Arts Orbit Radar 2/4/10


What’s happening this week

Thursday, February 4

On the radar: The buzz for the homegrown production of Rent opening this week at the Lab  (formerly the Guthrie Lab) kicked into overdrive when casting was announced, but dipping into the music scene—snagging Maria Isa and Harley Wood, among others—isn’t this production’s only innovation. The producers are staging the show as a theater-concert hybrid, with open seating and, after several performances, public afterparties. Tonight’s procession from the Lab will lead to the Loop. Don’t be the Loser who misses out on this one.

Under the radar: Proposition: the perfect cure for wintertime cabin fever is a big ol’ hula hoop jam. If that idea sounds absolutely absurd to you, you’ll really want to avoid tonight’s event, at which participants are being invited to wear a fun hair piece, a colorful outfit, or furry leggings.

Friday, February 5

On the radar: The word “quotidian” is not particularly quotidian, but this is contemporary art, so if you’re going to display commonplace objects you have to surround them with esoteric verbiage. Opening tonight at the Weisman with a preview party is Common Sense: Art and the Quotidian.

Under the radar: “Do you guys actually have an office?” I’m often asked that question, and the answer is yes! Today is your chance to not just see the Daily Planet’s glamorous digs, but to party with us as we host a happy-hour reception to welcome 2010.

Saturday, February 6

On the radar: “Haiti has suffered enough,” tweeted Kyle Matteson of More Cowbell during the televised relief benefit. “Do we really need to pour salt on their wounds with crappy music?” That won’t be a problem tonight at First Ave, where Solid Gold, Mark Mallman, Zoo Animal, and Peter Wolf Crier will play the mainroom to raise funds for the rebuilding effort.

Under the radar: Intermedia Arts is hosting a summit of the Twin Cities’ top spoken-word artists, all winners of a 2009 VERVE grant. The lineup includes Poetic Assassins, Khary Jackson, Tou Saiko, El Guante, and Tish Jones—all for a suggested donation of $5.

Sunday, February 7

On the radar: Yeah, well, you know what? We never even wanted to be in your stupid football game anyway. It’s dumb. It’s just a stupid game. Whatever. You’re all big meanies anyway. We hate you! We hate you and we hate your stupid, dumb ol’ game. [sniffle]

Under the radar: Everyone wins at the Triple Rock’s Football and Fashion Super Bowl Fiesta, featuring past Voltage bands the Melismatics, First Communion Afterparty, and Black Blondie.

Monday, February 8

On the radar: Greil Marcus is one of the few writers who’s managed to write about rock music with the authority and inventiveness of its best performers. His latest project is the volume A New Literary History of America, an alternate take on what’s great about life and letters in the U.S. of A. Marcus co-edited the volume, and tonight he’s at the Weisman to talk about the project along with contributors (and U of M faculty members) David Treuer, Michael Gaudio, and Paula Rabinowitz.

Under the radar: Besides making the world’s best espresso (at least, the best espresso in the world my taste buds have experienced), Dunn Bros. on Grand also features performances by the best folk and blues artists you’ve never heard of. Tonight: “certified guitar player” Joe Fingers.

Tuesday, February 9

On the radar: The Hennepin Theatre Trust is noting that the touring production of Young Frankenstein opening at the Orpheum today is “recommended for ages 13 and up”—and a 13-year-old is at precisely the right age for Mel Brooks’s brilliantly sophomoric humor. Just up the street at First Ave, Rhymesayers is throwing a benefit for Haiti relief; Slug will host, and the dazzling lineup is a reminder of just what an amazing (and amazingly generous) roster of artists call the Minneapolis hip-hop label home.

Under the radar: La Jetée, the high-art sci-fi short film that inspired Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys, opens today at the small theater inside the Walker’s Event Horizon exhibit.

Wednesday, February 10

On the radar: Every party claims that “the hottest people in town” will be in attendance, but the event planners at are a little more deliberate about it: they made an open call for nominations, and then put the nominees to a vote. Tonight the winners as well as the also-rans are being invited to a fête at the Graves 601 Hotel.

Under the radar: Burlesque has become so pervasive in the Twin Towns that today’s schoolchildren don’t even remember the days when you could walk down the street without having to dodge spinning titty tassels. In such a crowded market for booty-baring, you need a special schtick to distinguish yourself from the standard strippers. Abbie Rhodes’s innovation is to bring it 60s-style: her groovy “psychedelic spectacle” is at Station 4 tonight.

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

Daily Planet arts roundup


Dwight Hobbes recommends the important, accessible report Native Artists: Livelihoods, Resources, Space, Gifts.


Jim Brunzell filed his first report from Sundance: find out which entries were the winners, and which were the stinkers.


Elizabeth Lofgren was at Orchestra Hall for Judy Garland‘s triumphant “return,” and I stopped by the Southern to hear a fine performance by chamber-music supergroup Accordo. Also this week, Dwight Hobbes recommends the heavy metal fusion of Blue Felix, and I highlight the several reasons to attend the upcoming Electric Fetus benefit at First Ave. I also caught the Minnesota Opera’s effective new production of Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux at the Ordway.


It was a relatively quiet week in local theater, but all four of the reviews we published are warm ones. Sheila Regan enjoyed the BodyCartography Project’s 1/2 Life and Off-Leash Area’s The Jury, while I was wowed by Hotel Modern’s The Great War and Bev Wolfe saluted Claudia Wilkens’s commanding performance in Sister Kenny’s Children at the History Theatre.

Visual Arts

Mason Riddle was delighted and moved to see some fine work by her late friend George Morrison at the Bockley Gallery, and Doris Rubenstein reported on the mosaic art of Connie Cohen now on display at the St. Paul JCC.


Serious foodies are going to love Doug Flicker’s new restaurant Piccolo, reports Jeremy Iggers, and Amy Doeun reports on her new(est) favorite restaurant, St. Paul’s Rice Palace.

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