Oarfolkjokeopus Tests Nuclear Device in Store on Lyndale Avenue

"MERCURY IS RETROGRADE." That's what the hippie fringe of my social set has been intoning with celestial solemnity these past few weeks. Every time I make some routine mistake, they suggest this cosmic occurrence by way of explanation. So what if I mailed my rent check to my student-loan officer and my loan money to my landlord? So what if my personal conversations have sounded about as lucid as Mike Tyson on Vicodin? The fault lies not in our stars, but in ourselves, dig?

Then again, Mark Trehus must certainly feel pretty damn star-crossed these days. Trehus is currently the manager of the CD and record store Oarfolkjokeopus. He will take over as the owner of Treehouse Records on April 1. Now, here's the tricky part, so follow carefully. Aside from the name change and the new ownership, Oarfolk and Treehouse are the same store. Trehus is buying the building from the present owner, Vern Sanden, but not the name. (Seems the price for the latter was too steep.)

Unfortunately, Trehus has been a victim of a misleading newspaper headline. Any writer can sympathize. Pity the poor scribe, slaving for hours honing her copy in order to come up with a refined take on a complex subject, only to have some editor slap a pithy, reductive headline up top that might be misleading. Harried and hurried readers glance at the head and move on, not always aware what might have been said in the meat of the story.

"Two independent record stores to close," warned the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Tuesday, February 6. "Two record-store names will disappear in Minneapolis," announced the Star Tribune a day later. Each story (by Jim Walsh and Jon Bream, respectively) got the facts right. Terry Katzman's Garage D'Or Records at Lyn-Lake will be closing within a few months, which certainly is sad news. But Oarfolkjokeopus, on the corner of 26th and Lyndale, is merely undergoing a revamp. Yet, by pairing these two stores, these stories apparently gave many readers the impression that both would close.

Among those mistaken readers was apparently someone at MPR: Newscasters there picked up on this spurious info and announced that Oarfolk was finished. A DJ at Radio K echoed this obituary. But the biggest announcement came at First Avenue on Friday. The Honeydogs put a new twist on "Rumor Has It" when Adam Levy lamented the demise of Oarfolk from the stage.

And so, for the past week, Trehus has been busy assuring frantic customers that his store is not closing. He has also had to battle still more far-fetched rumors. Some folks were even convinced that Trehus was opening a new store in the Garage D'Or space.

"Terry and I have known each other for 20 years," says Trehus. "How odd is it that the very same day I tell him the circumstances under which I'm buying the store, he tells me he's closing?"

So, to cap things off: Garage D'Or is closing. Oarfolk is not. Oarfolk will be renamed Treehouse on April 1. It is not moving to the Garage D'Or space. It is staying put. Got it?

Rave On

FOR ABOUT A month now, visitors to local dance-music Web sites MNRave and its upstart rival thevibe have discovered that the two sites joined forces to create Mnvibe.com. Brian Nordman, who started thevibe.com last July, reports that the two sites had been working on this plan since New Year's. "We thought it would be a good idea to pool resources," he explains. "We did have similar content already."

The combined site plans to devote more attention to local DJs by disseminating contact information and creating a flow of information and dialogue that's above the chat-room "Are you a girl? What are you wearing?" norm. Examine, for instance, this inaugural back-and-forth between Sam and Code:

 

Sam: Yo! I got the first post!

Sam: And I got the second post!

Code: But who, may I ask, has the third?

Sam: You my friend.

Code:...and don't you forget it.

 

The current demonization of the local rave scene by many mainstream journalists, who seem to ignorantly equate raves with rampant drug use and all manner of licentiousness, has grown absurd. And the step-up in police raids (see "Party Over") has created an air of heightened concern at the Web site.

In short, the electronic dance scene would seem to need its own forum now more than ever. Like so many subcultures before, this crew has learned not to hate the media, but to become the media.

 
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