Off Beat

 He'd Love to Change the World
Everybody's heard Norm Coleman's story about how, back in the '60s, he worked as a roadie for the rock group Ten Years After. But no one had ever talked to the band about Norm. Hoping to gain seminal character insights, Off Beat contacted the L.A. public relations firm that handles the band, which continues to tour and record with its original members Thirty Years After. Did Norm have the heft to tote the heaviest amps, we wondered? When the joints were being passed, did Norm bogart? At first it seemed we'd struck paydirt: Lead singer Alvin Lee promptly sent publicist Marcia Beamish a two-page, single-spaced fax that Beamish said included saucy anecdotes about Norm pushing a mayor's wife into a mud puddle and an unspecified "procurement mix-up." One problem: Lee identified Coleman as a black Iranian. "The fax Alvin sent was a joke," Beamish concluded after a day of investigation. "Alvin wishes he remembered, but he can't." Could it be that Norm--whom the Chicago Tribune identified four years ago as Ten Years After's former manager--never had anything to do with the band at all? "That's what Alvin appears to be suggesting," Beamish says. The mayor, for his part, suffered no such memory impairment. "He laughed when I asked him about that," reports spokeswoman Amy Rudolph. "He said, 'Of course they don't remember me. I was a grunt.'" Rudolph says Coleman hooked up with the band through its attorney, who was a friend of the family; he lugged amps for them in the summer of '69 but quit before Woodstock. "He also drove a truck for Jethro Tull once, and he was an usher at the Fillmore East," Rudolph adds. Still, Off Beat can't help wondering about the mayor's perfect memory. You know what they say about the '60s: If you remember, you weren't there.

Bad Hair Days
Members of the Metropolitan Airports Commission in need of a coif may want to stay away from the salon in their own terminal: Toni Raihill and Angela Fabio are barricaded in there wielding scissors and plotting their next move. The women, whose family has operated the Hairport for more than half a century, were notified in August that they'd have to vacate the premises by September 30 to make room for terminal renovations; they had refused to bid on the new hair salon the MAC wants to build in a different part of the airport. The women compared their plight to that of Royal Zeno, the shoeshine operator who made national headlines when the MAC voted to oust him. But unlike Zeno, Fabio and Raihill--who say they're being discriminated against because they're Jewish--have failed to elicit much official sympathy. MAC spokeswoman Wendy Burt says they "don't have a leg to stand on," adding that "discrimination has nothing to do with what's going on here." U.S. District Court Judge Paul Magnuson apparently concurred last month, throwing out their two requests for a temporary restraining order against the MAC. The women have refused to budge, however, and now the MAC has asked for a court order to shutter the Hairport. "We won't start construction [in the main terminal] as long as they're still there," says Burt. A hearing on the commission's request was scheduled for Tuesday, as Off Beat went to press.

As the Shubert Crumbles
Out with the old, in with the new, Off Beat always says. Over on Block E, a St. Paul demolition company is whaling away with a wrecking ball, on the Shubert Theater's stage house, in preparation for the historic theater's move down the street. Meanwhile, Minneapolis City Council member Steve Minn remains bitterly critical of the fact that as long as Brookfield Management Services' development plan for the site includes a hotel, a restaurant, and a movie theater, the City Council can't review it. He has taken to referring to the project as "a Motel 6/McDonald's with a 20-screen movie theater." Whatever it builds, Brookfield must spend at least $62 million.

Off Beat is open for business and accepting tips. Call 372-3788 or e-mail offbeat@citypages.com with any poop (political or otherwise) that's fit to print.

 
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