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THEATER REVIEW | Mixed Blood Theatre's "Hir" an extremely queer play

Isaac (Dustin Bronson) finds his family - mother Paige (Sally Wingert), father Arnold (John Paul Gamoke), and brother Max (Jay Eisenberg) - very different than how left them when he went to war, in Mixed Blood Theater's production of Hir; photo by Rich Ryan

You should go see Mixed Blood’s current production of Taylor Mac’s comedy Hir, under the direction of Niegel Smith. It’s a chameleon of a play that can look different to everyone who watches it. Regardless of whether it ends up bewitching you or just weirding you out, it’s still a heck of a lot of fun to watch in action.


Beautiful, aurally sumptuous Concert Hall opens at the Ordway

Patrons streaming into the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts' new Concert Hall space, pre-concert

The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts formally inaugurated its new concert hall on Saturday with an elaborate gala celebration. The evening began with a cocktail hour and a formal dinner in the Music Theater, followed by a sumptuous concert in the new space and an afterparty that continued into the wee hours.


MUSIC PHOTOS | Pert Near Sandstone warms up the Cedar Cultural Center

Photos by Tom Baker

Performing for two nights at The Cedar Cultural Center, Pert Near Sandstone brought their talent and energy to whip fans into a foot stomping, butt shaking, arm throwing, and even waltzing, frenzy Friday night. With two cloggers to keep the rhythm going and the fans dancing (Andy Lambert and Matt Cartier), Pert Near (Nate Sipe, mandolin, fiddle, vocals; Kevin Kniebel, banjo, vocals; J. Lenz, acoustic guitar, vocals; and Adam Kiesling, upright bass, vocals) is such an energizing performance to experience that they could probably turn any white-collar worker into an overall and straw-hat wearing hillbilly. Smiles and dreadlocks touting fans abound, these boys are some fine musicians and it’s no surprise they’ve been successfully twanging, fiddling, banjoing, and harmonizing their way across the country for over ten years. They’ll play again tonight at The Cedar, then head out West to tour through the Rockies and to the coast before returning to the Midwest in June to play the Blue Ox Music Festival in Eau Claire, WI, June 11. Well worth seeing, get your clogging shoes on and go support these good ol’ Minnesota boys. 


MUSIC REVIEW | Pianist Benjamin Grosvenor plays a mixed bag at the Ordway

Photo courtesy Benjamin Grosvenor

There comes a moment in the career of every child prodigy in music when their early promise is held up against a light of adult scrutiny. Technical virtuosity from an early age is a laudable thing, but with increased years comes a demand for artistic refinement – demands that for non-prodigies may otherwise not be expected until a much older age. There is often a rush for judgment as listeners wonder whether a young musician will remain a flash in the pan or mature into a long and continuously fruitful career. Pianist Benjamin Grosvenor’s concert on Tuesday at the Ordway offered no clear answers to this question, but tossed more fuel on the fire.


Mobsters, pirates, plagues, and Mongol hordes in Ordway’s 2015-16 season

SEOP Dance Company, a South Korean ensemble playing at the Ordway on March 6, 2016.

The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts announced its 2015-2016 season on Monday evening with a festive event at the Ordway’s Target Atrium. Highlights of the upcoming season include three self-produced musicals; dance performances such as Hip Hop Nutcracker, DanceBrazil, and Lulu Washington Dance Theatre; world music sensations Dengue Fever and Hanggai; and a return engagement by Pilobulus Dance Theatre.


Q&A | Beth Hart Better Than Home World Tour

Beth Hart at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis, MN

On February 19, 2015, Beth Hart made a stop in Minneapolis, MN to perform the 3rd night of her Better Than Home World Tour at the Cedar Cultural Center. She was generous enough to sit down with me before the show and chat a bit about her life as a touring musician and the upcoming release of her new album. I talked to several people at the show who said Beth's music was significant in getting them through some tough life experiences. She has a gift of being able to communicate through her song writing what she has learned along her own life path and told me that she is an open book, so I hope you get a sense of that from this interview.


THEATER REVIEW | "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court" at the Guthrie Theater: Light and smart

Andy Nogasky (Hank) faces down the rest of The Acting Company in Jeffrey Hatcher's new adaptation of A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur's Court.

Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court is an adaptation in the same sense that the movie Jurassic Park is an adaptation of Michael Crichton’s novel of the same name. The basic concept is the same, some common beats are hit, and much of the rest is entirely its own animal. (No velociraptors were harmed in the making of Hatcher’s A Connecticut Yankee.) The looseness of Hatcher’s adaptation is a strength, producing a satire that is much funnier than a straight adaptation would have been. The Acting Company’s premiere of this play, now at the Guthrie, makes for a light but smartly done evening.


THEATER REVIEW | Pippin dazzles under the circus tent at the Orpheum Theatre

Sasha Allen and the touring cast of Pippin.

Not many shows bristle with the same visual joy and spark as the Broadway tour of Pippin, now playing at the Orpheum Theatre. Of course, not many shows are set under a circus tent bristling with acrobatics, tumbling, knife throwing, hula-hoops, trapezes, and yoga balls. Yes, you read that right—yoga balls; 6 of them, as a matter of fact, and 15 hula-hoops as well. Want something more like Vegas? How about 7 giant feather fans being sensually waved, or flaming torches if that’s more your thing?


MUSIC REVIEW | Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull a lot to like at Target Center

Photos By: 
Patrick Dunn

“Baby I like it,” is not just a line from Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull’s hit “I Like It,” it was also my impression when I left the Target Center on Saturday, February 21.


MUSIC REVIEW | Beth Hart exudes true artistry at the Cedar Cultural Center

Unlike many of the current highly promoted music acts, Beth Hart doesn’t rap, perform to a backing track or rely on outlandish outfits to create headlines.

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