So Cool, So.....Gastrodiner?!? Town Talk Diner

So Town Talk Diner just celebrated their 1 year anniversary, and I wanted to send a shout out, especially to Nick and Aaron, cuz they rule and they show love to their patrons.

gerg and I popped in during the great winter storm last weekend to grab some grub at the front counter. I had a tempeh sammich and soup. gerg had the fried egg sammich. I drank a lovely NA concoction that was creamy and citrus-y, but I was too focused on my creamy winter root soup to ask what was in the drink. Silly Reetsy!! (to the adorable bartender with the great hair who made my drink - thank you!)

Check out Dara's shout out to Town Talk in Bon Appetit. And read Alexis McKinnis' recap of a day in the life of mixologist Aaron Johnson.

There's the upcoming GQ feature and the new restaurant to anticipate, so I'll be mentioning these folks again. Believe dat.

Happy anniversary Town Talk!!

U B DA JUDGE: Green Sneakers: Making a Run for Ireland

I need new sneakers.

I want to buy green sneakers so that I can coldcock the shamrock when we go to Ireland this spring.

Help me decide? I like joggers, generally speaking...especially throwback-looking joggers. Classic Reeboks and Saucony sneakers are prolly my favorites.

Here are some that I've liked so far....

OPTION Anthill

OPTION Batmobile

OPTION ChattyKathy

OPTION DintyMoore

OPTION Esophogus

Reetsy's Rogues: The Original Mark Edwards

A satifactory definition of rogue: "Operating outside normal controls."

photo swiped from Princess Records.

I'd say The Original Mark Edwards is an envelope pusher - a rogue.

And when Conan O'Brien says he will "bow" to OME (or anyone else for that matter), that means something, cuz Conan is tall, so his bow is big!

Edwards, the former Domo Sound frontman now spends a fair share of time in his basement in a 6x12 room where he makes some truly amazing music, inspired by the Beatles and Lou Reed, among others. You might have read about him in CityPages. You might have heard him on the local show earlier this month. In addition to his jobby-job, husbanditude, and fatherdom, Edwards makes interesting beat box loops and serves them up on a pop-style plate with harmony and guitar on the side...not traditional, but still tasty!

So first of all, take a listen to OME. You can hear "The Doom Loop" from The Doom Loop album on his website. You can hear even more on his MySpace page.

I have no intention of covering the same ground that Chuck Terhark adequately covered in his In the Mood for Doom piece for CityPages. He covers Edwards' history with the Domo Sound and his progression to his current solo act...something Edwards truly enjoys.

Terhark might have left you with the impression that Edwards is anti-social...or that he has an aversion to crowds. I think it was a joke, but in case you didn't get that, it was not the case, in my experience. I checked out OME's cd release show at the Varsity Theater on February 17 (other acts included Jeremy Messersmith and Ghost in the Water). Edwards' performance featured the rhythm section of duluth's Cloud Cult. It was no doubt OME's show, but I did have a fondness for the cheesemaking Cloud Cult drummer, Dan Greenwood (of course, I'm biased; anyone who know me knows about my fondness for beat makers). Tinderbox folks provided support, merch, and smiles.

Edwards played several tunes with the band including "Cool as Color" with the utilization of "the big drum". OME wrapped up with what was my favorite part of the show...solo performances, one of "Sleepy Memories" (my FAVORITE OME song).
Before and after his performace, Edwards chatted with fans and friends - not at all the hermit one might suppose of a solo act musician who works in his basement. Pleasant, kind, goofy...these are words I would use to describe Edwards.

Before I saw him perform at the Varsity, gerg introduced me to Edwards. After I saw him perform at the Varsity, I ran some questions by Edwards. I wanted to know more about "looping" and more about what lubes his brain. His responses were articulate and revealing.

Me: When/how did you discover looping?
OME: I think I first recognized the potential of looping early in my life when I was listening to 'Tomorrow Never Knows' by the Beatles (which we also heard at the OME show). The drum loop is infectious. I'm sure there were people doing more experimental things even then, but they put it together with their great pop sensibilities. When I started doing looping shows, I knew I needed to create a cover of that tune.

