McScene!
A Funny Perspective

By Sarah McPeck

KFAI's Shimmer!

May 22, 2024

We were so excited to talk all things PRIDE with radio host and personality, Shimmer! Shimmer is a steady force of sparkle, creativity and kindness in the Twin Cities Queer Community! She is SHAMAZING!

What are the headlines for Shimmer?

I have had to really focus on my mental health and wellbeing this year. I went through a store closure, and it was very emotional for me on many levels. This year I had to go into a cocoon. However, I am bringing all the fabulousness that you would expect to my fashion shows and lip sync shows. I love producing. I am looking forward to being with the community. I’ve missed it. I’ve missed community.

When do you feel your most proud?

I feel like when PRIDE is here, I am my most proud. I feel the most excited. I feel I can be myself. I can be my sparkly Shimmer self!

Do you think Twin Cities Pride puts on a fun festival?

I love how queerness is celebrated in the Twin Cities and especially during pride. Yes, PRIDE is amazing.

You are a radio host on KFAI. What brings you joy in broadcasting?

I love co-hosting Fresh Fruit! Roxanne ROCKS! I also have my own morning show that I have been doing for almost two years now. It is called Daybreak with Shimmer. It airs every Thursday morning from 6 am to 8 am. It is all about pop culture. I love pop music. I love KFAI, they offer such a community feel and have given me a platform to live my dream of being on the radio.

Where can we find you at PRIDE?

I will be hosting the Power to the People stage from 10 am till 6 pm! I will probably walk in the parade this year! Come and find me out and about all weekend!

Calliope Women's Chorus is loud and proud!

June 6, 2024

A historic choir, this group of women is building equality through music. Read on!

Happy Pride! How does Calliope Women's Chorus celebrate PRIDE?

Calliope ends up really busy during Pride Month. As a choir this year we're hosting our spring concert, and we'll be at both Golden Valley Pride and Twin Cities Pride festivals. 

What inspires the music selections?

We pull inspiration from everywhere.  Sometimes we'll get inspried by a specific piece of music and program a concert around that piece, and other times we'll want to focus more on something more conceptual.  Recently we've been really inspired by our community in the face of our current political climate.  For example  our fall concert was "The Fire Within" that drew on our strength as individuals and our drive to make the world a better place, our spring concert last year was "Stronger Together"  emphasizing our collective voices, and our spring this year is "My Body" where we explore the great things about our bodies and our autonomy as people.  

How do you amplify voices ?

Calliope works really hard to find marginalized voices and bring their perspectives to the front. Generally this is done through our music and programming. We work to ensure we're using composers that come from diverse backgrounds, and present a variety of different viewpoints.  We really enjoy when we can find music from local composers, and have even had our Artistic Director compose music for us. We joke and say we try to stay away from "old dead white guy music" when we're looking for new pieces. 

How can people get involved with Calliope?

If you're the singing type we hold auditions twice a year. Generally sometime around the end of August for our Fall semester and then also in January before the start of our spring semester. If you're not the singing type we can't have a performance without audience members.  We also have a mailing list, and host a couple different fundraisers throughout the year. 

When are you performing next?

We'll be at Golden Valley Pride on June 8th at 3:10pm and our Spring Concert is June 15th at Spirit of Hope in Golden Valley at 4pm. 

What is the best part of being in Calliope?

So, I don't think I can speak for the whole choir, but for me, the best part of Calliope is the community. Calliope has been the place and the community I needed so many times throughout my seven years in the chorus, and it's one of the most supportive spaces I know. I also really enjoy the act of making art with people and this gives me a place every week to do that with a really incredible and talented group of people. 

When and how did Calliope form?

Calliope looks much differently than it started,but the core is still the same.  We know Calliope first  started in 1976 when a group of women would gather in a living room of one of their homes and sing together. They all felt comfortable being feminists together and making music, and it's just grown from there. 

If you could perform on any stage, what stage would you pick and why?Calliope has been so fortunate to get to perform on some really beautiful  stages around the Twin Cities and even across the country through GALA  and Sister Singers. I don't know if this would be everyone in the Chorus's answer, but I would love to perform at Red Rocks in Colorado. We don't do a lot of outdoor performances with choral music because of acoustics but I think we could make Red Rocks work for us and it'd be really fun!

ALI CLAYTON’S DEBUT COMEDY ALBUM COUNTRY QUEER

June 6, 2024

Blonde Medicine is excited to announce the release of Ali Clayton’s debut comedy album Country Queer, available digitally everywhere comedy is streamed or downloaded, and on vinyl on Blonde Medicine and Bandcamp.

After working in comedy for 15 years, Ali put together a set that tells her story as a member of a very Southern family from rural North Carolina, a special ed kid, a lesbian, an alcoholic, and a white girl who started her comedy career in the South Side of Chicago. 

Country Queer is a love letter to little Ali about embracing and loving your authentic self and never forgetting where you come from.” Says Ali Clayton. “I’m country and I’m queer and I’m proud to be both.” Her comedy aims to help humanize and connect Southerners and queer folks everywhere.

Country Queer is live. The album is available in full everywhere comedy is streamed or sold. 

Your album Country Queer is coming out now! What was the best part of making this album?

The night I recorded the album at The Laughing Tap in Milwaukee WI was magical! I had toured and ran my hour long set for two months and when I stepped on the stage that night I was ready.  The audience was with me the whole time. The room felt electric.  When I stepped off stage I knew I had made something great.

If you had to write a country song based off your love life-what would the title be?

I love this game! I have a bunch. Also, you can probably tell from my song titles that my last relationship ended badly lol.

You can’t even drive a truck.

I didn’t know it then, but you leaving was a win.

She was in a bad mood for 6 long years.

Sometimes I miss her titters.

Thanks for never taking out the trash.

Who makes you laugh? What kind of comedy do you love to digest?

Ever Mainard is my favorite comic, best friend, and co-host of Y’all Gay.  Their energy on stage is mesmerizing. 

I’ve been obsessed with Fortune Feimster for a very long time. She's gay and from NC like me!  She puts so much heart into her hilarious story telling and it shows.

Roy Wood Jr. is hands down one of the most talented comics working today. He’s also the kindest man in show biz. Roy crafts jokes in a way that you learn while you laugh. He had a positive pro trans joke in his last special and I think about it at least once a week.

You grew up in the South. How did that flavor your coming out process?

Growing up I heard in church being gay was a sin and all gay people are going to hell. Folks always saying “hate the sin, not the sinner” makes me want to barf.  I was scared to lose my family so it took me a long time. I did it in baby steps. First I told a friend in college, It took me to 25 to tell my Mama and I didn’t tell my Dad till I was 27.

There’s a lot of coming out jokes on the album.  My Mama’s and my Dad’s reactions are hilarious. I also tell a fifteen minute story about my first time having sex with a woman.  

How do you cultivate community in your own world?

I’ve really cultivated a community in NYC. I got into my first serious lesbian relationship in 2016. I was so in love and so proud to be with her. I wanted the whole world to know. We were together 6 years, it didn’t end well but I’m still grateful.  Through loving her, I learned to love, except and to be proud of my gayness. 

I started performing at a lot more gay events when I moved to NYC. I did an event for Lesbian Bar Project and I became friends with the creators/directors, Erica Rose and Elina Street.  They have welcomed me into their circle and introduced me to so many other queers. They have made me feel like I belong and have taught me that even though I’m sober, safe spaces like lesbian bars are for me too. 

I also build community through my podcast Y’all Gay! Ever and I talk to many gay southern listeners that don’t have much of a community based on where they live. A lot of our listeners have told me that the pod makes them feel seen and less alone. I think listeners feeling this way is a testament to how much representation matters.    

What is some of the best advice you’ve ever taken to heart?

A few veteran comics have told me “it takes 8-10 years to get really good at standup, so work hard and be patient, your time will come.” I’m 15 years in and I feel like my time has finally come. 

What advice would you give other Southern queer folk that are struggling with coming out in their communities?

It’s not a race, go at your own pace.  Tell the people you know are safe and supportive first. That way you have someone there to support you if a friend or family member doesn't take it well. Also it’s okay to distance yourself from people that aren't supportive.  My sister is homophobic and says very mean things to me.  I still struggle with it but cutting her out of my life has been the best choice for my mental health.

Tell us more about your podcast: Y’all Gay!

We always say Y’all Gay is a comedic podcast for everyone brought to you by two southern queers.  I think one of the main reasons it's so enjoyable to listen to is because it's obvious how much Ever and I love and respect each other.  They truly are my best friend and getting to goof off with them for an hour each week is a gift.  We talk a lot about southern culture and our personal experiences being gay southerners.  We also improvise and make up fake products which folks seem to love. 

What is your favorite place to perform?

The Midwest! I came up in comedy in Chicago and going back feels like going home. 

What are your go to gas station snacks? 

Combos, sour patch kids and diet mountain dew.

What are you reading or listening to right now?

My all time favorite music is definitely 90’s country. I currently can’t stop listening to G-flip and Fletcher.  I also regularly listen to up and coming queer country artists like Julie Williams, Morgan Wade, Lily Rose and Brooke Eden.  

What is something you hope to accomplish is 2024?

This year I’m hoping to get an SNL audition and to open for Fortune Feimster!

Bring the Biscuits: An Interview with Jen Kober.

May 22, 2024

As a funny kid growing up in Louisiana, Jen learned to confront the uncomfortable truth by making fun of it. Jen is an out and proud lesbian and will be the first to say you can tell she’s gay by looking at her. Jen learned how to navigate life as a queer Southern woman the only way Jen does anything. With gusto and intention. She is a natural storyteller, and the lilt of her Southern accent will make your heart smile and beg for more! Jen is joining forces with the incredible, legendary, comedian and activist Susan Westenhoefer at The Parkway Theater in Minneapolis On June 6th!

You grew up in Louisiana - What is the biggest difference between Louisiana and Minnesota?

The food! Everything in Looziana is spicy - even the people. Minnesota is full of nice mild people :)

Do you remember the first time you made someone laugh? Did you know that you wanted more?

I was always trying to make my mom laugh as a kid. When she laughed she was in a good mood and then I could get some gum at the store. Gum has always been a huge motivator for me!

Who did you grow up watching that made you laugh? 

I loved The Carol Burnett Show and Good Times. I also laughed a lot at my little sister. She made lots of faces and was just goofy - in a good way. 

You recently started performing in Las Vegas! Tell us more! 

I am one of the featured comedians in the Cirque du Soleil show, MAD APPLE at the New York New York Casino and Resort in Vegas. It has been amazing to work with such skilled and talented performers in such a large scale production. I actually come up out of the stage on a lift. It’s pretty cool. 

You have been in so many amazing TV Shows! What is something you’ve done or seen on TV sets that we wouldn’t believe?

I gues all the CGI stuff is what impresses me most. I remember when we were shooting the Mandalorian, there was a set, but we were in Front of green screens. Then when I saw the finished production and all the graphics they had put in and all of the action that they had added to the scene. It was really amazing to me.

