Archive for July, 2007

Sighting: Landscaping truck at Lake and Penn

yardon.jpg I guess this pretty much works without commentary.

New Mural on the Back of the Riverview Theater

Meet the artist! Have some root beer from New Ulm! From the Riverview’s weekly email:

You may or may not be aware that a mural has been painted on the back wall of the theater during the summer. It is meant to be a celebration of the Longfellow neighborhood, which stretches from Minnehaha Park (and falls) north to the railroad bridge crossing the Mississippi River.

We will be hosting a mural Open House this Thursday, August 2, from 5:30-6:30pm to introduce the mural to the community. The artist will be present to answer questions and discuss it. We will be serving free Root Beer Floats made with 1919 Root Beer. You are invited to attend.

The Skeptical Diner: Blackbird versus Barbette versus Cafe Maude

I finally got out to the newly opened Blackbird (at Bryant and 50th) today, and damn — it was a treat. Cut from the same “sophisticated local bistro” cloth as Barbette and Cafe Maude, the offerings at Blackbird emphasized fresh ingredients, low prices, many plates, and humble sophistication.

This suits me just fine, and it made me pause for thought: between Barbette, Cafe Maude and Blackbird, what’s the best restaurant? And why? They all do similar things with a lot of elegance and style, and I’ve had next to nothing bad at any of them. So, without further ado, here’s a head-to-head showdown between the three bistros.
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I survived the Bead Bazzar

beadsrcoolOn a typical Saturday afternoon, the absolute very last thing I would say is, “Let’s go the bead bazaar!”

See, I’m not a “bead” kind of guy. Saturdays I like concerts, football, mowing the lawn and grilling meat. But yet somehow I found myself at the International Society of Glass Beadmakers Bazaar at the downtown Minneapolis Hyatt — killing nearly three hours wandering booths representing 150 bead artists from all over the world.

Yep, beads. I’m talking tiny little handmade glass beads by themselves and made into bracelets, necklaces, propping up on a stick, threading through a scarf or admiring inside a curio cabinet. And the ballroom was PACKED. Myriad artists criss-crossed the room in small booths as grandmas, bag ladies and earringed dudes wearing tight jeans poured over bulbous, incandescent glass trinkets of all shapes and sizes. The silent bead auction was causing quite a stir, and the free water was flowing like molten glass.

Turns out a total of 450 world reknowned bead makers invaded the Twin Cities over the past 10 days to swap tales, tecniques and international bead trends.

No, I didn’t buy anything. However, I actually found myself staring at the traveling Trajectories: An Exhibition Exploring Contemporary Glass Beadmaking exhibit and pointing out small details, “Look at the tiny butterfly in that one! Look, that dragon is crying blood!!”

It goes for another hour…if you want to get your bead on.

OK, OK, I’m awake.

There’s a new online music publication in town, and i’m kinda-sorta in love: Reveille. (say it with me now: Rev-uh-lee. This is what 8 years of useless french lesson do to you. Another helpful Sarah Green public service announcement.)

I heard about this last night as I was desperately trying to not have a meltdown in rush hour (rain does not equal mass pandemonium… does it? Aren’t we the same citizens who trounce playfully through a foot of snow at the opposite end of the calendar year?)… Mary Lucia interviewed Andrea Myers (current editor of my personal fave, howwastheshow), who’s a big part of Reveille, along with a nice cast of writers.

I play a designer in real life, so I’m giving a big thumbs up to the non-cluttered, sensible, lovely web design. Also, digging on the “big publication” feel, and local coverage content, of this.

And it has an RSS feed set up… woot.
Good stuff… I wish them well. And I’m totally excited to see where they go… from yesterday’s interview, it sounds like the staff has some great ideas to take this local music online publication to some serious levels of awesome.

Hot House Earned Me $25

xcelhotIt wasn’t even a month ago that the fusebox on our air conditioner’s outdoor compressor fried. I’m talking melted-through, irreplacable, it’s July 4th and nobody can fix your problem for 48 hours, pal. But $250 dollars later the fusebox was replaced with a circuit breaker and that cool, sweet air has been flowing every day since.

