From the Hood

Patterson Hood reiterated his love for Minneapolis bands the Replacements and Soul Asylum and even threw in a gritty version of Prince's "Sign of the Times" during the Drive-by Truckers' rare acoustic show last weekend at First Avenue. The rock legend Hood showed the most love for, though, came from his own neck of the woods — his own house, in fact. "My dad David Hood is playing here with the Waterboys next week," he excitedly told the crowd, referring to the veteran Muscle Shoals session man who played bass on legendary tracks by Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, the Staple Singers and countless others. It turns out, the elder Hood hasn't toured since a stint with Traffic in the early 1970s. Said Patterson, "I want you all to bring signs to wave at the show that read, 'David Hood [bleeping] rocks!" Here's hoping the crowd at Thursday's concert followed through.

CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER

'Space Wars'

After directing nine dark dramas that have grossed $4.9 billion worldwide, Christopher Nolan took some time to talk with fans Tuesday evening at Walker Art Center. Influenced by seeing "Stars Wars" at age 7 or 8, the mild-mannered Brit was soon messing around with his parents' Super-8 camera making a film "imaginatively titled 'Space Wars,'" he said. His uncle, who worked on NASA's space program, sent young Christopher films of Apollo launches "and I dutifully just cut them into my film, thinking, 'Hmm, production value, maybe no one will notice.' " The audience Q&A included a professional projectionist pointing out that a rare 70-millimeter presentation of Nolan's "Interstellar" at the Muller Family Theatres' Willow Creek 12 drew viewers from several states. "We need four more theaters" like that, Nolan responded.

Colin Covert

No royalties required

Fresh off a year where he won all four of the major national mystery-writing awards, St. Paul author William Kent Krueger of the bestselling Cork O'Connor series has been traveling the country speaking at libraries, community centers and bookstores. His next gig is May 17 at the Paperback Exchange in Minneapolis, where his books are the most-requested. But why would Krueger speak at a used-book shop — where he will get zero royalties? "Because it's about more than just royalties," he told I.W. "It's about community. It's about supporting those folks who, in their way, support me. In the end, I think it's about all of us doing our best in our own ways to keep the love of the written word alive and access to all that lovely writing as open as possible." I.W. can only concur.

LAURIE HERTZEL

Keeping the Beat

Gyrating fans of the English Beat didn't seem to mind that Dave Wakeling was the only original member in this particular incarnation of the 1980s two-tone ska band at the Dakota Tuesday night. The band alternated between songs from its new crowd-funded album, "For Crying Out Loud," and the old faves this crowd was here for, including "Save It for Later," and a particularly rousing "Mirror in the Bathroom." Wakeling didn't inject as much political bite into his banter as in the old days, but for one zinger, as a preamble to the Margaret Thatcher burn "Stand Down Margaret." In response to the news that there's a push afoot in Britain to build a multimillion-dollar center dedicated to the former prime minister's historical and cultural achievements, he said he didn't see the need: "We've already got food banks everywhere for that."

Kristin Tillotson

Get an arty grant

Got an arty idea? The Knight Arts Challenge St. Paul is taking applications for its second round of grants totaling $1.5 million. Anyone can apply, artist or not, by May 19 (knightarts.org). Last year, winners ranged from a construction company that restored historic signs in Lowertown to an artists' collective that put on a light show projected on a steam plume at the city power plant. It couldn't be simpler. You need to describe your plans in 150 words or less and follow only three rules: 1) The idea must be about the arts. 2) The project must take place in or benefit St. Paul. 3) The grant recipients must find funds to match Knight's commitment.

Kristin Tillotson

That other Coen

Coen + Partners, a Minneapolis landscape architecture firm, has won a National Design Award from Cooper Hewitt, the Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City. Established in 2000 by the White House Millennium Council, the National Design Awards promote good design as a "humanistic tool in shaping the world." Eleven recipients will be honored at a gala dinner Oct. 15 in New York City. Shane Coen's 24-year-old firm's current projects include redesigning Nicollet Mall with James Corner Field Operations, redoing a plaza at the Department of Transportation in St. Paul and working on the Minnesota Senate Building at the State Capitol in St. Paul. Elsewhere its projects include Washington Square Park in Kansas City and a masterplan for the King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Mary Abbe