Friday, December 31, 2010

A Few of Our Favorite Things: l'etoile's Best of 2010

2010...what can we say? You were totally awesome! From social media to art to fashion to music and everything else in between, the Twin Cities once again blew us away with creativity, moxie and sheer star power. We deliberated for hours and hours over our own personal favorites. We argued a bit, gushed a bit more, and finally settled on what we think is a pretty sweet list of locally-sourced moments, milestones and amazing people. We hope you enjoy our last post of the year, and we can't wait to see what you do in 2011!



We have to say, it was hard for us to narrow down just one Twitter personality to select as "best." In 2010 the stripped-down social media platform truly caught the attention of the world - and just like that, your mom was following you (scream!). Sure, we COULD have gone with the smartest tweeter, the most informative or the like, but instead we decided to take a little inspiration from our spin-off social media gossip blog LOL/OMG (thanks to a suggestion from clever twitter babe, @vruno) and break it all down into three entertaining categories: LOL (the funniest tweeter), OMG (the most outrageous tweeter) and WTF (the tweeter that most frequently makes us scratch our heads). Enjoy! -K.I.

Best Tweeter (LOL): @brokenhalo

Freelance music writer and man-about-town, Pat O'Brien, has long been a Twitter fixture in the Twin Cities. His wry brand of pseudo stand-up comedy in 140 characters or less regularly lands him on LOL/OMG's popular "Weekend Twitterings" round up. From general sarcasm to hilarious pop culture references and locally-focused observations, @brokenhalo is a follow you won't regret. Follow him HERE.

Best Tweeter (OMG): @meatpit

The handle alone is almost OMG enough! Whenever we're feeling grumpy, we just take a trip over to @meatpit's Twitter feed for a good laugh. Also known as local scenestress Alicia Zobbe-Hogdal, @meatpit's tweets are frequently NSFW, will probably shock you more often than not, and may even scar for life those with delicate sensibilities. She's a little like a tiny female version of Andrew Dice Clay - a version that's actually funny. Follow @meatpit HERE.

Best Tweeter (WTF): @JohnWallaceMPLS

This prolific Twitterati seems to live his life via social media, giving his followers solid play-by-play action on a daily basis, often times late into the night. Loud, brassy and sassy, John Wallace takes us all over Minneapolis with plenty of caps, exclamation points, and LOL-worthy hashtags. Our favorite WTF @JohnWallaceMPLS moments often occur after hours, once he's sufficiently #JUICED. Follow @JohnWallaceMPLS HERE.


Gimme Noise

Yeah, yeah, we know City Pages' online music blog Gimme Noise is a major media source in the Twin Cites, and normally we would pull for the less likely underdog. BUT the Gimme Noise crew's consistent, up-to-the-minute scene coverage, not to mention their epic, painstaking, and heartfelt recount of almost every hour of the Mallman Marathon (that included closing words that literally made us tear up) make Gimme Noise undoubtedly our favorite and most frequently visited blog of 2010. Helmed by music editor Andrea Swensson, the blog's commitment to local music has helped build community while showcasing and promoting various corners of our diverse local scene that otherwise would go untouched by major media. -R.L.


Tucker Gerrick

Love and loss has been a recurrent theme in the work of photographer/artist and Familia Skateshop GM Tucker Gerrick, and that romantic sensibility had us at "hello." A fixture of the local art, DJ and skate scenes for years, Tucker has always had the ability to create excitement around him, whether it be with his monthly "Hump Night" at Red Stag, at one of his art openings, or on the dance floor. He looks pretty sharp in a flannel, too. Ladies have been unsuccessful in trying to pin Tucker down, but don't let that stop you - he's a catch. (photo: Louisa Marion Photography) -J.P.


Jen Hughes

The lovely Miss Hughes has been one of the Twin Cities' most noted hairstylists for years, juggling her responsibilities as a Juut Master Stylist, Aveda educator, and member of the Aveda styling team for New York Fashion Week with aplomb. She also gained some points when she was asked to put together some one-of-a-kind, theatrical hair creations for Target's Simon Doonan Halloween showcase. But others know Jen as one-half of Hot Roxx, the beloved monthly '70s vinyl night that also is behind such memorable annual events at the Hot Roxx Hexmas and the Halloween Hextravaganza. She also does a mean Stevie Nicks impression. There could hardly be a more babelicious, talented, cool chick in town than Jen. The complete package? We say yea. -J.P.


Benjamin Fredrickson

Even though he moved (albeit "temporarily") to New York a few months back, 2010 was truly Benjamin Fredrickson's year. The art photographer noted for his subversive, button-pushing work gained national respect, becoming a regular contributor to the famed BUTT Magazine and being published in Brief Magazine. The Parsons and MCAD-weaned photographer also recently showcased another one of his many talents - that of fashion designer - when a piece he created was featured in NYC-based publication Oakazine. All that talent combined with an exuberant energy, genius sense of style, and the fact that he's one of the sassiest and most genuine people you'll ever meet, Ben is the gay we'd always love to have on our arm. -J.P.

Ben Fredrickson self portrait


The Blue Sky Blackout Wives

The supportive force behind local band, Blue Sky Blackout, this gaggle of lovely broads saw their men through 2010 with good humor and, well, plenty of patience. Angie Heitz, Trixi Hunt, Jenny Westbrooks, Janey Winterbauer, Katie Iwanin, and Saisha Harris (who is the only non-wife girlfriend in the bunch) are more often than not at the front of the stage at each show, despite the fact they've all got their own cool things going on the side. From managing hip bars to singing with top local acts to working in the advertising/design world and more, the BSB wives prove to us that being married (even with children) doesn't mean you can't be rock n' roll too. -K.I.