As far as my own style of looping---I was in a full band and when we broke up, I thought to myself that it would be cool to look around and see if there were any guitar pedals that would allow for looping. This was in 2001, before several of the modern boss loopers were available etc. So, the choices were more limited. I decided on getting a 'Boomerang' and set out to start doing a fully looped show. At that point, I hadn't heard of Joseph Arthur or Andrew Bird or anyone else doing similar things. I wanted to create a looped show that still focused on the songwriting and less on the gadgetry. It grew from there where I eventually set up to have guitars, vocals, and various toys sent through the looper. I beatbox to create drums...use other aux percussion (tamborines, shakers, etc) and loop a crazy amount of harmonies on top. It took awhile to work out all of the kinks due to feedback, poor sound quality (b/c all of the channels were eventually boiled down to one channel into the looper), etc. but I was eventually able to work out most things.

You mentioned the Beatles; if you could perform with anyone, who would it be (living or dead)?
OME: Ooh, tough question. There are a bunch of them ... here are today's top 5. (Most of these artists I can hardly even listen to now b/c I've worn out their welcome by overplaying them for years...)

Brian Wilson
John Lennon
Johnny Cash
David Bowie

Me: So when you're looping...why do you set up and sit on the floor?
OME: Mostly out of convenience, I guess! I haven't really thought about it much before. When I'm looping, I need the pedals on the floor so I can use my feet to start/stop the taping. Sometimes, though, I ditch the guitars early in the song and then sit on the floor to create the rest of the noises via knob-turning and various vocal ideas. So, I sit close to all of the knobs out of necessity. If I have video work being done, they can focus in on me as I sit on the floor. But, in the smaller clubs, it probably seems like I disappear a little ... maybe not the best way to put on a show, but hopefully the sounds being made can capture the attention more than watching me!

Editor's note: For the record, I liked watching OME. And I think his posture on the floor ingratiated somehow I developed a little love for the man crawling around on the floor twisting knobs and singing.

Me: What is your favorite strange sound? - for instance, I love the sound of jet engines starting before takeoff.
OME: Oh - I have many. It depends on the day. I love the natural rhythm created by machinery, for instance. I've used beats from some obscure the sound of a video tape ejecting from a VCR. There is hardly a sound I wouldn't want to use in some way, to be honest. Maybe the sound of chewing...that one I don't like!

Are there any performers/benders/shops/gadgets you'd recommend to my readers?
OME: I would recommend Beatrix*Jar. They are very innovative with their circuit bending. I'd also recommend picking up ANY gadget that makes noise (electric or not, bent or not) and store it away for a tracking day or for use on stage. As many sound artists do, I've used just about everything sitting around my house or studio just to see if it creates a usable sound. You never know!

The coolest sound gadget I've seen in a long time is not on the market. It has been developed by scientists. It's called the 'Reactable' ... I'd love to get my hands on one of these! Here is is!

Editor's note: Isn't that thing WIKKED COOL!?!?!

Me: I'm relatively new the the circuit bending underworld. I've heard Beatrix*Jar on MySpace, but that's it. I see they've got some upcoming shows in March, so I'll check them out fo sho!
If you want to kill 2 should check out beatrix*jar with OME at the Nomad on March 22nd! they open, we're second and Ice Palace headlines....
Me: The March 22 show is on my calendar.

Me: Are you willing to help me steal that reactable?
OME: seriously!! i'm in. develop a plan and get back to me :)
me: Sweet. We can borrow gerg's motorcycle for a speedy getaway. I also think zip lines will be in order
OME: zip lines, even if unnecessary, are too fun to leave out of the plan. i agree...bring 'em along.

Photoshop is Phun!

Yeah, the title of this post is like a cliche wrapped inside of a colloquialism. I won't apologize though cuz while the "ph" takes over for "f" thing is totally overplayed, I'm the kind of gal who doesn't mind the slight annoyance.