I am tired just watching your travel schedule! What are your favorite travel tips? Favorite snacks on the road?

Always leave early! I’ve had so many things go wrong during travel. I have almost never missed a show - and it’s because I start my journey at the crack of dawn. And always travel with snacks. I’m a fan of Peanut M&Ms and honey mustard pretzels. 

You are in fact a lesbian. When did you come out? What do you love about loving women?

I came out when I was 21 once I had a girlfriend who I wanted to bring home for the holidays. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done - and it was rough at first - but now everyone is so open about things and there is such visibility. I love everything about women. Mostly that they are not MEN. LOL

Everyone has a podcast and now you do too! 

Yes, I do! It’s called Bitchin over biscuits. Every week we tackle a new genre of podcast and dive deep into that topic with a different celebrity guest. It’s super fun and I’ve gotten the chance to talk to so many amazing people.

Who would be your dream interview?

Lynda Carter!

If you had to come up with a slogan for Minneapolis-what would it be?

Minneapolis - hot dish heaven. (Those tater tots on top are my favorite)

You are performing with Susan Westenhoefer at The Parkway! How did that collaboration happen? What can folks expect from this dynamic duo?

Suzanne has always been an icon of lesbian comedy and she’s one of the funniest people on the planet. We met on an Olivia trip in Turks & Caicos and  became fast friends. 

You can expect to laugh until your face hurts at both of us! We even have a couple of stories we tell together. 

Who is your favorite female duo of all time?

Laverne & Shirley 

What is the best advice you have ever had? 

TRUST IN YOURSELF. And Always bet on YOU. 

What is next for Jen Kober?

I have an extensive touring schedule of live performances, and I have a TV appearance coming up on the HBO Max show BOOKIE. Plus a couple of movies in the works, so stay tuned!

Suzanne Westenhoefer makes her way to The Parkway Theater for Pride Month!

May 22, 2024

Suzzanne Westenhoefer loves the Minneapolis International Airport! As a comedian that has been touring since the mid 90’s Suzanne couldn’t stop raving about the airport when I asked her if she had spent much time in Minnesota. “You know I haven’t, but I am in love with your airport!”

You have been touring since the mid 90’s, you were the first openly gay woman with an HBO special and you have been a part of Olivia Travel for years. How has the scene changed since you began comedy?

Being a gay comic isn’t really a thing anymore. It’s everywhere. It can’t be your only thing. In the 90’s audiences minds would be blown, just that there was an out lesbian on stage. When men would laugh, it was almost like they were mad about it. Like we laughed, we enjoyed a lesbian. Damn it. And the fact that I looked like the girl they took to Prom just took it to a whole other level. I also used to have a lot of audience members that would come up to me after a show and say, “My teacher is gay, or I have a gay sister or a gay family member.” They were trying to connect with me by telling me they had someone gay in their life. Now, it is just so much more accepted people don’t come up to me anymore to tell me they know another gay person.

You have been a gay activist for many years. Why did you get involved with social justice?

When I first started it was just from a place of stop killing us, stop beating us, stop firing us. In college I started a little group on campus, and it was the only time I was gay bashed. It really wasn’t a gay bashing; it was such a weak gay bashing. Two Christian boys followed me after one of our meetings to my dorm and they threw their bibles down to shove me. That’s my favorite part. Like it is almost like you never read it dude. I’m a full-on atheist and I got to tell you; I don’t think you’re getting it. I think you’ve missed the plot. Do you know what I mean?

What do you like to do outside of comedy?

One of my favorite things in the world is DNA and genealogy. It is so wonderful and bizarre to be able to look back and see the amazing people I came from. Recently my sister traced our name back nine generations to the Mayflower. Up until that point, all I knew was that our family was from Lancaster County Pennsylvania. I have also been addicted to true crime for easily 40 years and I love when DNA solves a cold case and some terrible old man thinks he has got away with it, but no, you’re going to rot in jail now, thank you DNA.

What has been a memorable time in comedy?

Recently, I was asked to do an interview for Olivia Travel because I have worked for them for years and they are turning 50! Last week they came here to do an interview with me, and they were also trying to interview Lily Tomlin, but she was not sure where she wanted to meet. I suggested Lily come to my house to interview because she knows me and had been to my house before and within about 6 minutes they called back and said Lily is fine with that, she will do the interview at your house. While they were filming, Lily was talking about never really coming out and how different it was in the 80’s. And she turned to me and said, “Oh but Suzanne what you’ve done, it’s just so amazing. You’ve always been out. I’ve been hearing about you for 20-30 years.” In my mind I’m like “Oh my God, I can’t believe this is happening and this is happening in front of all these people, and someone is filming it.” So, to have one of your heroes say something like that was incredible.

How did you and Jen link up?

We met on an Olivia cruise. We both have the same sense of humor, and I don’t have a ton of friends who are comics, nor do other comics, I don’t know why but we don’t. So, I think we were just excited about that connection and the idea for a show came up and we thought, let’s see what happens.

Suzanne was such a lovely person to chat with. She made you feel like you were already friends. As a lesbian comedian, it was an honor to interview someone who I have admired for so long. I see why her fans love her. And you will too! Make sure you get your tickets now to what is sure to be a sellout show! Go online to The Parkway and join me on June 6th for this amazing night of comedy.

It's Gabby OK!

April 24, 2024

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It’s Gabby OK! Flying high in the Twin Cities comedy scene. 

Gabby OK is a  comedian and producer who shares the trials and tribulations of her life with audiences in a way that evokes transparency and elicits a fun playful connection. I love working with Gabby!  

Gabby is a true professional and one of the funniest comics I know. Read on to find out more about this comedian on the rise! 

Let’s get right into it. When did you know you were funny? 

As the youngest child, I would like to say I always thought I was funny. But I knew I was funny in elementary school when I made my classmates laugh with side comments while teachers were teaching. All of my report card comments were some version of, “bright student, talks too much.” Do I “talk too much” or is my name literally Gabby?

When did you decide you wanted to try stand up comedy? 

I was put in a group text with another comedian. After I got off the phone with him I went to Target to buy a notebook and started writing jokes that night. Per his suggestion, I looked up open mics and it went well, so I kept doing it. 

Where did you grow up? Who was your biggest funny influencer growing up?

I was born and raised in Vegas. My personality and humor was shaped by seeking the validation of my older siblings. I was influenced by seeing kids be silly on tv and movies. I thought to myself, “they’re getting paid to do that, and I do that for free everyday.” So I guess my biggest influences were a combination of my older siblings, Little Rascals, and capitalism. 

What makes you laugh? 

I enjoy things are that clever and witty. But when YouTube first came out, my most popular search was “babies/kids falling.” Usually kids fall when they are doing something they aren’t supposed to be doing, and that brings me joy. 

How long have you been a producer for Stand Up Saloon? 

Time is a man made construct, but a little over a year *question mark*

What makes Stand Up Saloon different from other open mics? 

It’s a gay bar and we know the gays are supportive and also brutally honest. So when a joke is good, it’s really good. It’s a great way to figure out if your unique perspective on universal topics (dating, mommy/daddy issues, your job etc.) work for with more targeted audiences. When a joke doesn’t land, it’s a great opportunity to figure out how to rework it and try again next Tuesday. 

Who are some of your comedy hero’s?

Saheer Zamata, Taylor Tomlinson, and there’s a wealth of comedians in the Twin Cities scene I look up and learn so much from. Honestly, I can’t brag enough about how lucky I am to get to work with really funny, smart, silly people. 

What’s something you’d like to see more of in the comedy scene in Minneapolis or world wide? 

More women of color. Specifically, so many Black women people have to learn all of or names and never confuse us for one another. 

Rumriver Art Center's Queer Connect and Create.

April 24, 2024

Madison Nelmark is working to create a broader queer arts community in the north metro! 

Tell us about what you do at Rum River Art?
I am Madison Nelmark and I work as the Volunteer and Outreach Director and as a Teaching Artist for the Rumriver Art Center, located in Anoka, MN. We are a non-profit organization that provides the North Metro region with a plethora of opportunities to learn, create, and explore the art-making process. My specific role is to reach out to our community and build partnerships that make art accessible to all ages of any skill. We heavily focus on bringing art into the community through mural projects, library classes, senior living facilities, and workshops at local businesses. I also coordinate all of our volunteers so they can help with tasks around the art center, as they are an essential part of building community and keeping the art center organized.

I also teach art in multiple mediums such as painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, and clay. My main focus is on instructing wheel-thrown pottery to elementary-aged youth. Since I began working here, about 8 months ago, I have also started a figure modeling program in hopes of allowing individuals to have an affordable way to draw from a live model and not have to travel a great distance for an opportunity such as this. By being engaged in both an administrative and teaching role I have been able to see almost every aspect of how our non-profit positively impacts arts in the North Metro and the vibrancy creativity brings to our community.

How has this work impacted you and how do you see it impacting others?

Through the work I have been doing I have started to build fulfilling relationships within the community on both a personal and organizational level. These connections have been a large part of my happiness as a recent college graduate. I studied in Canada and returned to Minnesota after, but lacking a lot of the vital social connections most make in college. I returned to the States with a vastly different understanding of what is needed in our more rural communities, as I was able to reflect on my upbringing as a queer woman here from an outside perspective. 

As a part of my role, I am trying to create safe spaces and programming for queer folx to create art and build a community; as there is a significant lack of social spaces for queer folks in the North Metro. I am hoping by starting classes and events that are designated for queer folx we will be able to better support our queer youth and have places where community and connection can take place.

As a teaching artist, I am mostly teaching homeschooled, elementary-aged youth. I work to be a supportive figure in their life and a person they can connect with outside of their home environment. I also strive to help build friendships between my students. I hope that by fostering a supportive environment, engaging with my students about their interests, and learning how to communicate our complex emotions around art making, most often frustration, they will finish my classes with new art skills and know that they are valued and important. 

I am grateful that this position allows me to have a positive impact on my local area while also bringing me much joy.

You have a few amazing classes coming up! Can you tell me about them? Do they cost money? How do you sign up?

Queer Craft and Create is free with a suggested $10 donation. We have two more sessions scheduled but are hoping to add more as the program grows. These are on Tuesday, May 21st, and Tuesday, June 18th from 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm. May's craft will be pendant and pin making and June's event will be patch making for Pride Month. To sign up go to rumriverart.com and go to the drop-down menu labeled 'Programs' and under 'Community Programs' there will be a listing.

Me and Amber, the owner of Metta Coffee, have collaborated to create a safe and sober social space for any queer folx in our area. We are hosting these events as a casual get-together. I will be there guiding crafting projects for folks interested, and helping attendants feel comfortable when talking to new people. If folks are not the crafty type the coffee bar is open and individuals are invited to grab a beverage and just chat with others there. We also provide free yarn, so bring your crochet hooks and knitting needles! 

