Thursday, March 31, 2011

Weekend What's What 3/31-4/2

KICK UP YOUR HEELS

Show yourself some love this weekend! After all, you've been working too hard, and in our opinion, you deserve some good old-fashioned R&R. The weather's lovely and while its not quite bikini season yet, enjoying the fresh air is something we can't wait to do--between awesome parties, rock shows and art exhibits, of course! This weekend is all about you, so shake the SADS, wusses, and live some life.

xo-l'etoile


THURSDAY MARCH 31ST

DJ Dick Pic

@Clubhouse Jager
923 Washington N
Minneapolis

9 p.m./21+/Free

Minneapolis’ hottest airhorn blasting bitches are taking over Club Jag tonight! The sassafrass duo of Maggie Morrison and Machen Davis--otherwise known as DJ Dick Pic--will fill the Clubhouse with all the titillating tunage you can take. Tonight's party is bittersweet, however, as Minneapolis bids adieu to Canada-bound Jager bartendrix and Waxx Maxx front-babe, Nicole Brenny. On top of that, l’étoile music editor and saucy drink slinger THE BITCHELOR will be commanding the bar top, throwing out the tastiest of booze left and right until the sun rises (er, until the bar closes). Come say TTFN to the lovely Nicole, drink some dranx, dance like a fool and generally whoop it up. It is Thursday after all.

Click HERE for the Facebook event


THURSDAY MARCH 31ST

Food Pyramid, Burnt Ones, Baby Boys & Mr. Hide

@ Hexagon Bar
2600 27th Ave S
Minneapolis

9 p.m. / 21+ / Free

Travelling all the way from the sunny side of the country in San Francisco, the Burnt Ones are in town for one night only at the Hex! Their pyschadelic garage-rock funk will get you higher than—well, than a lot of other things, let’s just put it that way. After them, you can trip out with the rollicking electronica that is Food Pyramid. Openers are Mr. Hide and Baby Boys, and they are worth showing up early for—so do!

Click HERE for the Facebook event



FRIDAY ART PICK: MIRANDA JULY


What's l'etoile looking at this week?

If you’ve seen the 2005 film Me and You and Everyone We Know, then you’ve already witnessed the quirky genius of Miranda July. And if art imitates life, then July’s work reminds us that contemporary society is not only a bizarre place to exist, but it’s out of its mind, full of off-placed nooks and crannies in the form of unusual people and so-strange-they-could-only-be-true situations, permanently dusty with the grit that comes with being perfectly imperfect humans. Equal parts filmmaker, artist, writer, performer, and eccentric (okay, we’re editorializing a bit here, but you’d have to be to see the world the way she does), July’s work conveys explores human emotions with superhuman keenness. At once light and humorous as a knock-knock joke and heavy as an elegy, the voice of July’s creations speaks straight to parts of the soul you might not even realize were there. Definitely an artist to follow wherever she goes – and believe us, that’s a bold statement.

Click HERE for the Miranda July site

The Hallway from The Hallway on Vimeo.


FRIDAY APRIL 1ST

Miles Mendenhall + Conrad Ventur + Lisha Bai

@ Franklin Art Works
1021 E Franklin Ave
Minneapolis

6-8:30 p.m. / free

Carbon prints, a kaleidoscopic Nina Simone and optical illusion architecture, tonight’s triple solo show has it all. In the main gallery, witness as local artist and print extraordinaire, Miles Mendenhall reawakens the rare – yet hardly antiquated – art form of carbon printing. For tonight’s show, Mendenhall premieres a set of large-scale carbon prints in which the artist digitally altered black-and-white photographs into abstract and inchoate molds. In the screening room, catch a video installation from New York-based projection artists, Conrad Ventur featuring a recording of Nina Simone’s tragic ballad “If You Knew” fractured through a pivoting pendant prism and evoking the melancholy sentiment so prevalent in Simone’s librettos. Also on view is a vinyl floor installation from New York artist, Lisha Bai comprised of black and white linoleum tiles intersected to mimic waves. Featuring a live set from local three piece electronic band, Food Pyramid and guests and additional video projections by Ventur.

Click HERE for this art event and more at mplsart.com


FRIDAY APRIL 1ST

Everybody is an Astronaut (MFA Thesis Exhibition)

@ Katherine E. Nash Gallery
405 21st Ave. S.
Minneapolis

6 p.m. / Free

“Everybody is an astronaut. You all live aboard a beautiful little spaceship called Earth.” While we wish we could take credit for such a cute quip (it was engineer/futurist Buckminster Fuller), the important thing is what it’s inspired: the title for the University of Minnesota’s M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition, opening at the Nash Gallery on Friday. And it’s a fitting title at that – this exhibition marks the one-small-stepping out of a new group of innovators into the art world. Artists include Jennifer Annable, purveyor of surreal ceramics, Jonathan Kaiser, Dark Dark Dark cellist and experimental media artist, and photographer Sam Hoolihan, who’s wasted no time in launching himself out there--his work will also be featured in Sunday’s “Pop Saw the Need” opening at Double Gallery. Sounds out of this world (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Click HERE for this art event and more at mplsart.com


FRIDAY APRIL 1ST

Where Tammy Tied the Knot

@ Loring Theater
1407 Nicollet Ave
Minneapolis

7:30-11:30 p.m. / $25 full package, $15 party pass

Before Tammy Faye and Jim Bakker became the eccentric televangelical power dyad they’re infamous for, before the Praise the Lord Club, yes, even before the tattooed eyebrows, Miss Faye and Minneapolis department store restaurant worker, Mr. Baker, got hitched inside Loring Park’s own historic venue, the Loring Theater. To celebrate their opening season, the “modern day variety house” saddles up for a tribute to the queen of gaudy, rococo woman and her life with a full-fledged Tammy Faye Bakker event that includes cinema, a TFB facts & relevance forum and a 60’s-themed wedding reception bash. Catch a screening of the award-winning doc “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” narrated by the one and only RuPaul in the auditorium and listen as culture experts chat about Bakker as a female icon and a flashy staple in the gay community during the TFB symposium. Then get on down – bouffant, exuberant eyeliner and all – to a 1960’s themed wedding party reception where partygoers can shake their stuff to DJ spun 60’s hits as vintage gowns and flower boutonnieres pervade the stage. Tammy-wear highly encouraged so don’t forget your falsies!

Click HERE for the Facebook event


FRIDAY APRIL 1ST

The Brutes CD Release

@ Turf Club
1601 University Ave W
St Paul

9 p.m. / 21+ / $6

You know what you can never, ever have enough of? (Well, besides snow, of course.) Catchy, soul-petting indie-rock. The Brutes have had their new CD Wondrous Punch out on iTunes since February, but Friday night at the Turf Club marks the official release of their undeniably delicious album. They have the kind of sound that brings you back to the very best of the early 90’s while sinking their teeth solidly in the metallic indie sounds of the 2010’s. Join them on Friday with Blue Sky Blackout, The Beatifics, and Shimmy.

