Wednesday, March 31, 2010

l'étoile Special Edition

In efforts to broaden our readership, we've expanded l'étoile to focus not only on arts, fashion and events, but also important local news! Today's special edition is the kick off of what we're sure will be an informative and cutting edge news source for the Twin Cities and beyond. Check back later today for our Weekend What's What for your regular dose of arts and entertainment a la l'etoile!

MNSpeak introduces new online dating site

Secrets of the City's online news aggregator/community forum, MNSpeak, is prepping to launch their latest endeavor: Geared exclusively towards opinionated jerks, MnDate aims to pair up angry commenters with other angry commenters for dates and long-term relationships. MNSpeak editor Cristina Cordova says, "I know if we could just get these people laid, they'd be much less abrasive and might even post a nice comment on MNSpeak here and there." Upon sign up, singles will be prompted to complete a "Rage Survey" which will include questions with antagonizing topics like local politics, road construction, Steve Marsh, the Twins Stadium and more. Based on the results of the survey, MnDate will automatically generate a list of potential matches that fall within similar levels of jerkiness. Members will fill out profiles with fun form questions such as "If you could punch one local journalist in the face, who would it be and why?" and "List the top 5 reasons why MNSpeak was better when Rex was in charge." The new dating site will also allow singles to pick from a wide range of enticing avatars including an exploding nuclear bomb, an animated picture of Spock, a sandwich, and the ever-popular gray anonymous silhouette. For more info and to sign up visit

Prince writes Fight Song for Chanhassen kids

Hot on the heels of his Vikings Fight song, the Purple one has decided to expand his horizons to more community-based projects, and his first order of business involves a Chanhassen Little League team. Sources say that Prince spent 20 minutes in the back of a limo penning the fight song, which will debut at the team's home opener in a few weeks. There's rumored to be an "epic guitar solo a la Purple Rain" involved, though the majority of the song is said to be made up of yelps, yips, and funky screeches. Prince's lawyers also are said to have drawn up a contract that requires the team to change their name to "The Princes" and wear tight purple flared-leg uniforms for the rest of the season. The contract also states that Prince will not be attending any games or making any contact with the team or the community. A rep for Prince contacted us over a self-destructing cell phone while using a voice decoder simply stating, "No comment."

City Pages' Gimme Noise Blog plans benefit show for underprivileged hipsters

City Pages music gossip blog, Gimme Noise, recently announced that they'd be hosting a very special benefit concert for an oft overlooked demographic: underprivileged hipsters. Editor Andrea Swensson says "Hipsters are too cool to get 'real jobs' but they're also too pretentious to apply for any sort of government assistance, like food stamps, which is why they are always so skinny and mangy looking. We here at Gimme Noise understand their plight, and since we cater to this demographic almost exclusively, we decided, what the hell, let's raise some money for a good cause!" Apparently, the money raised will be converted into gift cards for American Apparel, First Avenue comp tickets, and vouchers for free burritos at Little Tijuana's (good for use only after 2am). Event sponsor Pabst Blue Ribbon will match every dollar raised with a Tall Boy, to be parceled out to needy hipsters at a secret location after party the same night, hosted by local DJ crew The Moon Goons. The benefit show will be held in the First Ave mainroom with a hipster-friendly line up including Solid Gold, P.O.S., and Lookbook, along with a DJ set by Sovietpanda and visuals by projection whiz, Time Squid. Peeps are also encouraged to donate gently used clothing items and accessories to the "Help-a-Hipster Clothing Drive" such as fringed scarves, lensless glasses, acid-washed skinny jeans, ironic and/or oversized t-shirts, and anything with a kitten on it. For more info visit

Transmission DJ Jake Rudh to direct new workout video

You've all been to Jake Rudh's weekly Transmission dance party at Clubhouse Jager, and have probably worked yourself into a sweaty frenzy on the dance floor on more than one occasion. Well, Rudh has now taken his popular business model and come up with a stellar concept, a series of workout videos entitled Sweatin' to the '80s with DJ Jake Rudh. In the coming weeks, Clubhouse Jager will be transformed into a makeshift film studio where the popular DJ will lead a series of choreographed work out routines based on dance moves already being utilized in the club. Says Rudh, "I plan to turn such off the cuff moves as 'The drunken idiot,' 'the wave your hands in the air like you just don't care,' and 'the I'm too cool for school shuffle' into fun and easy work out techniques." The real star of the video, however, will be Transmission regular, Niles, whose patented "high kick" will be the ultimate challenge for exercisers. Rudh adds, "I think this video will not only help people be healthier, but it will also give them the tools they need to succeed on the dance floor and maybe even in their love lives. It's a proven fact that the "High Kick" can get you laid, just ask Niles." The video is slated for release later this summer and will come packaged with a size small t-shirt with a picture of Jake's face on it. Rudh says, "the small t-shirt will encourage people to lose weight so they can fit into it, and everyone knows good looking, skinny people wearing a shirt with your face on it is great promotion, I mean, hello, it's marketing 101!" For more information and to pre-order the video, visit Transmission's Facebook page HERE.

Chris Strouth's kidney "complications"

It seems like just yesterday that we were celebrating local producer and scene staple Chris Strouth's successful kidney transplant that was arranged via Twitter, but apparently he's having some, er, "complications." Strouth called us up to give us the skinny, saying "The kidney Scott Pakudaitis donated to me is haunted. Now I know why he was so eager to get rid of it. Ever since the transplant I've been having reoccurring nightmares in which the kidney speaks to me, telling me to 'kill.' I'm convinced this kidney is darksided." According to Strouth, there are other indications that the kidney is evil, "When children or virgins are near, the kidney lets off a high-pitched squeal that sounds like a pig being slaughtered. It's unnerving." Chris' wife Mo is suffering as well, "the kidney is always poking me in the back when we're in bed. It's like a teenage boy, except much more evil. I'm getting really sick of its pick up lines too, which are always spoken in Latin, backwards. That kidney needs to go." Chris has been trying to get a hold of Pakudaitis to see if he's willing to swap kidneys, but so far his calls have gone un-returned.

