Off Beat

Ill Liquid

WHEN LAST WE checked in with Ed Rice, the executive director of the recently formed Minnesota Council for the Performing Arts was hopeful he could work with city officials to continue staging raves at his north Minneapolis warehouse space. Rice's January 26 edition of "Liquid Fridays" had been abruptly shut down shortly before midnight by a cadre of Minneapolis police officers who made several arrests and confiscated gate receipts and drugs (see Leyla Kokmen's "Party Over," February 21). But last week the city council quashed Rice's dream that the glow sticks might light up Liquid once more: On March 2 the council voted 11-0 (with one abstention and one absence) to deny Rice's application for an entertainment license. The council also directed the city's Licenses and Consumer Services division to pursue an injunction against Rice, in order to prevent any further Liquid-ation. (Ironically, as a registered nonprofit, Rice's organization had never required the entertainment license--though, according to city officials, it did need a dance hall license, which Rice hadn't applied for.) Meanwhile, Minneapolis police are now hedging on the "$10,000" worth of Ecstasy recovered at the rave. According to Lt. Marie Przynski of the Fourth Precinct (where Liquid is located), subsequent scrutiny tallied 83 Ecstasy tablets. If, as Przynski estimates, the tabs were going for $30 apiece (and if Off Beat's calculator is up to the task), the total value would be $2,490. In addition, Przynski says, officers found 42 hits of LSD (pegged at $10 to $15 apiece), several canisters of nitrous oxide, and a tad less than an ounce and a half of marijuana. According to police, that would bring the drug-value total into the $3,000-to-$4,000 range. When our little calculator totes that up along with the $6,000 in cash that was confiscated (mainly from Liquid's till)--voilà!--we come up with the original, over-Ecstatic $10,000 figure.


Fun with Flacks

ON A SLOW day last week, Off Beat called Pioneer Press publisher Rick Sadowski to jawbone about rumors we'd been hearing that Knight Ridder Inc.'s St. Paul outpost may be trimming its workforce. A little while later we get a call back from communications manager Pat Effenberger. Are jobs on the chopping block? we ask innocently. "As you know from reading our paper and others, public businesses everywhere are taking steps to respond to the changing economy," Effenberger offers. And, um, what might those steps be? "We have made a number of budget-related changes to adjust our budget to accommodate the economic downturn and to respond to changing economics," Effenberger ventures. Perhaps we aren't making ourselves clear: What might those "budget-related changes" be? "I do not have at my disposal any more information than I have given you," Effenberger replies. "I'm a communicator, not an accountant." No need to get huffy. Is there someone else there who might be able to provide that information? "I'm happy to answer your questions," says Effenberger. "I think I have answered them frankly and forthrightly." Whatever. In the end Effenberger lets slip a few nuggets: One staffer has been laid off, but the company is looking for "other opportunities" at the paper for that individual. Some jobs have been "left open" when employees have retired or departed for greener pastures. "Staffing for local reporting is totally unchanged," Effenberger asserts helpfully, only to add that she doesn't know whether editorial positions may have been eliminated elsewhere. Calls to Pi Press editor Walker Lundy were not returned by press time.


Split Personality

SOMETIMES IT DOESN'T pay to read both dailies. From the Star Tribune's review of The Mexican, by Jeff Strickler: "[James] Gandolfini is playing the same character he plays on TV: the thug with a soft heart." From Chris Hewitt's Pioneer Press review of same: "The Mexican has a handful of zesty supporting parts...led by Gandolfini as a mobster much different from Tony Soprano."