Click HERE for the Turf Club site




FRIDAY APRIL 1ST

331’s 6th Anniversary Party with WHOOMP (There It Is)

@331 Club
331 13th Ave NE
Minneapolis

10 p.m. / 21+ / Free

For the second night of their 6th anniversary bash, the 331 Club is flashing back to the 90’s with the 331 Club’s Urkel-inspired edition of WHOOMP There It is! Welcome back DJ Tanner, Dr. Dallas Dog-Pallace and MC Hang Time to the 331 dance floor as they bust out the best jams of the early '90s. Slap on your suspenders and hike your trousers up this Friday and head on over to the Clubhouse to boogie down and try their mango-y “Drunk Urkel”s for four bux then entire night.

Click HERE for the 331 site




COOL LINK: MPLS SWAPPERS


What's l'etoile lookin' at on the web this week?

Wondering what to do with the cupboard full of pickled ginger you canned during these long winter months or just itching to have someone taste your DIY distilled vodka. Well, you’re in luck. Enter: MPLS Swappers. The first inaugural Minneapolis Food Swap was held just a few Saturdays ago at South Minneapolis’ Madame art space and was quite the hit. Part social meet-up, part sample room, MPLS Swappers is the perfect place to show off your canning skills while munching on homemade pistachio pesto. According to a recent article in the New York Times “food swaps popping up take their cues from the food co-operatives of the 70’s by restructuring food economies around face-to-face relationships.” And here we just thought they were a good place to meet adorable, food savvy hipsters! And in capitalist times of faux organic lifestyles and mock sustainable practices, it’s refreshing to find a local cause devoted to the turning home food production from “hobby to habit,” jumpstarts the dying barter system, raises a glass to local producers and adds a touch of neighborly love. The next swap meet is scheduled for May. Follow MPLS Swappers on their blog to get juicy tidbits and event details and get ready to share some local jarred goodness. Homegrow or bust!

Don’t forget to “like” MPLS Swappers on Facebook. Click HERE for the Mpls Swappers site

Photo by Scott Theisen, The Heavy Table:


SATURDAY APRIL 2ND

ARTCRANK MSP Opening Night Party

@ Shelter Studios
2112 Broadway St. NE #150
Minneapolis

5 p.m. / Free

In most places, the sound of birds chirping marks the beginning of spring. But Minneapolitans aren’t so Whitmanesque; for us, the click-click-whir of bicycles means spring has spoke-n. And with that, of course, comes a new season of ARTCRANK, the critical-massive, cycle-inspired poster art show we’ve been helmet-over-heels for since it started in 2007. Saturday’s opening night party at photographer Chris Sheehan’s Shelter Studios will feature Chowgirls eats and Fulton brews aplenty, along with a bike corral courtesy of Nice Ride and Dero Bikes. The Book of Right on will be powering tunes for the evening, followed by a DJ set by Joseph Pettini. And since ink and bike culture are pretty much joined at the hip, tattoo artist Charlie Forbes will be there to help you get your sleeve on. Check out the ARTCRANK site for a list of pre-parties and group rides. Ride on!

Click HERE for the ARTCRANK site

ARTCRANK 2010 Poster Show Minneapolis from red23films on Vimeo.



SATURDAY APRIL 2ND

Pop Saw the Need

@ Double Art Gallery
2441 Lyndale Ave. S.,
Minneapolis

6 p.m. / Free

If the exhibit’s Tumblr feed is any indication, then Pop Saw the Need goers are in for a delightful, albeit perplexing assortment of arty oddities. And really, that’s the whole point: at the heart of this exhibit, which brings together sixteen international and local artists, is “the spirit of discovery and serious play.” Expect all sorts of sillies and stories, things that aren’t what they seem, and an overall re-evaluation of how we view art and culture. Check out the show to discover what specifically that entails (and, perhaps, what need Pop saw). Participants include M. Curtis Allen, the man behind last Spring’s coffee mug and philosophy-inspired appropriations exhibit Sameness Over Time; local experimental visual and media artist Daniel Dean, and Knoxville-raised illustrator Hali Maltsberger, known for creating work that manipulates social structures and “makes fun of itself.” The exhibit is one night only, so do yourself a favor and don’t let it slip away.

Click HERE for this art event and more at mplsart.com

SATURDAY APRIL 2ND

Found Elements

@ Tarnish & Gold
1511 Marshall St NE
Minneapolis

7-11 p.m. / free

Tonight’s opening reception features new work from local photographers Emilie Hitch and Hilary Lund and showcases the behind-the-scene early moments in the launch of the creative collaboration and ad brand, Found Elements. Catch the intricate and intimate process and creative journey of four local ad/media professionals and the melded brainstorms of creating something both artistic and accessible to the community. Tonight’s show also features collaborations from Found Elements members copywriter, Kevin Hughes and ad/gd brand creationist/designer, Kyle Winters.

Click HERE for this art event and more at mplsart.com



SATURDAY APRIL 2ND

Spyder Baybie Raw Dawg & 2% Muck Record Release

@ Hells Kitchen
80 9th St S
Minneapolis

10 p.m. / 21+ / $5

Totally Gross National Product is on a serious roll this year, with vinyl releases from the most up and coming bands in the Twin Cities: Albert, Slapping Purses, and now Spyder Baybie Raw Dog's Grimeworld. This is the first official release from the drugged-out, ironic booty rap duo, whose fresh dubstep beats wrapped in hilarious, dirty-as-hell raps make for the ultimate party record. Label mates Marijuana Deathsquads and Slapping Purses round out this unfuckwithable party, so expect a night of total debauchery, hot chicks, booze, and epic music.

Click HERE for the Facebook event


SATURDAY APRIL 2ND

331 Club 6th Anniversary Weekend: Rockford Mules/Goondas/Fontanelles

@ 331 Club
331 13th Ave NE
Minneapollis

10 p.m. / 21+ / Free

Nestled amidst restaurants and art galleries on a bustling corner in Northeast lies what has become the anchor of Minneapolis' coolest block: The 331 Club. And guess what, it's their 6th birthday! For the last half-dozen years, our fave hipster dive has set itself apart by hosting free shows and events on their intimate stage - everything from burlesque to drunken spelling bees to Blingo to good old fashioned rock shows. Not to mention, the drinks are always cheap and served up by some of the best bartenders in town. This Saturday sees the club celebrating Northeast-style, featuring a Drunken Spelling Bee at 7pm, followed by live music by three of the 331's fave bands: the Rockford Mules, the Goondas, and the Fontanelles. Cheers, 331 Club!

Click HERE for the 331 site



SATURDAY APRIL 2ND

Mercurial Rage, BadNrAD, Retrospecs, DJ Grant Cutler

@ Kitty Cat Klub
315 14th Ave. SE.
Minneapolis

9 p.m. / $5 / 21+

We’re no strangers to dancing our heads clean off at the Kitty Cat Klub, and Saturday’s all-local line-up brings fresh opportunity. Plugging in are the ubiquitous DJ Grant Cutler; Retrospecs, whose brand of electro-blues sounds nothing like the music of yesterday; BadNrAD, the one-piece keytar wizard who claims he was “born into the world wearing neon sunglasses and a pair of hi-tops;” and Mercurial Rage, whose danceable tracks will have you bouncing and thrashing (quite possibly at the same time, whoa). See you there. We’ll try not to step on your feet.

