Saturday, February 8, 2014

L.A. NIK, THE NEW HOST OF MODERN ROCK TWIN CITIES TV

MRTC TV

I'm happy to have been invited to be a regular host on this show and share my knowledge and love for Rock music. 

"MRTC TV is a half hour music video program, mostly in the rock format... it airs on Thursdays at midnight on Metro Cable Network Channel 6 - Banging large in over 600,000 cable homes."~ ChannelMRTC.com

MRTC TV was founded in 1996 by a Minneapolis musician with the vision for an outlet, for local bands to create their own music videos. Since then, MRTC TV has produced a plethora of content at various venues around the Twin Cities. Just another great support system for local artists of all kinds.
L.A. Nik for MRTC TV - Minneapolis
MRTC TV and I just did a special that aired a few nights ago on the history of AC / DC, a true name in rock legends. Check it out!


In January of 2014, we came together at Seven Sushi & Steakhouse in downtown Minneapolis for a special on 30 Seconds to Mars. Great episode at one of my favorite places.


In 2013 we did a cover at the Pourhouse in Minneapolis of the new Alice in Chains release and talked about some history of the band.

Recently, we visited Willie's American Guitars in St. Paul. Wow! what a cool place. Check this out.


If you're into or support local music and rock history, check out MRTC TV on thursday nights at midnight. Check out the MRTC TV full showcase at Blip.tv/MRTCTV



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Monday, January 27, 2014

L.A. NIK - FINDING FUKUSHIMA

What do you know about the Fukushima disaster? Do Americans even want to know what's really going on there? I visited Japan this month and I went to Fukushima. I told them I was the Mayor of Minneapolis "After Dark" and I got permission to go inside and look at what is going on there.

Watch my Trailer HERE.

Inside Fukushima Security Entrance.
It's a scary sight. People are in the area all day long, but there are also remnants of things just left and grown over as people ran from the immediate danger. It's eerie but also very interesting. Just 3 days ago there was evidence of nuclear contamination washing up on the shores. The Canadians are currently buying potassium iodide in bulk quantities to remedy the potential side effects. 

Immediately after the Fukushima disaster, Dr. Glenn Braunstein of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California told the Huffington Post that the amount of radiation from Japan that would ever end up across the ocean would likely be “less than the radiation one could get in flying from Los Angeles to New York.” - RT.com


Is he right..?!?!?

Here's a sneak peek at my visit to Fukushima. What is the truth? Are we in danger? Will this change the world?




Stay tuned in February my full documentary and answers to your questions. ~L.A. Nik

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Friday, January 10, 2014

L.A. NIK "THE MAYOR OF MINNEAPOLIS AFTER DARK" VISITS FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR POWER PLANT

I leave for Japan today. My overall mission is to visit a few different cities to talk about my book and explore the cultural diversity in Japan. However, I'll be visiting Fukushima this Monday for a first hand look at what is going on there. 

There's a lot of speculation about the wide-spread effects of this disaster and there are a lot of scare tactics out there to hype up the news. I plan to take a first hand look at what is actually happening in Fukushima. 

Here's the potential nuclear fallout according to a global research site.
Fukushima Nuclear Fall out
Here's the map of the area of Japan that this event affects. 
Fukushima. Affected areas of Japan.
What is the actual potential for disaster in the rest of the world?  It seems only speculation at this point and many stories have gone viral of course. Click HERE to see some discussion.

You can also read about some of the impact of this disaster at Deep Sea News; they, along with many others try to debunk much of the discussion you hear around the internet.
Fukushima Aftermath
Minneapolis also has a "sister city" in Japan; it's name is Ibaraki. The Mayor and government of Ibaraki has had a long standing relationship with Minneapolis since the 1980's - in fact many visual pieces around the downtown area of Minneapolis have been gifted to the city of Minneapolis from Ibaraki. 

Minneapolis and Ibaraki share many culturally artistic traits in music, food / drink, theatre, and art galleries. I hope to meet some of the esteemed leaders in this community and the tourism board in Tokyo as well. 

I was featured on Fox 9 Morning Buzz discussing this trip and I've taken music, DVD's and other items of interest from local artists in Minneapolis to share with those I meet in Japan. I'll be bringing back culturally artisitic items to share with the community here in downtown Minneapolis.

You can see my Fox 9 clip here. It was taped from an iPhone as Fox 9 does not put much of the Buzz live on the internet. 

Stay tuned and like my Facebook Fan page for updates along my journey and for the real deal at Fukushima. I'm leaving today, January 10th, 2014 and I'll be home in 2 weeks.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

L.A. NIK WANTS YOU! TO VOTE..

MINNEAPOLIS
Your City. 
Your Vote.


