1. "Prairie Home Companion" takes off: Lake Wobegon doesn't precisely exist. It is a whimsey, a diversion, a figment of Garrison Keillor's imagination. But Lake Wobegon nudges up against enough universal truths to stir responsive chords in a growing number of believers who come across Keillor programs on Minnesota Public Radio.

Irv Letofsky, Minneapolis Tribune, July 29, 1976

2. Prince paints the town purple: Prince's "Purple Rain" record album, movie and concert tour are on the cutting edge of rock-and-roll -- no small accomplishment in an arena so dominated by the East and West Coasts. ... Besides being a local talent who is providing opportunities for other local musicians, Prince has given state politicians and athletes proof that a Minnesotan can reach the top of the charts. He adds a colorful purple dimension to Minnesota's image.

Star Tribune editorial, Dec. 27, 1984

3. Mary Richards throws her tam in the air: It is difficult to recall today what a gamble the highly successful "Mary Tyler Moore Show" was considered to be when it was first televised in the fall of 1970. Not the least of the chances taken was setting the show in Minneapolis instead of New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco locations so favored by television producers. Reporters guffawed at a press conference when a CBS executive called Minneapolis "a very exciting place." Since then, however, the show has not only garnered a basketful of Emmy awards, but its depiction of Minneapolis has won the respect of television viewers in the Twin Cities area.

Minneapolis Tribune editorial, Nov. 20, 1973

4. The Guthrie opens: Later this year, we in England are embarking on the great adventure of a national theater. The Minnesota adventure is akin to ours in its aims and aspirations, and nobody alive is better suited to lead it than that international carrier of the germ of good theater, Tyrone Guthrie. ... Our hopes go with you.

-- A message from Laurence Olivier, quoted in the Minneapolis Tribune, May 8, 1963

5. Verne Gagne starts AWA: Verne Gagne's wrestled all over the country and made jaunts to Canada and Mexico. For an 11-year mat veteran, the former footballer shows little sign of combat. "I've been lucky," he said. "No serious injuries. Well ... a few little things." Little things? "Like broken hands, broken teeth, broken nose, chipped bones ... "

Bob Sorensen, Minneapolis Tribune, Aug. 6, 1961

6. Bob Dylan records in Minnesota: Dylan came to Minnesota to look at property he is negotiating to buy north of Duluth ... The presence of Dylan on the farm generated some excitement in the small town nearby, but a young woman who works at a tavern there said that "everybody assumes he's not there very much." "When we first heard about it, we thought we'd have to get a bunch of Dylan records and put them on the jukebox," she said. "But it wasn't that big a deal. This town just wouldn't be like that, except maybe for Robert Redford."

John Carman, Minneapolis Star, Nov. 25, 1974

7. "The Lion King" opens: The big-budget stage adaptation of the most successful animated film ever had its world premiere at the Historic Orpheum Theatre Thursday night, a potentially intimidating affair that ended up being as cozy and accessible as a house cat. There were hundreds more T-shirts than black ties in the family-friendly audience. One young fan came completely dressed in a lion-cub uniform. Several other kids wore jungle-like eye masks. No major celebrities attended -- unless the sight of high-powered executives makes your knees knock. If the co-writer of the show's songs, Elton John, had showed up -- the rumor of the month -- he would have stuck out like a Christmas tree on fire.

Neal Justin, Star Tribune, Aug. 1, 1997

8. August Wilson gets his big break: A deeper well is Wilson's commitment to write about the black experience in America. "I write about what I feel and what I am all about," he said. "I feel I am answering a call made by James Baldwin, who called for an articulation of the black tradition. That is what moves me."

Peter Vaughan, Star Tribune, Aug. 2, 1982

9. The Replacements stay young: The Replacements are Everykids. "Part of that could be because Tommy (Stinson, the bassist) is 17 and acts 9 on occasion," Westerberg said. "He keeps us down to earth as far as what's going on. He's a kid. We all like him."