Click HERE for the Facebook event



SATURDAY APRIL 2ND


Pegasus Grrrl Power

@ Madame Art Center
South Minneapolis

The new queer community art center may currently be flying under the local arts radar, but we predict it won’t be down there for long. A haven to artists & the queer (and queer-friendly) Madame plays host to some pretty awesome events, including tonight’s performance party, Pegasus. For the fourth installment, Madame’s Pegasus variety show buckles up for a bit of empowerment, grrrl style. Throw on some granny specs, dust off that kinderwhore dress and zip up a pair of your finest duct-taped combat boots for an evening chocked full of feminism with its roots in riot grrrl culture. You probably won’t see cameos from Kathleen Hannah or Corin Tucker but you will witness performances from locals Jamburglar, emcee host Anne W Erickson, the Real Hauswives of Hennepin County and an epic queercore L7 cover by special guest, Carlotta Spears that you won’t wanna miss. Rebel grrrls unite!

Click HERE for the Facebook event





Editor in Chief: Kate Iverson // Contributors: Juleana Enright, Tara Sloane, Natalie Gallagher, Kate Iverson, Robyn Lewis, Jahna Peloquin, Lauren Gantner

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Weekend What's What 3/24-3/27

SNOW-YOU-DIDN'T

With the shocking dump of snow this week that covered up our beautiful, recently exposed concrete and grass, our hearts just about shriveled in our chests. But despite Mother Nature thumbing her nose at us (hopefully) one last time this season, that hasn't deterred the hardy brethren of the Twin Cities, who've got plenty of good times planned for this weekend. Don't let the snow spook ya--Spring is right around the bend (we promise)!

xo-l'etoile

Photo by Nic Marshall for l'etoile

THURSDAY MARCH 24TH

Blue Sky Blackout and Walker Fields Semi-Acoustic Shindig

@ Club Jager
923 Washington Ave N.
Minneapolis

9 p.m./ 21+ / Free

You know Blue Sky Blackout for their heavy-duty rock ‘n’ roll, and you should know Brad Senne’s project Walker Fields, which features variety of local musicians and explores the grass-fed Americana sounds of acoustic guitar. The real treat, and the most exciting part of both of these bands, will be seeing them live at Jager as they merge musical forces. Blue Sky Blackout already rocks any venue they land, but seeing them unplugged and with the sensitive rootsy rock of Brad Senne will be a rare and delicious treat.

Click HERE for the Facebook event



THURSDAY MARCH 24TH

The Hood Internet, Elite Gymnastics

@ Varsity Theater
1308 4th St. SE
Minneapolis

8 p.m. / $12

The dance night dilemma: the DIY hole-in-the wall, PBR, indie rock/electronic and biking home or Lil’ Wayne, mixed dranks, inappropriate dance moves and pretending it never happened the next morning. But whether you generally opt for A or for B, The Varsity has you covered on Thursday, as they’re bringing in The Hood Internet. Yes, the one you’ve probably downloaded illegally. The Chicago mash-up duo whose indie rock and rap juxtapositions are to-die-for-fun and the best of both worlds. Think Asher Roth vs. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Ke$ha vs. YACHT, DMX vs. The xx, and even P.O.S.’ Minnesota Beatle Project track vs. La Roux’s “In for the Kill.” Um, yes. Even better, local chillwavers Elite Gymnastics are opening. Cancel your Thursday plans and be there.

Click HERE for the Varsity site




FRIDAY ART PICK: ELLEN GALLAGHER

What's l'etoile looking at this week?

Rhode Island-born artist and ad re-interpreter, Ellen Gallagher, is no newbie to the art world. Featured in solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art and galleries in London, Gallagher’s subtle work of minimalist paintings, collages and films have earned her the prestigious, American Academy Award in Art. Using ad images found in archival magazines like Ebony and a collection of vintage advertisements, Gallagher puts a feminist/political take on the stories, characters and identities within the chronicles, obscuring the meaning and returning as “a suitcase full of forbidden history, dumped in the pure space of abstract minimalism.” As a former carpenter with a background in grid-making, Gallagher breezes through penmanship paper and found material with the ease of a minstrel of quilted backgrounds. Her eclectic work – which consists of paintings, sketchings, animations, posters and more – draws inspiration from the burst of colors she's experienced on her travels to Cuba, literary influences like Moby Dick and the intricacy of grid systems.

Click HERE for more info



FRIDAY MARCH 25TH

Remnants: Work by J.M. Culver

@ Gallery 122 at Hang It
122 8th St SE
Minneapolis

7 p.m. to 10 p.m. / Free

If the artwork in local artist J.M. Culver's latest exhibit invokes a touch of nostalgia in you, don't worry--you're not just feeling overly maudlin: her new work is specifically meant to draw out childhood memories. In Remnants, Culver showcases a series of colossal drawings, large-scale oil paintings on vintage fabric adhered to canvas to create an exhibit focusing on both the somber and the alluring parts of youth. Drawing from memory, relationships, symbolism and allegory, Culver's “portraitures” embrace the abstract glances of past moments, where little girls and green apples aren't as naïve as they may seem. Enjoy music from electronic hip-hop artist, DJ Dedmondson.

Click HERE for this art event and more at mplsart.com


FRIDAY MARCH 25TH

What Follows What Came Before

@ Lerner Bindery Gallery
Minnesota Center for Book Arts
1011 Washington Ave. S.
Minneapolis

6 p.m. / Free

What Follows What Came Before...Leave it to MCBA to have us thinking before we’ve even seen the exhibit. Opening Friday in the Bindery, a space completely dedicated to putting pieces together to form a whole, What Follows What Came Before follows suit. Forming a monolith from minuscules, if you will, it brings together 13 artists and their diverse work (from sound engineering to bead adornments to printmaking) to investigate the aesthetics of order. Mathematically, evolutionarily, musically, chronologically – the myriad of ways which one thing follows another is brought to light in this exhibit. So, really, it’s only logical that you put one foot in front of the other and get yourself there.

Click HERE for this art event and more at mplsart.com


FRIDAY MARCH 25TH

Say You See It Too: A full year of onethirtyfive

@ Umber Studios
3109 E. 42nd St.
Minneapolis

7 p.m. / Free

Say You See It Too is an event 365 days in the making. It started in the name of challenge--a daily dialogue between photographer Louisa Podlich and writer Christian Dahlager. She takes a photograph, sets a scene, starts a story, and he responds to it with thirty-five words, no more, no fewer. Abstract, poetic, puzzling, nostalgic, profound--a combination of these or something else entirely. The next day, they repeat the process, and three-hundred sixty-five repetitions later, they hope viewers will say "we see it, too." Or even better, that we will actually see what they saw, feel what they felt, hear what they heard, and be inspired as they were. Friday and Saturday only, Umber Studios will display all 365 conversations. Say you’ll be there, too?

