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The Black Dog inspires creativity -- its high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows and spacious tables encourage daydreaming, journaling, doodling and other precursors to art making.


Twin Town High (vol. 8)

Your Locally Grown Alternative Newspaper

Hot Tickets for December 12, 2006 - January 2, 2007
Thursday 28 December @ 15:29:09
Hot TicketsRonia the Robber's Daughter :: Bobby Vinton :: Sexual Chocolate & the White Boys :: DJ Stage 1 CD Release Party :: TC Electropunk Vol. 3 CD Release Show :: Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials :: The Final Monthly Scrimshaw Show AND THIS WEEK'S HOT PICK: Staying the Crunk Home on New Year's Eve ...


Ronia the Robber’s Daughter
Bell Auditorium
Swedish author Astrid Lindgren is best known for creating Pippi Longstocking, but I’ve always been partial to Ronia, the titular character from Lindgren’s last book, “Ronia the Robber’s Daughter.” Between the ages of 9 and 12 I must have read the book a half-dozen times, not to mention sketching the art from the back cover untold times in several notebooks. The story follows in the mold of “Romeo and Juliet”: Ronia is the daughter of Matt, the leader of a robber clan whose sylvan keep is split in half by a lightning bolt the night of Ronia’s birth. Shortly thereafter, a rival clan, The Borkas, move into the other half of the castle, and skirmishes between the clans become nearly constant. Through a chance meeting, young Ronia ends up befriending the Borka leader’s son, Birk Borkason, and you can pretty much guess how that goes over. Far from a wispy princess-in-distress type, though, Ronia is a fiery tomboy, and I was drawn to the ruggedness of the characters, not to mention the very real darkness of the story, a quality that is often sadly lacking in books for children. Amazingly, the U of M film society apparently has the only copy of the movie version to feature English subtitles--imdb.com’s sole comment for the film details a fan’s thwarted attempts to find a DVD copy with English subtitles after seeing it at the Bell. The annual showing of the film has become something of a holiday tradition for the Bell, made all the more bittersweet by the knowledge that every viewing stretches the film a little thinner. Who knows how long we’ll have it around to enjoy? Better get out there and enjoy it while you can. Through Dec. 30. 3 & 5:15 p.m. daily (except Dec. 28, 3 p.m. only). Also Saturdays, Dec. 30, at 12:30 p.m.; Jan. 6 at 12:30 & 3 p.m. $8 general $6.50 students/seniors/$5 members. 10 Church St. SE, Mpls. 612-331-3134. STEVE McPHERSON

Bobby Vinton
Hinckley Grand Casino
There’s a lot to love about Bobby Vinton besides those dreamy baby blues. At 16 he formed his first band, playing clubs around Pittsburgh to earn money for college. Once at Duquesne University, he studied music and mastered piano, clarinet, oboe, sax, trumpet and drums. In 1962 Vinton married his boyhood sweetheart, Dolly, and will celebrate 45 years of wedded bliss next year--no easy feat for anyone, much less a pop star. Vinton’s eldest son, Robbie (also a musician), played his dad in the movie “Goodfellas” and gigs with him occasionally. I knew Rob when he lived in Minneapolis during the ‘80s, and had the privilege of meeting (and driving to the airport) the amicable Robert Sr. when I was visiting California several years ago. Charming and down-to-earth easily describe The Polish Prince (“‘Yoha moshe yahey koha’ means that I love you so”), who peaked as a poptacular heartthrob during the ‘60s and ‘70s, making many a mom swoon over classics like “Blue Velvet,” “Roses are Red” and “There! I’ve Said it Again.” This week “Mr. Lonely” lands at the Grand Casino in Hinckley for a couple of shows. Sure, it’s a road trip, and sure, it’s a little sad watching sweatsuit clad seniors sucking down heaters as they feverishly pump the slots, but this show might be just the ticket to snap you out of your own mid-holiday funk. Sadly, none of my friends have agreed to hop on the Bobby bandwagon, so if anyone wants to road trip, let me know. Also Dec. 29. 7 p.m. $25. 777 Lady Luck Dr. (1 mile east of I-35 on Hwy. 48), Hinckley. 800-472-6321. NANCY SARTOR