Well, this is pretty much a no-brainer. 2010's edition of Art-A-Whirl was definitely the biggest and best yet! The annual Northeast-based art crawl seems to expand in size, scope and quality year after year. And judging from the never-ending flow of art, the epic outdoor entertainment and the late night art parties, this year's "largest open studio and gallery tour in the U.S." certainly did not disappoint the masses. One of our favorite highlights included Creative Electric Studio's Slow Mirror and the Metronome project, which took over the docks behind the Sample Room. The floating art installation and weekend-long multi-media event included projections, buoyant creations, sound collage, an arted-up houseboat and a flock of the Twin Cities coolest local bands playing from boats anchored off-shore. Amidst traversing expansive studio buildings such as the Thorp, Casket Arts, California Building, Northrup King and more, Art-A-Whirl attendees enjoyed food from area restaurants and more live music than you could shake a drumstick at all along 13th Avenue thanks to the 331 Club and Shuga Record's Hoolie Fest. We could go on and on about all the "best" things was saw and experienced this year at Art-A-Whirl, but that would probably take you all day to read. (photo of Slow Mirror and the Metronome installation by Drew Peterson) -K.I.


CO Exhibitions

When we heard that the Burlesque of North America crew planned to boo-up with the creative instigators at Permanent Design Group to form CO Exhibitions, our hearts got more than a little fluttery. Comprised of some of the hardest working and prolific art peeps in town (honestly we don't know when any of them sleep), this gaggle of creators miraculously found the time to revamp a dusty old warehouse space into a gorgeous A-grade art gallery. Housed in the same Northeast building that's home to Burlesque's print shop (also formerly the First Amendment Gallery), the expansive space boasts ridiculously high ceilings, miles of bright white walls and even a stage. There's no denying the thoughtful local shine and good humor that's applied to each exhibit that's held at CO, from their inaugural group exhibit Wings & Teeth: The Art of Doomtree to August's wild Smell the Glove Spinal Tap tribute exhibit curated by local artist Michael Gaughan. A gallery that doesn't take itself too seriously, but at the same time pushes the envelope and maintains a high standard of quality, CO Exhibitions is an easy pick as our Best New Gallery of 2010. -K.I.


Science & Wonder

This past May, we were invited into the grim fantasy world of artists Michael Thomsen and Caitlin Karolczak, whose dual exhibit Science & Wonder debuted over Art-A-Whirl Weekend at the Rogue Buddha Gallery. Two artists perfectly suited to be shown together, Thomsen and Karolczak took us on a journey through dark shadows, sly secrets, androgynous phantasms and quirkily crafted masterpieces. Thomsen's sculptures bent our minds with their intricate detail work; looking into one of his 3-dimensional creations seemed a window directly into the artist's own dreams. Hidden compartments, flickering candles, skulls, tiny trinkets and carnivalesque objects de' art galore were all arranged with meticulous, mesmerizing precision. Karolczak's large-scale oil paintings on the other hand, spiraled into a beautifully creepy place where sex and mythology and androgyny and history and death all collided; a place where exquisite realism met warped fantasy and twisted into one big ball of surreal intensity. Together the two artists brought a disturbing gorgeousness to the Rogue Buddha in a show that will be on our minds well past 2010. -K.I.


Rhea Pappas

This young art photographer won our hearts in 2010 not only with her captivating work but also with her sparkling personality and ambition. A 2008 MCAD grad that now studios out of Lowertown St. Paul, Rhea Pappas upped her game in 2010 with a series of gallery showings that made us swoon. Her unique brand of underwater photography touches on themes of female empowerment while still maintaining a dreamy, girlish grace. Striking and often times heartbreaking, Pappas' work plays on the personalities and stories behind her models, carefully capturing their emotions through movement and light. In addition to her stunning artwork, Pappas impressed us further this year by continuing on her streak of educating others through photography workshops as well as co-founding the monthly First Friday Lowertown Art Crawl. We see so much bright promise in this chick, we've got to wear shades. -K.I.

Photo by Rhea Pappas


Kevin Kramp

Our choice of Kevin Kramp as designer of the year will hardly come as a shock. The knitwear mastermind has already been named Artist of the Year by several local publications. But, at the risk of sounding recycled, we have to continue to echo the far-reaching praise. Kramp’s avant-garde take on men’s knitwear is strikingly ambitious. The Brown University and Central St. Martins alumnus has set a new standard for high-concept design in the Twin Cities art and fashion community. Though the majority of established Minneapolis designers are committed to finding a degree of local commercial success, Kramp has carved out a reputation as true artist. His aesthetic is theatrical, daring and uncompromising. By working with knits, Kramp is able to own his process from start to finish with a painstaking attention to detail. The resulting pieces range from over-sized scarves to harem pants and one-pieces. His talent and innovation have been recognized far beyond the Midwest, and this January Kramp will make his Paris Fashion Week debut. -B.H.


Raul Osorio and Danielle Everine (tie)

It makes sense that Osorio and Everine are sharing a victory. Both presented spring collections at Voltage: Fashion Amplified, then shared the runway this fall with their joint presentation, Pale Rider. Osorio, already quite established in menswear, brought his dramatic aesthetic to womenswear this year. Variations of his high-waisted cigarette pants were shown with Victorian blouses, alongside ultra-feminine shorts and cocktail dresses. However, he didn’t let his menswear fall by the wayside. Osorio presented a dapper collection of well-tailored quirky menswear at this fall’s SCENEaSOTA. Accessorized with bow ties from Freedom from Doubt, it was perhaps the most truly fun collection of the year.Everine continued to be a runway favorite in 2010, showing looks ranging from tailored suiting to easy separates. More so than other Twin Cities designers, Everine has a sense of who her customer is. Her pieces aren’t created just to be displayed on runways or retail racks. They are for a fully-realized woman with a breezy American style. From Katherine Hepburn to C.Z. Guest to Lauren Hutton, there are plenty of icons one can easily picture favoring Everine’s designs. This ability to create commercial appeal while maintaining her unique sensibility is one of the designer’s greatest strengths. (Photo by Cody Lidtke) -B.H.


I Feel Love

Before honoring our Best Fashion Event of 2010, we would be remiss not to mention that l’etoile promotionally sponsors a host of fashion events throughout the year, including our big winner for 2010: I FEEL LOVE.

