Project Levi's

Aspiring fashion designers and Levi's lovers take note: Last week's "Project Runway" challenge is being offered to the general public. Create an iconic look based on Levi's 501 jeans and the trucker jacket, also using them as raw materials. Take a cue from "PR" contestant Christian Siriano: He made a jacket into jeans, and a jacket out of jeans. Registrants may win a $501 Levi's gift certificate, and the winning design will be produced and sold on www.levis.com. Enter or vote on Levi's website; the deadline to enter is Wednesday.

  • Jahna Peloquin

Damage control at Stasiu's

The owner of Stasiu's Place staunchly tried to quell backlash against his Nordeast bar after a Friday night incident that he admits was "horrible all around."

That night's headliners, Baby Guts and A Paper Cut Band, pulled out of their gigs after a patron reportedly yelled homophobic slurs and physically harassed the solo opening performer, Coyotes. Several witnesses, including Guilt Ridden Pop label proprietor Keith Moran -- who wrote about the incident on the message board at www.modern-radio.com -- faulted the club for not defusing the situation or ejecting the patron, a regular there.

"[It] was the first time I have ever advised a band not to play a show," said Moran, who was careful not to blame Stasiu's booker, Christy Hunt.

Stasiu's owner Brad Schutte said the troublesome patron "definitely crossed the line" but was too big to eject and left soon after the incident.

"It's a bar -- these things happen," Schutte said. "I'm a guy that was going to see Black Flag at Duffy's when I was 12. I support bands. I don't support homophobia."

  • Chris Riemenschneider

Infinity and beyond

Block E will lose another glitzy nightclub when the Infinity Room shuts down in the coming months (Escape closed last summer). Located inside the Graves 601 Hotel, Infinity was one of downtown's premier nightclubs when it opened in 2003. But don't fret, as the hotel has plans for the space. While a wine bar was initially reported, the new lounge will tap into the mixology trend to bring in "something that Minneapolis doesn't have right now," said managing director Ben Graves. It will pair food with fancy mixed drinks, a concept that is just starting on the coasts. (Of course, there will be plenty of wine, too.) But until plans are finalized, you can still get your chic on Fridays and Saturdays at Infinity.

  • Tom Horgen

Faking it with Chuck D

Not many people make Mary Lucia nervous, but the DJ for 89.3 the Current said she is worried about how she will act around hip-hop pioneer Chuck D when they sit down April 19 at the Fitzgerald Theater as part of the occasional interview series, the Current Fakebook. "This is so cool because I don't get to talk to the innovators so much anymore -- just the imitators," said Lucia, who said the Public Enemy founder's music played heavily into her experience with hip-hop. Since starting P.E. 20 years ago, Chuck D has gone on to host his own Air America Radio show and continues to be an outspoken social and political commentator. An artist who often raps about black power will be joined onstage by two non-black rappers: local hip-hop success stories Slug and Brother Ali. Lucia said she doesn't see it as a race issue:"We feel Slug and Brother Ali carry on his tradition of speaking powerfully to social justice."

  • Megan Kadrmas

52 drink-up

As our beer scene gets better and better, it was only a matter of time until something like www.brew52.com came along. This fun website is basically an online beer-tasting festival that rates a different Minnesota brew each week. Creator Rett Martin came up with the idea after a fun day last October at the Autumn Beer Review. The 26-year-old Web designer put his stylish site online Jan. 1. Each week he picks a Minnesota brew and then users (so far there are 100-plus) get the beers themselves and upload their responses. Last week, Surly Furious (in a can) rated a 3.5-out-of-5 average. The reviews range from gushing beer geeks who talk of flavor "notes" to the average beer drinker's ringing endorsement of just plain "awesomeness." Martin is inviting users and newcomers alike for some face-to-face beer-drinking Wednesday at the Herkimer. For more details, e-mail him at rett@brew52.com.

  • Tom Horgen

Cliché colors explode at La Bodega

Local boutique Cliché held its annual spring fashion show, "Avoid the Grey," last Thursday, and the show did just that. A makeshift runway was awash in electric blues, neon yellows and hot pinks, against the deep neutral setting of La Bodega tapas bar. Highlights from Cliché's local lines include colorful bohemian prints in draped silhouettes by kjurek couture, ultra-high-waisted, wide-legged pants with cinched cuffs by Red Shoe Clothing Co. and sophisticated yet punky separates by Laura Fulk.

  • Jahna Peloquin

All you're losin' is a little mascara

It really is time to throw out your mascara. On Jan. 1, Minnesota became the nation's first state to ban the use of mercury in cosmetics, toiletries and fragrances. Surprisingly, the federal government doesn't require personal-care products to list ingredients on their labels. The state law calls for fines of up to $700 for retailers that knowingly sell goods with mercury, and up to $10,000 for manufacturers. Although mercury is added to some eye products and skin creams only in minute amounts, experts say it still can cause neurological damage. To be safe, use organic products such as Aveda's Mascara Plus Rose ($12 at Aveda Institute, Juut Salonspa and Denny Kemp Salon).

  • Jahna Peloquin