Hudson Wisconsin Nightlife

Crack open a cold one to salute Swanee’s ice road Swan Song

December 2nd, 2014

After about 25 years of plowing a three-lane wide trail dubbed The Ice Road across one of the wider parts of the St. Croix River, Dave “Swanee” Swanson needed a break, as he wanted his truck that is getting rusty to last a few more years. This said, you might need to see him instead with a different kind of vehicle — at the classic car shows held every other Saturday throughout the summer in North Hudson across from Kozy Korner, although he’s scaled back some of that activity, as well.
It’s not exactly a clean break for him, however. He still plowed the icy route once last year, after being hampered by rough conditions, and twice the previous year, to help people who among other things want to get places where they can crack open a cold one in their ice shanty, and also listen to some cool tunes. The locals say that much of the work may be taken over by Andersen Windows, across the river in Bayport.
The road serves lots of winter recreation enthusiasts, especially the ice fishermen, but its main purpose has been enabling workers from the Hudson side to get to Andersen for one of its three shifts, some more easily traveled then others. And oh, there is that small racetrack that’s been set-up nearby.
Around this time of year, Swanson determines when the road is safe to be plowed by talking to more than the state Department of Natural Resources, but also people wanting to get on the frozen river — lots of them. A key place to get information is right at the start of the ice at Ferry Landing Park in North Hudson, where some of the fishers put their shanties only 30 feet from shore, at a juncture where the river already is 30 feet deep. He notes that there is a gas pipeline underneath, a spring on the Minnesota side and also the power plant there that keeps some water open when the boilers are at work. Things like Christmas trees are propped up and used as safety markers, to show where it is safe for his plow and truck to go.
“It’s never the same at any place all the way across,” Swanson said.
One person who knows this is one of his friends from Stillwater, who for years has used his own method and picks either the Minnesota side or the Wisconsin side near Hudson, then ventures out and sets up his shanty.

It’s cold, so get your teeth into black vampire garb, not Little Black Dresses

November 7th, 2014

Sexy was out at the costume parties at nightclubs last weekend, mostly because it was downright frigid outside.
With little opportunity to show skin, what took over was not BEING IN costume, but BEING YOUR costume. In other words, using your get-up to be totally in character and making your mark on the downtown scene that way.
– The best example of the previous trend was the tall elf-like guy who was displaying the sign Gnomes Against Gardens, then breaking into a speech to whoever would listen about how gnomes are people too (well sort of), and are much more than a decoration amidst the flowers.
– There was one other prime example of the trend, if it wasn’t so creepy. OK, that was the point. This guy in a bathrobe, who was about the age and clothing style of Hugh Hefner, would amble up to groups of women, lean forward and stick his somewhat balding head into the midst of their conversation. He was a hoot! Although he stayed in character so well that one has to wonder if he is really that way. (He did apparently parlay that into a date, as he was out on the dance floor later with a young lovely).
– And then there were the two golden painted pros, from head to foot, who were carrying a like-colored baseball bat and tennis racquet and went as a couple. Meanwhile, at the bar, Harry Potter was wielding his own weapon, tapping his wand on Batman’s nose. I don’t know how that would fit in with a bouncer friend’s rule, concerning if you can bring in a fake gun or say a Viking ax as a prop, that hey, if you wouldn’t want to be bopped on the noggin with it, leave it at home.
– Down the aisle was a big Play Dough container, with a woman inside, who was in a costume complete with an almost three-foot-wide lid balanced on her head.
– The main exception to the non-sexy rule was a woman who dressed up as Miss Murica on Friday night, being ready for the swimsuit competition, and a mermaid on Saturday night, complete with a long tail that made it hard to walk — and little else.
– Don’t forget that other woman, with a Twister board game propped on her hip and a costume where she was being grabbed all over by a number of little ghouls.
– As part of her costume, a bartender at Pudge’s wore some very big black boots. She even thrust one leg up on the bar counter to show just how large they are. How long would she have the foot stamina to keep them on? Apparently there was an online debate. Meanwhile, across the way, her vampire co-worker was showing patrons something else, that one of her pointed teeth has fallen out.
– In an odd case of synergy, two different bartenders on the same shift at the Smilin’ Moose were wearing corsets as part of their costumes. Inquiring minds want to know if they called each other beforehand to check what the other was wearing.
– Inquiring minds also might want to know how far this was taken: A vampire on the dance floor was twirling her more-than-foot-long whip, (Was DEVO being played by the DJ?), and occasionally giving a back a light slap.
– Ginger update! Ginger update! As was first reported here, and nowhere else, one of the Two Gingers that are displayed to push Irish Whiskey via a bathroom sign, had freckles drawn on her and a few days later was cleaned up. However, just in time for Halloween, the prankster was back, drawing dots on the faces of both women!
– Just how Wisconsin savvy are you? The DJ at the Smilin’ Moose said repeatedly, with the onset of the Daylight Savings Time change, that hey know how to do it up right on this side of the river. He added, also repeatedly, that here rather than in Minnesota, the bars get to stay open another hour because of the switch. However, he said, that makes for a 3 a.m. closing. Hey, wouldn’t that be three-thirty, since this is a weekend? Or do they have so many patrons, they have to push people out the doors early?
– Lastly, Prince was on Saturday Night Live, with a record eight-minute performance, sporting a huge afro that could only be matched in size by the one seen at Dick’s Bar and Grill that was a big as a beach ball, and this all happened before Halloween. And again for Terry at Dick’s, you were noticeable by your absence of a Prince costume at Friday night’s party.

