Thursday, April 28, 2011

Weekend What's What 4/29-5/1


Lines have been drawn in the sand this weekend, as Friday and Saturday battle it out for your attention. Friday is all about the visual, with more art events than you can shake a stick at, while Saturday brings the noise, with a number of hot live music events and dance parties. We say, enjoy the best of both worlds--that's our plan anyway!



Beth Hammarlund reviews the Sol Inspirations show

We release our Paper Dolls spread by illustrator Lisa Luck

Jahna and Lauren update the Sales & Shopping Guide

Natalie Gallagher interviews film director Jeff Lipsky

Photo by Eric Eul for l'etoile agency


Bell Museum Social || Preserving/Memory

@Bell Museum of Natural History
10 Church St SE

6 p.m. to 9 p.m. / Free

Juxtaposing nature next to art, the Bell Museum has teamed up with local photography fiend and artist Jeff Millikan to show off all the odds and ends of the Bell Museum – pulling out unique insect and animal specimens from their vaults. For their monthly Bell Museum Social, sip on some Red Stag-served refreshments and dive in to Millikan’s pieces to discover the one-of-a-kind tendency of humans to both destroy history and preserve it.

Click HERE for the Facebook event


DJ Dick Pic is Sprung

@ Club Jager
923 Washington Ave

10 p.m. / 21+ / Free

Come down to Club Jag for a musical punch in the crotch tonight! The airhorn-blasting duo of Maggie Morrison and Machen Davis--otherwise known as DJ Dick Pic--will fill your ears with all the tit-illating tunage you can take. On top of all that, l’étoile music editor and saucy drink slinger The Bitchelor will be commanding the bar top until the sun rises (er, until the bar closes). Print off some dick pics to bring along and share, drink some dranx, and dance like a fool. Spring has sprung in more ways than one with Dick Pic on the turntables.

Click HERE for the Facebook event


What's l'etoile looking at this week?

If you’re like us, the adorable choose-your-own-ensemble paper dolls may have just been your first introduction to fashion. Well, that and dressing up our brothers’ G.I. Joes in dapper menswear outfits. Hey, plastic army men need trendy styles too! That’s why we’re ever-so pleased with our interactive vogue du jour with a local artist + designer twist. We plucked some of our favorite looks off the runway of Voltage: Fashion Amplified and handed them over to local illustrator Lisa Luck! We've long been a fan of Lisa's whimsical, color-rich paintings: you may have seen them floating around town under the guise of gig posters for Twin Cities' bands or as promotional pieces for Yeti Records (the cute record shop that Lisa co-owns with her husband Jake). Who better to indulge our girlish fantasies of having our own book of paper dolls paired with local designer creations? All 10 runway designers from Voltage: Fashion Amplified are represented, along with Lisa's charming illustrations. Click the flipbook below to view in magazine format, or download the spread in PFD format here to cut out and play!

View the spread below via Issuu:


Saint Paul Art Crawl

Multiple Locations
St. Paul

Friday 6-10pm / Saturday Noon-8pm / Sunday Noon-5pm

You’ve been tromping through snow all winter, and now it’s time to crawl. Friday marks the opening of the annual Spring St. Paul Art Crawl, an art-venture that will lead you to the city’s core and back again, through the galleries and studios of Lowertown, Harriet Island, Grand, Raymond and University Avenues, and downtown St. Paul. The biggest and baddest yet, this year’s crawl has over 325 artists, including printmakers, musicians, textile artists, photographers, ceramicists, jewelry makers, and bookbinders. Some highlights: the art vending machine in the Tilsner Building (corner of Kellog & Broadway), where $5 gets you a cigarette-pack sized work of art; the McNally Smith Sound Crawl (starts Friday at 5:30); and “25 Minutes of Fame,” a musical feast with everything from classical piano to Uilleann pipes.

Click HERE for the Art Crawl site

2011 Poster Winner: Kevan Willington


Altered Esthetics 7-year Anniversary Celebration

@ Altered Esthetics
1224 Quincy St. NE

6 p.m. / Free

Altered Esthetics is turning seven, and surely the Minneapolis art community at large has been lucky for it. Head to the gallery Friday for a celebration, complete with music, snacks, raffle prizes, and, of course, the artiest and most awesome of company. You can also bid on oodles of neat paintings, photographs, vases, and other crafty items, including the slice of Danno! wisdom pictured below. Other artists featured include Minneapolis printmaking stalwart Adam Turman, abstract oil painter Jennifer Stano, fairytale photo-maker Cris T. Halverson, and local book artist Amber Janey, Happy 7, AE! And many more!

Click HERE for this art event and more at


White Knight

@ Nick & Eddie
1612 Harmon Pl.

7 p.m. / Free

He's inspired punk songs. He's also a popular Halloween costume. And at his core, he's the Twin Cities most recognizable artist. Scott Seekins spends his days and nights strolling around the town in his dapper uniform: a black suit in the winter, a white suit in the summer; his shock of black hair sprouting from a headband complete with a pencil-thin mustache, dark-rimmed spectacles, and of course, his signature traveling art gallery/portfolio. Odds are you've seen him and have likely wondered "what the hell?" Well, wonder no longer. You can meet the man behind the image and the artwork tonight at his annual changing-of-the-suit party at Nick & Eddie. Dress in your best Seekins ensemble to win prizes in the look-a-like contest, take a personal, Seekins-led tour of the artist's studio (located about N&E), and get down to live bands later in the eventing. SS will also be offering 2-4-1 deals on his $100 prints on Friday only, so take this opportunity to fill in your art collection with the colorful works of a local icon.

