Scene Spree: A Weekend Recap from the Twin Cities Social Circuit 3/17-3/19

This weekend was quite a doozy. Between styling photo booths, going to epic dance parties, writing press releases in bars and more, I didn’t have much time for boring things like sleeping and relaxing. I’m still pretty backed up with work, so this week’s Scene Spree will be a little less intensive than it usually is. I’m sure you can survive reading 1000 words less, am I right?

Thursday I woke up bright and early, busted out some work, then met up with Adam Burchard (Permanent’s resident art/literature/film genius) at 9am to take in the press preview for Midnight Party at the Walker Art Center. The exhibit, which will run for three years, is a gorgeously curated display of work primarily pulled from the Walker’s permanent collection. Guest curator and WAC alum, Joan Rothfuss, has pieced together an unpretentious and engaging display of contemporary artifacts ranging vastly in medium, reference, and time frame. The exhibit’s title, Midnight Party, was inspired by artist/filmmaker Joseph Cornell’s 1936 short film of the same name, but easily lives up to its literal translation as well, in both scheme and story.

Angela Strassheim, "Evidence No. 6"

I was pleased to see a huge, recently acquired piece by local luminary Frank Gaard, created in the early 1970s — Gaard’s manic color palette and signature style still a recognizable constant, even four decades past. A couple of other locally-cured artists also made the exhibit: photographers David Goldes and Angela Strassheim.

The finale (or the intro, depending on which side of the building you walk into the exhibit) came in the form of smaller, sculptural items and cleverly placed projections; unusual works of various medium arranged in a setting which conjured the look and feel of a mini-Natural History Museum. Unexpected and fun!

I’m also in love with the below work by Robert Mallary. It’s a little bit whimsical and a lot disturbing. I could definitely live with this piece. Maybe I should just move into the Walker? I could be a living art installation and sit underneath it and work on my laptop all day.

Robert Mallary

After busting on (and not finishing) my deadlines all day after the Walker, I dropped what I was doing and headed over to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to set up the l’etoile photo booth. We partnered with the MIA on this month’s Third Thursday event, which had a Greek theme, and part of it included a l’etoile-styled god/goddess photo booth. All the l’etoile staffers I asked to help pussed out on me, but luckily multi-faceted theatrical makeup guru, Sabra Jewell Love, more than picked up the slack by not only bringing her full makeup kit, but also a couple suitcases worth of extra props AND three sassy teenage girls, Shai, Chasci and Journey, who acted as styling apprentices for the evening. People loved the photo booth and the traffic was non-stop. Even Scott Seekins let me gussy him up a little for a few pics. Success! Check out more pics here.

Seekins contemplates life

MIA staffers Alex Bortolot and Katie Murphy ham it up with me in the photo booth

Friday was a bit zany, but awesomely so. As soon as I logged into Facebook I had a slew of messages and posts already on my wall congratulating me on my 40 Under Forty award from the MSP Business Journal. For some reason I thought they weren’t releasing the list until this week, but I was mistaken, albiet pleasantly surprised. Everyone and their mother was calling, facebooking, tweeting, e-mailing and texting me for the majority of the day, and despite my feel-good haze and the barrage of congrats, I managed to get my work done–by the skin of my teeth of course (what’s new, really?).

I meandered over to XYandZ Gallery in the mid-afternoon to laptop it up for a spell and help Mike and Joe get the gallery ready for the Sean Connaughty closing. I mostly just swept the floor and talked on my phone, but still. The boys gave me a congratulatory 40 ounce of Old E in honor of my 40 Under Forty nod. Clever and tasteful, as always!

Later on in the evening I met up with a slew of my favorites, including Chris Strouth, Mo Murphy, Christian Erickson, Janey Winterbauer, Jon & Trixi Hunt, Todd O’Dowd, Mark Fox, Mark Iwanin, The Westbrooks, Tim Ritter, and birthday girl, Angie Heitz, for celebratory b-day drinks and banter at Bradstreet Crafthouse. I’m way too much of a cheapskate to buy a $14 drink, but I appreciate the artistry that goes into crafting such elaborate cocktails. When I get rich and famous, I’m going to try every specialty drink at Bradstreet…possibly all in one sitting because I’m classy.

