Sunday, December 09, 2007

Lost Love at the Bedlam Theatre thru Dec. 16

This weekend is the last chance to experience Lost Love, performed at the Bedlam Theatre through Dec. 16. Lost Love is the first in a trilogy of plays premiered by area playwright Peter Papadopoulos, a Bedlam Theatre collaborator.

Lost Love is an innovative, edgy play juxtaposing personal and worldly catastrophies. From a hurricane/flood leaving a new bride (Kristi Terns) alone and stranded accompanied by a valet,(John Cole) seemingly the only other survivor, to the breakdown of a relationship, rife with conflict over possessions and loss of love, sanity and possessions. The clashing of wills and desires are sharply contrasted as the bride and valet have lost their people and homes and are desperately alone and hungry, while the lesbian couple played by Heather Wilson and Maren Ward, haggle over the discontent and loss of love because of cheating, the loss of trust and disintegration due to compulsive shopping and overspending ways. Disillusioned Ward, inspired by brooding French Art Film Guy on Television, decides to tune in and drop out, discarding the possessions, and taking in the stranded bride and valet. Compassion, bewilderment and collisions ensue, climaxing with a very late pizza. This play is a fantastic, raw, edgy look at perspectives about love and possessions and loss from shallow to shattering. Don't miss it!

Shows Thursday through Sunday @ 8pm - Novemeber 30th-December 16th.
Plus 3pm MatineeSaturday December 15th.

Tickets $15-18
plus $5 discounts for Under 25 / Over 65 / Performing Artists / and Collective Workers
AND a $2 Rebate when you Walk, Bike, take the Bus or Train ("How did YOU get here?)

Pre-show Dinner available as well. The food is excellent! And the drinks are very reasonably priced. Great Wine and Beer selection.

$15 Prix-Fixe Dinner features your choice of:
Citrus Roasted CHICKEN
Sunflower Seed encrusted TILAPIA
or a vegan SWEET POTATO w/ Parsnip Puree
all with salad, your choice of sides, dessert, and coffee

Saturday, December 01, 2007

All the Pretty Horses acoustic show Postponed

Due to the snow and bad roads, All the Pretty Horses acoustic premiere is postponed until likely February 8 at the 331 Club. Stay tuned for more on this.

Also Nikki Matteson and Rich Rue cancelled at the Hat Trick tonight.

Stay in and stay warm (unless you, like myself, are planning to attend Our Frida exhibit at the Art Jones Gallery in the Casket Arts Building!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

What's Happenin' This Week?

Cyn’s Acoustic and Folk Picks for the Week Nov. 29 – Dec 5:
Thurs., Nov. 29:
• Tonite is Louisiana Rhythms fe: The Rockin’ Pinecones zydeco, Cajun and New Orleans dance music at the Eagles Club at the Eagles Club from 8 – 11 p.m.
• Nikki Matteson and Rich Rue perform at the Mill City CafĂ© during
Dinner hour 7 – 9
Friday, Nov. 30:
• Front Porch Swingin’ Liquor Pigs this Friday’s Happy Hour at the Eagles Club 7–9 pm
• The Bitter Spills fe: Rich Mattson and Baby Grant Johnson, playing old country blues and and old-timey folk songs at the 331 Friday Nov. 30
Saturday, Dec. 1:
• DAKOTA DAVE HULL: Concert Celebrating the release of his new CD, Time Machine Dec. 1 — 8 p.m. at Patrick’s Cabaret, 3010 Minnehaha Avenue South, Minneapolis. Tickets at the Podium and the Homestead Pickin’ Parlor.
• Ben Glaros CD release with special guest Slim Dunlap
8pm $12 advance, $15 day of show
• Don’t miss this one! All the Pretty Horses play all-acoustic, You heard it right . . . acoustic for the first time ever, at the 331 Club at 9.
Sunday, Dec 2
• Jen Markey’s acoustic Jam at the 331 Club 1 – 4
• Charlie Parr and the Bitter Spills play the Turf Club Old Stage at 9
•Womenfolk at Gethsemane concert series welcomes Alison Rae. Ellen Stanley of "Womenfolk" curates this monthly event at Gethsemane Church on 4th Street in downtown Minneapolis.
Monday, Dec 3:
• The Roe Family Singers weekly Mondays at the 331 Club
• Willie Murphy 1st Wednesdays at The Commodore Hotel Lounge December 3 —
• First Monday Old-Time Square Dance fe: members of the Lulu Gals and more, at the Eagles Club 7;30 – 10:00
Wednesday, Dec. 5
• Dreamland Faces perform every Wedsnesday at the Bedlam Theatre on the West Bank, 9 p.m. till late, great food and beverages are available till late as well
• Jackson’s Juke Joint presents: Max Hey at the 331 Club at 7 p.m.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fort Wilson Riot Idigaragua Indie-Rock Opera review

