Ferguson, USA, a serious issue teamed with excellent talent

Maxwell Collyard, author of “Ferguson, USA” at the MN Fringe Festival, quotes James Baldwin, “Ask any Mexican, any Puerto Rican, any black man, any poor person — ask the wretched how they fare in the halls of justice, and then you will know, not whether or not the country is just, but whether or not it has any love for justice, or any concept of it. It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”

Richard Pryor said the same thing more succinctly, “You come down to the jail looking for justice and that’s what you’ll find. Just us.” Whether you adhere to eloquent articulation or go in for a shoot from the hip quip, there’s no arguing against the significance of Collyard’s voice, a contemporary theater artist dramatizing the tragedy that resonated across the nation. It’s billed as what he calls, “a collage of voices and spoken word inspired by witness interviews, media coverage, and the Department of Justice report [on] Ferguson, Missouri. In this story, a tragedy in the neighborhood incites residents to expose and fight a broken justice system funded by poverty.” Hardly a new story in American society. Continue Reading

"Hey Bangladesh"Presented by e2d

FRINGE REVIEW: Rajib Bahar’s “Hey Bangladesh” promises “wild and crazy” evening

You don’t get a great deal of music or theater from South Asia in the Twin Cities. There have, however, been noteworthy productions, among them Zaraawar Mistry performing his original solo piece “Indian Cowboy.” Rajib Bahar makes a promising bid to join said select company, staging “Hey Bangladesh,” a wryly intriguing premise, at the MN Fringe Festival for his fledgling Serendipity Productions. Hey Bangladesh centers on the fairly addlebrained yet happily fortuitous exploits of a fellow named Boltu, who, after accidentally head-butting a cow, comes up with the bright idea of launching his very own music show to go against the hit program “Bangladesh Idol.” It kind of sounds like a dyed-in-the-wool send-up on the order of, oh, Jack and the Beanstalk come “American Idol”. The quality of free-wheeling wild ideas area stages saw with Lonnie Carter’s “The Lost Boyz” and Marcie Rendon’s “Free Fry Bread.” Theater of the absurd isn’t for everyone. Continue Reading

"Confessions of a Delinquent Cheerleader"
Presented by FurTrader

2015 Minnesota Fringe Festival – Top Ten

Every year I clear out the past year’s top 10 to make room for ten more promising acts I’m excited to see.  For the 2015 Minnesota Fringe Festival, they are:

1 – FurTrader Productions – Confessions of a Delinquent Cheerleader

Who were you in High School? Hear true stories of a reformed cheerleader/bad girl at a private school back in the late 1980s. At times hilarious, at times tragic, she shares her “glory days” for all to judge. I was already fairly sure this was going to be one great comedic solo show, just by virtue of the fact that Mame Pelletier is involved.  That fact that it’s her script and her story only reinforced that instinct.  Her Fringe preview made it clear I would not be allowed to even entertain doubts about this one.  It’s going to be a heck of a lot of fun.  Can’t wait. 2 – Little Lifeboats – Confessions of a Butter Princess or Why The Cow Jumped Over The Moon

On the planet Ceres, Alex, a Cow, and a Queen are trying to escape the wrath of the Princess Kay Chorus. Continue Reading

Here’s what you missed at this year’s FLOW arts crawl [Photos]

The tenth annual FLOW arts crawl kicked off Thursday, July23rd. Artist projects, galleries and a good time was had by all. See for yourself… PLOT Gallery (1016 W. 27th St., Mpls) has transformed a vacant used car lot (Western Motors) on West Broadway, just east of the Capri Theater, into a temporary art space. Gallery co-owner Ace Rice and a group of independent artists painted, sprayed, carved, chain-sawed and squirted their works into being on Saturday. Continue Reading

Elvin Bishop is easy as eggs over for the Lowertown Blues Festival

Blues veteran Elvin Bishop truly is an original. Laid back easy as eggs-over. For those who don’t know, Bishop first broke back in the mid-60s with The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, following his debut a few years earlier, playing behind the legendary Junior Wells. He, vocalist/harp man Butterfield, guitarist Mike Bloomfield and keyboardist Mark Naftalin recorded the discs “The Paul Butterfield Blues Band,” landmark release “East-West” and “The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw” with Bishop poking his head in the door to guest on “In My Own Dream” with his terminally irreverent gem “Drunk Again.” Along with Carlos Santana, he was a guest artist on “The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper” (Columbia Records refused to let them title it “Two Jews Blues”). He’s made 25 solo albums, five of them live and hit the charts with “Fooled Around and Fell In Love” off of “Struttin’ My Stuff”

These days he’s on tour promoting his newest album “Can’t Even Do Wrong Right” (Alligator Records), with characteristically down home, shoot-from-the-hip fare. Continue Reading

Why is FLOW Northside Arts Crawl Important?

In anticipation of the 10th Anniversary FLOW Northside Arts Crawl, FLOW’s artist liaison, Farrington Llewellyn asked three North Minneapolis artists, Why is FLOW important to you? Kenna Camara Cottman: Why FLOW Is Important from North MPLS. Watch Kenna also speak about FLOW 2015. Ms. Naima: Keep Flowing from North MPLS. Elder Naima Richmond, poet, storyteller, author, has more to say about FLOW. Continue Reading


Salt-N-Pepa go old school at Weesner Family Amphitheater

Each year you can count on Music in the Zoo at Weesner Family Amphitheater to have some favorite artists returning to the lineup, but there are always a couple unexpected shows that standout. July 8th was one of those special nights as all seats were claimed for a rare appearance by the original female rap crew Salt-N-Pepa. Hip Hop legends Cheryl James and Sandy Denton looked very much at home behind the microphone trading off lyrics while DJ Spinderella (Deidre Roper) laid their famous tracks down old school. The exceptional crowd of mostly women aided greatly in creating a party atmosphere and were on their feet the moment the needle hit the record and never sat down. It was a nostalgic evening for many as the rappers cleverly mixed in phrases from other popular jams from their era and of course closed their set with their biggest hits including “Whatta Man”, “Shoop” and “Push It”. Continue Reading