Arts Orbit Weekly: 10/23/08


This week’s picks

Thursday, October 23
Wenso Ashby featuring Zsamé play at the swank Warehouse District club Babalú. This tip comes from Dwight Hobbes, who says, “if you mess around and miss this show, be prepared to listen to your friends talk your ear off about what a great time they had!”

Friday, October 24
Follow your smooth Thursday with a manic Friday at St. Paul’s Turf Club, where flamboyant rocker Mark Mallman will be playing with Mystery Palace and Gospel Gossip.

Saturday, October 25
Remember Mystery Science Theatre 3000, the cult comedy show where a man and two robots riffed on really bad movies? Did you know it was created and filmed in St. Paul? Several MST3K alums have reconvened for the new DVD-only show Cinematic Titanic, and they’re bringing their live show to the State Theatre.

Sunday, October 26
See a matinee performance of Walking Shadow’s provocative new play Amazons and Their Men, which imagines an incident late in the life of Leni Riefenstahl.

Monday, October 27
Contributors to the 2009 St. Paul Almanac gather at A Fine Grind to swap stories. After the reading, stop by Izzy’s Ice Cream or (and!) Legacy Chocolates for a treat.

Tuesday, October 28
Catch the St. Anthony Main screening of Heavy Metal in Baghdad for a unique, poignant, head-banging view of life in Iraq.

Wednesday, October 29
The opening-weekend crowds will have subsided by now at India: Public Places, Private Spaces, the MIA’s major new exhibit of contemporary art from India.

Daily Planet arts roundup


Daily Planet writers review five of the most intriguing music-related documentaries showing at this weekend’s Sound Unseen festival:
Cyn Collins reviews the “extraordinary” film Heavy Metal in Baghdad, chronicling the struggles of a group of Iraqis who just want to rock. She also enjoyed the “gorgeous” Heima, starring Icelandic band Sigur Rós, and the freewheeling Sonic Youth: Sleeping Nights Awake, directed by a group of teens.
I report that Garrison Keillor: The Man on the Radio in the Red Shoes is “unapologetically hagiographic” but still “enjoyable to watch if you are at all susceptible to the Anoka boy’s undeniable charms.”
• And one pan: Melissa Slachetka advises that you skip the tediously artsy Largo.

In other local movie news, Rebecca Collins reports from the grand re-opening of the Mall of America movie theater—now run independently by the MOA administration.


Talking with several local music critics, Megan Wiley looks at the state of music criticism in the digital age and finds a thousand flowers blooming. To illustrate her point, we published Jon Behm’s enthusiastic reviews of an Afternoon Records showcase at the Walker and an Independence Party fundraiser at the 7th Street Entry, starring Black Audience and the Nightinghales. My friend and I were two of the few and the proud at the superb Jennifer O’Connor show at the Entry earlier this week.

Also, Dwight Hobbes spotlights three local backup vocalists who are worth knowing; and I point out the new Heiruspecs video, which riffs on the upcoming election.


Dwight Hobbes interviews Michelle Hensley, founder of the esteemed company Ten Thousand Things, who talks about her new all-female production of Twelfth Night. Rebecca Collins is much impressed by Amazons and Their Men, Walking Shadow’s new play dramatizing the life of Leni Riefenstahl, Adolf Hitler’s chosen documentarian. And Matt Everett calls for ideas and writers for Theatre Unbound’s upcoming 24-Hour Play Project; as well as noting that his play Dog Tag is opening in Chicago. Congrats, Matt!


The Bridge staff write about The Somali Diaspora, a new book by Doug Rutledge with photographs by Abdi Roble, portraying life in the Somali communities of Minnesota and Ohio. Jean Gabler previews an upcoming reading, at A Fine Grind on the “Treat Street” stretch of Marshall Avenue, by contributors to the 2009 St. Paul Almanac. Patrick Coleman picks the next book in his list of Minnesota’s 150 best: Eric Sevareid’s adventure classic Canoeing with the Cree. And Melissa Slachetka gives a qualified recommendation to UST law prof Patrick Garry’s new novel A Bridge Back.

Visual Arts

Melissa Slachetka ventures into the Soap Factory’s Haunted Basement and lives to tell the tale—as well as to recommend several upcoming lectures and classes at local art museums. Northside resident Ariah Fine writes about his community’s Exploding Language public art project, and Theresa Bernard interviews clay artist Layl McDill.


Dwight Hobbes chronicles a night of music and camaraderie at 311 Club—so much fun that he missed the bus. Elsewhere in Northeast, Jeremy Iggers reports being “delighted” at everything he tried at the new Thai restaurant Senyei-Senlek. And Nick and Natasha Laul get their timbers shivered at Smalley’s Caribbean BBQ and Pirate Bar, “a truly unique experience.”

Jay Gabler is the Daily Planet’s arts editor.