Fashion designer Max Lohrbach plans estate sale

This weekend, one of l'étoile's favorite fashion designers, Max Lohrbach, opens up his family home in a small parish outside of Rochester for an estate sale. But it's not clothing he'll be peddling. Max's closest pals know the designer has a penchant for swiping Bic lighters from them, amassing a strangely huge collection - but the hoarding apparently doesn't stop there - the press release for the sale lists such objets d'arte as "an enormous button collection, hundreds of pill boxes filled with color-coded skittles, 27 broken typewriters, three cases airsickness bags from 1978, a peg-board covered in banana labels, 39 cats, and much more." It may be your last chance to see Max before the designer escapes to live in abandoned lighthouse on the North Shore to take up a new profession: fisherman. "Though I would love to be a couturier, my dream has always been to return to my family's Dutch roots. It also gives me a chance to get out my knitting machine!" The sale runs both Saturday and Sunday from noon-6pm.

Blacklist Vintage gets some new stock

l'etoile recently got a sneak preview of Blacklist Vintage's new space on Nicollet, which they'll be officially opening this April. Owners Jennifer Sapiro and Vanessa Messersmith have transformed the hip vintage boutique's signature retro look into something they call "uber-mega-super-retro." Messersmith says, "There are so many vintage boutiques out there, so we decided to set ourselves apart." The shop's new stock includes such "classic" fashion items as suits of armor, which Sapiro says can be modernized with something as simple as "a flowy, feminine scarf or a good pair of high heels." However, the girls are most excited about their new inventory of powdered wigs, which they claim turn into "George Washington futurism chic" when matched with a Jackie O era pillbox hat and a pair of slatted, neon sunglasses from the '80s. Grand Opening festivities are set for Wednesday, April 21st and will include complimentary wooden mugs of ale and a performance by Vanessa's husband, tunesmith Jeremy Messersmith, who will sing old-timey folk songs inspired by the French Revolution and RenFest. For more info visit

Anthem Heart announces new artistic process

Tired of being hired only for live t-shirt screen-printing gigs, local design group Anthem Heart is taking their screening skills to a new medium: the human body! Anthem Heart co-founder Ken Hannigan explains, "Let's face it. We live in Minnesota, so I don't blame anyone for being a bit prudish. I say more power to us for being creative enough to get girls to take off their clothes! But make no mistake, we'll do dudes too if they ask, as long as they wax first." To kick off the new project, the AH team will host an event at downtown nightclub, Barfly, entitled "Born to be Nudez." Hannigan tells us that the party will be sponsored by Red Bull and will include live body screen-printing, mini-ramp skateboarding, live graffiti painting, and vodka Red Bull 3-for-1 drink specials. DJs Attitude City join Hannigan (aka DJ Real Talk Radio) on the decks for the occasion as well. Attitude City ladies' man-about-town Jeff DuBois claims he's found a new theme for the annual Attitude City Yacht party - body-screened nautical wear! "Just think - you won't have to spend time looking for a boat party outfit!" For more info and to sign up to be screen printed visit

Voltage Designer Spotlight: Raul Osorio

By Juleana Enright

Draping and menswear? Don’t be so quick to judge. New to Minnesota via Honduras/California, designer Raul Osorio is transforming the look of traditional “dude” apparel with a little help from his friend androgyny and a whole lot of innovation. Inspired by Grecian draping, charro suits, military jackets and the romance of Hispanic culture, Raul’s exquisite designs are a hybrid of multicultural fashion, blending soft, almost feminine elements with bold color, hard lines and tailored silhouettes. Attentive tailoring appears to be more than just a skill this designer possesses, but perhaps a genetic trait. Raul studied fashion structure and construction under his mother and grandmother in their sewing academy while growing up in Honduras. But honestly, whether it is skill or good genes, we just can’t wait for his collection of embellished jackets and haute toga-esque menswear to hit the Voltage: Fashion Amplified runway!

Raul fills us in on his inspirations and what he's got planned for this year's Voltage...

Photo by Stephanie Colgan for Voltage: Fashion Amplified

l'étoile: Your previous collections have focused on the idea of “gender-neutral” wearables. What would you consider androgynous in clothing construction and why do you think this particular style is so relevant to fashion today?

Raul: I love giving an impression of ambiguous sexual identity through my designs. My draped shirts are smart, sophisticated and most importantly gender neutral. My jackets keep a balance between casual and sophisticated with a tailored and clean cut look. You will always find flexibility in my designs. Even though I design for men, I thought about women wearing these clothes as well. I wanted to make the waists of the suit coats appropriate for both genders.

l'étoile: You list traditional charro suits as one of the inspirations for your Voltage collection. What makes this mariachis style so appealing to you and how do you go about reinterpreting a look that inspires you?

Photo by Stacy Schwartz / Voltage Buyer's Preview

Raul: The set of buttons appeals to me… really everything that adorns the suit. It is the full dress ‘charro’ suit. The suits have a unique shape and they must be a bright color. Usually people have to find inspiration first to create an outfit, but I grew up around these objects and this culture. The hispanic culture is very loud, but romantic at the same time. The fighters represent strength but are effeminate at the same time. The suits are basic pieces to me. I need those basic, tailored pieces for everyday and as a young man I had trouble finding suits that were cut well for younger, stylish men.

l'étoile: How has being raised in Honduras affected your design style? Are there certain elements from your culture we will see in your Voltage looks?

Raul: Being raised in Honduras had a huge impact in my design style. Honduran men are for the most part conservative and being fashionable is not their first priority. I was fortunate to have been raised in a family that was open-minded and the owners of a sewing academy. I learned most of design and sewing skills from them. Some of the jackets have beautiful buttons that have the Honduran Crest printed on them. It was an adaptation and hybridization of these two cultures. Coming from Honduras - which is heavily driven by macho men - to Minneapolis - where 'femininity' is okay - I tried to blend these two attitudes.

Photo by Joe Kramm / Spring 2010 Voltage Collection

l'étoile: What Twin Cities spots do you draw inspiration from and how do they inspire you?

Raul: I don’t really look around for inspiration, most of it happens while I sleep. I think about clothes everyday. I go to bed and I wake up with a new idea. It also helps to be surrounded by supportive and inspirational people. I think that Minneapolis has a great and diverse sense of style; people are adventurous. I love vintage stores and finding unique pieces.

l'étoile: Describe the kind of film you could see your Voltage collection featured in. What kind of motif do you think it would embody?

