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Rex Sorgatz

The side-benefit of dating Jewish girls in this silly city: my Words With Friends gameplay has become much better!

monday
1 comment

I was surprised to find out last night that Dan Wilson co-wrote Adele's "Someone Like You." If you're from the Upper Midwest, you immediately thought of Trip Shakespeare. Outside of that, the name might not sound familiar, though you definitely know "Closing Time," the 1998 omnipresent hit from his band Semisonic. According to a profile in today's Star-Tribune, Rick Rubin brought him in to write with Adele.

Wilson said the session commenced with Adele playing some YouTube clips of rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson, her latest favorite. "Then I went to the piano and she played guitar and we launched into writing. It was very natural and low-key.

"She told me she had this terrible big breakup and it was all she could think about. She had the first four or five lines [of lyrics] and a melody, and she sang the verse."

Wilson then played the song on piano, embellishing it with big, classical chords. "She said, 'That's way more inspiring.' Things started to move quickly, and by mid-afternoon, we started recording."

Take THAT, science.

thursday
2 comments

Lifter Puller reissues! Lifter Puller reissues!

wednesday
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The Awl visits the Minnesota State Fair and picks up on the way that agriculture is still presented as the centerpiece, even though most people have no relationship to agriculture anymore. Since the first time I visited the fair in the early '80s, it has transformed from something like a trade fair vibe to a museum of a forgotten lifestyle. Or as The Awl puts it:

They are petting zoos for the 90-some percent of visitors who no longer have any connection whatsoever to the fundamental pillar of local society going back to whatever beginning you're inclined to believe we had.

It wasn't that long ago that agricultural subsidies were discussed with the same rigor as health care is debated today. My sister and nieces still live on a farm in Minnesota. I thought of them the other day when someone casually mentioned Farm Aid, which I'm surprised to learn still exists. Farm Aid -- that was a big deal once upon a time!

thursday
2 comments

I'm sure this isn't news to Minneapolitans, but I just noticed that The Uptown Bar is closing. (It was famous locally for a variety of musical reasons. The Replacements and Soul Asylum and Husker Du practically lived there, and Tommy and Bob Stinson's mom still worked there.) I saw my pals from Communist Daughter play there last time I was in town in May. [via]

monday
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Songs about Minneapolis. Everything from Tom Waits' "9th & Hennepin" (yes) to Bob Dylan's "Positively 4th Street" (probably) to Janet Jackson's "Escapade" (well, sorta).

wednesday
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Prince is moving back to Minneapolis. I guess it's time for me too.

sunday
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David Carr: Al Franken and the Odd Politics of Minnesota.

tuesday
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Minnesotans, you finally have a senator.

tuesday
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It's Minneapolis week at MTV2, and here's a 19-track video playlist that includes Tapes 'n Tapes, P.O.S., The Replacements, Brother Ali, and Dylan. (Why they chose that claymation Replacements vid is a mystery though.)

monday
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"I'd just been on a trip to Minnesota, where I can only kindly describe most of the people I saw as little houses." -- Anna Wintour, 60 Minutes outtake.

sunday
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For purists: 40 Best Movies Made in Minnesota. Fargo to Grumpy Old Men to Purple Rain. (Slaughterhouse-Five was filmed in Minnie?)

sunday
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My pal Will Tacy, who until recently ran StarTribune.com, has been named the new Executive Director of Newsweek.com. Welcome back to NYC, Will!

sunday
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Franken's gonna win.

friday
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It looks like Franken is going to win the Minnesota Senate seat. Many years ago, when it was highly improbable, I made this t-shirt -- I hope the 50 Minnesotans who bought it are pleased with themselves.

thursday
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Of course I'm going to link to this: Kottke grabs a picture from 1956 of the first mall, Southdale in south Minneapolis which is still around.

saturday
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Matt Taibbi's Rolling Stone story on the Franken/Coleman in Minnesota.

tuesday
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Nate Silver is now predicting that Franken will win by 27 votes. Seriously, you'd think he could be a little more precise with predictions.

monday
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Who knows why they found it necessary, but you know I'll link to it: NYT visits all the Spam restaurants in Austin, MN. [via]

sunday
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On the Media has a crazy little story about whether playing Enya as background music to a video montage of a murder victim's life is "unduly prejudicial." The U.S. Supreme Court won't take the case, but the California Supreme Court has issued a judgment that differentiated the music of Enya from that of James Taylor.

monday
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You don't care as much as I do (unless you are Aaron), but now Nate Silver thinks that Al Franken is a favorite to win the recount. (See also: NYT profile of Silver today.) [via]

friday
9 comments

After correcting a human error in entering data gave him another 100 votes, Al Franken is now down only 237 votes (~.01% of the total vote). Previous Minnesota vote recounts have changed votes by 3500+ votes. The official recount begins in two weeks. If there's a tie, it ends in a coin flip (for real). Update: recount votes could swing Franken.