Idigaragua, the indie-rock opera performed by Fort Wilson Riot and directed by Jeremey Catterton at the Bedlam Theatre Sept. 6 - 16 was wildly fast-paced and fantastically light-years ahead of its time, in creativity, collaboration and complexity. Inspired by two Paul Bowles short stories ("Tapiana" and "A Distant Episode"), "Idigaragua" centers on the epic adventures of a naive American journalist abroad. Captured by pirates, he saves himself by glorifying them in the media, then escapes to an idyllic village, only to destroy it through globalization.

Having attended many Fort Wilson Riot performances over the past three years and hearing and seeing Idigaragua evolve from a short song about 3 minutes long to an hour-long five part song I looked forward to the indie-rock opera with high anticipation. I attended Idigaragua three times — it grew increasingly intense, and heartwrenching with each attendance, and as familiarity with the drama set in, as well as clarity of the vision and messages (naive ideology, falsifying media to glorify unjust war sacrificing many "to save your own skin," imposing class divides via globalization and capitalism, choosing to follow rules out of fear, and more . . . ), themes we were confronted by via a well-constructed hour-long song performed phenomenally by Fort Wilson Riot, and magnified vastly by the theatrical performers lip-syncing the lyrics and acting melo-dramatically drawing out the horrors and the humor of Idigaragua. Swords and flashlights jabbed, and puppet parts flew intensely close. The music smoothly transitioned from melodic and idyllic, to ominous and dark, to chaotic and carnivalesque, as Fort Wilson Riot members performed in costumes mirroring their actor counterparts.

The rock opera performance was just what this already perfect hour-long song needed to reach its fullest potential in its epic scope.

Idigaragua, a bird nobody likes, dog puppets attacking, being made into a circus geek, pirates beset with the problem of a bad reputation, dancing cactuses, an ominous rider, and anti-capitalism protesters are but a few of the nightmarish events that besiege the journalist, a naive Western journalist who responds in ways that leaves a trail of destruction, angry mobs and innumerable dead wherever he goes.

The magic realism of the rock opera was enhanced by lightning fast costume changes, numerous puppets, great tricks with lighting, a simple set with symbolic props. One highlight of several climaxes was a 4-minute found film collage shown on a roll-down screen with styrofoam blocks, showing a rapid building and decay of a civilization by globalization and capitalism, then being torn down by rebels against the class divide and poverty the new civilization created.

The show Idigaragua, one of the most successful fait accomplis performed by any rock band in decades or perhaps years to come, must go on, and hopefully it will continue, here and throughout the world! There is great potential for Idigaragua to spread throughout the land as an amazing song/story/drama by one of the most visionary eclectic rock/funk/jazz/punk bands around.

my KFAI "Who's Spinning Who" series debuts tonight!

Please tune in to KFAI 90.3 FM Mpls., 106.7 FM St. Paul tonight, Thursday from 6:00 to 6:30 p.m. to hear the debut of my new KFAI series, "Who's Spinning Who?" when I interview musicians, producers, bookers, record store and label staff, and other music fans about their favorite music, both new and old. They'll spin samples of these picks giving you a taste of what may also become your favorites. They will also fill you in on upcoming new projects they're working on!