Click HERE for the Nick & Eddie site


Regression into Relations

@ Madame of the Arts
3401 Chicago Avenue South

7 p.m. / Free

Regression into Relations, opening Friday at Madame of The Arts, is kind of like a time machine: it jumps backwards and forward, providing fresh perspective on both – and it provides a forum to geek out over things like chaos, alternate realities, and the fabrics of space. Exploring the intertwining of history and the future through installation, “mining of data,” and the “geometry of response,” the show features evocative narratives by five local artists: Luke Axelson, John Foster, Alex Fritz, Ryan Hughes, and Jonathan Karen. After the show, make sure you stick around for the After Exhibition Extravaganza. Details are scant, but a show this cool is bound to have a post party equally enticing.

Click HERE for the Facebook event


The Judgment of Paris

@ Jeune Lune
105 N. 1st St.

8 p.m. / $20

One of the most chic art events of the year, the Midway Contemporary Art benefit is a can't miss for art lovers and patrons in the Twin Cities. The event hops to different venues each year to keep things fresh, this year landing at the charismatic old Jeune Lune theater space in the warehouse district. Dress your best and rub elbows with art collectors and Midway supporters while perusing the ridiculously amazing selection of contemporary art up for bid in the silent and live auction. Midway does not mess around: both big name local and national artists are represented in the work, including Minneapolis ex-pat David Rathman, photographer David Goldes; rising art world stars Jesse Chapman and Jay Heikes; Walker darling Chris Larson; and recent college grads (and Midway faves) Tynan Kerr and Andie Mazrol--just to name a mere few. Sip fancy drinks, nibble hors d'oeuvres, and if you got the ching, buy some art. After all, every penny goes back into the Midway pot, so they can continue bringing amazing work to the Twin Cities. Not to mention, our own editor Kate Iverson is on the host committee for the second year in a row, and l'etoile is a fancy-schmancy co-sponsor!

Click HERE for more info


No Bird Sing CD Release Party

@The Cedar Cultural Center
416 Cedar Ave S
Minneapolis, MN

7pm / All Ages / $10

Over the past few years, No Bird Sing has been highly celebrated in the Twin Cities for their unique take on the hip-hop and passionate live performances. Their melancholic and menacing take on the genre has impressed the likes of Brother Ali, POS, Dosh, and Eyedea & Abilities, all of whom No Bird Sing has shared the stage. Friday, watch the magic unfold with special guests Kill the Vultures and Kristoff Krane at the Cedar Cultural Center - no doubt the perfect venue to capture the intensity of a No Bird Sing show. Also, we've heard that additional guest appearances shall be expected! Music starts at 8 sharp.

Click HERE for the Cedar site


Bee Cool, Be Nice

@ Honey
205 E Hennepin Ave

10:30 p.m. – 2 a.m. / 21+ / $3

For this month’s installment, Bee Cool enlists the live gyrations of one-man dance party extraordinaire, Slapping Purses, for an oscillating evening of sampled electronics, Casio-breaks and drum machine kicks. Before (and after) the SP’s amplifiers and modulars heap a dose on the dance floor, check hot, hot, hot tunes from lady DJ duo Monsterbrüsten and Mr. Rico Suave, DJ Bach as you sip down $3.50 Tall Boys and 5 buck Jamesons. And remember Bee Cool’s motto, “bee cool; be nice. don’t steal; slap purses.” And might we add: dance yer ass off.

Click HERE for the Facebook event


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

There’s really no point in spring cleaning unless you get to snaz up the place a bit, too. And since the flowers aren’t quite blooming outside here in Minnesota, the adorable, easy-peasy framed vases featured on the oh-so crafty site Flamingo Toes are the perfect way to bring the spring cheer inside – and amp up your DIY prowess. What you need: small glass vases (Bev, the sassy gal behind the site, got a bunch at Michael’s for 99 cents each), twine, chicken wire, frames (and paint if you want to redo them), and flowers. And the steps to making these pretty little things are just as simple. Happy crafting!

Click HERE for the Flamingo Toes site


Art Beer Records

@ Yeti Records
3506 Nicollet Ave

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

Yet again, Yeti Records comes through with another round of great local art. This time, the featured artists: Josh Journey-Heinz, Jessica Seamans, Hannah Mae Haugberg, Suzanne Mahoney, Mike Burrill, Lisa Luck, Matt Vision Quest, and Steve Rosborough. Join the artists for little record spinning by the mega-talented James Leonardo, who has slated his perfectly danceable tunes early enough to get you warmed up for your next round of Saturday-night dance-your-face-off madness. Stop down, make friends with new peeps, and have a good time.

Click HERE for the Facebook event


Heavy Focus 4

West Bank

9 p.m. / $10

Local noise fest Heavy Focus is back for round quatro on Saturday, with 14 of the genre’s most vociferous, irreverently-named local and national acts. Minneapolis acts include Father You See Queen (formerly To Kill a Petty Bourgeoisie), Ison Sucks (the one and only Albert Elmore), and Heavy Focus veteran and scrap metal master, Grain Belt. Out of towners include Chicago-based Vertonen, the project by Crippled Intellect Productions’ (a music label for up-and-coming experimental artists) Blake Edwards; and Brooklyn-based Queening. A show guaranteed to make your ears ring and your brain go fuzzy, as only truly magnificent noise music can do.

