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The Pizza Lucé Block Party Is Back

Plus a St. Paulite wins 'Succession,' the DSA dominates, and Mayo calls the shots in today's Flyover.

5:26 PM CDT on May 30, 2023

Marcus Metropolis via Flickr|

Scenes from the 2006 Pizza Lucé Block Party

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

Let's Do Some Block Partyin'

After three years off, the Pizza Lucé Block Party is "Back on the Block." That's what they're calling this year's iteration of the long-running block party, touted as a celebration of the local pizza chain’s 30th anniversary. Lucé returns for the first time since 2019 on August 12 with a solid lineup of Twin Cities musicians, among them Dua Saleh, the charismatic Sudanese-born, St. Paul-raised rapper who, unless we missed something, hasn’t performed locally in a bit. (Appearing on Netflix’s Sex Education might have something to do with that.) Indie poppers Bad Bad Hats, who just celebrated the 10th anniversary of their breakthrough EP, It Hurts, will also perform, as will Vial, who just did a fun cover of Nirvana’s “Territorial Pissings.” Rounding out the announced acts are moody synth-poppers Graveyard Club and friendly local punks Supportive Parents. (Three more artists will be announced later.) We won’t know what this all costs until tickets go on sale on June 4, though we know the days of free Lucé block parties are long behind us. This new era of PLBP will go down outside the downtown location, as it has in recent years after scaling up from the Uptown one.

Minnesotan Wins 'Succession,' Snubs Racket

**Avoiding spoilers? Skip to the next blurb!**

With regard to mining HBO’s hit mega-hit show Succession for local angles, it’s hard to top Fox 9’s Mary McGuire; she interviewed a John Berryman scholar at the University of Minnesota about clues within the episode titles for this final season, all of which are pulled from Berryman poems. Yet, following Sunday’s series finale, we felt emboldened enough to track down British actor Matthew Macfadyen and drill the English actor on all things Minnesota that went into his character, St. Paul-raised Tom Wambsgans. It didn’t go well.

Would his Wambsgans character—a conniving, ring-kissing, charmless ladder-climber who became the show’s de facto champ—have been offended when Gov. Jesse Ventura called his city’s Irish population drunks on Letterman? Did Wambsgans ever meet a Vulcan? Where would Wambsgans have stood on the current Summit Avenue bike lane foofaraw? We’ll never know. Here’s what we do know about the Minnesota prep that went into Macfadyen’s character work, courtesy of this lovely Ringer profile headlined “The Making of Tom Wambsgans” from March:

Macfadyen remembers submitting a self-taped audition, mainly to show that he could sound like a Minnesotan. After getting the part, he worked with dialect coach Carter Bellaimey to hone his accent. On set, he says, “I’m surrounded by Americans, so it’s in my head. And I just hoped for the best. I don’t think it was always successful, but I kept waiting to be taken to an accent school. It didn’t happen, so I kind of got away with it.” It’s ironic that the Roys see Tom, a Cornell University graduate whose mother is a prominent Twin Cities attorney, as blue collar. “His parents weren’t miners,” Macfadyen says. “He had a very nice upbringing. He’s just not going to that boarding school in Gstaad.”

Red Fanfare

Here's a story that's setting off the contingent of Star Tribune readers hoisting large-mouth bass in their in their profile pics (I assume, that is, I'm not reading the 500+ comments): Democratic Socialism is having a big moment in Minnesota. The group has been on the rise for a while now—NPR did its big "what is the DSA?" feature back in 2018, while Racket brought you the localized story in 2021—and now, in Minneapolis, its members are gaining prominence, with a number of DSA-endorsed candidates for Minneapolis City Council also winning the endorsement of the DFL. Of course, we also get the obligatory "not all progressives are happy" from the Strib, and that contingent includes Council President Andrea Jenkins, who just lost the Ward 8 DFL endorsement to DSA-endorsed activist Soren Stevenson. There's one head-scratching paraphrased line in the story that really could've benefited from direct quoting:

As for DSA members, Jenkins said their approach to winning is putting "every single tactic … on the table." She cites profane social media posts and aggressive protest tactics that, while not official DSA activity, emanate from Minneapolis' furthest-left ecosystem that includes DSA members.

Yes, yes, gotta watch out for that... ecosystem emanation.

Mayo Calls the Shots

Over the past week, we’ve seen plenty of national coverage of how the DFL-controlled legislature succeeded this year. Here’s a story from Politico about how they failed. More specifically, it’s a story about how easily Rochester, Minnesota-based hospital giant Mayo Clinic blocked efforts by the state to control healthcare costs. We’ve heard plenty about how Mayo quashed a nurse staffing proposal, but Megan Messerly at Politico looks at how the hospital also prevented an attempt to a healthcare affordability board. “Instead of a board empowered to levy fines," she writes, "the bill requires state health officials to review health care cost growth but gives them no authority to set targets."

If it’s any consolation, Minnesota isn’t the only state where hospitals are blocking cost controls—Massachusetts is in a similar vote. So what happens now? Rep. Liz Reyer (DFL-Eagan), who sponsored the health care affordability board bill, says she'll try again. “I’m very convinced actually that as a result of research that is done by this legislation, we will have a much stronger case to say, ‘And now we shall move forward, because we can see the need,’” she told Politico. “If it gives me more substance to use to advocate, that’s what I’ll be doing. I’m not letting this go.”

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