VISUAL ARTS | Vine Arts Center, a new Seward institution, prepares for its annual holiday sale

The Vine Arts Center will hold its second annual Holiday Sale this Saturday, December 19, from 12-5 p.m. The center is a tenant of the Ivy Arts Building, which was formerly the Flour City Foundry, in the Seward neighborhood. The term “vine arts” comes from the Ivy Arts Building’s exterior, which is covered in vines. The sale will include art from over 30 artists, with works ranging from jewelry, textiles, and cards to photographs and pottery. 
The center is fairly new, having started out as a studio at the same location in 2001. Holly Murray is a sculptor, metal artist, and a founding member. “We built walls and divided up sections and rented areas to other artists,” says Murray. Continue Reading

MUSIC | Musicians fight domestic abuse at Healing MN

Healing MN is a Christmas benefit concert for Cornerstone, an organization committed to eradicating domestic abuse. The second annual Healing MN will be held at the Fine Line Music Café on December 10. Admission is $10, with all proceeds going to Cornerstone. Drink specials go on all night. Performing at the event are The New Congress, the Devine Collection, Alison Scott, and Hotdish. Continue Reading

THEATER | “Corleone”: Some day, Gremlin Theatre may call upon thee to do a service. Until that day, thou mayest accept this production as a gift.

Gangsters get the geek treatment in Corleone: The Shakespearean Godfather, in which Shakespeare nerds take revenge on the kingpin of mob stories. Writer and director David Mann sets the entire first Godfather novel in the world of Shakespeare. The play was such a big hit at the Minnesota and New York Fringe Festivals that Mann turned it into a full-length play.corleone, playing through december 13 at gremlin theatre. for tickets ($20) and information, see gremlin-theatre.org.A small cast of players are recycled on a minimal set throughout the production, which, intermission included, remains under two hours—shaving off an hour from the Coppola version. Some of the cast recycling is funny in itself, like Bruce Hyde’s prompt return to the stage as the priest christening Connie’s son, shortly after the death of his first role, Vito Corleone. Continue Reading

MUSIC | We Are The Willows create a “musical map” of Minnesota

We Are The Willows is the solo project of Peter Miller, an Eau Claire native who’s one fourth of local indie rock band Red Fox Grey Fox. Miller collaborated with visual artist friends on the musical map and album art of his debut as We Are The Willows, A Collection of Sounds and Something Like the Plague. Miller collected sounds around the state for the album, and places a symbol where each sound was collected on the musical map. We Are The Willows starts a Midwest tour this weekend in support of the project.A musical map is an interesting concept. What was your aha! Continue Reading

MUSIC | King Khan and BBQ Show: Legends in their own grime

King Khan and BBQ Show are so off the grid, they already seem legendary. The Montreal, Quebec doo-wop punk duo formed back in 2004, having already worked together during the mid-90s in the Spaceshits. That band disbanded shortly after getting blacklisted in their hometown for bad relationships with bookers and for their raucous performances, which included fireworks and food fights packed into 10-15 minute sets. King Khan and BBQ Show haven’t changed their ways since then. The duo still deliver madness to hysteric crowds, and still has its run-ins with the law—including a recent drug possession charge that forced them to cancel three shows. They’re testament to the fact that garage rock is still the best, especially when its players aren’t taking it too seriously. Continue Reading

MOVIES | “Ida’s Story,” a documentary about a post-WWI Ukrainian immigrant, tells a sadly familiar tale of ethnic persecution

A documentary ten years in the making, Ida’s Story had its big-screen debut at North Minneapolis’s historic Capri Theater on November 16. The premiere drew nearly a full house; over 250 attended to see the new film by a local cast and crew led by executive producer Donna Sherlock and producer/director Barbara Wiener.Sherlock is the daughter of Ida Sokoloff, the film’s subject, who was only eight in 1918, when the Cossack army came into her Ukraine village. Ida’s Story chronicles the years Sokoloff and her family spent fleeing their native country in pursuit of freedom in America.The film begins with a shot of Ida in a beauty salon with a group of friends. When asked how she’s feeling on that particular day, she says she is feeling good, which was unusual for her. Perhaps it was the beauty treatment that made this day different, or perhaps it was a rush of relief in telling her story, which she worries about telling children. Continue Reading

MUSIC | Triple threat Desdamona drops new disc: “Inkling”

Desdamona is a powerhouse in the local spoken word scene and hip-hop community. She co-hosts Poet’s Groove at the Blue Nile every Tuesday night, and was also among the founders of B-Girl Be, the nation’s premier event for women in hip-hop. She is also one half of Ill Chemistry, her collaboration with beat boxer Carnage the Executioner. In her spare time, she posts daily writing prompts on her Facebook page. Quickly following on the heels of BGB and her campaign for Too Big For My Skin, Desdamona is releasing her third album, titled Inkling, and will perform this Saturday at Sauce with Carnage, Big Mike, and Alicia Wiley. Continue Reading

“80 Years Young”: In new exhibit, the American Swedish Institute tells its own remarkable story

The American Swedish Institute is ringing in its 80th year with a retrospective exhibit titled 80 Years Young: American Swedish Institute. The retrospective, from guest curator Byron Nordstrom, a recently retired professor at Gustavus Adolphus College and author of two books, Scandinavia Since 1500 and The History of Sweden, will be on display until January 10.80 Years Young is a comprehensive study of the history surrounding the Turnblad mansion, from its brief years as a homestead to its current status as an authoritative museum of Swedish-American life.The exhibit is located in the lower level gallery of the Institute, the mansion’s basement, which is where the auditorium, Viking Room, and Kaffestuga Coffee Shop also are located. Artifacts within the exhibit are arranged mostly chronologically, sometimes thematically, beginning with the mansion’s beginnings as the home of Swan J. Turnblad.Turnblad was the publisher of Svenska Amerikanska Posten, a Swedish newspaper once published in Minneapolis. Minneapolis architect firm Boehme and Cordello were commissioned in 1903 to build Turnblad’s 33-room French Chateau-style mansion. The Turnblads only resided in their magnificent home for 19 years. Continue Reading

THEATER | “All’s Well That Ends Well” in a stark London production beamed to the Guthrie

Love. Whoever said it conquers all had not the unrequited kind in mind. Unrequited love remains as much of a puzzle in contemporary life as it did when posed as one of the moral dilemmas present in Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well. Last weekend, the Guthrie presented a video of the London National Theatre’s production of the play, directed by one of Britain’s finest, Marianne Elliot. All’s Well falls under the category of Shakespeare’s problem plays; it drifts away from a more palatable plot and set of characters in exchange for more realistic and complex ones. Continue Reading

MUSIC | Saul Williams and friends rock out before an unmoved audience at the Varsity

Saul Williams’s “Niggy Tardust Experience” tour made a stop at the Varsity last Sunday, in a jam-packed roster of musicians from the Afro-Punk collective. The spoken word artist is touring in support of his 2007 album The Inevitable Rise and Fall of Niggy Tardust, for which he worked closely with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. The tour is a sampler of acts affiliated with Afro-Punk, a movement seeking to break black musicians out of the stereotypes the industry has placed on them. Such an ambitious cause is sure to find mixed results, as was the case with a skeptical predominantly white Midwest crowd, who didn’t seem to understand what was going on for most of the night. Local band Dearling Physique started off the night right, giving the crowd far more spectacle and energy than the average warm-up act. Continue Reading