Click HERE for the Facebook event


Minneapolis! NY Night Train Soul Clap & Dance-Off

@Hexagon Bar
2600 27th Ave S

10 p.m. / 12 a.m. Dance Off / Free

Think you got what it takes to out dance the entire city of Minneapolis? For the local debut of traveling dance jam, SOUL CLAP, don your boogie gear and head to the Hex for a night of sweet soul get downs brought to you by NYC's own DJ Jonathan Toubin. After two hours of warm up, make sure you’re ready to impress a panel of local judges, including Radio K’s lanky swanky Andrew LaValle, CityPages hottie Andrea Swensson, DJ guru Jen Hughes, l'etoile music editor Robyn Lewis, Solid Gold music man Shon Phillp Troth and journalist Steve Marsh.

Click HERE for the Facebook event


#LIFE #RARE: A Music Video Party Experience

@ Triple Rock
629 Cedar Ave

10 p.m. / $5 or free with MSPIFF ticket stub

What pairs best with an experimental film screening? An experimental party, of course! First, hit up Friday night's MSPIFF screenings of Experimental Film Program and/or Free Radicals: A History of Experimental Film then on Saturday, head over to the T-Rock to add an extra dose of experimental with the interactive live event, #Life #Rare. Tonight’s extravaganza features two darn good hazy Chicagoan bands How to Dress Well – which you may remember from our raving “Sunday Music Pick” a few weeks back – + futuristic R&Bers, Supreme Cuts – and Minneapolis’ own chillwave, electronic pop, Auto-Tune-friendly duo, Elite Gymnastics. On top of rad, glitchy, DIY beats, peep the laboratory-esque experimental vids and images from Jamie Harley and what is mysteriously described solely on the FB event invite as a “surprise happening on the dancefloor” from Anna Henson. Fancy footwork? A Vogue breakdown, Madonna-style? Robot dance-off? Who knows? You’ll have to witness for yourself.

Click HERE for the Facebook event

How To Dress Well : "Suicide Dream 1" from Jamie Harley on Vimeo.


Menergy feat. Gigamesh

@Kitty Cat Klub
315 14th Ave SE

10 p.m. / 21+ / $3 with Facebook RSVP, $5 without

Menergy has quickly garnered the reputation of being where all the pretty people are in this masterful monthly dance party, held at the Kitty Cat Klub, where there is both a dark dance floor for sexy moves and dark corners for, er, sexier moves. Come celebrate your dudeness (or scout for a new dude of your own) in this sweatastic beat fest, brought to you by DJs Bach to the Future, The Nightstalker and Sweet Talk Radio. Joining the musical mavens this month is Gigamesh, the Jesus of hawt mixed dance tracks. Playatta vids will be there to capture all the antics, crazy dance moves, and muscle flexing… and oh, so much more.

Click HERE for the Facebook event

A Gigamesh classic:


Attitude City

@ Club Jager
923 Washington Ave

10 p.m. / 21+ / Free

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

Click HERE for the Facebook event


Zoo Animal

@ Dakota Jazz Club
1010 Nicollet Mall

11 p.m. / $5

Trust us: you want to spend your late nights with Zoo Animal. Especially when the rock trio struts their stuff at Downtown’s classic nightclub, the Dakota. And while we can’t guarantee that husky-voiced, doe-eyed vocalist, Holly Newsom, will be draped across a piano like the jazzy night singers of yore, we can promise a live set of minimal rock and artful grunge fused with lo-fi melodies that border between the visceral and haunting. Who knows? By the end of the night their alluring emotive pop might just illicit a table sprawl from someone in the club…Most likely one of the l’etoile crew.

Click HERE for the Dakota site

ZOO ANIMAL - "Sailor" (remix) from Northern Outpost on Vimeo.


What's l'etoile listening to this week?

We tried to listen to other tunes this week, but we gave up almost immediately. Why? Because frankly, nothing puts a spring in our step quite tUnE-yArDs, the loopy-jammy-jumpy-burst-y-wait, is that a ukulele?-cacophony slash ear-gasm project by New Englander Merrill Garbus. You may have already heard the magic on her 2009 cassette-tape debut Bird-Brains, or on last year’s trippy Blackberry Torch commercial. But her April release w h o k i l l – now that’s one to set your ears on fire. Equal parts eccentric, world, and bubblegum, Garbus’ beats are second only to her voice, which ranges from husky to boyish to soulful to clear-as-a-bell with slippery ease. Exquisite. Do the cars around you a favor: roll your windows down and turn your speakers way, way up with this pick.

Click HERE for the Tune Yards site


May Day Parade + Festival

@ Powerhorn Park
Southside Minneapolis

1 p.m. – sunset / free

Unless you’re the Ebenezer Scrooge of Spring, May Day marks of Minneapolis’ fave seasonal celebration, the May Day Festival. Not only do the festivities involve a massive parade with humongous puppets, elaborate masks, art bikes and grandiose floats homemade by locals, but the day-long fete features delicious pop-up food carts, live sets by local bands, the Tree of Life ceremony, art booths and tons more hoopla. Now in its’ 37th year, the May Day Fest is still as popular and anticipated as ever and boasts even more activities every year for fest goers to revel in. For some, the festival symbolizes a cathartic celebration of nature, movement and life; to others it’s a day to hang with pals and get a little tipsy covertly nursing flasks in the park. But regardless of how you like to observe, one thing is always consistent--a damn good time. See you there!