Jon Bream, Star Tribune, Jan. 6, 1984

10. Mall of America opens: About 9,000 people tried to party Monday night in the 1.8 miles of corridors and atriums at the megamall. But smiles were far less common than looks of befuddlement, bemusement, amazement and confusion. "There's no one telling you where to go or what's going on," Minneapolis actor Scott Parham said. "This is definitely not a party because it's too open. The big question of the night is, 'Where's my car?'"

Jon Bream, Star Tribune, Aug. 11, 1992

11. Prince opens Paisley Park: A small group of worldwide ambassadors who arrived in St. Paul the night before to participate in today's opening of the Minnesota World Trade Center found themselves sitting in the recording palace that Prince built. For almost an hour they toured the place, gawking at everything from purple carpeting and violet lounge chairs to computerized digital keyboards and a basketball hoop the rocker put up for recreational use. By the time the tour ended, the entourage, accompanied by Trade Center President Richard Nolan, was clearly impressed. "It's phenomenal," said Bernard Davenport, deputy chief of mission for the Embassy of Ireland. "My kids would love it."

Star Tribune, Sept. 11, 1987

12. First night at First Avenue: The new club's directors, who call themselves the Committee, have managed to cast a pall on the whole concept of opening The Depot. It is a case of bad planning. ... There are inadequate facilities for seating. Unless you are an intimate of the management, you are forced to stand in the back, two and three deep, to see the show. Finally there is the inane idea of making the whole place a mammoth bar, as if the entertainment was incidental. This poses the restriction of being 21 years old on those who want to see a group. The Committee has, in effect, cut off approximately half of their potential audience and, at the same time, brought The Depot down to the level of any Hennepin Avenue bar.

Marshall Fine, Minneapolis Star, April 6, 1970

13. Janet Jackson grows up: With "Control," she successfully has made the musical transition from cute kid to sexy woman. But this record shows her to be one mixed-up woman. One minute she's talking about how "Nasty" she is and the next minute she's urging a suitor, "Let's Wait Awhile." This album merely serves notice to her parents (who have handled her career) that the 19-year-old has taken control of her career and life.

Review by Jon Bream, Star Tribune, Feb. 7, 1986

14. The "MST3K" phenomenon: "Mystery Science Theater 3000" has generated more positive attention than all the year-old Comedy Channel's other programming combined. Its fan club numbers more than 3,000 members. Its admirers include writer-producers of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Cheers." Actress Edie Adams told Hodgson that in his inventiveness she sees echoes of her late husband Ernie Kovacs' pioneering TV work.

Noel Holston, Star Tribune, Nov. 25, 1990

15. "Spoonbridge and Cherry" makes its debut: Yesterday's ceremonies attracted several hundred national artists and millionaire arts patrons who mingled inconspicuously with local citizens getting their first look at the 22-foot-tall glass fish sculpture in the palm house and the 59-foot-long "Spoonbridge and Cherry" fountain. Artists admired each other's work and traded news of projects in Miami, Los Angeles and Europe. Kids climbed over the artist-designed benches and patted Deborah Butterfield's bronze horse, a sculpture that appears to be made of driftwood.

Mary Abbe, Star Tribune, Sept 11, 1988

16. The opening of Sutton Place: One thing owner Gordon Locksley learned fast is that with an all-male crowd, his bartenders don't have to mess around with mixed drinks. It quickly became an expedient policy. One customer walked in and asked for a daiquiri. "Don't give me any trouble, honey," said the bartender. "Drink a beer. It'll make you look butch." The guy drank a beer.

Will Jones, Minneapolis Tribune, Jan. 3, 1966

17. The opening of the Weisman Art Museum: All jokes and barbs aside, the greatest promise of this out-there art museum is that it is neither elitist nor aloof. Not everyone will love it, but no one will be able to ignore its silvery allure.

Linda Mack, Star Tribune, July 19, 1993

18. Jesse Ventura's inaugural ball: One minute I found myself sandwiched between a mother and daughter in Lady Harley jackets and somebody dressed up as the Pillsbury Doughboy. The next, I saw a woman in jeans and running shoes take a digger in a puddle of beer, then spring up unfazed as the band Trailer Trash twanged nearby. She had no idea how symbolic her little accident was of the whole night: a night when tradition and protocol took a great big Humpty-Dumpty of a fall, and the new regime lurched ahead. It was the end of the world as we know it, and I felt fine.

