Arts Orbit Radar: 11/26/09


What’s Happening This Week

Thursday, November 26

On the radar: Many families like to catch a movie on Thanksgiving—it’s kind of special, because you’re technically going out, but it’s also kind of like sitting in front of the TV. If you want Dwight Hobbes’s advice, you’ll check out Precious, which he tells me he was blown away by: “A cinematic triumph, Precious sends a strong message, telling a powerful story.” For my part, I recommend you catch Where the Wild Things Are; it’s not Spike Jonze’s best, but it’s beautifully photographed and wonderfully weird.

Under the radar: Most music venues are laying low tonight, but count on the Cabooze to soldier on: they’re hosting Heatbox and Rooster McCabe in a “Thanksgiving Blowout.”

Friday, November 27

On the radar: Once, the name “Engelbert Humperdinck” was associated exclusively with a composer. Then, it was associated with a lounge crooner of the same name by millions of people who had no idea who the composer was. Now, it’s likely that most people under 40 have no idea who the composer or the crooner are, and would be highly surprised to learn that two separate artists managed to have profitable careers under that name. The crooner is taking a break for the holidays (book tickets now for his Valentine’s Day gig at the Trump Plaza in Atlantic City), but the composer is posthumously working hard as the Minnesota Orchestra and In the Heart of the Beast mount a fully staged production of his opera Hansel and Gretel, starring the Ivey-winning sisters Christina Baldwin and Jennifer Baldwin Peden—who seem to be making a specialty of playing onstage siblings—as the oh-so-edible crumb-dropping duo.

Under the radar: If your kids prefer pop music to classical, bring them to the Cedar, where Haley Bonar—sharing a bill with Halloween, Alaska—may play a song or two from her upcoming EP of music for children. (It’ll be a late night, but they can nap during ambient-folk act Hildur Victoria’s opening set.)

Saturday, November 28

On the radar: Where did that come from? The Cranberries are back, and they’ve sold out First Ave.

Under the radar: Arthounds looking for a good road trip can head north to Franconia Sculpture Park, which is hosting its annual season-ending pie and wine potluck (how friggin’ cute is that?); or south to Red Wing Framing to see Hard Boiled Art, a show of eye-popping pulp-era illustrations.

Sunday, November 29

On the radar: King Khan and BBQ Show “deliver madness to hysteric crowds,” writes Crystal Erickson. If that’s your thing, you want to be at the Triple Rock tonight.

Under the radar: Delighted Golden Girls buffs who attended last weekend’s performance of Theatre Arlo’s GG adaptation of A Christmas Carol report that it’s stocked with near-verbatim references to the ladies’ holiday specials…so get on YouTube and do your research before attending tonight!

Monday, November 30

On the radar: The music of the Friendly Fires has been featured on Gossip Girl, as the theme music for a British sports program, and in commercials for Gran Turismo 5 and the Wii Fit. What does that mean? It means their music will make you want you to kick a soccer ball, race a car, do jumping jacks, and bury your face in a mountain of coke. Naturally, they’re at the Triple Rock.

Under the radar: Faux Jean were last seen at the venerable Minneapolis venue the…hey, wait a sec. Wasn’t there a bar around here at Hennepin and Lake? Oh, that’s right…it’s gone now. Anyway, Barbette is still standing, and that’s where they’ll be tonight.

Tuesday, December 1

On the radar: In the Heights won the 2008 Tony Award for best new musical; tonight, a touring production of the show opens at the Orpheum for a weeklong run.

Under the radar: Making its debut tonight at the Nomad is Mulligan Stu’s Do-Over Revue, “a new monthly variety show that invites courageous individuals on stage to share their most cringe-worthy artistic output in front of their sure-to-be-entertained peers.” Audience participation (and contributions) are encouraged, so dig out that nude self-portrait and face the music!

Wednesday, December 2

On the radar: On record, the Hidden Cameras seem to have an entire chamber orchestra at their disposal; live, they brag, their shows have included “up to 30 go-go dancers, strippers, and musicians.” Tonight, they’ll have to make do with the available space as they bring their slightly demented pop to the 7th Street Entry.

Under the radar: The Sound Unseen Film Festival becomes a yearlong concern with tonight’s debut of its monthly screening series. On tap at the Trylon: La France, a “folk musical” that bends genders and genres with its story about a woman who disguises herself as a man and sets out to find her husband in the French countryside during the Great War.

Have an event you’d like to put on our readers’ radar? Submit it directly to our calendar.

Daily Planet Arts Roundup


The widely-seen documentary Food, Inc. is in the running for an Oscar nomination, reports Barb Teed—and some Minnesota farmers aren’t happy about it. Crystal Erickson writes about another documentary, Ida’s Story, which tells the story of a local woman’s refugee mother.


Bouncing back from a drug bust (but unlikely to remain clean and sober) are the King Khan and BBQ Show, who will be at the Triple Rock on Sunday. Crystal Erickson interviews the duo, and I report on the rapt reception Mason Jennings received last Sunday at First Ave as well as the polite reception Harper Simon met at the Cedar. The Minnesota Opera’s Casanova’s Homecoming also received a warm reception—though not so much from me.


As the holiday-season shows continue to open, we’re on the scene! This week’s winners: Sisters of Swing at the History Theatre, Walking Shadow’s Some Girl(s), A Christmas Carol at the Guthrie, Park Square’s Of Mice and Men, Jon Ferguson’s Gregory Gregorson and the Magic Pinto Bean, Barbara Berlovitz’s Stories as Told in a Bed, Grease at the Orpheum (about which Juleana Enright and Sara Donlin agree), and Away in the Basement at the Plymouth Playhouse. Our writers were less enthusiastic about Theatre in the Round’s Indian Blood, Stages Theatre Company’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and the Chanhassen’s Another Night Before Christmas and Nunset Boulevard.

In dance news, Sheila Regan was on the scene as the Shubert Theater broke ground for its expansion and reopening, and I was in Northeast Minneapolis to enjoy Zenon Dance Company’s fall season at the Ritz.

Visual Arts

I was at the Walker to check out the new installations of work from the art center’s permanent collection; and Mariko Conner reports on a political show now on display in Northfield.


Dairy-free desserts? Indeed: Sara Rice tells you where to find the best of the local ones.

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