Arts Orbit Radar: 9/16/09


What’s Happening This Week

Thursday, September 17

On the radar: After Jon Ferguson’s being named director of the Southern’s theater lineup, followed by his tightly-choreographed take on Animal Farm, it seemed like he couldn’t become any more the It Man of local theater…and then his Fringe show sold 108% of its available seats. Tonight his new production, Super Monkey, opens at the Guthrie. It’s in the Dowling Studio, not the Wurtele Thrust, but I have a feeling he’s going to get there eventually.

Under the radar: All year long you’ve been reading the fascinating essays from the St. Paul Almanac in the Daily Planet, and now it’s time to welcome a new edition of the annual guide to all things Pig’s Eye. The release party takes place tonight at the Black Dog.

Friday, September 18

On the radar: The Walker’s Coen Brothers retrospective begins tonight with a screening of the Minnesota-bred filmmakers’ 1984 debut Blood Simple. Then, at the 501 Club, Unknown Prophets, Mayda, Josie from Tendercakes, and DJ Fundamentalist throw down in celebration of the first anniversary of the very newsletter you’re reading right now! And it’s free! Heyo!

Under the radar: Two weekend-long community arts celebrations kick off today: the West Bank Revival music festival and the Twin Cities Black Film Festival.

Saturday, September 19

On the radar: It’s badass ladies’ day in Minneapolis, as the B-Girl Be celebrates women in hip-hop and an all-female alleycat bike race tears through town north of the river.

Under the radar: The American Institute of Architects is sponsoring its annual Homes by Architects showcase this weekend; take a road trip through the Cities to see what’s at the cutting edge of home design. Wrap up your tour at Figlio, which is serving its last Manhattan tonight after two-plus decades “working the corner” at Lake and Hennepin.

Sunday, September 20

On the radar: Why is Ani DiFranco the one artist who brings City Pages music editor Andrea Swensson to lose all objectivity and go weak in the knees? Find out tonight at First Ave.

Under the radar: After a banner year winning the affection of local music lovers, Caroline Smith and her Goodnight Sleeps are taking their act on the road after tonight’s goodbye show at the Nomad. With her will be a killer cast of—count ’em—four supporting acts: The Daredevil Christopher Wright, Pomegranates, Andy Ulseth, and La Foret.

Monday, September 21

On the radar: At the State Theatre tonight, the Ivey Awards celebrate the best work of Minnesota’s professional theater companies. If your tux is at the cleaners but your flannel shirt is washed and pressed, head to First Ave for the Alice in Chains show.

Under the radar: Now that drawing has officially been expanded, where’s a pencil-wielding artist to go? To the McKnight Foundation, of course, where Megan Vossler’s really big (and, incidentally, beautiful) pictures go on display today.

Tuesday, September 22

On the radar: Phoenix wowed a packed Varsity Theater in June; likely they’ll do the same tonight at an equally sold-out First Ave. (Stop by the Electric Fetus ASAP and buy a copy of their album for a chance to see the band at an in-store performance this afternoon.)

Under the radar: If you’re having people over and want to impress them with your musical taste, put on some Marshall Crenshaw and watch them react. For three decades, Crenshaw has been making madly accessible pop music for a strangely small audience; his wonderful 1987 album Mary Jane & 9 Others is at the top of many music buffs’ please-please-put-it-back-in-print lists. He’ll be at the Cedar tonight.

Wednesday, September 23

On the radar: The gut-wrenching power of Brandi Carlile songs like “The Story” and “What Can I Say” is undeniable: they make you feel, it’s been said, “like smashing glass into your face.” Bring the Kleenex (and, maybe, the Band-Aids) to the O’Shaughnessy tonight.

Under the radar: When I saw that an official event of MNFashion Week was coming up this week, I thought, “Holy crap! Time’s a-flying!” Then I realized that it’s not actually MNFashion Week itself…it’s an event of MNFashion Week. You follow? (Correction: Whether or not you followed, I didn’t. It is MNFashion Week…there are [at least] two of them. The last one happened in the spring, and now it’s time for fall Fashion Week. The world of high style flummoxes me.) Hosts METRO and l’etoile promise that Charmed Life will be “the trunk show of trunk shows”—and they wouldn’t lie.

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Daily Planet Arts Roundup


“It can be done in the privacy of your own home, alone, with little expense, and it appears easy to do.” Jeanette Fordyce reviews a helpful new instructional manual.


Proceeding through the Coen Brothers’ oeuvre, I hit the beautiful but insubstantial Hudsucker Proxy.


Dwight Hobbes talked with Mychael Wright, founder of the Selby Avenue Jazz Fest, and I reviewed a memorable Triple Rock performance by Matt and Kim—the Brooklyn duo who just a couple of days later won the breakout artist award at MTV’s Video Music Awards. I also totally geeked out at the An Horse show at the Entry.


I enjoyed Bert and Ernie, Goodnight! at the Children’s Theatre—but not quite as much as the kids in attendance did. Jon Behm, meanwhile, found that Ananya Dance Theatre’s Ashesh Barsha didn’t quite live up to its heal-the-world promise.


I survived Chicago-Lake Liquors, and I have the t-shirt to prove it. Meanwhile, Sheila Regan was sampling Greek delicacies in Uptown, Jon Behm was sloshing suds in Northeast Minneapolis, and Amy Rea was happily surprised to discover a full-fledged A&W restaurant on her family vacation. Also, Tara Bannow reports that new restaurants are flooding into Stadium Village.

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Jay Gabler ( is the Daily Planet’s arts editor.

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