A mix of fashion, music and video, the multi-media event took place in Northeast’s Grain Belt Bottling House, which is fast becoming a standard venue for local fashion events. Producers Angie Hanson, Maritza Ramirez and Ken Hannigan of Anthem Heart created a colorful spectacle that showcased the talents of dozens of Twin Cities creatives. Performances by The Nightstalker, Camille Bourgerie and soprano Alina Lindquist accompanied the work of local designers Ramirez and Mackenzie Labine for Oishiimomo. Ramirez showed a chic collection of separates which ranged from prim to coquettish , while Labine brightened the runway with her cheeky anime-inspired looks. Both collections were expertly styled by Jane Belfry, who played up Ramirez’s French gamine and kept Labine’s look playful without becoming overly saccharine. The show was a techno-colored dreamscape, occasionally whimsical, but always polished. Despite the illusion of ease, it was clear that the crew took the production very seriously. The excellently curated music and videography set I FEEL LOVE apart from the standard runway show. Saturated with eye candy and ear candy, it was truly the sweetest event of the year. -B.H.

I Feel Love Fashion Show from Anthem Heart A/V on Vimeo.



We like to spread around the wealth when it comes to best-of mentions, but BlackBlue has continued to be simply the place to shop for well-dressed gents in the Twin Cities since it opened in 2009. Owner Steve Kang has expertly-stocked the store with a selection of classic brands like Fred Perry, Penguin and Minnesota's own Red Wing Shoes - plus French favorite A.P.C. and London-based shoe brand F-Troupe. And over the past month, Kang has begun to stock a small but well-edited selection of women's cothing by A.P.C. and Swedish workwear brand Dunderdon, so you never know - BlackBlue just could be getting a womenswear nod in 2011. -J.P.


Cliché/"Avoid the Grey"

When Josh and Delayna Sundberg first opened the doors of Cliché in May of 2004, the Twin Cities fashion community had no idea what was hitting it. As much as Voltage: Fashion Amplified and the formation of MNfashion, Cliché has been a catalyst and incubator for local fashion design talent. Thanks to the hands-on guidance of the husband-and-wife team, the shop has fostered the talents of names such as Amanda Christine and Kimberly Jurek (of K.Jurek) - both of which are now manufacturing their lines and selling them at dozens of stores across the country. Accordingly, their annual local designer showcase "Avoid the Grey" brightens up the month of January and gives their new and longtime talent a chance to shine, coupled with a highly creative presentation. (This year's "Midsummer Night's Dream" themed show had models wearing animal masks while a ballerina danced to Hole's "Violet.") -J.P.


Gramma's Boyfriend

With only a couple shows under their belt, Haley Bonar's new band Gramma's Boyfriend has already created quite a buzz. Of course, we (and everyone else) have been fans of Bonar's heart-wrenching vocals for years. After a stint on the West Coast, Bonar is back with a brand new band consisting of the perfect formula - an all star cast including Jeremy Ylvisaker, Mike Lewis, Jake Hanson, and Luke Anderson creating electro-dancey sounds with vocals reminiscent of Siouxsie and the Banshees and nothing like the coffee-shop folk of her past. 2011 will see this band come into its own and capture the hearts of Twin Cities music lovers. -R.L.


Gayngs Last Prom on Earth @ First Avenue

Never before and never again will our beloved concert venue look the way it looked the night of the Last Prom on Earth. In the month leading up to it, the city was abuzz with non-stop prom talk. "Did you get your prom tickets?" "What are you wearing?" "Who is your prom date?". As the excitement built, so did the expectations. But stepping inside the club the night of May 14th, seeing the sheer spectacle of an all-out PROM at First Avenue and feeling that collective energy, you knew that they had somehow managed to pull it off. Gayngs, as a musical concept, had been a painstaking labor of love for Ryan Olson & crew, and after a year in the making they executed the undisputed best show of the year. It was truly something special to witness. -R.L.


Mark Mallman's Marathon 3

Being part of a community that pulls off shit like a 78-hour music marathon, anchored by scene mainstay Mark Mallman and supported by nearly a hundred musicians, is one of the reasons we are in love with our city. It began on a warm Thursday evening, and with the first notes of Mallman's 4 day opus, everyone knew it was something not worth missing. And the results were stunning - by the end of the exhausting, trying, and ultimately exciting weekend, we were all right there along with Mallman, cheering him on, emotionally invested in his transformation. It was as if the entire music community ate, slept, and breathed Mallman for those 78 hours. When he crossed his finish line, we were all there, crying with him as he completed what nobody thought he could. -R.L.

Photo by Erik Hess


P.O.S. Pre-Coachella Secret Shows

Just when we think local music can't possibly outdo itself, it does just that. Days before flying off to the Californian desert for a high profile set at Coachella, P.O.S. and his backing band, Marijuana Deathsquads, performed three intimate "practice sessions" in front of in-the-know friends and fans that unintentionally turned into a three day rap fest of epic proportions, whose unannounced locations somehow managed to stay out of the press. Deathsquads forced new life out of these familiar songs, making them blossom into entire symphonies. Bright-eyed attendees could not help but to come back for more, night after night, until the powerful conclusion at a Nick and Eddie Wednesday night. After witnessing what he is capable of with a full band, we simply cannot wait to see what Stef Alexander has in store for us in 2011. (photo by Erik Hess) -R.L.


Nick & Eddie Backbar and Alley

Sure, Nick and Eddie (or "Neddies" as it is referred to by regulars) has seen its ups and downs over the past couple years. But this year saw the restaurant reinvent itself into a bonified music venue and one of the hippest places to hang out this side of the river. Wednesday nights exploded into a community of friends that turned the quiet restaurant into a raging party. With the addition of the Back Bar and deck, as well as popular bartender Paddy Mulloy, Nick and Eddie became a hotspot of scenesters and celebs. The Loring Alley, with its strewn lights and charming cobblestone, became our fave summer spot to sip a late night cocktail. -R.L.


