Arts Orbit Radar: 12/17/09


What’s Happening This Week

Thursday, December 17

On the radar: This week’s finest display of postmodern contrasts is not to be found at the Walker or at Art of This but at the Megamall, where—in the same season that a Barbie Store opened its doors there—the U.S.A.’s 2010 Olympic Women’s Hockey Team lineup will be officially announced. All 21 team members will be available for autographs.

Under the radar: The Klingons would surely approve of the fact that the show following their Christmas Carol onstage at Mixed Blood is a drama about a murderous Samurai. Our writer Sheila Regan is among the performers appearing in Tales of Rashomon, and she tells me they’ve sharpening their swordwork.

Friday, December 18

On the radar: The Twin Cities are a hotbed (so to speak) of burlesque; while most such performances happen at safely theatrical venues, tonight the ladies of Le Cirque Rouge are daring to bare on the tiny stage at the 501 Club. At the Fringe, audiences for burlesque shows sometimes need to be coached to hoot and holler; I’m guessing that will not be necessary tonight at LCR’s free “holiday extravaganza.”

Under the radar: If dirty-bluegrass band Courtney McClean and the Dirty Curls inspired you to start a dirty-country band, sorry, but all the good names are already taken. Rope Trick will be at the 331 next month, and tonight Reverse Cowboy are at Keegan’s. If you want to cowboy up without crossing the river, check out the Belfast Cowboys at First Ave…though the Van Morrison cover band won’t be particularly “dirty” unless they bust out with a replica of Van the Man’s skintight sequined jumpsuit from The Last Waltz.

Saturday, December 19

On the radar: Not that artists are big procrastinators or anything…but somehow, they understand those of us who are. Venues having big holiday arts ‘n’ crafts sales today include the Vine Arts Center, the SooVAC, and the new Tillie’s Bean—which is taking as its theme “Crafts and Caffeine.” Might want to hit that one first.

Under the radar: When you’re the inventor of Liquid Superballs and Bullz-I Basketballs and Sonic Snorkelz, what do you do in your down time? Answer: you write a book about a kid who gets teased at school for his sports ineptitude but is actually a brilliant toy inventor who comes up with marvelous playthings like Liquid Superballs and Bullz-I Basketballs and Sonic Snorkelz. That boy—er, man—is Tim Kehoe, and he’s at Common Good Books this afternoon. There will be reading, and there may be Snorkelzing.

Sunday, December 20

On the radar: Local—and, increasingly, national—favorites Romantica are at the Cedar for an EP release show, with Caroline Smith opening. The bloggerati are already agiggle over the new disc’s title: Control Alt Country Delete.

Under the radar: Last call! Today is your last chance to see many local holiday shows, including (deep breath) La Natividad, A Christmas Carol: The Golden Girls Remix, Jacob Marley’s Christmas CarolThe Nutcracker According to Mother Goose, Fat Man Crying, All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, Beaverdance, The Seafarer, Spiked!, and Sisters of Swing.

Monday, December 21

On the radar: I’m really, really dubious about the promised appearance of “Rudolph the Rappin’ Reindeer,” but otherwise it’s hard to believe you can go very far wrong seeing Sounds of Blackness tonight at the Guthrie.

Under the radar: Journalists as DJs? I may be biased, but that sure sounds like a sweet idea to me. Grumpy’s Northeast has been devoting Monday nights to local music, with a series of guests who are in the know and on the Net. At the (turn)tables tonight: CakeIn15‘s Stacy Schwartz.

Tuesday, December 22

On the radar: It was a big week last week for both JägerCon (it celebrated its first birthday with a big blowout) and the Star Wars Holiday Special (it played to a packed house at the BLB); tonight, Kate Iverson (of JägerCon) and Bea Arthur (of the holiday special) put their feet up and relax in front of Club Jäger’s coziest-gas-fireplace-in-the-world as the holiday special plays on the big (well, biggish) screen.

Under the radar: Amidst all the holiday hoo-hah, our blogger Phillip Andrew Bennett Low hasn’t forgotten the reason for the season; on the contrary, he’s written an entire show about Him. Of course, this being Phillip Andrew Bennett Low (last seen being chased across the BLB stage in a Santa suit and, later, skivvies), the show is about a “new” Jesus: “a dark child, tinged by holy madness, bearing strange powers, prone to deadly bursts of rage.” You might want to leave the myrrh at home.

Wednesday, December 23

On the radar: Roma di Luna are describing their second annual Cedar stand as a “holiday special,” but thankfully they mean that in a very different sense than Star Wars does—unless Jefferson Starship show up for a surprise opening set. Cross your fingers that the opener will in fact be Eliza Blue, as advertised.

Under the radar: Frances Gumm aren’t just veterans of the local music scene, they’re pretty much a scene onto themselves. The “new wave revenge” band, who share a name with the pre-fame Judy Garland (what a coincidence!), are dropping a new album tonight at the Turf Club’s Clown Lounge. Ask Paul D what it was like touring with Pavement and pray he doesn’t smash a Stratocaster over your skull.

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

Daily Planet Arts Roundup


Norma Smith Olson reports on the release of poet Marlene Jerierski’s new book Beyond the Mirror, Jackie Alfonso recommends reading material for lovers of language, and Amy Rea continues her literary scavenger hunt.


Whistling violinists were all the rage in Minneapolis last weekend, as Andrew Bird enthralled three sellout crowds at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral and opener Anders Ponder charmed the crowd who had gathered at the Weisman for Mates of State. Dwight Hobbes, meanwhile, was unimpressed with the Fine Line show by The New Congress and the Devine Collection.


We’re in the thick of the holiday theater blizzard! Nora Leinen enjoyed Joseph Scrimshaw’s Fat Man Crying, I was a little confused but still very entertained by Jon Ferguson’s S. Gunter Klaus and the Story Before, my aunt Betsy was delighted by A Don’t Hug Me Christmas Carol, Sheila Regan was very moved by HOTB’s La Natividad, and Jaclyn Evert was frankly bored by Ballet of the Dolls’s Nutcracker (Not So) Suite. Melissa Slachetka calls Zenon’s Nutcracker According to Mother Goose the perfect holiday show for children, and Lydia Howell tells me she’s bringing two boxes of Kleenex to All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 at the Pantages. Finally, I caught a couple of shows already reviewed in the Daily Planet—Fat Man Crying and Beaverdance—and immensely enjoyed both of them.

Visual Arts

Dan Greenwood reports on photographer Abdi Roble’s Somali Diaspora Project, and Crystal Erickson goes behind the scenes at Seward’s Vine Arts Center, which is preparing for its annual holiday sale.


Phyllis Louise Harris explains why Sen Yai Sen Lek (“Big Noodle Little Noodle”) is quickly winning fans in Northeast Minneapolis.

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