Minneapolis Election day is November 5th.
The amount of people that actually vote for the the Mayor of Minneapolis and our elected city officials is actually quite alarming. More people need to VOTE. This is our city and the people that hold elected positions represent YOU - the tax payers.

Put November 5th on your calendar and make sure you VOTE. Minneapolis will be using a system called Ranked Choice Voting. You will be voting for more than one person and it can be confusing if you're not familiar with how it works. Below is a one-sheet on the process.
Minneapolis Ranked Choice One-Sheet.
You can try Ranked Choice Voting by using the virtual ballot tool on the city's website HERE.

Watch the City of Minneapolis's video on Ranked Choice Voting below.


video

It's important that you express your VOTE on November 5th. Several positions will be voted on including the Mayor of Minneapolis. 

No, I'm not running... I'm happy being the Mayor of Minneapolis After Dark, but I am opinionated and you will see me at the voter lines.

- The Official Vote Minneapolis Page is http://vote.minneapolismn.gov/

- You can find your polling place by using the online tool HERE.

You can also view your polling place on the map and list below.
Minneapolis Voters Pulling locations

Minneapolis Voters Polling Map

Follow my Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/LosAngelesNIk

Join my VOTE MINNEAPOLIS EVENT 





Sunday, October 20, 2013

L.A. NIK ON THE WATER MAIN BREAKAGE AT HISTORIC SEXTON BUILDING

WATER MAIN BREAKAGE FLOODS THE SEXTON BUILDING.

There's nothing like being woken up at 4 in the morning to the sound of 40 degree rushing water, flooding your home, just beneath your bed. 

It's no secret, I live in the Sexton building downtown Minneapolis in a 4,000 square foot condo. A water main on the Portland Avenue side of the building broke early this morning, rushing water through the sewer systems and the ground, into the building.  Everybody that lives in the lower units at the infamous Sexton Building, has their lower units flooded.

Everything we own, our bedroom set, our furniture, our electronics and many other personal items are destroyed... there are worse ways to spend your Sunday and I realize some people don't have a home. But this was not my idea of Sunday relaxation.

The following photos are courtesy of KARE 11 news.
The corner of Portland and 7th street downtown Minneapolis.
This is my living area. The brown color you see on the ground is NOT my carpet.. that's a foot of water.

This is my bedroom. Destroyed.
You can read the entire news piece HERE on KARE 11 website.

Video coverage of Sunday night is here.

Ironically, the city of Minneapolis seems to have a track record with water mains breaking recently. Just this year, we've suffered these big ones.


September 2013, Historic St. Anthony Main area - this article even notes the infrastructure here is old (some of it pre-1900's) and that something needs to be done. At the time of this article, this was the 4th big water main breakage in just over a year, including one of them that flooded 14 million gallons of water out onto Washington Ave and downtown streets.

Watch my social media for more as it comes. 
* update *  City Pages felt compelled to cover my blog. You can read it HERE.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

DOWNTOWN MINNEAPOLIS LANDMINE MAP RELEASED

EAT. PLAY. STAY. DOWNTOWN.
I'll say it again and again. Downtown Minneapolis is a great place to be - one of the coolest cities I've had the pleasure of living in. But, like all cities, it has its challenges and problems. 
People are what make a city great, and I've met some amazing people in Minneapolis. But people also make a city a scary place for some. After voicing my opinion for several years on end about crime downtown, actions taken by the city, allocation of resources and simple daily observation in patterns and habitual behavior - I've decided to help. Help for downtown residents, help for travelers, and help for suburbanites.
I didn't earn the title "Mayor of Minneapolis After Dark" for nothing.. I'm out late. Often. And when I walk the streets, I watch and observe and I see things. I've seen muggings, knifings, violent flash mobs, and straight harassment. The issues are centralized in certain spots and spotted throughout some others.
Minneapolis provides public data about crime in Minneapolis. One of the resources that may be alarming to many is the Minneapolis Shot Spotter. Visit this page HERE and click on each week. You'll notice that North Minneapolis has consistent issues with shots fired, and actual shootings. But you'll also notice that Hennepin ave and the downtown proper area have their issues and reported shootings just this past week. This does NOT include, knifings, harassment, beatings, gang violence or domestic abuse - only shots fired.
In order to help those navigating the city on their own or for the first time (or even those that are oblivious), the Downtown Business Coalition, which consists of local businesses, people and ideals, has released a map. The map is for the sole purpose of staying safe in our great city. It's meant to be a guide, and enhancement to your other resources. However, its focus is on Hennepin ave, Nicollet Ave and a small section of 1st Avenue as these are the most heavily trafficked areas. You can view the map below.
Landmine Map Tri-fold Front