Extra: This marks the final exhibition at Umber Studios, who had their official goodbye party in February. So don't miss this last chance to check out art in this space!

Click HERE for this art event and more at mplsart.com

FRIDAY MARCH 25TH

Minnesota Beard-Off

@Turf Club
1601 University Ave W
St. Paul

8 p.m. / 21+ / $6

Chin straps, handlebars, fu manchus, garibaldis. Whatever your trim of choice, you better bring your best facial locks forward to the Turf this Friday for Yelp’s 2nd Annual Minnesota Beard-Off. Come together with all the local hair growers and admirers from across the Twin Cities to give snaps to the best face wigs every coiffed. Mingle with Minnesotan bearded folk and even create a new beard of your own. And obvi the night wouldn’t be complete without a plethora of prize gear, not to mention a golden ‘stached trophy for the beard that tops all beards.

Click HERE for the Facebook event

2010 Beard Off photo by David J. Turner / Bacon Beard by Nicky Stein-Grohs

FRIDAY MARCH 25TH

Astronautalis with Sims

@ Triple Rock Social Club
629 Cedar Avenue
Minneapolis

8 p.m. / 18+ / $10

Imagine a scrawny, blonde Scribble Jam veteran spitting urgent, stream-of-conscious rhymes through a gravelly, Jameson-drenched larynx that conjures Tom Waits via Henry Rollins over beats that range from rock to rap and back again, and you have Astronautalis. His current tour features a live backing band and was one of our favorite acts at SXSW this year. Paired on tour with our own Sims, whose addictive blend of hip hop and captivating performance has audiences all over the country dancing - they'll be landing together at the Triple Rock this Friday, and we can't wait!

Click HERE for the Triple Rock site



FRIDAY MARCH 25TH

Bomp!

@ Nick & Eddie
1612 Harmon Place
Minneapolis

10 p.m. / 18+ / $10 or $5 with RSVP

Right as we’re just getting over their two-year anniversary, Bomp is ready to go at it again with another night long dance melee. This Friday, get silly with the usual DJ bunch (The Moon Goons, Wezz Winship and Plain Ole Bill, of course) at their cozy party home, Nick and Eddie. This time around, they’ve got BOTH rooms on lock-down, so be sure to come early to secure your spot on the d-floor.
Click HERE for the Facebook event



COOL LINK: FROM ME TO YOU

What's l'etoile looking at on the web this week?

With the loss of a beloved fashion icon this week, this dainty little photography blog caught our eye – specifically it’s collection of icon-inspired photo shoots, with gorgeous lighting and outfits you’d swear belonged to Katherine Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis, and more. NYC photographer and vintage typewriter collector Jamie Beck is the keen eye behind “From Me to You,” which brings a whole new kind of pretty to the masses of street style photography blogs with behind-the-scenes access to the NYC fashion world. The coolest part, though, is that some of her photos really move; not in an aesthetic way, but in a .gif wizard kind of way – think batting eyelashes, hair moving in the breeze, the kinds of details that make (fashionable) people-watching such a captivating sport, but are easily missed in still photography. And we certainly wouldn’t be surprised if this one became a mover and shaker on the blog scene, too.

Click HERE for the site



SATURDAY MARCH 26TH

Firkin Fest

@ The Happy Gnome
498 Selby Ave
Saint Paul

1 p.m. to 5 p.m. / $35

Just in case you're not up on your old English lexicon, a “firkin” is a fancy shmancy word for a volume of liquid. In beer terms, it's equal to 72 pints – think: wooden keg. Ok, so why do you care what this “firkin” we speak of is? Firkin Fest, of course! Hosted by New Belguim Minnesota and St. Paul restaurant beer gurus, The Happy Gnome, Firkin Fest features samples of some of the most amazing and delicious brewskis including a variety of samples from favorites Rush River, Fulton, Surly, Summit, Flying Dog, Schell's, Dark Horse, and many more, all in really awesome old school firkins. From hoppy and IPA to Stout and amber, there's something for every beer lover. We're especially intrigued by Tallgrass' “Buffalo Sex” brew, described as Buffalo Sweat with chocolate and cherries. Vote for your favorite to win the coveted “Golden Firkin,” plus enter to win tickets for a home-brew kit from Northern Brewer, tickets for the upcoming Schell's Beer Dinner and tickets to the Brooklyn Beer Dinner, both hosted at The Happy Gnome. Only 1800 tickets are being shelled out for this year's fest, so snag yours quick and don't bogart the beer, man!

Click HERE for more info and tix

SATURDAY MARCH 26TH (THROUGH SUNDAY)

Italian Film Festival

@ MCAD
2501 Stevens Ave S
Minneapolis

12 p.m. (continues throughout the day) / $5

Face it. No matter how Netflix, Hulu or pirate-savvy you are, there are just some films you can't get your cinephile mitts on. The acclaimed contemporary films screening at this weekend's 3rd Annual Italian Film Festival are most definitely on this list. Featuring 9 films – some not even available in the U.S. – the ICC is your ticket to some of the best movies modern Italian cinema is generating. Tonight, catch the heartbreaking “farewell” tale of a son and his art-obsessed father in L'uomo Nero, bond with a group of Roman misfits in La Febbre da Fieno, experience the vengeance of a 17-year-old mafia daughter in La Siciliana Ribelle, and witness the ten-day trek of a gang of musicians and a journalist in Basilicata. Films show through Sunday with English subtitles.

Click HERE for more info and schedule


SATURDAY MARCH 26TH

Worst Friends Ever Bike Race II After Party

@ Cult Status Gallery
29th & Harriet
Minneapolis

9 p.m. / $5

Even if you're too lazy to participate in Black Label Bike Club's 2nd annual Worst Friend's Ever bike race (or if they'll even let ya), there's no denying the allure of an after party. Rock out to the hardcore anthems of The Knotwells, Hurricane and more whilst mingling with bike punks, fixie aficionados, tall cyclists, and more. Not to mention, tonight's soiree doubles as the birthday party for Clubhouse Jager's bouncer with the mostest, Timmy Hansen--so you know things will likely get crunk.

Click HERE for the Facebook event


SATURDAY MARCH 26TH
M.anifest, Muja Messiah, and The Usual Suspects

@ Cause Spirits & Soundbar
3005 Lyndale Ave. S.
Minneapolis

9:30 p.m. / $6

Ghana-born hip-hop artist M.anifest, back from recording his EP amongst the guitarists, storytellers, and traditions of his home country, headlines tonight, no doubt with a few new tricks and rhythms up his sleeves. Also performing is Muja Messiah, known for loose, funny, and lyrically spot-on (read: oh-so socially conscious) hooks, and local 5-piece variety band The Usual Suspects, whose high-energy covers from the 70s and on will most certainly make you dance.

