Art Hounds

Minnesota Public Radio

Each week three people from the Minnesota arts community talk about a performance, opening, or event they're excited to see or want others to check out. read less

Our Editor's Take

The Art Hounds podcast is a public radio show focusing on Minnesota's art scenes. Each episode focuses on a different story of artistic expression. The Midwest isn't often considered a hub for the arts. However, this podcast is here to prove this notion wrong. It includes examples of thriving theaters, emerging visual artists, and exciting galleries. For instance, it tells of a St. Paul gallery that exhibits work by Native American artists.

Each podcast episode is approximately five minutes in length. This offers short, pithy reflections on local art. Besides rising singer/songwriters in Minneapolis, many wild art communities are growing. The city has an artist showcasing a unique piece of work. It spans many years and details "memories of France." The city also has open studios like Art-A-Whirl and theaters celebrating new plays. One instance is in the Pangea World Theater with "Returning to Haifa."

The Art Hounds podcast also features Nancy Crocker, a Minneapolis actor. She recommends new musicals in the city. Lanesboro's Audacious Raw Theater's Catherine Glynn joins to discuss new adaptations of Shakespeare.

The podcast includes thoughts from local artists like South Minneapolis playwright William Nour. It directs listeners who want to be up-to-date on the arts in Minnesota. It keeps a cheery and informative tone centered around art fairs and art educators. The podcast builds community by promoting local art, like the Ragamala Dance Company.

There are so many rich artistic communities in Minnesota. The Art Hounds podcast promotes art around the state, from Duluth to Rochester to the Twin Cities. It celebrates rural art communities like Spring Grove. Minneapolis musical theater and the West Point Players show how much there is to offer. The podcast celebrates visual art, the classical music project, and art centers. It reminds listeners of the creativity flourishing in the heartland. New episodes drop each week.

read less
ArtsArts

Episodes

Art Hounds: North country expressionist landscapes
6d ago
Art Hounds: North country expressionist landscapes
From MPR News, Art Hounds are members of the Minnesota arts community who look beyond their own work to highlight what’s exciting in local art. Their recommendations are lightly edited from the audio heard in the player above.  Want to be an Art Hound? Submit here. Rustic gallery glamFood writer Amy Thielen of Park Rapids recommends a gallery space in Detroit Lakes with a show that opens Thursday for the peak summer season. The gallery, run by ceramicist Ellen Moses, is called Art Project 605. Visitors can see the abstract landscape paintings and drawings of Jennie Ward of Lake Park. Entitled “Love Song in the Chaos,” the show will be up through Aug. 2.  Thielen offers this background: Ellen moved back from New York City during the COVID time. I feel like we gained in the North Country — we gained a lot of very cool people who moved back up north, where they are now working remotely. She and her wife Lori O’Dea bought a storefront. In the back, it’s Ellen’s studio: She makes plates, cups and 3D sculptures. In the front space of the storefront there’s a gallery, and [Thursday night] a show opens by Jennie Ward, an artist who lives a little bit further west in Lake Park.Jennie’s paintings are really interesting. They’re very beautiful. They’re abstract expressionist landscapes. The colors are big, swaths of thick paint; she’s a great colorist. I’m very excited for this work. I think everybody in town will love it.  It’s a beautifully renovated storefront: a beautiful, clean, minimalist working space. It reminds me of a corner in a bigger city, like New York or Chicago.— Amy ThielenGlobal grooves galaPadma Wudali is an amateur musician who plays the veena, a South Indian classical carnatic instrument. She loves the band Maithree, whose work combines Indian and Western classical music styles and instruments.Maithree will be performing this Saturday, July 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the Hindu Society of Minnesota’s campus in Maple Grove. The concert is a fundraiser for a new Cultural, Arts and Heritage Center.Padma says: Maithree is a band of Minnesotans who collaborate with classical music, both Western and Indian. So it to me it’s not about them diluting any of their art forms, but rather stepping into each other spaces to create amazing music. The music that we will get to hear is Indian, classical Irish, Turkish melodies all seamlessly blended together and various compositions.Shruthi Rajesekar is the youngest member, and I’m super excited to see her work be represented by this group. She is a Western classical music composer who very much grew up in Plymouth and how her work is just being admired by so many people in the United States and abroad.— Padma WudaliBand blitz bashAmanda H. Malkin runs the PaperLoves Conservation in St. Peter, where she’s involved in the local arts scene. She’s looking forward to the 2024 Minnesota Original Music Festival, which starts next Wednesday, July 17 and culminates in two days of live, local music on July 20 and 21 at MN Square Park in St. Peter. Amanda describes the events leading up to next weekend: There are workshops and jam sessions. There’s also this really awesome event called the 48-Hour Band Challenge. They basically invite musicians who are interested to put their names in a hat. New bands are formed by picking names out of the hat, and then those new bands have 48 hours to write a song together and then perform it. It’s a way for musicians to find each other, workshop together, learn, practice, vibe!— Amanda H. Malkin