This episode of "Who’s Spinning Who" features special guest Jacob Grun, The Sound Gallery co-owner, recording engineer and live sound engineer for the Uptown Bar and booker for Rossi's Blue Star Room. He also does booking for the Turf Club, and formerly the Hexagon. Grun is also a musician with
Parts for All Makes and Ice Palace.

Grun recently finished working as sound and tech engineer with Fort Wilson Riot on their indie-rock opera, Idigaragua performed at the Bedlam Theatre during the first half of September. Grun hosts Sound Gallery events regularly such as a recent art show by local artist Kyle Pettis and soon, an afterparty for a fashion show at the Aveda Institute for MN Fashion Week.

Grun is working with Tuesday's Robot on their next record coming up this Fall, and enjoys playing out with his bands. His next performance is with Ice Palace, for the Twin Town High Release Show at First Avenue Main Room featuring Mark Mallman.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Electric Arc Radio Season Premiere Review

The best comedic/dramatic/live radio show not on the radio, Electric Arc Radio season premiere kicked off September 15 at the Women's Club (Loring Park) to a sold-out crowd of hundreds. Detailing the lives of four tormented writers, with Alan Greenspan living in their backyard treehouse, and neighbor, notorious punk poet Paul D. occasionally dropping by to "lay down a few soft words about life, living and the pursuit of whatever."

When I first saw Electric Arc Radio perform at Creative Electric for an audience of several dozen, I laughed till I cried. Even snorted. Meaning its really funny. Bac then, over two or three years ago, I knew it was the most hilarious thing out there, replete with wacky (and wacked) characters, hilariously bad one liners that'll make you bust your gut, hot tub humor, squirrel and pidgeon hunting in the backyard by Greenspan, writers compulsively bursting into sentimental song and Britney and Madonna covers, and telling sad but true tales of life in a little house in a big city.

Electric Arc Radio makes lit hip, not highbrow, and no subject is sacred as the writers candidly reveal their hopes and fears, anger and angst "getting lost in their forest minds, wondering why the world left them behind." The shows are filled with storytelling and songs, including music throughout by local musical guests such as The New Standards, the Owls and Walker Kong.

The Fall 2007 season premiere featured performances by Little Man, whose big dramatic energy was a perfect psychedelic rock-n-roll match for the rock energy of Electric Arc Radio's sold-out show at the Women's Club in Loring Park.

This episode began when a new light rail stop was put in the writers' front yard because a councilmember (who wakes up to German techno) had eyeballs that went bad. Punk poet Paul D. cuts his lawn with scissors, Brady goes on a light-rail adventure to the Mall of America and gets sick on Cinnabons, Sam finds possible love, possibly not a potential killer, on Facebook which is hosting a new meetup campaign: "poke 'em on the lightrail" and Mark Wheat of the Current poses the philosophical question, "If you meet love on myspace, is it a person, or persona you're in love with? And, if girlfriends in the past have threatened to shoot you, can you fall in love again?" The lightrail brings life to the small street, and Steph learns how to make salmon loaf with brandy. Herbach learns from Clerky the liquor store clerk, that rollerskates (two mini-lightrails), are really where its at, he sings a sentimental ode to his shiny new skates as he flies past dumpsters and between cars, and punk poet Paul D., torn up about the lightrail, shares a poem, and decides to tear up the rails for scrap metal, making enough to throw a kegger with a bonfire in the backyard.

Electric Arc Radio is hilariously demented, sending gales of laughter through the audience. One of the best comedic dramas I've ever seen with humor ringing reflectively of the idiosyncracies of life, I addictively look forward to new episodes every couple weeks.

Upcoming shows feature musical guests: Haley Bonar (9/29), Storyhill (10/13), Fran King (10/27), Mary and J.G. Everest (11/10).