Belly-me-up my fave, a black and orange drink, said the Wolfman

October 31st, 2014


I don’t know if it was Ebola or a Halloween beastie, but my computer had a meltdown, getting back on board just in time to list the sights and sounds of the haunted holiday. What follows on this page are local happenings, many with a Halloween theme, and for the lowdown on the many parties in town, see the Picks of the Week page.
– Halloween decorating season has been in full swing all month, and a prime example are the fake blood stained signs on the doors at Dick’s Bar and Grill, to places like the back patio and bathrooms. They have wording like “keep out” or “help,” written in the dripping red stuff that runs as long as a detached femur. There also is a sign hanging from the ceiling with similar wording, simply “asylum,” that the other night was being blown around spookily by a nearby air conditioner. In back were many spider webs clinging so closely to areas where there were tables, people couldn’t possibly escape.
– One place they might try to take refuge is the Green Mill, where patrons on the night before the holiday were being queried about what’s their favorite black and orange drink concoction. But back at Dick’s, bartender Matt had a handle on how he’d meet the establishment’s rule that servers be in costume. Hey, he figured, for me being dressed up is throwing on a suit, so that’s what I’ll do. I wondered aloud if he was going to loosen the tie a little, but was told it was going to be a clip-on. Meanwhile, bartender Terry was contemplating how he could possibly top last year’s Prince costume.
– Ghosts and ghouls were out in force last Saturday night as a trial run for the costume parties that will be held virtually everywhere starting six days from then. At Dick’s, there was a quartet of movie characters in the main room as early as 10 p.m.
– Bartender Whitney at Pudge’s has Halloween off, but that isn’t keeping her from dressing up in a manner appropriate to her job, as an old time saloon girl. Another decision with such reasoning is someone’s plan to meet the requirements of a scary facial hair theme by getting in a get-up like Van Gogh.
– With Halloween near, two groups of young people could be seen after hours running across the hood and roof of cars. Seems to me like that’s an indication of more zombie activity.
– I’ve toyed with the idea of providing a “deer death wish rating” for the trek from Hudson to Houlton to get to Guv’s Place, somewhat like the government’s color-based alert for terrorist activity. A recent weekend would have to have registered an orange, as there were four deer seen in ditches in three different places along a four-mile stretch. Plus that, at the intersection with Hwy. V, there was a streak of road kill blood as long as several zombies placed back to back to back. Yes, Virginia, Halloween must be near.
– With that said, there is an even more spooky site as you trek by St. Croix Street to go toward the Willow River Saloon. A homeowner who is remodeling the entire facade of his residence has turned it into a literal house of horrors with creepy decorations.
– And even more potentially scary is the alleged $100 million referendum for things such as a new high school. Two groups of three business cards were propped into the side of a freestanding bathroom ad poster, directly across from an ad for a part-time firefighter (interesting choice of posting place). And, at eye level at the urinal nextdoor, there was an Irish Whiskey ad for 2 Gingers that had one of the women’s face covered with drawn-in freckles. Alas, just in time for the Nov. 4 vote, her face has been fixed to be no longer defaced, rather fresh-faced again.
– Bartender Shalice is used to being in front of the camera as a model, but never before during an NFL football broadcast. She was in the front row at a Houston Texans home game, and was so prominently shown on an ESPN clip that some of her patrons at Guv’s Place in Houlton couldn’t help but noticing and pointed it out to her.
– It takes a lot to mistake pop music for hard rock, but apparently a radio deejay on KQ92 playing tunes for partiers on a recent weekend wasn’t up to the task. He thought he had started to begin playing the Beatles and announced it as such, then caught his mistake and noted it was actually AC/DC: Oh well, not that much different, he corrected. I wonder if they’ve ever had the same problem at the Smilin’ Moose, where an old AC/DC video recorded across the water is the only thing that ever differs much from Rihanna, etc.
During a recently broadcasted interview with Paul McCartney, KQ noted it has the largest song library “on the planet.” Sir Paul might add, what about on “Venus and Mars.” They might not be all right tonight with being excluded.
– Vikings gifts don’t always go over, as came to light early in the NFL season. Even though she’s a native Minnesotan and diehard fan of the North Stars back in the day, who would go to virtually every game — as well as following the Twins but not the Vikings — bartender Sue at the Village Inn used to get plenty of purple each Christmas. Her tree ended up being full of that, rather than red and green. The trend ended, she said, when she got a pair of Packer boxer shorts.
– Seen sitting at the Green Mill counter was a (much) younger and hotter version of the late Joan Rivers, even when you take into account all of the comedian’s plastic surgeries. I felt like using the pickup line, “Can we talk?” And while on the subject of celebrities whose number is being retired, for various reasons, does anybody else think that bartender and bouncer Terry at Dick’s looks like Jerek Jeter (again younger)?
– People from all over like the sports bars here, and not just for one of the major sports at a time. A woman who was raised in Annapolis was in Buffalo Wild Wings wearing a Baltimore Ravens jersey and cheering on her post-season Orioles. She said her husband had been a hockey coach at a major Twin Cities university, but then stepped down and started a hockey-themed business in the metro. So why did she end up in Hudson? Her husband was over at the nearby ice arena doing business and she was killing time, adding that back in Maryland, hockey is big to the north and south, but right there the sport of choice is field hockey or lacrosse, which she played in high school.
– After years of quality service, bartender Kylee has stepped down from the Green Mill, where she has been a fixture. So I have to take this last opportunity to tell a slightly embellished tale about her. One night, a male patron was doing his best to get her phone number. I need to note here that I am a member of the establishment’s e-club, which means I log-in by jotting down my own phone number every time I get a receipt. Thus, I was tempted to tell the smitten patron, “Good luck. I’ve given Kylee my number scores of times, and she’s never called me!” All kidding aside, we’ll miss you Kylee.