Art Hounds: Shakespeare in a sculpture park
Jun 27 2024
Art Hounds: Shakespeare in a sculpture park
From MPR News, Art Hounds are members of the Minnesota arts community who look beyond their own work to highlight what’s exciting in local art. Their recommendations are lightly edited from the audio heard in the player above.  Want to be an Art Hound? Submit here. Click here. Shakespeare in the sculpture park Rachel Coyne of Lindstrom is looking forward to heading to nearby Franconia Sculpture Park on July 27 to see Shakespeare in the park. Classical Actors Ensemble will perform Shakespeare’s mistaken-identity comedy “Twelfth Night, or What You Will,” The show is free. Picnics are encouraged, as are patrons of all ages. This week’s performances include Friday at Newell Park in St. Paul, Saturday at Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis and Sunday at Vermillion Falls Park in Hastings. All shows start at 7 p.m. and run for two hours. “Twelfth Night” runs at various Twin Cities parks through July 14.  The Franconia Sculpture Park is a particularly special location, Rachel says, because the actors move around the sculpture park and incorporate some of the art into their performance. She still remembers the group’s performance of “The Tempest” last year, which staged the show’s happy ending with Franconia’s giant ring sculpture in the background, forming a literal full circle for the story. She looks forward to seeing which sculptures the performers play around — and on — this year. Pro tip from Rachel: Bring a picnic, and don’t forget your bug spray. — Rachel Coyne Romeo and Juliet with Latin flair Claudia V. Garcia, who describes herself as a “paralegal by day, actor/singer/artist by soul,” loved Teatro del Pueblo’s adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet,” entitled “Love in a Time of Hate.” Developed in association with the Bach Society of Minnesota, the show’s run continues tonight through June 30 at Luminary Arts Center in Minneapolis.  Claudia says: I laughed, cheered, got butterflies cried and was very proud, mucho orgullo, to see our raza represented in such a beautiful production. The cast is excellent, represented by a plethora of talented local Latinx artists and people of color in the Twin Cities. You hear hip hop, spoken word, little bit of bilingual Spanglish. A lot of connections to modernity. And that really resonated with younger crowds, bringing “Romeo and Juliet” into the now.— Claudia V. Garcia A North Shore soundscape Minneapolis musician Crystal Brinkman wants people to know about “The Seeker,” a self-led audio story with original music designed for Sugarloaf Cove in Schroeder on the North Shore. Created and voiced by Diver Van Avery, “The Seeker” is a 45-minute story that unfolds along an easy, one-mile hiking trail. The story is available through October. Avery has been very connected to that specific location in their own life and got the opportunity to research and be at that site over many months, creating an immersive story experience to connect with the land. There are two upcoming events this summer. On July 27, there will be a free, family-friendly community concert featuring the musicians Crystal Myslajek and Peter Morrow, who contributed to “The Seeker” soundtrack. The concert is 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. On Aug. 18, Diver will conduct a free creative writing workshop at the Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center. Registration required.  “The Seeker” is available through October. Crystal says: This story really brings you through Diver’s very gorgeous and poetic words through the headphones that you are wearing — which can either be your own or Sugarloaf Cove Visitor Center does have headphones to borrow. Their voice is leading you through spaces and places that very much have to do with where you are but then also is grounded in themes of love and connection. And it's all supported by this gorgeous original music.— Crystal Brinkman
Art Hounds: Recommendation for Pride, a play about looking for romance
Jun 20 2024
Art Hounds: Recommendation for Pride, a play about looking for romance
From MPR News, Art Hounds are members of the Minnesota arts community who look beyond their own work to highlight what’s exciting in local art. Their recommendations are lightly edited from the audio heard in the player above.   Want to be an Art Hound? Submit here. Swipe right for this modern romance Minneapolis playwright Liqing Xu is looking forward to seeing the play “Only Ugly Guys” at Open Eye Theatre in Minneapolis. Written by local playwright Kurt Engh, the play coincides nicely with Twin Cities Pride this weekend. The show runs June 21 – 30 and is recommended for ages 17 and up. “I think so often a lot of queer media these days have to do with coming-out stories. But I think in Kurt's play ‘Only Ugly Guys,’ what’s really nice is that these characters are queer, but they’re just trying to look for love like everyone else in the world.  “The play is about four queer men who are sort of entangled in these relationships with the with each other and are trying to find like love or romance or affection, but they’re doing it in all the wrong ways. And the play is sort of looking also at the way that technology nowadays allows us to find anything that we want, but we’re not really able to hold on to  important or genuine connections because there’s just so many options. “I think it’s an excellent choice for people who are celebrating Pride because it’s a really interesting, thought-provoking, raw, sexy play that will definitely get people talking and having conversations about intimacy and privilege.” Liqing Xu Say ‘Yes, and’ to improvised art films Comedian and improviser Jex Arzayus of St. Paul is a big fan of the improv group Babe Train, and they recommend checking out Babe Train Presents: B24 Improvised Films. The final shows are Friday June 21 and 28 at 7:30 at the HUGE Improv Theater’s’ relatively new location at 2728 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis  “It’s a parody of the very artsy surreal films of A24 Production House. The audience gets to choose what they want, and what adventure they want. They’re gonna take a name of a movie and a word of inspiration, and then Babe Train — which is made up of Hannah, Laura, KQ, Nora and Shelby — they are going to play all of the characters, all of the scenes, and give you a narrative long-form improvised version. You can get horror; you could get a coming-of-age story; you can get a story about time travel! Every show is different.“And then after the movie, they’re gonna have an actual art talkback where people can ask questions, just like if you were going to be in a film festival. There’s a different improv guest-interviewer each time.” Jex Arzayus Dance that honors our connection with water, performed along the MississippiEileen Moeller, director of the Frozen River Film Festival in Winona, is looking forward to attending an outdoor dance collaboration by two dancers as part of the McKnight International Choreographer Residency. The performances were co-created by local artist Sharon Mansur and visiting choreographer Meryl Zaytoun Murman. The free performances take place Tuesday, June 25 and Wednesday, June 26 at sunset at the Prairie Island Campground, located along the banks of the Mississippi River near Winona.  “I think there’s something really spectacular about seeing a performance that has to do with a specific piece of nature and being in the nature at the time. These performances are going to be especially related to the river: the way it is right now, and the way that the artists relate with water. Meryl is typically based in Greece, and so a lot of her relationship with water had to do with the Mediterranean. Whereas Sharon is here, and so a lot of that has to do with the Mississippi River.Sharon is a very active community members. She’s a very talented dancer and interdisciplinary artist and we have worked together on film related projects. Sharon’s pieces always feel really relatable. A lot of Sharon’s work is really grounded in community and accessibility. These performances are free.” Eileen Moeller
Art Hounds: A trail of crocheted mushrooms
Jun 6 2024
Art Hounds: A trail of crocheted mushrooms
From MPR News, Art Hounds are members of the Minnesota arts community who look beyond their own work to highlight what’s exciting in local art. Their recommendations are lightly edited from the audio heard in the player above.  Want to be an Art Hound? Submit here. Click here. Puffy mushroomsLaurie Byrne of Chatfield is looking forward to the opening artist talk and hike on Lost Creek Hiking Trail this Saturday. Fiber artist Lydia Hansen will discuss and lead people on a hike to see her life-sized crocheted models of native mushrooms tucked along the trail. Lost Creek Hiking Trail is located 25 minutes south of Rochester. Laurie says: As a teen, Lydia started crocheting, and she has grown her crocheting into these very unique pieces of art. Last year, she made a sculpture garden — all out of fiber, crocheting and making those little pom poms. It was a lot of fun! And this year, she’s doing mushrooms and she’s adding it to a hiking trail in Chatfield. They are very lifelike. She’s done her research. These are all mushrooms that are from Minnesota. She has signage up identifying these mushrooms. Just a very cool idea. The trail is just over six miles. And it goes through public and private lands. It’s a beautiful hiking trail, mostly through the woods.— Laurie ByrneMusic from the north countryDuluth musician Zack Baltich recommends Duluth-stämman, a gathering that includes Nordic folk music, dance and workshops. The event runs this weekend, June 8 and 9. Friday’s events will be held at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and Saturday’s events are outside at Chester Bowl, with UMD as a rain contingency location. Saturday admission is free to youth 17 and under who bring an instrument, and non-performing youth get in for $5. Zack says: So much music is about an audience witnessing musicians play. What is interesting to me about this event is that it kind of removes that wall. A lot of these events are workshops where people can play. People are invited to dance — it’s a very community-oriented thing.  It’s kind of mind-boggling if you go on their website. Like, 150 musicians are coming from all over North America to play. It’s a very accessible event. Tickets go from $5 to $35, depending on how much of it you want to see.— Zack Baltich ASI Spelmanslag performing The drama of codependencyTwin Cities theater maker Kurt Engh recommends the play “Devoured: Notes on Love and Enmeshment,” which explores codependency through three queer, intimate relationships. Written by local playwright Liqing Xu, the show includes depictions of mental health issues and sexual situations. The 60-minute show runs this Friday, June 7, through Sunday, June 9, at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis.  