Anyone that knows anything about Prince’s Purple Rain (1984 film) or the First Avenue & 7th Street Entry music club knows that the latter features prominently in the former. Here we find an interesting piece of correspondence documenting the genesis of how these two famous Minnesota institutions became forever linked in the minds of pop culture enthusiasts everywhere. This letter from Purple Rain’s production company to the club’s manager outlines arrangements made for filming to be done at the venue. Among other details, the letter includes an agreement to close First Avenue from “Friday, November 26th to Tuesday, December 20th  for dressing, filming and strike during our filming of ‘Purple Rain’” in return for a $100,000 location and rental fee. The letter can be found among the 22 boxes of First Avenue & 7th Street Entry Band Files and Related Records, 1977-2004, held in the Minnesota Historical Society’s collections. Those interested in viewing the collection may wish to look at its electronic inventory before visiting the MHS Library.
Please click on image of letter below to enlarge it.
The Society holds a number of related items, including concert ephemera and publicity materials such as this Purple Rain movie brochure (below).
Prince’s original Purple Rain costume is also part of the Society’s collection. The costume, like Prince’s music, is a synthesis of various periods and styles. Learn more about the costume at our PunkFunkRockPop webpage. The outfit also can be viewed in the MN150 exhibit at the Minnesota History Center, which is open through the end of December, 2011.
John Knauss, Reference Associate