Archive for March, 2007 Redesigned, Meanwhile Cities Reject Label

While I know Erica has weighed in on the Star Tribune’s annoying practice of selling its Web site to Denny Hecker, this time it’s the Pioneer Press’ turn to change up their page — and it’s WIDE. Like 1000 px wide. It’s going to piss off my Grandma, but I love it.

As tech columnist Julio points out, the blogs are now more visible, and there’s a “Most Recent Blog Posts” section. I’m also a fan of the “Most Popular” section.

I know there’s some discussion over at MNSpeak, including mention that Denny Hecker has a huge banner ad on this one (…great…).

But what I cannot understand is why the Pioneer Press would invest all these resources in rebranding when (as Andy pointed out), “Minneapolis and St. Paul are putting differences behind them to come together as part of a new repositioning plan, with a goal of changing perceptions of the Twin Cities and ditching that name.

If the two cities making up the Twin Cities no longer want that title, why would one of two key newspapers continue to thrust the label upon us?

A Monday Night Queer Entertainment Alternative

If you’re not down with gay white Jewish rap tonight, maybe gay white punk rock is more your style.

Tough Tough Skin is opening for Bitch* and the Exciting Conclusion tonight at Pi. Doors are at 9. Cover is $5. 21+

The most ringing endorsement I’ve heard for Pi thus far comes from River Gordon of Tough Tough Skin:

[T]hey have all the booze you’d expect from a queer bar, with none of the snotty “sir, I mean ma’am, I mean sir” from the bartenders


*Bitch as in formerly of Bitch and Animal.

Great Liquor Stores

I’m looking for some great liquor stores. Greatness can’t be judged on price — a great painting is unlikely to be the cheapest painting. What qualifies for greatness? Selection and knowledgeable and helpful staff are my big drivers. I’ll start out by nominating Surdyk’s for wine, but not for spirits or beer.

Please share your experiences and recommendations for great liquor stores.

Gay White Jewish Rapper from NYC

That would be Soce the Elemental Wizard, and how can you miss with that sort of description; he’s got something for everyone! And he’ll be in town tomorrow night, Monday, 26 March 2007, performing at Triple Rock. I’ve never been to Triple Rock before, so I’m looking forward to seeing a new venue and watching Soce perform, as part of Homocore Minneapolis. I first heard about him about a year ago during the Flaming Film Festival, in a documentary about gay hip-hop artists.

Doors are at 9, cost is 6 bucks and the show is 21+. Also on the bill is Central Standard, Ear Candy, and White Lesbian Rapper.

Definitely something different than your average show.

St. Paul Man Films Dog Beheading on Camera Phone

chevydog.jpgI love YouTube and the concept of user-generated content. These days everyone has a camera phone, and you just never know who’s taping what (Michael Richards learned the hard way).

But unfortunately, that also opens the doors to the sickos in our community who like to behead dogs and capture it to watch later:

A St. Paul man charged Friday with killing a girl’s companion dog because the girl had spurned his attentions had a cell phone with video clips showing the dog being decapitated with a chain saw, according to a criminal complaint.

Anthony Albert Gomez, 24, at first denied any involvement in the death of “Chevy”, an Australian Shepard mix, but later told police that he instigated others to do it, telling them to “cut its head off” and to do it with a chain saw, the complaint states.

That article failed to mention Gomez put the head in a box, wrapped it in Christmas paper and left it on the the family’s front steps for their 17 year-old daughter to find.

From WCCO’s coverage: “She was just hysterical. She was screaming, she said ‘Grandma, it’s my dog’s head.’ I said no it can’t be… and it was the dog’s head,” said Shirley Brown, Crystal’s Grandmother.

Could it be there is a market for animal snuff films? Luckily a quick YouTube search for “dog beheading” only turned up cruelty to stuffed animals and snowmen. This group of guys in St. Paul are wackos.

No word on who got the $10,000 reward. Too bad punishment can’t be eye-for-an-eye on this one!