From baseball pitching, to bar darts and umping, she bests the guys

September 19th, 2014

If you hang out at Guv’s Place in Houlton, you’re likely to come across a former baseball pitcher who like some chooses to throw underhand in darts, but has the same fastball that breaks off their tips.
Oh, one thing. It’s a she.
Near the start of her sporting career, Lisa Segelstrom excelled at being a baseball chucker (overhand), to start a series of decades where she made a name for besting the guys.
These days, Segelstrom, 50, of Somerset, continues in that mode by going beyond umpiring in things like slo-pitch leagues; rather in more competitive contests like under-18 mens baseball, in the Hudson area and the Twin Cities suburbs. She does it all as an ump for all kinds of leagues.
A difference she cites is that she gets to wear the full gear such as a mask. Segelstrom says one thing she enjoys about it is — despite being a woman in a predominantly man’s activity — she gets to be in charge and tell the guys what the call is.
Segelstrom entered tryouts and was a first round pick, as an overhand pitcher, in an effort to establish a regional team for a veritable League Of Their Own. The Women’s National Adult Baseball Association was to be based in California and have a Twin Cities franchise, for which she would play, and up to seven other teams across the country. Segelstrom had the ability to blow a fastball by you and also hit the corners with her pitches, just like other Big League pitchers, and she even had a “hovering knuckleball.”
During tryouts, held at Bryn Mawr Park in Minneapolis, she was featured in a four-column photo on the front sports page for the Minneapolis-based Star-Tribune. Segelstrom, who’s tall and angular and lean — to a degree where some call her “spiderwomen” — was shown on the mound uncorking a pitch, with about a dozen other hopefuls behind her. In all, thirty women tried out that day.
That was 20 years ago. That particular part of the dream, before the umpiring, was shortly-lived however. First, a lack of numbers meant that the Twin Cities franchise folded. Second, Segelstrom was in a car crash and suffered several broken leg bones, so her playing days, throwing either overhand or underhand, were cut short. She’d have to show ‘em how to do it from behind the plate, again, while wearing a mask.
“There has been no other (such women’s league) till this day,” she said, adding that teams continue in California and Texas, where she was tempted to move. “That (discontinuation) was heartbreaking for me.”
Segelstrom says that some other farm league players, over the years, have told her she is their idol. The most vocal of that group, Dan King, plays for the Minnnesota Senators, a 35-and-over amateur baseball team that’s only a step down in prominence from the St. Paul Saints.
“She’s a baseball player and I’m a baseball player. She’s an umpire and I’m an umpire,” King said about how he met Segerstrom, who he added is heads and tails above anyone else in her situation. “She has a high skill level, much better than most. And she really hustles to make the calls.”
In fact, Segelstrom got King his first umpiring job, and she soon may add umping games for his league to her repetoire. She has done things in the sport that few if any women have done in the region, King added.

From Sun Mountain and multi-faceted, he doesn’t fiddle away the time

September 9th, 2014

It’s one of the most prized concerts of each year, and despite a hint a couple of years ago that he might be retiring, the band plays on when led by Dick Solberg, the Sun Mountain Fiddler.
Solberg and the group that accompanies him play an annual gig at Dick’s Bar and Grill, usually in the late summer or fall, when they pass through on their yearly national tour that starts in their home base out on the coast. (They were just back in town). It is typically their only stop in the western Wisconsin and Twin Cities area, an arrangement forged by Solberg’s longtime friendship with the management at Dick’s. Solberg, termed a World Class Fiddler, has been making this stop since before the turn of the millenium.
But there’s more to Solberg’s shows then scathing and creative use of the fiddle, ala Charlie Daniels. His band, which consists of several members of varying ethnicities playing a variety of instruments, hits almost every genre, and rips through songs with other types of stringed instruments, as well. When the full band is playing, they take up the entire width of the Dick’s stage, and even the top corners by the TVs with a couple of tall timber instrumentalists. (Think a popular bass player from back in the day with the rock band Deviant Distraction, known as simply Tall Paul, who goes all of 6-foot-8).
And then of course there is Solberg, who has come to be known as simply “The Fiddler,” and is also known for his liberal-oriented between-song and lyrical humor that skewers conservative politics. Many of the songs are originals. It should be noted that this is not always a show well-suited for kids, but this adults-night-out for some intelligent banter is part of the charm.
Solberg made his annual stop at Dick’s late last month, and followed through with his practice of sometimes mingling with patrons for an hour or more between sets. He started his show just after the dinner hour, and around 10 p.m. a longtime fan wondered aloud, “I wonder if he’s going back on again.” Rest assurred, there was more music to come.
Solberg at this point is past the usual retirement age, but keeps on touring. He often is somewhat nattily clad when on stage, such as wearing a floral pattern shirt you’d see from Jimmy Buffett, which fits with his stylishly unkempt white facial hair. On the cover of a recent CD, he is sporting such attire while riding an inflatable beach toy in a swimming pool.
All the more reason for a flyer at Dick’s to say, “A once a year show you’ll love.”
Maybe “free love,” considering Solberg’s commentary, such as lighthearted but occasionally barbed quips about legalizing marijuana, well before it was popular.

