Off Beat

You Take It Where You Can Get It

LONG A FAVORITE of your faithful correspondent, the redoubtable Cuzzy's bar is finally being discovered by the world at large. The green-cinderblock Warehouse District institution, which in flagrant violation of U.S. law persists in using defiled one-dollar bills as wallpaper, may be featured on the CBS reality show Big Brother. Big Brother "house guest" and Robbinsdale native Brittany Petros mentioned Cuzzy's in her profile on the show's Web site (
), inspiring the show's producers to send a crew to videotape the patrons of Cuzzy's watching Big Brother on the bar's TV sets this Saturday. If that footage ever airs, it promises to be more stimulating than the program, in which ten people are confined together under the constant surveillance of 60 microphones and 28 cameras. Every two weeks viewers get the opportunity to boot a housemate, until only one remains--and wins $500,000. So far 25-year-old Brittany has made waves on the show mainly for her cuddling episodes with both Curtis and Josh, and for getting into a tiff with the recently banished William. "It is true to form," ventures Cuzzy's co-owner Bobby Goral. "If she's in here, she speaks her mind." Goral says one of his bartenders bears a striking resemblance to the erstwhile William, and he'll be working the taps on Saturday. "In the grand Cuzzy's tradition, we're milking every angle," Goral quips. Noting that Brittany's fellow house guest Jean Jordan, a 26-year-old University of Minnesota student, once worked as an exotic dancer, Cuzzy's co-proprietor John Lee proposes that if she's looking for work, his bar has an opening. It might not be long before Brittany is back at Cuzzy's herself: According to a Vegas oddsmaker, she's a 40-1 long shot to be the last one standing in the house.

Blast From the Past

NEVER ONE TO give up entirely on anything, not even on lost causes, Off Beat has been known to pass the time in traffic jams by scanning the FM dial. One day last week we settled on classic-hits station WLOL-FM (100.3) long enough to catch a particularly pungent whiff of nostalgia, in the form of a promo for Alan Kabel and Lee Valsvik's two-month-old 'LOL morning show. The "Get Me Up With the Music" theme song--a longtime signature of the old WLOL--flashed us quizzically back to the mid-Eighties and the station's Hines and Berglund show. But we very nearly veered off the road at what came next: Tom Barnard's voiceover, boasting that the program has moved WLOL "from also-rans to the number-one station in the market." Whoa! What would possess 'LOL to run a promo by Barnard, linchpin of rival KQRS-FM (92.5)'s morning program? And what would possess Barnard to record such a plug? "No comment, no comment, no comment," responds WLOL program director Tom Gjerdrum when Off Beat comes calling with the first question. Gjerdrum will say only that while the promo has been running since the beginning of the month, he wasn't aware of the situation until last week. As for the second question, KQ general manager Amy Waggoner doesn't have much to say other than, "It's between Tom, Tom's lawyer, and the other station." (She did indicate that Barnard was expected to release an official statement sometime around Off Beat's press deadline.) Meanwhile, thanks to knowledgeable sources at both stations (who prefer to remain nameless), Off Beat has pieced together the probable scenario that gave rise to the bizarre jingle: Way back in 1984, when Barnard was a journeyman jock and an up-and-coming voice talent, he recorded an all-purpose, generic promo to be sold to stations nationwide. WLOL--which at the time was broadcasting pretty much the same garbage that it has been broadcasting in the year since its reappearance on the dial--bought a version to plug its morning show. Fast-forward 16 years. The tape turns up at the new WLOL and someone gets the bright idea of dubbing in sound bites from the current morning show and recycling the concept. A case of the upstarts using Barnard's own voice to thumb their noses at the competition? We may never know. Barnard may have something to say about it sometime this week, but for now the honchos at WLOL are no doubt pondering the bill his agent sent them on Thursday, for $50,000.

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