Monday, August 06, 2007

Get Up Johns present: Revival Show & Revival Fest

Well, the monthly Revival Show has had some real whoopers, since the Get Up Johns revived the old-timey revival tent vibe inspired by the earlier, popular House of Mercy Presents and Grand Ol' Opry, at the Turf last April. For Revival Show Sunday August 19th at the Turf Club at 9 p.m. , the Get Up Johns host Tim O'Reagan (the Jayhawks) with Tim Boquist (Son Volt), Chris Koza & Martin Devaney.

Yet more exciting than this, is a road trip to the tent revival style Revival Fest as Sat. Sept. 22 from 5 - 9 p.m. the Get Up Johns pitch the tent and the music at St. John's Preparatory School, in Collegeville MN. There they host phenomenal Charlie Parr, who put on a stunning, foot-stompin' show at the Turf last night with washboard-player Lane (prodigy of Mikkel) — Parr's rousting "Jesus on the Mainline" nearly brought the house down, the Pines (with a great new CD produced by Redhouse) and the great music and revival show preacher/barker style antics of Mike Gunther & His Restless Souls.

Complete with prayer benches and a roughhewn pulpit, Revival Show embraces the style of an old-time tent revival meeting, requiring only that the audience pay the price of admission, and not that they "get right with God," says Get Up John, Josh Wencke. It'll be a good time for all.

Tune in to my special MBOTMA stringband show on Dig Up the Roots

Tune in to KFAI tomorrow, Tuesday Aug. 7, from 9 - 11 a.m. as I play fiddle and banjo tunes by folks performing at MBOTMA past and present! Get geared up for the 28th Annual MBOTMA fest held at el Rancho Manana as you'll hear stringbands performing this year such as Poor Benny (just released a great new CD), Eric and Suzy Thompson, The High 48s, Dan Gellert, Moss Piglets, and those from the past such as Mill City Grinders, Pert Near Sandstone, Uncle Earl, Rayna Gellert, Reeltime Travelers, the Wilders, and many more. I'll also feature music the likes of what you'll hear around campfires such as by Clancy Ward (former original Dickel Brother from Portland) and Sarah York, sounding just like the old '78s they're into, fiddler Tim Foss, and members of the above bands joining in the all-day/all-night jam sessions. MBOTMA is really a good time, with five stages, workshops, lots of dancing, playing and listening to old fiddle tunes. Just watch out for "Hard Times on Beaver Dam Road" and be careful if you "go up on Sugar Hill." And, give Clayton a nickel, see if he'll dance.

I'll present a calendar with some dates and times of performances, workshops and dances. During my weekly Dakota Dave Hull calendar at 10 a.m Thursdays, I'll present my fuller calendar "What's Happenin'" so stay tuned for that as well, as there are more good times in this town any given night than one can keep track of . . .

So check it out as I substitute host for Greg Carr bringin' you great old-timey tunes and helpin' you out in "gettin' ready to go!" And, if you miss it, remember you can pick it up in the KFAI Archives, Under Dig Up the Roots!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Black Audience, and Legendary Jim Ruiz Band: West Bank Hits Entry

Wednesday night was filled with cool surprises as I was reminded by luck that married friends Robin Kyle and Jayanthi were performing their new band Black Audience formed per the request of Jim Ruiz at the Entry. If you were lucky enough to see them earlier in the year before they became a bona fide band with a name at places such as Palmers, you knew you were in for a treat. This evening, Jayanthi led her band featuring Mike Gunther on keys, Robin Kyle on guitar, Luke Kyle on bodran, Doug Anderson on banjo and bones, and a great harmony singer and harp player, with her ultra-strong, smooth vocals. She belted out gospel and old-time and traditional songs, including a cover of Harry Belafonte's "Darling Cora", "Wayfaring Stranger", "Queen Jane", "Down by the Riverside, and "This Train". Jayanthi's great voice along with harmonies, a wicked percussion section and fine melodies, sent chills down the spine, and made the heart swell. It was indeed as Robin described, "like a hootenanny with a great lead singer." I and many of their friends were on hand to witness the spellbinding spectacle that is Black Audience. We beg them to play more, and they promise they will. Robin and Jayanthi inform me their next gig is Sinners Strip Joint. They'll sing gospel for the ladies. I'll try and keep you posted on more to come.

