Local Luminaries at I AM MPLS Rock First Avenue

Colleen Eversman in Proper & Prim

Colleen Eversman in Proper & Prim

Minneapolis is a gem of a city. It's why temporary transplants end up taking root and why life-long Minneapolitans don't flock to other cities. We have an established music scene, a burgeoning flock of fashion designers, incredible eateries with expert mixologists, and a diverse sea of creative talent that spans everything from art galleries to the ad world.

Last night marked the fifth year of Sarah Edwards's I AM MPLS, a variety show that polishes the shine on our little Midwestern diamond in the rough. I AM MPLS isn't just one thing -- much like the place it's named for -- the event combines plenty of spectacle and entertainment in a few hours, showcasing the best of the City of Lakes.

Was this the most epic iteration of I AM MPLS yet? In short: Yes.

See also: Fashionable Folks at I AM MPLS 2014


Last year's event certainly marks I AM MPLS's sweetest point -- Edwards planned her own surprise wedding following the show at Aria, much to the delight of all the guests. This year the party moved to the forever-iconic First Avenue.

The evening began with a quick-but-masterful dance interlude from choreographer John Mark. After introductions from 89.3 the Current DJ and this year's I AM MPLS host, Barb Abney, came raucous laughs thanks to a couple of comedians. Funnymen Greg Coleman and Jeff Pfoser warmed up the crowd before giving up the catwalk to the fashionistas.

Keith Mrotek in Atmosfere

Keith Mrotek in Atmosfere

Each year, Edwards selects a handful of local luminaries, behind-the-scenes creators, and community members to sport fashion from Twin Cities boutiques like b. resale shop, Roe Wolfe, Atmosfere, Proper & Prim, and Litany Jewelry Designs.

As with many fashion shows, the runway portion goes a little faster than you'd anticipate -- a sign of a well-organized event. However, it would have been nice to see the styles onstage a little longer.

Afterward, band Greycoats took to the stage, captivating the audience with their synthy, prog-pop sound. Frontman Jon Reine crooned into the mic, taking a cue from Arcade Fire's Win Butler with a swipe of silver-white paint across his eyes and clad in a matching suit.

The night concluded with the orgiastic, golden fever dream performance from Tickle Torture and his honey-hued backup dancers and band. If Tickle Torture is Minneapolis, then we're all for it.

Swathed in his signature slick of gold paint, jewel-encrusted masks and headdresses, and that barely-there rhinestone thong, Tickle Torture's Elliot Kozel commanded the room -- eyes and ears alike. We've expounded on his masterful stage presence at his release show at the Entry, and he took to the mainroom by the jugular last night.

At the start of the evening, Edwards told the crowd she had just taken a leap of faith, quitting her job to work on her I AM KINDNESS organization full time. With this most recent -- and very successful -- celebration of Minneapolis, it's clear Edwards has found her calling.

The Crowd: Very stylish-yet-weather-appropriate 20- and 30-somethings. Also one mom-type getting down during Tickle Torture.

Overheard in the Crowd: "I saw his dick! And his balls!" "Me too!" "It's not everyday you see a dick and balls!" Oddly enough, this exchange was between three guys... who you'd think would look down once in a while?

Random Notebook Dump: One (lucky?) lady had a lightning-fast impromptu make-out sesh with one of the Tickle Torture dancers from the side of the catwalk.