Catch up with the parade at the corner of 25th St. and Bloomington Ave at 1 p.m. and travel with as it continues to Powderhorn Park.
Click HERE for more info

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

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

MNfashion Week in review: Sol Inspirations

Text by Beth Hammarlund, l'etoile magazine Creative Director
Photos by Jules Christman

MNfashion Week came to a close last Saturday night with Sol Inspirations, an eco-friendly fashion show and design competition held at The Depot in downtown Minneapolis. The event showcased both local talent and a trio of Project Runway alumni - season seven winner Seth Aaron Henderson, and Christopher Straub and Ra’mon-Lawrence Coleman of season six, all showcasing designs with an eco-friendly focus.

The show began with a mix of looks from local designers Jenny Carle, CounterCouture, Renalie Bailey and Kathryn V. I’d seen some of the pieces at previous MNfashion Week events, but they got a fresh twist from stylist Hollie Mae Schultz. But when a few designers showed pieces from several seasons ago, it felt more like a re-run.

The design competition featured looks created by Coleman and Straub, as well as several local designers. They were challenged to create pieces for three categories: upcycled/recycled materials, non-traditional materials, and sustainable fabric. At least one look had to feature solar panels, but they did not have to be functional.

[A look by Niki English]

[A look by Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman]

[A look by Christopher Straub]

Coleman’s looks showcased his elegant, modern style, and Straub went out of his comfort zone with edgy structured pieces, but the clear winner appeared to be Niki English. Her sculptural pieces and use of color would benefit from some editing, but she took big risks and most of them worked. She was also the only designer who appeared to use the solar panels as functional elements on a light-up dress. On the other looks, the panels dangled lifelessly, clinking together like odd plastic fringe.

The event concluded with a new collection from Seth Aaron Henderson, winner of Project Runway season seven. As he introduced his collection, he explained that it was theatrical, and not meant to be worn. Though the collection certainly had edgy elements, many of the pieces were certainly wearable. Perhaps this is his standard introduction, but if it was specific to Minnesota, it seemed a bit condescending.

Henderson’s looks were streamlined and interesting. Exaggerated hips and shoulders punctuated the collection, and the construction was exquisite. A black and white striped dress was unassuming from the front, but the back was paneled and sewn so that the stripes connected in an impeccable pattern. It was a great detail on what could have been a relatively quiet piece.

At the end of the show, Straub was crowned the evening’s winner, and though I enjoyed his pieces and appreciated his departure from his usual aesthetic, I was shocked that English didn’t take home the prize.

Nervous emcees and a few technical snags were normal glitches for a first-time show. Gift bags sat on VIP seats, which made me feel a little better about that steep ticket price. Minneapolis is an eco-conscious town, so Sol Inspirations could certainly find a home here. Their cause is certainly noble and they’ve got the local talent to support it. I look forward to seeing what they do next year.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Paper Dolls: Voltage Fashion 2011

We took some of our favorite looks off the runway of Voltage: Fashion Amplified and handed them over to local illustrator Lisa Luck! We've long been a fan of Lisa's whimsical, color-rich paintings: you may have seen them floating around town under the guise of gig posters for Twin Cities' bands or as promotional pieces for Yeti Records (the cute record shop that Lisa co-owns with her husband Jake). Who better to indulge our girlish fantasies of having our own book of paper dolls paired with local designer creations?

All 10 runway designers from Voltage: Fashion Amplified are represented, along with Lisa's charming illustrations. Click the flipbook below to view in magazine format, or download the spread in PFD format here to cut out and play!

Photos of clothing by Stephen Stephens / Illustration by Lisa Luck

Monday, April 25, 2011

Le'Talk: An Interview with director Jeff Lipsky

by Natalie Gallagher

Each year, the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival welcomes a great variety of established independent filmmakers—among them, Jeff Lipsky. Arguably one of the figureheads of the independently distributed film movement, Lipsky has been at the forefront of the industry since 1974, when he, along with John Cassavetes, distributed A Woman Under The Influence—the first nationally distributed specialized film. In January 2011, Lipsky debuted his own fourth full-length feature film as writer/director, Twelve Thirty, a family drama centered around a virginal young man who, in the span of a week, encounters two young daughters and their mother, becoming involved in their delicate web and, ultimately, altering their lives. Lipsky wrote and directed the film, which premiered on January 10th at the Lincoln Center in New York. I caught up with Lipsky to discuss his latest venture and his thoughts on the independent film industry.

L’etoile: So, tell me about Twelve Thirty. What was the inspiration behind this film?

Jeff Lipsky: Well, what Twelve Thirty has in common with my other films—and, really, my future films—are the common themes of family, love, and sexuality. They’re the only three things that everybody on the planet has in common, and I want to make films with universal themes. I think the inspiration to write this script was threefold… I pride myself in the success I’ve had in creating multidimensional, realistic real roles for women, and it’s interesting because I’m competing a against so few people. But I was inspired in part by a Russian comedy called Adam's Rib, about three generations of Russian women who live under the same roof, and I thought it would be really interesting to flip that premise on its head and go with two generations of women who live under the same roof who hardly knew each other… And the other piece is obvious—at least I think it’s quite obvious to most people over the age of 16—and that is the relationship between Benjamin Broddick and Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate. I sort of morphed all those notions together, but at the heart of it is the story of mothers and daughters. It’s not a dysfunctional family, but a non-functioning family. It’s very different, about a man who in the span of a week implodes—he comes into contact with all of these women and, completely unknown to him, he becomes a lynchpin, who hopefully allows the family to begin a healing process just as his life is thrown into turmoil. It’s a cautionary tale about the danger of abstinence, and it’s got a few barbed comments about lawyers.