Click HERE for the Cause site



SATURDAY MARCH 26TH

Attitude City

@ Club Jager
923 Washington Ave
Minneapolis

10 p.m. / 21+ / Free

One of our favorite monthly dance jams is here! The bad ass boys of Attitude City are at it again with their installation of music and mayhem. Join the Jeff Dubois and special guest Daniel Paul (aka Ghetto) for a night of delicious dance beats and Clubhouse Jager’s tasty cocktails. Not only is it free, but we guarantee that you’ll have an awesome time mingling and dancing up on some of Minneapolis’ finest.

BONUS: Download a brand spankin' new Attitude City dance mix HERE.

Click HERE for the Facebook event


SATURDAY MARCH 26TH

Menergy Presents: Panther Blood

@Kitty Cat Klub
313 14th Ave SE
Minneapolis

10 p.m./21+/$5 or $3 with RSVP

We’re totally over the whole Charlie Sheen thing and all the tiger blood talk. This Saturday, we’re moving on to bigger and better things: Mark Mallman's panther blood, of course! Manly man Mallman is joining Menergy superstars Bach 666, The Nightstalker and Sweet Talk Radio at KCK’s monthly Menergy bash to lead a testosterone-fueled dance jam to end all dance jams. With the help of Playatta’s video genius and the Kitty Cat’s flavorsome selection of brews, we're quite certain the night will prove to be especially magnificent and man-filled.

Click HERE for the Facebook event


SUNDAY MUSIC PICK: LITTLE DRAGON

What's l'etoile listening to this week?
Truth be told – and mostly we're saying this so as to save our coolness factor – we've been listening to Little Dragon for quite some time. Years even. Yes, even before the totally gorg Swedish-Japanese lead singer, Yukimi Nagano, lent her smoky vocals to Gorillaz's Plastic Beach record. But we recently stumbled across this highly adorable video where – from what we can tell – Yukimi and the rest of the talented Little Dragon members pay a visit to an unknown grade school for an unconventional concert collaboration. Almost more impressive than Yukimi's husky, jazzy chops and the haunting piano melody is the attention span of these little tikes and their uncanny ability to remain on key AND harmonize. Let that be a lesson to you, American Idol contestants! Also hilarious is the enthusiasm of the random music teacher/conductor – he really likes Little Dragon, guys. Why we couldn't have gone to a rad, indie-music appreciating school like this when we were kids is beyond us. Lucky little bastards! Stay tuned after the performance as the kid's ask the band some pretty poignant questions regarding the song “Twice” and the band's concept. We smell a Rolling Stone journalist in a few of these kid's futures. Tugs at the heart strings, it does.

Click HERE for the Little Dragon site



SUNDAY MARCH 27TH

Where All Lost Things Go

@ Shoebox Gallery
2948 Chicago Ave. S.
Minneapolis

3 p.m. to 5 p.m. / Free

The space of the “betwixt and between,” or rather, what it is to exist in this space is explored in Where All Lost Things Go, the latest collection by United Kingdom-born, Minneapolis-based visual artist Elaine Rutherford. Opening Sunday afternoon at Chicago Ave street-side art space, Shoebox Gallery, the exhibit offers an intimate, highly personal take on life as an immigrant, on displacement and nostalgia, and on learning to find belonging in a place that is not one’s homeland. For Rutherford, painting is an “act of transcendence, of temporality, meditation and mediation,” a way for her to step outside herself and fully discover the in-between. We’re anxious to see what in being “lost,” she’s found – and what thing or two we Minneapolitans can learn from a non-native’s perspective.

Click HERE for this art event and more at mplsart.com


Editor in Chief: Kate Iverson // Contributors: Juleana Enright, Tara Sloane, Natalie Gallagher, Kate Iverson, Robyn Lewis, Jahna Peloquin, Lauren Gantner

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Weekend What's What 3/17-3/20

ALL'S (NOT) QUIET ON THE NORTHERN FRONT

Yep, a slew of our local hitmakers are off sewing their wild oats in Austin, Texas this week, making for a pretty low-key music weekend around these here parts. However, that's definitely not to say this weekend is lame. On the contrary, dear readers, there's lots to do, see and experience, even if all those SXSW tweets are making you wish for 80 degree days and drunken, rock n' roll revelry. There's plenty of time for that, say we--after all, it seems like Spring has almost sprung!

xo-l'etoile


ALSO THIS WEEK ON L'ETOILE

Robyn Lewis hits the SXSW Festival for LOL/OMG

Tara Sloane interviews Voltage designer Kathryn V

Jahna and Lauren update our Guide to Sales & Shopping


THURSDAY MARCH 17TH

Third Thursday

@ Minneapolis Institute of Arts
2400 3rd Avenue South
Minneapolis

6 p.m. / Free

Gods and goddesses, prepare for the ultimate struggle of wits and power – or at least to watch it on the big screen. This Third Thursday is oh-so mightily themed “Clash of The Titans,” and there’s no more divine way to spend your Thursday (and we’d know, yours trulies are sponsoring the event!). Before the festivities even begin, discover your mythical doppelganger via the God & Goddess Facebook quiz (you know you wanna; we got Venus). Once you’re there, let l’etoile pretty you up in the photo booth, and strut your stuff over to the cash bar for only the sweetest feastings. For your entertainment, we have guitar deity Hastings 3000 and the eternal 1981 claymation film “Clash of the Titans” (Sam Worthington, psssh). And don’t forget to check out the M.I.A.’s latest exhibit, “Beauty and Power,” a variety of Renaissance and Baroque bronzes from the private collection of New York Architect Peter Marino. Sounds heaven sent.

Click HERE for the MIA site


THURSDAY MARCH 17TH

Recess

@ The Varsity Theater
1308 4th St SE
Minnepolis

10 p.m. / 18+ / $5 with RSVP, $7 at door

Sub kickball for dancing and the playground for The Varsity Theater and you’ve got this month’s bout of Recess. The Anthem Heart dudes are at it again with an excess of tuneage, drinks and dirty dancing this Thursday. Join local DJs Espada & Book B, Bach 666, The Nightstalker and So Gold on the Dinkytown dancefloor for tons of tunes totally complimented by mad good video montages from Playatta. Not to mention, the Varsity bar will be dishing up $3 PBRs and $4 Vodka Redbulls ‘til the night closes in.

Click HERE for the Facebook event

Recess: March 17th Promo from Anthem Heart A/V on Vimeo.


FRIDAY ART PICK: ANNA GASKELL

What's l'etoile looking at this week?

If every photograph tells a story, then Anna Gaskell’s are on a different fictional plane entirely. Moody lighting, a deep-in-the-woods setting, a young girl’s blank stare, fractions of limbs and skirt hems and hair, Gaskell’s narratives read like interrupted dreams, the kind that get fuzzy on the edges the more you wake up. And perhaps it’s because they lack the same context that dreams do; the stories these images capture seem to have just happened, or is happening right outside the frame. Fairly personal explorations of the literary adventures of adolescent girls (some images feel inspired by “Alice and Wonderland,” others “Cinderella”), Gaskell’s photographs capture the dark side of childhood, the situations wrought with anxiety and fear, the discomforts of sexual awakening. Altogether creepy, urgent, and enigmatic, they spark something, keep us looking for longer than normal, if only to figure out what might be lurking around the corner.

