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Columnist | The Dish
Phone: 612-332-TIPS
C.J. is a columnist in the Star Tribune's Twin Cities section. Her column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
Recent content from C.J.
Actor John Travolta in 1977.

C.J.: Imagine, if you will, a picture with John Travolta as the 'Purple Rain' kid

Rock critic, magazine editor and author Alan Light’s résumé reads like a music lover’s dream. He interned at Rolling Stone, where he later became…
“I love all of the things that make life exciting," says RuPaul.

C.J.: RuPaul's new talk show launches a trial run

The guest lineup for the first week of “RuPaul,” the talk show, should just about guarantee a big splash. The cultural icon and Emmy-winning…
Author Kevin Kling

C.J.: Kevin Kling finds belly laughs and a home at Interact Center

A tinge of trepidation is coloring the overall excitement actor, writer, storyteller and local treasure Kevin Kling feels about his big night with Interact…
Dancin’ dads: Geoff Henderson, Bruce Jensen and Jake Skare.

C.J.: At least these Triple S Dance Competition daughters didn't dress their dads in drag

The daughters didn’t appear to weigh 100 pounds each — soaking wet — and yet their dads looked intimidated. Could it have been because the…
Museum director Lonnie Bunch III: “When I think about the collections, there is so much in there that moves me to tears.”

C.J.: Founding director of Smithsonian's NMAAHC strikes out on Willie Mays' glove

Lonnie Bunch III, founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture, apparently doesn’t experience museum fatigue often. Doing research for…
Leslie Lissaint actor/dancer/poet: “People will see this and they will feel that they need to reveal something.”

C.J.: 'This Is How We Heal' grew out of a Minnesota-born actor/dancer doing the 'heart work'

NYC-based actor/dancer/poet Leslie Lissaint is bringing her one-woman show about her difficult Minneapolis childhood home.
Lizz Winstead: “Taking down the powerful is when comedy is at its best.”

C.J.: 'Daily Show' co-creator Lizz Winstead is finally doing comedy her way

Minnesota native isn't joking about her political passions.

C.J.: Comedian Kristin Andersen-Anderson is ready to laugh about her major health scare

What’s so funny about a near-death experience? Comedians Joe Minjares and Kristin Andersen-Anderson will tell you Saturday at the New Hope Cinema Grill,…
Dessa's debut memoir is called "My Own Devices."

C.J.: Mindful rapper Dessa doesn't wander through chats about her memoir

Her brightness illuminates the new book, "My Own Devices: True Stories From the Road on Music, Science and Senseless Love."
Nick Prueher, right, VHS comedian
“We not only have a ‘Ventriloquism’ section, we have a ‘Religious Ventriloquism’ section.” (with Joe Pic

C.J.: VHS is not yet dead for the Found Footage Festival Tour dudes

Put on by comics originally from Wisconsin and who spent time in the Twin Cities, the festival will be at the Heights Theater at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1.
“The things I’m doing now are the things I am interested in,” said Diana Pierce, reinventing herself after her time at KARE 11.

Former KARE 11 anchor Diana Pierce relishes being in charge of 'What's Next?'

Former KARE 11 anchor Diana Pierce likes all her former producers, but she prefers assigning herself. Two years ago, Pierce left the station after…
“I wanted to empower people to help themselves in the kitchen and in life,” chef Marshall O’Brien said.

C.J.: Chef Marshall O'Brien has a new cookbook and healthy living streaming show

Between promoting a new book, "The Smart Nutrition Cookbook and Meal Planner," and a Facebook Live streaming show, O'Brien doesn't have time to be taken down by a bug.
WCCO's John Hines plans to retire in September after 45 years in the Twin Cities radio market.

C.J.: WCCO-AM's John Hines is calling it a career after the State Fair

Retiring Twin Cities broadcaster John Hines won’t have to juggle reading three books at once much longer. “I’m retiring because it’s time,” said Hines,…
“Walking around Minneapolis, Chicago is probably just as dangerous as going to Mexico,” says founder Jared Kamrowski.

C.J.: Even the guy has special TSA memories

Expert advice from Jared Kamrowski comes just in time for summer travel season.
“I just have always had a fascination with Marilyn Monroe and her life and stardom,” author/actor Lisa Ann Capozzi said.

C.J.: Marilyn Monroe comes back as ghost in new novel

A sophomore at St. Mary’s University in Twickenham, England, faints and has an encounter with Marilyn Monroe’s ghost. “I don’t think anyone has ever…
Keyboardist Cassandra O’Neal on her goodbye to Prince: “I said, ‘I love you,’ and blew him a kiss and he blew me a kiss back.”

