Arts Orbit Radar: 9/24/09


What’s Happening This Week

Thursday, September 24

On the radar: The Walker Art Center flexes its badass multimedia muscles tonight with a cultural assault on two fronts (block that metaphor!). BLK JKS kick off the Global Roots Festival with a Walker-sponsored show at the Cedar, and at the museum itself, the artist Haegue Yang opens a solo show that is sure to be gorgeous and provocative.

Under the radar: It’s amateur night on both sides of the Mississippi, as ordinary West Siders take the stage in St. Paul while up in Northeast Minneapolis, amateurs venture into the spotlight at a very different kind of community event.

Friday, September 25

On the radar: Garrison Keillor, newly awakened to mortality (if not to humility) by his recent stroke, stops by his St. Paul bookstore to read from his latest Lake Wobegon novel. That novel, Pilgrims, sends Keillor’s fictional Minnesotans to Europe, and in return, Europe has sent Arctic Monkeys. If they can hook Margie Krebsbach up with some rolls—the fun kind, I mean—we’ll make sure Alex Turner has enough Powdermilk Biscuits to soak up the vodka.

Under the radar: A group of performance artists are offering trips to Mars. Probably the less you know about this, the better it will be.

Saturday, September 26

On the radar: Franconia Sculpture Park’s daylong Arts & Artist Celebration & Festival is probably about as close to Burning Man as you’re going to get in Minnesota (though over in Wisconsin there are some artists who like to burn things). If you’d prefer to stay closer to civilization, a long lineup of excellent bands are indoors and outdoors at the 501 to raise money for the Pet Project.

Under the radar: Free Geek, a nonprofit committed to “helping the needy get nerdy” with access to technology, is holding a quiz bowl at Grumpy’s. What could be geekier? Spinning dog hair into yarn, that’s what.

Sunday, September 27

On the radar: After Uncle Tupelo split and its leaders Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy founded new bands, the critical consensus was that Son Volt’s Trace (Farrar) beat the pants off of Wilco’s A.M. (Tweedy) and that Son Volt would be the band to watch. Well…anyway, they’re still a band to watch.

Under the radar: Noting that the Minnesota Renaissance Festival has become a place where you spend money for the right to spend money, Caponi Art Park has enlisted the Society for Creative Anachronism to set you back in time without setting you back in the pocketbook. If you prefer the 20th century to the 10th, you’ll want to be at Christ Church Lutheran, where Susan Saarinen will be on hand to celebrate the certification of the church designed by her father and grandfather as Minnesota’s 23rd National Historic Landmark.

Monday, September 28

On the radar: Go see Magic Castles open for Sleepy Sun at the Entry—or did you have another mind-melting mystical journey in mind for tonight?

Under the radar: Kate Eifrig and Charity Jones are among the stellar actors reading Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of Dear Brutus—a comedy by Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie—at the Jungle Theater.

Tuesday, September 29

On the radar: The Sound Unseen Film Festival, programmed by our own Jim Brunzell III, kicks off with a world premiere screening of This is Not a Show, a concert film starring R.E.M., presented by director Vincent Moon.

Under the radar: Simone Perrin, Minnesota’s sexiest accordion player (I know, that’s saying a lot), releases a Hummingbird at Open Eye Theatre—with support from the likes of Kevin Kling and Prudence Johnson.

Wednesday, September 30

On the radar: You have to be pretty fearless to go on the road trying to talk people into reading your 736-page debut novel…but Ralph Nader is nothing if not fearless. (Triple negatives like that will get you to 736 pages before you know it.)

Under the radar: “This could be the last time—at least for many years to come—that we’ll see a gastronomic project this ambitious,” wrote Jeremy Iggers about last year’s Caux Culinary Challenge. “Once the predicted economic tsunami hits us with full force, gala benefits with triple-digit ticket prices could become one of our fondest memories of the golden age of excess.” Surprise!

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

Daily Planet Arts Roundup


37 years working for the St. Paul library system…now that’s a bookworm! Michelle Christianson profiles Peg Doheny, the new branch manager at St. Anthony Park.

Design and Style

I spent four hours criss-crossing the Twin Cities, and that was only a fifth of the AIA Minnesota Homes by Architects tour.


Jim Brunzell talked with Davis Guggenheim, director of the new documentary It Might Get Loud, about his experiences working with guitarists Jimmy Page, Jack White, and The Edge. Meanwhile, I continued my series of Coen Brothers reviews with an essay on their 1996 masterpiece Fargo.


Roma di Luna visited the Whole to talk about their personal and professional history; Jon Behm reports. Meanwhile, Dwight Hobbes talked with Minnesota native Sony Holland and Beth Hammarlund defended Kanye West from Jay Leno’s inappropriate remarks about his late mother.


It was Ivey week, and I was at the award ceremony with my witty sister as a companion. We also reviewed plays that may be among next year’s winners: I saw the Guthrie’s sexy but bland Importance of Being Earnest and Jon Ferguson’s anything-but-bland Super Monkey; Lolla Mohammed Nur walked Powderhorn Park with the Dali Lama; Jon Behm swooned for Mary’s Wedding at the Jungle, and my mom went to Becky’s New Car at Park Square and wondered why adultery was supposed to be so funny. Also, Tom Laventure wrote about the new production by Mu Performing Arts, whose Ivey performance delighted that star-studded audience, and Betsy Mowry headed south to the West Side of St. Paul to write about a community-centric production set to premiere under the supervision of Teatro del Pueblo’s Al Justiniano.

Visual Arts

For no apparent reason, it turned out to be an unsually sexy week in our art coverage. I wrote about a sculpture of a bird perching on a penis, and Crystal Erickson talked with the curator of an exhibit of vulva covers. And still, erotic painters say the Twin Cities are “puritan”!


Jeremy Iggers found the future of news at Saigon Restaurant; Phyllis Louise Harris wasn’t quite so lucky at ChinDian Café, but she did find “a culinary wedding of several worlds.”

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Jay Gabler (, Twitter @ArtsOrbit) is the Daily Planet’s arts editor.

Correction: Admission to the Mars Project is not free, as this article originally stated. Cost will be $5-$10, on a sliding scale.

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