It’s been another busy year for our Local Current blogging team, covering all the news that’s fit to blog across the Minnesota music scene. Here are the ten stories our readers found most fascinating in 2019. Click on each headline to read the full story.
Writer Lydia Moran and photographer Mary Mathis checked out the August preview event that provided an early peek into a high-profile music venue opening its doors next year. The press event ended up making headlines for a statement by a Live Nation executive that the new venue wouldn’t just be “a black box with people in it.” Competitor First Avenue took that as a swipe, and both downtown clubs will be looking to bring their A games with A-list talent this coming year.
Fans eager to learn about Prince’s memoir The Beautiful Ones — published, to positive reviews, in October — learned a lot when literary collaborator Dan Piepenbring shared an abbreviated version of the opening chapter in The New Yorker. The headline of my post was a bit of a tease: it’s what Prince promised regarding the full manuscript, which sadly he didn’t live to complete.
Art-a-Whirl remains one of the top local music events of the year — but since the music side of what’s fundamentally an art crawl remains entirely unofficial, there’s no central site to see who’s playing and when. Simone Cazares did the legwork to help fans find their favorite musical artists.
Even more epic than the Purple Rain reissue, the deluxe reissue of 1999 shone new light on the album that made Prince a household name and was, arguably, even more influential than his subsequent blockbuster. Learn more about Prince’s 1999 era in our four-part audio documentary.
When Coachella announced its 2019 lineup, Colleen Cowie revisited Prince’s fascinating 2008 performance at the California festival. Radiohead’s “Creep” was just one of the songs he covered in an adventurous set: “Prince played not one, but three Santana songs, and threw in some surprising covers including the Beatles’ ‘Come Together,’ the B-52s’ ‘Rock Lobster,’ and Sarah McLachlan’s ‘Angel.'”
In the season when the Minnesota Timberwolves played some games in Prince-inspired jerseys, there was lots of Purple love at Target Center. That was strongly in evidence one night in February, when close collaborator Sheila E. turned the basketball court into party central; Lydia Moran spoke with Sheila, and Mary Mathis captured the scene in photos.
It took a while for Prince’s tropical property to sell, but fans were fascinated with the idea that they could cruise up his purple driveway for a rental price that would total something less than the $10.8 million that businessman Tom Barnes finally paid to buy it. Later this year, Nile Rodgers told Andrea Swensson that the Chic leader helped inspire Prince to plant roots on Turks and Caicos.
You can visit the Minnesota History Center through May 3 to catch the highly-anticipated exhibit of Allen Beaulieu’s photos as well as a First Avenue exhibit. If you can’t make it to St. Paul, you can always pick up Beaulieu’s 2018 photo book.
2. “He was loved and I still think about him”: Mayte Garcia reflects on child loss, relaunches charity she founded with Prince
In one of the most difficult and profoundly personal events of his life, Prince lost a son just six days after his birth. Mayte Garcia, Prince’s then wife, shared her story with Marla Khan-Schwartz, who wrote a moving post that served as a companion piece to a story about how one Minnesota couple has turned to Prince’s music for healing after losing their own child.
Our most-read story of 2019 was an inspiring account of how fans of the K-pop band BTS are using social media to share the band’s positive message of love and acceptance. “Today has been the nicest and most loving day on Twitter,” wrote David Perry after the group’s supporters flooded his mentions with good vibes.