THEATER REVIEW | "Othello" by Gadfly Theatre: The bi/Sapphic twist is not the problem here

Desdemona (Rebecca Hanson) and Othello (Siddeeqah Shabazz) in Gadfly Theatre Productions' presentation of Shakespeare's tragedy Othello. Photo courtesy Gadfly Theatre Productions.

Let's face it. Shakespeare is tough. Anyone who tackles Shakespeare, even those who do it often and well, know it's not simple and it's not quick. Shakespeare plays, the really good ones, are mountains. You can't just leap to the top of the mountain. You get there one handhold, one foothold at a time. One line, one phrase, one word at at time. You have to live with the words in your head long enough that they eventually migrate into your bones. Understanding them is just the first hurdle. Figuring out how to convey them in a meaningful, compelling way to the audience and keep the story moving forward, that's the hard part. That's the difference between playing the role and just reciting the lines. It's tough. It takes time. It takes experience. And all that has to start somewhere.


MUSIC REVIEW | Screaming Females play like they're saving rock 'n roll at the Triple Rock Social Club

The inescapable thought about the Screaming Females' set on Tuesday, September 24 at the Triple Rock was that if we’re not careful, they’re going to save rock and roll. And they’ll do it while cribbing sounds and skewering moves of every self-important rocker who tried to do it before.


REVIEW | Collide Theatrical Dance Company's "The Belmont Hotel" announces a jazzy new force in Twin Cities dance

Photo courtesy Collide Theatrical Dance Company

This past Thursday, one of the Twin Cities’ newest dance companies premiered their “Broadway-style jazz dance musical” The Belmont Hotel at the Southern Theater. Collide Theatrical Dance Company is the brainchild of Regina Peluso, a Twin Cities native, who recently returned from a decade of work in theatrical dance in New York and Los Angeles. The mission of the company is to inspire collaboration and the creation of new work with a focus on jazz dance and to engage and entertain audiences. Collide is clearly succeeding on both counts.


MUSIC REVIEW | Against Me! barrel on at the Triple Rock Social Club

Against Me! didn’t slow down. For nearly an hour and a half the Florida punk band barely spoke a word to the sold out Triple Rock crowd between beating their guitar strings and shouting over the thundering kick drum. The kids in the pit were whipped up and dangerous, the older punks in the back stomped their feet and sang along. It was as if everyone had come in out of the rain to get something urgent off their chests.


THEATER REVIEW | Molière's "The Imaginary Invalid" at Theatre in the Round: Just because it's a classic doesn't mean it's any good

Photoillustration by Ron Ravensborg, courtesy Theatre in the Round

There are a few reasons why The Imaginary Invalid at Theatre in the Round doesn't work. The primary reason for its failure is that by the time brilliant satirist Molière wrote it he had run out of gas and came up with what basically is an vague rehashing of his uncanny triumph The Misanthrope: an objectionable fellow and his impact on those around him. The meandering script, in which very little happens, is meant to be a farcical statement on the medical profession but talks and talks itself into tedium, winding up not much of worthwhile comment on anything at all. Talented director Rick Shiomi goes with highly questionable choices, one being the use of colorblind casting. On the bright side, a couple of the actors do some fine work.


"Fashion Risk or the Accidental Nudist" at the Minnesota Fringe Festival: Is there such a thing as too much nudity?

There’s a delicious irony to the fact that a show about mundane, unremarkable nudity has become the sensation of the 2013 Minnesota Fringe Festival in large part because of the copious nudity it contains.


Dominique Serrand talks about the Moving Company's "Out of the Pan Into the Fire"

The Moving Company's new show Out of the Pan Into the Fire is now playing at the Southern Theater. Director Dominique Serrand talked with me about the process of creating the show in collaboration with students at the University of Iowa.


Ku soo Dhawaada Xaafadeena: Welcome to Our Neighborhood

In 2011, Bedlam Theatre and Mixed Blood Theatre collaborated with Cedar-Riverside residents on Ku soo Dhawaada Xaafadeena: Welcome to Our Neighborhood. The original play was inspired by stories from the West African communities living in and around the West Bank. In a video recently shared by MIGIZI Communications, the story of Ku soo Dhawaada Xaafadeena comes alive once again.


Prairie Fire Lady Choir: For 40 Twin Cities women, a DIY labor of musical love

It is a Monday night at the Van Cleve Park Rec Center in Minneapolis. A group of about 25 women are gathered in one of the center's brightly lit rooms and are chatting and laughing as they move folding chairs into a circle. At five past seven, one of these women speaks up to calm the chatter and launches into a series of announcements: recordings of the new song are on the website; please sign up to help with Give to the Max day; please vote online for the logo contest; remember to RSVP for the next gig on the Facebook work page, etc. Once the housekeeping is kept, another women pounds out a few notes on the piano and the group starts to sing. The weekly rehearsal of the Prairie Fire Lady Choir (PFLC) begins.

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