The Red Sea on Craigslist: A tug of war between venues and artists

Via Google Maps

Taking the Twin Cities music scene's temperature can be simple as heading over to Craigslist. Pull up a chair in the "Musicians" section of the "Community" postings and just listen for a while. Most folks are looking for a bandmate (Can You Sing AC/DC?.... Ladies?) or offering up their production or teaching services. Then there's the case of the 22-year-old West Bank bar/restaurant/venue the Red Sea.

A week ago, folks at the Sea put out a call via Craigslist to find some new bands -- "Punk, Indie, Metal, Rock" to play at the Red Sea, and then the community's collective teeth began to gnash. Anonymously, of course.

While there's hard to find a "right" answer within this back-and-forth of threads -- and it appears that many comments have already been deleted -- it does provide a lot of colorful viewpoints about the approach new bands can take to getting heard, and how venues should handle their business. (A big 'ole typographical [sic] through all of what follows.)

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The Kills' Alison Mosshart rocks Dillinger Four t-shirt at SXSW

Photo by Stacy Schwartz
Perusing the internets in a flash of free time during the SXSW festival, I noticed something that computed awkwardly. Who is that on Alison Mosshart's t-shirt?

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Witness to a demolition

Categories: Spotted

I went to my first building demolition Saturday morning, in the rail yard just behind the new Gophers stadium. It looked and sounded like this:

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Raging Bull

Categories: Spotted

Ever wanted to run with the bulls in Spain? Minnesotans at the State Fair had an opportunity to run with a bull this morning when the 1,600 lb. testosterone-fueled animal named Saber, became agitated and somehow managed to escape from his handlers.

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Black bunny habit

Categories: Spotted
Stenciled black bunnies have been popping up around Minneapolis for a little more than a year now. Last spring, we spotted their one-dimensional spray-painted bodies on public trash cans along Cedar Avenue and on the outside of electrical boxes on Washington Avenue. The little rabbits always are in mid-leap, and the stenciled images seem to disappear as quickly as they came, as if overflowing trash cans of gravel can't contain these little bunnies on the run. Until now, the rabbits have appeared alone and without any clues about their purpose. Recently, however, a flier featuring the sprinting bunny sprung up at Washington and Third Street with the claim that the rabbit "is the new black."

Public art of this kind is hardly new in Minneapolis: Shepard Fairey's Obey still stares back at drivers along Hiawatha almost 17 years after his birth as one of the original grafitti icons, and who can forget local tattoo artist Brian Kelly who created his own little army and whose face was plastered all over the Twin Cities?

The rabbits can't help but remind us of some of the work by Bristol stencil artist Banksy, who's famous for the rats he painted all over London. Still, Banksy's images always were subversive, forcing viewers to question their surroundings. His most moving graffiti art is of a pig-tailed little girl holding a handful of balloons to sail herself over a segregation wall in Palestine. The meaning of the rabbits around Minneapolis isn't quite so clear: They're either running from or toward something, and we haven't determined what that is. Or maybe it's neither, and the black bunny is simply nothing more than the new Blackberry.

What do you think the rabbit means? And what is your favorite piece of public art?

The writing's on the stall: issue 001

Categories: Spotted

This week: Fascists make great wings, and other gleanings from the women's bathroom at the Uptown.

"[A Minneapolis restaurant] is owned by racist, fascist haters. Oh, and they hate you. Also, they have great wings."
--Author Unknown, circa 2005, Minneapolis, Minnesota

"A dog returns to his vomit. So does a fool to his folly. Read the Bible, bitches."
--"Anonymous," adapted from King Solomon in Proverbs 26:4-5, bitches

Seen any great bathroom graffiti recently? Post the poetry and place you spotted it in the comments section.

Spotted: The synergy of local rock aristocracy

Categories: Spotted

Wednesday, 1:32 p.m., IDS Crystal Court: Dave Pirner, presumably a no-longer-part-time New Orleans resident and local hipster, with baby, stroller and Mama--gazing skyward in the atrium. After some failed attempts to get baby to also look up, there's some discussion about the fountain, and general resistance from baby to sit on a nearby bench. Then all three turn around, with Papa and baby heading out to Nicollet Mall, Mama and stroller heading toward some prime consumerism.

Wednesday, 2:28 p.m., IDS Crystal Court: Ruth Adams, full-time Nye's resident and leader of the World's Most Dangerous Polka Band, sitting on the exact previously ignored bench, muttering to herself and looking toward the heavens.

Doomtree made into dolls at Robot Love

Doomtree Dolls Sims.jpg
The Minneapolis hip-hop crew Doomtree has been transformed into stuffed dolls by Rachel Sell, a Bloomington elementary school teacher with little previous sewing experience who is currently displaying the toys at Robot Love (2648 Lyndale Avenue South, 612.871.9393612.871.9393,; click photo to enlarge, or check out this photo of the dolls in a club-like light). Sell says Doomtree commissioned and purchased the dolls (with each member owning his own figurine) after seeing her make similar ones for friends. Now she's launching a line of custom dolls called Play With Yourself ( "How it all started was, my friend Jenna was moving to New York," says Sell. "So I made myself, her boyfriend, and her old roommate into dolls so she could have us with her in New York. I know that sounds really cheesy, but the first week that she was there, she called me to say that it creepily was kind of consoling to have the dolls with her." Sell is busy sewing two more dolls for rockers, one for Andy Lund of the Swiss Army, one for James Lynch of newly arrived New York-Minneapolis rockers Beret. But voodoo dangers aside, isn't it a little weird and self-indulgent to have a doll made of yourself? "As far as I know, Andy's doll is just for him to play with."

Bumper Sticker

Categories: Spotted

Spotted on a vehicle crossing the Hennepin Avenue bridge this afternoon: "My other ride is your mother."