Raul: Any Quentin Tarantino film. I think that designing a piece for a strong, emasculated female, such as Uma Thurman while at the same time designing pieces for Michael Madsen and Bruce Willis, while still thinking about their character, place, and the experience of the viewer. Tarantino definitely plays on the emasculated female, and gender roles are things that I consider with each of my pieces.

For more information on Raul Osorio click HERE

For more info on Voltage: Fashion Amplified and to purchase tickets to the April 16th event at First Avenue click

Voltage Designer Spotlight: Elena Mercurio

By Juleana Enright

First time Voltage:Fashion Amplified runway designer, Elena Mercurio, is quite the jetsetter. And when she’s not trotting the globe designing red carpet-worthy gowns or styling models for the runways of London Fashion Week, Elena dwells alongside Twin Cities’ leading fashion designers, creating stylish pieces that scream confidence for the everyday woman. After earning a bachelor’s in Apparel Design, Elena landed prestigious positions we’re a little jealous of, including a studying stint in Finland - the place that would later inspire her award-winning senior collection, “Midnight in Moscow.” For her Voltage line, Elena draws inspiration from subtle shapes and feminine silhouettes with a cache of unexpected details, textures and delicate finishes. Her edgy, power-ridden pieces pair and manipulate atypical fabrics for a sophisticated, Frankenstein-esque style creation. From what we’ve heard, be prepared to see mesh used in such a unconventional way that even the Ground Zero peeps will be awed.

Elena chatted with us about her work and what we'll see from her at Voltage this year...

Photo by Stephanie Colgan for Voltage

l'étoile: Your fashion talents have taken you all across the globe including a summer studying at Parson's, positions under designers in both NYC and LA, studies in Finland and a gig as lead assistant for a designer during London Fashion Week in 2008. What brings you back to the design scene in MN?

Elena: I have been so blessed to have traveled to many places and experienced what I have already in my life. I have come back because MN is where I am from, and I am very proud to be! There has been a lot of talent I have seen coming from this great state. I thought it would be perfect to debut my own line at my home base. I also have been watching MN grow tremendously in just the past few years in the fashion industry. I wanted to be a part of Minnesota’s growth and success, being recognized and gaining a place in the art & fashion community.

A look from Mercurio's "Midnight in Moscow" collection Fall/Winter 2009

You designed a dress that was worn at the Emmy's in 2008. Dish a little on the dress and who it was for. Can you explain the creative process that goes into making a garment that will gain such exposure?

Elena: The dress I made was for Jaime Killion, who is a production assistant for the CBS show NCIS. She is actually a long time friend of mine who called me up one day and said she was invited to the Emmy’s and would be honored if I could make her dress. Of course I wanted her dress to be a shining star in the crowd. You have to be very careful about editing and picking just the right amount of details in order for a winning red-carpet look. I wanted to find a beautiful print for her. I found a gorgeous silk satin flower print fabric by Ellie Tahari. The colors were all jewel tones - which I think look stunning on anyone - in fuchsia, violet and turquoise on a black background. I wanted to keep the details pretty simple, with just a few pleats at the waistline and on the straps. I did add in a subtle surprise in the back of the dress. I put in a cut away of raspberry colored silk chiffon coming out from under the print in an A-shape when she turns that was just beautiful.

Looks from Mercurio's "Midnight in Moscow" collection Fall/Winter 2009

l'étoile: What do you like about the local fashion in the Twin Cities? And how does it compare to the international fashion scene?

Elena: I’ve been meeting so many talented and wonderful people while working on this Voltage collection. I love how Voltage is built on collaboration. When people are working together, the success that emerges is exponential. I think this communed effort is a really unique quality that MN has - instead of constant competition - and I think that mentality is what is going to make Minnesotans stand out in the fashion world. The biggest difference is MN/the Twin Cities has a pretty new fashion scene, compared to other cities like London and New York. Here in MN, we only recently started having a MN Fashion Week, and we are slowly establishing our own scene here, but it has taken a lot of time and effort. It is really hard to compare, in that sense. I think that all the people involved with putting together MNFashion are pioneering the way to make more resources for the local fashion community and to put Minnesota on the map as a place to look for some really great designers.

Photo by Stacy Schwartz/Voltage Buyers Preview event

l'étoile: If your Voltage collection was the love child of two designers, who would they be?

Elena: I like to think I have my own unique vision for my collection, however since I can remember I’ve always been in admiration of the collections by the late Lee “Alexander” McQueen. I always was amazed by the subtle and not so subtle shapes and details that he put into his work. I always try to pull from some of his genius in all that I do, and will continue. For the other “fashion parent” I would say my Voltage collection is the Minneapolis version of Balenciaga in sorts. I always love to pull in unexpected fabrications into my collections, like Balenciaga has been known for. For example, I’m using a lot of mesh and applying it in silhouettes where mesh isn’t normally used. I’m ruffling a stiff, textured faux leather, to seem almost delicate. Also, I like to mix more structured details with feminine draping.

l'étoile: What advice do you have for up-and-coming local designers to advance in the fashion community and get noticed?

Elena: Be open to every opportunity that comes your way. Don’t be afraid to fail when many of the opportunities don’t turn out like expected. Most of all, try to stay true to yourself and your vision as much as possible throughout it all. It is so easy to lose when trying to gain appreciation of your work by others.

For more information on Elena Mercurio click HERE

For more info on Voltage: Fashion Amplified and to purchase tickets to the April 16th event at First Avenue click

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Weekend What's 3/25-3/30


All the crazies and creatives are coming out of the woodwork as Spring stakes its official claim! We're in the clear, friends, and what better way to shake off your fear of Winter's return than with a weekend filled to the gills with cool, colorful and dynamic events? We're quite sure we won't be able to make it to all of them, but we're banking on our ambition and our ability to multi-task like total maniacs. Follow our lead, make an unrealistic itinerary and stick to it...because trust us, you won't want to miss a thing!