Sexual Chocolate & the White Boys
Dunn Bros.
With a name like Sexual Chocolate and the White Boys, you better be pretty damned good. Just so happens this band takes off and leaves “good” choking in the dust. And they’ve got a smokin’ second CD, Pure Poison to prove it (the first was with vocalist and lyricist Kash Ahua). The flavor is airtight R&B, with 18 songs (that’s not a typo--there’s 18 joints on this bad boy) and not a throw-away in the lot. What comes to mind is a laid-back, upbeat cross between The Pointer Sisters and Chaka Khan--though Ahua’s singing and the band’s playing with leader Steve Duder (bass, synth bass), Lyle Anderson (guitar, synth guitar) and Mark Baker (drums, percussion, doumbek) offer a distinct sound. It’s a fine album and the night should be a fine time. 9 p.m. Free. 1569 Grand Ave., St. Paul. 651-698-0618. DWIGHT HOBBES

DJ Stage 1 CD Release Party
DJ Stage 1 has an arm’s length hip-hop resume, and I’m not talking about notoriously short-armed former Atlanta Hawks center Kevin Willis--I’m talking about the 41.7 inch arms of Bao Xishun, that wicked tall Chinese guy who saved those dolphins a couple weeks back. From 1995 through 1998 he spun for KFAI’s “Strictly Butta Radio,” and since that time, he’s opened shows for national artists, including Common, Jay-Z, Run DMC, the Wu-Tang Clan, and has worked with local artists like I Self Devine, Budah Tye and many others. Now he’s unleashing a CD/DVD combo that’s like the knockout punch at the end of those long arms. The DVD documents the nascent Minneapolis hip-hop scene as it was in 1991 and “serves as a historical marker documenting early graffiti writers trapped between art, gangs and survival on the Twin Cities streets,” says the press release. The accompanying mix CD opens with a blaring sax line, first sampled by Public Enemy, then made famous by Wreckx-n-Effect’s “Rumpshaker” but more recently appropriated by Jay-Z for “Show Me What You Got.” The long, unspooling history that the sample evokes carries over into the disc, which is not content to just be a sample of greatest hits or underground wonders; Stage 1 laces samples from local news reports about shootings in Minneapolis and other snippets of dialogue to transform the disc from a simple mix into a meditation on urban life and hip-hop culture’s place in that environment. The release show will feature performances from I Self Devine, Budah Tye, Truthmaze and Dub, plus Stage 1 on the ones and twos. 9 p.m. $5. 18+. 412 ½ 14th Ave. S.E., Mpls. 612-362-0437. STEVE McPHERSON

TC Electropunk Vol. 3 CD Release Show
Club Underground
The Twin Cities are home to a growing number of bands that identify themselves with what is known as the “electropunk movement.” Bands with Casio keyboards, drum machines and fancy-pants laptop editing equipment have come together to create the third in a series of yearly compilations dedicated to their underground musical cause. “It’s simply what happens when you take a generation of bored teens and twentysomethings--raised on hardcore punk, British techno, Nintendo and Doritos--and place cheap digital recording technology within their grasp,” their website reads, and the music is similar to what you might imagine from experimental musicians. Not every track on TC Electropunk Volume 3 is golden, but there are plenty of bands worth checking out. Tim Rally Gold’s “Break-up at the Waffle House” is poppy and well-produced, like a less depressing Postal Service, while bands like Mach FoX and Thosquanta use their electronics to create a darker, more industrial feel. Many of the bands on the compilation will come together for Saturday’s CD release show at the all-too appropriately named Club Underground, known for its New York punk club ambiance and penchant for providing a stage to great non-conventional bands who fly under the radar of the rest of the local scene. With Thosquanta, MSRP, Avenpitch, OBCT, UCKF, Mach FoX, OneNeoEon, Unicorn Basement, Tim Rally Gold, Hondo, Eddie Entropy. 9 p.m. $5. 21+. 355 Monroe St. NE, Mpls. 612-627-9123. ANDREA MYERS

