Quick Q+A: Darin Corbin + F1rst Wrestling LIVE!


Regular Readers know that we’re huge fans of the wrasslin’ action put on by F1rst Wrestling and this Thursday (TONIGHT!) the hometown promotion make their debut at the Uptown VFW a month before the giant Wrestlepalooza event. F1rst Wrestling: LIVE! is a perfect introduction to see local pro wrestling the way it’s always meant to be—up close and with a bunch of people cheering over their beers. The “Golden Circle” seating is already sold out, but there are a few GA tickets still remaining that we very strongly recommend grabbing.

Ahead of the Lyn Lake invasion, we quick checked in with one of the least popular personalities—and thereby most popular personalities—The Ginger Snap Darin Corbin about his evolving alliances, attack plans, and surprise appearances.

Secrets of the City: Don’t you miss the good times you had in The North Star Express with Ryan Cruz? Do you think you can ever share the same corner again?

The Ginger Snap Darin Corbin: If those were good times, I’ve been having awesome and amazing times since the split. And no, I don’t plan on reforming the NSE ever again.

What’s the strategy going into the ring for a Monster’s Ball Match against notable indie wrestler Abyss? Do you think the hometown crowd will be on your side for this one?

I don’t think the hometown crowd will be a factor; considering how much they all of sudden hate me. Bunch of ungrateful jerks. As far as Abyss goes, he’s a monster who doesn’t think before he acts. I’m already 10 steps ahead. So I’m not worried about Abyss being able to outsmart or catch me!

Assuming you win against Abyss, what kind of momentum does that give you going into the big time Wrestlepalooza at First Avenue in January?

Correction: When I win. And I’ve been riding momentum since the split. Things have been great and I make things happen. So January will be no different.

A bunch of txts were flying back and forth during the WWE TLC match at the Target Center when some of us noticed that the EMT who helped Kurt Angle looked just like our favorite local heel! How did that come about? Was it just crazy to be involved in a production like that?

After receiving my University of Phoenix Medical Degree after doing online night classes, it was only a matter of time before the job market came calling . . . and just happened to be WWE.
Good thing I was there for the gold medalist. And yes it was quite the production and a great event to be a part of. I look forward to working together more in the future . . . so keep watching when
they come around the Midwest.

F1rst Wrestling: LIVE! goes down Thursday, December 7th at 8 PM. GA tickets available, $12.

F1rst Wrestling Live! Wildcat


Regular Readers know that we’re huge fans of the wrasslin’ action put on by F1rst Wrestling and this Thursday the hometown promotion make their debut at the Uptown VFW a month before the giant Wrestlepalooza event. F1rst Wrestling: LIVE! is a perfect introduction to see local pro wrestling the way it’s always meant to be—up close and with a bunch of people cheering over their beers. The “Golden Circle” seating is already sold out, but there are a few GA tickets still remaining that we very strongly recommend grabbing.

Ahead of the Lyn Lake invasion, we quick checked in with one of the most popular personalities, Wildcat the Feline Super Hero, on his signature moves, territory, and more, ahead of the face-smashing fun. 

Secrets of the City: One of the best parts of any F1rst show is the Meow! Meow! Meow! chant you get going. How did that come about and did you think it would be such a hit?

Wildcat: Meowing is a cat’s way of communicating with humans. It seemed quite natural to greet the crowd with a round of MEOW! MEOW! MEOW! and I was happily surprised when they learned my language and joined in.

You’re not only a wrestler, you’re also a crime fighter. Does your watch include both MPLS + STPL or do you just stick to one city? Or do you even bust up bad guys in the burbs, too?

A vigilante crime fighter knows no boundaries. No villain can out range Wildcat and escape the claws of justice. So no matter your location if your actions are treacherous keep your eyes towards the shadows because that is where Wildcat prowls.

Have you had any luck figuring out what to do when your kryptonite—a ball of yarn!—makes its way into the ring?

I know exactly what to do in that situation: Get that yarn between my claws and scratch it to shreds! Meow for now.

F1rst Wrestling: LIVE! goes down Thursday, December 7th at 8 PM. GA tickets available, $12.

Quick Q+A: Charlie Crompton + The British Arrow Awards

British Arrows

As true a Twincy holiday tradition as anything, today marks the month-long run of The British Arrow Awards at The Walker Art Center. The highly entertaining ad spots—some selling products, some doing social messages, all truly well done—will likely be some of the most creative pieces anyone sees all year. Yes, it’s true—and that’s why a bunch of the early screenings are already sold out. 