Queer Pottery (Q. Pottery) is a paid ($45/per person) class. This class is being held on Friday, May 3rd from 6-8 pm. This class is instructed as an introductory class and will teach the basics of wheel-thrown pottery - so no experience is required!  To sign-up visit our website, rumriverart.com, go to the drop-down menu labeled 'Classes', and then go to 'Pottery Classes' to register.

For folks who think Anoka is just too far away..exactly how long of a drive is it? 

Rum River Art Center is approximately a 25-minute drive from both Downtown St. Paul and Downtown Minneapolis, and right off of Highway 10. We also have free parking available on and off the street. 

Do you need to have any experience?

Absolutely Not! We offer classes for all skill levels and all ages. We teach ages 5-95+, with specific programming supporting school-age youth and 55+ through our Vitality programming, which is offered in-house and in our community. For experienced ceramicists, we also have several open studio options every week. If you just enjoy art we also have relaxed ways to engage with art through our Coffee and Chat meetings, or Vitality Arts Open Studios.

How can folks volunteer or get involved?

If folks are interested in volunteering we have a sign-up genius with our opportunities, this can be found by searching my email, madison@rumriverart.com on signupgenius.com. Folks may also email me if they are looking for a specific type of opportunity or if the posted listing does not fit into their schedule. 

If individuals would like to get involved in another way, such as becoming a teaching artist, they can also email me inquiring for more information specific to their interests.

How can people sign up for classes?

All of our classes can be found on our website, rumriverart.com, under the drop-down menu labeled 'Classes.' In-house classes are divided into six categories: Kids Classes, Adult Classes, Vitality Arts/Older Adults Classes, School-Age and Homeschool Classes, Family/All Ages Classes, and Pottery Classes. Outreach classes (taught out-of-house) can be found on the drop-down menu labeled 'Programs' under 'Community Programs.'

The Veronicas: Gothic Summer Tour

April 10, 2024

I first heard of The Veronicas from my first girlfriend who in true lesbian form made me a playlist within a few weeks of dating. The first song was The Veronicas, Take Me on the Floor.  I have been hooked every since. 

This strong, sister, pop, punk, rock duo has been electrifying stages across the country for nearly two decades and they are just getting started. It was a delightful interview, they called me love and angel as if you were talking to your best friend or sister. Their ability to just be themselves is a gift and it came through so transparently in this interview. I believe them when they say they love the music, they love the journey, they love the fans. They love each other! Please join me at the show and read on to learn a little bit more about his amazing duo.

After two decades in the recording industry, you have made a name for yourself as hardworking, female pop, punk, rock artists. What motivates you to create and perform today?

I think for us, we started out as songwriters and have always had a love for music. We started singing when we were five years old. So, we have always had the passion to create and perform and writing our feelings into a creative space has always been in our blood. I think that just continues on. We are storytellers and we have an infinite range of stories about the human experience. People always ask us: How do you not run out of things to talk about? But I think that’s just life, it’s just about living life and growing into different perspectives and staying curious.

Working with family can have its ups and downs. Has there been a time where you each had a different vision for your next steps and how did you get through it

Making music with your identical twin is a unique experience, I think specifically to us. It is funny, on a creative level, we’ve always been on the same page. There have never really been many creative conflicts. I feel like when we enter a room, even if it is with collaborators or producers, we intrinsically feel like we’re always speaking the same language. Creatively we are always in sync, so we are very fortunate that way. Touring life and its demands can bring a difficult dynamic for anyone. You’re put under many sleepless nights; very small spaces and I think having personal boundaries is important. You learn that along the way. We’ve been on the road touring as musicians for a long time. So, we have definitely learned the healthy way to self-regulate, to take that time for you and in the ways, you need it and how to communicate it. We do often say we laugh so we don’t cry sometimes and that’s life and how you get through it.

I have always loved your music because there is always a moment in each song where I feel so seen and heard and not alone in pain or in love or in happiness. I love that you share an unfiltered version of your feelings in your music. What motivates you as writers?

That is so beautiful! And that means so much to us! So, thank you for saying that! I think our greatest honor in what we do is songwriting. It is telling those stories as openly and honestly as we can. I think what’s motivated us is growing up with amazing music. We loved the blues and Michael Jackson and lots of artists who put their heart and soul into what they do. The human experience connects us all. It’s our humanness, our emotions, our ability to experience fear and fall in love and have insecurity and be able to relate with each other and to feel connected.  We want that connection in our music, for the people to connect to it.

 

What is a typical day at home like for each of you when you are not touring?

Lisa: I have a beautiful supportive partner that I have been with for 10 years and we live in the mountains in Australia, off grid. So, for me I think when I’m not in the matrix and the excitement of life and creation, I like to be surrounded by nature and just be given a perspective. So, when I’m looking at birds it makes sense! My happiest times are with my Dacshaund named Polly. I love to get coffee and sit down with Polly and my husband, Logan and we have these magical birds in Australia, like where we live is actually a bird sanctuary. So, I’ll come down on the porch and feel like it’s an Australian Disney experience. And I honestly love to bake scones, write songs, and do a bit of photography. I stay creative, stay inspired. I like to go hiking and cold plunging in the creeks and just immerse myself in nature to be honest and to just really take some time for myself. I like to have solitude, to do some reading.

Jessievin: A day off for me is similar. It is just immersing myself in nature.  Me and my partner Alex live right on the beaches in Australia, so we walk the beach every morning. We sort of wake up, have our coffee and go for a walk. We cold plunge as well, but in the ocean. Then we sit and spend some time in the sunshine and sit in stillness.  We love to go to the local farmer’s market. I love that kind of slow living, meditating, watching movies and just catching up.

I love your style! Who are your biggest fashion influences?

As far as fashion goes, we’ve always been influenced by different eras of fashion. The twenties had real kind of cool dresses we often alter. So, when we go shopping, we love to rummage through the vintage stores to find treasure, we call it. Sometimes we will find the most incredible outfits because the fabrics and the cuts were so interesting and creative and the textures and everything, they used back then was so high quality. We love to take fashion from the twenties, thirties and forties and alter it for our stage costumes. So, we’ll take a baby doll dress and alter it to be 90’s grunge, but it’s actually a long gown from the 1920’s. We love old Hollywood stars, Marlene Dietrich who had a bit more of an androgynous, strong look from the thirties. She was amazing. I think one of the first bisexual women in cinema. We grew up watching k.d. lang who you know was partial to a pinstripe power suit. Her drag era was everything. Our Mom was the biggest k.d.lang fan so she would take us to all her shows and we were obsessed! And then Chris Isaac where he had a bit of the Elvis thing going on with his rhinestoned suits and slicked back hair, actually had a lot of masc influence in our style. We also love Helena Bonham Carter, where she is almost, naturally, a bit of a Tim Burton character. We love people who take risks with their fashion: Cate Blanchett, Winona Ryder, Gwen Stefani in the nineties. Anything a little left of center. We love Vivian Westwood, vintage Prada, or you know stuff that is made in small batches. We sort of have this homemade, DIY element to everything we like to do. Just last night, Lisa was getting me to make her necklace out of safety pins, 15 minutes before we went on stage. We love theater too; we were very inspired by drag in the nineties. We would go to a lot of underground drag shows and just being able to be free with your self-expression. There are a lot of theatrical elements to everything we do as well because we grew up in musical theater. So, we do have a little bit of theatrical flair with everything we do. It is fun, you know. We don’t take ourselves so seriously, I suppose. We like to have fun with fashion. We don’t really love trends, sort of go against it. We’re a bit counterculture, rebellious.

What song do you love to sing the most and why?

Oh, it is like choosing your favorite baby! It is so hard to choose! It’s a different show every time, because the crowd dictates for us what is the most fun. Last night we played in San Fransisco, and we played this song from Gothic Sumer called Rib Cage and we did a mash up with an old song of ours called Heavenly Broken and they were so into it! It made it one of the highlights for us! Untouched is always a huge, powerful moment, people lose their minds as soon as those strings start. It is an incredible moment. But honestly, we love all our songs equally, they are our babies.

What is the biggest change in the LGBTQ movement that gives you hope for the future?

We have seen it change a huge amount in the last twenty years and actually longer than that because we grew up in the theater and we were raised within queer spaces in that way. We had so many queer mentors in the theater and Australia as well. So, I think visibility in mainstream media and entertainment is one of the biggest, as well as having marriage equality in multiple places. I think there is a greater mainstream conversation, daily conversations between family and friends, the understanding from the Christian community that does  embrace the culture, is huge. There has been a huge amount of social progression and legislative progression and political progression over the last twenty years, and we hope it continues. There is still a lot of work to do everywhere, and I think to see it being celebrated in mainstream media is one of the biggest changes.

What are you reading or listening to these days?

We listen to a lot of the same things. We love alternative perspectives. We consider ourselves free thinkers and we love to learn different perspectives so that we can learn more about the world. One of our favorite podcasts is Huberman Labs, he talks a lot about alternative understandings to our health and wellness. Joe Rogan who always has a lot of interesting people. Expanded Perspectives, is a fun podcast run by some dear friends of ours in Texas. And they talk about a lot of different mythical creatures and stories about UFO’s. We are both reading books on tour. (Lisa) I’m reading Maslov’s, The Farther Reaches of Human Nature. (Jessie) I’m reading Mustard Seed, by Osho. It is the revolutionary teachings of Jesus.

What do you want to tell all your fans that are coming to The Varsity on April 12?

Bring your dancing shoes! Wear your comfy clothes! There is a lot of dancing, and we can’t wait to see everyone. Last night in San Fransisco was the kickoff show and it was beyond magical, it was like something very special was happening in the room. It has been such a long time since we’ve been back here connecting with our US fans, and it just feels like a really special reunion to be there with raw energy. So, we just want people to have fun however they love to express themselves. For people to know it is a safe space for them to be themselves and yeah to wear comfy shoes and just come dance and sing or scream the night away! Or if they prefer to be quiet, that’s ok too. We’re here for our introverted fans. We love that at a Veronicas show. So, you know, even if you want to come alone, don’t be scared to come alone! We promise you’ll make some of the best friends! We’ve heard that has happened many times! There is a lot of love in the room.

There are still tickets left, so get yours today! This show is going to be so much fun! I can’t wait to see you there!

Two Dykes and a Mic Podcast at Parkway Theater! Check out this great show on April 6th!

March 27, 2024

Here’s the skinny: Two besties, two dykes, one mic, one podcast = magical gay laughter! Read on as I chatted with my pals Rachel Scanlon and Mckenzie Goodwin.

How long have you been working together? What is your origin story? 

RS - We have been working together since 2017, I was running Two Dykes and A Mic as an open mic, and on this particularly night I was breaking up with my girlfriend at the time on stage! McKenzie happened to come to the open mic that day! 

MG - I literally thought oh wow these lesbians must be joking. 

RS - But we weren’t! I am much less messy now. 

MG - Are you?? lol 

RS- I’m trying to learn boundaries from Kenny! It’s hard! 

