Axios Twin Cities

Picture of the Twin Cities skyline with MSP written across it.

TGIF! We made it through another week.

β˜€οΈ Another gorgeous weekend is on tap, as NWS is predicting sun and 60s on Saturday and Sunday.

πŸŽƒ BTW: Some of you tried to take our Halloween survey yesterday and it wasn't working properly. It is now and it's a snap. We ask just four questions.

Today's newsletter is 960 words β€” a 4-minute read.

1 big thing: Can the Wild get over the hump?

Kirill Kaprizov high fives his teammates on the bench

Kirill Kaprizov is the star Wild fans have been craving for two decades. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Minnesota Wild start the 2021 season tonight and fans are hopeful that a new and young core can propel the club deep into the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

Why it matters: Minnesota has made the playoffs seven of the last nine seasons, but has not advanced past the second round for 18 years.

  • This town needs a contender.

What's new: The team made few additions, most notably defenseman/Minnesota native Alex Goligoski.

  • Zach Parise and Ryan Suter β€” cornerstones for the last seven years β€” were bought out of their contracts in offseason.
  • The team is now leaning on three young skaters β€” sensational sophomore forward Kirill Kaprizov, center Joel Eriksson Ek and winger Kevin Fiala.

What they're saying: Most hockey prognosticators predict the team will make the playoffs as a wild card or by finishing third in the Central Division. They don't, however, predict a deep playoff run.

  • But in the NHL playoffs anything can happen, which is why so many fans are hopeful.

The bad news: Watching Wild games (and Wolves games, for that matter) on TV or online won't be cheap.

  • Bally Sports North, which will broadcast 69 of 82 Wild games this season, is only carried on cable or DirectTV streaming (formerly AT&T), which costs $85 a month.
  • Since lower-cost streaming services such as Hulu, Sling and YouTubeTV have dropped Bally Sports North, ratings for local sports have plummeted. The audience for Twins games decreased almost 50% last season.

Puck drop: The Wild starts the season at Anaheim tonight at 9pm.

2. A vision for lots of trains to Chicago

A map showing train routes to Midwest cities

Image: Federal Railroad Administration

The Twin Cities would be a main pillar under the Federal Railroad Administration's newly released Midwest Regional Rail Plan.

Zoom out: The plan would make Chicago the hub of the Midwest, with four pillar locations β€”Β Twin Cities, Detroit, St. Louis and Indianapolis β€” that would have high frequency service.

Why it matters: Daily service to Chicago (and Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin) would be much more frequent. Currently there's only one daily trip on the Amtrak Empire Builder to the Windy City.

  • It would also make it faster and easier to travel between here and other Midwest cities.

Yes, but: Don't book that trip just yet. As the Chicago Tribune notes, the concept is only in the early stages and is intended to be a 40-year framework.

  • It also depends on state and federal funding.

3. On tap: Your guide to weekend fun

Illustration of an animated neutral emoji changing into a smiling-with-sunglasses emoji.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

πŸ‡³πŸ‡΄ Ingebretsen's Flea Market, the self-proclaimed "best Scandinavian-focused flea market this side of the Mississippi," runs through Saturday in South Minneapolis. Cash or checks only. Free admission.

πŸ‘» It's costume contest season! Dress in your Halloween finest and walk the runway at BOOnion Depot at Union Depot in St. Paul tonight. Stay for the double showing of "Hocus Pocus" and "The Nightmare before Christmas." Free.

🎨 Saturday's Eat Street Fall Arts Fest on Minneapolis' Nicollet Avenue is an afternoon of food, music, flamenco dancing, live mural painting and hands-on art activities. Free.

🌱 Bring your green thumb to the Twin Cities Halloween Houseplant Extravaganza, a buy/sell/trade plant market Saturday at Hidden Falls Regional Park. Costumes for participants and pets encouraged. Free.

πŸ“š More than 50 Minnesota authors will speak on panels and present new releases at the Twin Cities Book Festival at the State Fairgrounds Saturday. New and used books will also be available. Free.

4. Quoted: RIP Gary Paulsen

Gary Paulsen sits with his arm on his chin behind a stack of his books

Gary Paulsen, pictured here in 1988, died on Wednesday. Photo: Joey McLeister/Star Tribune via Getty Images

"Because I write about real things, people sense truth in my work. I just tell the story. I don't try to put in hidden meanings or crank it up with messages. … A lot of young adult books talk down to kids. I go to schools and meet with kids. I've found they're smarter than lots of adults, and they're honest."
β€” Gary Paulsen, the Minnesota-born author of "Hatchet," who died at age 82 on Wednesday. This quote was from a 1996 Pioneer Press interview.

Of note: Paulsen wrote 200 books that sold a combined 35 million copies, according to MPR News.

5. The Spoon: All the biggest news, with a cherry on top

Illustration of a pattern of the Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture in Minneapolis.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

πŸ¦‰Gladys, the Eurasian eagle owl that escaped from the Minnesota Zoo during a training exercise earlier this month, was found injured and later died. (Star Tribune)

πŸ’§ The city of Minneapolis has lifted its watering restrictions as the drought subsides in the Twin Cities. (Press release)

βš–οΈ Former Brooklyn Center officer Kim Potter will argue her shooting of Daunte Wright was an "innocent accident" and an "innocent mistake" at her manslaughter trial, which starts Nov. 30. (Fox9)

6. An Edina Cinema comeback

The marquee above the Edina Cinema

Image: Google Streetview

A local company that knows a thing or two about the Edina Cinema is planning to bring the theater back to life.

What's happening: Bloomington-based Mann Theaters is close to signing a five-year lease to backfill the theater, which was vacated during the pandemic when Landmark Theaters exited the four-screen facility.

Details: The city is poised to subsidize a $1.5 million renovation of the theater, at 50th and France.

  • The city has approved a $200,000 grant using American Rescue Plan Fund dollars and a $300,000 loan that would be forgiven if Mann stays in the building for at least six years, according to city documents.
  • The renovation will touch the lobbies, concession areas, bathrooms, seats and audio and video equipment.

The intrigue: Mann will show a mix of indie/art films as well as commercial flicks at the theater, said Michelle Mann. The Mann family hopes to have the theater open next spring.

Of note: Mann operates eight Minnesota movie theaters, including the Highland and Grandview cinemas in St. Paul. It also owned Edina Cinema for a stretch in the 1980s.

7. Pic du jour: "Babel Unleashed"

An abstract painting on white paper

Photo: Audrey Kennedy/Axios

This art piece is one of 60+ abstract works by artist Julie Mehretu set to open at the Walker Art Center tomorrow.

  • The exhibit showcases the artist's intricate, multilayered drawings, paintings and maps that often offer sociopolitical commentary.

πŸ‘€ Check out our Instagram to see this piece up close.

Our weekend picks:

πŸƒβ€β™€οΈTorey is running the Hot Cider Hustle 5K and getting together with good friends visiting from out of town.

πŸͺ“ Nick was thinking about taking his 3-year-old camping, but it might a bit too cold at night for her so he's going to do the next best thing and re-read "Hatchet."

πŸ“Ί Audrey plans to bing season three of "You."