Prince and Gayngs: missed connection?

Around 10 p.m. Friday, the new local supergroup Gayngs received word from First Avenue staffers that Prince had requested to join them onstage during their nearly sold-out "Last Prom on Earth" bash. "Everyone was freaking out, like, what do we do?" said Gayngs manager Nate Vernon, detailing the Purple One's trajectory from the crow's nest to just feet offstage -- and that's where things get hazy.

"I saw [Prince] was there and was like, 'I should go address this,' " Gayngs leader Ryan Olson explained. "I asked him if he wanted to play; he said he did." Alas, Prince never ventured out, opting to fiddle with his guitar at a teasing distance just offstage. Eventually he swung the guitar back, said, "They don't need me up there" to stage manager Conrad Sverkerson and disappeared, according to Vernon.

So why the flip-flop? "I've heard all sorts of crazy shit. I have no idea," offered Olson. "I saw him rocking out to it sidestage, that was entertaining enough." Vernon wasn't shedding dove tears either, adding that Prince informed a First Ave staffer that he's a Gayngs fan.

In other Gayngs news, an abridged cast of the 24-member lineup will hit the road this fall for nine national dates, culminating with the Austin City Limits Festival in Texas on Oct. 10.

  • Jay Boller

A not-quite-'Top' model

After taking second place on last week's "America's Next Top Model" finale, Minnesota-based model Raina Hein has been nonstop busy fielding calls for interviews and interest from modeling agencies around the world. When asked about how she felt about coming in second, Hein responded with unabashed optimism. "I couldn't be happier with getting second," she wrote in an e-mail. "This puts me in the driver's seat. I am not locked down in a contract and am able to make my own decisions based on what I want."

In fact, the model says she is currently deciding between representation with Wilhelmina, Elite, Next or Click, and she's also getting interest from the London market. On becoming the Twin Cities' most recognizable model in the past month, Hein responded with humility. "Every time someone asks me for an autograph or picture, my immediate reaction is, 'Why me?' I am still the goofy, spontaneous, down-to-earth Raina I've always been." Read our full Q&A with Hein in the "fashion" tag.

  • Jahna Peloquin

Uptown Bar to Lyn-Lake?

The Uptown Bar & Grill is very, very close to being reborn. Manager Dennis Willey and other staffers have settled on a new site in the Lyn-Lake area and are even moving on construction, but they are not sharing the plans until a lease is finalized and they can work out a liquor-license scenario with the city. Stay tuned.

  • Chris Riemenschneider

Can buy me love

Money: That's what the volunteer organizers and musicians behind "The Minnesota Beatle Project, Vol. 1" wanted, and that's what they got. Local music org Vega Productions just handed over $25,000 to the Minnesota Music Educators Association for school programs around the state, and that's just off of sales since December. The disc is still available at or your local indie shop, featuring Fab Four covers by Jeremy Messersmith, Roma di Luna, Tim Mahoney, Mark Mallman, Lucy Michelle, Romantica and 10 more.

  • Chris Riemenschneider

Stnnng, Stnnng, Stnnng down the river

"We're slowly floating our way to our next gig in Winona!"

The Stnnng's frontman Chris Besinger shouted that toward shore on Friday evening, a few songs into his band's most fluid set to date (rimshot!). He and the band performed on a pontoon floating in the middle of the Mississippi River as part of Creative Electric Studios' Art-A-Whirl show. While it's a miracle nobody fell in the water, a couple hundred people watched from the docks down the hill from the Sample Room. Quite a few ducks were in attendance, too, including a mom with a trail of ducklings who bravely swam close to the floating stage.

Thanks to calm waters and one guy working his butt off with a paddle, the Stnnng managed to stay pretty close to the docks. By choice, they pushed their way down to Gabby's shorefront for their final two songs, with Besinger repeatedly screaming, "More paddling!" to the music. He summed up the event as being "a lot like playing Big V's when PJ is bartending. ... We can't see, and the stage is moving."

Before the Stnnng's set, Zak Sally performed atop the docked houseboat where Creative Electric had its art installation. Afterward, Bella Koshka played under a tent in the Sample Room parking lot, where promising new local brewery Fulton had its IPA on tap.

Saturday night's festivities on the river featured Mayda and -- its members fresh from Friday night's Gayngs show -- Marijuana Death Squad, who performed from multiple spots on the river.

  • Chris Riemenschneider

Fighting fire

Jezebel Jones & Her Wicked Ways singer Trista Meehan, who was in the news in February when her house in St. Paul blew up because of a faulty gas line, is "giving away" the fundraiser that friends wanted to throw for her. Instead, her band, Robert Wilkinson's Snaps, Courtney Yasmineh and John Swardson will perform next Thursday at Sauce Spirits & Soundbar (9:30 p.m., $5) for victims of the McMahon's Pub fire.

  • Chris Riemenschneider

Minneapolis parks unveil summer movie schedule

Pack the picnic basket and oil up the lawn chair: The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board's third annual Movies in the Parks series presents an outdoor extravaganza of free films. The series will run six nights a week at various parks across the city throughout the summer -- from "Avatar" at Waite Park on June 14 to "Wall-E" at Pearl Park on Aug. 27. The season finale on Aug. 28 will be a film nominated by viewers through online balloting.

This summer's series features a mix of action/adventure films, classics, new releases, comedies and family fare. There is scant programming in Loring Park, left empty by the hiatus of Walker Art Center's longrunning Music and Movies in the Park series. At present, there's only one Loring presentation planned, the Harrison Ford thriller "The Fugitive" on June 21. More Loring shows may be added in August.

Movies are free to the public. Snacks will be for sale, and picnicking is encouraged. The films are screened 15 minutes after sundown. For the full schedule, visit

  • Colin Covert