Ed. Note: Kate Iverson is just one person. She is one person, however, who is completely enamored with Minneapolis and St. Paul and all the people, places and things that make it a great place to live, work and in many cases party.
For those of you who don’t know Kate, she’s our arts editor for Secrets of the City (she writes those punchy event blurbs on the home page you see every day); she’s also the editor in chief for l’etoile magazine and the editor of the LOL/OMG social media gossip blog. And on top of that she’s an event producer, an art pusher and a social hummingbird.
We’ve asked Kate to do a new weekly feature recapping what happens in her crowded weekends about the twin towns. Expect plenty of unapologetic link-dropping, product placement, late night drinks and art scene antics. Hopefully you’ll glean a little bit of inspiration for your own adventures.
by Kate Iverson
Like William James once cleverly advised, “To change one’s life: Start immediately. Do it flamboyantly. No exceptions.”
This past weekend was what I’d call a “work weekend” due to the fact that I was involved in a big project or event on each day. This is not always the case, mind you, but often times it is.
Don’t get me wrong, I had a complete blast from top to bottom over the past few days, but my brittle, 34-year old bones are paying for it today. That said, this weekend was definitely worth the work. I have to admit that this was one of my favorite weekends of the year thus far. Top five at least. I’m including Thursday because, well, Thursday was awesome and it’s technically my Friday, so…
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2ND
Thursday evening found me at the LOL/OMG Meetup & Rock Show at the 501 Club. The event is a companion piece to LOL/OMG, the social media-based gossip blog I run with talented dames Marina Maric and Jahna Peloquin.
Before the show kicked off, I had a meeting with local rocker Mark Mallman to discuss the PR strategy for his annual New Year’s Eve blowout at the Varsity Theater. Mark’s not only someone who effortlessly oozes “rock star,” but he’s also wildly intelligent and has a pretty interesting history. For instance, did you know Mallman worked in television news production at a local network for 12 years? Now he writes film scores and does insane 78-hour music marathons. Go figure.
As the 501 started to fill up and our bands started to load in I got the feeling that this was going to be one of our best shows yet, and I was right. The lineup began with one-man-band guitar guru Hastings 3000. Hastings made a dramatic entrance from the top of the stairs, shredding on his wireless electric guitar while wearing a gas mask, finally making his way to the stage for a blistering rock set. I’m still wondering how so much sound can come out of one lone dude.
Next up was Paris 1919. Now, this was a very special new music debut indeed, as local legend and music scene mover n’ shaker Chris Strouth treated us to his first live show in eight years! Chris attached mini-mic sensors to his arm that matched the beat of the set to his PULSE. Yep, his pulse. And the rushing sound of his blood added an interesting white noise effect to the whole thing. Backed up by a ghostly vocalist, a bongo player, a bassist and an organ player, Strouth’s set was at once beautiful and weird as hell. I later described it on Facebook as: “Sonic Youth from the ‘Confusion is Sex’ era crossed with intergalactic drug den jamz crossed with tribal beats crossed with white noise crossed with something you’d use to hypnotize someone else into taking their clothes off with.”
Our headliners were the legendary All the Pretty Horses, helmed by dark god/goddess, Venus DeMars. The band played right up until 2am, with gothy girls wielding huge flashlights and go-go dancing on platforms in front of the stage while Venus, LeFreak and Jazz played a ferocious, mesmerizing set of both old and new tunes. Something about the on-stage chemistry between LeFreak and Venus is completely wicked; seeing them rock out together was definitely one of the highlights of my night. I have a crush on this entire band.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3RD
Running on a mere couple hours sleep due to some ill-advised Red Bull cocktails the night before, I woke up bright and early to prep for a l’etoile photo shoot at the MNFashion studio. After completing my morning routine of black tea guzzling, e-mail checking and proof reading, I shuttled myself out the door and over to the studio just in time for the 10am call time–with bagels and coffee for the crew in tow.