Since many of our Regular Readers have been to The British Arrow Awards before, and will go again, we sent a Quick Q+A to  chairman of the British Arrows Board of Directors Charlie Crompton to get a little deeper look at ads vs. art, what makes the awards have to work with, Brexit, and why we love British humor so much.

Secrets of the City: Are British advertisements more popular with the Americans than the Brits? Will British audiences, say, buy every single ticket to a month of screenings like Twincy goer-outers will for The Walker?

Charlie Crompton: The British Arrows Awards celebrates excellence in advertising. But the Brits of course, being well, British, hate being sold to, so you have to make short films that trick people into watching, even though they’re free. No one would admit to actually liking them though, that would like admitting that you liked Ed Sheeran or something, which is unthinkable—although not as unthinkable as liking James Blunt, obviously. There are mini comedies, mini tragedies and mini adverts for Mini Coopers, ads with epic stories, and ads with enormous stars. You lot love it unreservedly—and so do we really but we’d never say that out loud. It takes a lot of skill to craft ads that the whole country loves and takes to their hearts—and then of course, tells everyone that they could have done it better themselves.

There’s been a mix of clever, funny, technically impressive spots, but also some darker commercials—from a year or two ago, the plea to keep the women’s shelter open where the young homeless woman is invited home by two guys and then threateningly chased still haunts me. Do the Arrows aim for a certain mix or are you at the mercy of what came out that year?

We’re absolutely at the mercy of what’s come out that year—and that’s a great thing. The selection of ads that you’ll see at the show are the winners—the best ads of the year—and as such are a perfect time-capsule or snapshot of what our country is like in 2017. This is our 41st year—the Walker’s 31st year of taking the show . . . If you looked at any year, you’d get a better idea of the mood of the country, than watching a news reel. This year, we’ve been reeling from the uncertainty of Brexit, a government just hanging on by their fingertips and the Syrian refugee crisis . . . Great Britain hasn’t been feeling so great—so we do what the Brits do best: We celebrate what we are good at—We laugh at ourselves, we laugh at James Blunt, we make beautifully poignant PSA’s, we blew the doors off The Paralympics, we get out there and celebrate being fit—whatever shape or age we’re in; at this time of the year, we remind ourselves why it’s important to come home for Christmas . . . These are the things that make us feel safe in this world—and if we can make others less fortunate feel that we’re looking out for them too—it shows that these ads, in their own way can actually make a difference to people’s lives.

How much does an agency gain from winning an Arrow award? Is it something that goes front and center on their websites and sales pitches?

Definitely, they have a huge legacy in British advertising. The British Arrows is the most significant of the British awards to win . . . And after 40 years they’re not easy to win either . . . If you get a bronze—or a silver, it’s a major accomplishment . . . A gold is something that gets nailed straight away on your wall – even if your other half doesn’t think it looks as great in prime position above the fireplace, as you do. There are around 1000 entries every year which our juries, made up of the most talented advertisers, ad agency creatives, production companies and film crafts spend days locked in a dark room to choose the best from. And that’s what’s being shown here at the Walker.

To put you on the spot, what’s your all-time favorite British commercial?

I love this ad from 2000 for Marmite. Every time I watch it, it makes me laugh out loud. Marmite is so British . . . If you weren’t born there, you can’t understand how on earth we could thrive on something that is so disgusting. Our whole civilization is built on the stuff. They only do one ad a year, so each one has to punch way above its weight and this says so much about British advertising . . . The ad agency, Adam&EveDDB have never dropped a ball yet with this brand and their ads could only be made for British audiences. Half of the population love Marmite, the other half hate it, so they celebrate that. It’s even spawned its own parlance back home: If someone is regarded as a ‘Marmite character’, it means that you’ll either love them or hate them—there’s no middle ground. I’m thinking of getting Donald Trump a pot—that might sort him out.

What do you as Arrows Chairman think it says about contemporary art that some of the most daring and creative things an art-going audience will see all year are commercials peddling products?