Kristin Tillotson, Star Tribune, Jan. 24, 1999

19. Ron Athey's bloody performance: At least one member of the audience fainted during the performance. Others left as it progressed. The bloody towels were most upsetting to the audience, said Dennis Yelkin of Hopkins, who attended with a friend. "It appeared that the towels were going to drip or fall apart because they appeared to be paper towels," he said. "People knocked over the chairs to get out from under the clotheslines."

Mary Abbe, Star Tribune, March 24, 1994

20. Nirvana records at Pachyderm: Getting away to a first-class facility can be just the prescription that some bands need. In February, producer Steve Albini brought Seattle's Nirvana to the obscurity of Pachyderm to make the much-anticipated follow-up to its best-selling "Nevermind." He booked the session under a pseudonym to keep an even lower profile. Still, one of the three band members found his way to the Mall of America in Bloomington; another went to First Avenue in Minneapolis one night. And the kids of Cannon Falls discovered Nirvana in person at the local Super Valu.

Jon Bream, Star Tribune, April 4, 1993

21. Bruce Springsteen opens "Born in the USA" tour in St. Paul: Like most inaugural shows in any rock tour, this one was fat with material and poorly paced, the performance failing to gain momentum like the enthralling, transcendent concerts of old that made Springsteen rock's most vital and exciting performer.

Jon Bream, Star Tribune, June 30, 1984

22. Rage Against the Machine rocks the Republican Convention: Whatever it accomplished on the political front, the Los Angeles quartet set off an atom bomb in what has mostly been a fizzling year for big concerts. Come to think of it, Wednesday's nearly sold-out Target Center show in Minneapolis could well go down as the local hard-rock show of the decade. You could have forgotten all about the, um, elephants in the room, and that assessment would still hold up.

Chris Riemenschneider, Star Tribune, Sept. 5, 2008

23. The Trashmen make it big with "Surfin' Bird": At one moment they had been a garage band, playing for nickels, dimes and laughs while taking college courses in preparation for the real world. Steve Wahrer was taking journalism courses at Hamline University, Bob Reed was taking broadcast courses at Brown Institute and Tony Andreason and Dal Winslow were taking courses at the University of Minnesota. Then, suddenly, they were rock 'n' roll stars.

Doug Grow, Star Tribune, Jan. 24, 1987

24: Minnesota's first gambling palace opens: Suddenly, things got serious. The chatty hubbub dropped to a murmur as hundreds of heads hunched over thousands of bingo cards, hands darting to cover the numbers. An arm shot up in the back of the room. "Bingo," shouted Joan Aadland of Mound, the first winner at the first session of big-time bingo in Minnesota.

Don Nelson, Star Tribune, Oct. 17, 1982

25. Stars of "I Do! I Do!" take their final bows: The sold-out crowd for the 7,645th and final performance had filed in slowly and quietly. Some whispered that they were about to witness history. Others, obviously longtime patrons and fellow thespians, likened it to a theatrical wake. "I thought that I would stay alive as long as 'I Do! I Do!' was on," said a voice in the darkness, as pianist Frank Oliveri warmed up the crowd with the prologue, "All the Dearly Beloved Together Forever."

Bob Ehlert, Star Tribune, June 21, 1993

26: Roseanne meets Tom: "Of course, Tom was a party guy," Barr said. "Every headliner that came to town had to go party with Tom. It was like a legend thing. So I

went and partied with Tom for two days, over at the 'Bohemian' club where the guys lived. He let me crash over at his house that first night. And we were just best buddies for a long time."

Noel Holston, Star Tribune, Aug. 3, 1990

27. Ernie Hudson takes a stand: A theater spokesman walked on stage Friday night and told a full house that the play would close because of a "staff emergency." Earnest Hudson, a Detroit actor who played the part of black boxer Jack Johnson, said Saturday he had "a good role in a very good play, and I'd finally gotten to the point where I could sustain a demanding part from beginning to end. But I couldn't pay the rent and I couldn't buy Christmas presents for my kids. I wasn't even getting bus money or sandwiches from the theater."

