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Even though MPLS + STPL has established scenes for comedy, storytelling, and spoken word, the different showcases frequently bounce around between a few regular venues or piggyback on other events. That’s all about to change in a big way with the launch of Strike Theater, a brand new venue in Northeast MPLS kickstarted by Allison Broeren, Joe Bozic, and Mike Fotis that caters to and combines the three styles of material and performance into one cool space.
Ahead of this weekend’s grand launch and gala rewards parties at Strike, we checked in with co-founder and Director Of Fill In The Blank Awesomeness Fotis about their incredible fundraising, the weekend’s shows, their rogues gallery of initial performers, and more.
Secrets of the City: Is the Strike Theater kickstarter—which was actually met, and even surpassed!—the most successful kickstarter of all time? What are your fundraising secrets. (Please tell us!)
Mike Fotis: It definitely the most successful kickstarter of all time…that I’ve been a part of.
Seriously though, it was successful because we’re trying to create a space for original comedic work, storytelling and spoken word. That type of space doesn’t exist and it seemed like people were excited to help make that vision come true.
How many “Mike’s sexy eating” kickstarter rewards do you need to fulfill?
About 10. I’ve recorded them a few times. One time I lost the hard drive they were on and the other time the files simply crashed. I got to get back on it. But there’s a chance my eating has gotten TOO sexy for technology to handle.
The new theater is located in the Thorp Building, also home to Tattersall Distilling. Aren’t you very, very worried that the proximity will either inhibit productivity or make you all very very creative?
So far, in my experience, it has made me VERY VERY CREATIVE.
How do you see the intersection of sketch comedians, storytellers, and poets here in MPLS + STPL, especially performance space-wise?
I think it will be really interesting and rewarding because not only is a physical space necessary to create new and fun work, but it will allow for relationships and collaborations to form that otherwise might not have. Basically when creative people are allowed to be around other creative people, really good things tend to happen.
We’re excited to finally have a theater space that can do whatever the hell it wants because it’s politically untouchable—what other favors will Strike Theater leverage out of Javier Morillo besides his opening weekend set?
Hahaha. I don’t know about that, but I do know that Javier is an amazing storyteller and partnering with the SEIU is exciting because the members of the union will have a place to tell their stories and create their work and we think that’s really important. Also, this type of partnership is unique and a sign of how arts orgs can find ways to exist and succeed in a very expensive world.
Will Strike Theater become the Sixth Humor of Four Humors’ troupe?
No, but we sure do love them and look forward to working with them a lot.
There’s a bunch of other great performers lined up for opening weekend and the vibe is going to be crazy. What are you most looking forward to? What should attendees most look forward to?
I’m most looking forward to standing in the back of the theater with Allison and Joe during the show and taking a moment to enjoy seeing something that has taken a long time to come together finally come to life. Attendees should look forward to a really fun night filled with a lineup that is weird and hilarious and amazing. It’s groups paired with groups that normally wouldn’t be paired together and I think that’s really beautiful.
Even if you didn’t back their kickstarter, tickets for the Friday and Saturday night opening night(s) festivities for brand spanking new Strike Theater are still available to you.
You can also check out our Quick Q+As with other busy bees helping to build up Twincy’s arts and culture scene here.
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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.
Who: The heart of the MPLS Democratic Party
Quotes from long-time DFLers in a sort of profile on Jacob Frey and the MPLS mayor’s race by Mpls.St.Paul mag made some waves at the end of last week. The lines, especially Sylvia Kaplan’s “These activists, they’re new, they’re untrustworthy”, show a deep divide between up-and-coming young activists trying to move local politics (which means moving the DFL, who run the show in Twincy) and the established guard who fund everything and have supported long-standing officials. Regardless, will Frey be the next Mayor? We guess doubtful. Since there’s instant runoff voting, we haven’t talked to anyone who has him as a second choice, which really matters.
When: This Saturday at Burgers & Rosé
The Bartmann Group is re-imagining Cafe Maude with Chef Asher Miller and you can check out the spot at their sneak peek this Saturday night. The $32 ticket includes the food and a rosé and red wine tasting, and there’s a cash bar if you want to keep drinking.
Where: Surly’s new pizza place
Speaking of food changes. Did you hear that Surly’s super famous Chef’s Table with Jorge Guzman is closing? Did you hear it’s now going to a Neapolitan pizza spot? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
What: New Coffee shops
Lots of comings and goings in the red hot world of Twincy coffee. We haven’t yet been to Northern Coffee Works (from the folks behind Angry Catfish), we’re planning on a stop soon to Cafe Astoria on Grand by West 7th, we liked the tunes at Wesley Andrews (by MCAD), and we loved the new Botany spot on 38th St that’s down the road from where the new Sisters Sludge will open and Keen Eye will close (as of today). It’s take a few cups of coffee just to get to all these places.
Why: The Bike Lanes vs. Construction debate
If anyone knows the person who said “Hey, we’ve got construction on 26th St and 28th St, let’s fully closed the parallel Franklin a few blocks away”, please let us know so we can dump a (cheap) beer on them. And guess what? You can also support bike lanes and biking while saying the construction is out of control because it is. We recommend that you still go out to stuff, just give yourself an extra 20 minutes if you want to go anywhere.
August: ’tis the season where Oktoberfests and summer shandies can hold hands in happy harmony. Both were poured in plenty at the Summer Beer Dabbler, which returned to CHS Field for its ninth year (who’s already excited for year ten, yeah?). Party guests include 135 breweries and DJ Tiiiiiiiiiip, Graveyard Club and Dwynell Roland provided the soundtrack. We sent our beer festival trend correspondent Isabelle Wattenberg so imbibe in the fun and here’s what she (mostly) remembered:
Rainy day dabblers came out poncho-ed, baseball capped and full of energy. We even saw some bare legs; it is the summer Dabbler, so we’ll be damned if we don’t drink in shorts.
Everyone was in a really good mood—attendees and brewers alike. Good vibes all around. Had a bourbon barrel-aged cherry lager that was positively mwa. Seriously smooth imperial stouts too. And Against the Grain from Kentucky, my homeland (well, one of them anyway), had a booth there: v. pleasant surprise.
Pretzel necklaces are getting out of control: string cheese, apple jacks cereal, Ziploc bags of homemade trail mix. Also spotted: one festival-er carrying around a Costco-sized jar of pretzels.
People will clap when you break your sample glass. There’s a reason sample glass coozies are now (smartly) a thing.
The foam ranneth over at several tents: We found ourselves slurping through a frothy sample numerous times. Mayhaps the staff were just in a hurry to get as many pours as possible out before the skies started to open (which they never really did).
One notable newcomer to the brewery booth lineup: spiked sparkling waters. Fizzy, sweet, and alarmingly subtle alcoholic notes.