I and many others attending had never seen Jim Ruiz' band, which last performed six years ago. Longing for descriptions of this legendary band drawing innumerable fans and curious new listeners from the West Bank and outer regions, we got answers like, "'80s Scottish Pop. Jazz, bossa nova, happy songs about death." Curioser and curioser. When I heard the Legendary Jim Ruiz band, I got it. All the above were apt descriptions indeed. Nice light, energetic '80s euro-pop with bossa nova rhythms with some fine jazz riffs in between. Kim Anderson's xylophone was the perfect accompaniment in spirit and style. Great harp-player Clint Hoover joined on a couple songs. Sweet, happy songs about the death of the Viking Bar, and Jim's bike "Schwinn, Schwinn, Schwinn Continental" gave everyone the warm fuzzies, and sweet memories and hopes for a future of more Jim Ruiz performances.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Session on West Bank Boogie at Dylan Symposium

Please join me for my session next Tuesday: "West Bank Boogie: The Scene Around Dylan" as part of the Bob Dylan Symposium, "Highway 61 Revisited: Dylan's Road from Minnesota to the World". in conjunction with "Bob Dylan's American Journey, 1956-1966", the ongoing exhibit at the Weisman Art Museum. Check the website for registration details (day rates and entire symposium).

First, on Sunday, March 25, at 4:45 pm, I'm signing West Bank Boogie books prior to the Dylan
Symposium Opening Reception at the Weisman Art Museum. They're available for sale in the Weisman Gift shop or bring your copy.

On Tuesday, March 27, at 10 a.m. my session is part of "Positively 4th St. and Beyond: Minnesota Accents," chaired by renowned music writer, Martin Keller. This will be held in Coffman Memorial Union, 3rd Floor Room 324.

Here is the overview of the Symposium:
Designed as a lively and stimulating assessment of Bob Dylan’s work, sources, influences, and aimed at a diverse audience of scholars, students, avid fans, journalists, musicians, and other Dylanologists, Highway 61 Revisited will be a landmark international gathering. Speakers include many key writers on Dylan’s work and other scholars of music, American culture, literature, history, and international subjects as well as musicians and writers. Presentations will give particular emphasis to Dylan’s Minnesota roots, his routes to other places, cultures, and musical traditions, and his international sources and impact. Featured speakers include Greil Marcus, Michael Gray, Christopher Ricks, Alessandro Carrera, Anne Waldman, Daphne Brooks, Matt Friedberger, Gayle Wald, Dave Marsh, Thomas Crow, CP Lee, Darcey Steinke, Robert Polito, Stephen Scobie, Dylan Hicks and a line up of Minneapolis musicians, and more.

Bedlam Theatre's Infiamato: An Incendiary Opera tonight!

Rah's on Fire in Infiamato
What better way to celebrate Vernal Equinox than Infiamato, tonight's outdoor spectacle, Bedlam Theatre's first production in their new space on the West Bank! Tonight's performance is "Pay What You Think It's Worth," and is followed by musical performances by Spider John Koerner, Skoal Kodiak, Dreamland Faces, and DJ Beethcake.

Created by Rah Kjos with Dhann Polnau, Infiamato is described as "a fantastical visual journey with stunning fire performance****, otherworldy circus, and the ancient art of shadow puppetry, set to the score of a hauntingly phrenetic nine piece live orchestra. A story outside of time. A meditation on the death card. Transforming and igniting the flame within us all. (but it's NOT a hippie love fest)."

**Fire eating, breathing, wings, fingers, fans, palms, poi, monkey fists, whip, juggling, staff, sculpture, swords, hoop skirits, tail feathers and snail.

If you've seen Barebones Halloween Show, you'll have a taste of what fiery, illusionary surprises and marvels are in store. If not, I assure you, you'll have seen nothing like this in the TC's. Bedlam Theatre has been pushing the boundries of local imagination since 1993.

