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Win Tix: John Hodgman + Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches

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Join Rain Taxi in welcoming John Hodgman back to the Twin Cities! He will be reading from and speaking about his new book, Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches (Viking), in which the fearless author wanders through the wildernesses of Western Massachusetts where he spent much of his youth, the beaches of Maine that want to kill him, and the haunted forest of middle age that connects them. Though wildly funny, this is also Hodgman’s most poignant and sincere book to date—don’t miss seeing him present Vacationland live in person! Thursday, November 2, 2017, 7:00 PM. Kagin Commons at Macalester College 1600 Grand Avenue, St. Paul.

This is a great event for the intersection of our readers who enjoy both books and brainy comedy! Just reply to this email for a chance to win tickets to see Hodgman next Thursday.

Quick Q+A: Monica LaPlante

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Regular Readers know we’ve been tremendous fans of Monica LaPlante‘s music and we’re very excited to finally be able to have some of it on vinyl. Ahead of her Noir LP release show with Catbath and Blaha—one of the last shows happening at the Triple Rock—we sent her a Quick Q+A to check back in on LaPlante on her rigorous schedule, recording, radio play, and any costume ideas (the show is of course going have costumes on stage and off).  

Secrets of the City: You’ve played sooooo many shows in the two years since we first interviewed you—so many!—was it hard to take a break from playing to record Noir or was it a sort of welcome vacation? Or was it just in-between all the shows?

Monica LaPlante: It was super easy to record because I was working with my manager Noah Hollander, who was part owner of The Pearl recording studio. We just recorded everything one song at a time with his brother Zach when there was open time at the studio. When Noah left The Pearl a year later, we had to find a new place to finish the album. It was really difficult and took a long time to find one we felt as comfortable in. We tested out a lot studios in the Midwest, but ended up finishing the record at Key Club in Benton Harbor, MI.

Are you surprised at the wider success of “Hope You’re Alone” as a single? It’s awesome to hear it on the radio.

It’s a relief to finally hear it on the radio!! I wrote Hope You’re Alone almost 4 years ago! We actually played it at our Jour release show at the Ritz theater in 2013. We’ve been Hail Mary passing it out to radio stations for a while, and the timing finally worked out. I always thought it was a good song, I mean the chorus is three words repeated over and over again, so it’s catchy enough! I finally feel reaffirmed in my songwriting with all the recent acknowledgment from local radio.

Will the show be the only spot people can grab the album? Will it make it out into record stores for wider consumption?

The vinyl will make it out to record shops as well! The Electric Fetus and Barely Brothers will for sure have copies. They’ll be coming with a poster, an insert with lyrics, and a digital download card.

How bittersweet is it that the party is one of the last remaining shows at the Triple Rock?

Noah and I booked the show without a faintest idea that this would happen. I just feel fortunate enough to have an opportunity to play the Triple Rock one last time. It’s a great chance to have one last wild night there, that’s for sure!

Do you feel a lot of pressure for your costume since you’re headlining? What if you dressed up as the Triple Rock? (Actually don’t do that, we’re going to do that.)

There’s always pressure in a group costume in general! We toyed with a number of ideas. Last year I was Robert Palmer and the rest of the band went as his supermodel lady band. It kind of went over most peoples’ heads, but pretty entertaining for us. This year we’ll be doing something a little more recognizable, but you’ll have to come out to see it!

Monica LaPlante releases the vinyl edition of Noir with Catbath and Blaha. Friday, October 27th, 9 PM. $8. Triple Rock Social Club. 

Win Tix: Wolf Parade + Charlie Bliss


The soaring choruses, rousing anthems, sprawling guitars and chaotic keys that make up Wolf Parade are on proud display over the course of Cry Cry Cry, the band’s thunderous first album in seven years. That unique combination of sounds and influences, spearheaded by electric co-frontmen Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner—a complex yet relatable, energetic brew of glam, prog, synth-rock, and satisfying discomfort—helped define 2000s indie rock with three critically celebrated albums, and propelled a growing Wolf Parade fandom even after the band went on a then-indefinite hiatus in 2010. Fresh off their appearance on Stephen Colbert, Wolf Parade are back at First Avenue for the first time in seven years for a big show with Charlie Bliss in the Main Room on Friday, October 27th. $25.

Wolf Parade throw a fantastic show and we know we have some of their fans among our readers. Just reply to our email that you’re interested in going for a chance at a pair of tickets! 