MG- So I saw Ray being funny and in need of a new cohost, so I DMed her. 

RS- I thought for sure she was sliding in my DMs to hook up! 

MG - I was not. 

RS- And it’s a tail as old as time, two queer people meet and love each other and then start a business! 

MG - We took Two Dykes and A Mic from an open mic in the valley to a podcast in my apartment and now it’s an internationally touring live show! 

RS- Our silly little podcast is full grown now! 

MG - I can’t believe it’s been 7 years and we still laugh at the dumbest stuff.

What makes a best friend different from another really good friend? 

MG- a good friend is someone invite to your birthday party 

RS-a best friend is someone you hook up with at your birthday party. 

MG- lol she’s kidding, a best friend is someone who fakes a diarrhea attack so that you can leave your own birthday party to get to bed at a reasonable hour.

What is it like working with your best friend? 

MG- It’s like that scene in Dune where that woman says “put your hand in the box” 

RS- but instead of pain being in the box, it’s another hand, slipping on a friendship bracelet 

Who is the better traveler? 

RS- This question caused a fight! hahaha 

MG- It’s clearly me that is a better traveler. I have big dad energy on the road. 

RS: I have big himbo energy on the road. 

RS- I’m the one carrying our luggage but to the wrong gate. 

MG- I’m the one at the right gate… but with diarrhea. 

Who wakes up earlier? 

RS- Shockingly, me. I’m up at 7am to run a 10k. 

MG- I’m sleeping in and watching a foreign film on my iPad. Wow I am a dad. 

RS- Some would say, a DILF. 

Describe your favorite way to celebrate pride? 

MG- We hate that pride is only in June, so we make every live show feel like pride. 

RS- Our live show is like snorting queer joy. It’s like macrodosing pride. 

Who are your celebrity crushes? 

MG- My celebrity crush is the comedian Rachel Scanlon. 

RS- Mine is also Rachel Scanlon. 

Who do you think killed Jenny? 

MG- Sometimes I think I pushed her. 

RS- I think we all pushed her.

Rachel, as a fellow Minnesotan, what is it like having a show at The Parkway?

RS- Getting to perform at The Parkway gives me chills. Honestly, if the closeted 14 years old could see me now they’d say “wow I thought you’d be taller”. But jokes aside, everything that I do I carry Minnesota and the queer community with me proudly.

What do you each love the most about being stand up comedians? What are the challenges? Do you ever see yourself doing anything besides making people laugh?

MG- I love getting to perform for queer people and the sense of community that is formed when we can all laugh together at something that use to just live in my thoughts. When something goes from a thought to a joke that crushes, it’s magic. 

RS- I love the free mozzarella sticks.

What is the last book you read? 

MG- I’m a big audio book person, the Demi Moore autobiography goes hard. 

RS- I just finished the Bible! It was way sexier than you’d think!

How do you feel queer culture is growing and becoming more accessible? 

RS- Being able to access the queer community and see queer culture through your phone is thrilling. 

MG- I used to have to write with a quill and ink and send it on my horse and buggy to the next town over to be able to correspond with another queer person. 

RS- Lesbians have always loved the written word. 

MG- Technology has just made the process easier, but queer people always find ways to see each other, laugh together and create space for each other.

What is the best advice you have on maintaining a long lasting friendship? 

MG- Viagra RS- Also, edging. I’ve been teasing a story I was going to tell McKenzie for 5 years. I’ve still got her on the edge of her seat. 

MG- Also lesbian friendships are the best, we just wanna go see movies together and talk about sex. It’s as simple as that. 

What is your go to gas station treat? 

RS- We love a Buccee’s pulled pork sammy. 

MG- Good god Ray, stop eating that. 

RS- Oh, and Kenny loves when I eat hard boiled eggs on the road. High protein. 

MG- This doesn’t really answer your question, but one time i put out a fire at a Taco Bell that was attached to a gas station. I just want that to be noted. 

RS- that’s my bestie.

I chat with Nina DeAngelo about all things ROXY'S!

March 06, 2024

What are the top three best things at Roxy’s Cabaret?
Nina , Bebe and Monica ..duh! 
Seriously, I love  the intimacy of the venue.  Our food, drink selection and customer service are some of the best you can find… and  I love the fact that from its inception, it’s the only venue in the cities built by queens, for queens and inspired by a queen (Roxy Marquis) 

Every show I have watched there has been spectacular! What is your secret sauce?
Experience!
I’ve kept the cast small because my expectations are very high.  The three of us have very established careers and have the utmost respect for what we do and how we do it.  I love that we inspire each other to constantly evolve.  If you want to be the best ,you have to surround yourself with the best… guilty by association. It also helps that we absolutely love what we do and I think it shows.  

Tell us about the Taylor Swift brunch on March 24th?
Well it’s the 23rd lol. Hopefully the two brunches on the 23rd will sell out, so we can add another on the 24th.  As far as what to expect ..All Swift/All Day! Our cast will pay tribute to the phenomenon that is Taylor Swift.  There will be trivia.. prizes and of course , amazing entertainment. 

What is your favorite T Swift song? 
My personal favorite is Shake It Off because it talks about dealing with haters and people being in your business. Which comes with the territory when you are in this industry.  If you don’t shake it off , it will definitely weigh you down. 

What can folks expect from a show at Roxy’s? 
Easiest way to put it is… Next Level.  
Like I said earlier we respect what we do. It’s our career.  It’s not a hobby for us. There’s plenty of drag to choose from in  the cities, so we make it a point to be extra…to the point where it’s unnecessary, then keep going.  You will leave our show with a new appreciation for drag and a better understanding of what I can actually be. 

What is next for Roxy’s? Any other new shows coming up? 
That’s a loaded question. There is something happening every night in the Cabaret
As far as special shows , you can look forward to more monthly amazing themed brunches. We have “Dolly Days” coming up the third weekend in May… when world renowned Dolly impersonator Vancie Vega will be our special guest.   

What is your best selling menu item? 
I really can’t speak to the food because it all sells well. I do know as far as cocktails are concerned the “Bitter Old Queen” is a crowd favorite.  Also our Souvenir Leg Glasses are very popular. 

How do you measure success? 
Personally I measure success by the look on someone’s face when I’m doing my thing.  I’ve always said, I never feel more alive than  when I’m on stage being reacted to.  When you can make  em laugh, make em cry, make em feel good, even for just a moment … mission accomplished! 

Where do people get tickets? 
You can get any info you need as well as reservations and tickets to special events at
Www.roxyscabaret.com 
 

Ellie Hino's Pre Release Album Party at Sisyphus Brewing, March 8th at 8PM

March 06, 2024

Ellie Hino’s first comedy album, Soft Bones, breaks down Ellie’s thoughts on marriage, motherhood, and life after the first twenty years. Originally a college theater kid, Ellie found herself dabbling in stand up on and off for over a decade before she decided to put her full effort into her craft.

What was it like creating your debut album, Soft Bones?

It was fast and furious, which is kind of how I do things. It was honestly last minute because I was a procrastinator. I had this show booked a few months before and I just thought, well, this seems like a good time. I might as well make this happen. So, I did. It feels exciting, now that I have a label behind it, Blonde Medicine. I pre record the album and brought it to them completely finished.

What was I like finding out Blonde Medicine wanted to produce your album?

I reached out to them, and they said that they wanted to talk to me. I figured they were just going to have a phone call with me and tell me politely that they were not interested in me. They called and we were talking for about twenty minutes and I said, “So wait, so you guys want to do my album?” and they said, “Yes, I thought we said that in the beginning.” I said, “I’m sure you did but it took this long to sink in.”

You were an improviser for many years at The Brave New Workshop before diving in completely into stand up. How was that transition?

I think being an improviser sort of gave me a leg up with stand up because I really didn’t have to get used to being on stage, it was different certainly, but I knew how to ride a laugh, timing, how to hold a laugh, so that was very helpful.

How did you decide to make stand up your main focus?

When I started comedy I would sort of pop in and out, do silly characters for Boy Kisses or Comedy Corner Underground. After I had a baby I started writing about this new chapter and it was so much fun to get up on stage after such a life changing event and talk about it. One night in 2018 after coming home from the 10,000 Laughs Comedy festival, I said to Casey, my husband, “I think I really wanna try.” I was 40 and I said, “I just want to try and see if I can do it and see how far I can go,” It has been a slow progression since then, but in a lot of ways, kind of quick. I also will absolutely give my husband credit as my writing partner. I like to bring him a premise and then we basically joke around until we find some punch lines and just move from there and that is usually how my writing starts. We used to do stuff on stage together and we haven't in a really long time, but I always dream of getting that going again too.

In your comedy you talk about being bisexual but you are quick to point out to me that you are careful using that label, why is that?

It is not because I am embarrassed or self conscious, it is that I feel I have lived a lot of my life presenting as a straight woman and receiving that privilege. I identify as bisexual. I want to be careful that I am honest AND funny. I am always concerned not to take up space that should go to people who have lived a more authentic queer life. 

Tell me about the line up for your album release party on March 8th at Sisyphus Brewing House!

I have so many of my favorites. Let’s start with Maggie Faris who is my absolute mentor and who I have learned so much from. Tommy Ryman, Abenezer Merdassa, Joey Hamburger, Jeff Pfoser, Ryan Kahl and Ben Katzner. 

I asked Ellie if someone heard her comedy for the first time, how do you think they would describe your style?

Goofy, honest, high energy and intense. 

Soft Bones pre order will go live on March 8th at 8PM at Sisyphus Brewing in Minneapolis. The album will be available everywhere comedy is streamed or sold on Friday, April 5th.

Winner! Winner! Chicken dinner! Join Queenie Von Curves, Andre 1000 and Johnny Lightning for a fun night of Burlesque at House of Cards!

February 14, 2024

I sat down with the amazing producers of this show to find out about this sexy night of entertainment. 

House of Cards looks super fun and super sexy! Tell me what folks can expect! 

Quennie: The audience should expect a night of queer focused drag, burlesque and live singing cabaret! 

Andre: The fun thing about the House of Cards theme is that you literally have no clue what to expect from this trio. It might be sexy…it might be silly…it might be absolute chaos. But it WILL be entertaining!! 

Johnny: The show is a collaboration from three performers who have been at it for a while. We’ve all got our own style and flare and really love what we do.more than anything, this show is an opportunity for us to work together. I genuinely enjoy Queenie and Andre and working with them in this capacity, planning, spending time off stage and on is a joy that I welcome more of. Our styles are different and we really compliment one another. The show is going to be a mix of burlesque and drag with comedy mixed in throughout. 

 

How did you choose this theme? 

Queenie: We were playing off of the fact that my co-producers Andre 1000 and Johnny Lightning are both drag KINGS and my name QUEENIE, but then Johnny was talking about how his style is more humorous and we decided we were a king, a Queenie and a Joker!