It's also playing the next two weekends on Friday and Saturday, for $12. Closing night party features music by: The Knotwells, Bloodwall, Dirtyard and DJ Dang.

Reservations and info at 612-341-1038.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Chooglin' rocks the Turf tonight; Whiskey lives, and Eagles Club starts St. Patty's Day right

There are so many great things to do this St. Patty's Day . . . here are the things I'm going to see, of the many fine choices.

CHOOGLIN' rawks the roof off the Turf tonight! Drop everything and check out Chooglin' if you haven't yet. If you've seen 'em, I don't need to tell you what to do! Chooglin' is a straight ahead good-time rock 'n' roll band with the best of Southern rock references . . . to me, they're akin to the Rolling Stones/Bad Company or the Band/Iggy and the Stooges rolled into one, (my husband, a former '80s punk bassist says "MC5/Stooges") with their own flavor of truck-drivin' pedal to the metal propulsive rock that you've just got to dance to, if you've still got a pulse. They have one of the best live rock shows in Minneapolis. Chooglin' features former Midnight Evils' guitarist/vocalist Brian Vanderwerf and Jesse Tomlinson, the Fuck Yeahs drummer Shawn Walker who does it Keith Moon style, and former Blame bassist Jeff Johnson laying down the heavy groove. Add to this mix a brass trio from The Horns of Eleganza, and you'll go out of your mind with more intoxicating fun than a bottle of Jamison.

Before them is another charismatic, extravaganzistic all-out psychedelic rock band with great guitar chops and vocals of Christy Hunt, fantastic drummer Chaz and bassist Helz, a wild '70s-esque rock show. Their influences include a gammet from Siouxie and the Banshees, Led Zeppelin, Missing Persons David Bowie, Zappa and more.

In one hour, at 3 p.m. today (till 5 or later) the Liquor Pigs do all Irish tunes at the Eagles Club. The good times continue with the Del Counts at 7 p.m. and there is corned beef & cabbage or Irish stew available.

You can follow Randy and Dave down the road to the Whiskey Junction, reopened as of Wednesday, as they kick off live music beginning at 8:30 p.m. They're followed by Machinery Hill, a fun mix of traditional and modern Irish, and rock.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

What's Happenin' this week?

Always, there's far more going on than this . . . but these are a few of my music picks that I list on my calendar for KFAI's Dakota Dave Hull Show.

Cyn’s Picks for the Week March 15 - 21:

Tonight, March 15 —
• Idyllville at the 331 Club, 9 p.m.
• at Gingko, there’s a Songwriter round robin with Dan Newton, Diane Jarvi, Erik Brandt and Noah Riemer, at 7 pm

Fri. March 16:
• Always a great time, the Front Porch Swingin’ Liquor Pigs Happy Hour Friday night, 7 – 9 p.m.
• the Nomad Turns 2, their 2nd anniversary party fe; Maria Isa, and more, with happy hour and appetizers beginning at 4 p.m.
• The Belfast Cowboys, Van Morrison cover band, Pre-St. Patty’s Day Party at Lees. Then stay for Michael Quinn and the Bourbon Kings, at Lee’s at 9 p.m.
• Switched at Birth perform at Dulono’s Friday and Sat. 8 - midnight

St. Patricks Day, Saturday, March 17:
• the Delcounts at the Eagles Club, with Irish food available!
• Chooglin’, Ouija Radio and Western Fifth perform at the Turf Club
• Grace Darling and Le Cirque de Rouge Burlesque @ Lee’s
• the 24th Annual St. Patricks Day Concert at1st Avenue with Boiled in Lead, and Savage Aural Hotbed
• Keston and Westdal’s “Truth is Stranger” CD Release party at the Kitty Cat Klub. JT Bates joins them on drums. Kitty Cat Club at 10 p.m.

