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All-Star starters

For the millions of you Major League Baseball fans who did not pass on your patriotic duty to vote for your favorite 2014 All-Stars, the votes have been counted and the starters are:

American League starters: first base, Miguel Cabrera, Detroit; second base, Robinson Cano, Seattle; shortstop, Derek Jeter, New York; third base, Josh Donaldson, Oakland; catcher, Salvador Perez, Kansas City; DH, Nelson Cruz,

Baltimore; outfield Mike Trout, California, Adam Jones, Baltimore, and Jose Bautista, Toronto, who was the number-one vote-getter, receiving 5.6 million votes. National League starters: first base, Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona; second base, Chase Utley, Philadelphia; shortstop, Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado; third base, Aramis Ramirez, Milwaukee; outfield Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh, Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee, and Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles. The Twins had two players selected as reserves — catcher Kurt Suzuki and reliever Glen Perkins. Here’s an interesting symmetry: This year’s mid-summer classic, the 85th All-Star game, is being held in the same city, Minneapolis, as the 1985 All-Star Game. For the most part, all those that have been voted in are very deserving and, as always, many deserving stars were not — at least not yet — selected. Continue Reading →

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Introducing a new column on financial advancement

Good credit — is it overrated?  

There was a time when cash was king. It seems like those days are long gone and now credit determines everything. Our county, from top to bottom, is built on credit. We need credit to buy a home, a car, to rent an apartment, to lease anything, to get a cell phone, to gain employment, to start a business, to determine interest rates on any financial obligation and your insurance payments. Continue Reading →

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Minneapolis musician selected for Doris Duke Artist Award

Minneapolis native, New York-based pianist and composer Craig Taborn among 13 jazz artists to receive 2014 Doris Duke Foundation awards


Earlier this week, The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) announced the first-ever recipients of the Doris Duke Impact Awards and the third group of individuals to receive Doris Duke Artist Awards. According to the press release, “both awards are part of the Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards, a special ten-year initiative of the foundation to empower, invest in and celebrate artists by offering flexible, multi-year funding in response to financial challenges that are specific to the performing arts. Doris Duke Artist Award recipients receive $275,000, and Doris Duke Impact Award recipients receive $80,000. Since commencing in April 2012, the program has awarded a total of $18.1 million to artists in the fields of jazz, dance and theater.” The 2014 jazz related award recipients are:
2014 Doris Duke Artist Awards

Oliver Lake
Steve Lehman
Roscoe Mitchell
Zeena Parkins
Craig Taborn
Randy Weston

2014 Doris Duke Impact Awards

Muhal Richard Abrams
Ambrose Akinmusire
Steve Coleman
Ben Monder
Aruán Ortiz
Matana Roberts
Jen Shyu


Pianist and composer Craig Taborn is multi-talented in the realms of straight-ahead and free jazz. Continue Reading →

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This weekend, it’s jazz-related concerts galore!

Brooklyn-based ensemble Red Baraat makes its debut at Orchestra Hall on Friday, April 25 at 8 pm. Critics have described their performance as “a shot of pure adrenalin.” Established in 2008, Red Baraat is an eight-piece band from Brooklyn, New York. The brainchild of Sunny Jain, the group has been celebrated worldwide for its live performances of original sound — a blending of North Indian bhangra rhythms, New Orleans brass band, jazz, go-go, brass funk, and hip hop. Sunny Jain is known as a rising star in the jazz world. Continue Reading →

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Documentary highlights NYC street basketball

By Charles Hallman
Staff writer


The best basketball players often aren’t found in college or in the NBA, but on the nation’s blacktops. Using a late 1970s tune by the Blackbyrds as its overall theme, Doin’ It In The Park: Pick-Up Basketball, New York City accurately gives viewers a well-deserved look into pick-up basketball. Although they focused on the Big Apple, in many urban corridors, if you are a hoopster of any note, you will make or break your hoopin’ reputation on the blacktop. Many go on to star on high school and college teams; some even make it to the pros. Many others don’t — but that doesn’t make them any less significant in basketball circles — their streetball exploits will sometimes precede them. Continue Reading →

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Lynx draft four ‘solid players’

Unlike last year’s top-heavy, star-studded draft, the 2014 WNBA Draft was instead more workwoman-like. Filling specific team needs took precedence over obtaining star players. The MSR, during the April 10 pre-draft media conference call, asked ESPN Analysts Carolyn Peck and LaChina Robinson if they foresee “a publicity let-down” from last year’s “3 to See” draft that featured Britney Griner, Skylar Diggins and Elena Della Donne. “I don’t think necessarily we have an Elena Della Donne or Britney Griner in this class,” explained Robinson. “We do have a lot of impact players: Chiney Ogwumike (Stanford), Odyssey Sims (Baylor), Kayla McBride (Notre Dame), Alyssa Thomas (Maryland). Continue Reading →

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Hometown talent José James returns to the Cedar

José James and Kris Bowers return to the Cedar Cultural Center on Monday, April 21. Consider this an invitation to enjoy more new music from two young and gifted musicians with new albums.


But this is not just a fantastic reintroduction of two talented artists. It’s a fantastic way to explore music from two men who are potentially on their way to becoming huge influential musicians in the future.  



In January 2013, James played an album-release show with Bowers on keys, but this time around, the Minneapolis-born, Brooklyn-based vocalist will play a pre-album release show to support his upcoming June 10 release, While You Were Sleeping on Blue Note Records, with Bowers opening the gig. His new album is Heroes + Misfits on Concord Records. Continue Reading →

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Lewis, Pizzarelli and McFerrin take over Orchestra Hall

When you’re in the business of moving people–and I mean by way of live musical artistry, it’s never an easy task. If the goal is to have an unforgettable experience with an audience that occurs in the now and that takes people places that they’ve never been before, then Orchestra Hall has arranged something extra special for music lovers this weekend. Pianist Ramsey Lewis along with guitarist John Pizzarelli take the stage on Friday, April 18 at 8 pm to perform a special Nat King Cole tribute, and vocalist Bobby McFerrin performs with his band that includes his daughter, vocalist Madison McFerrin, on Saturday, April 19 at 8 pm. Both Grammy Award-winning artists, Lewis and McFerrin enjoy ever-evolving careers and music making that continues to attract diverse audiences around the globe. They have also, in their own distinct ways, altered the musical landscape with their unmatched virtuosity and masterful creativity for decades. Continue Reading →

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March madness continues



The National Invitational Tournament (NIT) has a rich storied history dating back to pre-World War II days. The Women’s NIT since 1998 has tradition as well — just not as long as the men’s. However, present-day hoops fans and snobbish media types give both the Rodney Dangerfield treatment:

No respect for either of them. While there are those who only see one tournament, and while the men’s NCAA annually gets marathon King Kong coverage and barely Timberbell-like coverage on the women’s side, this reporter gives four-fold attention to the two bigger tournaments, as well as the NIT and WNIT. Both men and women Gopher squads this week are in their respective NIT sweet 16 — the men play Southern Mississippi Tuesday at Williams Arena, and the women go to South Dakota State on Thursday. Continue Reading →

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