Arts Orbit Radar 1/7/10


What’s happening this week

Thursday, January 7

On the radar: In the retro spirit of its new Benches & Binoculars exhibit, the Walker is reviving the Inquisition, a live art quiz that debuted in 1940. Accessibility is the watchword: the event’s subtitle is “art is fun.” Towards that end, it can’t hurt to have MPR’s Marianne Combs and everywhere else’s Andy Sturdevant sitting in the panelists’ seats.

Under the radar: Still, for those who aren’t in the mood for challenging questions about challenging art, there’s some aesthetic comfort food to be had downtown: the Minnesota Orchestra is providing live accompaniment to a screening of The Wizard of Oz.

Friday, January 8

On the radar: After a season of relatively conservative holiday fare, local theater companies are chomping at the bit to sink their teeth into something fresh. (Block that metaphor!) The real mother lode of new shows comes next week (Seriously! Cut it out!), but this week the flood gates begin to open (For the love of all that’s holy!!!) with Bedlam’s Fresh Five showcase, 3 AM’s Dumb/Sex, and the Walker’s presentation of Rimini Protokoll’s Call Cutta in a Box, an intercontinental interactive production that each audience member experiences solo, in a cubicle on the 40th floor of the IDS Center.

Under the radar: The Fantastic Merlins are headed to Paris to present their new Leonard Cohen cycle How the Light Gets In, but first they’re stopping at the Black Dog to give the material a spin. “This is a definite must event,” says Rich Broderick. “I’ve heard the rough cut on this CD and was able to sit in on one of the mixing sessions—it’s a great compilation.”

Saturday, January 9

On the radar: The Gophers men’s hockey team welcomes the Harvard Crimson to Mariucci Arena, where the Golden boys will show those Ivy League cake-eaters how it’s done. Um, right? Right!

Under the radar: Mention “Joel the Swedish Fiddler” to any Minneapolis music lover, and chances are good that his or her face will light up like St. Lucia’s wreath. Everyone loves Joel Bremer, and not just because he’s a nice guy—he’s a top-notch musician, as deft improvising accompaniment to an American folk song as in playing the traditional music of his native land. He’ll be doing the latter this afternoon at Hosmer Library, and the former tonight at the 331 with Eliza Blue.

Sunday, January 10

On the radar: The word “legendary” is thrown around a lot, but when the Capri Theater promises to host a series of legends, they’re not exaggerating. Taking the stage tonight: the one and only Sanford Moore.

Under the radar: There aren’t many monarchs more fascinating than Elizabeth I, and today the Minnesota Opera takes you behind the scenes of both the Queen’s life and of its upcoming production of Roberto Devereux. At 3 p.m. at Brit’s (nice choice of venue!), soprano Brenda Harris, who will portray Elizabeth at the Ordway, discusses her character’s real-life model. Then at 4:30, Brit’s will host a screening of the 1939 Bette Davis/Errol Flynn epic The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex.

Monday, January 11

On the radar: It’s hard to imagine Lesley Gore, one of the 20th century’s quintessential teenagers, as a 63-year-old rather than a 16-year-old…but so she is, and fortunately for us she’s still actively recording and performing. Tonight she’s at the Dakota for the second installment of a two-night stand.

Under the radar: With Americans’ attention captivated by health care, the coming midterm elections, and the B96 format change, it’s easy to forget that there’s a rest of the world; out there, one of the big stories of 2009 was the growing turmoil in Honduras. Grahame Russell was there for the controversial (to put it mildly) November 29 elections, and today he visits Waite House to tell his story.

Tuesday, January 12

On the radar: The success of the 2006 film adaptation inspired the producers of Dreamgirls to juice up the show’s Broadway incarnation, the touring production of which lands at the Orpheum today.

Under the radar: This afternoon St. Paul City Ballet’s North End outreach program offers a sneak peek at its spring show with free performance at the first of a monthly series of Ballet Tuesdays at Landmark Center.

Wednesday, January 13

On the radar: The padded walls of the Triple Rock suggest the need for protection against moshing mayhem, and the venue certainly hosts plenty of that, but as Fanfarlo demonstrated with some gorgeous music and a few strings of simple white lights, the Triple Rock can also be a winning venue for more nuanced fare. Such is there to be had tonight, when Prairie Stater Lissie takes the stage; opening is Alison Scott, one of Dwight Hobbes’ favorite local singers.

Under the radar: Five days after David Bowie’s 63rd birthday, DJ Jake Rudh takes the tables at Clubhouse Jäger—with special guest DJ SLT, who really knows his Bowie—for a tribute to the Thin White Duke. And Ziggy Stardust. And the Man Who Fell to Earth. And the Laughing Gnome. And Major Tom. And Aladdin Sane. And David Robert Jones.

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

Daily Planet arts roundup


Amy Rea finally finishes her literary scavenger hunt…or so she says. Now, what was that all about?


Jim Brunzell saw 139 movies in 2009; here are his ten favorites. Twilight: New Moon is not among them, nor has he revealed whether he’s on “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob.” Also this week, Workday Minnesota previews an upcoming screening of the documentary You Got To Move: Stories of Change in the South.


The proposed Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger doesn’t seem to be making anyone happy, not even venues such as First Ave, which has announced its opposition to the corporate conjunction. Something no one is opposed to is celebrating the music of Native composers, which will happen at the Avalon Theater (a.k.a. In the Heart of the Beast) on January 28. Dwight Hobbes is opposed to something: the cold. Nonetheless, he’s glad he braved it to see the New Prims at the Cabooze. Also this week, Dwight talked with veteran songstress Alison Scott and cheered local favorite Desdamona for giving a well-deserved boost to Philadelphia’s RhapsodE.


In my first review of the new year, I panned Ten Thousand Things’ new production of Stones in His Pockets, a maudlin play that even Steve Epp and Jim Lichtscheidl can’t save. We also look ahead to some exciting upcoming productions including The Fresh Five at Bedlam, Wednesday Feels Like Tuesday at the BLB, and the 40th birthday of the Minnesota Shakespeare Company.

Visual Arts

Jeanette Fordyce talks with Ruth Oseid Johnson, an artist whose work is now on display at St. Paul’s Café Latte.


Jeremy Iggers recounts his Afghan adventures in St. Paul and in…yes, Afghanistan.

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