At the end of the day, it describes the story of family. Everybody, everywhere should be able to identify with some character at some point, and that’s what I do—I provoke audiences. I bring them to laughter, I bring them to tears sometimes… the worst criticism, for me, is for a couple to get up afterwards and say to each other, “What are we going to have for dinner?” I want them to think about it for days. Popcorn movies are all well and good, but those aren’t the kinds of movies that inspired me growing up.

L: What are your plans for distribution for Twelve Thirty?

JL: Twelve Thirty has another month of proactive distributing with me at the helm, before I segue into production for my next film.

L: In a recent article with indiewire, you talked about recognizing and “embracing theatrical”. Can you expand on that?

JL: I think it’s kind of a very simple notion that I was embracing and continue to embrace that in this day and age, with filmed entertainment and digital entertainment and home entertainment and streaming, that the experience of seeing a feature length film in a large motion theater remains a singular experience that cannot be matched or approached. It’s still a form of entertainment that is rife with distractions and imperfections in their smallness and bigness, but nothing can duplicate the sociological sensation of experiencing a movie in the dark amongst strangers. I believe we have to move away from 3D—that’s the goose that’s killing the golden egg—but the last three weeks have been great: streaming is up, TV on demand is up… Maybe people are—God help them—watching more YouTube videos for free, but nothing has or will ever vanquish the movie business, nothing no matter what they invent or create is going to dissolve or displace movie going.

Production still from Twelve Thirty

L: You started in the independent film business when it first began itself, in the early 70’s. How do you feel independent film has progressed since you started the business?

JL: Well, I think it’s a cyclical business, like most businesses. When the independent film makers found how much money could be made, the major motion pictures started their own divisions… and every fifteen years or so they come in and start their own divisions and every five years they shut them down, and right now they’re in the process of shutting them down again. I would say since 1990 the total number of film distributors has stayed mostly the same. The digital revolution is going to help really talented filmmakers at the end of the day, while it’s hurting everybody right now… and it’s something new, I guess, like with the internet bubble when all those websites popped up, and then the bubble burst and the real websites stayed, and the ones that contributed something to humanity and to business have survived—and the same thing will happen to digital filmmaking. It’s going to take another five or ten years, but it’s going to happen.

L: You seem pretty tireless in your contribution to the industry.

JL: I love what I do. It’s exhilarating. There hasn’t been a day in production that hasn’t been exhilarating to me… I truly feel blessed to be doing what I wanted to be doing from the age of ten years old, and if I can’t appreciate it then I shouldn’t be doing it. I feel bad for my cast and crew, because we do 12-hour days and I don’t want to stop. We shoot 6-day weeks, and for their benefit of the crew I want to shoot 5-day weeks, but for my benefit I want to do 7-day weeks... The great thing about being an artist or being a musician is that our work will outlive us, and I think we are learning to appreciate art history and I think that’s exhilarating. It’s a pretty heady thing, and again, if you can’t get excited about that there’s something seriously wrong.

For more info on Jeff Lipsky's Twelve Thirty visit

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Weekend What's What 4/21-4/23


We wait and wait and yet Spring has yet to officially lay its claim. The ridiculous appearance of snow earlier this week made us cry a single tear and we can't help but be a bit miffed in general at the weather. However, this weekend holds enough hot events to make us (temporarily) forget, and though MNFashion Week is technically complete, there are still a bevy of cool fashion events on the plate. Enjoy, and leave your jacket at home...if you dare.



MNFashion Week reviews are IN:

Emma Berg/Kevin Kramp
CounterCouture/George Moskal
Secret Garden Fashion Show
Jagress Intimates
Envision Artopia

Jahna and Lauren update our guide to sales & shopping


MIA Third Thursday

@ Mpls Institute of Arts
2400 3rd Ave. S.

6 p.m. / Free

Local theatric rock duo Fort Wilson Riot is heading on tour this Friday – but not before one final May Day-themed heyday for MIA’s Third Thursday! Don your jazzy May Day mask – which you can make at the event, guided by Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater artists – and shake your tail (and face) feathers to one of the band’s signature high-energy performances. HOTB performers will also be teaching attendees a thing or two about proper parade modus operandi (a.k.a. how to “work your mojo” without looking ridiculous), which we hope you won’t forget come May Day. Don’t forget to put your own personal touch on a gigantic HOTB May Day puppet – or to stop by the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program’s latest exhibition opening, featuring Paula McCartney’s photographic “Field Guide to Snow and Ice” and Liz Miller’s “Ornamental Invasion,” an installation of two- and three-dimensional components cut from colorful industrial felt.

