Arts Orbit Weekly: 3/5/09


This week’s picks

Thursday, March 5
Pray the Devil Back to Hell, a bracing look at the war in Liberia, closes a weeklong run at the Lagoon Cinema today.

Friday, March 6
Check out the eye-catching Adventures of Pinocchio at the Minnesota Opera…then douse that family-friendly entertainment with Gay Witch Abortion (playing, just for good measure, with Skoal Kodiak) or The Underpants Show!

Saturday, March 7
If you can score tickets, don’t miss Sweet Honey in the Rock’s 35th anniversary concert at the O’Shaughnessy. (By the way, what’s with those nuns not bothering to specify what the O’Shaughnessy is? It’s not a “theater” or an “auditorium” or even a “center for the performing arts”…it’s just the O’Shaughnessy. I guess if you have to ask, you’ll never know.)

Sunday, March 8
R.U.R., the play that coined the word “robot” (the title stands for “Rossom’s Universal Robots”), is—appropriately for a pro-socialist fable—at the People’s Center Theater, in a new English translation from the original Czech.

Monday, March 9
All the local media go nuts when a new LEED-certified sake bar serving beef exclusively from cattle bred and fed on the restaurant’s green roof (where there’s also a copse of trees that are harvested to make toilet paper) opens in Uptown…but where’s the fanfare for the Twin Cities debut of America’s Drive-In®? In this cold you won’t have to battle the crowds at the Sonic just off White Bear Avenue, though you will have to resist the temptation to get Culverized instead. Minneapolitans who don’t want to venture into East Berlin to get their fast-food fix can hit up Noodles & Co., which is now serving spaghetti and meatballs. Mmm…so corporate, so anonymous, so delicious!

Tuesday, March 10
Free Brother Ali? Yes, please! The hip-hop heavyweight will be doing an in-store at his record label’s shop, Fifth Element, to promote his new EP The Truth Is Here.

Wednesday, March 11
For a funny, touching, and very human view of Iran, see 3 Woman, screening today at the Walker as part of the Women With Vision film festival.

Daily Planet arts roundup


Powerful women are afoot across the Twin Cities music scene this week—from Sweet Honey in the Rock (in town to celebrate their 35th anniversary) to a group of hip-hop and spoken word artists speaking out against violence to Caroline Smith, who Taylor Cisco, III likens to Patti Smith and Patsy Cline. And then there’s Adriana Zabala, who, in her role as Pinocchio at the Minnesota Opera, doesn’t take shit from any crickets.


Teatro del Pueblo’s Political Theatre Festival is ambitious but poorly executed, opines Amy Danielson. At the other end of the spectrum is a man who does one simple thing but does it very, very well: Chaim Topol, who Jon Behm reviews in his final turn as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. Meanwhile, Matt Everett fills us in on the underfilled children’s and teen sections of the 2009 Fringe Festival.


By far the worst of the live-action shorts nominated for Oscars, writes Erik McClanahan, is Toyland. Guess what won? Anyway…every movie’s a winner at the Walker’s 16th annual Women With Vision film festival, previewed by Lydia Howell. And Julia Opoti reviews Pray the Devil Back to Hell, a “gripping, tear-jerking, yet empowering” true story from the war in Liberia.


What do Minnesotans do while they’re hanging around waiting for something to happen? Nowadays they’re often being photographed by Tom Arndt, but a century ago they were making up tall tales about Paul Bunyan. If you’re among those sitting around, you may as well check out the recommendations of St. Paul librarians and pick up a good book. You may just develop a long-term relationship…like Emilio DeGrazia did. Or…you can just cook for your dog.

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