Johnny: The theme for the show was really just a matter of riffing off of one another’s ideas during a collab call. A House of cards is beautiful, vulnerable and nerve wracking; it takes great skill to create. You never know what’s going to happen. That is the case for any live show and is one thing that makes this art worth producing and consuming.

You’ve been producing Burlesque for a long time now! What do you love most about cultivating shows and spaces? 

Queenie: I love that burlesque and drag have beautiful individuality in presentation, performance and embodiment. Both art styles easily assist in cultivating diverse, entertaining, and celebratory shows!

What is some of the best advice you’ve been given when addressing body positivity? 

Queenie: Unfortunately I can’t think of any advice I’ve been given, it’s been an ongoing journey of healing personal trauma and hurtful words of others. Burlesque has been a huge part of recovering from and feeling empowered by my body reclamation.  

Have you ever played blackjack? 

Queenie: Never! I haven’t ever played any casino games, I’m more of a game show gal! It’s actually been my dream job to be a game show host.

What excites you most about the work you’re doing these days?

Queenie: What excites me the most with my current work is concentrating on making choices that create joy, working with performers that not only are great on stage but help create a positive and mutually encouraging backstage experience as well! 

Andre: The thing that excites me most about the work that I am doing these days is that I get the opportunity to help others fulfill their dreams. So many show producers have taken a chance and believed in my talents. Now I get to help others develop their talents. It’s very full circle for me. 

Who are some up and comers that we should keep our eye out for? 

Queenie: I’ve enjoyed seeing what Chia, Vivi Diamanté, Raja James and Nikki Nails have been bringing to the stage!

Andre: I’m not sure if you want drag and burlesque names, but a few that I’ve has my eye on recently is: Texas TeaCakes, Jojo Ventus, Pippin Panic, and Hunky Dory. 

What’s next for Queenie? 

Queenie: March 9 I’m co-producing a fundraiser for Minnesota Roller Derby at The Amsterdam called Fanny Pack, Every 2nd Sunday of the month I produce Dr. Sketchy’s at the 331 Club, March 22 will be 2 Dykes Walk Into a Bar with Dick von Dyke at The Black Hart and March 29 is the return of Bare Book Club at 2001 A Space with A VERY VERY Good Friday!

Where can people get tickets?

Queenie: Tickets are available at the door of The Black Hart, $7 cover.

Hey Erin! The Twin Cities Wants More Helen Reddy!

January 22, 2024

The Twin Cities wanted more Helen Reddy! Tell us about your comeback show at Crooners!
Yes!  I am excited to bring the music of Helen Reddy back to Crooners Supper Club with a 10 piece band including a horn section, back up singers and an amazing rhythm section...it's the REAL DEAL!! It was a thrill to debut at Crooners and to have them reach out right away the morning after about re-booking it...Squeeeeee!!!!  I was grateful and elated!

What was your biggest take away from your maiden performance? 
My biggest take away was how much this show is needed right now. It is important not only to showcase Helens amazing talent and broad catalogue of music but it is also for those fans of hers who really need to connect with her overall message. That message being one of hope, love, strength through adversity and being seen and heard. A lot of Helen's music speaks to and of the marginalized in society. And yet, through her music, many of us who have experienced that marginalization, can connect with one another and with Helen's message.

Helen Reddy was an inspirational artist to so many. How has she inspired you? 

As a child she inspired me to speak and be heard.  My mother was a single mother and I was one of the first latch key kids at a time when women were not welcome or supported in the workplace.  I also remember being very openly sexualized as a young girl and how normalized that was.  So, I grew up with a very distinct sense that being girl, feminine, woman, female etc. was just not safe and did not place me in a position of strength or power over my person.  Helen's message in I Am Woman particularly, gave me a voice for the first time. While it took years to learn how to advocate for myself and recognize the socially normed violation of women's bodies and boundaries, her voice singing out a strong message of self proclamation, was a first step for me.

What do you hope to inspire in others? 

Gosh, that's a huge question.  I guess what I would like to contribute is letting people know that they are seen and heard, that they aren't alone.  I was raised during a time when therapy was still rather taboo and certainly not the norm.  There was no outlet for talking about what you were going through.  I want people to know that if they're struggling with something, it's o.k. We all are.  I'd like to normalize being human in all its uncertainties, insecurities and messiness.  This is just who we are.  But if we have each other, and keep talking and sharing and connecting, we can get through this with less pain and even find some joy and laughter in it all. 

What does roaring mean to you? 

Hmm, well I guess first of all in order to roar you must take a big deep breath.  As a singer I know that everything starts and ends with the breath.  It heals the body, calms the nervous system and stimulates the vagus nerve.  These are all good things.  While drawing that big beautiful breath in, we can take a quick inventory, check our message, check our motivation, hopefully check our ego so that our message can be clean and pure. But then, after the breath, comes the release!  Here is our chance to speak our truth, ask for help, practice saying "NO", cry it out, speak up for someone else who hasn't found their voice yet and maybe sing!  

What’s next for you? 

Well, since the show debuted, I have received a lot of requests to bring the show on the road.  So I'm working on putting together the logistics for that.  I'll keep you posted.  I am also starting a new project that will get me back to my wheelhouse...singing the blues.  I am building a small band and plan to be gigging around town with it in the next couple of months. I am also on staff at MacPhail school of Music in the vocal department where I love working with voice students of all stripes to fulfill their best potential as vocalists and creatives.

Where can people buy tickets? 

People can buy tickets on my website or HERE! 

Will Minnesota ever be warm again? 

Haha!  Srsly!!!!  Oh my gosh!  I am such a freeze baby!  Every year I ask myself, "Why are we still here...why aren't we in Florida?"  I swear the chihuahua is my spirit animal...I'm always cold and I always have to go pee-pee.  Oh no, was that TMI?

Love, Laughter & LIT! Chef Roshni’s Food is FIRE! 

January 17, 2024

It may be cold outside but it's warm inside Raag! Super Star Chef Roshni is popping up with a fantastic flavor forward menu--sure to delight your inner foodie! Chef Roshni is a Chopped Champion! She is a supporter of LGBTQ community! In her free time, she teaches children how to cook! I chatted with Chef Roshni about what she has cooked up for us! 

Tell us all about your event at Raag on January 18th! 
I'm excited to be back at Raag for the third time! This time, it's a celebration of the different New Year festivals throughout India. Lohri, Pongal and Udgaadi are festivals celebrated in different states in India. So I'm marrying a menu of flavors from all different regions of India within 7 courses. 

When and how did you discover your love for food? 
Oh I have wanted to be a chef before I even knew that there was such a job title. Since a child, I have always loved cooking for others and seeing the reactions (both good and bad) on their faces.

What is your favorite meal to prepare for friends and family?
I love cooking anything for family and friends.  I usually ask them what they feel for or want me to cook for them.  And they are never shy of their requests.  For me it's a pure joy.  There is no other way to describe the enjoyment and fulfillment I get from cooking for loved ones.

Tell us about your favorite restaurants in the Twin Cities?
Raag of course!!! I love coming here and trying different places and cuisines.  African cuisine is always on my list when I come here.  I think the twin cities is a melting pot of cultures and I always love to see what it has to offer.

What is some of your best advice for beginning chefs?
Follow your passion and heart.  Over the past ten or so years "being a chef is cool". But honestly it's hard work and dedication.  If your heart isn't 100% in it, it might not be as glamorous as you think.  Whatever your passion may be, follow it.

In what ways do you give back to your community?
Over the past 6-7 years I have really focused on giving back to the community and different organizations I believe in.  Usually through cooking classes, workshops and meals.  Here in MSP I work with a non profit called Project Success, where I fly in and do hands on cooking classes for high school students in their after school programs.  I have also auctioned off chef dinners for Memorial North Hospital in MSP.

What is next for Chef Roshni?
"Knowledge is Power"as my mom says.  So for me I continue to learn, travel, write and compete to make myself a better chef and person!

Erin Livingston is excited to bring to life a tribute show for Helen Reddy at Crooners.

October 11, 2023

The music of Helen Reddy has been inspiring and empowering people for decades. Erin Livingston, a talented artist in her own right, is excited to bring to life a tribute show for Helen Reddy. We sat down with Erin, to find out more about this incredible show. 

Have you always been a Helen Reddy fan?
Yes! I grew up listening to her music. I was a seven-year-old little girl running around the house, fist in the air belting out “I Am Woman” at the top of my lungs. My mom, a “divorcee” (whispered in hushed tones back then) in her own way, was at the forefront of the Women's Movement. As one of the first latchkey kids, I was too. My mother was ostracized socially, undermined and sabotaged professionally, and we were pretty isolated overall. All we had was each other and Helen Reddy’s music. Helen was always there for us.

What song is your favorite?
Honestly, my favorite song is whichever I’m singing. It has to be! But, “Ten To Eight” has a special place in my heart. I remember the night that I escaped an abusive relationship. My mom said I looked different and asked what I was feeling. I realized it wasn’t what I was feeling, but what I wasn't feeling. For the first time in years, I wasn't afraid for the first time in 17 years. That was my “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” moment and “Ten To Eight” still evokes that feeling of revelation. I’m going to be okay.

How long did it take for you to put this together?
It seems to have come together of its own free will. I’ve wanted to do this show for ten years or more.  But every time I mentioned it, people would say, “Oh, Helen Reddy, no, she’s too obscure. No one will come out for a Helen Reddy show.” I was so sad but never questioned it. Then, I had an experience last July. I was feeling tired and worn down by a lot of toxic stuff I’d been carrying around. And I just let go. I chose to let go of it all and I chose to “allow” opportunity to come my way. Instead of resisting—getting in my own way, I just decided to allow things to unfold the way that they would instead of the way I was trying to force them to be. That’s when everything changed.
I was inspired by Jennifer Grimm’s Judy Garland show at The Chart House. I had heard raves and I was hoping for some of Jennifer's effervescence to float in my direction and raise my vibration. I mentioned to someone in her band the show I had in mind. It was just conversation, but it lit a spark. He offered to listen to the playlist that I had and give me some feedback. I didn’t think anything would come of it, but two weeks later I had a ten piece band and our first rehearsal was on the books!  I’m still a little bit in shock.  

Why did you want to do a tribute show to her?
Well, here’s the deal. For those who know Helens music, it’s a no brainer. She was sassy, smooth, scrappy, strong, bold, brassy; she was the real deal in every possible way. She didn’t just sing it, she lived it right alongside us. Her story is amazing and inspiring. Why wouldn't she get her own tribute show? Her music stands on its own merits. It speaks for itself.  She has the grooviest, hippest catalog of songs. She covered tunes by Van Morrison, Leon Russell, Andrew Lloyd Weber, Carole Bayer Sager, David Castle, Harriet Schock, Paul Williams—so many cool cats.  
And don’t get me started on her arrangements!! When we got together for our first rehearsal, the musicians, who had just spent a week listening to her recordings, were talking about her amazing arrangements. Our piano guy Mark Asche described them as “sublime”. And, I’m proud to say we are paying homage not just to Helen but to her original arrangements. They’re what musicians like to call “tasty”. And you know what they say. If it ain’t broke, don't fix it.

