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Quick Q+A: Tom Hoch For Minneapolis

Tom Hoch

The already pretty exciting race to become MPLS mayor became even more exciting this week when former Hennepin Theater Trust CEO Tom Hoch officially added his name the list of high profile mayoral candidates that includes current Mayor Betsy Hodges, former MPLS NAACP President Nekima Levy-Pounds, and City Council Member and running enthusiast Jacob Frey.

We wanted to get a feel for Hoch’s campaign right out of the gate, so we sent him a Quick Q+A full of hot topics from our arts and culture coverage.

Secrets of the City: Your announcement says: “We need to get Minneapolis back on track.” What does that track look like? When did we start slowing down on it?

Tom Hoch: The track curves to the left and has “Tom Hoch” in big letters on it. It also comes with a great soundtrack of Steven Sondheim and Cole Porter. I think we started to slow down when I decided not to run for mayor four years ago.

You’ve got the endorsement of John Sweeney, owner of Brave New Workshop—how important is the local theater voting block? As important as the local long-distance runner voting block?

There’s an old saying, “as go the thespians, so goes the nation”. All the runners will be gone by November, so I think John locked this thing up for us.

It’s our opinion—and we’d guess the opinion of most, if not all, of our readers—that downtown MPLS, aside from a few bright spots, is a hassle, prohibitively so. From your years with Hennepin Theater Trust, who needs to do better there, the city government or business leaders?

City government definitely needs to do better right now. After I get elected in November, I expect businesses will need to step up their game, too.

Which sleeve to you wear your Skyway Avoidance Society patch on?

Eric Dayton never mailed mine, and I’m still pretty bitter about it.

The upcoming Super Bowl: How much should residents charge to Air B’n’B their homes for while they get the heck out of town?

I think they should gouge the out-of-town masses as much as possible. Maybe we can use the tax revenue to finally finish Nicollet Mall.

Midweek News & Notes: Great MN Get-Togethers

Since many of our readers don’t read anything except Gen X love letters to their peak years in the 90s, we feel we should share some of the important-to-you stories being shared around the SotC virtual water cooler, so that you’re properly briefed before your happy hour.

News: Minnesnowta’s GOP Representatives are setting up “rowdiness rules” or skipping altogether town hall meetings with constituents.

Also News: Minnesnowota’s GOP-controlled legislature continues to advance anti-protesting measures like making some forms of protest an automatic felony (with jail time) and calling for police reimbursements.

Notes: America is great! We can’t get enough of people shouting at reps who want to take away people’s healthcare and round up people into camps. Fired up out-state residents over-filling town halls couldn’t come at a better time than when the Legislature is trying to silence groups like Black Lives Matter with new laws that chill free speech.

On Our Radar: Weekend Invitational

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Out of all the correspondence we get, people asking for more lead time on cool events is our readers’ biggest request. (To stop confusing people with our Facebook presence is next.) So with that in mind, here’s a quick look at some stuff that’s currently on our radar for this weekend. We’re also going back to our big stack of happenings since folks weren’t crazy about the breakouts.


The MN Craft Brewer’s Guild brings together nearly 100 craft brewers to Target Field for Winterfest. Norseman is celebrating their anniversary with the gents from Nightchain providing the party. Narco States, Aloha From Hell, and Fret Rattles will fill up the little 331 Club with rock ‘n’ roll. Doomtree’s Ander Other and Lazerbeak brings some real bonus jams to honey.


It’s a cool night of experimental pop with Canada’s Black Atlass and Overwerk, and our own c.Kostra, in the 7th St Entry. Anxious and Angry and Stand Up! Records present Spare Parts “A night of music and comedy” with Off With Their Heads, Jesse Thorson of The Slow Death, and some good stand-up at the Triple Rock. Join the Twin Cities Black Film Festival at their Annual Fundraising event, a Black History Month Book Fair at Barnes & Noble at MOA. We have been practicing a lot to try and win the first ever Bauhaus Brewlabs Invitational at Can Can Wonderland. Element Boxing is hosting the Brawl in St. Paul, which is a great name. Public Functionary opens their first exhibition of their fifth season with paintings from Leslie Barlow. Phantom Tails are a band that brews, and they’ll be joined by Tony Peachka and Black Widows at Day Block Brewing.


The Smallest Museum in St. Paul and Workhorse Coffee Bar have an exhibition opening for artist Nathan Turner. This month’s Minnesota Dance and the Ecstasies of Influences (Part 11) at the Cowles Center is hosted by Rosy Simas, in conjunction with Oyate Okodakiciyapi–a series of Native contemporary dance events in the Twin Cities. The first She Needs drive to collect women’s products was a success and the second one is happening at Tin Whiskers’ tap room. RIP Ron the door guy from the fabled Uptown Bar, celebrate him at the Uptown VFW with a show featuring some of his favorite bands. See the Oscars at a super fancy party out at the West End hosted by the Twin Cities Film Fest. Destiny Roberts hosts her first Melanin Moon Mami event at the Southern for an album release party.

