I recently received a message from a friend: “I know very little about dance and other kinds of performance art in the Twin Cities. I’d like to go to performances, but by the time I read about something that sounds good but has a short run I normally can’t squeeze it in/convince someone to go with me in such a short time. Is there a specific website you’d recommend that gives suggestions more than a couple days in advance?“
My first response, obviously, was to subscribe to our Arts Orbit Radar e-mail newsletter…but that newsletter comes out mid-week, recommending events happening Thursday through Wednesday, so it really doesn’t satisfy my friend’s need for advance notice. Other prominent recommendation sites—Vita.mn, City Pages‘ A List—run on comparable schedules. Plus, a lot of my favorite events (including the Fanciness vs. the Void preview party, above) are so below-the-radar that they’re unlikely to turn up in mainstream publications.
The monthly magazines—METRO, Mpls.St.Paul, Minnesota Monthly—recommend events further out, but those recommendations are even less likely to include off-the-beaten-path fare. It’s not necessarily because those publications don’t care: there’s a supply-side problem. The more established, mainstream venues are the ones who are able to provide those magazines with details about programming months in advance, as monthly magazines require.
So there’s really no ideal single source for this kind of information, but here are a few suggestions (in addition to the above) for getting the scoop on dance and performance art events:
• Subscribe to the e-mail newsletters from the Cowles Center, the Ritz Theater, the Southern Theater, Intermedia Arts, the Walker Art Center, Bedlam Theatre, the Soap Factory, and mnartists.org. Also sign up for updates from your favorite performance companies.
• Network on Facebook. The dance and performance-art communities are still pretty clumsy (or just plain absent) on Twitter and Tumblr, so Facebook is the place to be for news about these events. Like your favorite companies and venues’ pages, and send friend requests to your favorite artists, explaining that you’d like to stay posted on their future doings. They’ll love you for it. Also, make a point of friending cool, networked people you meet at these events, and pay attention to the “Friends’ Events” tab. You’ll be amazed what you find.
• Don’t be afraid to go to things alone, and strike up conversations. The dance and performance-art worlds are small and friendly; there is some cliquishness, but in general, artists and fans are delighted to find people who share their interests.
Any readers have other helpful ideas? Please share them as comments!