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Home for the Holidays with the Hold Steady


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The latest, greatest success from the Twin Cities returns to the wellspring of its creativity


Image by Staciaann Photography

By Jeff Severns Guntzel

The State Theater opened on Hennepin Avenue in the winter of 1921 with a silent film and a newsreel projected onto what was then the largest movie screen west of the Mississippi River. Over the stage there was—and still is—a sepia paradise scene called "bountiful nudes." A cloth covered the mural for much of the '80s when the theater was under the ownership of Jesus People Church. Today the Hennepin Theatre Trust owns it. The nudes are nude again and six ornate—and original—chandeliers pour light over 2,000 red velvet seats where, one Thursday evening last month, 2,000 bodies sit in anticipation of the Hold Steady, who are gathered in a dark hallway by a stage door, pacing, stretching, drinking, and waiting.

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