Earlier this year, Gimme Noise discovered a prime piece of Prince memorabilia on Craigslist. A woman in Apple Valley listed a "RARE Prince/Purple Rain Stand Up" for sale and the timing seemed perfect. Purple Rain's theatrical release celebrates its 30th anniversary this weekend, and this cardboard cutout of Prince Rogers Nelson on his motorcycle dates all the way back.
Its previous owner said she was a massive fan, and fondly recalled working as an extra in both Purple Rain and Graffiti Bridge. But her impending move to Colorado meant paring down her family's belongings, so the Kid needed a new home.
What cardboard Prince got was so much more. After obtaining him, Gimme Noise propped up this lightly creased but viscerally loved recreation of the Purple One at iconic locations in Minneapolis. He is a few inches shorter than the real deal, but not camera shy. Captured by photographer Tatiana Craine, here are some highlights of our journey.
Grain Belt sign on the Hennepin Avenue Bridge (above) Unlike a real motorcycle, a customized Hondamatic Honda CB400A made out of cardboard is pretty light. During several of our stops, cardboard Prince tried to make a quick getaway, but we managed to convince him to stick around.
Capri Theater We ventured to north Minneapolis to stop at the site of Prince's first concerts as a solo artist on January 5 and 6, 1979. The Current did an excellent retrospective on the theater earlier this year.
Schmitt Music Mural The real Prince had some press photos taken by Robert Whitman at this downtown spot (88 S. 10th St.) in 1977. We found the perfect graffiti to accompany cardboard Prince.
Lake Calhoun No, that ain't Lake Minnetonka either. [page]
Uptown Theater It was not tempting to pose cardboard Prince in front of Calhoun Square or Stella's Fish Cafe. The latter stands near where his New Power Generation store used to be in a strikingly different Uptown neighborhood from that of the '90s. "Uptown" off 1980's Dirty Mind still bangs, though.
CC Club Along with the rest of the Twin Cities' most notorious musicians, Prince's name has been mentioned umpteen times within these walls. Has he ever been to the CC? Doubtful.
St. Anthony Falls Residing out in Chanhassen has its perks in terms of privacy and a proximity to late-night Perkins food, but the majesty of the mighty Mississippi flowing next to downtown Minneapolis is unparalleled. Here, cardboard Prince got brave and hot-dogged it with his bike outside of the guard rails. [page]
Target Field Station Prince is all about the Purple and Gold, but until the new Vikings stadium is built, this will have to do.
Spoonbridge and Cherry Prince released the film Under the Cherry Moon in 1986. Two years later, work was completed on Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen 's iconic sculpture in the Walker Art Center. Just sayin'.
First Avenue You knew we'd have to swing past the old digs. The symbiotic relationship in history that Prince and First Ave share is one of the strongest this area's ever seen. You can't mention Purple Rain without talking about this club and vice versa. Check out our full slideshow to see cardboard Prince in his reserved parking spot inside.
Purple Rain Dance Party and Costume Contest. With Lenka Paris, DJ Espada, and King Otto. 18+, $5/$8, 9 p.m., Friday, July 25 at First Avenue. Info and Tickets.
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