C.J.: Cassandra O'Neal's goodbye to Prince was pitch perfect

New Power Generation and Prince keyboardist Cassandra O’Neal became his fan as a kid the moment she heard “I Wanna Be Your…
Aisha Walker, Mary Joyce Owens, Henry Murry
“Hearing her voice in those old clips got me a little emotional.”

C.J.: Recy Taylor's family members are conflicted about the documentary

“The Rape of Recy Taylor” documentary was difficult for family members to view, for reasons obvious and unexpected. Three members of Taylor’s family were flown…
“My comedy birthplace is Minnesota,” comic turned snowbird Jeff Gerbino said.

C.J.: Jeff Gerbino, now snowbird, reviews Franken, Louis CK, Leno

The former Twin Cities radio show host, with a gift for impersonations, now lives in the Tampa-St. Pete area.
“We felt we would, in a way, be dishonoring her by not calling it what it was,” director Nancy Buirski said.

C.J.: 'The Rape of Recy Taylor' documentary set for a Twin Cities screening

The first time most of us heard Recy Taylor’s name was during Oprah’s stirring “Me Too” speech at the 2018 Golden Globes, shortly after Taylor’s…
“It’s the trick itself, as well as the comedy and other things around it,” comic/magician David Harris said.

C.J.: Jokes take shape when comedian/magician David Harris takes stage with contortionist Cheryl Birch

As soon as I downloaded the video of the comedian/magician and the contortionist, it was obvious that she should’ve been standing on a chair.…
“They don’t have any problem thinking this thing is going to protect them,” said Terry Sachetti of the Glow Co.

C.J.: May the Force Field blanket keep those monsters out of your kid's room

A Kickstarter campaign with a goal of $25,000 was at $96,000 Friday.
April D. Ryan and Kenny Latimore attend the Salute Her: Beauty of Diversity Awards luncheon presented by Toyota & AARP hosted by WHUR and Cafe Mocha R

C.J.: Flap with Sean Spicer doesn't faze April D. Ryan: 'They think they can scare me'

April D. Ryan thanked me for interviewing her? “I am thrilled to be on the phone with you. I am so happy…
Sheletta Brundidge Comedian
“He saw the size of that monster ... and said, ‘Get your butt home.’ ”

C.J.: Sheletta Brundidge's trip to Houston for grandmother's funeral turned out to be a whirlwind

The devastation in Houston caused by Harvey hit very close to home for Cottage Grove’s Sheletta Brundidge. A native of Houston, Brundidge was there…
“I think humor is huge, even more than romance,” Joe Brandmeier said.

C.J.: Docu filmmaker Joe Brandmeier finds humor a key to healthy marriage

He jumped out of his comfort zone behind the camera to produce the "I Do?" inspired by a rough patch in his 28-year union with Joan Steffend.
Former Twin Cities anchor Mark Suppelsa is retiring from Chicago's WGN in December and planning to move to Montana.

C.J.: Former KSTP anchor Mark Suppelsa leaving Chicago's WGN 'at top of his game'

It’s time to share, instead of privately cherish, the interview I did four months ago with former Twin Cities anchor Mark Suppelsa. Last week…
“The first couple months were hard, then I adjusted to life,” said Jesse Garcia IV.

C.J.: Jesse Garcia IV is living the advice his late police officer dad gave

Bethel College student Jesse Garcia IV is headed off to the LA Film Studies Center, a collegiate adventure that probably would have delighted his…
“The state of Minnesota recognizes dogs as property. I differ, said ”Jennifer LeMay, shown with her attorney Mike Padden last month.

Owner of dogs shot, wounded by Minneapolis officer has a thing or two to say

Jennifer LeMay says life "has been complete hell for three weeks."
Jeff Pegues Author, Broadcaster
“Part of the solution is getting police and community in a more cooperative relationship.”

C.J.: CBS correspondent/author/dad Jeff Pegues explores race and policing

The former KMSPer has finished a book, "Black and Blue: Inside the Divide between the Police and Black America," and is already busy on his second.
“I don’t feel I should have to choose between politics and having a child,” Nekima Levy-Pounds said.

C.J.: Nekima Levy-Pounds enjoys campaigning with baby on board

Minneapolis mayoral candidate Nekima Levy-Pounds has felt energized as she hits the campaign trail — while expecting. She and her entrepreneur husband,
Oprah Winfrey was at the Agnes Scott College commencement in Decatur, Ga.