Click HERE for the MIA site

Photo by Paula McCartney


Sex Rays + L’Assassins

@ Nick and Eddie
1612 Harmon Place

9 p.m. – 2 a.m. / 21+ / $5

KFAI DJ, local music devotee and rad lady music blogger, Cyn Collins, has been an endorser for local 60’s/70’s vintage-esque trio Sex Rays since the get go. And why wouldn’t she be? Besides being ultra-cool MPLS bad boys donned in black leather jackets and shades at night that give Corey Hart a run for his money, the band’s retro-vibed rockabilly transmits fans to a time warp music scene circa The Ramones and the Sex Pistols, where straight up, hardcore rock n’ roll steams from the amps and guitar riffs electrocute the party – metaphorically, of course. Comprised of ex-Fuck Knights members, Joe Hastings and Joe Holland and Ben Crunk, the garage rockers haven’t been around that long – they made their live debut less than a year ago at Palmer’s – but they pack a sound transcending time and bridging the rock eras. Join the trio tonight for a set kicked off by a DJ spun set from Cyn herself and a debut performance from new local girl punkers (yes!!!) L’Assassins.

Click HERE for the Facebook event


What's l'etoile looking at this week?

Anna-Wili Highfield may not have an official studio yet, but her gorgeous paper bird and horse sculptures have already caught the eye of many the art and design aficionado. In recent months, this Sydney-based sculptor and puppeteer’s daughter was featured in the New York Times Style Magazine and was asked to create two large Pegasus sculptures for Hermès in Brisbane. And for good reason: her equine and avian marvels, made from hand-painted pieces of archival cotton paper sewn together and shaped with copper or brass wire are not only absolutely stunning, but capture the movement and wild energy of the creatures they imitate. As peculiar as they are pretty, they’re the epitome of what it is for art to imitate life – the fascinating, moving force that it is. And besides, they’re a whole lot more alluring than anything made by a taxidermist (who decided antlers were trendy, anyways?).

Click HERE for the website


Artisan Activist Poster Show

@ Aveda Institute
400 Central Ave

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

An art show in the decadent Aveda Institute Ballroom? Be still our hearts. Join dozens of poster artists and activist-types for this visually yummy benefit for the Audubon Mississippi Project, whose mission is to restore and protect habitat and water quality along the Mississippi River. The exhibit features the works of almost 50 artists including Allen Brewer, Tooth, J. Zachary Keenan, Chris Strouth, Gregory Hubacek, Angel Bomb Studios, Peter Skwiot Smith, Aaron Purmort, Lisa Troutman and oh-so many more. Just in time for Earth Day, this thoughtful yet impeccably curated (and reasonably priced) selection of eclectic works is just what you need to kickstart Spring in vivid color. Not to mention, an art show that's bound to smell like Aveda products is something we can get behind, 100%.

Click HERE for the Facebook page


Accountant’s New Year

@ Fox Tax
503 1st Ave. NE

6 p.m. / Free

If you’re like us, your tax return check is long since gone – but for local accountants, the party – or at least the adventure on the other side of the desk – is only just beginning. Celebrate the end of tax season with a heavy dose of tomfoolery that only the folks of Fox Tax could stir up. The evening’s shenanigans start at the gallery, where you should take advantage of your last chance to see (and purchase goodies from) the “A Few of our Favorite Things” exhibit, a salon-style showing of the owners Mark and Alyssa Fox's and curator Emma Berg’s most beloved local and national artists. After that, hop-skip-and-jump to the Red Stag for sweet beats by DJ Bach and sweeter treats, including a shiny new Accountant’s New Year champagne cocktail on happy hour special. No resolutions required. Cheers!

Click HERE for the Fox Tax site

Art by Anne George


Fashion Dance for Life

@ Windows on Minnesota
80 8th St So

8 p.m. / $20 General Admission,$50-$60 Seated, $80-$100 VIP

Combine time travel with MNfashion week and you’ve got Minneapolis’ official Fashion Dance for Life. Friday evening, Eleve Productions has put together a fancy night of flair and talent that will document fashion’s spread throughout history. All Friday night, dancers and models from the area will be sashaying about in history inspired looks from local designers to the tunes of Twin Cities-centric musicians - all to raise money for the Hughes Foundation.

Click HERE for more info


The Rope EP Release Party

@ The Fine Line
318 1st Ave N

8 p.m. – 2 a.m. / 21+ / $5

We’ve always been a fan of the dark side, so when we caught wind of the new project from five local dudes known for their love of the dark tunes, our caliginous side perked up. The latest band off Late Century Records, The Rope borrows its sound from the post-punk era – heavy synth, glitchy guitar, reverb up the wazoo – with a modern edge and includes members Jesse Hagon, Mike Browning and Paul Teravskis on keys. The show kicks off with a mystery guest DJ set plus a video and live set from modern rock power trio, Not Like This, dark desperado rock from The Funeral and the Twilight and danceable electro from Thought Thieves. Snag pre-sale tix early at the band’s fave java hangout, Plan B Coffeehouse and be prepared to be surprised by this new group with major potential.