Erik Hess

This year, one music photographer stands out so far ahead of the crowd that we had to take note. With nearly 300 shows under his belt in 2010 alone, Erik Hess has obviously found his calling. Aside from being a regular contributor to City Pages and T.C. Daily Planet, his photo blog,, contains thousands of beautifully captured memories and musical moments from the past year. Flipping through the pages it's impossible not to gasp with delight and awe at his natural gift. His seemingly effortless snapshots perfectly capture the essence, sound, and feel of an event, and if you weren't there, he makes you feel like you were. We challenge Erik to continue documenting the most exceptional moments of 2011 so that we may continue to relive them. -R.L.

Cloud Cult by Erik Hess for T.C. Daily Planet


LeRon. Wait for it...

Best of Editor: Kate Iverson / Contributors: Robyn Lewis, Jahna Peloquin, Beth Hammarlund

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Weekend What's What: New Year's Special Edition


It's almost 2011! Whatever your resolution, this weekend marks your last hurrah with 2010 so you better throw caution to the wind and make it count. Scads of awesome events pepper this weekend's lineup, so choose your itinerary carefully and make sure you've got reliable, sober transportation to and fro, as the weather outside is rumored to be frightful, and getting a DUI is not delightful. Have a blast, and we'll see you next year, darlings!



The Eve of New Year's Eve Celebration!

@ 1419
1419 S Washington Ave

7 p.m. / $5 suggested donation

Don’t wait until Friday to kick off a weekend of champagne-soaked shenanigans. Celebrate New Year’s Eve’s Eve at 1419 with one of the space’s signature art-cum-music-cum-dance party extravaganzas! Artists Sam Robertson, Matthew Gorrie, and Ralaina Hicks will be presenting “I Kiss With My Eyes Open” (an ode to the midnight smooch tradition, perhaps?). The musical line-up includes noise duo Bambi & The Tin Man, West Virginia’s Club Frills, Washington’s Baker London, Zach Wolff, and Dog Kamp. Be stoked.

Click HERE for the Facebook event


The EVE of NYE Bash (night before the eve)

@ Architectural Antiques Building (upstairs)
1330 Quincy St. NE

10 p.m. / $5

Consider celebrating New Year’s Eve twice this year, starting with a warehouse jam in the Northeast Arts District! It's not like you really need an excuse to party two nights in a row, eh? Now, you probably have your NYE outfit all planned out since you accidentally bought sixteen different Christmas outfits, so we know it won’t be much of a stretch for you to throw something hot together just in time to shimmy all over the dance floor. Koo Koo Kangaroo will be DJing, and there’s no way you can resist shaking it when those guys are in the house.

Click HERE for the Facebook event


Let's be honest, entertaining is not quite the walk in the park peeps like Martha Stewart make it seem. Not all of us are blessed with the skills of origami-ing scraps of paper into swans or turning dust balls into elaborate centerpieces. Yes, some of us need a bit of help and a burst of inspiration. Enter Glasslion. Here to make home decorating and entertaining not only a breeze, but an eclectic mix of artsy, elegant and charming, Glasslion's adorbs Etsy page is stocked full of unique, hand-crafted glassware and charming artwork. Stock up on prints of vintage champagne labels or custom-made, bedazzled, gem-crested champagne flutes and wine glasses – perfect for NYE toasts, rowdy ball-drop countdowns and morning after mimosas. Don't see exactly what you're looking for? The talented Glasslion folks can whip up your dream décor on the cheap.

Click HERE for the Glass Lion Etsy shop


5th Annual Varsity New Year's w/ Mark Mallman & Friends

@ Varsity Theater
1308 4th St SE

8 p.m. to 2 a.m. / 18+ / $14

MPLS rock hero/master keyboard rider, Mark Mallman had a kick-ass year. Not only did the charismatic wildman earn the City Pages title of “Best Live Artist in the Twin Cities,” but the dude held his third marathon concert, playing 78 hours straight and humbly continuing on his journey to becoming a sure-fire rock legend (he already is one to us). Mallman's a true musical masochist, and we love him for it. Epic concerts are just another day in the life of the TC fave, so for tonight's 5th annual Mallman-helmed NYE bash expect nothing less than thunderous piano playing, jaw-dropping antics, bells, whistles and auditory pleasure. Ring it all in with Mr. Serious himself, complete with live sets from indie folksters, Caroline Smith & The Good Night Sleeps; Sonic Youth-kindreds, Red Pens; and hilar electro hip-hoppers, Koo Koo Kangaroo. Knowing the Mall-man, mayhem is absolutely bound to ensue.

Click HERE for the Facebook event

Photo by Nate Reiman


New Year's Eve with Secrets of the City

@ Red Stag Supper Club
509 1st Ave NE

10 p.m. / 21+ / Free

Secrets of the City and the Red Stag team up once again for their yearly New Year's Eve bash! Always a fun, low-stress soiree, this third annual event is perfect for peeps who don't want to brave the crush of drunken revelers downtown or at the bars. The cozy dining room of the Stag will turn into a festive yet chilled-out wonderland with live music from soothing indie popster Brad Senne and the sweetly soulful jazz stylings of Sophia Shorai. Free truffled popcorn will flow, as will champagne at the stroke of midnight. Our pals at Secrets will be on hand, doling out sweet prizes as well. A sure bet for a charming and intimate New Years Eve, sans projectile vomiting.

Click HERE for the Red Stag site


Bubbles: A New Year’s Eve Celebration

@ Club Jager
923 Washington Ave N

9 p.m. / $10 (after Midnight $5)

Do up New Year’s Eve in style this year at l’etoile fave, Club Jager. They will have all the fixing of a fabulous, glamorous, exclusive NYE celebration—without all that snobbery, silly downtown parking and whatnot. Bring out your sparkliest dress and your dandiest bowtie and make the atmospheric Club Jager your New Year’s destination. “Bubbles” cover includes complimentary champagne pours, specialty hors d’oeuvres and coat check. There will be a “lounge deejay set” by Mr. T.S. Ritter, plus some unnamed but undoubtedly high profile special guests (with live music performances by said guests). After the party, of course, there is the afterparty with DJ Dirty McKenzie ($5 cover). Oh—and did we mention BUBBLE MACHINES? Super important, that.

