Sassy sequels

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August 4, 2003 // UPDATED 11:01 am - April 30, 2007
By: Sam Grabarski
Sam Grabarski

Coming soon to a Downtown near you: more jazz, more colleges -- and less affordable housing?

If you can keep a secret, I'll tell you about sequels in the works for the more popular movies showing at Crown Theaters on Block E.

"Nitrates of the Caribbean" explores a digestive curse contained in dipping sauces served in an exotic Downtown restaurant. The story of a tiny coffee shop succeeding against the odds will be titled "Teabiscuit." "Term Limitator 3: The Rise of The Guns," sends a hero back in time to block the elections of people in favor of more concealed handguns on the streets.

"Sad Boys Too," begins in a hearing room, where a large group of men and women in the business community are testifying against their city becoming an island where no loans are ever made again to people with risky credit histories. Actually, this sequel is being filmed right now in Minneapolis, where Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) folks are pressing for the City of Lakes to become the first to adopt their ordinance language against predatory lenders.

Since everyone is already against predatory lending, there's a lot more to the plot than I should try to explain in this summary. Maybe social reformists hope to make mortgage loans less binding or to coax local government to guarantee personal home loans? Whatever the plot lines might be, Minneapolis is already the state's center for responsible banking -- therefore, the goal should be to promote consumer education and vigorous enforcement of existing antipredatory laws.

Why create an environment where individuals or families will find it more difficult to borrow money to purchase housing? Affordable housing loans, already considered "high cost" due to track records for defaults, could be severely harmed by a city-specific lending ordinance.

"Legally Bland 3," is a story about a city with no live entertainment. The producers decided not to shoot it here because Downtown's rosters of live music spots is expanding faster than we can print skyway maps to list them. We kept the secret about Dakota Bar and Grill moving this fall to Nicollet Mall from Bandana Square (where "Legally Bland 1" was filmed). The cool cat's out of the bag now, so we're celebrating openly that one of the nation's most famous jazz spots (and the one with the best food) will add to Downtown's growing live music scene.

I was at the Dakota on a distant New Year's Eve when Harry Connick, Jr. made his national debut live on public radio. Turns out, Connick is booked Monday, Aug. 4 to appear at Rossi's on 9th Street between Marquette and Nicollet Mall. Blues fanatics tell us Rossi's has the best sound system in the city. Double Tree Guest Suites, 11th & LaSalle, offers live jazz twice per week now, too, adding to the buzz about a live music "zone." The grand reopening of The Fine Line Music Caf, 318 1st Ave. N., adds another "new" choice for live entertainment.

"Spry Kids 2" is a film about two school presidents who brush away troubles to build new facilities for adult education at 1500 Hennepin Ave. Wilson Bradshaw (President, Metropolitan State University) and Phil Davis (President, Minneapolis Community and Technical College) are co-building these facilities. The two schools serve over 19,000 students. Metro State has multiple locations in the region, but their leased facility at the corner of 8th & Nicollet is too small. Over 40 percent of MCTC's students are people of color, with 80 languages spoken in the hallways. The combined facilities include a substantial expansion of a parking ramp with a neoclassical faade.

The schools appear to be candidates to purchase one of the choice Hennepin Avenue parcels between 12th Street and Spruce Place owned by the Billy Graham Ministries. If successful, some existing buildings on the land will be converted to offices and classrooms, with opportunities for commercial investments by the private sector. Oh, there are some arguments about whether the area needs further expansion of non-property-taxpaying educational facilities, but Downtown has an edge when so many adult students are nearby.

"The League of Exhausted Gentlepeople" is a film about the tired staff of the Downtown Council, trying to recover from the Aquatennial. The Ten Best Days of Summer included some of the best weather we'd seen in years. After 75-plus events, the staff members were replaced by robots, and will return when someone finally notices.

Sam Grabarski is president and CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council, a group of business leaders.