Click HERE for the Facebook event


Kirk for a Day: A Rob Callahan Birthday Special

@ Club Jager
923 Washington Ave N

9 p.m. / 21+ / Free

What can we say about dapper gent, sci-fi geek, trivia stumper, spoken word warrior and deliciously sardonic author (and periodic l’etoile contributor!) Rob Callahan? If you know the man-about-CONS well enough to call him a friend, consider yourself one lucky S.O.B. Really, how many peeps do you know whose bitter-soaked charm, delightful weirdness and glut of bookish knowledge have earned them the prestigious honor of being immortalized in cocktail form, i.e. Paul T and Jager’s libation invention, The Rob Callahan. Check awesome live performances from some of Cahallan’s favorite local musicians including a mind-boggling auditory/visual set from Byzantine Beatbox, sets from Astronaut Wife, Jonah the Destroyer, Cantankerous Folk’s Joseph Ye, and Mayda. Plus – because Callahan is never sans the spirit of Shatnerian spoken word – have your ears tickled by the oral rantings and satirical wanderings of Cahallan himself. Head down early for happy hour and enjoy drink specials, yummy food and tunes all night long. And don’t forget to give Cahallan the age-old Vulcan salute and let the man feel like Captain Kirk for a day.

Click HERE for the facebook event

Photo by Robyn Lewis


Haley Bonar CD release show

@ The Cedar
416 Cedar Ave S

8 p.m. / All Ages / $15

Local folk-pop sweetheart Haley Bonar's country-inspired brand of folk has garnered her some serious acclaim as of late (including the formation of a rock/new-wave side project Gramma's Boyfriend), with an enchanting new full-length release entitled Golder, Bonar offers some of her most compelling work to date. Hers are the type of songs you want on your ipod as you zone out and watch the human race go by. Join Haley with special guests Sin Ropas as she presents the world with her eagerly anticipated fifth full length, and if you're so inclined, be sure to donate to Haley's Kickstarter campaign. Fork over $100 and
receive backstage passes for a meet & greet! Sounds like an outstanding way to spend Earth Day/Good Friday!

Click HERE for the Cedar site

City of Music: Haley Bonar from MPLS.TV on Vimeo.


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

Prepare to waste your afternoon with this. With 9-eyes, you can now totally get an insider’s peek at the secret, unseen sights of the world – all without leaving your desk. From guinea pig walkers to childish gunmen, discover all the unnoticed goings-on through the nine eyes of the Google maps Street View camera. Intrigued by the idea of a cameraman-less camera, Jon Rafman has spent time compiling these bazaar Google images to show his take on REAL photos – ones that can catch a scene without being interrupted by a photographer.

Click HERE for the 9-Eyes site


MCAD MFA Exhibition

@ Soap Factory
514 2nd St NE

1 p.m.-5 p.m. / Free

Wonder where your MCAD friends go the months before MFA Thesis time? Hard at work for the premiere of the annual Design MFA Thesis exhibition, of course. Today, MCAD and the Soap Factory quietly open this annual group show featuring the work of talented students before they set their sights on creative life after MCAD. Peep the work of 12 MCAD students and candidates for the MFA program including Shannon Brady, Stu Brown, Graham Judd, Casey J. Opstad and more showcasing mix media, illustrations, drawings, indie comic book art, photography and installations. Note: the reception will be held at the end of the show's run--otherwise open regular Soap Factory hours starting today.

Click HERE for this art event and more at

Artwork by Graham Judd:


Take the [effing] Canvas

@ Tarnish and Gold
1511 Marshall St. NE

2 p.m. / Free

Tarnish and Gold is peace-ing out of Northeast, but before they go, they're giving away their walls. Seriously – a bunch of local artists, including Chuck U, Rogue Citizen, Paige Guggemos, Kylo Moonguts, and Brian D. Downs, will be live painting directly on the gallery’s (canvas) walls, the spoils of which will go to the highest bidder. You can even paint and cut out your own chunk of canvas – or help out with a collaborative piece for T&G. There will be paint by numbers. And live music. And a barbecue/potluck (bring your own supplies). And a whole lot of excess stuff that the gallery would love to sell to you. Talk about going out in style! See you there.

Click HERE for this art event and more at


Arena Bikini: Iconoclast

@ Grainbelt Bottling House
79 13th Ave NE

8pm / $45-$100

It seems as though it's been a long time since Minnesotans have feasted their eyes on short-sleeves, let alone bikini wear. Tonight, say goodbye to hefty winter coats and lumbering boots and say hello to the latest in swimwear crafted by local designers and paired with choreography by ARENA Dances Artistic Director, Matthew Janczewski. Peep distressed denim, glitter and miniscule leather bikinis bared by ultra-hot Vision models. Enjoy cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, a silent auction and tasty beats with profits going to benefit the local nonprofit dance company, ARENA Dances.

Click HERE for the Arena Bikini site


Sol Inspirations: Eco Fashion Gala

@ The Depot Minneapolis
225 Third Ave S.

7 p.m. to 10 p.m. / $35 GA or $75 VIP

Though eco-friendly fashion can still do some major damage to your checking account, it's worth it to give your conscience and the planet a break. Though minimizing your carbon footprint no longer means a wardrobe made of hemp, at Sol Inspirations, Project Runway Season 7 winner Seth Aaron Henderson will bring environmentally sound fashion to the next level. The presentation, which will feature his solar-powered designs, also includes Twin Cities designers such as Jenny Carle and Kathryn V., and a design competition including locally grown fashion darlings and Project Runway alumnu Christopher Straub and Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman.