C.J.: St. Bonifacius native gets a diploma and a little Oprah time at college graduation

Sarah Eiler cannot attest to whether Oprah is a good hugger, despite accidental research during the Agnes Scott College commencement in Decatur,…
Jay Leno Comedian
“I was never dirty enough to be a dirty comic. Why not try it more clean?”

C.J.: PACER headliner Jay Leno definitely won't be a potty mouth at the gala

Here is Part Two of my interview with Jay Leno, the headliner at Saturday’s PACER Center gala. You have plenty of time to read…
“I never questioned anyone’s patriotism; I just questioned their judgment,” said Jay Leno, who is coming to town Saturday to headline the PACER

C.J.: PACER headliner Jay Leno is happy he doesn't have to do political humor on TV these days

"I never questioned anyone's patriotism; I just questioned their judgment," he says in the first of a two-part interview.
Slater Crosby

C.J.: The Little Gym aims to put the play back in kids' sports

The franchise aims to create quality kids, not athletes.
Frank Kramer is the host of "Dish Nation."

C.J.: Frank Kramer of 'Dish Nation' claims Porsha Williams isn't high-maintenance. Riiiigght

“Dish Nation” cast member Frank Kramer took the Minneapolis Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Minnesota last weekend. Kramer is one of seven DJs taped…
“I have mellowed at age 85 — somewhat,” says writer and investigator Joe Rigert.

C.J.: Author says American Indians suffer because of dependency

Colorful, argumentative retired Star Tribune investigative reporter Joe Rigert sounds like a conservative in his fourth book, “The Dependency Curse.” The book examines the…
Ernie Hudson and his wife, Linda Kingsberg, attended the premiere of the most recent "Ghostbusters."

C.J.: Ernie Hudson will bust out the undergear if that's what Shonda Rhimes demands

Ernie Hudson’s career is going well, even though home base is Minnesota. He’s got three shows: “Grace and Frankie” on Netflix, “Graves” on Epix…
“If you are doing it just to be the next Instagram star, then come on, man,” fitness expert Omaur Bliss said.

C.J.: You want to lose weight? Omaur Bliss says cook at home

Local fitness expert Omaur Bliss, a regular on the Fox 9 “Buzz,” learned a lot during this interview. The founder of Bliss Full Fit,…
Newly named University of Minnesota football coach P.J. Fleck greeted Star Tribune sports columnist Sid Hartman following a press conference Friday.

C.J.: A month after breaking hip, Sid Hartman is back in action

Sports columnist Sid Hartman was not hip to any humor Wednesday when he returned to the office less than a month after breaking…
Journalist Soledad O'Brien answers questions from the media during the National Civil Rights Museum's 25th Freedom Award Red Carpet event at the Canno

C.J.: Soledad O'Brien brings "PowHERful" summit to St. Kate's

Emmy-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien’s “PowHERful” conference for young women is rolling into St. Paul. The PowHERful Twin Cities Summit is Oct. 29 at St.…
HGTV’s Nicole Curtis has become embroiled in a child custody fight and is accused of threatening her mother.

C.J.: Family matters land HGTV's Nicole Curtis in court

Nicole Curtis, the host of “Rehab Addict,” challenges the report of an incident Sunday at the St. Paul home of her youngest child’s father,…
Actor Josh Hartnett, shown in 2015, recently took a selfie in Birdie.

C.J.: Josh Hartnett smiles pretty at the Birdie

Josh Hartnett was reportedly observed doing something sweet when he poked his head into Birdie. Birdie is a chef’s table restaurant with a U-shaped…
Stay or go?
TV talking heads assume Karl-Anthony Towns will leave Wolves for warmer climes – but he says he likes it here.

C.J.: NAACP chief lauds Uber-nice move for Philando

Uber provided free rides to Philando Castile’s funeral. NAACP President Nekima Levy-Pounds had a hunch the online transportation company was doing this because…
C.J.: KARE 11's Camille Williams and Cory Hepola's family of 5 almost didn't happen

C.J.: KARE 11's Camille Williams and Cory Hepola's family of 5 almost didn't happen

When it comes to the Williams-Hepola romance, it came close to not happening. They were working in upstate New York. He was at the ABC station and she at the NBC.
Chris Howard’s campaign signs have been crudely graffitied.

C.J.: Cotty Lowry billboards once decorated, now just defaced

Sunday afternoon a new Cotty Lowry billboard went up “and by Monday morning it was pretty well destroyed; less than 12 hours,” he said.…
From left, Glenn Johnson, MC Hammer, and Anthony Polski at last Friday’s private 3M event for the product that Hammer pitches, Command Strips.