What is something you learned about Helen Reddy that surprised you?
I was surprised to learn that originally she thought of herself as a jazz singer. When she came out of retirement, she decided that it was her turn to do the music that she wanted to do. And she did a lot of jazz. She even toured with Mel Torme, and she had the time of her life. 

What has been the best part of this journey?
I am flabbergasted by the miraculous things that have happened since July when I just…let go. Watching footage of Helen, either performing or in interviews, she is always relaxed and clearly not holding onto baggage. She is light and easy and it shows in her body. The show may be a homage to her, but I am getting all of the life lessons. Helen’s music was there for me in my youth—as a healing balm, and it still is today.  

Where did you find a 10 piece band?
Well, it was that musician that I mentioned earlier. Todd Matheson (horn player and arranger) is the one who saw my vision and heard the same things that I did when I sent him that playlist. He started out with the horn section, I know I wanted Jendeen on drums and he gave me suggestions for the other members of the band and I started making phone calls. Some of them were familiar with Helen’s music, to a degree, but I think all of them have really enjoyed getting to know her music more. We’re having a really good time playing it.

Helen Reddy was an LGBTQ activist. In what ways do you feel she helped the movement?
Helen had fearlessness about her. She did not hesitate to speak up and speak out when she knew any were being oppressed. But also, the songs she sung, spoke to the outcast with a lens of compassion and acceptance. She wasn't afraid of ugly truths in her music or her life. She faced them head on and encouraged us to do the same. I know for a fact that “I Am Woman” was not just a rallying cry for the Women's Movement as a whole, but also for the individual. I have heard many stories of young boys who at a very young age, knew they were gay or at least different enough for it to be a “problem”. And those young boys listened to “I Am Woman” before leaving the house for another day of bullying at school.  
As a marginalized person herself, Helen stood tall, spoke out, didn’t back down, stood up for others and never took no for an answer. She too was bullied and “accused” of being an angry lesbian for having short hair, being successful, wearing pants, not least for penning the definitive anthem of women’s rights. 

How long have you been performing?
I’ve been performing since the 3rd grade. I had a great music teacher, Miss Dietrich, who introduced me to singing and flute. We had a wonderful grade school music program and I went on to performing arts junior high and high schools. Somehow, my mother managed to scrape up the money to keep me in instruments and lessons and even one summer of music camps. Music has been my healing balm for as far back as I can remember, and I know many others for whom music has played as pivotal a role.


What do you love about performing?
I love the connection with an audience of individuals. I love that in performance, perfect strangers can share the most intimate moments with each other. It speaks to the universality of music and the shared music experience. Especially today, when we can easily feel so isolated and detached from one another, performing with song and story is a lovely way to share space and build community. 

Tell me about the cast!
Oh my goodness! This group of musicians is AMAZE-BALLS! They are not only the sweetest and most generous musicians, but insanely talented. We have Mark Asche on piano who is the funkiest little white boy you ever want to meet. Chris Olson on guitar is very smooth and cool. Jason Weismann on sax and ewi--very kool guy. Larry McCabe one of the hippest trombone guys—he’s been around long enough to have played with the best of them. Todd Matheson on horns and arrangements, who has been my rock when I need one. John Croarkin on flute and bari sax—an awesome World musician and I’m so glad to have him on this project. Bruce “Pooch” Heine on bass keeping us all together. My girl crush Jendeen Forberg on drums—so thrilled to have her on my maiden voyage into this new world. Sarah Jenkins Tinklenberg and Paula Lammers on backup vocals—what a sweet and salty combo of musicality and loveliness.

What do you want people to know about the show?
The show debuts at Crooners Supper Club in The Belvedere Tent on Sunday Oct 22nd at 5:30.  There are special guests flying in from around the country to be part of this. The show debuts during the week of Helen's birthday, which makes it all the more special. 

Watch out, there is a new sheriff in town. The OUTlaw Cabaret! I am so excited about this new performance troupe! Read more about it below! 

October 11, 2023

First show is October 13th and 14th, 2023 at Bryant Lake Bowl! Produced by GG Delish, Borinqueña Bonita and Del The Funky Homosexual. Each show will be unique. The inaugural cast is: Dick Von Dyke (Host), Nadi A’marena, Stella Rockstar, Zetta Laveau and Taja Will 

How and why was OUTlaw Cabaret born? 
GG, Borinqueña and Del have known each other for a good number of years - working as collaborators on dance projects, supporting each other from the audience and/or spending chosen family time together. Collectively, we are all individuals who have been affected by diaspora and we all crave queer connection within the dynamics of these realities. It is very important that our work uplifts BIPOC, Queer, disabled, and/or otherwise marginalized folx needing more space to tell their stories and make art! 

We all come with a variety of experiences in various performance settings and have entered the worlds of drag, dance and burlesque at different times for different reasons. We’re thrilled to have now coalesced to join all of this awesome movement happening in the Twin Cities scene! Additionally, all three of us individually feel a connection to Bryant Lake Bowl, as we’ve all either performed in or attended many shows there in the past. The intimacy and history of the space perfectly suits our mission as an organization.

What does “outlaw” mean to you?
When we were ideating upon what we wanted this show to be (even with rotating cast and crew), we thought of making room for Queerness to be: loud, unapologetic, visibly resistant against patriarchal norms, LGBTQIA+-centered, anti-racist, anti-ableist. We love using art as a call to action and liberating truth-seeking. We believe in questioning any system that says any group of people is superior/more important than any other.  Loving each other can truly be an act of rebellion. We love being outside of “the box” and pushing the envelope!

What can audiences expect from an OUTlaw Cabaret show? 
Essentially, every show is curated to be a variety show that includes a variety of performing art forms. For example, this first show will include artists who are live vocalists, pole artists, drag artists, burlesque performers, and costume makers - and our emcee (Dick Von Dyke) is spectacular at bringing comedy into his persona! This will be an intimate setting full of energy produced by both the performers and the audience (attendees are encouraged to vocally celebrate throughout the night!). This will be a celebration of ALL bodies, identities, and abilities and we hope everyone in attendance feels invited into the work we present.

Why is this an important show to cultivate?
We’ve definitely noticed a certain amount of loss when it comes to shows and spaces post-pandemic. We’re hoping to be a reason for people to gather and find some joy in these wild times. We aim to support and uplift our vibrant, diverse community while celebrating all of the performing arts. We are passionate about creating safe spaces for those who have been under-celebrated. Pushing the bounds of cabaret and fighting against patriarchal rules of art and performance, OUTlaw Cabaret is a body-positive, sex-positive, queer, anti-racist, and anti-ableist performing arts community unapologetically making space for all.

Are you looking for future talent? If so, who should people contact? 
Yes, BIPOC and Queer performers to the front!!! We value relationship building with community, so come say hello when you see us out or at the show. Follow us on Instagram at @outlawcabaret and Facebook at OUTlaw Cabaret!

Why do you love the Twin Cities art scene? 
There is such vibrant diversity in our art scene and in the ways people practice their craft. There is unique collaboration between practitioners of contrasting performance techniques and/or of different mediums. You can find what you’re looking for and if it’s not there, you can build it. We love how queer it is here and the connection art has to activism. Over the past several years, artists have brought about a lot of change in terms of how the Twin Cities recognizes and celebrates equity and accessibility and we hope to be part of that growth.

What are your aspirations for OUTlaw Cabaret? 
We want to build a consistent, safe space for community to gather and celebrate each other. 

Who are your performance hero’s?  
• GG has found so much inspiration by witnessing (mimicking) pop stars - particularly those of the ‘90’s when music videos started including a lot of dancing and theatrical characters. Specifically in burlesque, she is captivated by the artistry of Elektra Cute (Minneapolis/New Orleans), Twirlisha Devine (Indianapolis), Frankie Fictitious (Las Vegas), Bella Sin (Cleveland)
• For Borinqueña, Bill T. Jones, Peaches and Rosario Dawson (specifically in Rent) come to mind. She looks to hold up queer/trans/BIPOC elders and kin who came before her.
• Del loves to talk about how the Gentleman King and Dykes Do Drag family helped him gain the courage to walk onstage. Also, Sweetpea taught Del the meaning of stage presence and continues to inspire and support him today. 

Hope to see you there and please be in touch!  

In addition to social links listed above, folx can:
• Email us (outlawcabaret@gmail.com)
• Check out the TICKET LINK
• Check out Bryant Lake Bowl’s website
• Follow our Facebook Event Page for updates!

TC Cabaret! A Spooktacular Anniversary!

September 27, 2023

Get ready for a spooktacular night of burlesque, pole, drag and singing from TC CABARET at the Gay 90’s! This amazing variety show is ready to scare the pants right off you! Well probably not, but you can bet that someone’s pant will be coming off—in a very consensual and sexy way! I had such a fun interview with Curvee B and Ostara Reign and I can’t wait to see this show! 
 

First things first! Where and when can we see this fantastic show?
Curvee B: You can catch us the first Thursday of every month at the Gay 90’s! October 5th is our Spooktacular Anniversary. There will be a costume contest!

It is your anniversary! How many years has this show been running?
Curvee B: Two years! We decided to create a show and it evolved from just being burlesque, to including drag performers, pole dancers, and singing. We produce it as well with Sin-A-Bun.

So how spooky is spooky?
Curvee B: So, every act has some element of spooky. Only one with gorlesque.

Tell me about TC CABARET?
Ostara: We are all about celebrating the different types of burlesque and celebrating all bodies. We want to make sure we are representing all sizes, genders, sexualities and colors. We also want to make sure that we are giving space for as many performers as we can. We have had 25 productions and have booked over 105 performers. 
Curvee: We are very proud of that. We thrive on giving everyone an opportunity to shine on stage. That is part of our core value, to give as many opportunities as possible. 
We also celebrate fat! I am a fat body performer as well as Ostara. Everybody needs to be celebrated and we want our audience to feel that.  It is nice to see someone that looks like you on stage doing something that maybe you didn’t think you could do.

What do you love most about burlesque?
Ostara: I believe that all bodies are sexy. I love feeling sexy on the stage. I also love seeing other people feel sexy on stage. I want the audience to feel sexy. That is really my favorite part. I love performing and producing, but at the end of the day, if we are making people feel better in their bodies, that’s my ultimate goal.

What sets your show apart from other variety shows?
Curvee B: We have the most lovely, supportive audiences, because so many people are coming out to be supportive of their friends doing this really awesome thing. I think people like performing for our shows because you just know you will get cheered for and we just get to cheer for our friends doing sexy things. 
Ostara: Everyone is invited, though we cater to more people in their 30’s + age demographics. We are at the 90’s so there is so much more space for people to sit and we can offer much more accessibility. The best part of being in the 90’s is if you come at 8:00 o clock for our show, we are the only show going on so we have the place to ourselves!
Another thing that sets us apart is the lifestyle we all take part in. So, we all take part in some way, shape or form.