NOW...on to Photoshop.

First of all, I love the program. I used it to create a somewhat laserrific valentine for gerg. In return, he bestowed some wikked cool boots upon my feeties. He also treated me to a fabulous meal at Damico Cucina. The risotto was a perfect pairing of sharp cheese and sweet beets; the halibut I ate tasted like what heaven would taste like if it were a piece of fish swimming in black truffle brown butter; It was an amazing day. I felt loved before not one, but two bouquets arrived, and then the boots, and then dinner; I felt downright spoiled afterwards! Thanks gerg!!

D'Amico Cucina
100 North Sixth Street
Minneapolis, MN (612) 338-2401

So after working in photoshop for the past few weeks, my fancy has grown for the program. You may or may not know about the Worth 1000. They sponsor photoshop contests and show us the entries. One of my favorite recent contests was the "Domestic Graffiti" contest.

Think this is PBR?

Scrapping Metal for Moola - an Unfortunate Fate for Statues

When I first read this article in the strib, my brain twisted. A vein bulged in my neck; one eye twitched. Have I turned into a junkie? No. I'm livid. TOTALLY PISSED OFF about the fuggin morons who took Theodore Wirth's legacy - tarred it, feathered it, chopped it up, and tried to sell it for scrap?!?!? The scrap yard refused to pay, and the thieves were apprehended. No one knows if the statues can be replaced yet.


They destroyed 2 statues valued at $10k each for a possible gain of $310. And that's just $ value - we all know the priceless value of art in public spaces. My first reaction: in the Twin Cities, what could they get with their dirty $310? a) tasting menus paired and wine flights at LBV, b) great tix to a show or sporting event, c) junk

It's not the first time a story has surfaced about folks stealing metal to sell for scrap in the Twin Cities. We know it's a problem around here...and even worldwide.

36 cast bronze botanical identification plaques stolen from North Mississippi Park.

Wherever you see (metal) scrapping, you'll see drug trafficking.

The Scrum for Scrap

Tougher Penalties for Scrap Thieves

photo by Ron Albertson
This statue which had resembled the Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko was stolen and sold to a Burlington metal scrapyard in Canada.

When public park statues are chopped up, I get really pissed. First, it's not wire or pipe; it's art. Second, it's destroying the mark of the legacy of a philanthropist/hero/artist - someone who done good.

This is where my rage turns into sadness.

So (in the fashion of Pizza Man), I have written an open letter to the assholes who are stealing statues to sell for scrap metal.

Dear scrap metal thieves,

Do you realize the extent to which you are acting like complete shitheads!?!?!



Shake Your Booty

I don't write music reviews. Plain and simple. Here are a few mixes I've been rokkin while writing/driving/nail painting/plant watering/shoe polishing/cooking. I'm posting them cuz I know the peeps and I love their music.

Feel like strapping on some roller skates or dancing til the break of dawn? Let's get down. Listen to Attitude City.
Shake Your Rhombus
Bethany's Smash n Grab
Problemes DAmour

Feel like braining out? Get creative. Listen to IIII.
Fear the Future 2002
Late Summer

Feel destructive? Beat out your internal beast. Listen to Hecubus.
Records of Mass Destruction

Feel like being spooky and spaceage? Tap into the alien within you. Listen to JOHNb.
Seasonal Affective Disorder

Reetsy's Rogues: Bill Gurstelle

I'm starting a new feature called Reetsy's Rogues. Reetsy's Rogues will feature my kind of daredevils, adventurers, swashbucklers, exemplars, etc. A Reetsy's Rogue is the kind of person who captivates my attention due to an uber adventerous attitude and creative engineering. I was going to stick to midwesterners with this feature, but I'd hate to exclude an acrobatic dolphin slayer from Cuba.

Minnesotan Bill Gurstelle is my first featured rogue.

Have you heard of Bill Gurstelle? He's writing a weblog called "Notes from the Technology Underground." AND he's local, which ROKKS.

