Arts Orbit Weekly: 3/12/09


This week’s picks

Thursday, March 12
“I thought I knew where this was going,” Matt Everett writes about Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children, playing tonight at the Warren. “I was wrong.”

Friday, March 13
Stop by the bar at Martha’s Gardens tonight and whisper “Arts Orbit,” and I’ll pour you an extra-generous dose of Merlot. I’ll be tending bar for florist Martha Gabler Lunde (one of my 11 aunts) as she opens her beautiful St. Paul studio for a performance by the Orange Mighty Trio, whose music Dwight Hobbes describes as “splendidly eclectic.”

Saturday, March 14
You’d expect to find the raucous Fuck Knights at a place like Palmer’s, but tonight they’re tearing the roof off the Kitty Cat Club. Opening are the electrifying Chicago trio the Runnies, in an all-too-rare return to Gopher State glory—they’re fronted by a native of our hard-rockin’ suburb Vadnais Heights.

Sunday, March 15
Speaking of stirring sounds in unexpected places, tonight the Afro-Cuban All-Stars will be at Orchestra Hall.

Monday, March 16
Make it a multicultural evening—start your evening with a delicious dinner at the Cambodian Kolap or the Mexican La Cucaracha, then rent Dancer in the Dark to watch the Icelandic Bjork play a Czech-American. (You haven’t thought about that movie in a while, have you?)

Tuesday, March 17
Unless you follow the Runnies back to Chicago, you’re not going to find a more festive St. Patty’s celebration than St. Paul’s annual parade.

Wednesday, March 18
Swing by the SooVAC for the (definitely) weird and (probably) wonderful show by Deuce Seven. “The hidden figures and fantasy creatures in Deuce Seven’s art work materialize with each glance,” says l’etoile magazine, making for “an optical adventure ride.”

For more event recommendations, see the Weekend What’s What from l’etoile magazine.

Daily Planet arts roundup


“When we see hip-hop,” says the director of the Somali Action Alliance, “we think only of gangs. But it’s not gangsters, it’s a culture, it’s a people’s life.” This week Justin Schell introduced an important new series on hip-hop in the Somali community. While Justin was researching his story in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, Dwight Hobbes was around the corner at Palmer’s Bar, where he caught an electrifying performance by the Juke Joint Duo.

In other music news, Nelima Kerré previewed the Afro-Cuban All-Stars’ upcoming performance at Orchestra Hall; and local singer-songwriter Martin Devaney weighed in with a list of 25 things you might just not know about him. “Being in love is pretty sweet. Also, so are waffles.”


It was a good week on local stages, according to Jean Gabler—who found Movin’ Out to be an exhilarating show—and Matt Everett, who was pleasantly surprised by Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children. Also this week, Matt addressed the tight financial straits constricting all local artists from the Guthrie on down, and his fellow Fringe blogger Phillip Andrew Bennett Low buttonholed the producers of the upcoming shows Was My Brother In the Battle? and Burning Man and the Reverend Nuge. Finally, Tracey Paska told us how and why menstruation is all the rage, on screen and on stage.


How excited would you be if you were asked to direct the film adaptation of arguably the greatest graphic novel of all time? So excited you’d forget to make a good movie…well, at least that’s what happened to Watchmen director Zack Snyder, say Erik McClanahan and Jim Brunzell III in their review of the new film.


“If you ever wondered why the Twin Cities are covered with train tracks,” writes Melissa Slachetka, “you will want to check out Milwaukee Road Remembered.” The new book from the University of Minnesota Press goes into exhaustive detail about every train from the FP7s to the GP9s.

Visual Arts

Over the weekend I was in Boston, where I saw the first solo museum show by Shepard Fairey, the artist responsible for the OBEY GIANT campaign as well as the famous red-and-blue portrait of Barack Obama. Norma Smith Olson profiled another politically-minded artist, the local painter Jane Evershed.


Capital City restaurants were in the spotlight this week, as Nick and Natasha Laul sniffed out excellent Cambodian food on Dale Street, and Steven “Minnesota Stevie” Wagner told the story of Summit Hill’s landmark Mexican restaurant La Cucaracha.

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