Kurt says: “Devoured” breaks down these three relationships whereby two people co-create this unhealthy dynamic. One starts to relate to these characters only to feel uncomfortable. When you realize how much you relate to this by the end of the play. It’s kind of scary. The playwright’s writing unpacks these therapy buzzwords — codependency, trauma, triggering — and places them out to this granular level as people try to communicate with one another. How do you prove to someone you love them? How quickly does care turn to harm? And who’s right and who’s wrong in a relationship? I keep telling people that if you are in a relationship or you’re looking to be in a relationship, you should see the show. No spoilers (but) it’s not a super happy ending, but at least I think the characters start to realize their own patterns, especially by speaking about it and by recognizing their behavior. Then they can start moving forward with hopefully something that’s healthier and in the next iteration.  I’m obsessed with the show “Couples Therapy” on Showtime, in which this psychologist — her name is Orna [Guralnik]. She’s iconic — she breaks down the psychology of how people have gotten to these really weird relationship dynamics where you’re going, “Why aren’t these people just breaking up?” And I think there’s this direct line between this play and “Couples Therapy,” where we’re seeing how people get enmeshed in these relationships.— Kurt Engh
Art Hounds: Basketball onstage, Mama Hellcats and burlesque in Rochester
May 16 2024
Art Hounds: Basketball onstage, Mama Hellcats and burlesque in Rochester
From MPR News, Art Hounds are members of the Minnesota arts community who look beyond their own work to highlight what’s exciting in local art. Their recommendations are lightly edited from the audio heard in the player above. Want to be an Art Hound? Submit here. A play about a teamDenise Tennan of St. Louis Park is a musician, writer, visual artist and dancer. She recently saw the play “Flex” at Penumbra Theatre in St. Paul, and now she’s singing from the rooftops to encourage others to see this in its final weekend. Shows are tonight (Thursday) and Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m. Denise says: I think it’s worth everyone’s time to go see this production. The show takes place in rural Arkansas. It’s about a girl’s high school basketball team and their coach. They’re practicing drills and shooting baskets right there on stage. The play touches on themes of poverty, sexual abuse, sexual identity, religion and racism. But at its heart, the play explores a tension between the needs of a team and the needs of individual players. I’ve never seen anything that addresses that specific tension before. And as the coach repeatedly tells them, they are only as strong as their weakest link.   I was astonished. They are so good.  There are no weak links in this cast of six. Renowned Twin Cities actress Regina Marie Williams shines as the kick-ass coach to five young women. The versatility of these young actresses is remarkable. They can move, they can act and they can sing. I was astonished. They are so good.  The set design is brilliantly minimalist, and it supports every scene with subtle changes to clearly indicate a new location. The relationship between team members is rich and it’s varied. The depth of relationship the coach has with each of these girls is exactly what you’d want in a coach and it extends beyond the game. And it reminds me of the vitally important role a coach can play in a young person’s life, even more so, because she has her own flaws and she’s able to admit them. What I took away from this performance is the importance of knowing each other and being deeply known.— Denise TennanHook, ladder and HellcatsTroy Lanoux of St. Louis Park is a big fan of local music. He’ll be in the audience for the show Mama Hellcats at The Hook and Ladder in Minneapolis. Six singer/songwriters who are also mothers take the stage. They are Nikki Lemire, Kashimana, Katy Tessman and the Turnbuckles, Annie and the Bang Bang, Samantha Grimes Band and Haley E Rydel. Hosted by Ann Treacy of Mostly Minnesota Music, the evening of music also includes resources from local organizations that provide support for survivors of domestic violence. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Troy says: I’ve been a longtime fan of Katy Tessman and her band The Turnbuckles, and I’ve gotten to know many of these artists that she works with. It’s a fantastic group of singer-songwriters, and they all support and uplift one another.True to the theme of motherhood, Troy points out that Katy’s band includes her son, Louis Tessman Stanoch, who rocks on electric bass. — Troy LanouxAs divine as discoAllyson Palmer is co-owner of Thesis Beer Project, which is a craft brewery and music venue in Rochester. She’s looking forward to the Divine Disco, a burlesque event produced by Out Rochester and Burly Bluffs, Saturday evening at the Chateau Theatre in Rochester. Doors open at 7 p.m. for this age 18+ event. Allyson says: This will be the perfect night out after attending the Rochester Pride, which is also happening on Saturday. It’s a community-focused, body-positive queer-centered event that will feature eclectic performances including burlesque, drag and live music, featuring performers from across the country, as well as local performers. I’ve been fortunate to attend several prior Burley Bluffs performances in Rochester and always find them to be entertaining, energizing and full of glitz and glam. The producers create safe and inclusive spaces and most importantly know how to have fun. It’ll be the biggest event that Burly Bluffs has thrown in their history.— Allyson Palmer