Peg Meier, Minneapolis Tribune, Dec. 14, 1975

28. Lou Snider at Nye's: She limps to the bar -- she's been handicapped since she was a baby -- grabs a Tab with a slice of lime and smiles at Doris the waitress, who says, "Lou, go and entertain us, dammit."

Dave Wood, Star Tribune, Jan. 30, 1982

29. Lipps, Inc. records "Funkytown": There's a good chance "Funkytown" will succeed Blondie's "Call Me" as No. 1 next week. Yet no major radio station in the Twin Cities is playing "Funkytown" regularly. "It's amazing," said Denny Long, program director of WCCO-AM. "Maybe that describes radio in town -- oatmeal."

Jon Bream, Minneapolis Star, May 20, 1980

30. Scrooge makes his entrance: The Guthrie Theater is featuring hot cider and cookies after the evening performances of Charles Dickens' "The Christmas Carol." There were so many takers after the opening performance Wednesday that some people gave up waiting before the gingerbread man and Santa Claus cookies ran out.

Minneapolis Tribune, Dec. 13, 1975

31. The birth of Minnesota Public Radio: The hitherto virtually unheard of network of FM stations has plans for the most exciting radio here since WCCO discovered the weather wire.

Irv Letofsky, Minneapolis Tribune, Jan. 9, 1972

32. Osmo Vänskä takes over the Minnesota Orchestra: It really was a compelling performance with the kind of close attention to the score, along with shrewdly judged tempos -- very close to Beethoven's controversial metronome timings -- that we don't hear very often. The outer movements bristled with energy and restlessness. The buildup of tension going into the finale was a real edge-of-the-seat experience, while the opening of the Scherzo was perfect: soft and fast in a way that hardly any conductor does it, even though that's what Beethoven asked for.

Michael Anthony, Star Tribune, Sept. 12, 2003

33. New Guthrie opens: "The Great Gatsby" is a clean, imaginative and sometimes surreal work, with steady and sure performances by a capable acting company whose numbers sometimes seemed too small for the task (particularly in one of the party scenes). This Jazz Age play could also use, well, a little more pop and pizazz.

Rohan Preston, Star Tribune, July, 22, 1978

34. Diablo Cody hits it big: " Juno" delivers uproarious laughs, fully fleshed personalities, honest uplift and tender moments. Much of the credit goes to the script by former Twin Cities scribe Diablo Cody. Her simple but intricate story scrambles our responses and covers so much ground, with such zest, that you regret it ending.

Colin Covert, Star Tribune, Dec. 13, 2007

35. The last "Lunch With Casey": The letters and phone calls continue. Signs are stuck around Dean Blvd. wanting Casey back. Petitions abound. Bumper stickers are being printed. Even some people are asking Hubert Humphrey to intercede.

Irv Letofsky, Minneapolis Tribune, Dec. 30, 1972

36. Penumbra opens with "Eden": If "Eden" is an indication of things to come, this newest venture on the Twin Cities theater scene deserves a long existence.

Peter Vaughan, Minneapolis Star, Nov. 11, 1977

37. Tony Kushner debuts new play: Director Michael Greif has given Kushner a good look at what he's written. The lines sound great in the actors' mouths, their performances are excellent and Greif dances this show across the Guthrie stage with humor and muscular strokes -- fighting the script's occasional exhausted ennui. Now the playwright can set his hands to clarifying his irresolute intentions, for Kushner has not yet discovered his own purpose in writing this play.

Graydon Royce, Star Tribune, May 24, 2009

38. Twin/Tone Records is launched: Peter Jesperson is not a disc jockey on a far-reaching radio station or a columnist for a big-circulation newspaper. Yet he is the most important rock music tastemaker in the Twin Cities.

Jon Bream, Minneapolis Star, Sept. 11, 1979

39. New French Cafe opens: It isn't the most expensive restaurant in town, but you can easily spend $20 a person there without even drinking very hard. For that kind of money, a lot of people expect a French restaurant to provide elegant atmosphere and classic cuisine.