Landmine Map Tri-fold Inside
The Downtown Minneapolis Landmine Map is a useful guide that will serve as an amendment to other maps. The map reveals three different zones to be aware of after 8pm in the evening.
* High Danger Zones are signified by the landmine icon.
* Medium Risk zones are orange.
* Safe Zones are marked in green.
The key education points on the Downtown Minneapolis Landmine Map are meant to focus the public on safety and serve as a reminder to be educated and safe while enjoying downtown.
The Downtown Minneapolis Landmine Map is a product of www.meetMYminneapolis.com and funded by the Downtown Business Coalition. The map will be downloadable, sharable and printable. The map will also be available at participating downtown businesses, primarily in the “safe zones.”
Maps will be available for local businesses upon request at no charge.

Download the map HERE.
Tell em' L.A. Nik sent you..

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

THE LAST OF SMALL BUSINESS ON NICOLETT MALL - REPLACED BY ANOTHER RESTAURANT.

L.A. Nik's Downtown Blog

Its a sad day in downtown Minneapolis. 

Not very many small family owned businesses exist in the immediate area of downtown Minneapolis any more. Sure... there are many independently owned restaurants and some small businesses in the skyway, some coffee shops and even a Walgreens, but on the strip that we proudly call our downtown mainstream - the very last of small business owners is being evicted for corporate dollars.

I won't call this the Walmart effect, because its being spearheaded by well known Rush family that owns "The 9's on Nicollet" (Rush and Kelly buildings) next door to Barrio and the Local. It seems they may leave their 60 year old wedding gown business on the upper level of the building and its been asserted that this is a local family owned endeavor, however their long time tenants are getting the boot.

A few good friends of mine are losing their space, one of which has been there for 20 + years - James & Mary Laurie Booksellers. Jim, the owner, you can find every single day in this space. At the moment, he's faced with moving more than 400,000 books and nearly 40,000 vinyl records, not to mention other rarities, artifacts, paintings and journals. He has to be out soon; rent elsewhere will likely triple and his inventory is nearly unbelievable. You could do Jim and Mary a huge favor and vist their space while its there. If you collect old vinyl, you'll most likely find everything you could possibly want.
LIKE their Facebook fan page HERE
Next business of concern is Jeromeo, a curiosity shoppe with unique items, clothing and furniture from around the world. This place is one of a kind and so is its owner, Scott. He and his faithful dog Webster are Nicollet Mall staples which would be sadly missed, should they be forced to leave.

According to the Star Tribune, "Scott Johnson, owner of Jeromeo, said he recently signed a new lease and hopes to stay post-renovation. His store, which features handmade jewelry, Asian artifacts and artwork, has been on Nicollet Mall for more than seven years". 

This is NOT the case, however. Scott Johnson signed a 5 year lease but it had weird stipulations that it could be changed at any time and he would have to move. So it is, that he and the others, will have to be gone by the end of June. Scott is moving his business to Brooklyn New York, where the lease will cost about the same as the new cost he'll be faced with in Minneapolis, except he'll be welcomed in a bustling area of tourists on walkways full of shopping and families, where his target market will support his unique offering - unlike Minneapolis.
LIKE Jeromeo's Facebook fanpage HERE


Lastly, Jean Stephens Gallery is on the chopping block as well. This is well known Gallery fueling Minneapolis's artistic culture. They've been a part of this community for 25 years and have hosted shows for Hart, Jiang, Markes, Rembrandt, Dr. Seuss, Mackenzie Thorpe, Michael Parkes, Yuroz, Evans, Von Koelnau, Digre, Lentz, Zjawinska, Byron, Tobiasse, and many others.

This is a 4000 square foot space with something for every art lover in the world. All three of these businesses are family owned, have been there for years and are a unique part of the culture of Nicollet Mall. Due to the cost of moving and increased lease fees in other spaces, its likely we'll lose them all in downtown Minneapolis.. and in some cases, the state of Minnesota.
LIKE their Facebook fanpage HERE.
These spaces will be the new home Ling & Louie's Kitchen; an Asian Fusion concept coming from Phoenix, Arizona. Biz Journals covered the story here. "While Ling & Louie's is new to this market, its top executives are well-known restaurant players. McDermott and Chief Operating Officer Jason Merritt also run Rojo Mexican Grill, which has a restaurant at The Shops at West End in St. Louis Park and plans to open a second location at Edina's Southdale Center later this spring. They also previously held the same titles at Kona Grill". - Biz Journals

Story has it that the Rockler family owned the "9's on the Mall" for 99 years under an agreement for something as little as $1.00. So they have had control of this property for a very long time. About ten years ago, when Jeromeo came in, the Rush's made a deal with the land owner to buy it for some un-disclosed low cost. The Rockler's never renewed the real estate and the building is now in the hands of the Rush's. They own the entire space free and clear and now wish go after a larger monthly income by investing millions into yet another restaurant.. I can't blame them; its  private sale and personal business decision, but one that is affecting the proud culture of Minneapolis, uprooting the lives of local business owners, and quite frankly not viewed as progression by many.