Arts recommendations: Dance theater, Rasputin and an arts extravaganza
May 9 2024
Arts recommendations: Dance theater, Rasputin and an arts extravaganza
From MPR News, Art Hounds are members of the Minnesota arts community who look beyond their own work to highlight what’s exciting in local art. Their recommendations are lightly edited from the audio heard in the player above.Want to be an Art Hound? Submit here.Alanna Morris is a professional dancer-choreographer in St. Paul. She saw Minnesota Dance Theatre’s spring production, and she wants everyone to know about the Ensemble’s final weekend. Shows are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at The Southern Theater in Minneapolis. Alanna says: Minnesota Dance Theatre are a legacy intuition. Going back to its founder, Loyce Houlton, who in 1962 made innovative contributions to the performance of classical ballet and the Graham technique, which still sets the company’s dancers apart today, not only locally but nationally. The company has undergone a lot of administrative changes in recent years, and yet the love of dance and performance is still so strong. They are presenting three world premieres.They are actually closing their doors and celebrating this legacy this weekend.They’ve had such a rich history of performance for decades, then carried through by Houlton’s daughter, Lise, and now directed by Elayna Waxse, who is the interim artistic director. They are actually closing their doors and celebrating this legacy this weekend. This is the performing ensemble’s farewell concert and celebration concert. Minnesota Dance Theatre’s school will remain open and continue to thrive with training young students and young dancers. This performance features four choreographers. Three of them are local to the Minnesota dance community, and one of them (Nia-Amina Minor) is an artist that’s been commissioned; she’s a Black and female choreographer from Seattle. And you’re going to see a range of works in the classical ballet idiom, also traversing into contemporary ballet. You’re gonna hear classics like Frederick Chopin to contemporary and experimental jazz music from Makaya McCraven. I went to the performance and I was amazed by the diversity of the musical selections there. It’s really worth seeing.Over these long years, some of our most amazing dancers and teachers and arts leaders have come out of the Minnesota Dance school and company here. The Ensemble is taking their last bow this weekend, but the school will continue to thrive and train young students and young dancers.— Alanna MorrisRasputin: There lived a certain man, in Russia long agoTheater maker Shanan Custer of White Bear Lake saw Four Humors Theater’s play “Rasputin” at the Twin Cities Horror Festival last fall, and she’s thrilled that the show is getting a second run at Open Eye Figure Theatre in Minneapolis. “Rasputin” opens tonight and runs through May 18. The show runs 70 minutes without intermission. The May 12 matinee requires masks for all audience members. (All other shows are mask-optional.) Shanan says: The play is a dark comedy created by Four Humors Theater. It’s a very deeply hilarious investigation of all of the versions of Rasputin’s gruesome death. It’s brilliantly conceived, the actors are so strong and there are so many incredible physical comedy moments. A very deeply hilarious investigation.And yet while that’s happening, the play is dealing with this political nightmare: this greedy, horrifying zealot who’s getting all the attention. It plays really well in 2024. It hit me so hard last year, and I’m really excited that they’re bringing it back.— Shanan CusterCheck out Mankato’s arts scene Dana Sikkila, director of the 410 Project Community Art Space in Mankato, is looking forward to the second annual Manifest event this Saturday. The free, all-day event (11 a.m. to 10 p.m.) celebrates the local arts scene and its vibrant history. Put on by the Midwest Arts Catalyst and River Valley Makers, Manifest is a new, larger iteration of its (pre-COVID) Post-Holiday Extravaganza. Location: Kato Ballroom. Dana says: It’s our time in Mankato here — and really truly for anyone who wants to join us — to celebrate arts and culture. It also celebrates the history of the arts in the Mankato area, to reflect on the importance of keeping these things alive in our cities.  It’s going to be an all-day event. There are art vendors. There’s going to be art raffles, a silent auction and food trucks. We have a huge community mural project that’s going to be happening on a building outside next door to the Kato Ballroom. We’re going to have our Mankato community collage photo shoot happening 11 to 5 p.m., too. And that’s where people can come to get a photo taken of themselves with their friends with their families. And that photo gets put into our big community collage that happens yearly. And then starting at 7 p.m., we’re having live music.It is free to attend and everyone’s welcome. They are asking for a $20 suggested donation at the door. Any of the proceeds that come in at the door go back into the arts in our community throughout the year. It’s a great event all the way around.— Dana Sikkila
