MUSIC | Shidara delight (and educate) their audience at the Ordway

Heart of the Immortal Mountain is an apt description for the Japanese drum and dance troupe Shidara. It also doubled as the program title for their February 24 performance at the Ordway. Pulling from natural surroundings and hoping to bring awareness to their village heritage, harvest rituals, and traditions, Shidara are committed to preserving the ancient dance festivals of their small Japanese community by bringing them on tour for the world to enjoy. This remarkable drum troupe performed for a Minnesota audience on Wednesday, and transported the attendees to a world of magical dragons, rice fields, tonbi birds, and cherry blossoms.Shidara proves the beat of a drum can convey an orchestra of emotions. The performance was rhythmic and entrancing as the songs seemed to blend together to create an experience rather than just a show. Continue Reading

MUSIC | John Pizzarelli rings the bells of romantically-inclined couples at Orchestra Hall

Orchestra Hall was packed for the February 13 Valentine’s Day celebration performed by jazz vocalist/guitarist John Pizzarelli and his trio in collaboration with the Minnesota Orchestra. There was a lot of red in the audience and a few smooches between elegantly dressed dates. The Valentine’s show featured pop and jazz songs with full orchestra accompaniment. Conductor Courtney Lewis kept pace with the upbeat stylings of Pizzarelli and provided a perfect instrumental backdrop to the performance. Pizzarelli is a natural entertainer, relating directly to the audience and telling humorous, personal tidbits about his life—like the story about the time he met Frank Sinatra on tour in Berlin, or the fact that his own wedding song was “I Got Rhythm” and that’s why it was included in the set. Continue Reading

THEATER | Zenon’s “Nutcracker According to Mother Goose” is the perfect holiday show for children

What are you getting for Christmas? Mother Goose surprises her characters with magical dancing slippers under the tree. When the characters put on the slippers, they can “hop, skip, and dance” and begin telling their stories in rhythms instead of rhymes.In Zenon Dance Company’s The Nutcracker According to Mother Goose, the title character, played in a very maternal fashion by Linda Andrews, narrates each dance by reciting a bit of the nursery rhyme and weaving it into a tale the audience can appreciate. She talks directly to the onlookers and has a helper called “Nibbles” the mouse, who runs through the aisles to get on stage. It makes for a delightful and interactive performance.The scenes are quick enough to hold a child’s interest and packed with colorful costumes and interesting props. Continue Reading

BOOKS | A book of poetic mourning for those who were “Beloved on the Earth”

Spending time with family and remembering loved ones is what the holidays are all about, but for some it’s a little harder than for others. Beloved on the Earth is an anthology of poems that can ease this seasonal distress. When the iron horse shakes the platform,she’ll board, saying, “What a lovelything to find.” And I’ll wave goodbye.What a lovely thing to lose.One thing that makes this anthology so interesting is the story of its creation. Jim Perlman, editor and publisher for Duluth’s Holy Cow! Continue Reading

THEATER | “Sister’s Christmas Catechism” at the Ordway: When it comes to Catholic comedy, nun shall stand (up)

A few don’ts for those attending Sister’s Christmas Catechism at the Ordway: don’t arrive late, don’t chew gum, and don’t wear anything you wouldn’t wear to church. Sister will notice, and you may have to pay for your sins. Lateness and chewing gum could have you paying a dollar or more and low-cut tops will be covered up with a Kleenex, kindly provided by the nun. This highly interactive performance will have you laughing and cringing.sister’s christmas catechism, playing through december 27 at the ordway center for the performing arts. for tickets ($35) and information, see ordway.org.Kimberly Richards does an exemplary job as Sister in this one-woman routine, which is like a cross between Judge Judy and Nunsense. Continue Reading

MUSIC | Yasmin Levy enchants at the Ordway

The Ordway is a classically beautiful place to see a show and Yasmin Levy is a passionate beauty with a classically trained voice: the two are a perfect fit. Levy is an Israeli singer who enchants the audience with songs in Spanish, Arabic, and the dying language Ladino. Her mission is to spread this language through her songs to aid in its survival. The artist explained at the concert that fewer than 150,000 people speak Ladino worldwide. With the help of Levy’s poignant singing, this language may be around a lot longer.As Levy and her band took the stage, the vast theatre came alive with notes of yearning, desperation, hope, and love. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | Edgy fashion that just makes cents

Looking Good; Staying Green; Saving Green – Thrift & Vintage Stores Need a change from what’s in your closet without depleting your bank account? Shopping second-hand is one savvy way to be a fashionista on a budget. You may know the big names like: Goodwill, Savers, and Saint Vincent De Paul, but there are some other Twin Cities gems that specialize in used and vintage finds. The Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases. Continue Reading

Gearing Up for (the rest of) Summer

There is still time to hit the roads and do some exploring. If you are new to biking or just have left your bike collect cobwebs in the garage for too many years to count, here is a quick guide to getting started. If you just want to look the part, check out the unique bike-inspired items. The Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases. Bike Shop Guide
Re-Cycle Sells used bikes only that are ready to ride. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | Trashin’ Your TV

If that old TV is still lying around, now might be time to finally recycle it. The Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases. It’s not as easy as just hauling it out to the curb. Three years ago Minnesota made it illegal to throw away your television set, so it won’t get picked up with your trash and your neighbors are not going to want it, especially with the digital switch on June 12 making some TV’s lifeless and unwanted without help of a converter box. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | Local Seamstress Creates Eco-Inspired Pet Projects

Shelley Leeson, known affectionately to some as the “Dog Lady,” has found a outlet for her love of sewing and pets by creating pet beds and pet clothing with recycled and reclaimed materials. The Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases. Leeson’s company is called “Dog Beds for Less,” a name inspired by her first pet project: a designer bed. Crafty and resourceful, she gets her fabric and supplies from a variety of sources: thrift stores, donated by individuals, through online sites like Craig’s List, and even from local upholsters who give her leftover remnants that would normally be thrown away. Continue Reading