Click HERE for the Facebook event


New Year's Eve Cover Night

@ Turf Club
1601 University Ave W.
St. Paul

9 p.m. / 21+ / $10

The Turf Club's annual cover night is one of those things that you've probably been meaning to check out one of these times. So why not this year? A gaggle of the Twin Cities most kick ass bands convene to play musical dress up as some of their own favorite kick ass bands. See Vampire Hands moonlight as the Beatles; Leisure Birds will be rockin' as Creedence Clearwater Revival; Chambermaids will entertain you as The Pixies; and Daughters of the Sun cameo as Sleep. DJ TRL keeps the party poppin' between sets.

Click HERE for the Turf Club site


A Strange New Years

@ Kitty Kat Club
14th & 4th

10 p.m. / 21+ / $5

If it's psych rock you want, it's psych rock you'll get this NYE at the Kitty Cat Klub, as the fuzzy, mesmerizing noisemakers of Strange Lights overtake the Dinkytown hotspot for a night of music and revelry. Punking up the bill are the slithering, strutting boys of the Goondas who will help ring in 2011 with a lil' old fashioned floor humping and blistering tuneage along with peppy punk throwbacks, Voytek.

Click HERE for the Facebook event


Bomp NYE

@ Nick & Eddie
1612 Harmon Place

10 p.m./ 18+/ $10, $5 w/ RSVP

Who knows a party better than the Bomp masters?! Kings and Queen of the decks, Bompsters held it down all year long with monthly dance parties and innovative mentalities. Despite losing their original spot at the now defunct Bedlam Theatre, the party has never slowed down, never given up and – most importantly – continued to remain a fresh juncture for hot sounds and cool peeps. Tonight, ring in the new year with a two-building Bomp bash featuring 3 rooms of party-style action and over 7 DJs! Move it to sets from The Moon Goons, Shannon Blowtorch, Wezz Wnshp, Mike the 2600 King, Brian (from Hipshakers), Kid Vicious, plus rad special guests. As always, the space is limited, so come early, stay late and don't forget to kiss the deejays.

Click HERE to RSVP


Back to the Future New Year's

@ Honey
205 E Hennepin Ave

8 p.m. / $10

Alright, everyone and their mother is throwing a NYE's party, buuut is everyone and their mother hosting a Back to the Future-themed NYE party?! We didn't think so. This year, Honey invites you to fire up the flux capacitor – 1.21 gigowatts – and celebrate 2011, 1985 style. Bust out your fave '80s-inspired garb – yes, acid wash jeans, shoulder pads and puffy vests we're talking to you – and get ready to Delorean your way into the new year with hot hits straight from the '80s, late night dancing, party favors, champagne toasts and delish munchables. Sip on drinks from the cash bar 'til 2am and dance the night away 'til 3. It is your density, err, your destiny.

Click HERE for the Facebook event


Fuck Resolutions, You're Perfect! An MPLS.TV Celebration

@ 7th Street Entry
701 First Avenue

8 p.m. / $7 / 18+

This New Year’s, instead of making a resolution you probably won’t keep, why not celebrate you – exactly as you are! Revel in your perfect imperfectness and ring in 2011 at the Entry, where MPLS.TV has brought together a simply spectacular lineup for your dance-rockin' pleasure. Claps, Fort Wilson Riot, Chelsea Boys, and Slapping Purses will all be performing (no, really), and DJ Dickpic will be spinning the hitz!

Click HERE for the Facebook event


501 New Year’s Eve w/ Sims & Kristoff Krane

@ 501 Club
501 Washington Ave S

9 p.m. / $12 / 21+

As if we didn’t already have too many choices for a bomb NYE, Kristoff Krane and SIMS – both with shiny, new albums (though SIMS’ won’t be officially released until February) – will be storming the 501 stage. Krane’s complex, intimate songwriting and eclectic mixing of genres make him a must-see on the local scene, and that’s all the more so when paired with SIMS’ fearless sincerity and intelligent lyricism. On the decks will be DJ Sean, and the stroke of midnight will bring a champagne toast. Best to get your licks in now at the 501, as this beloved music venue will be closing its doors for good as of January 8th. See them off right tonight!

Click HERE for the Facebook event


WHOOMP (There It Is) III: A 90210 New Years Eve!

@ 331 Club
331 13th Avenue Northeast

10 p.m. / Free

Just because you’re looking forward to a new decade doesn’t mean you have to dress like it just yet. The folks at 331 are taking things back a few years (or twenty) to the early nineties, home of all sorts of greats worth celebrating: 90210, Pearl Jam, flare jeans, Ben Savage. Don your '90s best (there will be prizes) and get ready to Robocop – Dr. Dallas Dog-Palace, DJ Tanner and MC Hang Time will be spinning jams all night long. Whoomp (there it is) – a new year’s that’s all that and a bag of chips.

Click HERE for the Facebook event


Let’s face it, the Twin Cities are just too hoppin’ for l’etoile to cover everything happening in a given weekend – much less one as eventful as New Year’s Eve. Fortunately for you, these guides have your NYE more than covered, from parties to snacks to the ride home.

For music lovers and scenesters alike, City Pages' Gimme Noise Blog has put together a New Year’s Eve concert guide, grouped by big ticket shows, freebies, and everything in between.

All those shows, then some, and some straight-up wild parties, too, courtesy of the The Onion's A.V. Club staff.

Looking for a more family-friendly New Year’s Eve? Check out KSTP’s list of activities you might actually remember.

Bars and restaurants, clubs, comedy events, black tie affairs – is there anywhere Minnesota Monthly didn’t look for NYE fun?

