Ah, the Internet. It’s allowed us so many luxuries: paperless billing, free apartment listings, pirated music, entire careers conducted from home … and now, finally, the ability to see what we might have looked like in a 1960s era high school yearbook.
Thanks to YearbookYourself.com, you can work your face into a whole plethora of excruciatingly dated, yearbook portrait scenarios. 1960s poindexter, with the oil-slick side part and thick-framed glasses? Yup. A teased Flock of Seagulls bowl cut with excessive earrings? Uh-huh. Some rap-rock dreadlocks from 2000? You bet. You can even try on some hokey student life shots (male cheerleader with a megaphone, anyone?).
The website — which since its launch two years ago has become a pop culture phenomenon, gleefully embraced by the blogosphere and by television shows like VH1’s “Best Week Ever” and “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” — is the masterwork of local creative agency Colle + McVoy. Thanks to YearbookYourself.com, the agency took home two honors this month as part of the 14th annual Webby Awards, the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet. The website won an official Webby from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, in addition to a People’s Voice Webby for Best Use of Social Media.
But it wasn’t just the laugh factor that drew such acclaim. YearbookYourself proved to be a powerful promotional force.
Conceived of as a back-to-school campaign for Taubman, owner and manager of 20 upscale shopping malls across the United States, YearbookYourself produced a 282-percent increase in season-over-season traffic to Taubman mall sites, according to Colle+McVoy. Of the millions of visitors to YearbookYourself.com, 49 percent clicked through to the mall websites and retailers’ back-to-school sales and offer pages.
But the true victory came when Twitter co-founder Evan Williams changed his profile picture to a YearbookYourself photo. Overall, 11.8 million Yearbook Yourself photos have been shared via e-mail or posted to Facebook. And the YearbookYourself Facebook fan page boasts 70,000 fans.
Local yearbook juggernaut Josten’s recently purchased the rights to the website earlier this month and is using it to promote its new line of individually personalized year books.
Brit’s Pub unveils special menu for 20th anniversary
Nicollet Mall’s great anglophile watering hole is approaching its 20-year anniversary. True to is slogan, Brit’s Pub has been “serving scholars and scoundrels since 1990,” back when the bar first opened as a tiny, two-room tavern. Over the past two decades Brit’s has grown into a Downtown destination, incorporating five bars, three outdoor patios, two kitchens and a giant, 10,000 square foot lawn bowling green.
And though the official birthday party won’t happen until October, Brit’s has already begun getting in the spirit with a special, anniversary-themed summer menu.
On Monday nights, the pub will serve its famed fish-and-chips for the original 1990 price of $5.95. For the duration of the summer, all bottles of wine are priced at $19.90, all day, everyday. Several new items have been added to the menu as well, including a mango chicken salad and a chicken tikka masala dish.
Anniversary festivities are currently being planned for October.
Alex Roberts receives James Beard Award
Alex Roberts, the chef/owner at Restaurant Alma, was named Best Chef: Midwest earlier this month at the James Beard Foundation Awards in New York City. The honor singles out the top culinary champion in the region — Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas — who has “set new or consistent standards of excellence.”
This was the fourth consecutive year that Roberts had been nominated for the so-called Oscars of the food world. He shared the category with three-time nominee Isaac Becker of Downtown’s 112 Eatery and first-time nominee Lenny Russo of St. Paul’s Heartland.
Roberts trained as a culinary student and apprentice chef in New York City before opening Alma in 1999. He also owns the high-end Cajun-inspired restaurant Brasa, which has both a Minneapolis and a St. Paul location.
Other Minnesotans honored at the James Beard Awards included Franklin Street Bakery’s Wayne Kostroski (Humanitarian of the Year), Minnesota Monthly’s Dara Moskovitz Grumdahl (Journalism Award) and Andrew Zimmern (Broadcast Media Award), host of the Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.”
New offices for Haberman
Haberman, the Downtown public relations, branding and “storytelling” firm, settled this month into new offices at the Kickernick Building at 430 1st Ave. N.
The move marks the first relocation for Haberman in 14 years, as the firm has operated out of the Textile Building on 4th St. N. since 1996. The new, 11,000 square foot space signals prosperity for Haberman at a time when many PR firms are struggling with a changing media climate. Officials have projected a 10 to 12 percent growth over the next two years, and the company plans to hire an undisclosed number of new employees in 2010. Haberman currently employees a staff of 29.
Seven Skybar re-opens rooftop with fashion show
Officially kicking off summer patio season, on May 13 Seven reopened its Skybar, a 6,000-square-foot rooftop deck that provides one of the best views of the Downtown skyline. A fashion show by Richard Moody christened the open-air space, which had seen limited use over the winter months. Nattily dressed bar goers sipped cocktails as models strutted a catwalk in clothing supplied from boutiques Atmosfere and OPM. Northeast salon Miyagi provided styling services.
Seven Ultralounge and Skybar was named “Best Outdoor Dining” in the Twin Cities this year in City Pages.
Studio Vincent closing its doors
Steven Vincent has announced the closing of his Downtown jewelry design gallery.
S. Vincent Jewelers, Inc., located at 212 N. 2nd St., is advertising a going-out-of-business sale. The discounts go as deep as 70 percent and apply to the storewide selection of diamonds, wedding sets, watches and other items.
Ivy Spa to pamper children, too
With school out for summer, kids now have more time to spend with their parents. And for those sons and daughters who are more into pampering than playing catch, Ivy Spa has just announced a summer menu of services for children.
During the Children’s Summer Spa event, which happens every Monday in June, parents can bring their kids along for manicure and pedicure polish applications ($45 and $65, respectively).
Scavenger hunt to introduce the 9th Street Experience
Three months after its formation, the 9th Street Experience, a brand new alliance of 20 businesses located on 9th Street S. between Marquette and Hennepin Avenues, will introduce itself to the public with a neighborhood open house and scavenger hunt planned for June 9.
From 5–7 p.m., the businesses lining 9th Street S. will open their doors to participants seeking answers to questions like, “Where is the horse at the Palomino that you cannot ride, but is under your feet?” and “What tempting fruit does W Minneapolis–The Foshay offer its guests as a gesture of hospitality and welcome?”
The hunt begins at the Campbell Mithun Atrium, at 9th Street and 3rd Avenue. Each hunter will receive a map and a list of clues before being sent out to explore the neighborhood businesses. Right answers earn raffle tickets for a prize drawing held at the evening’s after party, at 8 p.m. on Solera’s rooftop.
Prizes include a $500 JB Hudson gift certificate, a free night stay at W Minneapolis–The Foshay and dinner at Hell’s Kitchen. Fore more information, visit the 9th Street Experience–Minneapolis on Facebook.
Black Sheep and Subo to get outdoor seating
A hearing was held on May 17 to solicit public input over requests made by a pair of Downtown restaurants to have outdoor seating this summer.
Black Sheep, located at 600 Washington Ave. N., and Subo, at 89 10th St. S., are looking to add a few sidewalk cafe tables outside their restaurants. Initial licensing requests for both were approved May 17. The same day, a request by Toast Wine Bar to expand its liquor license to serve drinks beyond its current wine and beer menu was also received initial approval.
The City Council will vote on the measures this week.