thursday
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Game over for Norm Coleman? Another lawsuit breaks, alleging that Coleman's wife received $75,000 from the same donor who was already speculated to have bought him gifts.

monday
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The Strib may have (strangely) endorsed Coleman, but Slate is behind Franken!

tuesday
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Several people emailed me the crazy Michele Bachmann video last week, but I never bothered linking to it because I already knew the Minnesota congresswoman was super crazy. I had my own tussles with her back in the day (back when she used to pay attention to blogs!), but now it turns out that spewing craziness onto the national scene will get you even more tv appearances.

sunday
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In a NYT profile by David Carr, Charlie Kaufman reveals, among other things, that he worked in the circulation department of the Minneapolis Star Tribune in the late '80s.

thursday
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Polls show Al Franken is making a surprise comeback in Minnesota. This helps.

thursday
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In conversation: David Carr and Tom Arnold. "If you're a headlight guy at all, you would notice her."

tuesday
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After the rumor that he might jump into the Minnesota Senate race has finally been squelched, Jesse Ventura is actually returning... as the host of a new conspiracy-theory series for truTV. "Ventura will travel the country, investigating cases and getting input from believers and skeptics before passing judgment on a theory's validity." I hope the first conspiracy is "Who killed Wellstone?"

saturday
2 comments

Franken helps craft McCain SNL skit. I swear, he wants to lose.

monday
8 comments

"Minneapolis" managed to tie for 3rd best place to be single. Minneapolis?? Who goes to college and says, "Fuck getting my MRS degree HERE, I'm moving to Minneapolis after I graduate because I hear it is totally the Third Best City Ever for Singles and I am going to bring new meaning to the made-up word 'manizer' and carve dozens of notches into my new Mac lipstick case!" This means war, babe. [Answer inside.]

sunday
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Al Franken's goofy campaign ads.

wednesday
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Ana Marie Cox and I were interviewed while standing in line for the Daily Show at RNC in St. Paul. Strangely, they used no quotes, but they used us as b-roll for the line "The women are strong and the men are good-looking." It's at 1:37.

sunday
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David Carr and I give tips to Republicans about where to hang out in Minneapolis during RNC. And we sing "Bastards of Young," sorta. And I break the news that Carr is drinking again, or at least seemingly so. UPDATE: the director's cut from Rachel on HuffPo.

monday
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Let's get this party started, right: Overheard at RNC | Casual Encounters RNC | RNC on Twitter.

thursday
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Welcome, Rich White Oligarchs! And me! I am going back in Minnie for RNC. Prepare for chaos....

friday
2 comments

David Carr does a travel piece about Minneapolis/St. Paul for NYT, but fails to mention where to buy coke.

thursday
2 comments

NY Sun: Al Franken doomed because of his "New York problem." I sympathize. [via]

tuesday
10 comments

Al Franken drawing a map of the United States during a fundraiser. I'll say it: I love this guy. And ya know what? The national coverage of the Franken campaign has been surprisingly sparse (here's that strange Observer angle). But it's a fascinating thing to watch, even from afar. Franken is losing big in the polls despite this being a) the most liberal state in the union, b) the worst year for Republicans since '74, c) such an unliked Republican foe in Norm Coleman, and d) Franken being such a weird prominent figure in a state that likes weird prominent figures (Jesse Venture, Paul Wellstone, Hubert Humphrey, etc.). One has to believe it will turn around if Franken can shed his elitist image, but I'm honestly not sure if being able to draw a map of the United States from memory helps or hurts! Update: MeFi picks it up. Update: Video.

thursday
3 comments

Current.TV luvs the hottt Minneapolis kids.

monday
1 comment

After NYT picked it up, there's a lot more scuffle around that Wikipedia update to the Russert entry. (I still don't know and still haven't asked.)

monday
5 comments

There's a rumor floating around Minnesota that Obama is going to declare himself the official democratic nominee there tomorrow in St. Paul, the location of the Republican National Convention.

sunday
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An entire St. Paul suburb has demanded that Google Maps remove pictures of it from the Street View feature.

sunday
2 comments

Sunday NYT story on the bloggers festering around the Senate race in Minnesota, featuring some of the pests that used to bother me daily. How Minnesota has become the hotbed from the right-wing blogosphere is a mystery to everyone, but it's paying off for them. Nonetheless, Al Franken versus Norm Coleman will be the most exciting Senate race of the season.

sunday
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NY Post: The Minneapolis Star Tribune is on the brink of bankruptcy. Yipe. I think everyone expected it would eventually be a one-paper town, but not that one paper. [via]

saturday
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Your favorite song for the next five minutes: Santogold's "Your Voice", a reggae-tinged (as if punk, electro, hip-hop, and dancehall weren't enough) extra track not found on the album. (Psst, watch RCRD LBL for more upcoming Santogold tracks.)