Minneapolis and St. Paul to Set Aside Differences…for now

Minneapolis and St. Paul will join forces to shed the name “Twin Cities,” and adopt the name “Minneapolis-St. Paul,” setting on the shelf a longstanding rivalry between which city kicks more a$$. Realizing that, to outsiders, both cities have a reputation for being lame, even though it’s totally not true. Just ask Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak:

“This is one of the most exciting metro areas in the country, but we don’t get the word out well enough because we don’t work together,” Rybak said in an interview. “It’s time to get over all that old-school rivalry between the cities.”

Research by Meet Minneapolis shows that out-of-towners view the Twin Cities, er, I mean Minneapolis-St. Paul as a flyover. And Twin Cities residents, ugh, I mean Minneapolis-St. Paul residents already view the two cities as one.


Alright, alright.
For about the last 8 months or so, I have noticed these random bits of love graffiti up all over the city. I first noticed a really amazing little stenciled-in-love couple over by Surdyk’s in nordeast, but quickly started seeing them pop up in uptown as well — and even as far north as a giant tag sprawled all over a barfront in St. Cloud last January.

Anyone else have a sighting, or opinion about this artform? Part of what I love about this particular stenciling project is its theme – and its anonymity. So what I do not want is for the artist(s) to out themself(ves) here. But is anyone else noticing this phenomenon?

I know graffiti is technically vandalism, and for all intents and purposes, illegally defacing someone else’s property… but you know what? I love it, anyway. It’s amazing, as an artform. And I think this love graffiti stencils are simple, but delightful. They make me smile on the bus, or on a walk, and they remind me that being a human in a big city is still about loving your neighbor.


A Sale of Two Suits

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m currently in the market for what will effectively be my first good suit.

My fiance and I made Brooks Bros. our first stop. Sure, we had to go to the Mall of America. And sure, it’s a huge national chain. But Brooks Bros. means suits, and they would, likely as not, be a magic bullet to getting a decent suit with relatively little exertion on our part.

Dead wrong.

The Grim Reality of Johnny Rockets

The fiance and I wound up spending our lunch hour (and then some) at the Mall of America today. The mission: buying my suit for the wedding. To make a long story short, our Brooks Brothers visit was hellishly non-productive. After 45 minutes of trying on suits seemingly at random, we repaired to one of the 62 food courts, where a series of choices between “bad” and “worse” brought us to the old-school lunch counter of Johnny Rockets.

Our food wasn’t terrible (my grilled cheese was decent, but that sets a fairly low bar for food-service competence, I suppose), but we both left feeling strangely depressed. The problem with Johnny Rockets is that it aggressively touts all the hallmarks of a fun, old-fashioned place to work: cutesy white uniforms with little hats, 1950s-style graphic design, miniature jukeboxes, etc. etc. At the same time, all the employees wear a hollow stare best evoked by Radiohead lyrics or the latter-day art of Goya.

I don’t blame the employees — the work and pay is undoubtedly terrible, and many of them appear to be middle-aged immigrants looking for a first step up the ladder. But I do blame the franchise for creating the visuals of an old-fashioned diner atmosphere and then creating conditions that lead to utterly miserable workers.

Ah, well. We’d been prepared for the experience. Becca had such a terrifically bad experience at the Johnny Rockets in Boston’s Logan airport that she wrote an essay about it.

Action Frank at the Uptown Bar

My friend John Bungert is going to be performing tonight at the Uptown Bar with his band Action Frank. I was at their first show and it was rockin’. You can hear some of their songs on their myspace page, but nothing like seeing them live. The show is free, the drinks are strong (the show is 21+). Show starts around nine pm, and I’m not sure what order the bands are in. Also performing are Airports & Atlases and The Small Cities.

The Uptown Bar is across from Calhoun Square at 3018 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis. I only recently started seeing performances there, and prior to that I had only been there in the morning for breakfast. They serve quite a breakfast, with portions big enough that you don’t really need to eat the rest of the day.

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