What the hell is the technology underground? Gurstelle says, "Extreme Tinkering and Radical Self Expression Through Technology This blog covers events where things that go whoosh, boom, or splat are featured." That totally sounds like my kind of blog!!

Gurstelle first caught my eye and my attention span with his wikked cool catapult. I mean, I really do love the idea of launching flaming whatnots through the night sky.

Check out the KSTP video. Okay, admittedly, the jet bike is way cool. But the catapult is vicious. And I love when he straps the kid to it. Priceless!!

Gurstelle earned an MBA from U of M 20 years ago. You might have seen him in The New York Times, USA Today, Science News, Tech TV, National Public Radio, Tech Nation, Radio Canada, CNN-FN, Discover Magazine, FHM Magazine, and/or Make Magazine, among others. He's written several books, all of which interest me:

Backyard Ballistics

The Art of the Catapult

Building Bots

Adventures from the Technology Undergound


Whoosh, Boom, Splat

Listen to Gurstelle's 4 podcasts from Punkin Chunkin 2006. He attended with Dale Dougherty, the editor and publisher of Make Magazine (gerg and I love this magazine). They watched people destroy punkins with machines, then they shared the highlights. Thanks guys!

Honestly, I can't find a way to conclude my feature about Gurstelle's work because I know I haven't even tapped the surface; he's whooshed, bammed, and splatted for more than 20 years! Let me just wrap this up by saying it would be super rad if Gurstelle did something involving launching me down a huge icey slide at ridiculous speeds at Winter Carnival. Or, rocketed whipped cream pies at me while I'm trying to get my airplane kite in the air.


rogue-ish flashback: Throughout my teenage years I competed in Odyssey of the Mind several times. We built all kinds of machines. My favorite was a little vehicle powered by tire pumps in 1995. David Hinterberg (now of Flux Design) had to drive around operating this little vehicle pretending to be Hans Solo while Kathleen Miller waited to be rescued from Jabba (played by Craig Schultz). Those of us who designed but didn't star almost pissed our pants laughing as David pumped furiously around the gymnasium floor with Craig making Jabba noises and Kathleen wailing in the background. Also, once we were doing a spontaneous exercise and David shouted "brassiere" when trying to come up with another use for a wire hanger. I think I shot root beer out of my nose.

Bring on the Sweets: Pre-Valentine's Day Indulgences

Friday's trip back to Wisconsin proved to be a little heavy in the driving department. Big ups to gerg for driving his truck (my heater went out this past week, so he offered his truck so we wouldn't freeze). We helped ourselves to my favorite car treat: Twizzlers (photo snagged from Kate Eburg). We stayed with the hermans; joshherman is hilarious. In a goofy celebration of snow, we were surprised with joshherman's self pile drive into a gigantic pile of snow in his backyard at 2am; as you might be aware from the above photo, they love winter.

Had a surprise dinner in Oshkosh with the Miksics. It was great to catch up with the three and to check out Water City Grill. The sesame seared ahi continues to be my favorite (it's accompanied by shredded Napa cabbage and enoki mushrooms then topped with wasabi oil).

What made the drive super interesting were several podcasts that gerg and I both really enjoyed, about 12 from Inside Home Recording and a bunch of Musicheads podcasts from The Current.

Saturday night we bopped over a little on the late side to Brandi's bday party. Happy birthday Brandi! Unfortunately, we left our camera in the car. Highlights: the brie with dried cranberries, brandi's new sock monkey slippers, and talk of the new house.

photo from

On Sunday, after errands, gerg treated me to Cafe Latte. He's mentioned this joint a couple of times, but yesterday we finally made it there, and boy-oh-boy, I can't wait to return. It's a gourmet cafeteria, basically. The first thing you notice when you walk in is their dessert case. However, you must somehow drag yourself away to go and order some of their amazing salads, sammiches, breads and/or soups. I ordered the Tuna Francais and gerg had a Chicken Ceasar Pasta. It's one of their most famous salads, apparently. I appreciated the snappy green beans paired with fresh albacore. I sided mine with a hunk of freshly house-baked 10 grain bread and gerg selected the st. paul sourdough. We even selected a bit of basil and sun dried tomato spread for our bread. SO TASTY...creamy, savoury, with slightly tart tomatoes.