So when I came home last night and discovered the a/c fan was running but blowing hot air, I totally freaked. I checked all the circuit breakers, ran outside to see the compressor not running, tripped the new breaker and started sweating how much this was going to cost (pun intended).

It was then my wife reminded me we have Xcel Energy’s Saver’s Switch.

Basically an electrician installs a remote-controlled switch that allows Xcel to cycle your a/c compressor off and on at 15- to 20-minute intervals on super hot days. In exchange for handing your precious climate control reigns to the power company, you get a one time $25 credit.

Apparently 350,000 consumers are using the Saver’s Switch, which claims to help: Preserve natural resources for future generations; Keep electricity available to all communities during periods when demand is very high; and Keep electricity rates low and affordable.

Earlier this week, an Xcel Saver’s Switch snafu in Sioux Falls cut off a/c across the city for almost the whole day! Yowsa.

According to Xcel, “Most customers don’t even notice when Saver’s Switch is activated. ” I’ll tell you what, with the humidity so high this week, we definitely noticed both yesterday and today.

In fact, I would’ve paid Xcel a $25 bonus just to override that stupid box. Anybody else have one?

Myth-ical.

(Disclaimer: I know someone is going to call me an urban music snob after this post. I don’t care. Bring it.)

Do you know what I don’t understand?
How acts like The Flaming Lips, or Elvis Costello, get booked into Myth Nightclub.

In bloody goddamn Maplewood.

I live in the city for myriad reasons, but one of them is the things I like to do — attend shows, be an active part of our thriving music and arts scene — are all in the city.

I probably won’t go to Myth. Not because I’m an urban elitist (though, maybe I am)… but because it doesn’t seem realistic for me to drive out to Maplewood in rush-hour traffic for a show, to not be able to have a beer with my music because I have to bob and weave home through the clusterfuck that is always road construction at that end of town, as opposed to hopping on my bike (or a bus) and getting myself safely, sanely, back home.

Has anyone been to a show at Myth? Are they any good? Is the venue worthwhile? Their website frightens me. I know I’m not their demographic… so why do they book shows that obviously are my demographic into their venue with increasing regularity?

Any Twin Cities Blogathon-ers?

Is anybody around here participating in this year’s Blogathon? It starts Saturday at 8am CDT.

Tell us who you are and what charity you’re supporting in the comments.

Victoria’s Secret Coming to Uptown

I talked to Jake Weyer from the Southwest Journal last week about the impending opening of Victoria Secret (and North Face, and American Apparel) in Uptown.

I’m not an expert. I’m not an urban planner. I get that mine is not the only demographic that lives/plays in Uptown. I get that this particular Victoria Secret location will be a concept store. I get that a bigger, prettier version of a mall store can stand alone. But the place for a store like that in Minneapolis is downtown. Not Uptown.

I prefer to see something more unique in that space. But I realize that it’s expensive and the reality is that an independent small business probably couldn’t afford it there.

So maybe it’s just my personal distaste for Victoria’s Secret. And the fact that that I’m not in that “high-buck haircut” crowd. I would have been perfectly fine with it if American Apparel had moved into that corner space. Hell, I’d be fine with it less opposed if North Face had the corner spot instead.

Either way, I suppose it’s better to have the space occupied than not.

Meh.
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Buster’s On 28th opens tonight

busters28.JPGSick of being the last one to eat at brand new restaurant as you’re forced to endure amateur reviews from your friends and family? Tonight is your chance to be the early adopter…

Buster’s On 28th is hosting its grand opening tonight. Menu looks good (pdf), and who can pass up a new take on the Juicy Lucy?

However, as Ed Kohler points out, the restaurant is a little confused about it’s location. 28th Street or Avenue? It actually does make a difference.

Details aside, Aaron Landry and Taylor will be liveblogging their dinner experience starting at 6 p.m.

If you can find it, let us know what you think!

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