thursday
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Minneapolis kids: The Daily Show will be in St. Paul for the Republican National Convention in September -- and you can reserve tix now. (If any editors are reading this, I'm looking for someone to send me back to write about the RNC. Interested? Please email me!) [via]

friday
46 comments

Several months ago, my pal Steve did an interview with Diablo Cody in a Minneapolis magazine. Somewhat famously (to Minnesotans), he asked when Diablo was going to dump her husband, Jonny. It was a joke. Except Diablo sorta blew up at him. And, well, you saw this coming: they filed for divorce a month later. Awkward! But now Steve has broken the news that Jonny is engaged to a new girl, who was friends with Diablo. (Meta-disclaimer: it's incestuous city -- pretty much everyone in this post knows each other. Which is why only 2% of you probably care.) [via]

friday
1 comment

My pals Marina & Johnny are on the cover of Vita.MN this week. So cute... I mean hot.

monday
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My pal Steve has launched Daily Mole, a Minneapolis publication similar to The Stranger's Slog, though not affiliated with a paper. (Steve was the longtime editor of City Pages, Minneapolis' alt-weekly, prior to the New Times debacle.) This looks like one of the most promising new local media sites out there right now.

saturday
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Minneapolis, one of the best design cities in the world, gets a video architectural tour via Cool Hunting.

wednesday
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Speed-dating for people aged 59 to 98 in Minnesota. Not an Onion headline! [via]

wednesday
2 comments

The news broke here a couple months ago about Tay Zonday performing with Girl Talk at First Ave in Minneapolis. The show was last Friday, and Twin Cities Live has good video. [via]

thursday
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My friends Matt and Margaret have relaunched Vita.MN (Matt's note). One year old as of today, Vita.MN is two things: a weekly publication from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and a website that publishes that content but adds in all sorts of social features -- lists, favoriting, friending, etc. For a daily paper, it's an amazing experiment. Oh, and here's Alexis' newest sex column.

monday
5 comments

A couple Minneapolis stories: Marketwatch says it's the best city to start a new business and WSJ says Minnie has reached "critical coolness." Also, Minneapolis is listed as one of the cities in NYT's Styles story about young women having higher salaries than young men.

monday
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In one of those crazy stories where everyone seems to do the wrong thing, 19 people were arrested in Minneapolis this weekend at a Critical Mass event gone awry. Most interesting to me is the interplay of threads on MNspeak and MetaFilter. As my pal Marsh says, "Last night was a full-on dress rehearsal for the RNC. Both by the cowboys and the indians. The cops and the robbers.... next August is going to be ugly" -- that's when the Republican National Convention goes down in this very blue state. (Btw, between bridge collapses, blowjobs in airports, and cops clashing with biking kids.... Minneapolis can't stay out of the news lately.)

wednesday
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You might have seen the NYT obit of Joybubbles, a savantish phone phreaker (made famous by a 1971 Esquire profile by Ron Rosenbaum) who recently died in Minneapolis. As Virginia Heffernan points out, those charming kids at Chasing Windmills had Joybubbles do a "guest-appearance" earlier this year.

tuesday
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Sarah says you "are not missing anything life-shaking" if you haven't seen Tay Zonday yet. Bzzzzzt.

tuesday
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Breaking! To hell with Prince, Tay Zonday to perform with Girl Talk at First Ave in Minneapolis! October 5. What a perfect match.

thursday
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A very thorough post about citizen journalism during the Minneapolis bridge collapse.

wednesday
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It wasn't so long ago that Garrison Keillor got a cell phone. My oh my, he was giddy with delight. Now he writes in Salon about being in NYC and getting calls on it from Minnesota after the bridge collapsed. Of course, he never misses an opportunity to impose his caricatured brand on all my friends ("We are a state of Germans and Scandinavians"... umm, not all of us, yo), and he seems to think the worst thing about the bridge collapse is that it will hinder his trips to the Mayo Clinic.

thursday
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My boys Tapes 'N Tapes were on Big Love last week.

thursday
4 comments

By now you've heard of the tragedy that is the 35W bridge in Minneapolis -- a bridge I know by heart, above and below. To see a little lesson in how crowd-sourced journalism works, the thread on my old site, MNspeak, is pretty amazing.

tuesday
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My last bit on Prince, from Sarah's review of the First Ave show: "I take this time to contemplate how weird it is that, 20 years after 'Darling Nikki,' Prince is the one with the moral hang-ups, and Tipper is the one with the pothead son." She also reviewed the new Prince cologne.