Catching a taxi on New Year’s Eve can be a pain in the you-know-what, and that’s an understatement. Update your cell – and get home safely – with Metromix’s round-up of Twin Cities Taxi companies.

And just for fun, a liquor sponge – er, holiday treat – for you to make at home. Thanks for having our back, Heavy Table.


Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn

@ Heights Theater
3951 Central Ave NE
Columbia Heights

1:30 p.m. / $6

It's the day after NYE and if you're ANYTHING like us, you'll be nursing some rip-roaring hangovers. Forget greasy breakfasts and Real Housewives marathons, what you need is a little dancing and a little singing; why, you need a musical! And we're here to help. This afternoon, head over to the Heights Theater to celebrate a brand-new year and the birthday of one of the greatest American songwriters and composers in history, Irving Berlin, as the theater screen Holiday Inn in a special 35mm presentation. Let anthems like “Easter Parade,” “Let's Start the New Year Right,” and “White Christmas” tug at your heart strings, while dance virtuosos Bing Crosby, Fred Astair and Marjorie Reynolds light up the screen with fancy choreography and charming flair. Bob DeFlores hosts, with rare Bing Crosby clips and the live magic of Harvey Gustafson on the Heights' mighty Wurlitzer keyboard – timelessly cute!

Click HERE for the Heights site


Zoo Animal

@ 501 Club
501 Washington Ave S

7 p.m. / all ages/ $5

Definitely high on the list of local things to be thankful for this year are Zoo Animal and Holly Newsom's raspy pipes. In 2010, the unconventional rock band proved to the scene that apathy is out, conviction is in, and to never underestimate the power of minimal rock. Re-awakening the bluesy haze and organic simplicity of Mazzy Star and the raw, cathartic vocals of Chan Marshall, Zoo Animal plows fans over with fervid ballads like “Folded Hands,” and live shows fit for a smoky barroom. The band doesn't wish to be the next “party band” or “an aid to go numb.” Instead their intensified, cerebral rock pushes audiences to engage, be overwhelmed and – above all – emote, a perfect attitude to kick off the new year with. Because sometimes a good revolution is more sway-able than dance-able. Check the band in all their gritty glory tonight with local guest Americana rocker, Tyler Burkum.

Click HERE for the 501 Club site


Shock-O-Rama Theater Vol. 1

@ Bryant-Lake Bowl
810 West Lake Street

9 p.m. / $10

Cheesy dance parties, champagne, and sparkly attire not your idea of a fun new years? Well then, stay home on Friday and emerge on Saturday for some screams, as Crypticon Conventions presents Shock-O-Rama Theater Vol. 1 – a double feature cult classic explosion, rife with guts, ghosts, and gore. Feature one, House by the Cemetery a Lucio Fulci masterpiece, follows the Boyle family, whose new mansion possesses a terrible secret. Feature two, Pieces, is in the same vein as Texas Chainsaw Massacre and involves a killer creating a jigsaw puzzle of human body parts. Unconventional, perhaps, but totally sweet.

Click HERE for the BLB site


Marijuana Deathsquads CANCELED

@ Turf Club
1601 University Ave
St. Paul

10 p.m. / 21+ / $5

Hey party peeps! Don't blow your wad on New Years Eve, there's plenty of fun to be had the rest of the weekend, like this rousing 1/1/11 show at the Turf Club. Drone out to the beautiful noise created by the rotating cast of players known as Marijuana Deathsquads - the band responsible for so many of 2010's greatest moments: Wednesday nights at Nick and Eddie, playing back up for P.O.S., and of course, Gayngs. Now's your chance to see them before they take off for their month-long residency in LA. Special guests are certain.

Click HERE for the Turf Club site

Photo by Erik Hess


What's l'etoile listening to this week?

It’s only, like, four days past Christmas or something, so don’t even pretend you’re over it. Besides, you’re totally allowed to rock out to Christmas tunes until at LEAST Valentine’s Day (when we would totally expect you to switch to something like, say, “Used To Love Her” by Guns N’ Roses on repeat). So, that said, take advantage of this FREE music download featuring cartoon sound bytes and classic holiday songs (as well as some non-holiday songs). Swearing, funny stuff and good times abound in this nearly 80-minute mixtape. Enjoy!

Click HERE to download or listen to the mix!

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

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In review: 2010 British Advertising Awards

by Jahna Peloquin

The Walker Art Center's screening of the British Advertising Awards - lovingly nicknamed the Brits - has been an unusual holiday tradition for me and my mother for years. (She has a particular interest in the awards, having worked as an advertising and graphic design instructor for a couple of decades.)

But the ongoing sell-out status of the show indicates there's something more pervasive and accessible about it for its fans, advertising background or not. The commercials are alternatively lighthearted, entertaining bits showcasing cheeky, droll British humor, and expansive, technologically impressive productions nearing short-film length. And like last year, many of the ads presented disturbing cautionary tales. Ads showcased this year depict a backseat rape, a kitchen beating, a stabbing in the groin, and polar bear corpses raining down upon a city.

It's easy to see the impact of the economic recession on the winning commercials. Many of them featured the various transit and media holdings of Virgin, hinting at a lack of competition. Another mobile phone company, T-Mobile, had the grand prize-winning commercial that centered around a tired and unnecessarily extensive use of the flash mob. It lacked the punch of past year's winners, to say the least.

On the upside, many commercials made due with limited budgets with smart yet simple concepts. One featured a retro ad of a classic couple at Christmastime, with actors' hands poking through cardboard cutouts enacting various scenarios poking kitschy fun at the immovability of the scene. ("Darling come closer!" "I cant'!") Others featured cute kids being, well, cute.

Though this year's presentation is nowhere near the peak that it hit a few years back when the economy seemed healthy, it was a welcome reprieve after last year's overwhelmingly depressing content (Britain's knife crime epidemic and drunk driving public service announcements) - not to mention the fact that many of the commercials were funded publicly. The tenacity and increasingly sophisticated technology on display shows the advertising industry leaving off 2010 on a slightly more optimistic note.