Local woman makes good in L.A. with award-winning videos, with Gizmo’s help

August 1st, 2014

From “Puppies and Tiaras” to creating an award-winning web series, Jahnna Lee Randall has done it all as an actress, model and producer since moving to L.A. from the Star Prairie area a few years ago.
I met her when what was then the Twisted Grille in Hudson hosted a preview party of her stint on an MTV reality show, Meet Or Delete, where she swapped placeS with another model, from New York City, for a week, and it was all caught on camera (including her replacement’s awkwardness with cows). Randall was doing modeling in the Twin Cities at the time, and it led to an appearence on this show on MTV a few years back, and others like it.
All levels of Twisted Grille were packed with people for the preview party, and there also were cameras there from MTV and interviews done, readying for a follow-up broadcast.
Randall was wearing sometimes fuzzy, white-themed boots and sweater, and was the star of the show. This recollection I had recently led me to wonder, what’s she doing these days? That outfit from a few years ago could have been a clue.
Randall had developed her own film companies (yes plural), and her success in L.A. started with Puppies and Tiaras, which speaks for itself to a degree, and the video Fake Pocket Dial, both in 2012. In her full schedule, she spends her mornings auditioning, days filming and nights writing, she said. Often this work is in tandem with Gizmo the Chihauhau, as part of her film company Why Wait Productions, started after she dedided to move forward strongly and stop waiting for gigs to simply appear. “Why Wait” does videos in the style of series, short films and sketches.
Randall’s work has won five awards at film festivals for best web series. Most recently, a series of 11 shows called Dating Disasters began airing on Tuesdays via YouTube, and there still are a few installments left.
She currently is shooting a music video, which is bringing her back to Minnesota and Wisconsin for filming!