C.J.: MC Hammer has a beef with Market BBQ mini truck

MC Hammer can Command a crowd again, I guess, thanks to his funny 3M commercials. Market BBQ owner Anthony Polski swears that…
Retired educator David Ricks: "If you don’t think you’re funny, who else is going to?”

C.J.: 'Funniest Dad' Outrageous Davis aims to be Dave Chappelle minus potty mouth

Retired educator David Ricks is not going to make it big as a comedian. That’s my prediction. But what do I know? He’s the…
Photographic evidence: From left, Jonathan Choe, Natasha Verma and Joy Lim Nakrin.

Fox 9's Jonathan Choe takes his talent and sartorial style home to Boston

Beantown called and “The Choe” had to go. Fox 9’s Jonathan Choe, who’d be up there if I had a list of Best Dressed…

C.J.: Former Fox 9 meteorologist Mike Tsolinas was on front lines of fun

Former Fox 9 meteorologist Mike Tsolinas was a weather talent ahead of the times. Tsolinas died Monday after being taken off life support, reported…
Sister Rosalind in action at CHS Field.

C.J.: Sister Rosalind has one of the most gripping handshakes in the metro

The nun and famous masseuse has been massaging fans at St. Paul Saints games "since 1993, year one."
We assume Sheila E. is OK after Prince tribute.

C.J.: Alert the TSA, Ruth Pointer may be armed with a sassy T-shirt

Ruth Pointer now owns perfect attire for standing in line for the third degree from TSA agents. The “original Pointer sister” performed Saturday at…
Actor James Marsters said he agreed to extreme bleaching when his role as Spike was to last five episodes, but it lasted for seven years.

C.J.: Marsters suffered for his art as Spike on 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'

Maybe “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fans knew how James Marsters suffered for the role of Spike but I had no idea. Between not…
Norv Turner was not talking X's and O's at Ike’s.

C.J.: Being off-duty for the Vikes gave Norv Turner time to do PR work for Ike's

Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner was in the mood to socialize, not talk football, Tuesday at the VIP grand opening of Ike's in Bloomington.
Don King, Muhammed Ali and George Foreman

C.J.: Adrienne Foreman Jones had her playful pick of heavyweights — Ali or George

“We’ve all been in shock,” said Adrienne Foreman Jones when asked Monday about the death of Muhammad Ali. “Oh yes, honey. Very sad.”…
Fancy Ray and son Trevon

C.J.: Fancy Ray's kid is not a chip off the old noisy block

It was so refreshing to see Trevon pause and allow moments of silence before answering questions. His daddy pounces on question.
movin’ on
Diana Pierce accepted a buyout from KARE 11.

C.J.: Diana Pierce is pleased her KARE11 exit included a little something extra

Retiring KARE 11 anchor Diana Pierce said she was not pushed out of the station.Last week a news release arrived via e-mail announcing her…
Terri Traen

C.J.: Long-time KQ sidekick Terri Traen is in negotiations to do her own show

KQ92 morning show sidekick Terri Traen's getting her own show, Tom Barnard told me on Monday."Terri went to management and said she wanted…
Speaking about her son Hopkins guard Amir Coffey, Sheba Coffey said: "I want my child to play wherever he thinks he can be happy and make an impact."

C.J.: Coffey kids can give mom credit for their basketball blessings

Basketball players Sydney, Nia and Amir Coffey get their competitiveness from their mother, Sheba Coffey, who also humbly credits herself for the athleticism of her kids, whom you may know from their Hopkins High playing days.
In D.C., Sen. Amy Klobuchar will attend the state dinner for visiting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

C.J.: Sen. Klobuchar's work with Canada pays off during Justin Trudeau's state visit

The word “partying” in proximity to the name of Minnesota’s senior senator leapt out at me in an e-mail. “Good Day, C.J.,…
Twin Cities rapper Christian Vind could be rubbing some pretty famous elbows Sunday at Republic Records’ after-party at the Video Music Awards in Ne

C.J.: Brooklyn Center rapper networks his way to VMAs after-party

Twin Cities rapper Christian Vind could be rubbing some pretty famous elbows Sunday.The 20-year-old networking master — he has 38,000 Twitter followers — got…
Arizona Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald looks at the scoreboard during the second half the NFL football NFC Championship game against the Carolina Panther

C.J.: The Original Larry Fitzgerald says Jr. nice-talks, not trash-talks, NFL opponents

Pregame a couple Sundays ago in Charlotte, Michael Jordan told the Original Larry Fitzgerald something bad was about to happen to Jr. “It’s…
Angela Davis Drew and Duchesne Drew playfully restaged a wedding fantasy that had been ruined by a storm 20 years ago.