Remaining screenings for December 30 and January 2 are sold out, though you may be able to snag scalped/Craigslisted tix. Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, 612-375-7600,

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Weekend What's What 12/23-12/25


Sorry, we couldn't resist the play on words! Christmas is officially here: the gifts are wrapped and the eggnog is ready to be sipped (or guzzled)...what more could you want, right? Well, we here at l'etoile believe in the mantra of "more." Despite a lesser lineup of snazzy events this weekend due to the holiday, there are still a handful of spirited soirees at which you can festively frolic after spending some quality time with the fam. Leave the roasting of chestnuts by an open fire for the next Snowmaggedon - you've got places to go and and people to see!



Grant Cutler & the Gorgeous Lords, Satellite Voices, and Party House

@ Triple Rock
629 Cedar Avenue

8pm / 18+ / $5

This time of year can be seriously depressing for some peeps - long, dark nights, 4 feet of snow, and endless cold...luckily the Triple Rock has just the triple bill to wallow in holiday misery. Belly up to the bar, grab a whiskey, and brood to the drone pop sounds of Grant Cutler and the Gorgeous Lords, along with the somber shoe-gaze of Party House and the introspective, melancholy music of Satellite Voices.

Click HERE for the Triple Rock site


Cyn Hosts: Paul Pirner & friends w/ Black Audience

@ Palmers
500 Cedar Ave

9:30 p.m. / 21+

Matriarch of the air waves and music savant, Cyn Collins understands your holiday struggles. Wrapping this, buying that, telling carolers to go...well, you know. This end of the season stress is enough to throw momma from the train – metaphorically, of course. So tonight, before anyone has a misdemeanor on their hands, put down the miles of wrapping paper, don't even think about fruitcake and head down to the West Bank for some gritty live music. Featuring an energetic set from local rock n' roller Paul Pirner as well as a rare performance from local faves Black Audience, who will shell out their renditions of vintage blues and gospel for quite the spellbinding hootenanny.

Click HERE for the Facebook event


Melismatics, Thrush, and Mayda

@ Cause
3001 Lyndale Ave S

9:30 p.m. / $7

Ok, now that the name controversy over the Lyn-Lake hang-out is behind us, can we start talking about why this place is one of our faves? Not only is it a great and ultra-necessary addition to the Uptown music scene, but it offers a chill, regularly douche-bag-free atmosphere, inexpensive yet tasty drinks and specials, plus a constant stream of awesome bands and DJs appearing nightly on the roster. And tonight is definitely no exception. Join high-rolling indie-rockers, The Melismatics for a euphoric jam sesh with fellow rockers and 3-piece supergroup, Thrush – featuring Phil Solem (The Rembrandts), John Fields and Michael Bland – PLUS a sassy live set from pint-sized nu-R&B power puncher, Mayda.

Click HERE for the Cause site


January Blowout happening in December

@ Turf Club
University & Snelling
St. Paul

9 p.m. / 21+ / $7

The 5th Annual January Blowout (happening in December this year) features a slick line up of local bands that will get you properly pumped for holiday schmoozing (and boozing, if your family is anything like ours). Rock out to the festive stylings of Birthday Suits, The Blind Shake, Vampire Hands, and Red Pens...and consider it an early x-mas gift to yourself!

Click HERE for the Turf Club site

Photo of Birthday Suits by Josh Madson



@Jetset Bar
115 1st St N

10 p.m. / 21+ / Free

There will be no fa-la-la-ing at this Christmas-themed dance party. The good and wonderful folk at downtown's Jetset are revving up the holiday spirit just in time for festivus, so forget that conservative jingle bells-themed sweater your grandmother expects to see you in every year and put on something that screams "naughty elf." And to make matters cooler, l'etoile pal, former local and current NYC troublemaker Hilary Davis will be back in town and spinning her own personal brand of holiday synth. Go ahead... bring out your dancing stockings.

Click HERE for the Facebook event


Wants Vs. Needs/Get Cryphy

@ Honey
205 East Hennepin Ave.

10 p.m. / 18+ / $5

We didn't think it could possibly get any more ridiculous, any sweatier or any crazier than Wants Vs. Needs or Get Cryphy individually. That is until Honey goes ahead and decides to roll them both into one night, at the same time. For real. Double the party, double the fun, double the hot people wandering all around... nothing screams "festive" like a little red-and-green dance-a-thon. All this, with SIX of the party-startin'-est DJs in town? Honestly, we're a little afraid!
Click HERE for the Facebook event


A Very Sexy Christmas

@ Memory Lanes
2520 26th Ave S

10 p.m./ Free

Admit it, all you want for Christmas is burlesque, bowling, and rock n’ roll! Fortunately, Memory Lanes and Tomahawk Tassels have you covered (or not so much) with A Very Sexy Christmas, happening Thursday. The Sex Rays (the Link Wray-esque party rock trio started by Joes Hastings and Holland) along with Brian Herb and Eddy Burke will be playing, with Tomahawk Tassels, Elektra Cute, Dahlia Dulce and making things bright with some burlesque. Now that’s what we call a Christmas to remember.

Click HERE for the Facebook event


What's l'etoile looking at this week?

Ah, the annual yuletide dilemma: put up a lame plastic Christmas tree or bear the snow, ice, and sap for a real one? For those of you who still haven’t decided the lesser of two evils – or are itching to impress friends with a holiday craft that isn’t a crocheted scarf – the sassy DIY blog Not Martha has come up with a super cute tree-shaped ornament mobile. All you need are ornaments (of the shiny green sort, unless you’re going for irony this season), jewelrystring, hooks...and a steamer rack? Well, nobody said decking the halls (or living room) was easy, but at least this craft is guaranteed to impress.