What lifestyle are you referring to?
Ostara: The community. The swinger, BDSM, ethical non-monogamy and polyamorous communities. We advertise in places where the lifestyle is going, so also a lot of our audience members are in the lifestyle as well. We want everyone to feel welcome and to be able to represent in public however they like and feel safe and celebrated.

Tickets are $15 at the door! I know where I will be on October 5th, and I hope you will be too! Let’s go out and celebrate the beauty of all bodies!

Christopher Street, a new musical from Silver Slipper Productions is coming to LUSH!

September 13, 2023

We sat down with creative superstar and local favorite, Martina Mayotte to talk about this exciting new play!

Tell me about this musical!  How did it come to be?
The show has been in place for about 14 years now. Gabe Gabriel and I started writing this when we were much younger. We originally did this musical in 2012 for Fringe Festival and then we didn’t look at it again for like ten years. This year we were in the right space to rework this musical, and we were so excited to bring this musical to life again. We’ve got a band and amazing costumes and a fantastic director, Steve Ramirez, who has worked with us before and it has been such an amazing experience. This show is incredible, and we can’t wait to bring it to LUSH.

What is the story of Christopher Street?
Christopher Street is set in 1979 and it is about these three young, early twenty something guys who want to go to New York for each of their own reasons, each of them has something that they are trying to fulfill. They think that New York is going to solve whatever problems they are seeking answers to. They end up arriving n New York City and find themselves in the middle of a gay pride parade, which in 1979 was ten years after the Stonewall Riots.  So it is also historical fiction.

We did a lot of research and found a lot of photos and read a lot of books about people in the community during that time and tried to bring those stories to life in this collective. We imagined what these characters would be like. We wanted to show what each of them was going through at the time and to show the audience these sorts of cliched queer archetypes from that period. It is all about the community and sharing strength and understanding and empowering each other.

How has rehearsal been going?
It has been so much fun! We have created some new songs that have never been done before in any of the previous performances. It is so fun to see all the pieces put together. It is quite emotional sometimes, because this musical is our baby.  

What has been your biggest takeaway in doing this musical in its new iteration?
I think that I learned a lot about what stories I want to tell in the future. I think that it was cool to go through this process of taking this story and building it through the last decade.  As a writer I am so excited to look forward to delivering more queer stories.

Why will audiences love Christopher Street?
This show is very colorful. The costuming is beyond amazing. It is a visual delight. The music is super fun. We have a full band; I will be playing the piano. The cast is telling me all the time how much they love the music and songs. At the end of the day though, I think it is the stories that will resonate with the audience.

Returning to roles from previous productions are Rebecca Gebhart as Mama T, Lamar Jefferson as Eddie and Gabe Gabriel (co-writer) as Tad. Featuring a cast of 18 Twin Cities favorites like Juan Keyai as Tina, Emily Throkildson as Julia, Ellie Turk as Sally, Midnightwaterfairy as Coral and the 3 “Midwesterners”: Hawken Paul as David, Joe Sorenson as Ricky and Mike Tober as James. Directed by Steve Ramirez Music Directed and Produced by Martina Mayotte (Co-writer)

 

Returning to roles from previous productions are Rebecca Gebhart as Mama T, Lamar Jefferson as Eddie and Gabe Gabriel (co-writer) as Tad. Featuring a cast of 18 Twin Cities favorites like Juan Keyai as Tina, Emily Throkildson as Julia, Ellie Turk as Sally, Midnightwaterfairy as Coral and the 3 “Midwesterners”: Hawken Paul as David, Joe Sorenson as Ricky and Mike Tober as James. Directed by Steve Ramirez Music Directed and Produced by Martina Mayotte (Co-writer)

$25 tickets • 7PM
QueerCircusMN.com

The Divine Margaret Cho is coming to St. Paul!

September 13, 2023

Margaret Cho had long been a hero of mine. I have always been amazed at her hilarious takes on her life and the life around her. She is transparent, raw, intelligent, brassy and above all else: hilarious!

You were recently named Top 50 Comedians of all Time by Rolling Stone! How does that make you feel and who are your idols?
It’s a true honor and I really can’t believe it. My favorite is always Joan Rivers who was a mentor and a close friend. I always want to do justice to her memory. 

You worked with Joan Rivers on Fashion Police. What do you think she would say about “cancel culture?”
She wouldn’t care about it at all!

You are on the Live and Livid Tour! What topics are you talking about on this tour?
Protecting drag queens and the trans community! Fighting against racism and homophobia! Staying sane and silly. 

What is your favorite on the road snack?
I am a Funyuns Stan. 

You have three cats and a dog. Do you sleep with any or all of them? 
I sleep with all of them and it makes for a very warm and cozy environment.  

Do you dress your animals in clothes? 
Only Lucia my chihuahua. The cats hate clothes! Lucia has many costumes and fabulous leashes and harnesses.   

What is the most ridiculous thing you have bought for your animals?
A ‘casino’ where they can ‘win’ treats by playing. It’s actually a fantastic purchase but excessive. 

How do you treat yourself?
Ice cream sandwiches 

You talk a lot about your sobriety journey with your fans. Any advice for others going through the same thing?
Try to stay positive and focused on happiness. I have a lot of things I do for my well being. Exercise and meditation are key. 

I love your music and songs you’ve written. Are you still making music?
Yes always! It’s a big part of my life and I’ll always sing and play! I just performed a tribute to Sinead O'Connor at one of my recent shows. (Click the video below)

How do you like to recharge?
I just lay there!

Are you reading any good books or streaming anything you love?
I’m reading everything by and about Eve Babitz who was such an extraordinary icon of Los Angeles. Also my friend Jillian Lauren wrote a true crime book called Behold the monster which is mind blowing. 

Why are fans going to love this show?
It’s really funny and fun. It’s celebrating 40 years of being a stand up comedian and I’m thrilled to still be out there. 

Petty Treason Chats Fat Babe Review!

September 13, 2023

Tell me about Fat Babe Review! I love the name of the show! How did you come up with that name? 
Fat Babe Revue is a part of the Take it Off Burlesque Festival! Thursday night is the way we kick off the whole weekend, so its always a blast. Its called the Fat Babe Revue because thats exactly what it is. A bunch of hot fat babes who have come together to show off all their ASSets!

Tell me who is in the show! 
Our cast list is... Lola Champagne, Prance Dashing, Rosie Valentine, Highness Noir, Ostara Reign, VaVa Vashti, Jeannie Retelle, Luma Notti and Honey Bunz. Hosted by Texas Tea Cakes and Petty Treason!
We have lots of local performers, as well as traveling show babes here to entertain! This show, and the entire weekend, is a national community of fat burlesque performers. Ive seen some INCREDIBLE art in past years, and I cant wait to see whats up next!

What will audiences love about this show?
This is the 5th year of Take it Off and our theme this year is Fat Joy. This show, and all of the shows for the weekend, are going to showcase how joyful, beautiful, and fun fat burlesque performers are! Its important to see fat people experiencing pleasure. Fat performers arent just a token to claim there is a "diverse cast". We are artists with stories to tell. We're here to seduce you, entertain you, and make you feel excited.

What’s next for you? 
After the Take it Off Burlesque: A Fat Burlesque Weekend, Ill be with my co-producers Maranda Wright and Sparkles Du jour over at Golden Garters Burlesque! We're a live jazz band burlesque show in Saint Paul. You can find tickets here!

Get ready for glitz, glamour and tassels! The Minneapolis Burlesque Festival is coming to town September 7th -10th! 

August 30, 2023

This is an annual event that showcases the best of the best in Burlesque. There are eight incredible workshops to choose from and a bounty of performances! The art of burlesque is a time honored art form. It is far more than just getting to see some naked people. Burlesque is all about the drama and the tease but it is also all about the funny.

Burlesque is an art form that combines the drama of theater and uses satire and parody to elevate and punctuate the routines with humor and cheeky wit. Pun intended. Burlesque is derived from the Italian word "burlesco" meaning joke or mockery. As a comedian I have always enjoyed the playfulness of many performances and love the multi dimensional performers who are able to play to the top of their intelligence. 

If you have never tried burlesque I encourage you to be brave and take a workshop. A few years ago I took a workshop and was thrilled with the results. I gained confidence in myself and in my body. Even though I never performed burlesque, the skills that I received in the workshop helped me in many areas of my life.

Produced by local innovator Elektra Cute, the Minneapolis Burlesque Festival features four days of showcases, plus additional parties, special events, and burlesque workshops with visiting instructors from around the world.

Gracing the stage will be Twin Cities favorites and a bevy of the best national and international performers. In previous years, performers have traveled from New York, Chicago, Seattle, Dallas, Vancouver, New Orleans, and beyond. The festival celebrates the crème de la crème of burlesque, aerial, comedy, and variety! This event is proudly sponsored by TC Cabaret, Working Class Publishing, The Twin Cities Trapeze Center, and more! 

Were we ever not “infected”? In a post pandemic world, Mayda evaluates what “healthy” looked like before covid. Were we ever really healthy?

August 30, 2023

Or have we always been in limbo between feeling safe and being on the edge of the world. Has the world ever not had pre-existing conditions of racism, shootings, social media addiction, and uncertainty? 

Mayda’s latest release, “Infected”, was recorded over two years – in the heart of the pandemic. Her swagger comes out in the songs Freak, Snq Paq, Gold and more. We all know the unbearable symptoms and the dangerous funky side effects. You are not alone. We love you.

Join the party at the  MAYDA "Infected" Album Release Party!

Tell me about your new album, Infected? When is the release?
COVID was hands down a virus that affected and INFECTED humanity as a whole. For most of the world, it was a new event that people had to try to live through. Even young healthy people were getting INFECTED, Then shit started hitting the fan George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Asian Hate, ... Even though the pandemic was a never before event, America has always been infected with RACISM, Oppression, White Supremacy, natural disasters, LGBTQ rights etc. These INFECTIONS have always been around. The album, INFECTED, is a realization for some or a reminder for others, that humans have always been INFECTED not by just a bacterial virus, but a messed up social system. 

Sept. 15th at Hook and Ladder 7pm. My band, 5ifith House, Diane (host of the Local Show) and YOU (host) right?  

The video you released with Jess Bush was incredible! How did you come up with the concept?
It was a collaboration with Gina, the hair stylist and Carly, the videographer. We wanted to put together short episodic videos highlighting each song. Each video highlighted how the song would be interpreted through hair styling. Snq Pq was a fun one. 

What do you mean, this is your last album? 
I feel that I have really exhausted my name as a solo artist. People change. Breaks must be had. I am by no means stopping creating and playing music! I will still make albums or at least songs.

What are the most important ingredients to a fantastic song? 
A good hook, a powerful and honest execution 

What’s one of your favorite love songs? 
Untitled by D'Angelo 

What song do you listen to when you are sad? 
Right now, "I miss you" by Adele off of 25.