B-day babe Angie Heitz (right) and her sister Missy vamp around downtown / photo by Christian Erickson

Our next stop was First Avenue for the Transmission 10-year Anniversary party. Now, I’m not much for crowded, loud dance parties, but for Jake Rudh I made an exception–I had to pay homage, after all!  Jake’s been running his uber-popular weekly dance night at Club Jager (and other small venues) for ten years now–a true testament to his staying power, charm, and impeccable musical taste. Every tune he played on Friday was an anthem, and every dancer and spectator in his or her own little nostalgic world. A lot of our lucky friends may have been off whooping it up at SXSW this week, but I couldn’t help but feel a bit sorry for them for having to miss Jake’s extravaganza in the Mainroom–which was pretty much packed wall to wall with majorly good vibes (and people).

photo by Christian Erickson

I capped off the night with the Permanent Art & Design crew over at weird Nicollet nightclub/restaurant/bar, Gangchen, where we drank beer and brainstormed and laughed about ball pits for longer than would be considered normal.

Saturday morning I romped around town a bit, went treasure hunting at the Salvation Army, bought Michael something weird for his stockpile of oddities, had an interesting meeting or two, drank a coconut water, ate a bagel, and eventually popped back to Northeast. Pure excitement.

I picked up Michael Thomsen and we went to our fave dive, Dusty’s Bar, to work on a press release for the Rogue Buddha’s Art-A-Whirl event, which just so happens to be a solo show of Michael’s work–a retrospective in fact! I’ve seen his new works progress over the past month (the show will include about 10 new pieces) and they are magnificent, of course. I love Michael’s work, but I’m also enamored with the process and the way his mind works. His art is very true to his history and personality. It makes me feel all screamy/dreamy. I shot a mini-photo essay about Michael’s home studio last week. You can see it here, but below are a couple of my favorite pics:

detail on a new piece!

Around 7pm, I met up with my bestie, Emma Berg, for dinner. We haven’t been hanging out much because I’ve been so busy with projects and Emma’s been sewing her heart out to complete her collection for Spring Fashion Week in April. Emma is doing a dual show with Kevin Kramp on April 14th and I’m beyond excited. The cities’ two most innovative designers together in one show, how cool is that?

A sneak peek at a couple pieces from Emma's new collection--15 hours of hand-sequining on the top!

Emma and I tried to go to Ginger Hop but there was a 30 minute wait so we meandered down to the Butcher Block, which I was shocked to discover was still in business. The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it spot hasn’t really made a blip on the radar of local foodies and its tucked away storefront is easy to forget. I’ve been there a few times and have always left kind of irritated. They are A. overpriced, B. always out of something or another, and C. have weird/not well-communicated restrictions that aren’t spelled out (like despite the fact the lamb burger is on the menu, you can’t order it until after 9pm–or so says the fine print and the waitress). Emma and I ordered a handful of starters and sides to share, and though nothing was terrible, nothing was exciting either. Overall: Meh. We should have totally waited the 30 minutes for a table at Ginger Hop.

Emma and our meh-eal.

After parting ways with Emma, I headed over to my friend Rik Horton’s bachelor pad in Bryn Mawr. Rik owns Encompass Arts and does a lot of interior work and small build projects, so his own house is artsy, modern and definitely tasteful–especially for a straight dude who has his kids part time. Jazz songbird Nichola Miller was hanging out too and we shared a bottle of vodka (scored from the creative cats at Seasaw) which was beautifully infused with dates and vanilla bean. On the rocks, all the way.

Eventually I made my way home and fell asleep, as usual, with my laptop on my lap and a to-do list a mile long. But hey, that’s why we have Sundays, right?

Rik shows off his kid's art. I want it.