Kickstart Our Heart: Art Shanties

Art Shanties

There’s a lot of really good kickstarters that will make our thriving metro an even better collection of arts & culture scenes—plus you get goodies if the projects get funded. Here’s something to throw your hard-earned money on proposals like:

Regular Readers know that we love and celebrate the Art Shanties, an integral part of our Twincy winter arts and culture scene, and no you can do the same as a part of their new membership program. Check out their kickstarter, which helps raise money but also talks about some big changes—moving to Lake Harriet this winter!—and has some great rewards including their upcoming on-ice party.

Midweek News & Notes: Local Election Crunch Time

Since even our most well-read readers have a hard time keeping up with local politics because there’s very little good consistent coverage that’s also actually informative, we feel we should update you with some of the important stories being shared around the SotC virtual water cooler, so that you’ve got a little background before the elections.

News: Just a few weeks after the MPLS Police Officers Union successfully spread a smear against incumbent Mayor Hodges, the St. Paul Police Union released their own smear against leading candidate Melvin Carter. 

Notes: Sheesh. It’s like The Wire, but less interesting. In the case of MPLS, the former head of the Police Officer’s Union Lt. John Delmonico, who Hodges called untrustworthy and racist, dropped a last min lawsuit because he didn’t get a promotion and pushed the story to reporters. Setting aside the fact that Delmonico is ground zero for the MPD culture of police brutality and resistance to accountability, he was also one of the police helping with the infamous “pointergate” story. Of course he’s not going to get promoted by Hodges! The lawsuit, however, which was framed as the Mayor jerking around police, garnered exposure in the local papers and television news, and was even picked up by the Associated Press and run in national outlets. Of course it did! Thankfully accountability and reform for the police is such a hot topic that the it may have become a badge of honor for Hodges. Note: This isn’t an endorsement of Hodges, it’s an example of what to expect going into the next week of local election coverage with a big grain of salt as you suss out information. For example . . . 

In a similar fashion, MPR picked up the smear from the STPL PD Union that criticized leading candidate Melvin Carter for not being more secure with guns in his home. The Union went on to say that the weapons further gun violence on the street. Sounds like a weird attack, right? Actually the guns belonged to Carter’s father who was actually a member of the STPL PD and Carter participated fully in the investigation and, no surprise, the SPD PD support mayoral candidate Pat Harris who wants to beef policing in St. Easy. On the one hand, it’s ridiculous that these easy smears get traction with local reporters. On the other, again, it may have an opposite effect—knowing that the people supposed to “serve and protect” are “endorsing and smearing” strengthens calls for police reform. But that’s not it for info leading into the elections . . . 

News: Downtown MPLS Businesses have partnered up with the Right-Wing Minnesota Jobs Coalition to form a PAC that’s flooding the local election with mailers and ads that support many of the incumbent City Council Members who make up Council Member Barb Johnson’s majority. 

Notes: This is super insane. The MN Jobs Coalition, who spent money to help give the state-wide GOP control of the House and Senate, have joined up with The Downtown Council, who are fearful of ordinances like the $15 minimum wage, plus developer Steve Minn, to create a political fund called Minneapolis Works. The fund’s goal: to oppose the incredible push of reform candidate in MPLS, challengers that include political progressives and POCs. Definitely read the Wedge Live breakdown of the funding, it’s nuts. Maybe the craziest part of the whole thing is it that they’re supporting candidate Tim Bildsoe, who previously ran as a Republican but is now running to replace Jacob Frey in Ward 3 as a Democrat. Or, wait, is it crazier that Stan Hubbard, who owns KSTP, is one of the major contributors and has made tens of thousands of dollars to the PAC? 

Speaking of crazy, and even the media influence on the election, the frequently clueless Star Tribune Editorial board is, starting today, releasing out their endorsements. And unfortunately so far it’s all aligned with the Minneapolis Works picks, even choosing Bildsoe over the DFL-endorsed Steve Fletcher (who was the founding director of the vitally important NOC) and Green Party Candidate and Veteran Samantha Pree-Stinson.  

Our best advice for who to vote for right now—without just endorsing candidates ourselves—is to ignore all ads and mailers, and start asking all your friends and neighbors three simple questions: Who are you voting for (and their ranks!), why are you voting for them, and what is your most important issue for MPLS + STPL? You’re going to get much more useful information for your own votes on November 7th.