Suddenly, the light was upon them! Surrounded by flames 20 feet high! The rebels cowered in fear and shielded their eyes. A thundering voice boomed, “I AM STARFIRE!!!”
Then the light dimmed. When they dared to look up, they expected to see a God-like creature. But such a creature was not to be found.
Instead, there stood a pleasant looking young man in a flannel shirt.
“Where did he go?!?” shouted the rebels.
“Who?” asked the stranger.
“The one who calls himself ‘Starfire’ – the one we have summoned to lead our cause!”
“Oh, that’s me,” said the stranger with a knowing smile.
Chaos ensued – “It cannot be! We are waiting for a great leader of men! The savior of local music in our community! The one who is bright as a star and surrounded by the fury of fire!”
With that the stranger produced a portable turntable system, put on a pair of over-sized headphones, placed a vinyl copy of the Palace Brother’s “Viva Last Blues” on the turntable. Then as “Work Hard / Play Hard” began to play he once again transformed into a bright star surrounded by flames that reached the tree tops.
It was then that they knew that the man before them was no other than the great and powerful “Starfire”!
The Starfire spoke, “We have much work to do. Together, we must save this city by creating a vibrant music scene and supportive arts community!”
Monroe cried out, “But how? We’ve been battling the forces of evil and oppression for years – alas, to no avail…” the back of her hand placed limply against her forehead. It was very melodramatic.
Starfire replied, “Listen carefully and do exactly as I say – for you each have a crucial role in this effort.”
“To him they call Lindquist – go forth and establish a rock and/or roll compound that you will share with the musical sojourners as a recording studio, rehearsal space, and after-bar gathering place. You shall call it, for reasons that nobody will understand, The Shaky Ray”
“Monroe! Use your drawing talents to make concert posters for every single rock show until the middle of next decade, at which time you will start writing childrens’ books about an industrious monkey.” (thunder and lightning)
“Brewhouse Boys – you must defeat the evil rice beer industry!”
“But how? They are too powerful!”
“Nonsense! You, Hoops, will create vigorous beer for the masses and through the power of hops, you will create an army of craft beer enthusiasts who will never again drink a Coors Light! And you, Nelson Rocket, shall not rest until every vacant building in downtown is turned into a damn brew pub.” (thunder and lightning)
“And you, Bacigalupo! You will do us all a great favor if you simply go by ‘Baci’!” (thunder and lightning)
Baci replied, “Really? That’s it?”
“Believe me, that’s a lot. It’s hard enough to say, but spelling it? Forget about it.”
“The SparHawk, you must spread your wings and travel from this place – over oceans and mountains to share your talents and bring word of this place and our efforts!”
“But Starfire, I have a family and children and I perform with the songbird Mimi – who will tend to the children if I am to take your direction?”
“Then, I, Starfire (thunder and lightning) will travel with you! And I…. shall be…. your….. NANNY!” (more thunder and lightning)
The SparHawk momentarily hesitated for the sake of his children, “But Starfire, you have super human powers and regularly burst into flames,” he protested.
Starfire responded sweetly, “Yes, but I am also sensitive and have very soft hands.” Then he boomed, “It shall be so!” (thunder and lightning)
“Finally, you, Rick Boo – you shall accomplish two important deeds:
1) Establish the Rick Boo Committee for which you are the only member. The purpose of said committee is to get shit done in a very Rick Boo sort of way.
2) Assume management of the NorShor Theater. It is there that the rebels will set up shop, grow our ranks, and practice our craft. It is from this place, that in celebration of my own birth, that I shall create HOMEGROWN!” (thunder and lightning)
The rebels looked at each other in confusion. “what is this Homegrown concept that he speaks of?”
“Homegrown Music Festival shall be a celebration of local music and art. The first year of this festival will feature TEN local bands playing original music!”
It was at this proclamation, that the rebels faced their first doubt of the new leader. “Ten bands??? Playing original music – in Duluth?” they murmured to each other, “That’s absurd, ridiculous, impossible – it could never happen…”
Starfire sensed the doubts and cynicism of the rebels and passionately proclaimed, “It shall be so!!!” (thunder and lightning)
Lindquist raised his hand.
“You don’t need to raise your hand to speak young man.”
“ok, sorry. But Starfire, sir, we are but a small band of rebels and the forces of yellow beer and 90s pop music are too strong,” and with that he started sobbing. The other rebels also began sobbing uncontrollably, the conflict of emotions between the hope of that moment and the years of frustration and cynicism was simply too much for them.
To be continued…