Click HERE for more info


FRIDAY MARCH 18TH

Closing Reception & Performance: O by Sean Connaughty

@ XY&Z Gallery
3258 Minnehaha Ave S
Minneapolis

7-11 p.m. / Free

If there's one thing for certain about Minneapolis-based artist, Sean Connaughty it's that the man doesn't take nature for granted. The multi-media artist's latest project investigates the relationship between the natural and urban environments in an exhibit that artistically reinvents salvaged tree branches, animal-made dwellings and organic found objects into still models and interactive “pods.” If you caught Connaughty's recent installation, “Bigloo” - a structure made out of snow on the slope behind the Walker – you know just how the artist can beautifully connect the viewer to the evolving natural environment around them. This Friday, join Connaughty as he closes his exhibit at XYandZ Gallery with live models interacting with the installations as well as a live performance by experimental band, Vortex Navigation Company.

Click HERE for the XYandZ site


FRIDAY MARCH 18TH

Solutions Twin Cities 4

@ Capri Theater
2027 W. Broadway Ave.
Minneapolis

6 p.m. / $8 – $16 sliding scale

We know the Twin Cities are pretty rad, but there’s always room for more positive change (yes, besides Spring). Which is why the revolutionary spirits behind Works Progress have put together volume four of Solutions Twin Cities, an evening of pithy but poignant presentations by ten of the Twin Cities’ most influential leaders. Speakers include Laura Zabel, executive director of Springboard for the Arts; Mirellle Zacharis, producer and co-curator of No Assumption, the October 2010 art exhibition that took place in a foreclosed home; Matt Olson, co-founder of ROLU, a design and art studio that focuses on building green and accessibility for all; and Amoke Kubat, founder of Yo Mama! The Mothering Mothers Institute. It’s like a whole night spent watching Ted lectures, only local, live, and way less nerdy.

Click HERE for the Facebook event


FRIDAY MARCH 18TH

Spotbreak

@ spotArt
1828 Marshall St NE
Minneapolis

7-11 p.m. / Free

Kick off your spring break with a bit of local flavor tonight as spotArt lends its walls to showcase the visual oeuvre of some of the Twin Cities finest newcomers. Peep through abstract finger, acrylic and water paintings by Jennifer Stano, composite image + light drawing experiments by photographer Brian Hart, vivid & trip-inducing illustrations from Dolan Cyr, sculptures by Karl Friedrich, original pieces by BMF Jewelry and more! Plus, groove to a live “alternative soul-folk” set from St. Paul singer/songwriter, Nicholas Mrozinski & fellow backers the Feelin Band, and spruce up your skin and let your body be the (temporary) canvas with live henna and body art inkings from artist Judy O.

Click HERE for this art event and more at mplsart.com

Artwork by Brian Hart:


FRIDAY MARCH 17TH

Execute Rogue Citizen

@ Gallery13
811 Lasalle Avenue
Minneapolis

7:30 p.m. / Free

Breathe easy, dear ones, the boys of Rogue Citizen aren’t actually at risk of losing their heads – though we can’t exactly say the same for their paintings. Let us explain: Friday evening at Gallery13, the four artists of Rogue Citizen will begin their signature live painting. Only this time, the gallery space will be divided into three separate cell blocks. The project is Execute Rogue Citizen, and the purpose is to satire and create dialogue about issues within the American justice and prison systems, sentencing, and capital punishment. The catch? All artwork not purchased by April 1, the date of the closing reception, will be “executed,” commenting on, in Citizen’s terms, “the way our system generally benefits only those who can afford the resources to preserve life or freedom.” Sounds intense – especially with sound object and electronics master Ostraka providing the soundtrack. You know we’ll be early.

Click HERE for this art event and more at mplsart.com


FRIDAY MARCH 18TH

Transmission 10 Year Anniversary

@ First Ave
701 1st Ave N
Minneapolis

8 p.m. - 2 a.m. / 18+ / $5 adv, $7 door

In the world of obscure 80‘s, post-punk, synth & Brit pop and indie gems, DJ Jake Rudh is one dapper gent with a near savant level omnibus of music knowledge - a new wave Willy Wonka, if you will. Don’t believe us? Ask the hundreds of die-hard Rudh fans who have been frequenting Club Jager’s famed dance nights, Transmission, entrusting their ears and their dance shoes to the confectionery audio treats Rudh dishes up week after week. One could say he’s kind of the John Hughes-created cool older brother you never had. And after a decade of spinning tracks, planning tribute nights, and furnishing some of the most awesome theme parties in MPLS, Rudh has managed to turn Hump Day from typical mid-week “blah” to an inclusive dance party night where the weirder the dance moves the better and it’s ok - even welcomed - if your fashion is stuck a few decades back. Tonight, the party moves from its Jager home to First Ave’s mainroom for a 6-hour Electric Fetus/City Pages/89.3 The Current sponsored event celebrating 10 years with the Transmission king. Expect a lambent dancescape of lights, fog machines and your fave 80’s and 80’s-inspired music videos supersized on the screen for your viewing pleasure. Plus, check out booths from Electric Fetus and Caroline Royce Design to get your paws on LPs and CDs from classic “Transmission artists” and limited-edition t-shirts from the artist responsible for most of Transmission’s rad weekly posters. Plus, shake your stuff to a special guest DJ experience from Mr. Clem Burke of…wait for it…Blondie!

Click HERE for the Facebook event


FRIDAY MARCH 18TH

Red Pens, Teenage Moods, Howler, and Speedboat Girls

@Cause
3005 Lyndale Ave S
Minneapolis

9:30p.m./$6/21+

The fuzzy post-punk distorted sounds of guitarist Howard Hamilton and drummer Laura Bennett, together known as local noise-folk duo Red Pens, is anything but soothing--and that's totally the point. Like an art house experiment with the volume turned way, way up, the Red Pens have a way of stunning an audience into a hushed adoration, as the fierce tornado of sound whips around whatever room the riotous band happens to be playing. Experience them this Friday at Cause, along with punk rockers Teenage Moods, Howler, and Speedboat Girls. Be sure to bring your ear plugs--you'll need them, if you value your hearing even a little bit.

Click HERE for the Cause site




COOL LINK: SEASAW


What's l'etoile looking at on the web this week?

Signing up for a subscription to Seasaw Artifacts is like having a really awesome pen pal who sends you care packages. You never know what treasures will await, but you do know they are bound to be hand-crafted, unique displays of anything from literary-inspired gems and original artwork to practical and functional objects. With their yearly theme finally chosen, Seasaw Art is ready to distribute their very first, highly anticipated quarterly installment. And with a theme like “party” we can guarantee your gifts will be everything you need to galvanize your year. For a sneak peek of this quarter’s bundle visit Seasaw Artifact’s blog and get your subscription. SPOILER ALERT: There’s booze!