Jahna Peloquin updates our Guide to Sales & Shopping

Juleana Enright interviews Voltage designer Brianne Jones

Juleana Enright interviews Voltage designer Christine Carmichael

Juleana Enright interviews Voltage designer Frances Zerr


1964 & Recollection Openings

@ Walker Art Center
1750 Hennepin Ave

5-9pm / Free

Join the Walker for a double-header art opening featuring two visually enigmatic, decade evocative exhibits. In Recollection, Lorna Simpson showcases six major pieces from her collection of early ‘90s paper and felt media, as well as film highlighting her year-long Walker artist residency and new works. Known for her radial impressions of sexual identity, relationships and interpersonal communication, Simpson finds inspiration in film noir, vintage snapshots, fragments images and tableaux text. Also opening tonight is pop-art reminiscent, 1964. Curated by Siri Engberg, the exhibit highlights the explosive art movements that happening during the year’s political upheaval, featuring visual art, performance, music and graphic design through the mediums of prints, artists’ books and film. While you’re there, don’t miss Walker’s exclusive First Thursdays event with exhibits, film and soundbites for your entertainment pleasure.

Click HERE for this art event and more at


Jeremy Messersmith

@ The Whole
Coffman Union
300 Washington St. SE

8pm / $3 U of M students, staff, faculty; $5 everyone else

The dapper and quirky Mr. Messersmith is freshly back from SXSW and has more fans to show for it, we’re sure. You too, will become his #1 fan (if you're not already!) after seeing him perform an intimate set tonight at the Whole. Jeremy regularly brings a tear to our eye with his earnest, beautifully arranged melodies and thoughtful lyrics about love and life in the Twin Cities. Definitely worth battling it out for a parking spot on campus! With Derek Luttrell and Mama Doom.

Click HERE for more info


Some legends were made last Sunday in NYC at the first Olympics specifically for the unsung heroes of the art world: art handlers. Teams of handlers ran the gauntlet of games—a hellish delivery through Chinatown, a difficult install, a crazy curator, all with a scrutinizing audience watching and guzzling beer. Get out your power drills and levels and start training for next year, if you think you’ve got what it takes.

Click HERE for pix from the event or visit the official site HERE


AIGA MN Design Show 2010

@ Walker Art Center
1750 Hennepin Ave

5-6pm award presentation, 6-9pm reception/ $40 members
$55 non, $25 students

Join a bevy of talented and innovative graphic artists, their peers and mentors at the annual AIGA MN Design Show! Tonight’s event, the culmination of the annual juried competition, is judged independently by leading professionals across the country. The one-night-only exhibit showcases our local brethren's keen eye for design effectiveness and aesthetic appeal from branding to product packaging to art projects and everything in between. Head down early to celebrate the AIGA MN Fellowship Awardees, Sue Crolick, Joe Duffy and Eric Maden, then stick around for a block party-esque reception featuring DJ beats from So Gold, a photo booth helmed by Rebecca McDonald of B-Fresh Photography, and local artists sharing trade horror stories and inspiration-ridden tales of local design glory.

Sponsored by AIGA, Target. and l'étoile!

Click HERE for this art event and more at


Punch Out Poetry

@Peach Gallery
275 E. Fourth St., Ste. B200
St. Paul


Get ready: this Friday night is an all-girl slam fest! Get in on the poetry antics of local ladies at the Peach Gallery’s second slam session. Watch as 10 women fight head to head to be named the champion poetry slammer in both three-minute and one-minute rounds. Hosted by poetry genius and community rep Shá Cage, the night will be a battle to win a spot in the Punch Out Poetry finals in May. After their exciting first bout, this round is one lyric gathering you won’t want to miss out on!

Click HERE for the Peach site

Photo by Ink Tea


Mike Perry: Lost in the Discovery of What Shapes the Mind

2501 Stevens Ave.

6pm-8pm / Free

Former MCAD'er, book author, magazine publisher, illustrator, fashion designer, painter and teacher Mike Perry (phew!), returns to his alma mater for an exhibit of work inspired by "memory, place, and the nature of the mind." This prolific and talented artist has made a name for himself in the art and design world (and beyond) with his captivating imagery and eclectic range of mediums. Perry has worked with clients such as the New York Times Magazine, Dwell and Urban Outfitters and has won numerous accolades in the field of design including being named one of the Art Directors' Club "Young Guns." A show not to be missed!

BONUS: After Party with the artist at the Red Stag Supper Club from 11pm-close featuring DJs the 717 Boys!

BONUS x 2: On Saturday, head to our fave design boutique, ROBOTlove, from 2-3pm for a special in-store appearance by Perry, who will be on hand to chat and sign copies of his books, zines and posters. Kewl!

Click HERE for this art event and more at Check out this cool video of Perry at work in his studio:

Studio Tour from Michael Perry on Vimeo.


Eliza Blue CD Release

@The Cedar
416 Cedar Ave. So

7pm / $8 adv, $10 door

We can’t get enough of the pretty vocals and timeless musical talent of the adorable Eliza Blue. Luckily for us, this Friday the lovely lady is making an appearance at The Cedar Cultural Center to celebrate of the release of her new full-length album, The Road Home. In addition, opener Aby Wolfe is sure to sweep you away with her sweet songs and mesmerizing musical talents. Tonight will be filled with gorgeous melodies you'll most definitely fall in love with, so be a doll and cough up the $8 cover; it's a small price to pay for such a tasty musical buffet!

Click HERE for the Cedar site


David Lynch Tribute Night

@ 331 Club
331 13th Ave NE

9pm-2am / Free

Gentle, misunderstood readers: you never need to hide your David Lynch obsession from us. Whether it’s your kindred preference of PBR over Heineken, your interest in amnesia induced bi-sexuality, or simply, your hankerin’ for man-made chicken; we’re not here to judge. And we’ll be the first to admit that David Lynch gets us “hotter than Georgia asphalt.” So, tonight, head down to the 331 Club and mingle amongst fellow Lynch enthusiasts for an evening of music, giveaways and costumes in honor of the fascinating kook himself. Come dressed to the max as your fave Lynch character from Blue Velvet, Dune, Twin Peaks, etc, to win fab prizes from the Guthrie, Matchbox Café and the Jon Oulman Salon. And to set the ominous mood, DJs Grant Cutler (Lookbook) & Greg Schaal will be spinning eerie jams all night long inspired by Lynch’s avant-garde nature. And FYI: we’ll give our first born to the best spawned Elephant Man mask!

