Downtown West Neighborhood News and Events


Photo by Julie Fields

The Downtown West neighborhood is the central business district of Minneapolis.


Venora HungVenora Hung is our neigh-borhood corres-pondent for Downtown  - and she wants to hear from you. Tell Venora about the garage sale, or the music festival -and  ask her how to register and get your profile on TC Daily Planet! Email Venora at venorahung [at] gmail [dot] com.

Venora Hung, a lawyer practicing in the Twin Cities,  volunteers on several boards and dabbles in cooking and writing. Most recently she started a company called Cupcake Goddess specializing in Asian inspired cupcakes. She also enjoys exploring the Twin Cities - particularly anything that has to do with healthy living, yoga and pilates.

As such, it is home to many Fortune 500 corporate headquarters, moderate and upscale retail shops, and luxury, boutique, family-friendly, and landmark office building conversion hotels.

Nicollet Mall—which is very active with restaurants and shopping—runs south from Washington Avenue. Hennepin Avenue, with its concentration of theaters and entertainment, runs south from the Mississippi River. (Description from

For detailed demographic information, see the neighborhood profile from Minnesota Compass


THEATER REVIEW | Transatlantic Love Affair's "Ash Land" finds life in the Dust Bowl at Illusion Theater

John Stone (Derek Lee Miller) and Ellie Stone (Adelin Phelps). Photo credit Aaron Fenster.

Ash Land, the third gorgeous production by local group Transatlantic Love Affair, has blown onto the stage of the Illusion Theater and it’s absolutely in your best interest to go see it before it drifts drifts away on February 22nd. The production is based loosely on the story of Cinderella set in the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Unlike most stories about the Dust Bowl, though, this does not center on the atmospheric disaster. It’s a love story, several times over—love of work, love of the land, of people, and the grief when those things are ripped from you.


MUSIC REVIEW | First Avenue's Best New Bands of 2013 celebrates local talent

Photos By: 
Emmerlee Sherman

As I was crunching my way through the thick and fresh snow, I was thinking about what it means to be a "best new band." Fans of indie music, or even local music which is indie by default, often find satisfaction with the discovery of a new band which reaches them in some way. Trite as it the cliche is, there is a something special about spotting an artist in their nascent stage and watching them develop audiences, styles and an identity. Of course, different fans drop out at different stages in this growth; the tolerance for mass popularity and definitions of "selling-out" vary from person to person. Some people think a band has gotten too big when it can play the First Ave mainroom. Some people think a band has gotten too big when they can book a decent size bar show,  basement parties or gallery shows are the trademark of integrity and commitment. I won't say these people are right or wrong, I mention this to merely put "Best New Bands" in context. Getting on a bill like this implies a certain kind of anointment by musical cognescenti, most of whom do know a good thing when they hear it, but it does put a kind of music industry gloss to the event which in some ways takes the thrill out of seeing new bands. A desired sense of discovery can be missing from the show. Maybe "Best New Bands" is too much of a misnomer, maybe it should be "Picked to Click Redux" or "Bands on the Verge." Are these bands really new? Anyway, this is all a bit of navel-gazey and yes it is awesome to celebrate some of the more interesting talents that are active in the state. Whatver the name, it does something important for the local arts.


THEATER REVIEW | "Evita" at the Orpheum Theatre: A sparkling revival

Juan Peron (Sean MacLaughlin) and Eva Peron (Caroline Bowman) relish their political ascendancy in Evita. Photo credit: Richard Termine.

The Orpheum Theatre is going through a retro-fabulous phase this season; Broadway blockbusters musicals of the 80s are the current exhibit. So many of these shows have become popular icons that it's easy to forget that they were considered daring and controversial when first unveiled. The new touring production of Evita, which opened Tuesday, January 28 at the Orpheum, does not shy away from some of the rough edges that made the show famous.


THEATER REVIEW | Minneapolis Musical Theatre's "Five Course Love" at the New Century Theatre: Enjoy the appetizer and skip to dessert

A mysterious masked man (Ryan McGuire Grimes) and pure-hearted peasant (Joseph Pyfferoen) battle vocally for the affections of the fair Rosalinda (Amanda Weis) in Five Course Love. Photo credit: Hennepin Theatre Trust.

The best parts of Five Course Love are the appetizer and the dessert. The entrées in the middle are not without their virtues, but the cuts of meat are tougher and the seasoning hit-or-miss. Whether or not a musical dish is relished or ultimately sent back to the kitchen will vary based on the individual palette.


MUSIC REVIEW | The Current’s 9th Birthday Party at First Avenue: Caroline Smith, Heiruspecs, Howler and Cactus Blossoms

Photos By: 
Meredith Westin

Going to the second night of The Current’s 9th Birthday Party show was a total bonus for me since I was supposed to be out of town working. I went with few expectations, expect the good time I had last year. I had seen half of the Saturday night’s bands before and the other two were new to me. It was a night of county bluegrass, hip hop, punk edge rock and R&B. I wonder if every city takes time celebrate such musical diversity under one roof.