The concept of the shoot was rather simplistic: one model, white backdrop, and crazy beautiful knitwear by local designers Kevin Kramp and Annie Larson–two of our local treasures. l’etoile creative director, Beth Hammarlund, had also gotten a couple cute pieces by knitwear designers Isobel & Cleo overnighted from Scotland. Our crew consisted of amazing editorial photographer Nic Marshall, hair/makeup guru Suzy Martin of Denny Kemp Salon, l’etoile fashion editor/stylist Jahna Peloquin (also of LOL/OMG), production coordinator (and the one who best soothes me when I get bent out of shape) Natalie Gallagher, and photo assistant (and also rock star music photographer) Erik Hess. Our model, Ines Kovacevic, proved to be the perfect choice. Ines is not only incredibly expressive and dynamic as a model, but also has enough pizazz and personality to charm the pants off of anyone (probably literally). She was a dream to direct and Nic was amazing to work with as a photographer. I hadn’t run a shoot with him before, but I hope I get to do it again very, very soon. Our shoot wrapped around 5pm with about eight looks total. I can’t wait for l’etoile to release the spread online in a few weeks!
Here’s a blurry shot of Ines swaddled in a huge Kevin Kramp scarf that I snapped with my crappy phone camera during the photo shoot:
Considering I had a lot lined up for Saturday, I opted for a chill, post-shoot dinner and drinks, and headed home.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 4TH
Saturday was amazing. Yes, it was filled with lots of manual labor and yes, my feet still hurt, but what a grand time! l’etoile collaborated with the Weisman Art Museum on their closing gala, a final blowout to celebrate the iconic museum’s year-long hiatus and expansion project that kicks off this week. Since early this year, l’etoile had been brainstorming with Weisman marketing guru Christopher James on the concept of a “break all the rules” party at the museum right before the renovations were to start. It took a little convincing, but the higher-ups eventually gave us their blessing and WAMarchy was born. Once tickets went on sale, the event sold out almost immediately!
I arrived at the museum around 2pm and met up with my right hand gal, Natalie Gallagher, as well as Christopher and his staff, who had magically loaded in and set up most of the rentals on Friday, including the stage, sound and lighting equipment and a cool light-up bar that wrapped in a semi-circle between a couple of the galleries. Keeping with the industrial theme of the event, the museum’s rental partner hand-made an amazing installation of trash bag balloon sculptures that hung above the bar. Here’s a pic of him filling them with air on a lift:
The set up went off with only a few minor hiccups and by 8pm the doors were open and well-heeled attendees of all ages flooded in. The Art Creation Station sponsored by Friedman/Iverson and mplsart.com was one of the first things people stumbled across when walking into the museum. Long tables with scads of art supplies piled onto them invited people to create custom pieces to hang along the walls of the corridor. We even brought a stack of old l’etoile print issues for people to cut up and collage into their art. The pieces ranged from minimalist to insane; I’ve got them all and hope to scan them at some point and post them online.
We commissioned Cult Status Gallery owner Erin Sayer and her posse of graffiti artists to create a “WAMarchy” inspired mural and interactive art wall for attendees to add to in the main hall, which was completed Friday. The mural, sponsored by Art Space, was huge, colorful and stunning – a perfect representation of the vivid WAMarchy theme. At the last minute we got the okay from the building manager to add an additional wall for people to draw on during the event, which ended up being one of the most popular spots of the night.
Projection artist Clement Shimizu (who we helped load in about 1000 pounds of equipment earlier in the day!) put together an impressive video installation that overwhelmed one huge gallery. Manipulated footage of art installs that have happened at the museum and huge eyeballs surveying the crowd were just a couple of the visual tricks Shimizu had up his brilliant sleeves. As a backdrop to the eye candy, DJ Adam Mehl of Radio K’s “Out of Step” kept party goers riled up all night with a seriously rockin’ punk playlist.
In the far gallery, the God Damn Doo Wop Band kicked things off at 9:30pm with their rebelliously adorable, bop-worthy tunes, which had stylish attendees swing dancin’ their hearts out throughout the set. After a brief intermission, Epitaph Records punk rockers Off With Their Heads took the stage for a truly raucous performance that filled the room with happily pogo-ing party people.
Fueled by free Surly Beer, a red wine tasting from Big Top and Sorella (previously forbidden in the hallowed halls of the Weisman) and a taco bar, bahn mi sandwiches and a cash bar from D’Amico, the party kept rockin’ until the stroke of Midnight. With the help of many of our half-drunk friends, tear down went quickly and we were on our merry way by around 1am. I capped off the night with a few pals, celebratory beers, and some quality ’90s rap music.
All in all, an amazing weekend. Can next weekend top it? Perhaps not. But you never know what cards you’ll be dealt when it comes to the Twin Cities!