Regular Readers remember we’re weren’t super sad to see the original Nye’s go off into the great barroom in the sky, although the Polonaise was undeniably a local icon. We also weren’t clamoring for a reboot to open on the same block below some new development. But being in the neighborhood Saturday night we had to check out the new spot, right? How can you not? And guess what, it’s totally fine. It’s maybe even better than the old spot, as crazy as that sounds. The smaller bar is nice, the booths still fit a fun amount of people, the service was actually nice, which is a weird fit for Nye’s. The crowd, mostly 40-50 somethings, were having a blast. The quality of singing was just as “good” as the old piano lounge. There wasn’t a long line to sing, either. Drinks were better than what we remember. We can’t believe we’re saying it, but go check it out if you’re looking for a sort of fancy bar for a cocktail.
We’ve heard a lot of “rock returns to Uptown” excitement with the opening of the new stage at the recently remodeled Mortimer’s in s’Uptown at Lyndale and Franklin, likely because of the many fond memories of the longstanding Uptown Bar and Cause Sound Bar, both now defunct. (Maybe even a little post-Triple Rock closing emotion in there, too?) Regardless, we had pretty high expectations off of what we’ve been hearing and they were pretty much all met.
The front is still a dive bar but with very serious pinball and foosball players and pitchers of beer. The backroom size puts you right up next to the stage, unless you walk up a few steps to the beautiful back pub-like bar that also overlooks the music. It’s a great set-up. And the sound was great, too. When we went, there were $3 beers during the show and free parking in the Wedge Lot after 9 PM. Our rec: Go see some shows now, go see some shows there often.
Steven Spielberg directs Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks in The Post, a thrilling drama about the unlikely partnership of Katharine Graham (Streep), the first female publisher of The Washington Post, and its driven editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks), as they race to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spanned three decades and four U.S. Presidents. The two must overcome their differences as they risk their careers—and their very freedom—to bring long-buried truths to light. The film opens at The Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul on January 12th.
While we normally wouldn’t get behind the glorification of newspapers’ heyday, but we actually laughed at Seth Meyers’ Globes monologue bit where they preemptively brought out an armful of awards for The Post. And we know a bunch of your readers would want to see this. So just reply that you’re interested in tickets and we’ll draw names for two free pairs!
Before everyone got excited about our “New North” branding and embrace of wintery-fun lifestyles—like us—a bunch of artists trekked out on to a lake and build a bunch of funky, artsy ice house-style shanties and the MN Art Shanty Projects were born! And the Shanties have big news for 2018: They’re moving from White Bear Lake to Lake Harriet (Bde Unma), much closer to home.
To help celebrate the new season of Art Shanties, the organizing organization will be throwing a party at SooVAC on Saturday to celebrate shanties past and introduce the new crop of artists and performers to everyone. Ahead of the bingo, snacks, sparkling waters, films of past years, and Eastern European dancing, we checked in with Lacey Prpić Hedtke, Artistic Director for Art Shanties about the move, the themes, becoming a member, and more.
Secrets of the City: Do you have any personal favorite shanties from years past? Or highlights in general you’ll be sharing? Ours are probably thinking every single year “Oh right, White Bear Lake is really quaint” and “Why aren’t there dance party shanties on every frozen lake?”
Lacey Prpić Hedtke: I love each shanty equally. With that being said, I really loved last year’s Shanty National Park, with their thousands of felt and cardboard species, the Arcade Shanty—a 90s air hockey arcade that awarded medals to champions, the Sci-Fi Book Club shanty—a crashed space pod, and Body Cartography’s Action Movie, which was a one-on-one performance that had me running across the ice with my eyes closed, in the safe care of of one of their dancers. In general each time I visit Art Shanty Projects’ On Ice Program, I’m reminded why I live in Minnesota in the winter (and year-round)—our artists come up with the most original, unique, out-there shanties and performances, and I hope everyone is left with the same feeling of joy I do after being on that ice.
Since our winters are warming up thanks to climate change—and it seems like early thaw makes the shanties move in-land before the end of the month—has been how many years until Art Shanties just start out on the shore? Maybe transforming into Art Cabanas?
Ahhh knock on ice! Don’t jinx it! At least not for this year. First off, I need to say that the Art Shanty Projects On-Ice Program WILL BE OPEN RAIN, SNOW, ICE, NO ICE, SUNSHINE OR IF FROGS FALL FROM THE SKY. Hopefully we won’t have to move onto shore this year, but we’ll still be open if we do. Art Shanty Projects has always been about reacting and adapting to the environment, and will continue on in this way, no matter what weather we’re presented with. We’re called Art Shanty Projects, not Ice Shanty Projects, so we’ll see what the future brings. We have no immediate plans to change from being an on-ice program, but we’ll continue to adapt.
People maybe don’t realize that there’s a really great performance component to the Art Shanties—it’s not just static artsy ice house installations. How can people best plan to mix in things like Snowga or hearing a set from the Prairie Fire Lady Choir into their visit?
Check the performance schedule on our website to plan your trip! (www.artshantyprojects.org). This year we’re expecting bigger crowds than ever, due to being in MPLS for the first time and the Super Bowl, so we have more performances to engage audiences outside of the shanties. Visitors can rewatch the Tonya and Nancy drama unfold, ’90s opera style, experience what might be the first human-sized hamster wheel on ice, and the Art Cars will be back with small remote-controlled art cars.
We recommend people sign up for a membership to Art Shanties, is that something they can do at the kickoff event?
Thank you for recommending that! Yes, there will be a spot to become a member at the SooVAC kickoff event. There are two members only evening on-ice events this year that are offered if you become a member at a certain level. And at any level, members can feel good about helping to pay artists a fair wage. Plus members get a cool sticker and can say they have a part in making one of the only art events on a frozen lake happen. If someone can’t make it to the kickoff event, or just can’t wait another second to become a member, you can become a member on our website: artshantyprojects.org/membership
This thing is way bigger than just icehouses on the lake. What are we forgetting here?
Metro Transit is sponsoring free rides to Art Shanty Projects the first weekend of our On Ice Program, January 20-21! Go to our website to print out a pass—you won’t regret it. Come dressed to be out on a frozen lake, and if you have them, put on Yaktrax or cleats. And if people want a real piece of the action, we’re looking for volunteers to help build the shanties on the ice during load-in weekend on Jan. 13, and for volunteers during the program. More info here: artshantyprojects.org/volunteer
The kickoff party for MN Art Shanty Projects is at SooVAC on Saturday at 7 PM and they hit the ice starting Jan 20th.
Minnesotans pride themselves on being a hardy bunch, and on February 24th, The Beer Dabbler is giving them another chance to prove it! The 9th Annual Winter Beer Dabbler returns to the Mighty Midway and Warner Coliseum on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds for an afternoon of sampling 150+ local, regional, and national craft breweries, live music, a meat & cheese showcase, and lots more.
Last year’s Winter Beer Dabbler sold out, drawing almost 10,000 people out of hibernation for a great celebration of craft beer and Minnesotan hardiness. Participating breweries included local favorites like Fulton, Surly, Bent Paddle, and Dangerous Man, regional darlings like Iowa’s Toppling Goliath and Wisconsin’s Central Waters, and national heavy-hitters like Ballast Point, Deschutes, and Lagunitas.
We know we’ve got a lot of craft independent beer fans among you Regular Readers, so just peek at the breweries list and let us know which beers you’re most interested in sampling for a chance to win a pair of tickets to the Winter Beer Dabbler! Also don’t sleep on those tickets, they will likely sell out again this year.