Duluth won't be erased

This month began so well for Duluth, Minnesota (click there for complete links). The Ripsaw was back in print. The New York Times was sending readers to our state's northernmost Electric Fetus store. Then the NorShor theater closed this week amid longstanding controversy, and today the Duluth News Tribune reports that the music landmark won't reopen anytime soon. (No word yet where Wrekt Records will relocate its hilariously titled Nobody Listens to Techno rave on August 20. This weekend's benefit for the the NorShor itself has been canceled.)

The cultural ecosystem of Minnesota's coolest city is fragile, forever at the mercy of collective energy, economic woe, and personal mood swing. So let's turn to the good news about Duluth for a minute. Scott Starfire, of the essential group blog Perfect Duluth Day and his own Le Garage video blog, has joined forces with Chuck Olson, of the equally essential MNSpeak.com and his own Blogumentary, to launch the new MNStories.com, a video blog about MN culture. Yesterday featured a short Starfire documentary about Duluth cartoonist Chris Monroe, whose Violet Days strip appears every Friday in the print edition of the Star Tribune. Violet Days also appears in the print edition of the city's newish weekly xerox publication Transistor, which was launched last year out of the offices of the Ripsaw, and is hosted online by Perfect Duluth Day, which also links the columns of Ripsaw/Transistor scribes Paul Lundgren and Mark Lindquist. (Slim Goodbuzz maintains his own boozy site, meanwhile, with columns appearing in Transistor's print version.)

Even without the NorShor, there are plenty of musical reasons to visit Duluth: Transistor throws a party this Saturday at Mama�s Bar (1019 Ogden Avenue, Superior, Wisconsin, 715.394.3004) headlined by the Redemption Gospel Choir (a new band featuring Alan Sparhawk) and hick-hoppers Crew Jones. There's always good music at Pizza Luce and Fitger's Tap Room. And next month another good club, Beaner's Central, holds its own week-long music festival (September 19-24) with plenty of great groups, including the Alrights. I recommend staying here, going here, and eating here if you road-trip. Rock on, Duluth.

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