Burger Hunter: Gold Nugget Tavern & Grille

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Week after week, Mike S. impresses us with the depth and breadth of his burger knowledge. Burger joints should be painting a mural for him! Check out all The Burger Hunter’s meaty exploits at the #GreatAmericanBurgerHunter tag on Instagram.

There’s gold in them there hills! This hunt takes us on an adventure into the west metro where the yuccie’s drive with no regard for humanity. 10-and-2 yourself straight to the Gold Nugget Tavern & Grille. Now this place is burger Mecca. They even have an internal battle each week between their own burger specials. I went with The People’s Burger. It won 22 weeks straight and earned itself a spot on the menu. This beast is loaded with flavor. The grind is a mix of chuck and smoked short rib so the pedigree is choice af. The meat taste is rich. Fitting for the number of high buck vehicles in the parking lot. Ok let’s mine our way through this big winner. Bun is brioche, butter grilled and perfy. Light and nice. The burger is topped with a housemade American chive cheese that all about smothering your meat. We call it “Instagram ready” in the biz. It’s so yummy and really should be consumed more in life. Next up is the smoked poblanos and tomato jam. Sweet and smokey work together like a miner and his pan . . . Or a hipster and her fixie. You get the point. They complete each other. There’s a reason so many BBQ joints render this tasty outcome. The People’s Burger has even more going on. Imagine a calendar full of appointments where everything is syncing in harmony. iSuccess. Last up is the bacon mayo. It’s sneaky great. The mayo just slides into your DM’s and the bacon is creeper . . . This burger is high and mighty but worth the investment. The chew is terrific and def a sweeter ride. Don’t sleep on the cheese curds they might be better than the Minnesota State Fair. Big claim . . .  Big hunt!

Scorecard:   Flavor: 9.3   Presentation: 8   Originality: 10

Gold Nugget Tavern & Grille, 14401 Excelsior Blvd, Minnetonka; goldnuggettavernandgrille.com

Twincy Cheat Sheet: Pretty Close To The Target

It’s almost impossible to keep up with the arts and the culture and the entertainment and food and drink and the people and the places here in MPLS + STPL, so we’ve put together this list of stuff that we’re using as talking points this week and sharing them with you to pretend like they’re you’re own.

What: Saving Banksy

Would we buy the Parkway Theater if we had any money? Heck yes. And we’d show films like the documentary Saving Banksy, which will be shown there on Weds for only one screening. Better get those tickets ASAP. The film shows the adversarial relationship between street artists (who can go to jail for their work) and galleries that commodify their street art for hundreds of thousands of dollars that could instead go to buying a neighborhood theater. (Btw, we love this line in the trailer: “Here’s this beautiful, incredible animal, and you just kill it, just so you can own a part of it? That’s fuckin’ foul.”)

Who: Chris Thile and Prairie Home Companion

They’re back! Well, they will be anyway, for 26 shows next season. Was there any doubt? (This is a legit question, not sarcasm.) Looks like the big names out of the gate paid off, and to his credit Thile did a good job filling some pretty big shoes.

Where: The North?

The big talker this weekend was the GQ article that looked at “Minnesota’s cultural secession from the Midwest” as brought on by Eric Dayton & Co., and although a mostly aimless write-up, it nonetheless rekindled the “Stop trying to make ‘North’ happen” debate. We’ll use the opportunity to restate our political positions: The North is a cool concept, our Arts & Culture excellence definitely differentiates us from the Midwest, The Great Northern was a confusing waste of marketing money, and it’s going to only get better in the next few years, especially with the food.

When: Febraury 25th at The Grumpy Old Men Festival

Speaking of winter events, we’re big fans of summer road trips and since it’s basically a combo of winter and summer right now, we’re hoping to make a quick day trip down to Wabasha, MN for the celebration of Grumpy Old Men. It’s less about the film than it is a big community party with an ice fishing contest, cribbage tournament, always fun minnow races, and more on February 25th.

Why: MN United Target Uniforms

We’re going to steal @hanoisan’s “Bummer of a birthmark, HalThe Far Side joke. Look, we get corporate sponsorship. If Target wanted to give us money, we’d put bullseyes everywhere, especially in the middle of our logo’s shirt. But it looks silly—you know it, I know it, everybody knows it. And it’s too bad, too, especially since the kit was pretty classy as far as they go.