Art Hounds: Reflecting on a lost art
Apr 25 2024
Art Hounds: Reflecting on a lost art
From MPR News, Art Hounds are members of the Minnesota arts community who look beyond their own work to highlight what’s exciting in local art.Want to be an Art Hound? Submit here.Click here.Exploring the artistic journeyDive into the captivating world of Stuart Loughridge, a local artist renowned for his mastery in etching, painting and drawing. Recommended by Gary Korlin, an independent fine artist in the Twin Cities.Gary says: I’d like to introduce — or basically maybe reintroduce — Stuart Loughridge. He’s a local artist, and what I like about the guy is that he’s got three excellent elements working for him: education, talent and then it’s all run by his intuition. He’s very interested in etching, which is sort of a lost art. And but he paints and draws. He paints in watercolor, he paints in oils. He does portraits, figures, still lifes — but, you know what, his passion is landscapes and a lot of them are very local. This whole process is very exploratory. It’s definitely a show worth experiencing.The show that Stewart is going to be having at the Groveland Gallery in Minneapolis is going to be a little bit of everything. But the main focus is going to be on landscapes. But the interesting thing is that this is going to be sort-of a tracking, or a tour, of his history. He’s going to have sketchbooks there, he’s going to have his plein air sketches, which he calls just “fieldwork” and it’s going to be leading up to finished pieces. This whole process is very exploratory. It’s definitely a show worth experiencing, I would say.Stuart Loughridge’s show runs through May 25. This Saturday, Stewart is going to be doing a portrait demonstration. So that might be fun for a lot of you who are interested in just expanding your knowledge — Gary KorlinResilience and recoveryDiscover the profound and poignant narrative of “Ugly Lies the Bone,” a play that explores the themes of healing and resilience. Recommended by St. Paul visual artist Bebe Keith.Bebe says: “Ugly Lies the Bone” is playing at the Commonweal Theatre in Lanesboro. A friend actually recommended this to me. She said the excellent portrayals and important subject matter were so compelling that she has already seen it twice. It’s moving and, most of all, it’s hopeful.The story is about Jess, a soldier returning home from war with injuries both — visible and unseen. She finds some relief through something called “virtual reality therapy.” It plunges her into an Arctic setting that helps with her burnt skin. So she strives toward healing, and she’s also trying to restore her relationships, home and all that she’s lost. I’ve read the script and it had me in tears. Jess is broken and in despair — and she’s got some grit. It’s moving and, most of all, it’s hopeful. They are offering a free performance on May 5 for anyone who has served or is currently serving in any branch of the military and their families. “Ugly Lies the Bone” is playing at the Commonweal Theatre in Lanesboro through July 6.— Bebe KeithCelebrating diversity and joyWatch a unique collection of four short plays, penned by LGBTQ+ playwrights from across the country. Recommended by Minneapolis theater director Gretchen Weinrich.Gretchen says: Threshold Theater’s new collection of plays is called “4Play.” It’s opening at the Bryant Lake Bowl on April 26. It’s a collection of four short plays written by LGBTQ+ playwrights that came from an open call for playwrights all across the country. I’ve been looking forward to seeing this show for a couple of reasons. First of all, Threshold has been holding staged readings of its place for a couple of years. But this is their first fully staged version with movement and sets and costumes. And they’re really excited to put that on and I’m really excited to see it. These plays really look at things that are great about community or support — and joyful things about life.The great thing about this collection, from what I understand, is that it shows LGBTQ+ folks in a bunch of different stages of life and experiences. And what I really like about it, from what I read about it, is that it’s really upbeat. Oftentimes when we talk about groups that are quote-unquote marginalized sometimes the topic can be really depressing or sad. But these plays really look at things that are great about community or support — and joyful things about life.— Gretchen Weinrich
Art Hounds: A family struggles with the death of a patriarch
Apr 18 2024
Art Hounds: A family struggles with the death of a patriarch
From MPR News, Art Hounds are members of the Minnesota arts community who look beyond their own work to highlight what’s exciting in local art.Want to be an Art Hound? Submit here.Click here. Confronting shadowsFull Circle Theater Company’s thought-provoking new production “They Wear Teal Ribbons Around Their Tongues” delves deep into the dynamics of a family grappling with the aftermath of their patriarch’s death.St. Paul actor Chris Collier had a chance to read the script for Full Circle Theater Company’s current show, “They Wear Teal Ribbons Around Their Tongues,” and he’s looking forward to the staged production. Written by Minnesota playwriter Siddeeqah Shabazz, the play follows a family reconciling with the loss of their patriarch and a burgeoning secret that threatens to shatter their long-held perfect image.  