Staying Home
Your House
Come on, admit it: New Year’s Eve is a disappointment nine times out of 10. I spent a good six years as a musician living by my brother’s motto: “Everyone has to have a gig New Year’s Eve.” Enough. I’m getting old, damnit, so here’s my recipe for a great New Year’s Eve: diminshed expectations. When I was growing up, my family took the opportunity of staying up late to watch a really long movie: for a few years it was “The Right Stuff,” then it was “Lawrence of Arabia.” Of course, these days, 153 minutes and 228 minutes (respectively) hardly constitute a long movie. Maybe you could watch all of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s 10-part miniseries, where each part focuses on one of the Ten Commandments, “Decalogue.” That’s 550 minutes right there, and Stanley Kubrick called it the only masterpiece he could name that was made during his lifetime. Or how about every single episode of the woefully underrated “Freaks and Geeks?” It’s kind of like “The Wonder Years” if “The Wonder Years” were actually as good as you remember it being. Plus it features the wit and wisdom of everyone’s favorite lanky geek, Bill Haverchuck. And it will last you about 792 minutes. That’s probably what I’ll be doing; sitting on the couch with my fee-ahn-say, some eggnog, maybe a glass of champagne, vicariously reliving my high school years through Lindsey and Sam Weir and turning in shortly after the big ball drops in Times Square. Admit it: you’re jealous. 8 p.m. - 12:15 a.m. Free. All Ages, 21+ to drink. STEVE McPHERSON

Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials
Famous Dave's
Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials hit you like an avalanche, something of a cross between Muddy Waters, Larry Williams and Elmore James--all on hell-bent overdrive. None of which is to say Lil’ Ed (Ed Williams) doesn’t make his own indelible mark. He’s got fiery, raw-edged singing chops and can wear a guitar out, especially when he plays slide. For good measure, his pedigree boasts a direct bloodline to blues history--his uncle and musical mentor was a lauded staple of the Chicago scene and master of slide guitar, J.B. Hutto. Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials have a durable track record in the States (San Francisco Blues Festival, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Long Beach Blues Festival and a lot more) but, of course, have found their best success in Europe where, for instance, they joined a lineup headlined by Koko Taylor, Elvin Bishop and Lonnie Brooks for sold-out concert hall gigs on the Alligator Records 20th Anniversary Tour. The new album on Alligator, Rattleshake is just released and so hot, you’ll be lucky if your stereo don’t catch on fire. 8 p.m. $10. 3001 Hennepin Ave., Mpls. 612-822-9900. DWIGHT HOBBES

The Final Monthly Scrimshaw Show
Bryant-Lake Bowl
Brothers Joseph and Joshua Scrimshaw have been staples of the local comedy scene for almost a decade, performing monthy shows that are a triumph of chaotic, lunatic comic invention. There’s no single type of comedy that shows up in a Scrimshaw Show--their ravenous appetites for humor absorbs and spits out everything, including short-form improv, audience participation, modern jazz numbers, silent physical comedy, celebrity impersonations (Josh, in particular, spent years lapsing into a rather silly Peter Lorre impersonation) and novelty songs. A few tropes recur in their shows, though: Star Wars, cheap wine, onstage drunkenness, pantlessness, Francophobia, bosoms and blood. The blood, it should be noted, is often real, and often Josh’s. The Scrimshaws have scant rehearsal time and often come up with propulsively phsyical routines, and, as a result, watching one of their shows can be a little like watching the outtakes of a Jackie Chan movie. When not performing their monthly shows, the brothers have consistently looked for other venues and opportunities: Joseph has penned a number of short plays and one-man shows, which are typically performed at the annual Fringe Festival and typically huge hits; Joshua, in the meanwhile, has started to develop an admirable resume as a performer in other people’s shows, as well as having produced an entirely silent work of physical comedy called “Shut Your Joke Hole.” It seems these outside projects have gotten lucrative enough, or that the monthly shows have gotten exhausting enough, that this New Year’s Monthly Scrimshaw Show will be their last. Show up for a manic, drunken, gore-drenched historical event; bring your own cheap wine and make sure you know your blood type. 7 & 10:30 p.m. 810 W. Lake St., Mpls. 612-825-8949. $20 ($15 with Fringe button). MAX SPARBER
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