Sponsored by l'étoile, baby!

Click HERE for the Facebook event


The Jennefit

@ Turf Club
1601 University Ave W
St. Paul

9pm / 21+ / $10

You’ve probably seen local photographer Jenn Barnett at pretty much every rock show you’ve been to, relentlessly snapping pictures of the bands and capturing the awesome rock n' roll essence of the local music scene. Well, she won’t be able to do that anymore unless, of course, you attend this rockin' benefit at the Turf tonight! Simply put, Jen's camera died and she needs a new one. And considering all the volunteer time and efforts she's put into documenting the scene, we definitely agree that everyone ought to pitch in! Tonight's "Jennefit," put on by Jen's pals, will feature local music legends The Honeydogs, The Mad Ripple, and a slew of others who undoubtedly have been immortalized in pixels by the lovely and talented Ms. Barnett. Think about it: the more peeps who show up, the better camera she can get, which means photos of your band (or your friend's band) rocking out will be that much more epic.

Click HERE for the Facebook event

Photo by Jenn Barnett, of course!


Farewell Austin

@Kitty Cat Klub
315 14th Ave. S.E.


Hot after returning from SXSW, local screen-printing crew Anthem Heart reunites with some of the Twin Cities' most beloved bands for laidback night of grooves. Members of Solid Gold, the Guystorm and Dearling Physique - along with Anthem Heart's Ken Hannigan, who was screenprinting with Anthem Heart down south - give their instruments a rest and take the stage at Kitty Cat Klub as deejays. Get there early to snag one of Anthem Heart's ultra-sexy, limited-edition "Austin, Texas" screen-printed tees from their live screen-printing gig at SXSW.

Click HERE for the facebook invite



@ Bedlam Theater
1501 S. 6th St.

10pm / 18+ / $5 with RSVP, $7 without

It’s finally bike-riding season, so get on that saddle and ride down to the Bedlam to bomp your butts off! The Bedlam will be filled with movable music tonight, courtesy of Shannon Blowtorch and Mark Fox (!) in the Fireplace Lounge, and party-poppers the Moon Goons, Soviet Panda, Wzz Winship and Get Cryphy in the Mainroom. You might need to refill on something from the Bedlam’s Late Night $5 or Less menu to keep your energy up, and now that the weather is nice, you can can even dance your way onto the Bedlam's rooftop patio! Viva la Bomp!

Click HERE for the Facebook event


The Midnight Movie Society presents: Quadrophenia

@ Brits Pub
1110 Nicollet Mall

10pm-2am / $5 adv, $10

Bust out your scooters, winklepickers and mohair suits because for their 3rd installment, The Midnight Movie Society – brainchild the amazing DJ Jake Rudh – screens The Who’s rock opera, Quadrophenia. A journey into the '60s mod subculture, the cult flick follows a working class, junkie mod who lives for the whirl-winded Brighton Beach nightlife. Dance your ass off to a custom soundtrack from DJ Jake Rudh which is sure to include tasty '60s French new wave and psych-rock tracks. Don't forget to primp to perfection, as’s photo studio will be on-site to capture mod-inspired looks throughout the night. And if pretty pictures aren't enough for ya, The Midnight Movie Society will also be shelling out prizes for the “best dressed” and “most participatory." Come early to enjoy drinks, carousing and sardonic repartee with local film aficionados, followed by a ritzy Maker’s Mark Toast and the film’s screening. Reserve your tix at the link below and we’ll see you there, in your modwear!

Click HERE to purchase tickets and for more info

Brianne Jones, Christine Carmichael, Frances Zerr

With Voltage: Fashion Amplified just weeks away, l'étoile returns to give you the skinny on the talented local designers involved with this year’s runway show. Each week, tune in for more designer spotlights and get the lowdown each participants design aesthetic, personal style and a sneak peek of their ’10 Voltage collections. Not to mention, l'étoile Culture Editor, Juleana Enright will let you in on an intimate Q&A sesh with each designer, where they'll dish on everything from their favorite local spots to how they sharpen their creative chops. This week’s spotlights include Brianne Jones, Christine Carmichael, and Frances Zerr.

Voltage Fashion Amplified happens Friday, April 16th at First Ave. For tickets and more info visit

Click HERE to read about Brianne Jones

Click HERE to read about Christine Carmichael

Click HERE to read about Frances Zerr


Aesthetic Apparatus 11-Year Anniversary Party + Super Sale

@ Aesthetic Apparatus Headquarters
2215 Snelling Avenue

Noon-Midnight / Free

Happy birthday to Aesthetic Apparatus! Beginning at noon, artsy deal-seekers will help the boys celebrate by sifting through and spending some cold hard on their stellar selection of $5 scratch-and-dent posters (in other words, minimally damaged prints). Then, at 7pm revelers will come out in full force for a rockin' party complete with drinks, “food” (we don’t know why they put it in quotes), and live tunes via The Blind Shake and Beatrix Jar. If somehow you’ve denied yourself the pleasure of an Aesthetic Apparatus print up until this point, today is the day to rectify that horrendous mistake -- call it your personal birthday gift to the boys!

Click HERE for this art event and more at


Ivory Tower Art Auction

@ Bridgewater Lofts
215 10th Ave S

7pm / free, donations encouraged

Spring is in the air, and luckily for us so is art! Tonight, join the U of M’s non-profit undergrad literary mag, Ivory Tower for silent auction featuring paintings, photography, mosaics, and more by local artists -- all for a good cause. Enjoy appetizers courtesy of JD Hoyts, peep a live painting sesh courtesy of talented MPLS art collective Rogue Citizen, and groove to a live guitar/banjo jamming set from Relatives of Frank. All proceeds benefit Ivory Tower staff and next year’s literary issue. Win-win, say we!

