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First Avenue to Voluntarily Recognize Unionizing Workforce!

Plus WaPo remembers Jesse, Mid West Music Fest returns, and weird Wolves Twitter explained in today's Flyover news roundup.

Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation|

Freshly unionized workers rallying Friday outside of First Avenue.

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Downtown Danceteria's Big Business Decision

Did First Avenue and its constellation of sister clubs—7th Street Entry, Depot Tavern, Turf Club, Fine Line, Palace Theatre, and Fitzgerald Theater—want to be known as Minnesota's independent, union-made live music powerhouse? Or did it want to take the Surly Brewing Co. route?

On Thursday, First Ave bosses learned that around 200 service and event staff workers were unionizing with Unite Here Local 17; the union reported over 70% of the workforce had signed union cards. Late Friday, hours after those workers rallied outside First Ave, we asked a Unite Here comms rep whether company ownership had decided to voluntarily recognize the union, thus eliminating the need for an election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board.

"No update there, that’s a question for First Avenue Productions," Allyssa Pollard told us. "Workers hope First Avenue listens to its workers and voluntarily recognizes their union—the company can choose that path at any time."

Per Pollard's suggestion, we posed the question to First Ave, and guess what? They're choosing the path of voluntary recognition. Here's part of a lengthy statement released Friday by Dayna Frank, president/CEO of First Avenue Productions:

Behind our venues are the people who bring in artists and make the concerts magical, they are Minnesotans who recognize beauty and know how to help artists showcase it. We recognize that our employees are a key to our success, and it is why we have continually worked to provide them competitive pay, health insurance for anyone working more than 25 hours per week, 401k matching contributions, and more. So when bartenders, service, and event staff expressed their desire to form a union, there was only one answer, which is why we will voluntarily recognize the union, and are committed to bargaining in good faith. Bargaining in good faith will require everyone to look at the challenges we face as a whole, and how we can strengthen our workplace, incorporate more perspectives, and ultimately move forward together. While this might be difficult, and will inevitably result in change, I am committed to working together to address those challenges.

Hell yeah.

"This is a testament to the love the First Ave workers have for each other, their unity, and their desire to make their workplaces better," concludes a statement from Unite Here Local 17 that quickly followed Frank's. "We look forward to beginning discussions with First Avenue.”

Ventura Shocked the World 25 Years Ago Today

Racket issued a retrospective of Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura last month, but now some two-bit news operation called the Washington Post has published its own look back at The Body's shocking gubernatorial victory. This being beltway media, of course Trump gets mentioned in the opening paragraph. “Oh, he watched my playbook, don't kid yourself,” Ventura tells WaPo via phone. The semi-tedious Trump comps continue throughout the article; Ventura feels shame about providing an outsider blueprint for Trump to mimic, and compares the 45th prez, semi-hilariously, to Charles Manson. But the real intrigue, even 25 years later, comes from reliving Ventura's wild horse race to the Capitol, and the ex-wrestler provides Frederic J. Frommer with some choice quotes. “My people said to me, ‘Oh, you're wasting your time. They don't vote,’” Ventura says of his decision to woo college-age voters. “I went, ‘Baloney. They've never had a chance to vote for Jesse the Body. They'll vote.’ And I went to every college campus, and they were hanging from the rooftops.”

Mid West Music Fest Returns Friday-Saturday

Don't have big weekend plans yet? Might we recommend Mid West Music Fest in La Crosse, Wisconsin? It's one of two festivals MWMF puts on each year—the other takes place in Winona, Minnesota—but both share a goal of promoting the region's rich culture while stimulating Driftless area downtowns. You'll be able to catch lots of locals: Pert Near Sandstone, Motherfolk, Charlie Parr, Ax and the Hatchetmen, Bad Bad Hats, Collections of Colonies of Bees. And that's just a fraction of the performers; dozens of bands will take the stage between Saturday and Sunday. Find the full lineup and list of activities, including a makers market and even a group hike, here; tickets are still available here

The Befuddling Brazilian Timberwolves Twitter Account, Explained

Earlier this week, a Brazil-based Timberwolves fan account baffled locals when it tweeted the following out to 66,000+ followers:

Now, finally, we have closure about WTF is going on, courtesy of the wonderful newsletter Garbage Day, which you should subscribe to.

Brazilian internet culture functions around the concept of "zoera," which comes from the verb "zoar," which means to mock. You typically see it used in the expression "the zoera never ends," which is used to describe a meme pile-on. Gay Twitter is also very powerful in Brazil. So there's this general culture of queer internet camp that permeates most Brazilian memes. There's a reason why Lil Nas X is so popular there. So the main joke behind the Brazilian Timberwolves account, which isn't official and just a fan account that's paying for verification, is that the Timberwolves basketball mascot is a wolf and there's a lot of horny fetish art of wolves online because wolves are the sexist kind of furry (obvz). So they're just posting a ton of that stuff. 

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