Downtown West Neighborhood News and Events


Photo by Julie Fields

The Downtown West neighborhood is the central business district of Minneapolis.


Venora HungVenora Hung is our neigh-borhood corres-pondent for Downtown  - and she wants to hear from you. Tell Venora about the garage sale, or the music festival -and  ask her how to register and get your profile on TC Daily Planet! Email Venora at venorahung [at] gmail [dot] com.

Venora Hung, a lawyer practicing in the Twin Cities,  volunteers on several boards and dabbles in cooking and writing. Most recently she started a company called Cupcake Goddess specializing in Asian inspired cupcakes. She also enjoys exploring the Twin Cities - particularly anything that has to do with healthy living, yoga and pilates.

As such, it is home to many Fortune 500 corporate headquarters, moderate and upscale retail shops, and luxury, boutique, family-friendly, and landmark office building conversion hotels.

Nicollet Mall—which is very active with restaurants and shopping—runs south from Washington Avenue. Hennepin Avenue, with its concentration of theaters and entertainment, runs south from the Mississippi River. (Description from

For detailed demographic information, see the neighborhood profile from Minnesota Compass


Ars Nova performs at Mill City Nights, Covenant shares his passion for music

(Photo by Gino Terrell) Covenant, member of Ars Nova, performing at Mill City Night on Nov. 8 at the  "Long Live the Empire: Feed the People Show."

Ars Nova performed at Mill City Nights in Minneapolis on Saturday, Nov. 8, and a member of the group, Covenant, shared his passion for making music.


THEATER REVIEW | Sandbox Theatre's "Killer Inside": Musical theater, more like jukebox prison

Theo Langason (foreground) leads the ensemble in song in Sandbox Theatre's prison musical, Killer Inside; photography by Matthew Glover

Not surprisingly, when Sandbox Theatre decides to do a musical, it isn’t like any standard musical you’ve seen or heard. This musical takes place in prison, and not the kind of musical prison Elvis Presley might recognize. More like the kind of prison you see on the reality TV series Lockup. In fact, Killer Inside is more like a prison jukebox. There isn’t typical musical theater plot or lead characters you can follow from the beginning through to the end. Everyone in the ensemble plays multiple roles. The audience gets to hear the murderous inmates of the prison recount their stories one by one, and these stories are so full of feeling that eventually they just have to burst into song and dance to fully express themselves. 


THEATER REVIEW | Casting Spells Productions' "Disenchanted!: A New Musical Comedy That Gives Fairy Tales the Bird" does just that at Illusion Theater

The cast of Disenchanted! sing their wishes in "Once Upon A Time". Photo courtesy of Casting Spells Productions, LLC.

Disenchanted!: A New Musical Comedy That Gives Fairy Tales the Bird is a very timely show. In the past year, numerous memes have swept across the Internet critiquing the tropes of Disney fairy tale princesses, roasting the company’s brand management for altering beloved characters’ body proportions, and presenting alternative takes on everything from costume designs to post-credit-aftermath to the fundamental morals derived from the stories that the company has adapted. At the same time, the Disney/Pixar steamroller continues to cut across (and, according to some, pillage) cultures, with millions of official Frozen Elsa costumes reportedly sold in the lead-up to Halloween. That these trends do not sit well together gives ripe potential for comedy, and this show cleverly revels in those tensions.


MUSIC PHOTOS | Mayda at New Century Sessions

Photos by Emmerlee Sherman

The New Century Sessions on October 29 opened with Mu Daiko, an innovative Japanese-style taiko drumming ensemble based in the Twin Cities. The ensemble plays new compositions, and infuses traditional melodies into its ever-expanding repertoire. Different members of the ensemble performed with Mayda for a few songs throughout the evening.


Illusion Theater celebrated past and present at 40th Anniversary Gala

"The bidding has begun!" Photo courtesy of Illusion Theater.

The 2013-2014 season was a good run for the Illusion Theater. Things kicked off with a high note in September with the Minnesota State Arts Board announcing a $95,030 grant to take Jeffrey Hatcher’s Hamlet on the road. As the year progressed, the Saint Paul Cultural STAR brought the Illusion’s My Ántonia back to the Twin Cities to rack up rave reviews, and the company’s new Life Begins @ 40 fundraising campaign jumpstarted with a big boost from the Pohlad Family Foundation. All of this would have been cause enough to celebrate on its own–to say nothing of its regular programming–but even more good news was in store with the coming season. On September 22, 2014, the Iveys honored Michael Robins and Bonnie Morris with a pair of coveted Lifetime Achievement Awards. So, there was much to celebrate at the top of 528 Hennepin on Saturday, October 18 as a crowd gathered for the Illusion Theater’s 40th Anniversary Gala.