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Monday, December 28, 2009

Mark Mallman New Year's Eve 2009 at the Varsity Theater Poster

End 2009 the way you started 2009, at the Varsity waiting to see what Mark Mallman will do next.

Mark Mallman w/ White Light Riot, Koo Koo Kangaroo and DJ set by Attitude City
Doors 8PM
$12, 18+
Sponsored by

Buy tickets here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Minnesota Albums released in 2009

As I prepare to file my ballot to the Star Tribune for their annual Twin Cities Critics Poll, it's become a custom on my part to share the list that Chris Riemenschneider assembles annually to help jog our memories on what albums came out this year. This list is vaguely in alphabetical order and as extensive as it is, it is still not comprehensive. I share it in hopes people will post in the comments the names of albums that have been left off the list. I also share it to demonstrate yet again just how much great music comes out of Minnesota every single year. (Bolded items only indicate albums I have in my own personal collection or that I have listened to in full.)

  • Ada Jane, “Again … Again”
  • The Alarmists, "The Overhead Left”
  • Anders Ponders, “Nodes of Overtones”
  • Arms Akimbo, “You Want To”
  • Aquarelle, “Slow Circles”
  • The Arrest
  • Avenpitch, "Cast Off"
  • Banner Pilot, “Collapser”
  • Chris Bates, Jay Epstein & Chris Olson, “Framework”
  • Bill Mike Band, “Truce”
  • Birds of Virginia, “Trees at Dusk”
  • Bitch N’ Brown (self-titled)
  • BK-One, “RĂ¡dio do Canibal.”
  • Erik Brandt, "Sometimes”
  • Brother Ali, “Us”
  • Brother Ali, “The Truth Is Here” EP
  • Brutal Becomings, "White Lodge"
  • James Buckley, "Knowing and Losing"
  • Bunny Clogs, "More! More! More!"
  • The Chord and the Fawn, “This Has To Be Meant To Be”
  • Ben Connelly, “The Great I Don't Know Why”
  • Big Quarters, "From the Home of Brown Babies & White Mothers."
  • Black Blondie, "Do You Remember Who You Wanted to Be"
  • Capitol Sons, “Dirty Neon”
  • Tim Casey & Martyrs, “Boom”
  • Casanatra, "Death Ride"
  • The Chord and the Fawn, “M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I,”
  • The Chambermaids, “Down in the Berries.”
  • Chastity Brown, “Sankofa”
  • Chooglin’, “Sweet Time”
  • Crossing Guards, “Revenge of the Tall Boys”
  • The Danforths, "Amphibian"
  • Daughters of the Sun, "Rings,"
  • Desdamona, "Inkling"
  • Doomtree, “False Hopes XV”
  • Jay Epstein, Anthony Cox & Bill Carrothers, “Easy Company”
  • The Evening Rig, "Is Doing Stuff"
  • Eyedea & Abilities, "By the Throat"
  • Farewell Milwaukee, “Autumn Rest Easy”
  • Franz Diego, s/t
  • Galactic Cowboy Orchestra, “Lookin’ for a Little Strange”
  • Gay Beast, "Second Wave,"
  • Gay Witch Abortion, “Maverick”
  • John Gorka, “So Dark You See”
  • Gospel Gossip, "Dreamland" and “Drift” EPs
  • Grey Skies, “New Leaf”
  • Guante and Big Cats, “An Unwelcome Guest”
  • Gypsymania, “Hot Club Swing Jazz”
  • Halloween, Alaska, "Champagne Downtown"
  • Grant Hart, “Hot Wax”
  • Nancy Harms, “In the Indigo”
  • Haunted House, “Guess Who’s Not Coming To Dinner”
  • Heatbox, “System”
  • His Mischief, “The Perfect Lover”
  • Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank, “Traveling Show”
  • Honeydogs, “Sunshine Committee”
  • Ice Palace, “Wonder Softly Crushing Us”
  • Idle Hands, "The Hearts We Broke on the Way to the Show"
  • Ingo Bethke (self-titled)