Trigger warning: the play deals with sexual assault and mental health issues within the family dynamic. “Especially as it pertains to communities of color and to black families, specifically, I think that there’s such a stigma surrounding mental health and sexual assault that just doesn’t get talked about,” said Collier. “And I think that this show does a great job of addressing a much-needed conversation.” “They Wear Teal Ribbons Around Their Tongues” runs through April 28 at the Gremlin Theatre in St Paul. Rhythms and threadsRevel in the vibrant energy of the Guild of Middle Eastern Dance’s Spring Spectacular. MJ Gernes is a St. Paul fiber artist and drummer who has had a chance to drum before with members of the Guild of Middle Eastern Dance. For more than 40 years, the Guild has drawn dancers from around the Twin Cities and beyond to perform a variety of folk dance styles from across the Middle East as well as other American-fusion styles. Gernes loves the high energy, the beautiful costumes and welcoming atmosphere of the Guild’s dance performances, and she’s looking forward to their Spring Spectacular, this Sunday, April 21 at 4 p.m. at the Elision Playhouse in Crystal.  For those interested in learning new dance skills, the Guild is offering six workshops this weekend in St. Paul and Crystal. Revisiting rebellionExperience a timeless tale of struggle and satire with An Opera Theatre’s production of “The Cradle Will Rock.”Twin Cities illustrator and designer Jerrald Spencer Jr. had a chance to see a preview production of An Opera Theatre’s performance of “The Cradle Will Rock.” Written in 1937 by Marc Blitzstein and billed as “The Working Man’s Musical,” the opera still feels relevant today; Spencer described it as “Succession meets The Producers.”  The villainous Mr. Mister (whose wife, naturally, is Mrs. Mister) seeks to control the media and crush rising labor unions. The opera is laced with some “very, very funny lines,” says Spencer, along with beautiful singing and shadow puppetry, which adds to the emotional depth of the story. The Cradle Will Rock runs April 18 – 21 at the Heart of the Beast Theatre in Minneapolis. The show is 90 minutes without intermission.
Art Hounds: High school and college classical
Apr 11 2024
Art Hounds: High school and college classical
From MPR News, Art Hounds are members of the Minnesota arts community who look beyond their own work to highlight what’s exciting in local art.Want to be an Art Hound? Submit here.Click here.https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/art-hounds/id525807829Future stars shineExperience the talent and dedication of tomorrow’s musical stars at the Schubert Club student scholarship competition winners' recital.Aimée Baxter of St. Paul loves the arts, and one of her favorite concerts of the year is “Musicians on the Rise — Competition Winners Recital.” Over 200 high school and college students compete in 15 categories that include piano, strings, voice, guitar, brass and woodwinds for scholarships to support their musical education. The winners (listed here) perform this Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Ordway in St Paul. The concert is free. “It is truly a gem,” says Baxter. “The wide range of musicians that are playing and the skill of these young people — it just blows you away, and you feel like you’re kind of finding out about somebody before they really hit it big.” Weaving awareness“Making Climate Change Visible” by Carolyn Halliday uses the unique medium of knitted wire to create a powerful commentary on our environment and the impacts of climate change.Twin Cities fiber artist Amy Usdin recommends a visit to the Kolman & Reeb Gallery in northeast Minneapolis for a textile exhibit, “Making Climate Change Visible.”Halliday’s exhibit of knitted wire draws you in with a large, central piece of brilliant blue that recalls how blue the skies were without traffic during the pandemic lockdown.Other pieces recall skies gray with wildfire smoke from the summer of 2023, as well as the paradoxically beautiful sunsets that occur on smokey evenings. Usdin calls Halliday’s use of color “exceptional and unique in wire knitting.” There is an artist reception Saturday at 7 p.m., and a music and dance performance in the space on Thursday, May 2 at 6 p.m., followed by an artist talk. The exhibit runs through May 11.Celebrating Native fashion“Celebrating Native American Fashion” illuminates the rich tapestry of Indigenous design, featuring community members as models, many of whom will present their own creations.Jill Doerfler is the department head of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. She says contemporary Native fashion is having a moment right now, and she’s thrilled that there will be a Native American fashion show at the Tweed Museum on campus this Saturday from 12-2 p.m.The models include some 25-30 community members, many displaying clothing they have made, including jingle dresses, ribbons skirts, applique and bandolier bags.Doerfler says it’s an inclusive show — all are welcome to attend and encouraged to wear their own Native American fashions that they have made or bought. The event is free, with refreshments to follow. A surprise special guest is scheduled to attend the event.Doerfler highly recommends continuing your visit with a tour through the Tweed Museum’s art exhibits while you’re there.The three co-sponsors for “Celebrating Native American Fashion” are the Tweed Museum of Art, the American Indian Housing Organization (AICHO) and the McKnight Foundation. Recently, AICHO held workshops teaching how to make ribbon skirts, and Doerfler expects some of those participants will be strutting down the runway.
