t01.14.2015 — Steve Kuchera — kucheraSHOEMAKER0125c1 — Candace LaCosse sows a quarter for a pair of shoes she is making. The Duluth woman fell in love with shoemaking while interning at the North House Folk School in GrandMarais. She sells her handmade shoes via her website and at craft shows. Steve Kuchera / email@example.com
Sunday’s Pursuits section featured Candace LaCosse, who was led to shoe-making through a series of moves that included fashion journalism, teaching English in Korea and an internship at North House Folk School.
Cheech & Chong and War performed Friday at Symphony Hall. Here’s Tony Bennett’s review.
The comedian Gallagher performs at Grandma’s Sports Garden in Duluth Thursday evening. (Clint Austin / firstname.lastname@example.org)
It’s been just more than five years since Gallagher performed at Grandma’s Sports Garden. It was a strange night that ended abruptly — right after so many melons were smashed.
Here’s and A&E Flashback — the review that ran Jan. 15, 2010:
Gallagher ripped off his striped sweater, chunks hanging in his wild, frizzy skullet.
He grabbed a makeshift version of his infamous “Sledge-O-Matic” and walloped a quartered section of watermelon, sending a pinkish spray much farther than the dozen or so audience volunteers managed to do.
This was the height of the longtime comedian’s show: The Escape Club’s “Wild, Wild, West” playing on the sound system at Grandma’s Sports Garden, the garbage bag-clad die-hards in the front rows – one even with a mini SpongeBob Square Pants umbrella - in a shower they had waited all night, if not since the mid-1980s, to see.
Gallagher let a few more civilians test the giant wooden hammer. His last volunteer grabbed his face and kissed him, and the comedian raised his hands in the air, jumped off the stage and was out the door.
Gallagher performed for more than 300 fans – not to mention a few bearing an uncanny likeness to him – on Thursday night in Canal Park. The show ran about an hour and 45 minutes and was a mix of Duluth-specific humor, some tired bits of pedestrian sitcom fare where men like tools and hate toilet seat decorations, and women are shrew-like fun suckers, and some audience-participation that ended with six women wearing boxer briefs as a sort of sports bra.
Gallaghe was at his most-famous in the mid-1980s as a fruit-smashing, striped shirt wearing prop comic who was all the rage on cable. He was an innovator who integrated titanic trampoline couches into his routine, and cruised around on an oversized Big Wheel.
The Los Angeles-based comedian said earlier this week that he is funnier now, at age 63, than he was back when he was famous.
On Thursday night, Gallagher was at his best when he spoke directly to the crowd. Targets included the restaurant’s staff, a woman with tattoos, the first heckler who yelled something indiscernible about six minutes into the show. Gallagher studied the Sports Garden’s decor, the boats hanging from the ceiling, and the hockey game playing on a screen in the back of the room.
“This show will start in a little while,” he said. “I have to see what I’m dealing with. This isn’t Minneapolis,” he said.
He kept things current with a Tiger Woods joke; then he took a way-back machine to Dinah Shore.
He did a steady stream of lesbian jokes, finishing each by calling out “Is that over the line?” To which the audience would respond “Nooooo!”
Either the attention span of the locals is 56 minutes, or the comedian lost control soon after a joke about Haiti. (Gallagher has never claimed to be politically correct.) There was an underlying buzz of chatter throughout the Sports Garden that seemed to throw him off. He took it out on SpongeBob in the front row.
“You want my audience?” Gallagher asked. “I’ve worked my whole life for them. Shut up.”
Gallagher segued into a bit on how people don’t know how to act in public, then added:
“It’s been an hour, and this place hasn’t settled down yet. I’m not a rock band. I’m a living legend.”
He went on to tell the crowd that he paved the way for the splash rides at amusement parks, Blue Man Group, Insane Clown Posse and Shamu.
“Shamu never splashed anyone until I did,” he said.
All was forgiven when the smashing started. Gallagher let volunteers stream onto the stage, taught them the art of sledging, then kept a steady supply of fruit teed up – twice grabbing hold of the hammer-like object and doing what he does best. The important thing is that this writer left with watermelon in her hair.
Tom Isbell’s novel “The Prey” — the first in a three-part YA series — has earned comparisons to “The Maze Runner” and “The Hunter Games” series. Isbell, who teaches theater at UMD and spent some time doing the Hollywood thing, was inspired by a morning drive out of the Rocky Mountains. Here’s the story.
For those on NorShor-rehab watch: On Monday, the city council will be asked to authorize a $300,000 loan to developlers Sherman & Associates. Here’s that story by Peter Passi.
Fox 21 News co-anchor Dan Hanger takes a selfie with co-anchor Diane Alexander during a commercial break in Monday’s 9 p.m. newscast. Hanger posted the picture to Facebook during the show. In addition to his news duty, Hanger has recently been involved in several local events, including today’s More Cowbell fundraiser for Northern Lights Foundation, which he will emcee. The foundation provides money to families of children with life-threatening illnesses. (Steve Kuchera / email@example.com)
This week’s A&E section has a lengthy look at the social media-savvy Fox 21 news anchor Dan Hanger — and his critters.
The Biz section includes an update on that old, oft-talked about NorShor Theatre. And as long as we’re talking about downtown spaces, here’s what’s happening at the old Carlson bookstore — henceforth to be known as the Lange Motor Building.
Saturday’s Home section included a story about Alison Aune’s downtown studio space in the Pineapple Building. This is the second in a monthly series featuring artist spaces.