Click HERE for the Facebook event


ARENA Bikini: Haute & Cold

@ AQUA Night Club
400 1st Ave. North

7-11pm / 21+ / $40

The temperature is finally heatin’ up...and so are events around town! This Saturday, join us at the bar for what MSP Mag calls "the sexiest event in the Twin Cities." ARENA Dance Company once again takes its dancers off the stage and puts them onto the runway in this third annual dance/fashion extravaganza, choreographed by celebrated artistic director Mathew Janczewski. To keep things edgy, the fashion show mashes up winter wear and, you guessed it, swimwear! Aqua nightclub hosts this hybrid of performing arts and skin baring sexiness that will benefit ARENA, which is a local contemporary dance organization. The event and performance will feature not only this summer’s best swimwear and toned up professional dancers, but tasty brews, appetizers, spectacular performances and a variety of hot, hot music. Plus, keep your eyes peeled for a special guest appearance by Project Runway alum and localite, Christopher Straub.

Click HERE for the Arena Bikini site


Spree: New Works from Jennifer Davis

@ First Amendment
1101 Stinson Blvd

7-10pm / free

Local art sweetheart Jennifer Davis switches up her signature style with a new exhibit heavy on intensity and color with splashes of pink, electric lime and neon hues. Harnessing her flavor for whimsy and girlish subculture, Davis’ new solo work displays a subtle shift in palette with simplistic lines and sketches highlighted by vivid colors and strange illustrations. Sip down cold brewskies and delicious wine, enjoy live music from the Book of Right On and get your hands on a new limited edition Jen Davis Owl print, created by the talented boys at Burlesque of North America. Plus, it’s one day after Davis’ 35th birthday, so hop down, wish her a happy b-day and peep delicious art conceptions to your heart's content. On display until April 20th.

Click HERE for this art event and more at


Methadont: 365 Drawings by Jesse Draxler

@ Umber Studios
3109 E 42nd Street

8pm / Free

For 365 days (beginning on March 23rd, 2009), musician and writer Benjamin Kucera sent artist Jesse Draxler a word, phrase, lyric or poem. No matter the place, supplies or state of mind, Jesse created a daily art piece based on these words. Without much time to over-think each piece, the final products seem to be almost a gut reaction to the words and the visuals that they represent. A truly collaborative project, Ben's words reflect the rough and the smooth of his daily life, while Jesse reinterpretations add a whole new layer of mood. Hit the opening reception tonight for artsy socializing with the artists and an insight into both their personal lives. Why the strange name for the show? Well, the word "Methadont" was the inspiration for the first collaborative piece the duo produced.

Click HERE for this art event and more at


Back to the Garden

@ Soap Factory
518 2nd Street SE

8pm / Free

In response to the Soap Factory's current exhibit The New Land of Milk and Honey, local writers and a choreographer have concocted stories, poems and dance pieces about communal living. Dashingly-dressed Andy Sturdevant joins Brian Beatty, poet Held Erdrich, novelist Geoff Herbach, dancer Sarah Jacobs, poet Jen March and fiction writer Cheryl Reitan to bring you literary gems of the most artistic variety.

Click HERE for the Soap Factory site


Menergy Returns

@Kitty Cat Klub
315 14th Ave. S.E.

10 p.m./Free

Everyone's favorite kitsch-tastic, homoerotic dance night returns after a hiatus that began after last fall's one year anniversary. The usual suspects - DJ Nightstalker and visual stylist Time Squid - are back to tickle your eyes and ears with tricked-out '70s lady mag fodder and juicy, heavy beats. The very manly guest roster includes DJs Bach and Ken Hannigan of Anthem Heart.

Click HERE for the facebook invite.


Birthday Suits Record Release

@ Turf Club
1601 University Avenue W
St Paul

9pm / 21+ / $6

Saturday night, the Turf Club will host Minneapolis' most utterly bombastic and unhinged duo of musical mastery known as the Birthday Suits, as they deliver their second full-length album of short, chaotic bursts of songs each clocking in at less than two minutes. Hurricane riffs and battling drums skate effortlessly across genres spanning spazzoid punk and beer-soaked rock anthems - if you have not witnessed the insanity that is a Birthday Suits live performance you haven't lived. Chooglin’, The Dynamiters, Leisure Birds round out a top-shelf bill that will most certainly leave your ears ringing.

Click HERE for the Turf Club site

An oldie but goodie from the B-Day Suits:


Attitude City

@ Clubhouse Jager
913 Washington Ave

10pm / 21+ / Free

The Attitude City boys are back at Jager once again for their monthly mix of badditude, blowing up the dance floor with a carefully curated cache of beats and creating the perfect setting to get buck wild. Sweat and shimmy to the glorious disco sounds of this longtime favorite DJ duo while sippin' cocktails and makin' eyes at the beautiful people. Most def one of our favorite parties of the month!

Click HERE for the Attitude City site

Blue Sky Blackout

Our awesome pal David De Young of has been profiling the bands that will be performing at Voltage: Fashion Amplified on April 16th at First Avenue! This week's spotlight involves one of our personal faves: Blue Sky Blackout!!!

From HWTS:

"If there’s such a thing as good cholesterol, perhaps there’s such a thing as good testosterone. Every time I see the six members of Blue Sky Blackout on stage, I can’t help but think: damn, that’s a lot of dudes. And cool, fashionable dudes at that, who know how to rock."

Click HERE to read the full profile on Blue Sky Blackout


Vintage Voltage

@501 Club
501 Washington Ave S

8pm / 21+ / Free

Vintage Voltage rock is back again with the third in a series of monthly live music shows leading up to the main event, Voltage: Fashion Amplified on April 16th. This Sunday, join Voltage vets Mercurial Rage and Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles PLUS a special preview of 2010 Voltage band, the super-rockin' Blue Sky Blackout! Mingle with the flocks of flashy fashionistas who will surely be in attendance, sip a cold one, and get the deets on what's happening at Voltage this year!

BONUS: l'etoile's Beth Hammarlund and Jahna Peloquin DJ between band sets! Sweet!

Click HERE for the Voltage site


JagerCon: Sci-Fi Tuesdays

@ Clubhouse Jager
923 Washington Avenue N.

Every Tuesday
10 p.m. / 21+ / Free

Join hosts Kate Iverson (l'étoile magazine, Secrets of the City) and Beth Hammarlund (l'étoile magazine, A Tiny Machine) every Tuesday Night for JagerCon! JagerCon is a weekly sci-fi party featuring screenings of classic nerdy movies and television shows -- topped off with 2-4-1 cocktails all night served by Star Captain Paul!

