Arts Orbit Radar 9/22/11


On the radar

1. For substance, style, and sheer entertainment, there’s nothing like a Mozart opera. The Minnesota Opera begins its season with a bang: Così fan tutte opens Saturday.

2. At the U’s Ted Mann Concert Hall, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra plays one of its most enticing programs of the season: Franz Schubert’s dark masterwork Death and the Maiden, Anna Clyne’s Within Her Arms, and Earl Kim’s Cornet, narrated by actor/writer Wallace Shawn (My Dinner with André, The Princess Bride, Vanya on 42nd Street) in a very rare local appearance.

3. Station 4 notwithstanding, Lowertown has been badly in need of an appealing venue for live music; early indications suggest that the Amsterdam Bar and Hall, officially opening this weekend, might just do the trick.

4. For years, local music fans have wondered why Mayda hasn’t become huge yet. Lightning on a national scale hasn’t struck yet for the passionate purveyor of funk-rock, but she’s built an ever-larger local following on the basis of her sharp songs and uniformly impassioned performances. She’s trying some new tricks with her album Tusks in Furs, dropping with a release show Saturday night at the Cedar.

5. The summer ain’t over ’til Nick and Eddie say it’s over, and this Saturday what Nick and Eddie are saying is that it’s time for another block party! Okay? Okay!

Under the radar

1. It’s a little early for prime foliage, but don’t let that stop you from heading north on Saturday for Franconia Sculpture Park’s 15th Anniversary Celebration.

2. Funnyman Ryan Lear takes the director’s seat for the first time with Four Humors Theater’s The Extraordinary Terms of Ordinary Life, “an original comedy about the world of life insurance salesmen.” That Lear guy’s not one to make it easy for himself, is he?

3. I’m not giving anything away regarding my Picked to Click ballot, but I’d like to draw your attention to the fact that when I saw Calamity and the Owl in January, I wrote that “I was impressed by their power, and by the richness of the Killfoils’ harmony vocals as well as the strength of their original songs.” Just sayin’. They’re part of a great triple bill with the Union Suits and Jezebel Jones on Tuesday night at Honey.

4. If you haven’t yet embraced the rich Minnesota community of Italian descent, it’s time to—as that great Italian-American Loretta Castorini so eloquently said—“Snap out of it!” The Festa Italiana will host, among other things (“Dan Newton, Accordionist Extraordinaire”; “I Cantatori, the Iron Range Singers”), the “largest gathering of organ grinders and carousel organs in over 20 years.” In the whole wide world? Sure, let’s say so.

5. On Wednesday at the Turf, Tony Zaccardi, Romantica bassist and bartender extraordinaire, is donning yet another hat—that of vinyl DJ—for the first time.