'Bonny Bear' wins two Grammys, confounds populace
Justin Vernon, the Eau Claire, Wis., native behind Bon Iver, managed to win two of the four awards he was nominated for at the Grammy Awards on Sunday, including best new artist and best alternative album. The wins are especially impressive considering that his two losses came against the night's top winner Adele, who took home six trophies, and that Bon Iver bested Top 40 megastars Nicki Minaj, J. Cole and others for best new artist.
"It's really hard to accept this award," the trembling Vernon said in his acceptance speech, sporting a brown Dunderdon suit from St. Paul menswear boutique BlackBlue. "There's so much talent out here on the stage and there is a lot of talent that's not here tonight."
The real fun came from the Web reactions to Vernon's unlikely wins, a collective "Who???" from mainstream music fans. A "Who is Bon Iver?" Tumblr page quickly popped up, aggregating tweets and Facebook comments from baffled Grammy viewers. Among the choice entries, from tweeter @riccyGee: "What the fuck is a Bon Iver? Sounds like a fucking appetizer at Red Lobster and shit." And from @TDice4: "Bon Iver?!? Are you joking me?? Who is that? He looks like a lumberjack, go back to Canada!"
A slightly more adorable meme was spawned from a large crop of confused viewers who seemed to think something called "Bonny Bear" was taking home awards. "This Bonny Bear character needa shoot his barber," tweeted @KoolAidKleff, in reference to Vernon's thick, full beard.
This marks the second year in a row that indie music fans have found cause for cheer at the Grammys, while less familiar viewers have been confused. Last year Canadian rockers Arcade Fire won album of the year for "The Suburbs."
- Jay Boller
Eat Street finally Socialized
It was like the "Chinese Democracy" of cocktail bars. After multiple delays, craft cocktail enthusiasts were wondering if they would ever get a chance to taste the hotly anticipated libations being dreamed up for Eat Street Social. Lucky for us, the restaurant and bar finally opened Feb. 9 in the old Taco Morelos and Caterpillar Lounge spaces. Eat Street Social is an offshoot of the Northeast Social in northeast Minneapolis. For their venture on Nicollet, owners Joe Wagner and Sam Bonin hired the Bittercube maestros Nick Kosevich and Ira Koplowitz to oversee the bar.
Cocktail fans know Kosevich from his years at Town Talk Diner. After moving to Milwaukee, he created Bittercube with Koplowitz, an acclaimed former Chicago bartender. Bittercube has made a lot of noise around the country as a cocktail-consulting company and the maker of some really great bitters.
As for the drinks at Eat Street Social, my favorite so far is the Copper Dagger, made with Averna Amaro, Lemon Hart 151, St. Germain, lemon and egg white. It's tart and frothy. The Tea & T is fun (made with black tea-infused Broker's Gin, house winter tonic, lime and seltzer). If you're looking for something with a little bite, try The Guardian & The Spectator (Grappa Candolini, Averna Amaro, house ginger liqueur and Angostura bitters). All drinks are $8-$10.
- Tom Horgen
TV singer Unga is back
Six years after she took fifth place on the CBS show "INXS: Rock Star," Twin Cities singer Jordis Unga is back on a TV music competition and poised to maybe do even better this time. The former Fighting Tongs singer, 29, sang Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed" Monday night on NBC's "The Voice" and earned some truly amazed-sounding raves. Celebrity judge Blake Shelton hit his chair's turn-around button -- "The Voice's" version of a thumbs-up -- seconds into her performance, and Cee-Lo and Christina Aguilera joined him midway through the song. As the performance ended, Unga's hands visibly shook and she started crying. Her Tongan dad danced excitedly backstage alongside her Swedish mom, residents of Forest Lake.