Mingle with like-minded sci-fi geeks, discuss D&D strategies, and use that Captain Picard impression you've been perfecting to pick up chicks at the bar. Snort-laugh the night away while bragging about your MMORPG addiction and enjoy a cozy, nerd-friendly environment.


MAR 30: Metropolis
APR 6: Beyond Thunderdome
APR 13: Strange Days
APR 20: Doctor Who: The Enemy Within
APR 27: Tank Girl
MAY 4: Moon
MAY 11: Ghostbusters
MAY 18: Pontypool
MAY 25: Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
JUN 1: The Neverending Story

This week's movie is Metropolis


Jahna Peloquin gives us the rundown of events happening during Spring MNFashion Week, April 17th-25th. And believe us, it's going to be a VERY busy week!

Click HERE for Jahna's preview

"Envision: Artopia" promo image by Miles Schuster



Excuse us while we gush. l'étoile's own advertising manager, Brian Gioielli is one of the finalists for the annual One Man Minneapolis contest! The competition identifies the one man in the Twin Cities who represents the best of the best from the perspectives of community involvement, personality, intelligence and fitness. Well, if you ask us, Brian embodies all of these! Our boy not only volunteers his time for l'étoile, but also does a ton of charity work including being the Vice President on the St. Paul Festival Association board, 12 Bars of Christmas charity event co-organizer, and YMCA volunteer. He's also hilarious, adorable, and one of the most kind-hearted and fun dudes we've ever met.

The best part? If Brian wins, he gets to donate $2500 to his choice of charity, and has even committed $1000 of his personal winnings to l'etoile, so we can put together outfits to donate to another great non-profit, Dress for Success! Isn't he sweet? Vote for Brian every day starting this Friday at!!!!

Save the Date: Imagination Mechanism
an interactive fashion party exploring the creative process

Friday, April 23, 2010 / Free
7pm to 11pm (photo shoot styling begins at 7:30pm)

Join l'étoile magazine for a real-time peek inside our creative process! We'll return once again to the Eitel Building's gorgeous Rooftop Sky Park on Loring Park for a stylish, interactive mixer that will invite you to play creative director for a day. Try your hand at designing fashion photo shoot mood boards and story boards with the help of l'étoile staff, then watch as we implement these same processes to create a live fashion photo shoot that will include everything from styling, shooting, retouching, and even editorial layout -- all right before your eyes. Complimentary cocktails and appetizers will be available, along with music from l'étoile DJs. And dress to impress: we'll be giving away prizes to the most "fashion photo ready" attendees! Sponsored by l'étoile magazine, MNFashion and Secrets of the City.

Voltage Tickets on Sale NOW!

Voltage: Fashion Amplified returns to First Avenue on Friday, April 16! An MNfashion production, Voltage is the flagship fashion event held each spring, kicking on MNFashion Week! Filled with a bevy of local fashion design set to the backdrop of rockin' local bands, Voltage is a can't-miss event! For a full lineup of designers and bands, to purchase tickets, and also keep up on Voltage news, teasers and the schedule for the Vintage Voltage Rock Show series held at the 501 Club leading up to the big event at 1st Avenue visit

Editor in Chief: Kate Iverson // Contributors: Lacey Prpic Hedtke, Juleana Enright, Lauren Gantner, Kate Iverson, Robyn Lewis, Rob Callahan, Beth Hammarlund, Jahna Peloquin

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Voltage Designer Spotlight: Brianne Jones

By Juleana Enright

Local designer, Brianne Jones, was still wet behind the ears so to speak when the savvy brains behind Voltage snatched her up to show at the 2008 event. After taking time to finish her U of M senior collection and graduate, Jones returns to the Voltage roster this year with an even more polished contemporary collection under the moniker Kelson, designed with the sophisticated fashionista in mind. Her Voltage collection showcases a feminine array of black and white pieces spliced with splash of earth tones and inspired by desert terrain and the tactile elements of sand drifts. Her line “Kelson” can found at Uptown boutique, Cliché. We can’t wait to see more!

Brianne answered a few of our questions this week...

Photo by Stephanie Colgan for Voltage 2010

l'étoile: How does it feel to be prepping for your second Voltage show? Is there anything you've learned from 2008's show you'll be carrying to the runway this year?

Brianne: In a way it feels like an obsession meets crazy pressure. I am quite demanding of my designs and ideas, with Voltage 2008 I learned to please myself first.

l'étoile: Your line, “Belle,” from Voltage 2008 was full of tribal prints and cheery plaids. “Kelson” – the line you're showing this year – promises to be rich in earth tones and classic black and white prints. What inspired this shift in palate?

Brianne: This collection was inspired by a desert dust storm, as if it was seen in color and black and white. The shift bold to subtle was really about my wish to design an entire wardrobe for her lifestyle.

U of M Fashion Show preview / Photo by Erin Johnson

l'étoile: Your line this season evokes style evolution. How has your personal style evolved over the years? Do you think it's important to be conscious of your wardrobe's lifespan?

Brianne: My personal style has evolved from cheeky and impulsive into a more sophisticated cheeky and slightly less impulsive style. It is important to consider the lifespan of your wardrobe and learn from your mistakes, mine: a vintage lime green mohair bolero.

l'étoile: What Twin Cities spots do you draw inspiration from and how do they inspire you?

Voltage 2010 Preview event / Photo by Stacy Schwartz

Brianne: The most inspiring places are the ones that I share with the people in my life. Walks on the High Bridge over the Mississippi River in Saint Paul, Bloody Marys at Moscow on the Hill and card games at my kitchen table – where you’re able to put things in perspective and recharge that creative desire to design.

l'étoile: Describe the kind of film you could see your Voltage collection featured in. What kind of motif do you think it would embody?

Brianne: A comedy (blockbuster, no doubt) taking place in an urban setting, starring a strong-minded, sassy woman. She walks with confidence. She’s a bit masculine, even when she is wearing rather sexy clothes.

For more info on Brianne Jones click HERE

For more info on Voltage: Fashion Amplified and to purchase tix to the April 16th event at First Avenue click HERE.