  • Maria Isa, “Street Politics”
  • Dan Israel, "See the Morning Light"
  • Roger James Quartet, “Pink and Green Blues”
  • Mason Jennings, “Blood of Man”
  • Roger Johnson, “Stag Cotillion”
  • Junkyard Empire, “Rebellion Politik”
  • Kill to Kill, “Fighter”
  • Kill the Vultures, “Ecce Beast”
  • Koerner & Glover, "Live @ the 400 Bar"
  • Lonesome Dan Kase, "So Glad I'm Livin'"
  • Lookbook, “Wild at Heart”
  • Gary Louris & Mark Olson, “Ready for the Flood”
  • Lucy Michelle & the Velvet Lapelles, “Special Party Time for Everyone”
  • Lusurfer, “Vulgar Display of Reverb”
  • Lynhurst, “Field Day”
  • Kill the Vultures, "Ecce Beast"
  • Mark Mallman, "Invincible Criminal"
  • Mally, “The Passion”
  • Man Is Doomed, “Escape to Europa”
  • Marvelle, “Marvelle”
  • Mayda, "The Interrogation"
  • Mercurial Rage, “Cascade”
  • Paul Metsa & Sonny Earl, “No Money Down”
  • Paul Metzger, “Anamnestic Tincture”
  • Military Special, “Civil Union”
  • Sam Miltich & Dave Karr, “Darn That Dream”
  • Monroe Crossing, “Heartache & Stone”
  • Mood Swings, “Recessionista”
  • More Than Lights, “The Electric Prescription for All Your Funky Illz”
  • Chris Morrissey, “The Modern World”
  • Mouthful of Bees, s/t
  • New Congress, “Anguish, Love & Romance”
  • Nicholas Mrozinski, "Together We're Stronger"
  • Willie Murphy, “A Shot of Love in a Time of Need”/“Autobiographical Notes”
  • No Bird Sing, “No Bird Sing”
  • Keri Noble, “Keri Noble”
  • Omaur Bliss, "Dirty v2.0" & Dirty v3.0"
  • Orange Mighty Trio, "Infrastructure"
  • Owl City, "Ocean Eyes"
  • P.O.S., “Never Better”
  • Pert Near Sandstone, “Out on a Spree”
  • Peter Wolf Crier, “Inter-Be”
  • Pictures of Then, "The Wicked Sea”
  • The Pines, “Tremolo”
  • Andres Ponders, “Nodes of Overtones”
  • Prince, “Lotus Flow3r”/“Mplsound”/“Bria Valente”
  • Prof and St. Paul Slim, "Recession Music."
  • Red Pens, “Reasons”
  • Quietdrive, “Close Your Eyes”
  • Sara Renner, "All for Love"
  • Rivet, self-titled
  • Rockford Mules, "From Devil's Spit to Angel Tears,"
  • Room for Gray, "The Next Step."
  • Tina Schlieske, "Evil Gal Blues”
  • Brad Senne, "Aerial Views,"
  • 757s, "Freeway Surrender"
  • So It Goes, "The Quick Fix,"
  • Six Mile Grove, "Steel Mule"
  • Slug w/ Murs & Aesop Rock, “Felt 3: A Tribute to Rosie Perez”
  • Speed’s the Name, “Swell”
  • Spiritual Mansions, “Touched”
  • Starfolk/Typsy Panthre, “Lemon-Lime EP”
  • Story of the Sea, "Lunar Co."
  • The Tisdales, "Baker's Dozen”
  • Total Babe, “Heatwave EP”
  • Trio Tipo, “Costa Del Sol”
  • 20 Dollar Love, “High Dr.”
  • Trio Tipo, “Costa del Sol”
  • The Twilight Hours, “Stereo Night”
  • Two Harbors, “All the Places We Would Rather Be”
  • UltraChorus, “Ultra-Def”
  • Unknown Prophets, “Le System D”
  • Valley Few, self-titled EP
  • Vampire Hands, “Hannah in the Mansion”
  • Various, “TC Electropunk, Vol. 5,”
  • Various, “Headwater Blues, Vol. 1”
  • Various, “The Minnesota Beatle Project, Vol. 1”
  • Vibro Champs, “Mr. International”
  • We Are the Willows, “A Collection of Sounds and Something Like the Plague”
  • Wild Colonial Bhoys, “Live … What’s It to Ya?!”
  • Alicia Wiley, “Halfway Home”
  • Aby Wolf, "Sweet Prudence"
  • Wooldridge Brothers, "Days Went Around."
  • Toki Wright, “A Different Mirror”
  • Xross, "Tell 'Em tha Truth"
  • Yeltzi, "Snow in August"
  • Michael Yonkers/Blind Shake, “Cold Town/Soft Zodiac”
  • Zebulon Pike, “Intransience”
  • Zoo Animal, “Young Blood”

