Musicians who are from, or come through, Minnesota can earn the accolade of having their name in a star at First Ave. Mark Mallman has done that.

Mark Mallman’s star on First Ave in Minneapolis

People of a certain stature can have a day proclaimed in their honor by a mayor. Mark Mallman has done that. Those same people, if there is a Sharpie around, and the producer or floor director remembers to ask them, can also sign the unofficial MN Wall of Fame at Twin Cities PBS. Mark Mallman can check that off his list, too.

Mark Mallmaln’s signature on the wall at Twin Cities PBS in St. Paul

On June 6, 2001, Minneapolis-based Mark Mallman appeared on NewsNight Minnesota. He and his band Vermont (a group of musicians from Milwaukee) played a song for just over two-and-a-half minutes.

Screen grab from NewsNight Minnesota featuring Mark Mallman and Vermont
Mark Mallman and Vermont in studio B at Twin Cities PBS

1 DAY, 2 DAYS, 3 DAYS, MORE…

Why make mention of the time and not the name of the song? It’s a really nice song, by the way. Time comes into play because, over the years, Mark Mallman has become a showman known for making artistic statements that are anything, and perhaps everything, but brief. His marathon series of songs is, in a word, amazing. In 1999, Mallman played a 26-hour song. Yes, you read that right. In 2004, he topped that by playing a song at the Turf Club spanning two consecutive days. Bathroom breaks were allowed, and he was joined by 75 different backing musicians throughout his set.

So, where did he go from there? In 2010, he played for three consecutive days, prompting Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman to proclaim October 7-10 “Mark Mallman Days.” The final few minutes of this performance live on YouTube: Take a look so you can see what a person looks like after being on stage for three days. All things considered, he looks and sounds pretty darn good.

TWIZZLERS, JERKY, AND A VIDEO ENCODING SYSTEM

Mallman doesn’t stop at playing for 78 hours. I mean, why would he? On September 15, 2012, Mark jumps in a van in New York City and sets off across the country. Eight days later, he arrives in Los Angeles. Along the way, he plays 180 hours of music and streams it over the Internet. He has a keyboard, some smart engineers and technical equipment to turn his dreams into sounds. You know, the basic needs for the cross-country road trip. Reading the Wiki about this, doesn’t really do it justice. Take a look at this explanation of the how and the why.

Mallman is more than a musician who performs for impossibly long periods of time. He has released over a dozen albums and has published some of his writings in a book called The Happiness Playlist.

If you have a favorite musical act that was recorded at Twin Cities PBS studio drop a line in the comments. We’ll track down their signature on the wall and dip into our archives.

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This story is made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the citizens of Minnesota.

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You know else has signed the unofficial MN Wall of Fame? Tina Schlieske of Tina & the B-Sides. It’s true. See the band’s autograph on concrete block and watch them perform in a clip dusted off from the Twin Cities PBS archives.

“That big, round, black building at 701 North 1st Avenue in downtown Minneapolis contains more legends and myths than Minneapolis probably deserves. The early history of the club is rife with change, contributing to its mercurial feel. For some people, it’s a symbol of musical expression; for others an adult Disneyland.” Explore a few snapshots of the history of First Avenue, the club that put Minneapolis on the music map. 

In a recent collaboration, Twin Cities PBS shot a new music video  for the local old-timey/bluegrass band The Roe Family Singers’  new single, “Don’t Worry About the Rich Man,” off of their upcoming album, Roll Up the RugSo you should probably watch the band gather around a fire to sing their hearts out.