Archive for October, 2004

Jesus on a Diet…

I found out around 4:30 yesterday afternoon that they were handing out free tickets to see Jesus Christ Superstar at the Orpheum. My friend JasonT was already standingin line and told me to get my fat ass up and go see it with him. How could I resist free tickets?
The Orpheum is a beautifully renovated theater. I’m beginning to think that the balcony isn’t built for musical theater. I have seen a number of shows from the balcony and every one of them I have had a hard time understanding the words. Last night wasn’t as bad as others. I could understand just about every character. Jesus sucked hard, though. I think they had wired his mouth shut to loose weight and forgot to unwire it before the performance. He never really opened his mouth. Crappy singer.
The other aspects of the show were done pretty darn well. I liked the dancing and the set. Usually, whe they take an old story and “modernize” all of the costumes and set I hate it. This actually worked well. The only thing that caught me off guard were the “angels” that appear with Judas after he is killed. THey were dressed like strippers/hookers. Yes, they looked hot, but what is this saying? Judas went to heaven and is now surrounded by hookers? Interesting…

Remember…

Today is the day to get free movie passes!! You can snag tickets to “Saw” with Cary Elwes. Just go to City Pages and find out where…

The lights are much brighter there…

A friend pointed me towards a Star Tribune article from Monday about the state of downtown Minneapolis. The two big points are that the downtown residential population is more than that of the downtowns of Denver, Dallas, Houston and Indianapolis combined, and that we’re soon to be the third major American city (the first two being New York City and Boston) to reach the pre-suburban flight population from 1960.

(You have to register to read more than one article on the Star Tribune site, and I’m not sure how long the article sticks around before going into their pay archive. The extended entry has more info)
(more…)

Art all over…

Piggybacking what Jason was talking about earlier, there are two more buildings being constructed that are really starting to take shape. The first is the brand new Guthrie Theater. This has been the ambitious project that the Guthrie has been seeking for many years. The new building will have three theaters and a restaurant. Most interesting is the “Endless Bridge” that will look out over the river. This is a 187 foot (if I’m not mistaken) bridge with one end connecting to the theater and one end connecting to nothing. It is a neat design. I hope the parking situation is better than it was before.
The second building is being built where the old Guthrie is currently standing. The Walker Art Center is almost doubling its size. The old Walker has closed its doors and many new and wonderful things are being built. First off, a parking ramp was installed underneath the facility. Where was that when the Guthrie was there, huh?!?!?! A new addition by Herzog & de Meuron is being built behind the existing building. This is another architectural feet. A large corner of the building is sticking way out over the sidewalk. It looks really cool to drive by. They have been putting the outside panels on and are now working diligently to finish the inside.
The Guthrie will not be opening its new doors until the 2005-2006 season. It is supposedly being given the “seal of approval” from past Guthrie actor Patrick Stewart. Word is he loved the theater an awful lot when he peformed here. He wants to follow the building of this theater closely and is hoping to be in a play in its inaugural season.
The Walker is set reopen its doors in February of 2005. A few short months until I can go look at that weird statue of fries hanging from the ceiling. Or maybe that one sculpture where it was a pile of sawdust surrounding an orange cone with police tape posted around it. Or maybe they will actually get some GOOD art…

glass houses

There’s major progress going with the Minneapolis Public Library’s new Central Library. As I biked back from returning a book (Jasper Fforde’s latest Thursday Next novel, which I highly recommend) at the interim Marquette Branch in the historic Marquette Plaza building, I noticed that they’ve pretty much finished with the structural aspects and have started doing the “detailing”. The sandstone edging between floors is being applied and the floor to ceiling glass windows are being installed. They’ve got nearly one corner done on one of the floors, and I expect it won’t take long to get the rest of it installed. It’s still not due to open until 2006, but at least it’ll look good until they throw open the doors. According to Skyway News, the library will be offering hardhat tours until Nov 17th of the construction site.

It’s Really Not Any Weirder Than Jesse Ventura…

According to a story in this morning’s Strib, a 17-year-old is mounting a write-in campaign to get herself elected mayor of St. Mary’s Point, Minnesota. (It’s on the St. Croix, near Afton, I’m told.) Never mind that you have to be 21 to run for elected office in this state – in fact, never mind that she isn’t even old enough to vote for herself! – the kid is bound and determined to run City Hall, even if it takes a Supreme Court fight to get that awful ageist statute overturned. It’s all a really cute and inspiring story of civic engagement, until you get to the part about this girl’s parents being notorious local activists with several axes to grind. That sort of takes the shine off the whole thing, but it didn’t stop the underage candidate from getting herself facetime on Jimmy Kimmel Live and CNN.

Me, I’m all for this kind of thing. I can think of a number of local officials I wouldn’t mind seeing replaced by teenagers. Certainly no teen could throw tantrums any more absurd than Dick Day, and most kids are considerably less embarrassing than the (politically) late, unlamented Arlon Lindner. And honestly, can you imagine how pissed off those bickering twits on the Minneapolis City Council would be if they suddenly had to contend with a 17-year-old? It’d be beautiful.