Click HERE for the Seasaw site


SATURDAY MARCH 19TH

Last Look: Sounds from Ethiopia

@ Franklin Art Works
1021 E. Franklin Avenue
Minneapolis

1 p.m. / Free

Throughout the past month, Franklin Art Works has been exhibiting the work of Eritrean-born, New York-based photographer Dawit L. Petros, and Saturday, they’re sending the exhibition out with a bang: banging musical beats, that is! Starting at one, Ethiopia native Teshome Yimer will be playing a mix of traditional Ethiopian jams and American Soul covers – a set he’s polished after years of being a house musician in Washington D.C. Act two of the afternoon is Beytubekii, back in Minneapolis (they played in Matthews Park last summer) with a fresh selection of popular and traditional Oromo music. Expect mad keyboard skills – and to discover your feet won’t sit still.

Click HERE for the Facebook event

If this sweet animated GIF isn't enough to convince you, we don't know what is.

SATURDAY MARCH 19TH

Regis Dialogue w/ Julian Schnabel & Darsie Alexander

@ Walker Art Center
1750 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis

8 p.m. / $20 ($15 for WAC members)

Like a smaller version of Bravo’s “Inside the Actor’s Studio,” the Walker’s Regis Dialogue is an intimate, in-depth and introspective sneak peek at some of modern cinema’s most progressive and apposite directors, not to mention a one-of-a-kind experience to sift through the minds of our century‘s most innovative geniuses. Tonight, join Walker chief curator, Darsie Alexander, for a parley with award-winning filmmaker and director of the heartbreaking, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, the brilliant Julian Schnabel. Get an insider’s lowdown on everything from Schnabel’s unique modus operandi and inspirations to snapshots of his artwork and even short snips of from his provocative catalogue of films.

Click HERE for the Walker site


SATURDAY MARCH 19TH

1st Annual CONvergence Party Lab

@ Event Horizon
Waterbury Building
1121 Jackson St. NE
Northeast Mpls

7 p.m. to Late / $10

Nerd out with the best of them tonight at Northeast Minneapolis sci-fi party headquarters, Event Horizon. A fundraiser for special events associated with the famed CONvergence Science Fiction Convention, tonight's "Party Lab" will give you a tasty sampling of what's to come in July. Dust off your Spock ears and see what the creative wizards behind some of the coolest themed "room parties" at the annual convention have up their sleeves, get your dance on, eat and drink to your hearts content, and rub elbows with the coolest geeks in town.

Click HERE for more info


SATURDAY MARCH 19TH (THROUGH SUNDAY)

Touch of Evil

@ Trylon
3258 Minnehaha Ave S
Minneapolis

7 & 9 p.m. / $8

Best known for his unforgettable, sneaky note sax opus from The Pink Panther, musician Henry Mancini - aka “the maestro of mod” defines an entire decade for Hollywood soundtracks. With his full-bodied orchestra-laced compositions as eclectic as the 60’s themselves, Mancini’s scores jump from smooth and sexy melodies to the dark, suspenseful numbers associated with the Orson Welles’ directed film noir, “Touch of Evil” and the harebrained shocker, “Experiment in Terror.” As part of their Henry Mancini series, join the Trylon Microcinema and Take-Up Productions tonight as they highlight another important jewel in the Mancini collection, Welles’ classic masterpiece thriller, “Touch of Evil” starring Janet Leigh, Orson Welles, Charlton Heston with cameos by Marlene Dietrich and Zsa Zsa Gabor and featuring more jazzy congo beats than a beatnik reunion.

Click HERE for the Take Up Productions site




SATURDAY MARCH 19TH

Mark Mallman, Aaron and the Sea, and Total Babe

@7th St. Entry
701 1st Ave N
Minneapolis

2 Shows:
5 p.m. / $8 / AA
9 p.m. / $8 / 21+

Mark Mallman is legend in this town. And maybe legend in other places, but mainly in this town. Twin Citizens have carved out a special little place in their hearts for Mallman, and much like they will have a special soft spot for Prince (no matter what he does), it's safe to say that no matter what Mallman does, it will be brilliant and adored by a ferociously dedicated legion of fans. No other man could rock a 78-hour non-stop music marathon and live to talk about it, and Mallman brings the energy of a superstar to every stage he takes over. Suddenly, you aren't just attending a rock show--you are enveloped in a grandiose escapade that Mallman has either meticulously planned or is totally winging (we might actually never know the difference, and it probably doesn't matter either way). Venture downtown this Saturday night to see Mallman tear the Entry to shreds. With two show opportunities and the fantastic openers Aaron and the Sea and Total Babe, you have no good excuse not to.

Click HERE for the Facebook event

Classic Mallman!


SATURDAY MARCH 18TH

Hands High-Five-Ohh

@Honey
205 E Hennepin Ave NE
Minneapolis

9 p.m./ $5 for 18+/$3 for 21+

Put yo hands up in the air… again! Hands High is back in action with another fist raisin’, booty shakin’, groove-worthy dance installation at Northeast’s staple danceteria, Honey. Get down and dirty with music men Plain Ole Bill and Last Word (as well as VIP guest DJ 84 Caprice) as they spin their favorite discs all night through. Plus, the party will also help launch Twin Cities dude Lee Greenwich’s newest t-shirt design “Twin Cities Je T’aime” with company prez Mustache Mike himself and a very sweet surprise for the first gaggle of people to show up.

Click HERE for the Honey site


SUNDAY MUSIC PICK: THE POP GROUP

What's l'etoile listening to this week?

In honor of this weekend’s Transmission anniversary, we’re highlighting an underrated band we’re sure Rudh would put his stamp of approval on - the anomalous sound of Brit-post-punk rockers, The Pop Group. Perhaps best known for their cacophonous single, “We Are All Prostitutes” featured on the BBC series “Ashes to Ashes” and the Rough Trade split with The Last Poets, The Pop Group was short-lived, yet musically influential avant-garde band from Bristol with roots in punk, free jazz, reggae and new wave with politically-charged lyrics. Headed by one of the pioneers of industrial hip-hop and discordant dub, Mark Stewart, the band seemed to follow no rules when it came to beat composition and paved the way for future experimental bands including trip-hop’s Massive Attack. Oh, not to mention they had killer coiffures.

Click HERE for more info




SUNDAY MARCH 20TH

Riot Act Reading Series

@ Nick & Eddie
1612 Harmon Place
Minneapolis

8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Tonight, Nick & Eddie's rebellious ruffians aren't the stumbling lushes in the back bar – they're the literary hooligans with the mic! The Riot Act Reading Series returns to the Neddie's with a kick ass line up of rowdy readers. Hemled by punk poet Paul D. Dickinson along with clever cohort Laura Brandenburg, tonight's edition of RARS will feature a solid list of talented performers including Joan Vordebruggen, Andy Sturdevant, as well as Dickinson and Brandenburg themselves. And what better day than Sunday to let a little "riot" into your life?

