Issue 383

Kaner-Roth Is New Project 515 Executive Director

Ana Kaner-Roth is the new Executive Director of Project 515 and Project 515 Education Campaign. She succeeds Laura Smidzik, who left at the beginning of January to pursue a new career path.

Kaner-Roth holds a master of social work degree focused in public policy from Boston University, as well as a bachelor of arts degree in Political Science and Criminal Justice from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Read the rest of this entry »

Queer As Folks

Former Gopher Returns Home To Play for Lynx

The Minnesota Lynx has acquired former University of Minnesota women’s basketball star Lindsay Whalen. A Hutchinson native, she helped bring the Golden Gopher women’s program to national prominence during her four-year career at the University, which also included the school’s first-ever Final Four appearance in 2004. Lynx Executive Vice President Roger Griffith said, “We’re very excited to announce the acquisition of Lindsay Whalen. She’s a proven, All-Star caliber floor leader who’s in the prime of her career, and we expect her to step in, and be a great leader for our team, both on and off the court. She’s been one of the elite point guards in the WNBA for the past six years, and brings an extensive amount of playoff experience to our roster.” Read the rest of this entry »

Charles M. Nolte

Charles Nolte died January 14 after a two-year struggle with prostate cancer. He was 86.

Tall, strikingly handsome, with keen blue eyes, Nolte always looked the part: in real life, in his Navy uniform, serving 1943-45; onstage, bare-chested in the title role of Broadway’s Billy Budd (1951); or an adored professor of theater at the University of Minnesota, where he taught for more than 30 years. Read the rest of this entry »

How-To: Painting

With the economy still in the tank, it’s time to start thinking about the how-tos in your life. Paying someone to do it for you is a great way to get any home project done, and then take credit for it yourself. But let’s face it, paying a person to start the project, and then mysteriously disappear for two weeks while your home looks like someone threw-up a construction site, isn’t very fun either.

So, without further hesitation, let’s begin with the easiest way to redo your home: painting. Read the rest of this entry »

Big Gay News

National News

Opponents of Gay Marriage Lose Battle in DC
According to the Associated Press, Superior Court Judge Judith Macaluso in Washington, DC, has thrown out another lawsuit by opponents of the district’s new same-sex marriage legislation. Plaintiffs sued the city’s Board of Elections and Ethics after it refused to put on the ballot an initiative banning same-sex marriage. The board claimed it would have violated the city’s Human Rights Ordinance. Read the rest of this entry »

On the Townsend

Die Mommie Die / Through Feb. 7 / Brazen Theatre, 4001 38th St. S., Mpls. / (414) 248-6481 / www.brazentheatre.org

Back in the 1990s, the camp comedies of Charles Busch bewitched Minneapolis big-time. Ballet of the Dolls staged a great Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, and Unicorn Theatre featured dandy runs of Psycho Beach Party. But in the past decade, Busch plays weren’t so prominent. Thankfully, the Brazen troupe is diving back into Busch with Die Mommie Die, starring bedazzling Margo Caprice. This satire on divas, reminiscent of Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, and Lana Turner, is a happy return to the dark side of womanhood, and a great chance to steal Caprice’s beauty secrets.

Light Up the Sky / Through Feb. 7 / Mounds Theatre, 1029 Hudson Rd., St. Paul / (651) 645-3503 / www.startinggate.org

Playwright Moss Hart was tormented by his homosexuality, yet wrote delightful heterocentric comedies. One of his frothiest, Light Up the Sky (1948), is a love letter to theater itself. It spoofs the backstage life of a show whose preopening period has elicited lots of curiosity and concern. Starting Gate Productions, which handles classic American comedy especially well, is reviving the play.

Cristopher Tibbetts, who directs Starting Gate’s revival, says that whatever queer content might be in the play is “heavily coded—but show-biz aficionados will love the various outsized personalities.”

Rock ’N’ Roll / Through Feb. 7 / Park Square Theatre, 20 W. 7th Pl., St. Paul / (651) 291-7005 / www.parksquaretheatre.org

Czech-born British playwright Tom Stoppard lauds the revolutionary spirit that pulsed through Prague in 1968. The Velvet Underground, The Rolling Stones, and Pink Floyd were as potent as tanks and weaponry. It’s easy to forget that rock and roll meant cultural defiance in the 1950s and 1960s, and that its erotic pelvic power threatened established order, both East and West. Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution against Soviet aggression used rock and sexuality as a call for democratic capitalism, and American youth in the 1960s used them as a statement against militaristic capitalism. Stoppard gives us a much-needed reminder of that history. He even reveals poetic influence by lesbianic Sappho.

