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Minnesota Mourns the Loss of Low’s Mimi Parker

Plus a new MPD chief, Khyber Pass says adieu, and electric pedicabs might be coming to Minneapolis in today's Flyover.

Sub Pop Records, photo by Nathan Keay

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

RIP Mimi Parker, 1967-2022

Sometimes a local music event reverberates far beyond the confines of Minnesota. That, sadly but fittingly, was the case with the news yesterday that Mimi Parker, drummer, singer, and co-founder of the Duluth band Low, had died of ovarian cancer at 55. There’s not much about Low I can say here that Racket readers don’t already know—since 1993, the band, whose sound evolved from an early somber, minimalist quietude to full rock songcraft, then turned excitingly jagged and experimental in recent years, has been an essential cornerstone of Minnesota music. At its center always were Parker and husband Alan Sparhawk, who met in grade school and served as one of indie-rock lasting testaments to a combined artistic and personal companionship. In addition to Sparhawk, Parker is survived by two college-aged children, Hollis and Cyrus.

Chris Riemenschneider has a thorough and heartfelt obituary over at the Strib, while Andrea Swensson has personal reflections here. We can be grateful that Twitter (such as it is) has hung on long enough to collect a number of thoughtful tributes and reminiscences to Parker from further afield as well: Robert Plant performed Low’s “Monkey” to. King’s Theatre, Glasgow, while Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy recorded the band’s “I Hear… Goodnight” for his Substack.

Coming Soon to Minneapolis: Electric Pedicabs? 

For decades, rickshaws/pedicabs in Minneapolis have been lifesavers for club-bound folks in super high heels, families who parked miles away from Art-A-Whirl, and whimsical drunks trying to get from bar 1 to bar 2. Until recently, these vehicles were human-powered only, but Minneapolis is considering amending its ordinance to allow for electric assisted vehicles. In addition, the Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee is looking to adjust the official dress code that “drivers must be properly attired with a shirt, pants or shorts and secure footwear” to “drivers must be clothed and have secure footwear.” That’s a much better bare minimum. Also? Bring on the themed costumes! A public hearing to discuss updating the ordinance is set for November 29. Meanwhile, St. Paul already allows electric-assisted vehicles for rickshaw businesses (we spotted some in the neighborhoods taking people to and from the Fairgrounds this summer).

MPD’s New Chief Sworn In

After getting the unanimous approval of Minneapolis City Council last week, Brian O’Hara was sworn in as Minneapolis Police Chief during a ceremony this morning. The former deputy mayor of Newark, New Jersey’s swearing-in was a “very small, private event,” KARE 11 reports, while Mayor Jacob Frey noted in a statement, “The act of stepping up for this job—at this time—is an act of courage, and Brian O’Hara is exactly the type of person our city, our community, and our police department needs right now.” I guess we’ll see, won’t we?

Major Bummer: Khyber Pass Closes After 37 Years

For nearly four decades, husband-and-wife team Emel and Masooda Sherzad served up delicious Afghan eats at Khyber Pass Cafe in St. Paul, from lamb chops to daal to some of the best chai in town. Sadly, this weekend the business announced that it’s closing. Their last day of service was Saturday. “We thank you for your gracious presence and support over the years, especially during the Covid period, when you sustained us with your take out orders,” the Facebook announcement states. “You have made us feel so lucky, appreciating our culture through food and so much more, connecting on a human level.” Khyber Pass opened in 1984 on St. Clair Avenue, eventually relocating to Snelling and Grand about 15 years later. During its many years, the Mac-Groveland restaurant won a variety of “best of” awards from local publications, and hosted music nights showcasing the local Afghan jazz scene.