HowWasTheShow to sponsor Mark Mallman's 2009 NYE show at the Varsity

Mark Mallman has won New Year's Eve the past several years running now with his out of this world party at The Varsity Theater. This year is sure to be no exception, and has jumped on board as a web sponsor of this year's event.

Check out this fabulous video Mark and friends put together to promote this year's event.

Join us NEW YEARS EVE at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis for the GREATEST NEW YEARS SHOW ON EARTH - Featuring MARK MALLMAN, WHITE LIGHT RIOT, FIRST COMMUNION AFTERPARTY, and KOO KOO KANGAROO!!! with special DJ playlist by ATTITUDE CITY. Sponsored by Summit Beer, The Onion, and this 18+ is 12.00 tickets available at - btw this song is originally by "The Cure" ... and if you didn't know that, boy are you missin out!

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Guthrie's 2009 A CHRISTMAS CAROL by the numbers

Photo: Peter Michael Goetz (Ebenezer Scrooge) and James Ramlet (Ghost of Christmas Present) in the Guthrie Theater production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens, adapted by Barbara Field, directed by Gary Gisselman, set design by Neil Patel, original costumes by Jess Goldstein, additional costumes by David Kay Mickelsen, lighting design by Marcus Dilliard. November 19 - December 31, 2009.
2009 © Michal Daniel

I've always loved these "by the numbers" type of wrap-ups as they often give you a realistic sense of the scope of a production. Plus they are fun.

We didn't do a full review of this year's show on HowWasTheShow but we did see it opening night. That made the third or fourth time I've now seen the production during it's 35 year run. (The first time was back in 1989 when I was actually a Guthrie employee for a short time.)

The biggest difference between this year's production and when I saw and reviewed it in 2007 is that it now runs without intermission and is shortened somewhat (run time 95 minutes). For many theater-goers on week nights, this is a good thing as you get out much sooner. For the kids, however, it might be a bit of a stretch. (The Guthrie will admit well-behaved children as young as 5, but recommends 8 years as the guideline.)

As usual, the sets dazzled. And despite the continuing silliness with the Christmas goose in the feast scene, this is a pretty difficult show to ever grow tired of.

Here are the results of Christmas Carol by the numbers from the big G.



A Christmas Carol: 2009 By the Numbers

2 trap doors used in the show

3 real candles used in each performance (plus 47 fake ones)

4 days from the final performance of The Importance of Being Earnest to the conclusion of setting up the set for A Christmas Carol

9 cubic feet of fake snow needed for the run of the show

9 consecutive years director Gary Gisselman has helmed the Guthrie production

20 backstage staff for each show (4 on the deck, 2 spotlights, 2 board ops, 3 stage managers, 4 dressers, 2 wigs, 1 wardrobe, a crew supervisor and a wardrobe supervisor)

20 years the longest performing A Christmas Carol actor (Nathaniel ‘Nat’ Fuller) has been in the Guthrie production

25 wigs used in the show

26 years the longest working crew member (Stage Supervisor Brian Crow) has been involved with the show

28 simultaneous “quick changes” (costume changes done in under 2 minutes) following the Fezziwig scene

30 fake food items used onstage

36 actors in the show (16 adults, 11 children and 9 Londoners/Party Guests/Vagrants)

40 distance of the conricopter (used for the entrance of the Ghost of Christmas Present) from the stage floor at full height in feet

47 fake candles used each performance

52.5 height of this year’s shortest performer (Kyle Feller/Tiny Tim) in inches

151 costumes in the show

161 links in the chains used by the Ghost of Jacob Marley

163 light cues (that’s approximately one every 33 seconds)

700 pounds of dry ice used each week to create the fog effects

800+ number of actors that have appeared in the Guthrie’s production of A Christmas Carol over the years

1843 year Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol

… another fun fact: The prop building plans that Young Jacob Marley shows to Young Ebenezer are actually architectural plans for the new Guthrie building.

About the Guthrie’s 35th anniversary production of A Christmas Carol

A Minnesota tradition since 1975, the holiday classic will feature legendary stage and screen actor Peter Michael Goetz in his fourth Guthrie appearance as Ebenezer Scrooge, alongside a cast of 26 Twin Cities actors in a fresh, 90-minute adaptation by Barbara Field. Director Gary Gisselman returns for his ninth consecutive year at the helm of this perennial favorite. Filled with music, magic and holiday spirit, this classic tale of redemption and the true meaning of the festive season has brought joy to thousands of theatergoers since the Guthrie’s first staging. A Christmas Carol continues through December 31 on the Wurtele Thrust Stage. Single tickets start at $34 and are now on sale through the Guthrie Box Office at 612.377.2224, toll-free 877.44.STAGE and online at

For more information, visit

Hootenanny and staving concert breaks out at Dusty's during Eliza Blue Cookie Exchange

Joel Bremer and Eliza Blue

Jim Walsh and friends hoot.

Eliza Blue held a cookie exchange and concert at Dusty's in Northeast Minneapolis Thursday night with her friend Joel Bremer, a fiddle player from Sweden.

Jim Walsh and Kari Tauring were both on hand which ultimately turned the event into part Hootenanny, part Norwegian staving concert.

The casual atmosphere gave me a perfect chance to test out the new live UStream app for the iPhone and spontaneously broadcast part of the show over the internet. (Jason DeRusha from WCCO was one of the viewers.)

You may have tuned in to see Kari Tauring staving along to the Norwegian song, "Vem Kan Segla" which she learned from a Norwegian camera man named Martin when she was a contestant on the Norwegian reality tv show "Alt for Norge!" in early 2009.

And if you were lucky, you stayed tuned in long enough to see this, Joel Bremer playing a Swedish Christmas Carol.

Or this, Joel and Eliza performing reprising The Replacements song, "Here Comes a Regular," which they had played at the Replacements Tribute at First Avenue a couple weeks ago.

Later on, Brianna Lane showed up. Here's another Replacements song, "Skyway," performed with Jim Walsh and Joel Bremer, captured by Kari on my FlipCam.