Karin Winegar, Minneapolis Star, Dec. 14, 1979

40. Beatles at Met Stadium: While there were large portions of the songs that you could hear over the frenzied roar, it was impossible to tell what they were singing unless you were sitting by a teen-ager who could tell you the names of the songs. Actually the screaming about the music wasn't half as bad as the shrieking that was heard whenever one of the boys would wave to a section of the crowd.

Allan Holbert, Minneapolis Tribune, Aug. 22, 1965

41. Children's Theatre does "Cinderella": "Forty percent of our audience is adult," said Bain Boehlke, who will assume the role of Cinderella's ugly stepmother. "We aren't playing down to kids. This can be as vital as any theater."

Minneapolis Tribune, Nov. 21, 1966

42. Coen brothers film "Fargo": Minnesotans might be offended by "Fargo." But those willing to laugh at themselves will find this film noir comedy very clever and very entertaining.

Jeff Strickler, Star Tribune, March 8, 1996

43. Hüsker Dü plays the "Today" show: With Rolling Stone, then Joan Rivers and now "Today," have the Huskers turned the corner on the road to the big time? "The rest of what's going on in popular culture has turned the corner to our side of the street," said Bob Mould. "We're unestablished only in the context of the Top 20 in Billboard. We're a different kind of 'established.' As far as critical acclaim, we've done more than some bands in the Top 20 will ever do."

Jon Bream, Star Tribune, May 19, 1987

44. World premiere of the "Prairie Home Companion" movie: Some residents of nearby senior citizen apartments came down in wheelchairs, and Meryl Streep stopped to shake hands with 99-year-old Bertina Peterson. Peterson said she won't wash her hand anymore.

Jeff Strickler, Joe Kimball, Star Tribune, May 4, 2006

45. Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and REM headline "Vote for Change": On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give Springsteen a 13. But elevating this evening into the best Twin Cities concert I've seen were Fogerty, R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe and, most of all, Neil Young sitting in with the Boss and the E Street Band. On "All Along the Watchtower," he was bouncing around the stage like a 22-year-old punk rocker with the guitar vocabulary of a 58-year-old legend, and Springsteen, strumming away on rhythm guitar, was grinning in complete awe.

Jon Bream, Star Tribune, Jan. 2, 2005

46. Smashing Pumpkins play downtown Minneapolis: From the view in the party pit in front of the stage, the revelers appeared torn between watching the Pumpkins and watching the crowd. Objects flew into the pit -- empty plastic bottles, Frisbees, flip-flops, platform shoes -- as helicopters flew overhead. Bodies surfed over the crowd to be handed to security guards, who, when they had a free hand, passed out cups of water to people smashed against a metal fence.

Jon Bream, Star Tribune, July 18, 1998

47. The return of Courtney Love: Before getting to Love's heart-wrenching style, one has to scrape away the crap. Sunday night, there was a lot of crap ... "Kurt and I were going out and we were kissing back there," she said, pointing near the main bar at First Avenue. "Somebody took my coat, tore it up and threw it in the trash. So that's Minneapolis to me."

Neal Justin, Star Tribune, Oct, 24, 1994

48. M-80 new wave festival: Bands jetted in from as far as London, New York and Los Angeles to share their musical ideas on the biggest stage in the biggest barn before the biggest audience any of them had ever played. In fact, some of the musicians were flying to a gig for the first time. "There was Woodstock," said one of the guys in the Girls, a Boston quartet that was among the first groups to perform Saturday. "Well, welcome to Livestock."

Jon Bream, Minneapolis Star, Sept. 24, 1979

49. Dave Moore launches "Bedtime Nooz": Whatever followers Dave Moore has a newscaster certainly can't be as intense as those he has as a comic and satirist.

Will Jones, Minneapolis Tribune, Jan. 4, 1966

50. "Gospel at Colonus" opens at Guthrie: It's everything you've probably heard it is: hypnotic, thrillingly exciting, exhilarating. One gushes on. As a theatrical experience it's as emotionally exciting as it is transcendent.

Mike Steele, Star Tribune, Feb. 23, 1987