Most people know me well by now; I'm the first person to check out a new venue, restaurant or bar and support the growth of the city and specifically the future of downtown Minneapolis, but I have some concerns with this type of growth. Here's an article in the Star Tribune that talks to some depth about the plans for downtown. 2025 is ongoing plan but city officials say much of this is happening now; new apartments being built, business expanding and growth at every level, including downtown's population to be double by this time next year...

This is true, and growth is good. Minneapolis should compete with A-list cities and be a destination other than corporate convention crowds. However when the corporate crowds are here with the convention center (which is most of the year) I can't even get a friend a hotel room anywhere downtown to save my life. If there is one available, its typically in the $280-$400 range.. How does Minneapolis expand the rental space for hotel rooms and visiting people to double our current capacity if we can't facilitate what we have? 

Downtown definitely has some work to do and I'm a huge advocate of enhancing downtown. My concern with the current developments are that though the mission is to attract more people and become a destination, we are increasingly adding less and less for families to do. As department stores, family run businesses and any option of enjoying a day with your kids, disappears on Hennepin Ave, Nicollet Mall and elsewhere around the city, the feedback I hear increasingly every day is "why would I come downtown"?  

The single only option two parents and a child have to do here is walk  for miles and select bars and expensive food, while being harassed by pan handlers, preachers, child fund advocates and thugs on every corner. Its not an Austin, Texas and its not Chicago; Minneapolis is a city that needs a tied-in tourist pathway and a more concise police presence and message.  I was even kind of shocked to find Minneapolis on this strange debate over who the worst downtown parking scenarios in the country are..luckily one of those surface lots in the middle of the city is being replaced by a 35 story, $100 million Opus project for luxury apartments...?


Im a support of a bigger, better Minneapolis and I understand the planning and politics that has to be in place in order to get things done. I am a voice for the people though. The people don't understand why we're wiping away cool, family run shoppes for yet another restaurant with a roof-top. Sure people will flock to it and love it, but the competition will be fierce as new restaurant / bar concepts crop up all over town. Minneapolis has a history of recycling these businesses and we now have 2 dozen options that sell an $85 filet within 30 blocks. Its seems to clash with the underlying mission of being an arts focused city, supporting the small guy and providing outlets for people to find them.

The funding for the 2025 plan is largely private investment, corporate subsidy and tax dollars. Will it all come through? Will we fill a handful of of new 30+ story buildings with rentals as high as $4,000 / month? Can we double the population of the downtown proper area to fuel the new grocery stores, restaurants and other large scale businesses taking up tens of thousands of square feet? When Nicollet Mall was designed 50 years ago, the idea was to bring people back downtown.. Now the city is running a contest for design teams to concept what the new Mall will look like in the future. My hope is that someone closes off that bus line, seals up the street itself and creates a bustling walk space filled with vendors, small businesses, horse rides and family fun. It would eliminate the street loitering, pan-handling and other problems that plague this city. No one is moving in if we don't resolve the simplest things. In fact, many people I talk to that live downtown want to move out to Lake Minnetonka and the western burbs.

A Nicollet Mall work group was formed with city council members, Lisa Goodman and Robert Lilligren to decide the future of Nicollet Mall. Shortly, the design contest will ensue and the city has $550,000 in the 2013 budget to cover the initial stages of this. The project is expected to cost $30-40 Million... Would you like your voice to be heard?

Currently, we need to clean up the streets which is part of the long term plan (I hope). Its a challenge to talk any suburban person into to coming downtown Minneapolis for anything other than dinner, a game or a theatre show. They think its limited, they think its unsafe and they think Wayzata, Woodbury or Maple Grove shopping malls have more to do for their family then our city - and they're right..

The project is called "9's on the Mall"
You can see projected drawings, watch news videos and read all about what is happening on Nicollet, on the website right HERE.

You can subscribe to the Mayor's RSS feed HERE.
Weigh your opinion and let the city know what would make you come downtown with your family. This topic is very controversial in the underground of the city. The people who live here view progression in a very different way than the visionaries implementing plans. David Motzenbecker's departure form the planning commission may or not be related to the future of Minneapolis. Check that out HERE.

Wiping out small business owners to open another trendy restaurant will not address the public's concern. What does the future of Nicollet Mall really look like. Is this really what Minneapolis wants? 

~ L.A. Nik (Mayor of Minneapolis After Dark)
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