Click HERE for the Facebook event


The Goondas/Skoal Kodiak/Torch the Game/Hot Rash

@ Turf Club
1601 University Ave.
St. Paul

9 p.m. / 21+ / $5

The Goondas have been bringing their gritty, old-school sound with a rockstar-pulse that vibes through the hipster-heavy Minneapolis scene since 2008 when the band first starting pressing out, and they do it with a sort of knowing grin behind their songs. They are the best of rock 'n' roll influences--Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan--and they are just as unapologetically fierce when they play live. Skoal Kodiak, on the other hand, beckons the smooth groove of reggae-meets-the early '90's, and count among their array of unique instruments a modified bleach bottle, circuit-bends, and other distortional instruments for a truly unique sound. Their show on Saturday night at the iconic Turf Club, along with indie rockers Torch the Game and Hot Rash, is not to be missed.

Click HERE for the Turf site


What's l'etoile listening to this week?

One of our dear l'etoile contributors, Natalie, has been vacaying out in Portland this week, and took in a local music show to survey the scene. She stumbled into the Doug Fir and discovered the all-girl ensemble Little Volcano, a hard-rocking, guitar-and-bass-driven, punchy four-chick outfit brimming with grit-laden Americana goodness. These ladies bring a sound that is a little vintage, a little hard-edged rock 'n' roll--like a lace dress soaked in a rail whiskey cocktail, with the lead singer's voice dipping into a Stevie Nicks-esque gutsy anguish, tortured in the sexy kind of way. Check out their 2010-released Precious Beast EP, and do it now.

Click HERE for more info

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

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

MNfashion Week in review: The Secret Garden

Text and photos by Tara Sloane, l'etoile contributor

“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “to talk of many things.”

Of shoes – and lace – and bold silhouettes – and all sorts of whimsical things – was the fantastical fruits of The Secret Garden fashion show, put on Saturday night at The Women’s Club of Minneapolis by Secrets Fashion Agency. The theme of the show, a playful mixture of haute couture, menswear, and ready-to-wear, followed Alice’s journey from Wonderland to the Secret Garden, a fashion allegory tracing her growth from a slight child into an assured young woman.

Starting the evening was Khamphian Vang, whose sunny ready-to-wear collection was inspired by the paintings of Frida Kahlo. Her funky mix of high-waisted shorts, sheers, and bright colors, splashed with stripes, patterened cut-outs, and floral prints was at once sophisticated and girly, exactly the type of playful mash-ups we want to create from our spring wardrobes.

Next up was a mini-showing by Sina Yi (the rest of her collection appearing later in the show), who is currently pursuing a fashion degree at the Art Institute. Perhaps simply in accordance to the show’s thematic timeline, Yi’s line seemed caught between two aesthetics. Multi-green and white plaid dresses, adorably detailed with ruffles, puffed shoulders, and flowers (we were reminded of grade school jumpers) mingled with dramatic, elegantly-cut pieces fit for a night on the town. We especially loved the uniqueness of a silver chain-mail like tunic and a shiny, black-and-silvery-gold patterned dress that frayed on the edges, even though we would have loved to see the entire collection more strongly united.

Next up on Alice’s journey was menswear that would put the Mad Hatter to shame. No shabby top hats, just sleek, gorgeously tailored jackets that bring together the best aesthetics of all the world’s fashion capitols: the formal simplicity of London, the chic of Paris, the sexiness of Milan, and Tokyo’s street-fresh. Designed by New Yorker Ninh Nguyen, this versatile, cosmopolitan collection is exactly what we hope our Minneapolis boys will be sporting already – and exactly the kind of ware we’d expect Alice’s Renaissance man to wear when he sweeps her off her feet (hey, it happened in every other fairytale).

The final ready-to-wear collection, designed by sister designers Nonmala & Gaochen, was by far the most darling. In fact, with, sassy bows, soft florals, and delightful pea-greens, amethysts, and peachy-oranges, we’d call it the epitome of girlhood. We especially loved the final look, a flowered (in print and in sewn detail) jumper over puffed sleeved day-dress, which was absolutely adorable even before we saw the huge bow in the back. If only Alice didn’t have to grow up...

True to fairytale form – just when things are getting really good, the chapter ends and it’s time for bed. Only bed was a 30-minute intermission with Pool of Tears - big drink lines. The music from the first set, a meandering, billowy series of instrumental pieces that would fit perfectly in something from Masterpiece Theater, faded to DJ music, leaving one to hope that the White Rabbit wouldn’t appear to mark a delayed start to the second set.

Part two began with thumping, feel-it-in-your-chest beats. The sun had completely set, and the lack of light streaming through the club’s huge windows made for a more dark and twisty setting, the perfect compliment to Autumn Kirchman’s surreal, high-volume spring line. Ruffles, feathers, leathers, studs, and Queen-of-Hearts worthy high collars converged to make this form-fitting, utterly badass collection shine. Talk about growing up too fast – and loving every minute of it.

Even more ostentatious – and we mean that in the best way possible – was Tony Eliason’s collection, the grittiest and most striking of the evening. Eliason’s dolls strutted the runway decked out in complex layers of lace, mesh, tulle and sparkles, with shiny blacks, reds, and deep purples heightening the drama. Inspired by the strange creatures Alice meets on her adventures, the unusual shapes, textures, and steampunk/glam rock elements of this line could very well be the reason the Cheshire Cat smiles so largely (we know, couldn’t resist).

The show finished with more spectacular menswear from Ninh. The slick, hooded jacket was on of our favorites of the evening, and we loved the splashes of red, white, and grey peeking out from shoulders and pockets. The perfect ending to a trip down the rabbit hole – and we didn’t even have to fear the offing of our heads.