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THEATER REVIEW | "2 Pianos, 4 Hands" two Hours of laughs and music at Park Square Theatre

Friends and sometime rival pianists Richard (Peter Vitale, left) and Ted (Michael Pearce Donley, right) relax between notes. Photo courtesy of Park Square Theatre

The story of 2 Pianos, 4 Hands, if you wanted to analyze it, is about chasing dreams, obstinance, frustration, and the quest for identity. Alternately, you could say that it is a string of theatrical vignettes that are alternately funny and poignant. A little myopia might focus on moments recalling Victor Borgia’s musical humor or perhaps what it might look like if Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck had to play a piano duet together (Daffy Duck vs. Donald Duck at the piano isn’t quite the same thing, although Bugs has a solo turn or two at the piano himself). The larger point is not that this play with music is one of these things, but that these are just some of the types of things interwoven into this piano-filled show. 2 Pianos, 4 Hands is much more than the sum of its parts, as excellent as they are individually.

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Unknown Prophets @ Triple Rock Social Club

12/26/2014 - 8:00pm

Most hip-hop fans around the country know there's something strangely special about the Twin Cities scene. They can flash their indie cred like a fanned out fistful of Franklins just by rattling off a few of the most recognizable names -- Atmosphere and Eyedea & Abilities come to mind. But there's another duo that has quietly helped define their city's place in hip-hop culture since the turn of the millennium: The Unknown Prophets.

The Cedar's MN Express

12/28/2014 - 7:30pm

MN Express is a new program that took five Minnesota artists on a ten-day tour around the state in October 2014. Artists for the inaugural MN Express tour were vocalist Aby Wolf, bassist Nick Gaudette, guitarist Kyle Sobczak, fiddler Sara Pajunen, and saxophonist Nathan Hanson.

6th Annual Yuletide Sweater Ball with Pistol Whippin Party Penguins, Sans Souci, Dead Horses, and The Lowest Pair

12/20/2014 - 8:00pm

Looking for a fun way to celebrate the holiday season?  Grab your holiday sweater and head on down to the West Bank for a packed night of music!  The 6th Annual Yuletide Sweater Ball will feature some of the great string bands of the Midwest.  The Pistol Whippin Party Penguins, Sans Souci, The Lowest Pair, and Dead Horses are celebrating the joy of releasing brand new albums this past year, and want to share it with you on this special night.  Don't miss this foot stompin' holiday party!

'Motown: The Musical' actress-singer delights in her multiple legendary roles

(Photo by Joan Marcus) Patrice Covington as Martha Reeves (center) with other members of the touring cast in Motown: The Musical.

Motown: The Musical, the hit Broadway musical now touring the country, arrives next week for a 13-day run at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Minneapolis.

Grammy-nominated artist Ashley Támar Davis plays several roles, including Gladys Knight and Motown founder Berry Gordy’s sister Esther. She talked about her parts in a MSR phone interview.

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MUSIC REVIEW | Understated timeless cool of Jeremy Messersmith at the Turf Club

(Photos by Ann Treacy)

Man, woman, child, I don’t care who you are – everyone has a little crush on Jeremy Messersmith. He could fit into almost any era with pompadour, dark glasses and cardigan. He could play with Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly or the Bing Crosby, banter with Mr. Rogers, give him a pipe he could hang with Beaver Cleaver’s dad. The themes of his song – mostly love lost – are just as universal. And that adds to the crushability!

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Mizna shares artistic and literary contributions of Arab-Americans

Mizna executive director Lana Barkawi. (Park Bugle photo by Marina Lang)

Picture an ill-assorted group of urban dwellers who escape their stifling daily lives by spending their evenings smoking, drinking and joking, passengers aboard a houseboat as it floats down the River Nile under a jeweled sky.

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What will become of Dinkytown’s Southeast Library?

(Photo by Bill Huntzicker) The Southeast Library, designed by the late Ralph Rapson to be a credit union, has operated in its Dinkytown building since 1967.

Dinkytown could soon lose its public library, but Hennepin County will ultimately decide if that's worth it, or if they should replace or upgrade it.

The four neighborhoods that surround the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis are underserved by library services and space, said a consultant who organized a study that could be the first step toward determining whether the Southeast Library at Dinkytown will be updated or replaced.

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Lowertown Reading Jam: "Dakota Writers Speak to Presence: Honoring the 38+2"

12/26/2014 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm

On the 152nd anniversary of the largest mass execution in the history of the United States: the hanging of thirty-eight Dakota men in Mankato for their role in the U.S. Dakota War, contemporary Dakota writers speak to Presence. We speak several generations after the U.S. Dakota War and the United States government’s expulsion of Dakota from Minnesota. We speak, even as we are often erased or misrepresented in mainstream media and culture. We are here. Please join us as we reflect, remember, and share.

The curious case of luxury student housing

The American gentrification story will sound familiar to many: A historic neighborhood, home to traditionally transit-oriented apartments and modest single family homes, slowly becomes destitute and outdated as the automobile era drives population away from city centers. The neighborhood becomes derelict and neglected, but eventually, the bohemian counterculture — the artists, performers, musicians, and designers of a creative class — occupies and slowly kindles mainstream interest back into the area. Aside from retired, amenity-seeking empty nesters moving back into urban areas, most of these newcomers are young adults. There is a trend in these urban population shifts that is not often discussed — the study of college-aged students and their corresponding living patterns. Unlike other burgeoning urban neighborhoods, students occupy and dwell in a unique, confined location in close proximity to their college campus.

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