Local supermodel Rayder stayed under the radar, even while making SI splashes

June 28th, 2014

You may remember Heidi “Frankie” Rayder of River Falls from two consecutive years as being prominently displayed in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.
That was about a decade ago. But it turns out that — you read it here — this was only the start of Rayder’s career as a supermodel. Somehow, all of the other feathers in her proverbial cap have remained mostly under the radar, possibly because she isn’t from L.A. or New York City.
For some reason, both the local and national media have left mostly untouched the fact that Rayder was one of the go-to girls for four years running in the most prime time of the Victoria’s Secret runway shows. And that GQ magazine at one point declared her the sexiest woman alive. And on and on. The local paper did get it right in saying that she had been on the cover of almost every major women’s magazine. At least once, in many cases.
Rayder made a splash all over the place starting in about 2004 when for four two straight years, she made the special SI edition with about five photos. Four of them were in the usual skimpy swimwear, and one had her nude, taking off the bikini panties but with her arms strategically placed.
All the big Wisconsin newspapers wanted the story. I tipped off the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and they focused mostly on the fact that this local girl liked to hang out with the guys at Emma’s Bar and watch baseball, taking a teasing — and giving it back — because she is a Red Sox fan.
When I contacted the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, they had more trouble because Rayder at this point wasn’t so much of a local girl anymore. They never did do a story since she was constantly in some exotic locale and they couldn’t get ahold of her.
The local paper focused on the family for sourcing, namely her dad and her two other sisters who also have strong modeling credentials.
One of the metro dailies noted that there was a special wall at a special boutique devoted to Rayder at the Mall of America.
But then the story seemingly went away. Despite the fact that she was one of the Victoria’s Secret top models, the GQ reference, the modeling competition where she made it to the top handful and was then bested by Heidi Klum, and the shoot with one of her sisters where the New York Times tabbed them jointly as the latest “it girls.”
I found this out because I wondered whatever happened to Rayder and checked online. It wasn’t hard to find out. After making her modeling splash, she married Flea, the critically acclaimed bassist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and they had a child. (Which I found interesting in an odd way, because I know two women who were stalwarts on the local downtown scene for a few years, who also knew Flea and had socialized with him on the West Coast).
Rayder made a shortlived comeback, then hung up her heels. That’s not surprising, since in those SI glory years she already was 29, an age where few models are being featured in their signature edition.
But, you can still find traces of Rayder around, even in her abscence. You would think that Emma’s would play up the fact that the supermodel used to hang out there, but there aren’t photos on the wall, or anything like that. A shy drummer friend of mine who I will not name was very tight with her, until she started her globetrotting and they didn’t connect very much. He’d worked at a pizza joint just a few doors down, so it made sense that he once was introduced by Rayder to Jamie King, one of her actress friends who around that time was dating Kid Rock (here I go making another rock star reference).
When SI recently celebrated a big anniversary of its swimsuit issue, and spent some time catching up with its most prominent veterans, I didn’t see any mention of Rayder. I contacted my source at the Milwaukee paper, to see if there was any interest in a followup along the lines of where-are-they-now, but she said “Heidi Who?”
I guess some things never change.

Stars, legal wranglings meant store, and strip club before that, were always the show

June 2nd, 2014

The Left of Center adult bookstore closed its doors in April, but during its time its two sets of owners and managers accumulated scores of interesting items, some of them gained by attending prominent international porn conventions.