Voltage Designer Spotlight: Christine Carmichael

By Juleana Enright

Design veteran Christine Carmichael (of Carmichael Claith) is always one to watch, dabbling in several runway shows every year, including the recent Envision, SCENEaSOTA and last year‘s Voltage. A traditional seamstress known to spark twinges of nostalgia with her timeless silhouettes and contemporary tailoring, Carmichael’s apparel is the perfect presentation of elegant urban style with hints of Scottish and English sportswear. For her Voltage collection, Carmichael tackles tailored menswear with modern pieces inspired by the literary classic, The Wind in the Willows. No surprise to us; we’ve always seen Toad as quite the distinguished fashion vanguard.

We chatted with Christine this week about her designs and Voltage 2010...

Photo by Stephanie Colgan for Voltage: Fashion Amplified

l'étoile: Your Voltage collection is a mix of Scottish elements, Victorian-era English sporting wear and traditional folklore with modern updates – themes you've entertained in other collections. What inspires you about these regions and era in particular?

Christine: The history of that era and the location has interested me since childhood and has provided a basis for imagination much the same way that places like the American Mountain West inspires other designers. The focus and attention to detail in the clothing during that era is inspiring, as well as the combination of style with function found in the clothing.

l'étoile: You recently showed collections at Envision and SCENEaSOTA and are the sole fashion designer returning to the runway from last year's Voltage event. Of all the productions you've been involved in, which has been your favorite and what have you learned?

Photo by Stephanie Hynes for SCENEaSOTA 2009

Christine: The first SCENEaSOTA, because you get to be apart of the production from the ground up. You simply do not appreciate all the work that goes into a show until you have to put one together yourself. At SCENEaSOTA, we were able to come together and successfully put together a show that we were proud of and it has grown every year since.

l'étoile: Your line this season has a “Wind in the Willows” theme. Disney, Broadway or literary version? And how did this concept come to you? Please tell us there will be anthropomorphic runway models.

Christine: The theme is drawn from the original literary version of the story. The descriptions written by Kenneth Grahame in the book and the various illustrations inspired by them are the source of the style elements that I will be incorporating into the designs. This was one of my favorite childhood stories, and I thought that the adventures of the characters would translate to a runway story very well.

Photo by Stacy Schwartz / Voltage 2010 Preview

l'étoile: What Twin Cities spots do you draw inspiration from and how do they inspire you?

Christine: The Saint Paul riverfront, the historic architectural buildings on Summit Hill and in the Mac/Groveland area, as well as some of the more rural areas such as vineyards or orchards.

l'étoile: If your Voltage collection was the love child of two designers, who would they be?

Christine: The great storyteller Marc Jacobs with the impeccable tailoring and imagination of Alexander McQueen.

For more information of Christine Carmichael click HERE.

For more info on Voltage: Fashion Amplified and to purchase tickets for the April 16th event at First Avenue click HERE.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Voltage Designer Spotlight: Frances Zerr

By Juleana Enright

A fresh face in the Twin Cities design scene, Fargo-born designer, Frances Zerr, received her bachelor’s in art history before moving on to study among the innovative design mentors at NY’s Parsons the New School for Design. We got our first taste of her design flavor at last fall’s La Nouvelle Femme, where she revealed a striking line of garments full of angles, texture and fashion-forward creativity. With a wearable-to-the-death design aesthetic and a nod to the on-the-go woman, Zerr’s line challenges the concept of sustainability vs. fashion. Her design aesthetic calls to mind a '40s approach where the shopper’s emphasis is on purchasing long-term classic pieces not splurging on trendy forgettables. For her Voltage ‘10 collection, prepare to see a confident runway show of clean lines, natural fabrics and impeccable hand craftsmanship.

Frances graciously answered a few of our pressing questions this week...

Photo by Stephanie Colgan

Your designs incorporate a classic “wearable-to-the-death” aesthetic sensibility. Do you have pieces in your personal wardrobe that have been “worn-to-death?"

Frances: Absolutely. I dress myself day-to-day with a sort of "uniform" mentality. Classic button-ups in chambray and white cotton paired with skinny jeans is my go-to outfit for days when I need to get work done without any fuss. A well-cut item stands the test of time and always feels relevant.

l'étoile: What are your thoughts on construction quality vs. trendiness? Do you think it's possible to have both?

Frances: I think that is possible to have both. The key is to find a balance between trend and quality within a single item or outfit. I personally will pay more for an item that I know will get me through a couple of seasons because the trendiness is toned down and the quality stands out. In my own work, I try to figure out how to make a trend really wearable, to give it a cut or a fabric choice that will make it feel more timeless.

Photo by Stacy Schwartz / Voltage 2010 Media & Buyer's preview

l'étoile: In one of the shots from the Voltage Spring Preview show, your model sports an updated take on overalls. What was this look inspired by specifically, and how challenging is it to take a concept inspired by perhaps workwear or vintage and take a fresh spin on it?

Frances: The overalls, as well as much of the rest of my Spring/Summer 2010 collection, were strongly influenced by workwear. It is a constant challenge to adapt classic styles into fashion that feels modern and relevant. My favorite results come from uncomplicating these items, using wearable colors and fabrics and – most importantly – developing a modern fit.

l'étoile: If your Voltage collection was the love child of two designers, who would they be?

Frances: I love APC for their incredibly wearable and well-made collections. The first time I walked into an APC boutique, I walked around the store two or three times examining every piece as if it was an unearthed gem that I had been looking for for a long time without realizing it. On the other hand, I love a lot of young American labels. Philip Lim is a definite influence. He brings such a fine-tuned coolness to his clothes. It’s quirky and smart, but so so cool.

Photo by Charlie Ward/Nouvelle Femme Show 2009

l'étoile: What advice do you have for up-and-coming local designers to advance in the fashion community and get noticed?

Frances: Studio work is very isolating; the only way to get your work out there is to get out there yourself. Always try to represent your work through yourself within your community. Be appreciative and supportive of fellow creatives. Not everyone will love what you do, but if they notice that you care about your work that is usually enough to gain a little bit of interest, or at least respect.

For more information on Frances Zerr click HERE

For more info on Voltage: Fashion Amplified and to purchase tickets to the April 16th event at First Avenue click HERE