Sunday, March 18:
• Jen Markey’s Acoustic Sunday Jam, 331 Club, noon to 3!
•, After being a guest on Urban Folk (1 -3) Molly Maher heads down to perform songs from her new CD Balms of Gilead, live at the Ginkgo Coffeehouse, 3 – 5 p.m.
• Dervish at the Cedar, at
• Captain Yonder with 10W40 at the Turf at 9 p.m.
• Chris Pericelli, of Little Man performs solo acoustic 10:30 p.m. at the Kitty Cat Klub! It’ll be his first show back from SXSW.

Monday, March 19:
• The Roe Family Singers are back at the 331 Club, 9 p.m.
• Jazz Implosion Mondays at the Clown Lodge, fe: Fat Kid Wednesdays,starting at 9:30

Tuesday March 20:
• Mick Sterling @ Rossi’s Blue Star downtown at 5:30 p.m. If you haven’t yet, check out this beautiful blue venue
Wednesday, March 21:
• Jackson’s Juke Joint presents Moreland & Arbuckle at 7 p.m.
• Nomad Jazz Series features Tickle Fight, 9 p.m.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Where Eagles Fly, and Pigs Dig Up Roots

Are you experienced with the Eagle's Club? Curious and want to know more? Here's my recent article profiling the Eagles Club in the Bridge, reprinted in the Daily Planet: High Flying Eagles

The Eagles been increasingly popular over the past six months, so much so that often its hard to find a parking spot in its vastly huge (free!) parking lot and surrounding streets. Its really fun to hang out with friends and meet others, tons of room to dance, hundreds of people of all ages and ways of life. And, a separate bar so you can hang out and talk, tons of seating, always some benefit, birthday or wedding party . . . A vast number of us prefer, and will remain loyal to Eagles and Vince's phenomenal growing music programming, even as rumor number 9 flies of a Viking reopening in April. (I feel trepidation about this because I love the historic, legendary aspects of it, but its too small to fit the vast numbers of enthusiastic musicgoers from all over town who love to dance to Willie, the Liquor Pigs, Twin Cities Playboys, the Butanes, Cafe Accordion Orchestra and more, parking is difficult/expensive, sound is bad . . .) if it reopens, hopefully it will cordinate a schedule that works with the Eagles Club, not against. The Eagles Club totally picked up the pieces of the West Bank music scene and grew it and made numerous changes to make the sound better and the place vibrant and cozy for us all. They well deserve our continued allegiance. Not to mention the music is just fantastic.

Mardi Gras was packed to the roof with partiers and fun music. I anticipate equal, if not more fun will be had on St. Patty's day when the Delcounts play and there will be cheap and yummy corned beef and cabbage, and Irish stew for the masses.

Vote For West Bank Boogie! MN Book Awards Finalist!

West Bank Boogie is now a Minnesota Book Awards finalist, hurray! It's one of five in the nonfiction category. There is a new Reader's Choice award this year that will also be given out as part of the MN Book Awards. If you'd like, please take just a mere second to vote for West Bank Boogie here, and please pass this on to any West Bank Boogie lovers you know might want to vote also.

Love, Janis

I LOVED Love, Janis, a phenomenal play that blew my mind. It shifted my perception of Janis Joplin, as it portrayed so well the various dimensions of her: Janis Joplin the performer ("Janis Joplin in a box") and Janis, the not so well known vulnerable lonely loner, intellectual, vulnerable, hopeful individual who kept in touch with her family with her candid letters, upbeat, yet belying the pain and confusion that goes hand-in-hand with the joys of being a famous musician. Gives songs like "Free is Just another word for nothing left to lose," whole new meaning. Performed stunningly by a "singing" Janis who completely channeled her spirit on stage performing over 15 of Janis great songs, and a "speaking" Janis who conveyed her other side and viewpoints of her life via oral letters to her family. Oft the two Janis's appeared on the stage together responding to an interviewer and the effect of them playing off each other and together was riveting and moving, hilarious, thought-provoking and absolutely heart-wrenching. I am a new fan come far too lately and compelled to read up more on her life. I'll start with her sister Laura's book Love, Janis the play was based on. Laura was in fact at the play!!! And talked during a Q and Aafter the play, about her relationship with Janis, thoughts and insights on her life and contributions to music and social change. This was a great, unexpected treat.