Then finally, DESSERT. gerg had a piece of German chocolate cake (pictured above); I opted for their raspberry white chocolate cheesecake (they serve over 30 varieties o' cheesecake). The buttery crust was tickled with small chunks of white chocolate, which added a welcome sort of crunch to the cheesecake, which was light, creamy, and sweet, and dotted with raspberries; the whipped cream piled on top was folded with chilled raspberry compote to make it perhaps the best-tasting restaurant cheesecake I've ever eaten. Definitely the best in the Twin Cities, for me.

Did I mention they also have a pizza station? And coffees! And teas! And even an high afternoon tea with scones and heady teas. I seriously would go back today, except I've used up my lunch hour writing this blog!

We took everything for takeout to get home in time for the Grammys. Highlights: Imogen Heap's hair, Justin Timberlakes performance (My Love is my new fav jam), and The Police performance. Lowlights: gnarls was a bit boring, Mary J Blige gave an annoying acceptance speech; Beyonce's song was blah (even though her dress was VA VOOM!).

During our outing, we caught a bit of the Original Mark Edwards interview on the Local Show. Word on the street is that he gave a shout out to Dallas Orbiter, although we missed it. Check the archives latron for the full interview and in-studio music making of OME. His CD release party will be at the Varsity Theater on Saturday, Feb. 17. gerg and I will be there; FO SHO. Also, don't you think his site is super cool? I do.

Looking forward to the OME show, my Valentine's Day date with gerg, and the Oscars!!

Theme Songs Done Right

One of my all-time favorite theme songs is the Super Mario Bros theme song.

I've heard MarkMartin sample the ditty with the JazzOrgy, and it's hilarious.

Check out this wikked cool site! Homemade versions of the theme song: beatboxing flute, hand farting, and my personal fav is prolly the nerdy clarinet players...

...especially the chic rokking the Toad hat.

(Secretly I despise Toad and Princess. They seem to be Bowser's arch nemeses on Mario Kart).
I experienced a total cacophony of nuttiness when I played the videos simultaneously.

Other favorite theme songs: Mr. Belvedere, Doctor Who, Hill Street Blues, PitFall, Bump n Jump....there are more...a lot more.

Dosing on Oxygen: Como Park Conservatory

HOLY FRIGGIN COLD!! gerg was feeling under the weather on Friday and Saturday night, which proved to be a blessing for my fingers and toes.

IIII had a genius idea to go to the Como Park Conservatory on Sunday. It was a first time visit for gerg and I. The warmth, humidity, oxygen, and green plants were good therapy. The conservatory opened in 1915; the zoo opened in 1897. A $2 donation is recommended upon entry.

With no sun in sight, we have turned paste-y - practically translucent.

It was wikked cold this weekend, so we bundled up and forced our car to start. IIII, Dre, gerg, cBass, and I walked around the conservatory for about 2 hours.

The new $2.1 million tropical encounters exhibit featured rainforest plants and freshwater stingrays, giant river turtles, frogs, toads, fish, free-roaming birds, and a sloth. From the website: "In the first month that Como Park Zoo and Conservatory's new exhibit, Tropical Encounters, was open more than 80,000 guests visited, an increase of over 250% from the same time period last year."

The collection of orchids in the palm dome was SIMPLY GORGEOUS. We had some fun with all the goofy palms.

Check out this wikked cool fig tree!

I loved the sunken garden. Stargazers everywhere!! We got to check out the 2007 Winter Flower Show. So many beutiful azaleas and cyclamen. It was awesome.

Then we headed over to the zoo to check out some primates. I was especially fond of the thoughtful looking Debrazza's Monkey. And the Western lowland Gorillas stopped us all in our tracks with their stoic posture and expressive faces.

On our way out, Dre and IIII pointed out the spot where IIII proposed to Dre. It was pretty cute!