Young Frankenstein / Feb. 9-14 / Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Ave., Mpls. / (800) 982-2787 / www.hennepintheatretrust.org

Mel Brooks didn’t want Tony-laden costume designer William Ivey Long to watch the film The Producers when forming his concept for the stage musical version. But when Young Frankenstein went into stage production, Brooks did want Ivey to watch the film for inspiration.

Long notes that it was a “Universal picture, and, therefore, they had all the rights to the patented monster. So, I had to redesign the monster, because we did not have the rights to the Universal image. The monster looks different, because we had to change it. You still get the essence of it completely, and he is buried in a prisoner outfit trailing clods of earth. But the way we’ve stitched him up is [laughs] different. And he’s a little greener.”

Mother Courage / Feb. 11-13 / Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Whitney Fine Arts Bldg., 1424 Yale Pl., Mpls. / (612) 659-6000 / www.minneapolis.edu

Obie-winning director Maxine Klein has cast Lavender columnist Julie Dafydd in what is perhaps modern drama’s greatest role.

According to Klein, Bertolt Brecht’s play “is about the absolute immorality of war. In the midst of this immorality, wreaked by those at the top, the poor have to struggle and survive in a disaster not of their own making. Women suffer the most. Into this comes Mother Courage, AKA Canteen Anna, who sells from a cart, which she moves across countless countries to support her family. She does what is necessary to support them, and you cannot measure what she does against any conventional morality. Julie Dafydd captures this incredible acumen, virtuosity, passion, fierceness, and intelligence.”

Hedda Gabler / Feb. 11-14 / Southern Theater, 1420 Washington Ave. S., Mpls. / (612) 340-1725 / www.southerntheater.org

Anyone attuned to gender and sexual progress can thank Henrik Ibsen. Considered the father of modern drama, he savagely attacked traditional gender roles. When the Southern Theater space opened a century ago, it served Scandinavian immigrants for whom Ibsen was an icon. No wonder Minneapolis is historically progressive and feminist. Ibsen’s luminous Hedda Gabler, with Annie Enneking, now honors the centenary and the playwright.

Director Genevieve Bennett reminds us, “In 1888, Ibsen was honored by the Norwegian Women’s Rights League for writing plays that championed their movement. Ibsen replied that he was not writing for women’s rights, but rather for human rights, and that his task as a playwright was to hold a mirror up to humanity. Despite his response, it is undeniable that the place of women in society is central to Hedda Gabler.”

Mirassou Wine Oenophile’s Delight

If any wine guy merits rock-star status, it’s David Mirassou, representing the sixth generation of America’s oldest winemaking clan. When he headed for Minneapolis, an airport security guard exclaimed, “I really like your Pinot Noir!” When he arrived at the Doubletree, a hotelier greeted him with, “I used to recommend your wines when I worked at” a local steakhouse. And what chef was more than eager to pair those wines in a tasting menu? Isaac Becker of 112 Eatery, a James Beard nominee. Read the rest of this entry »

The Quest for Mushrooms

Ron Spinosa Offers Advice

Somewhere in that mysterious web of human neurons—among our tangled memories, dusty bits of trivia, and all records of our petty existence—is a strange intersection. It mixes our greatest fears and our deepest desires into a kind of emotional pressure point, often loosely referred to as the sex/death nexus. Anyone who taps into this little trigger—an artist, a politician, even an illicit chemist—gains an enormous power to bewitch the masses, bringing us to either triumph or ruin. Read the rest of this entry »

St. Louis

Mr. Rogers would have loved it here. His kids-show jingle—“It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood”—could be the theme song of St. Louis. Sure, come to enjoy the city’s bounty of free attractions and its cool music scene (we’ll get to both later), but stay to explore its potpourri of enticing enclaves, each with its unique personality.

Let’s start along the mighty Mississippi River, where St. Louis itself got started back in 1764—today commemorated by its iconic silvery Arch, more than 40 stories tall. Ascend its innards via ski-lift cars for the view. Then, venture below to the free Museum of Westward Expansion, a saga that started right here. Photos and quotes illuminate the push. Daniel Webster asks, “What do we want with this worthless area?” Lewis and Clark report, “our fingers Aked with cold” before “Great joy…when coming in View of the Ocean.” Chief Black Elk laments, “A people’s dream died there at Wounded Knee.” Read the rest of this entry »

restaurant Max

As this is my first column written in the new year, I thought I’d start by saying that I always have disliked New Year’s Eve. It’s a celebration built entirely around a collective sigh of relief, as we’re counting down the seconds, thinking, “Well, thank god that year’s over.” Then, we wake up the next day, and do the same thing all over again until next year. I never have bothered with resolutions, but perhaps I should. That’s the only conceivable reason for a holiday like this: to try to make better choices this year than the last. If that is so, then my resolution shall be to put a higher value on experiencing pleasure. Read the rest of this entry »

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