Arts Orbit Weekly: 3/19/09


This week’s picks

Thursday, March 19
Gomorrah is no Godfather or Goodfellas, says Erik McClanahan, but it’s still grand (and more than a little gory). Getcher Goobers and catch it at the Uptown Theatre tonight.

Friday, March 20
Matt Everett swears that you’ll find bigger laughs at Patrick’s Cabaret than anywhere else in town tonight—even at First Ave, where 6% Body Fat Rob James is fighting Horace the Psychopath.

Saturday, March 21
Enjoy a socially-conscious afternoon—either at the Walker watching documentary on the fight to save Minnehaha Park, or at Bedlam Theatre enjoying a romp to benefit a magazine for kids with LGBT parents. Come nightfall, enjoy Mindless Self Indulgence. You’ve earned it!

Sunday, March 22
You have your pick of TCDP-endorsed plays to see today: Pangea’s Conference of the Birds (“as entertaining as it is educational”); Mixed Blood’s Sweet 15 (“an enjoyable production—if you don’t think too much”); Frank Theatre’s By the Bog of Cats (“a first-rate downer—but one that touches the soul”); and The Color Purple at the Ordway (“despite the hardships that Alice Walker’s characters go through, the production leaves us with light hearts”).

Monday, March 23
Treat yourself to some really good coffee and spend the evening with David Michaelis’s remarkable book about St. Paul’s native son: Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography, now in paperback.

Tuesday, March 24
Katy Perry will get all the buzz tonight, but also in town are two groups that generate their own buzz—not on MTV, but on stage. Less Than Jake are at Station 4, and the Squirrel Nut Zippers are at the Varsity.

Wednesday, March 25
One of the most gripping and unusual courtroom dramas of recent years is The Red Card, a documentary about a murderous love triangle involving one of Iran’s biggest soccer stars. It’s at the Walker tonight as part of the Views From Iran film series.

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

Daily Planet arts roundup


This week, we covered the rough and the smooth in local music. On the rough side, Ramla Bile reported on how Twin Cities hip-hop artists are using the genre’s gritty sound to advance a progressive social agenda. On the other side of the sonic coin, Dwight Hobbes talked with the über-smooth multi-instrumentalist Reid Kennedy.


Adventurous productions are bursting out on local stages this spring, and we’re here to tell you about them.
• Sheila Regan reviews Pangea’s Conference of the Birds, a gracefully goofy dramatization of a Sufi poem.
• The silliness continues for Sheila, as she visits Mixed Blood Theatre for a silly but Sweet quinceñera.
• Jon Behm is intoxicated By the Bog of Cats, Frank Theatre’s depiction of Irish ire now playing at the Guthrie.
• Tatiana Craine reviews the touring production of The Color Purple, which somehow succeeds at the unlikely task it sets itself: dramatizing Alice Walker’s challenging novel with song and dance.
• Matt Everett goes gaga over The Cody Rivers Show, “some of the best comedy you’ll ever see. Period.”

Some of these are a little spendy—Color Purple tickets go up to $125—but theater doesn’t have to be expensive, especially if you’re young and poor. I explain why.


When the Uptown Theatre marquee calls the gangster drama Gomorrah “the movie Scorsese wished he’d made,” they’re not kidding. Erik McClanahan explains why. Lydia Howell tells the story of another movie about illegal activity—but this one is a documentary about civil disobedience aimed at saving a park. Lydia also previews the Walker’s Views From Iran film festival.

Visual Arts

Sheila Regan writes about the St. Paul Saints’ plan to showcase local artists this summer, and I share my notes on the Elizabeth Peyton show at the Walker.


It’s out of restaurants and into your kitchen this week, as Jeremy Iggers launches his new Daily Planet blog with an article about solar ovens, Fringe blogger Kate Hoff encourages you to take out your Community Supported Agriculture subscription, and I share my tips on how to find good coffee beans.

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