C.J.: Only tears of joy this time at WCCO-TV anchor Angela Davis' beachfront wedding ceremony

WCCO-TV anchor Angela Davis' 20th wedding anniversary and vow renewal ceremony was something of a do over for her, if not her husband.It was…
Comedian Lizz Winstead’s political humor cred was hiding in plain sight.

C.J.: Lizz Winstead thinks Apple won't Hinder her next app

Now that Apple CEO Tim Cook knows who the co-creator of Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” is, Lizz Winstead shouldn’t have any problems…
The late Mitch Omer offered big plans for Hell’s Kitchen.

C.J.: Mitch Omer left Hell's Kitchen colleagues with a vision for the restaurant's next 20 years

Mitch Omer presented his huge ideas for the future of Hell's Kitchen with a dramatic flourish.
Ex-Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton will be watching the playoffs in his home theater.

C.J.: Fran Tarkenton is set to watch playoff games with a soaps queen

Fran Tarkenton will catch Saturday’s NFL playoff games in his theater room with Susan Lucci. Thought I’d misheard the loquacious Vikings Hall of…
In his memoir, Burt Reynolds laments ex-wife Loni’s shopping habits.

C.J.: Loni Anderson's first husband said she liked to buy things but didn't see what Burt Reynolds claims

“But Enough About Me …,” Burt Reynolds’ new memoir, kicks a little dirt on the image of Roseville’s Loni Anderson by noting her…
Coco & Breezy's Third Eye

C.J.: Coco & Breezy sunglasses finally land in Minnesota, plus 'Tres' lenses on horizon

I am thrilled to announce that NYC-based sunglasses entrepreneurs Coco & Breezy have finally found an outfit to sell their product in their…
The NBA’s Kris Humphries said he was unfairly depicted on “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”

C.J.: Latest Kardashian crisis links Odom, Humphries

Lucky Kris Humphries merited a mention in New York Post reporter Maureen Callahan’s excellent takedown of the Kardashians’ proclivity for always making…
KARE 11’s Rena Sarigianopoulos is thrilled to be co-anchoring a new show at 6:30 p.m.

C.J.: KARE 11 tries new news show at 6:30, moves up 'Entertainment Tonight'

Bad news: “Entertainment Tonight” is moving to an earlier time on KARE 11. The good news: Weekend anchor Rena Sarigianopoulos and reporter/anchor fill-in Jana…
Fran Tarkenton: "I don't have a biggest" failure.

C.J.: Having a girl's name made Francis Tarkenton tougher

Former Vikings QB Fran Tarkenton didn’t have any idea who Ragnar is. Missteps by longtime mascots must not be included in the regular updates…
Trish Van Pilsum

C.J.: Trish Van Pilsum's ailing husband is better but she's not sure she'll return to local TV

Trish Van Pilsum talks as if she’ll never return to TV news, where she last worked as an investigative reporter for Fox 9. In…
From left, Fran Tarkenton, Mick Tingelhoff and Bud Grant at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, for Tingelhoff’s induction Aug. 8.

C.J.: Coach Grant's lady friend's all time favorite Viking is who?

Hall of Fame Vikings coach Bud Grant missed his HOF Super Bowl QB Fran Tarkenton’s latest book signing at the Eden Prairie Costco Saturday.…
The fashion statement Master Tesfatsion has in mind goes way beyond shoes and sports.

C.J.: NFL writer determined to Master sports and fashion — if shoe fits

A frothy examination of Master Tesfatsion's enormous sneaker collection turned briefly serious when the sports journalist started talking about a childhood void of such…
Lauren Casey

WCCO-TV meteorologist Lauren Casey leaving for job with Philly station

Word is that Lauren Casey wants to be closer to where her mother lives.
Khari Richburg

C.J.: Owners of Dehn's Garden get visit from a flasher who spares them the moon

A flasher showcased her alternating skills to the owners of Dehn’s Garden. Bonnie and Bob Dehn told me they got an eyeful…
Minneapolis police Sgt. Jesse Garcia in 2010.

C.J.: Huge crowd turns out to support Sgt. Garcia at fundraiser

Ailing MPD Sgt. Jesse Garcia III was more fatigued than anticipated at his fundraiser Monday. Staying at a hotel near Jimmy’s Event Center in…