forrest Gump."

Rohan Preston

A smashing party

There all sorts of ways to mark Cinco de Mayo, but none as original — or primally therapeutic — as the piñata-bashing charity event Cinco de Mayhem. The event Saturday night at CO Exhibitions in northeast Minneapolis offers chances for random attendees, chosen via raffle tickets, to destroy piñatas made by local artists. Last year's creations included emojis and video-game characters, and the post-frenzy carnage littering the floor was awesome. Proceeds go to Second Harvest Heartland. Info at

Minneapolis, 55403

Pianist Simon Trpčeski was excited to play in Minneapolis with the Minnesota Orchestra — but I.W. never would've guessed why. After his engrossing rendition of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3, the globe-trotting Macedonian shared that he was a big fan of the 1990s TV drama "Beverly Hills, 90210" and its former Minnesotans, Brenda (Shannen Doherty) and Brandon (Jason Priestley). Orchestra Hall is no Peach Pit, but Trpčeski rewarded the enthusiastic audience with two encores: Pande Shahov's "In Struga" and Chopin's Waltz in A Minor, which Trpčeski learned to play when he was only 7½.

Marci Schmitt

Where's the Joy?

I.W. went to radio station KS95's Live95 concert last weekend to see Aussie star Vance Joy, who will open for Taylor Swift later this year. If the 6-foot-4 guy with the tiny ukulele singing the hit "Riptide" seemed painfully shy at Mill City Nights, how is he going to do at Xcel Energy Center for three nights in September? He could take some tips from Andy Grammer, the beat-boxing acoustic strummer who stole the KS95 show and knows how to play to the locals. Having played a few times at the Varsity Theater, he asked if Mill City Nights was in Dinkytown. J.B.