Anyone else got any authority figures they wouldn’t mind switching with a high school senior?

Burger Tossing: The Sport of Gearheads

Saturday morning I woke up and made Reeses Pieces cookies for the service guys at Motoprimo. I started doing this last year when my Yamaha was in for recall work. The guys turned the job around quickly for me, on the promise of cookies.

I brought them three dozen, ensuring that they included the service manager’s favorite flavor: peanut butter & chocolate. He declared, “You know the way to a fat man’s heart!”

Motoprimo offers food on Saturdays to its patrons. Burgers, sandwiches, veggies and sometimes pastries. Many a morning I’ve eaten for free at Motoprimo. I figure I spend enough there to make it all come out even. I never knew what they did with the leftovers, however.

The burgers they were grilling got overcooked when they went unclaimed (motorcycle dealerships are ghost towns once the temps drop below 40o), so a couple of the techs took the “carbon fiber” discs and were chucking them across the street.

One tech declared this was one of his two favorite things to do on Saturday mornings. The other was take the Bonneville out for a spin. It was too cold for that, so his only joy was flinging burgers.

You can see why I like these guys.

So, after much proclamations of love for bringing over a dozen cookies in, I may have another lead on a powdercoater for my Kawi Ninja project. eBay has been my primary source for old bike parts for the Ninja project. I’ve hunted a bit at Roy’s Repair, to no avail. I wish there were more local places to find old parts.

I think it’s about time to start tearing down my Ninja, I don’t have much faith it will be warm enough for a ride now in Minneapolis. Damn our short riding season! I did see two motorcyclists out today. Crazies.

Bubbles

Fall is in full swing, it seems, and when the mercury drops, the hot tubs start heating up. The rest of the country thinks we in the upper midwest and especially the TC are crazy for sitting in hot tubs outdoors when the air temperature is so low, but it’s 37F outside and it seems to be perfect weather to me for a night of relaxing in the bubbles with friends. This is the first autumn I’ve spent in this building, and there seem to be many more signs of the season around here than my former place. It just smells like fall when I step outside. I hope to report on some autumnal activities around the TC over the next month or so, maybe go to one of the corn mazes or the haunted hayrides. But for now, I’m going to wait for one of my fleet of limos to come and pick me up to take me into south Minneapolis. You know the limos, they pull up to the corner on a regular basis, and out of the kindness of my heart, I let other people ride in them to get to where they need to go as well. Talk about luxury!

No New Taxes, Unless, Y’Know, We Suddenly Need Something

The latest issue of Politics in Minnesota (sorry, it’s subscription only) has a major article about the involvement of the Minnesota business community in what will likely be the defining battle of the upcoming legislative session. The issue in question is a proposed 15-year, $11 billion (yes, with a ‘b’) transportation package (roads and transit) to be funded in part by, wait for it, a 10-cent hike in the state gas tax.

Now, the state’s business interests have been major players in the public policy arena in recent years, and were one of the major forces behind the no-new-taxes dogma that currently dominates the majority in St. Paul. They are also longtime backers of the ultra-conservative Taxpayers League of Minnesota. So you can probably guess where the CEOs are coming down on this new transportation proposal.

And you would be guessing dead wrong.

Believe it or not, the business groups are preparing to use their feeding hand to slap their biggest constituents by mounting a major push to get the package passed. Why? Because traffic gridlock, which is getting exponentially worse in the Cities, makes it harder for employees to get to and from work, and for consumers to get from home to the store and back, and for truckers to move goods from the warehouse to the shelves. So the business community has created the Itasca Group, which is designed to look like an independent think tank, to promote the legislation, which will surely be a very hard sell with outstate legislators and conservative lawmakers. Whether the package passes or not (and the smart money is probably on not,) it’ll be fascinating to see whether one of the state’s most powerful lobbies manages to escape the mess with its clout intact…

The city gates

I bike to work most days, and because of moving around, I’ve entered Minneapolis from many different directions. They way I get downtown now is my favourite. As I bike down my street towards downtown, I see the Foshay Tower, framed on the left by the IDS Center and on the right by the former Norwest Tower (now the Wells Fargo Center). Right before getting to I-94, I cut over a block to 3rd and cross the freeway on the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired 3rd Avenue Bridge to enter downtown. Continuing on 3rd, the Minneapolis Convention Center is on my left with its Art Deco style parking ramp on my right. Just past the ramp, I pass the neo-gothic Central Lutheran Church, and see Century Plaza rise up before me. Century Plaza is a cool-looking building, used for a lot of Hennepin County offices, but I can’t find any good information about its history on Google. It looks like a WPA building design, though.

Continuing on my way, the Foshay shoots up like a rocket ship, overlooking a parking lot, so you get a really good view of its entire length from this vantage point at the corner of 3rd and 11th (I think that’s the right corner). By the time I pass it, I’m right in the heart of downtown, in the manmade crevasses of the city, soon to arrive at my urban workplace.

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