Well, in Britain at least, ads are so much part of the zeitgeist, that I think they can be the most contemporary of contemporary art. So much craft goes into making these ads as good as they are . . . When you look at Waitrose’s – ‘Robin’ or ‘Buster the Boxer’ for John Lewis, the work that’s gone into bringing these to the screen is extraordinary, not only in the conception and shooting but in the weeks of seamless post production. And ‘Superhumans’, which was voted the best ad of the year, took a superhuman effort from so many people at the top of their game to bring to the screen, not least the actors themselves. The irony of course of showing them in Minneapolis, is that you can’t buy most of the products being sold here even if you wanted to—so you can just enjoy them for what they are—brilliantly produced bite-sized contemporary moving art. And if you don’t like one, as one of the audience said to me last year, “another one will be along in a minute” and there’s something here for everyone. Including that aunt who came to stay with you for Christmas, two weeks early, and looks like she might never leave. Better get the Marmite in then.

The British Arrow Awards run December 1st-30th at the Walker Art Center’s Cinema and McGuire Theater, various showtimes. $14 general, $11.20 Walker members.

Rating: St. Paul Spyhouse

st paul spyhouse

We thoroughly enjoy our coffee shop scene here in MPLS + STPL and a new Spyhouse is always cause célèbre. We recently spent some time at the newest Spyhouse (they’re popping up faster than poorly installed bike lanes!) on Snelling in St. Easy, and here’s our rating:

Interior: Three out of Five Spyhouses
If you were to draw a spectrum of an archetypal Spyhouse on one side and a generic hip St. Small coffee shop on the other, the new Snelling location would land perfectly in the middle. It’s much closer to, say, Botany Coffee than, say, Groundswell, but it’s definitely got the Spyhouse plants and accoutrements. Plus the pastry case when you walk in is beautiful. It’s also pretty small inside, which means . . . 

Patrons: Two out of Five Spyhouses
The crowd at the new spot is much more Highland and Mac Groveland Gen X and Yers crowded in the entryway nervously wondering if they’re going to have somewhere to sit when their drinks were done. We were going to give this an surprising one out of five, but there was someone in front of us with ripped tights and Doc Marten (reissues) that got an Americano to go, so it’s up to a two.

Coffee and Service: Three out of Five Spyhouses
Like the other locations, the St. Squeazy Spyhouse has really great coffee for a reasonable price (not cheap, but on fits in with the rest of the scene) in a reasonable amount of time, which is worth the very little bit of wait. We do have to note that we shazamed a few of the songs being played because they were so bad—something pretty shocking for a Spyhouse location, especially considering its worth going to the Nicollet location sometimes just for the music. 

Updated Overall Spyhouse Rankings by Most Spyhouse to Least Spyhouse: Nicollet, Hennepin, Broadway, Washington, STPL.

Twincy Cheat Sheet: Regulars, New & Old

kamasi washington

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.

Where: Summit Brewing

The criminally underrated grand dad of local beer, Summit Brewing, last week announced its brewing calendar and there’s a lot to like. They’ll be debuting Summit Dakota Soul, a classical Czech-style Pils featuring North Dakota barley, plus three brand-new “hop-forward” beers—Wee IPA, Imperial IPA, and Experimental Hop IPA, but we’ll have to wait until January 2018 to get them.

What: The Current’s Hüsker Dü history podcast

Speaking of Summit, they’re the underwriters of Do You Remember? A Podcast About Hüsker Dü, which is a must-listen for any local music fans. Along with the fun anecdotes and name checks for Current DJs every 2-3 minutes, there’s a lot of fantastic hometown music settings of past and present, and you’ll really dig the Du-des, esp Greg Norton who is truly one of the coolest guys to ever be in MPLS + STPL music.

Who: Kamasi Washington

First Ave felt positively cozy last Thursday at Kamasi Washington’s performance. Kamasi—who we have been listening to since he was in town—exuded comfort on stage, rattling off anecdotes about band members and inspirations for the songs between pieces and frequently applauding his fellow performers (including two drummers). The knit cap-clad crowd was smitten. Kamasi said he’ll be back soon and we’re hoping he becomes one of the artists who considers Twincy a regular destination.

When: Rock the Garden date announced

It’s June 16, 2018. Mark your calendars if you’re into it.

Why: Como Dockside is closing

Some surprising news out of St. Easy over the weekend—Como Dockside, the lakeside spot operated by Jon Oulman (of the 331 Club, Sheridan Room, Amsterdam) will close permanently on November 22nd. It’s both a great space thanks to the location and a tough space since it’s got the smaller room on the ground and all that seating upstairs. We hope something fills it back up before Spring.