How has your tour been going? I see you’ve been on the road a lot? 
I was driving in Arkansas to Alabama on Hwy 555 around 1:30pm. It was beginning to rain. All of a sudden I felt a push forward. I slid slightly off the road. I was in disbelief. I got out of the car and saw a red Kia jeep or suv with a crunched corner. A young guy jumped out of his car asking if I was ok. It was pouring by then. He said the police were coming and he sped off really fast.  

What makes you happy? 
Sharing music with other people. Traveling to other countries and performing. 

Anything else?
Please come to my show! I would love that. Thanks for listening!

Wake & Shake! A new burlesque brunch, hosted by Petty Treason and produced by Deeva Rose!

August 16, 2023

We caught up with local Burlesque star, Petty Treason to talk about a fun new brunch! Wake & Shake  is August 19th at The Pourhouse! Come and join me! I can't wait for this fantastic show!

Tell me what to expect with Wake & Shake? Eggs and legs baby! Expect a good time! Our brunch features some Twin Cities heavy hitting performers like Tre Da' Marc, Deeva Rose, Bessie Snow, and Kitson Sass, as well as an out of town performer Eartha Kitten! All of us are nationally traveled performers, so we're bringing a lot of heat to the table.

Why is burlesque an important art form?
Burlesque means something different to everyone. My idea of what burlesque is changes all the time. Right now, I think it's important because we are carrying on a legacy. Performers before us paved the way so we could continue to put bodies of all kinds on stages. It's a sexy joy.

What excites you about Burlesque in the Twin Cities?
I love seeing more shows! As my mentor and friend Foxy Tann says "more is more!". Our scene is continually growing, and I love seeing new shows (like this brunch!!) popping up. 

Who are some of your favorite up and coming burlesque artists?
I teach at the Rose Academy of Burlesque, so I see SO many talented new performers coming into our scene. I can't wait to see what they do :)

What is your take on the Barbie movie bringing all of this femme visibility?
LOVE THIS QUESTION! I think the Barbie movie highlights how strong femme power is and how better community can be when all voices are heard. So I am ALL about it. And obviously I like all the pink ;)

Any advice for newcomers to a burlesque show?
Be ready to be loud! Burlesque performers LOVE to hear their audiences cheering for them. Bring dollar bills to throw if you can! It's how we rhinestone our costumes! But overall, get ready to have uninhibited fun.

What is your favorite place in the twin cities to get a sweet treat?
OOF. I have such a sweet tooth. In Minneapolis, I'm really into Bebe Zito Ice Cream. In Saint Paul it's Nellies hands down. Their ice cream sandwiches are to die for.

What is new for Petty Treason?
So much! The biggest project I'm working on right now is Take it Off: A Fat Burlesque Weekender. It's an incredible event where we showcase fat burlesque performers from across the nation. That will be September 21-23rd with shows at The Black Hart of St Paul, The Gay 90s, and The Brass Rail. Deeva Rose and The Rose Academy team that I'm a part of produce the shows and I cant wait. It's our 5 year anniversary this year and our theme is celebrating fat joy! 

DJ Shannon Blowtorch is at it again with some amazing end of summer parties!

August 16, 2023

Power Puff: A Queer Dance Party, Barbie Thursday and Y2K: That's What I Call 2000's. We sat down with DJ Shannon Blowtorch and chatted about her up and coming show! Get your ticket now! 

Blowtorch has been a leader in Twin Cities parties and events and is ready to keep you moving and grooving through the summer. Make sure you check out these amazing spaces and get down with your bad self on the dance floor! 

How has your summer been going?
So far I'm loving summer. Loving life, living the dream! 

Power Puff is coming up soon! Tell me all about it!
Power Puff is a queer centered party Izsie, Duina, and myself wanted to do. I could love working with the 2 of them any more than I already do. We're doing it in a gorgeous space, the Granada Theater, and we wanna offer a cool ass space, with some kick ass DJs. Every month is gonna be different. We like to theme the party and have a costume contest. 

Femme visibility is on the media thanks to Barbie. What is your hot take on this femme explosion?
I fully support this, and all the femmes that were already out here doing this damn thing! I def want to acknowledge the femmes that have been out here long before the Barbie movie lol. 

How can we support female artists better?
Stop gate keeping to the people with that power. Support female artists and support them all the time. Don't expect shit in return, do it cuz you wanna do good and be good and support dope artists.

As one of the best known DJs who happens to be a woman. What advice do you have for women who want to get into the business of party and promotions?
Do your thing! You have a lot of obstacles to overcome being a woman in the industry. Find people that you can bounce ideas off of, and people you can trust to be real with you. Don't let anyone tell you you're doing it wrong, cuz if its working, then its working 

What is your favorite spot in the Twin Cities to unwind?
I really like to go to Nightengale Bar and just chill with a buddy. 

Anything up and coming for Shannon Blowtorch?
I'm always excited to see my DJ children come up and playing gigs as much as they are. I love it! As for me, I'm not sure. Just living and enjoying life with my family, feeling blessed to do what I do. 

Sandra Bernhard is coming to town with her new one woman show, Spring Affair! August 12th at 8:00 PM at The Parkway Theater in Minneapolis!

August 2, 2023

Spring Affair will make you laugh, groove in your seat, question humanity and applaud life as a worthwhile pursuit. I had a delightful conversation with this incredible woman. She was eager to share how excited she was to be on tour again and to come to Minneapolis.

We are so excited to have you back at The Parkway Theater in Minneapolis! What inspired you to create Spring Affair? 

It is a show that has been a work in progress for the past year and a half. When I do my shows at Joe’s Pub, I always write new material and put new songs together. At this point my shows are always a work in progress. They just keep evolving. I write new material. I add in new songs and they just morph into a new and different show. I wanted to do something with a kind of a summer theme. Although this entire show is certainly not about Summer or Spring. It’s just about everything that I am going through. That we’re going through. All tied in with great music and compelling songs and storytelling.

You’re an amazing storyteller and I love that you are always writing. I love the promo picture for Spring Affair with the yellow tulips. Who designed that beautiful dress? 

It was an off the rack dress that my stylist got for me. He used to work for Nordstrom’s and I really liked it and wanted to keep it, but it was the kind of dress that kept sliding off your shoulder. I was bummed because I wanted to keep it for stage but it would have driven me crazy while I was performing.

You are described by many as “outrageous.” What is your take on why you are described that way? 

I think it is that over the years, I’ve gone headlong into some topics and experiences that were at the time a little more taboo. I think when you are an artist and you are authentic and talk about things in a multi layered way, I think that it can be construed as outrageous. I like to think that what I do not only pushes some buttons but also reveals some truths about our culture and myself.

I have always been inspired by your ability to connect with audiences and you have a fierce and loyal fan base to prove it. What is it about building conversations with people, whether it is through performance, radio interviews or just daily conversations with people that excites and motivates you to be a conversationalist? 

I think now, more than ever, people are looking for touchstones. It is just nice to know that you can have a conversation with somebody that you have admired for a long time and love their work. But that they also have humanity. That is what I always respond to and people that I am fans of, when they step outside of their personas and can really be present. I think that is a culmination of a total person as the artist and as the human being. And I think one without the other really doesn’t fully excite me because you want to know that somebody is authentic behind what they are saying as a human being. 

You have never allowed yourself to be put in just one box. Is there a medium of performance that you haven’t tried yet, that you are interested in? 

No, not really. I’m not like one of those people. I am not looking to direct or stepping out of the box in that way. So, I think just more of what I’ve been doing?

I mean I have been writing a TV project with my friend Judy Gold for over a year now. But because of the writers and actor strike, that’s on hold. But that’s okay. I mean it is there. It is evergreen, it’s not going anywhere. It is just a matter of everything coming to a resolution for actors and writers and then stepping back into the arena and getting back to work. I’d like to be on a show that I created and that I have more creative control over and have it run for four or five seasons and have that experience of it being my show, so I am hoping this is the one. So, we will see when things pick up again, how they will play out. 

You are a feminist and voice for LGBTQ rights. What are your thoughts on the antics of the right-wing contingency regarding drag performers?

I think it is all just theater on the part of the right wing at this point. There is nobody who hasn’t seen a drag show or watched RuPaul. It is just so mainstream at this point. It’s just stupid. I mean I don’t think it’s a fly by, but it will pass through and they will be on to the next thing.

As someone who loves beauty and glamour, do you have a favorite beauty or make up tip?

Well, there’s a million things because I have worked with so many great people over the years. But the secret that I’ve learned is I can never do it as well on myself as the masters can do it. And I cannot do my own hair. That is out of the question. I can do the day to day, if I have the right haircut, which I usually do and a good color, it can look cute casual, but there is no way that I could emulate the fabulousness of my hair that a great hair person can. So honestly, I don’t have any secrets except to not over do it when I do it myself. 

Do you read books or are you more of an Audible person? 

Ok, no, no, no, no, no, no. I am absolutely not an audible person. I am reading Goon Squad right now. Hold on, I don’t want to get the wrong title. It is called, A Visit from the Goon Squad. It is a writer named Jennifer Egan. It is a really good book. So, I like hard, not a hard back, but I’d like a copy. I like to hold a book and read it and that’s always something that I will always do. I don’t like to read on the Kindle and I don’t listen to Audible.

My takeaway from interviewing Sandy B is that she is an absolute original, she was also charming and kind. She was present, intentional, genuine and quick with a laugh. If you want to see a show that is unique, fast paced and funny, join me at Spring Affair! Let’s show up for this icon and sell out The Parkway! 

I can’t wait to see you there for Spring Affair! 

Tennessee rockers Paramore returned to St. Paul on August 2nd to a packed house and a new album. 

August 4, 2023

Paramore lit the Xcel Center on fire! Over the past few years Paramore’s popularity has skyrocketed thanks to social media and online streaming services and the house was full of eager fans both new and old.

The night was a giant sing along with concert goers gleefully singing along to every song. The lighting and stage design was a show in itself with moving stage parts, engaging video and of course perfectly timed confetti bursts. Paramour is back at the top of their game, playing a compilation of hits and highlighting their sixth album This is Why. Front woman, Haley Williams kept the night moving with high energy dance and angsty pop-punk ballads celebrating, love, pain and everything magical in between. The sense of pure adulterated love from the fans made the night a celebration. 

Hayley Williams is a star in every sense. From her vibrant hair and glam rock apparel to her genuine conversations with the band and the audience, she gave herself completely to the night and the performance. She encouraged the audience to vote and asked fans to make a pinky promise to use their voice to fight for LGBTQ rights and justice for marginalized persons in our world. Guitarist Taylor York and drummer Zac Farro ascended above the main stage on a smaller stage and gave a dynamic showstopping performance. At the end of the show Paramore brought a fan onstage to sing the final section of “Misery Business.” 

Photos by Zachary Gray

An all fat babe show every third Friday of the month at the Brass Rail Cabaret in Minneapolis!

June 21, 2023

Women-owned, Minority-owned, LGBTQ+ owned and Black-owned.