Pop Culture

The 10 people, trends, and happenings that still have us talking.

The Jayhawks
Photo by Steven Cohen
The Jayhawks

Artistic Comeback: The Jayhawks

After toying with the idea for a while, The Jayhawks officially reunited in 2011. In September, the band released a new album, Mockingbird Time, which quickly became its most popular album ever. It rose as high as No. 11 on the Billboard rock album chart, peaked at No. 2 on the folk album chart, and squeaked into the top 40 of the Billboard 200 at a respectable No. 38.

Fiber Optics: HOTTEA

Hate to say we told you so, but we knew local yarn installation artist Eric Rieger (aka HOTTEA) was on to something when we wrote about him back in July. Converse shoes agreed—and recently flew him to Berlin and London to be featured in a commercial.

Local Waves: The Current

The rockin' public radio station hasn't wavered in its support of local music since hitting the airwaves in 2005. Time and again, out-of-towners tell us, "Oh, you guys have that cool radio station. I stream that all the time." Yeah, we do too! minnesotapublicradio.com

Breakout Year: Bon Iver

A new album, countless TV appearances and magazine covers, two sold-out shows at the Orpheum, a personal stamp of approval from Kanye—yet this hometown hero still keeps it real in Eau Claire. His "Holocene" video, shot in Iceland, premiered on the National Geographic website this fall. One word: brilliant. boniver.org

Collaboration: Alec Soth for Rodarte

We're not sure why this collaboration didn't get more play on a national level, but local photographer Alec Soth worked with prêt-à-porter design duo Rodarte for a cool coffee table book—a mix of fashion and art photos. It's on our Christmas list, anyway.

Design: Allan Peters

You may not know his name, but you definitely know his work. The local graphic designer has the dream gig of creating cool branding for Target and Nike. Wonder if he designs Christmas cards too? argocollective.com/peters

Bull's Eye: Missoni for Target

Whether you scored one of the coveted zigzagged partnered pieces or not, this designer collaboration had people around the country acting like it was the second coming. Let's see if Tarjay irons out its website wrinkles in time for the Jason Wu collection, out in February.

Curb Service: Food Trucks on a Roll

The City of Minneapolis finally got on board with this brilliant idea last year, and we knew it was only a matter of time before it would take off. Want to see even more options next year? Get in line.

Modern Murals: Broken Crow (Mike Fitzsimmons and John Grider)

Sure, we featured Broken Crow last month, but we simply couldn't leave it off this annual roundup. Its murals keep popping up around town. "It's hieroglyphs from the perspective of future generations, love letters from humanity before the power went out," says John Grider, who is one-half of Broken Crow. Well put. brokencrow.com

Ten Parties with a Purpose (of 2011)

1. Glamorama

Benefits Children's Cancer Research Fund

2. Hope Rocks

Benefits Faith's Lodge

3. Art Perchance

Benefits Minneapolis Institute of Arts

4. Walker After Hours

Benefits Walker Art Center

5. TC Polo Classic

Benefits U of M's Leatherdale Equine Center

6. Annual Midway Contemporary Art Fundraiser

Benefits MCA

7. Butterball

Benefits Open Arms of Minnesota

8. Fantastical Fete

Benefits Walker Art Center

9. Whisker Whirl

Benefits Animal Humane Society

10. WineFest

Benefits U of M's Amplatz Children's Hospital