wednesday
4 comments

Wanna hear me rant about local media, the failure of community blogs, mainstream media, and anything else that'll come to mind? I did an interview with Minnesota Monitor (conducted by Paul Schmelzer of Eyeteeth). It's maybe only interesting to those of you from Minneapolis.

monday
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Back at home, my ex/pal Alexis was harshly critiqued in the Star-Tribune's Sunday ombudsman column for a column about outdoor sex that she wrote for Vita.MN (a Strib entertainment weekly). Lex has fired back (and so has my favorite, Taylor). I'd like to laugh my way through this one (and I am!), but I guess we should point out this is a tension point (and probably an inevitability) when mainstream media tries to take on new audiences. Update: MNspeak goes bonkers over the incident.

tuesday
0 comments

Rocketboom: Chuck visits the Mall of America.

sunday
1 comment

Cool Hunting does a five-minute video on the Minnesota Rollergirls. I miss those girls.

monday
1 comment

It's pretty great that The Guardian let Craig Finn of the Hold Steady talk about his love of The Replacements and Minneapolis. Update from the comments: Craig talking about the Twins in the Portland Mercury.

friday
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Slow update alert! I'm back in Minneapolis for a couple days (going to Geek Prom with Lux, who apparently now has billboards around town for her column -- christ, how fast things change in a year).

monday
2 comments

Back home (where I'll be visiting next weekend), the Star-Tribune is laying off 145 employees (via voluntary buy-outs). What used to be one of the most respected papers in the nation has been slowly dismantled over the past few years. So sad. [via]

thursday
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Man, the media scene in Minneapolis (my old hometown) is fucked up. Today, the Pioneer Press sued the Star-Tribune (that's right, two metro dailies -- remember those days?) because the publisher (Par Ridder -- as in the son of Tony, of the ersatz Knight-Ridder empire) left the former to become the publisher of the latter (which is pretty fucked up, though possibly not illegal). Within a year, the Strib has changed owners from McClatchy to some fishy media holdings company, while the PiPress has gone from being part of the Knight-Ridder war machine to being a McClatchy paper to being a MediaNews publication. (Oh, and a bunch of lay-offs and buy-outs in between.) Meanwhile, a major disruption at the very successful alt-weekly (hah! remember those?) caused the editor to leave. Add in the fact that there are four major monthly magazines (WTF?), four alt-weekly papers (that's counting The Onion), and the radio juggernaut known as American Public Media (MPR) -- does any city in America have this much media per capita? [via -- a Minneapolis media website I started!]

tuesday
1 comment

Hold Steady records Twins-centric version of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."

saturday
1 comment

The Onion: Darling, We'll Always Have Minneapolis/St. Paul. So best.

wednesday
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Oh yeah, Al Franken officially announced his candidacy today (MNspeak thread).

saturday
6 comments

Have I mentioned how weird it is to have your ex writing a sex column? Soon after I left Minneapolis, Alexis began writing Alexis on the Sexes for Vita.MN, the Strib's new alt-weekly tabloid/website (invented by Matt and Margaret, another ex, but now this is getting complicated). Lex's most recent column is on anal sex, which I'm just no-commenting myself away from by noting that this is rare fair for a medium-large daily. Savage love, indeed.

tuesday
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For Minneapolites only: I did a list for the Walker blogs called 15 Things I Didin't Realize I Would Miss About Minneapolis (With Only One Slander of Garrison Keillor) [about half-way down the page].

tuesday
3 comments

My pal David de Young did an audioslideshow of the hippest city in America for USAToday.com.

friday
0 comments

Those friends and lovers (difference? none!) back home are doing such cool stuff. Matt and Margaret launched Vita.MN, a social calendaring/entertainment site in Minneapolis a couple months ago. Then yesterday, the print edition of the site came out with a cover story from Alexis (who will also be a columnist). Meanwhile, Steve, Alexis, Cristina, Juan, Leigha, Paul, Johnny, and everyone at Chasing Windmills (and Chuck at MNstories) were profiled on MPR's Morning Edition for their pioneering videoblog work (which will also be featured on an upcoming episode of The Tyra Banks Show). And last month, Sarah became the music editor of City Pages. Wheh, nice work.

wednesday
2 comments

Fucking brilliant. You won't fully enjoy it unless you're from the midwest, but here it is: The Hold Steady Guide To The Twin Cities. It Google Maps all the Minneapolis/St. Paul references on Hold Steady albums. "City Center used to be the center of the scene. Now City Center's over. No one really goes there."

wednesday
0 comments

It just leaked that the Twin Cities has been chosen to host the '08 GOP convention.

monday
3 comments

A bunch of friends back in Minneapolis are characters in the new season of Chasing Windmills, a mostly-fictional ensemble videoblog. It's an interesting experiment, which I suspect will influence a lot of future developments in this area.