Click HERE for the Not Martha site



@ Lush
990 Central Ave NE

10 p.m. / 21+/ free

After the stockings are stuffed, the presents perfectly arranged beneath the tree and grandma's passed out in wool socks and a moo moo on the couch, Lush welcomes you to sneak out into the NE tundra for a Christmas Eve celebration strictly for the hip and smokin' dames of the Twin Cities. DJ Paris heads up the decks providing hot, dance-worth tunes as you enjoy icy cocktails and delightful eye candy. After all, it's not Christmas Eve without a rolicking dance party at the gay bar, if you ask us.

Click HERE for the Facebook event


Stocking Stuffers: The Christmas Eve Dance Party

@ 7th St Entry
701 1st Ave N

9 p.m. / $3

Spreading some serious Christmas cheer – and let’s be honest, providing refuge from your crazy relatives – are DJs Espada (Wants vs Needs) and Mike 2600 (Extra Large), who’ll be rocking four turntables at the Entry all Christmas Eve long! The party is “Stocking Stuffers,” and the music is anything but carols: hip hop, funk, and everything else that gets you dancing, nine ladies style (see, told you a break in holiday festivities was a good idea).

Click HERE for the First Ave site

Other bars confirmed open on Christmas eve:

501 Club

331 Club


CC Club


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

It's a well-known and highly researched fact that tiny things are cute. In fact, we would even venture to say that tiny things are almost ALWAYS cuter than regular-sized things. Case and point number one: micro pigs vs. potbellied pigs. And case and point number two: the adorable site, Tiny Things are Cute. Separated into preciously clever little categories like “things you never knew you wanted,” “seasonal and holiday fun,” “paper pretties” and more, it's easy to find little wonders, wily whatnots and miniature lovelies – exactly the sort of array of stuff that you never thought you'd ever want and now need to have. Order a cute holiday gift...for yourself!

Click HERE for the website


Silent Night Holy Oulman II

@ 331 Club
331 13th Ave NE

6 p.m. to 2 a.m. / 21+ / Free

We can always count on the 331 to welcome all ye merry holiday orphans on Christmas Day. Show up early for some complimentary grub served up by Jon Oulman and stick around for cheap dranks and good company. Owners Jon and Jarret Oulman along with Dani Fenn and Joe Ward will make up the cheery holiday staff at the 331club for Christmas night. Come one, come all!

Click HERE for the Facebook event


Grant Hart Christmas Show

@ The Entry
701 1st Ave N

8pm/ 18+/ $8

Founder of legendary local band, Hüsker Dü, Grant Hart has been holding his own in the Twin Cities for years – in the true style of punkdom. Aside from rock and roll production, Hart's has dipped his fingers in the artist realm working on visual arts and poetry and even sharing stages with lyrical geniuses Patti Smith, Philip Glass and William S. Burroughs. Tonight, don't miss the music veteran and literary sprite himself live and ready to vamp up your Christmas with punk anthems and rock riffs; umlauts optional. Red Pens and Sex Rays open.

BONUS: Want to get your dance on? TML will be in full effect in the mainroom, and BLACK will fulfill your holiday techno needs in the Record Room!

Click HERE for the First Ave site


Naughty or Nice? X-mas Mistletoe Mash Up!

@ Suburban World Theater
3022 Hennepin Ave. S.

8 p.m. / 21+ / $8

The stockings are unstuffed, the presents are opened, the Bailey’s is gone – it’s high time for a dance party, we say! Dash, prance, and otherwise make your way to the Suburban World Theater Christmas day eve, where “Naughty or Nice? X-mas Mistletoe Mashup” begins with a holiday mix crafted by Jon Nelson, mastermind behind the “Some Assembly Required” radio show, followed by a performance by Hastings 3000. The rest of the evening, throw all shame to the wind and dance your heart out to a mashup of electro, disco, funk, rock, and “crazy dance shizz” courtesy DJ’s Anthem Heart, Bach, and Molotov Cocktail. Even merrier, there will be an Anthem Heart A/V video presentation, free X-mas snacks aplenty, and a mistletoe photo (kissing) booth. Bonus: Burlesque babes Tomahawk Tassels and Dahlia Dulce will be go-go-dancing up a storm throughout the evening. We'll be there with bells on...possibly literally.

Click HERE for the Facebook event



@ Triple Rock Social Club
629 Cedar Ave
West Bank

9 p.m. / Free

Join Arzu for her annual Christmas installment of Staraoke karaoke at the Triple Rock! Drink the pain of mom's traditional holiday nagging away and sing your own personal rendition of Black Flag's "Nervous Breakdown" in honor of the holidays. One of the Twin Cities time honored traditions, the T-Rock's annual Christmas night karaoke blowout is always one for the holiday history books!

Click HERE for the Triple Rock site


Funky Christmas w/ DJ Blowtorch + So Supreme

@ Spring Street Tavern
355 Monroe St NE

9 p.m. / 21+/ free

Whether you love your family to death or feel like you were perhaps delivered to aliens, there comes a point in the holiday season where you need an alternative to watching A Christmas Story for the umpteenth time in footsies. We hear ya, friends. This Christmas, look no further than Spring Street's epic Funky Christmas bash to spark up your night and put a little ounce in your bounce. Tonight's no-cover Xmas party features funk-tastic DJ sets from Bomp regular, Shannon Blowtorch, and Jason “So Supreme” Sanders. Expect to get down 'n' dirty on the dance floor and – because the night is sponsored by PBR – be prepared for awesome beer-fueled giveaways and $2.75 Tall Boy specials all evening long. Deck the halls indeed!

Click HERE for the Facebook event

L'ETOILE NEWSWIRE needs your opinion!

Pals and peeps, our friends at need your help to compile a quick and easy end of the year questionnaire. Part "best of the year" questions, part user/member-driven feedback, the questionnaire is an awesome way to give recognition to the artists, organizations, events and artwork that made 2010 an amazing year for Minnesota's art community and flaunt your favorites. mnartists will collate the info into a series of blog entries posted in weeks to come. Plus, compete the survey and you'll be entered to win a complimentary Walker Art Center membership or a Walker Art Center Shop gift certificate! It pays to have an opinion. Click HERE to complete the survey!

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