Go here to view some of our pics (we have a ton more at home). I know IIII took a bunch too, so watch for his.

Headed over to the NE Bulldog with IIII, Dre, and fashion model Deedot to catch the SuperBowl. I cheered for the Colts, and they won, so that ruled. Highlights: Devin Hester for the first time ran an opening kickoff back for a TD, and Kelvin Hayden's picking of Grossman's crappy pass and subsequent 56 yard return for a TD.

Also, I liked the fennel fries at the Bulldog. TASTY!

Andre: the Drunk

Watched The Princess Bride on Saturday night.

While giggling at Andre the Giant knocking a door down with the palm of his hand, I was reminded of the Modern Drunkard feature about him. Andre could drink.

119 bottles of beer in 6 hours...good God.

Makes me think I should try another glass of plum wine.

Walsh Files: it lasted 4 years....

Photo by David DeYoung

On Wednesday, I noticed a blog was missing from City Pages website...Jim Walsh's blog.

Then, on Thursday I read this in the Star Tribune: "Columnist Jim Walsh was fired from City Pages Wednesday during an early morning meeting, sources at the alternative weekly confirmed. Walsh's departure coincided with the Twin Cities arrival of Kevin Hoffman, named as the replacement to editor Steve Perry, who announced his resignation last week. Walsh, once the music critic for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, had been with City Pages since 2003."

I liked Walsh's blog. I'm confident it will continue without City Pages behind it. It wasn't the best writing I've ever read, but it was heartfelt, and I actually felt as though he was trying to connect to his reader, rather than make a mark for his wit with words.

Here's some other means for keeping Jim on your radar: should continue to exist. At the moment, he's penning a couple of books; his "oral history" of the The Replacements should be an interesting read. Check out his singing and recording on cd and at The Mad Ripple.

Jim will be playing his birthday Mad Ripple gig at Java Jack's on February 2.

Watch for Flying Knives

Popped by the Birchwood on Wednesday to grab some spicy chicken and vegetable soup for gerg, who needed a little TLC. His fever and sinus cavities were not being nice to him. I also grabbed some mango, cherry, cranberry crisp from their dessert case. Both were daily specials, not menu standards. The crisp looked like it had more vitamin c stashed in it than an orange grove, and it was fresh and tart, not blasted with sugar. Definitely the most healthful food in our neighborhood.

So we passed some time in front of ye ol' television to satiate gerg's cold; we wanted to catch the final episode of Top Chef. Not thrilled that Ilan won. Seems to me, he spent more time lifting recipes and concepts from Casa Mono than developing anything original. Ilan's dessert looked tastey though: tangelo and vanilla bean soup with exotic fruit and fried bay leaf is something I'd like to have melt in my mouth. Now, as far as originality is concerned, Marcel had it all wrapped up. Who cares if he's not's a competition! But the dude was a mess in terms of kitchen management. He forgot the kampachi! Seriously, dude. SERIOUSLY. His dessert whetted my whistle...caviar and blini with Kona Coffee and hawaiian chocolate mousse is welcome at my table anytime! Can you whistle at a dessert? Throw come hither looks at it?

Flying Knives. On any other day, we might have passed this by...but we noticed one of the 5 contestants was Minneapolis's own Lam Ha, Ichiban's Executive Teppanyaki Chef! YAY! Local teppanyaki chef makes good! He didn't place, but it was wikked cool to see him participate.

Since it had been such a foodie night, I started telling gerg about Dara Moskowitz's awesome piece in City Pages this week about fine dining in the Twin Cities. I was so impressed with the angles she gave us and the history. IIII liked it too. As I was talking about it, gerg stopped me and grabbed the laptop, so he could read the piece for himself. We talked about it as he read, and we concur that independent restaurants need our support more than the "institutionally subsidized" varietal or those brought forth by restaurant development groups. We are dining at D'Amico Cucina for Valentine's Day, and considered cancelling after reading Dara's piece, but then I recalled that we did try WA Frost and 112 first; both were booked.