At those annual confabs they rubbed elbows with some the biggest adult movie stars, going out to dinner or just hanging out. As a result, they came home with some impressive memorabilia.
The shop, which unlike most suburban adult bookstores had about any genre you could ask for, ended a several-year run by clearing house of all its merchandise, at very deep price reductions, and the building has been put up for sale. Among the things it had available were dozens of autographed DVDs and posters from some of the most prominent names in the business. Most were for sale and were snapped up fairly quickly, but others were not offered for purchase. One of them was a bondage model, who signed her DVD, is shown doing acts that — let’s just put it this way — wouldn’t seem logistically possible.
The shop’s owners blamed the closing, in part, to a legal battle conducted against them by the city of Hudson, which claimed that it was selling paraphernalia that could be used for smoking drugs. They have said that all proper care was taken to ensure that such items were only used for legal purposes. A sign outside the club’s door on main street pointed to mounting legal costs, in the five-digit range, to defend themselves, and this helped put them out of business. They had catered to patrons in the east metro suburbs, who didn’t want to travel all the way into Minneapolis to obtain their adult items.
There weren’t as many patrons from the immediate area, who probably were squeamish about being seen going in. The shop was never fully accepted locally, as its location was not typical — it was nextdoor to a bike shop that catered to families with small children and was just over a block away from a church. (At least like the bike shop, Left of Center had a pair of very affectionate cats who wouldn’t let you leave without being petted).
The adult bookstore’s former use was an exotic dance club, called Centerfolds, which was even less popular among the local do-gooders, a group of whom picketed the joint for a while, claiming amongst other things that they feared it would bring prostitution. Oddly, there often were freedom of speech counter-picketers across the street, which created a kind of circus sideshow aspect.
The club made news all over the metro area, and I used that popularity to milk the story for all it was worth. I called my contact at the Minneapolis-based Star-Tribune, and he assigned a reporter to meet with me so I could feed him information and collect a nice tip fee. So I ended up sitting with the reporter, for an hour, in a car a block away, watching the picketers as I told him all I knew.
One thing that did not happen was use of a great photo I had of the picketers. Most metro papers are squeamish when it comes to use of a photo by a correspondent, even it its of great quality. Like with stories, the editors feel a need to have the content be their own, so they sent over a photog late at night and all he got was a shot of an empty doorway! But that’s what ran.
A different approach was taken by a prominent national legal publication, which wanted my photo for a story they were doing on the precedent set by the fight against the club. Turns out, despite being rich lawyers, they didn’t pay me anything.
All this time, the matter was playing out in Hudson nightlife, as the entertainers and others at the club would go out for last call after they were done working. The club’s manager told me that whatever politician had the balls to vote for paying for the club to move to a more fitting area, like the industrial park, would reap political hay, as families would benefit from the better location and both sides would save tons on legal costs. Like it or not, he was right.