Click HERE for the Facebook event



SUNDAY MARCH 20TH

Cult Status Gallery 1st Birthday Party

@ Cult Status Gallery
2913 Harriet Avenue South
Minneapolis

6 p.m. / Free

It would seem Cult Status Gallery has survived it’s inaugural year – and what an awesome one it’s been! From that very first “Equinox” group show to the fallen Deuce 7 mural to the oh-so-scandalous “Peep Show” to last weekend’s crafty/spooky/surreal “Never Quiet Never Soft,” the Harriet Avenue hotspot has given us quite the art-wild ride since it opened – and if that’s not cause for a big ol’ party with music, art, and cake, then we don’t know what is. And what would a birthday bash be without party favors? Take home an abandoned CSG artwork past, which will be up for auction at the show. Okay, so they’re not exactly favors, but all proceeds go to a greater-than-great cause: supplementing the gallery’s March rent. Here’s to another year of wit, mischief, wicked cool art, and barely scrapin’ by, eh?

Click HERE for the Facebook event


Editor in Chief: Kate Iverson // Contributors: Juleana Enright, Tara Sloane, Natalie Gallagher, Kate Iverson, Robyn Lewis, Jahna Peloquin, Lauren Gantner

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Voltage Designer Spotlight: Kathryn V

by Tara Sloane

This year’s first Voltage: Fashion Amplified spotlight is bright upon Kathryn V, Voltage first-timer and purveyor of chic, funky wares that even mother Earth would adore (her Voltage line is wrought one-hundred percent from sustainable fabrics). Fresh from the U of M’s design program, Kathryn has had quite the busy year (to say the least!). Her collection at the Minneapolis Fashion Initiative’s "Calamity!" show last spring was equal parts sophisticated and playful, polished with just-so details and textile prints, and at Envision: Artopia, she delighted us with 70s-reminiscent slouchy sweaters, paisley prints, and sailor pants. Kathryn finds inspiration in people and places, a process constantly evolving and manifesting in fresh, interesting new designs. We’re sure her Voltage line will be no exception – and we can’t wait to see what the rest of 2011 brings this keen designer.

Kathryn chatted with us about fabric hunting, her “crafty” first line, and the ever-changing design process behind her Voltage collection.

l’etoile: Your Voltage collection is made entirely from sustainable fabrics. What was it like working within the limits of environmentally friendly material? To what extent, if at all, did the material itself inspire your designs and/or help shape the concept for your line?

Kathryn: Working with sustainable materials has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences for my Voltage 2011 line. It uses fabrics that are not only organic cottons, but sustainable in a variety of ways. I am working with a variety of fabrics that use recycled fibers, low impact dyes, and come from suppliers that are using sustainable practices. One of my fabric suppliers ships their fabric in recycled boxes and uses old commercial patterns as packaging; how awesome is that?



Designing with environmentally friendly parameters has forced me to overcome many challenges, like restrictions in fabric color and type. These restrictions have changed the entire way I begin designing a line. In that past I have been able to start with an inspiration, develop a variety of silhouettes, imagine a color palette, and then chose my fabric based on those ideas. While I am often inspired by the textures and patterns that lead to the development of a line, fabric now begins and steers the entire design process. I have to choose my fabrics first since there are slim varieties of sustainable materials available.

Simply finding my materials has been half the battle. It hasn't been as easy as typing "eco fabric" into my Google bar. I spend hours sifting through fabric sites, talking to other designers and comparing fabrics. While it is a challenge now, there has been a fantastic shift in sustainable design with it receiving more and more attention. Especially in recent fashion shows, sustainable design is blossoming. The Organic line by John Patrick was one of my favorites from this past New York fashion week and I can only hope that with more designers working with these materials, the options available will continue to grow.

[photo from Envision 2010]

l’etoile: You started making clothes at the age of thirteen, and selling them at fifteen – that’s an entire young adulthood in the design world! How has starting at such a young age impacted you as you continue to grow as a designer? What principles or aesthetics have you stayed true to over the years?

Kathryn: I hesitate when saying I started selling clothing at fifteen. Not because I don’t feel like I wasn’t taking bold strides at a young age. But, because I started so young, and [being] so inexperienced I was inhibited from entering the fashion scene well built. I mean, my first “line” was a craft fest incorporating a black and white collar shirt paired with a multi colored, ribbon accented skirt (embarrassing). But, while I still need to work up the courage to pull those photos out of the shoebox, the trade-off for an invaluable experience has been worth it.

The first line I’m talking about started in high school with a friend, Andrea Bell. At that time we were mainly altering t-shirts and making simple patterns. We were self-taught but both pursued design in college, Andrea, at SAIC and myself at the University of Minnesota. I continued my design, independently moving to Design Collective and finally to Cliché, where I currently sell my garments. It was a long trek from there to here and I've learned a lot along the way. While those first garments were anything but a masterpiece I wouldn't take back that experience for anything. Trying, and failing, has taught me valuable lessons and I think I am a stronger designer because of it. Mostly, it has taught me that I will always be learning and that’s the main principle that has remained with me since the age of fifteen. There is always something to discover, which makes this industry so amazing. I never want to reach a point where I think I know everything, because there is nowhere to go from there.

[photo from Calamity by Rod Hasse]

l’etoile: From delineation and conception to construction and completed collection, do you find that your design inspiration is an external process, or something more instinctive? What is your typical method for bringing a concept from inception to a blossomed full collection?

Kathryn: Designing isn’t purely external or instinctive. It has been about finding a balance between the two because my designs will eventually be owned and used by someone else, so I need to work to meet their needs. Likewise, it can’t be entirely external or I’ll lose myself, and the things that differentiate my design from others. This balance isn’t something I’ve mastered. I struggle with it everyday. But, I try to stay true to what inspires me and not just follow the trends. I also could not succeed without the input and critique of those around me. My process is never the same but it always involves an inspiration or idea that is so exciting to me I can’t sleep. I love going through the process of ideation to mold that idea into something others want to wear.

l’etoile: What role does music play in your design modus operandi? Are there certain bands or particular songs you put on to cure a design funk?

Kathryn: I cannot work without music. It is the singular most important component to my workday aside from coffee. Done and done.

[Photo of Kathryn V's 2010 Fall Collection by Brad Ogbonna]

l’etoile: Now in its seventh year, Voltage: Fashion Amplified has only intensified in popularity and local talent. To what do you attribute Voltage's success and why do you think it continues to gain momentum?

Kathryn: Minnesota is amping up its enthusiasm for fashion design. This industry is growing in our city and it has come a long way in the past few years. But, in a location where runway shows were not always so accessible, Voltage has offered a generous mix of the well known: rock and roll, with the unfortunately less known: runway show. Voltage has pulled in huge crowds of people each year and acquainted a new population to the fashion design scene. I see Voltage continuing to thrive because of the dedication of those involved, and the always-interesting blend of music and fashion design that makes this show so unique. It is my first year showing in Voltage and I am incredibly excited to be a part of it.

Voltage: Fashion Amplified happens Friday, April 15th at First Avenue Night Club. For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.voltagefashionamplified.com.

For more info on Kathryn V, visit
www.kathrynv.com.