Townes Van Zandt Tribute at Lee's

To me, Townes was one of the best singer/songwriters in America, who lived too short a life before he flew out of here for good. Several groups payed fine tribute to him celebrating his birthday at Lee's last Wednesday, including local singer/songwriters Nikki Matteson and her band the Ruemates (featuring Rich Rue). Matteson sings like an angel, plays guitar like the devil, and traversed 3 disparate styles of Townes' with ease, making them her own in a good way, starting with a personal fave, Flyin' Shoes. There were members of Tuesday's Robot, a few bands I'd not seen before (always fun to see new bands), and Bernie King, the organizer of this event. King had a fun stage presence with a gravelly voice like Tom Waites, at one point singing/rapping to an African percussion song, sounding like . . . Steve Kaul said it best: a Nigerian Leonard Cohen. King's great, and I definitely plan to check him out at the Kitty Kat soon! Also playing was Rich Mattson, who quipped Ol' Yeller would've played, but they didn't remember whether Townes was with Lynyrd Skynyrd or that musician with Bruce Springsteen, or . . . natch, he played solo, and nailed Townes. Matteson's songwriting oft reminds me of Townes and he proved this, with his new song "Snow Don't Fall," which like your usual poignant Townes tune, made me shed a tear or two. (At a certain point during the 12 or 15 bands, I needed to take a break from three plus hours of relentlessly sorrowful songs, and hoped there wouldn't be a headline the next day "50 people go home and commit suicide after Townes Tribute"). Then it was the Liquor King (or was it the Brass Pig?) as Dave Babb (Front Porch Swingin' Liquor Pigs) paired up with Brass Kings' Steve Kaul. Their guitars together were so tightly in sync, you couldn't wedge a pick between 'em. They do the best version of To Live is To Fly, rivaling Cowboy Junkies. Then Kaul, with his macabre sense of humor selected to do a weird song he heard on a cassette during a dusty road trip, about a youth finding a bone, digging it up, it becomes a skeleton and they go on a thieving spree. Kaul said hearing this blew his mind, and perhaps it would ours. Yup. Babbs and Kaul are absolutely terrific together, and I most highly recommend you check them out when they duo again, such as when they host this Tuesday's FREE! Cedar Cultural Center Open Mike Night.


I'm Back in the TC Groove, oh yeah . . .

Well folks, so much has happened since last I wrote in November and clearly my blog has been severely neglected. Yet with so much going on, and so many happenings and new news I want to get word out about, I'm compelled to get this thing up and running again. I'll keep up with this blog on a more regular basis, so feel free to subscribe and/or link to my blog. There are multiple postings tonight, but that will not be the norm.

I do my weekly "What's Happenin' Cyn?" calendar Thursdays at 10 a.m. during Dakota Dave Hull's show on KFAI (90.3 Mpls/106.7 St. Paul) and will try to post that here afterwards. KFAI's soon getting a new, beautiful, ultra-navigable website you'll want to check out.

Before I get into cool things I caught after fending off nearly getting pneumonia for the third year in a row, and trying to catch up on fiddle tunes at the same time, I'll just briefly mention those things I missed I wished I could've seen:

Little Man CD review — sweet friend, and phenomenal musician with big soul Chris Pericelli got many of the well-deserved accolades for his hard work and fine showmanship over the years. I was blown away the first time I saw Little Man at the Turf, and have caught several fantastic shows since, one highlight being when he performed at our beloved Oak Street Cinema (RIP) in a tribute to T. Rex prior to a T. Rex film. Congratulations on Automatic Soul, Chris! Sorry I couldn't make the party, but the listening party at the 331 was fun!

Fort Wilson Riot Sing-a-long for their CD to be released maybe June . . . actually the pirate sing-a-long is rescheduled. Yay!

Danny Sigelman's Jammy Party at the 331 . . . sounded so fun. But, he has more in store, so stay tuned here for updates.