Some of those same people from the club were doing something a bit more unseemly in trying to recruit female bartenders to strip, they complained. Reminds me of one local server I got to know a few years later, who said she was offered to be flown free to Las Vegas for a weekend of dancing, and be paid $20,000. She turned it down.
But not everyone is so scrupulous. When taking in a band in the former Dibbo’s during the heyday of Centerfolds, a beautiful woman came up to me and said, “are you the one who writes the articles about our club?” What followed was an off-the-cuff interview where I asked her, among other things, do you ever feel less than comfortable when gyrating in front of, say, a toothless 70-year-old with bad breath?
Her answer. “No. It’s a turn-on that they want me that bad.”
Centerfolds’ main owner, the Thor Gunderson, had said that if the city succeeded in closing down his dance club, he would come back with something with even nastier content. He seemed to have succeeded, as Left of Center catered to many kinds of kinky fetishes in its extensive video section, which took up the entire back room where the dancers once were. In front were all kinds of adult novelties, but what made their business unusual was the almost complete absence of magazines.
How do I know so much about Left of Center? As a reporter for a community newspaper, I felt the community had a right to know just what was — and was not — being offered in their midst. So, every once in a while I happened in, (hey, it’s a tough job), just to make sure that the content wasn’t getting too racy, and worthy of a follow-up story. What I found was that at any given time, there was a particular type of kink that seemed to be featured. The aforementioned do-gooders seemed to think that they had won when the strip club closed, but they maybe should have been even more offended but what took its place.
One thing that I felt should have been reported was that, by all accounts, Centerfolds was not as permissive about what the dancers could get away with doing as some other clubs in St. Croix County at the time. Centerfolds even had bouncers sitting from a high perch to watch and see that no touching occurred, various employees said. Again, I felt that the public should know this, but I was essentially censored by the powers-that-be at the Star-Observer, who said that there’s was a family newspaper (whatever that is?) Better to put the mangled aftermath of a car crash on the front page.
Also, in my initial report I had any kind of content edited out that described just what happens at a strip club. It also didn’t go over too well when Gunderson made a stab at being community minded and tried to join the local Rotary Club.
In my first story, reporters became aware that a longtime business at the same site, the Sandbar, had lost it lease. So on a Thursday night, the operators threw an invitation-only party to let’s just say unload their inventory, since they had to be out the next day. That was quite a party.
Over the weekend, it became obvious that extensive remodeling was being done. Everyone assumed another bar and grill was going in. So I went over on Monday night to talk to the owners, thinking I would be doing a brief item about it for the business page. When I walked to the door and was told, “that will be a $5 cover,” I knew something more was afoot. Once inside, I saw that there already were strobe lights — and dancers — flashing.
Gunderson had found a weakness in the city ordinance on cabarets, and moved in quickly. The city fathers were not pleased, and after much legal maneuvering were able to shut the place down, by making a requirement that dancers needed to keep a certain distance from customers. Since the dance room was long and narrow, and the stage had seating on both sides, there was not enough space available to meet the new rule.

Man of the year finals foster frivolous fun, aid charity

May 13th, 2014

Soon, come the end of May, a North Hudson man of the year will be selected by the principals at Kozy Korner — whether he wants to be or not.┬áJust because he beat out 67 others, doesn’t mean he is going to pound his chest. There’s too much fun to be had.

The event, one part charitable event and another part good-natured humor that can be self-deprecating, will see a field of several dozen people, who may be brash or humble, gradually eliminated until a winner is named.
The low-key event, in its fifth year, is not just the brainchild of people at Kozy Korner, they say. The North Hudson man of the year doesn’t necessarily even have to be from North Hudson, although it helps. Contestants have also come from the city or town of Hudson or the area surrounding the village, and may even be from farther afield if they have the backing of local people.
The voting runs six weeks and helps charitable causes, and the winner will be selected during an evening number-crunching session at Kozy in the last weekend of the month, then announced the next day.
The total of 68 who would be man of the year are listed on brackets displayed inside Kozy Korner, mirroring the big posters seen during the NCAA basketball tournament, which airs on their TVs. Past winners were Kirk Nelson, Denny McGinley, Tom Boron and in a tie, Mike Hennessey and Tad Landry.
As far as this year, co-owner Ryan Nelson doesn’t want to jinx anyone, but when pushed said his inkling about a winner leans toward brother Kirk — again — or Bob Dabruzzi. Ryan said their father and one of his best friends once ended up head-to-head, which humor has it caused them to become mortal enemies. Husbands and wives are sometimes paired off against each other to produce comic effect.
In this just-for-fun event, contestants go head-to-head at Kozy each time around, and it costs $1 to vote. There is no limit on how many times you can cast your ballot, and since this is for charity, that’s all the better. Aaron Rodgers, the star Packer quarterback, was even nominated once, and he made it to the third round, Ryan said.
On one occasion, a number of members of the owning Nelson family all made it to the finals, which caused some people to jokingly suggest the contest was rigged.
Some people really get into it and want to win, while others don’t really care that much. There is no coronation, although the winners get to ride in a Pepperfest Parade float and a routine developed where they are the target of water balloons. There may be a plaque listing the winners put together at some point, although no one appears to be really pushing for that, and there have been jokes about procuring some Green Jackets, in Masters golfing style, Ryan said.
This year, the charitable recipients are North Hudson’s Todd Paulson, who has had a series of serious medical concerns stemming from a bad infection, and the Hudson backpack program. A total of $2,000 is expected to be raised.


From the Katwatch: Elite eight was reached with a landslide performance

May 2nd, 2014

When Kat Perkins made it to the top 10 for The Voice by singing the lyrics “ooh la la,” it was an obvious choice, said celebrities heading opposite teams, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton.
Then, when it came time to record a “save” and advance to the top eight on Tuesday night, Perkins did so by a landslide.
“If that won’t be good enough to let you win (the competition), I don’t know what will,” Shelton said of Perkins, who is from the Twin Cities and still has lots of fans in the Hudson area, where she used to perform.
Come crunch time, Perkins got a whopping 58 percent of the country’s phone-in vote to advance over two other singers. Such a last-chance “save” singer has never won the overall crown before, but Levine said it now is time. If you vote for her, he virtually guaranteed she will break the drought, move up by way of the back bracket, and win this season’s Voice contest.
Local fans noticed various nuances. It was a rival who early in the show did something more typical of Perkins and performed a Heart song. And the former nanny was back with piercings prominent, in the form of a nose ring, as she has switched around from performing with that kind of hairstyle and garb, to styles that are sexier such as short skirts.
As said by one of her contemporaries who plays Hudson, singer Amy M of the “Miniskirts and Mustaches tour,” Perkins is a small person with a big voice, originating from her big chest.