Art Hounds: Remembering Denomie
Apr 4 2024
Art Hounds: Remembering Denomie
From MPR News, Art Hounds are members of the Minnesota arts community who look beyond their own work to highlight what's exciting in local art.Want to be an Art Hound? Submit here.Click here.https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/art-hounds/id525807829A tribute to Jim DenomieExplore the vibrant legacy of Minnesota artist Jim Denomie in "Conversations with Jim," an exhibition at ArtsReach St. Croix in Stillwater. This showcase features 60 new works by artist Dougie Padilla, Denomie's longtime friend, who has created a series of pieces as a dialogue with Denomie posthumously.Carleton College art professor and photographer Xavier Tavera wants people to know about an exhibition of new artwork memorializing Minnesota artist Jim Denomie (1955–2022). His longtime friend artist Dougie Padilla began a series of works in response to — and in conversation with — Denomie after his death. Related Art Hounds celebrate milestones of life Both artists, Tavera says, are masters of color whose paintings tell stories. He says Padilla’s bold, spiritual work shows characters with teeth, tails and antlers caught up in conversation with each other. The longer you look at these works, Tavera says, the more deeply you see the narratives these paintings create. “Conversations with Jim,” which contains some 60 new works by Dougie Padilla, is on display ArtsReach St. Croix in Stillwater, which also housed Denomie’s final show. The exhibit opens tonight with an artist reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Padilla will also host a gallery talk on April 14 and a poetry reading on April 28. The exhibit runs through May 11. A glimpse into Zelda Fitzgerald’s lifeDive into the tumultuous and fascinating life of Zelda Fitzgerald in the one-woman play "The Last Flapper." Staged at Yellow Tree Theatre in Osseo, this compelling production opens its curtains on Friday, offering a unique portrayal drawn from Zelda’s real letters and stories.Actress Sarah Dickson recommends the one-woman play “The Last Flapper” about Zelda Fitzgerald, which opens at Yellow Tree Theatre in Osseo on Friday. Zelda inspired her husband, writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, to create the character Daisy Buchanan in “The Great Gatsby.” This show is drawn from Zelda’s real letters and stories, and it’s told on the last day of her life, which ended in an insane asylum. The show stars Broadway actor Monette McGrath of Marine on St. Croix. “The Last Flapper” is the first of two back-to-back shows mounted at Yellow Tree in partnership with Frosted Glass Creative, and it’s billed as a collaboration for Women’s Month: two theater companies led by woman artistic directors, mounting a one-woman show. (Dickson performs in the ensuing show, “Seven Keys,” which starts in May.) “The Last Flapper” runs April 5 – 14. Music of the cosmosJoin the celestial journey as the Bakken Ensemble presents a performance inspired by the majesty of the cosmos. This Sunday's concert promises an auditory exploration of the stars and the sky, fueled by recent cosmic discoveries and celestial events.Malinda Schmiechen, an amateur violinist and violist living in Excelsior, has been attending performances of the Bakken Ensemble for years, and she says they’re “always extraordinary.” In particular, she loves watching violinist and artistic director Stephanie Arado. “I love how excited she gets when she performs. She’s so dynamic. She plays with so much emotion and energy.” Of cellist and artistic director Pitnarry Shin, “She has great expression, great intensity when she plays.” Schmiechen says she always encounters a new, diverse selection of music at their concerts. This Sunday’s performance focuses on music that celebrates the stars and the sky. Inspired by recent photographs from the James Webb telescope as well as the solar eclipse on Monday, April 8, this performance contains five works that reach for the stars and the sky. Two are by living composers (Max Vinetz’s “Stars on the Ground” for string quartet and Stephen Hartke’s “The King of the Sun: Tableau for Violin, Viola, Cello and Piano.” The concert is Sunday, April 7 at 4 p.m. at MacPhail Center for Music’s Antonello Hall in Minneapolis.  Pro tip: Schmiechen recommends arriving early to the concert, as tickets are open seating. She loves to sit in the front to get a close-up look at the performers’ techniques.
Art Hounds: Folk tales cast in silver
Mar 28 2024
Art Hounds: Folk tales cast in silver
From MPR News, Art Hounds are members of the Minnesota arts community who look beyond their own work to highlight what's exciting in local art.Want to be an Art Hound? Submit here.Click here.https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/art-hounds/id525807829?mt=2Crafting tales in silverDiscover the enchanting world of Norwegian folk tales reimagined through contemporary jewelry at the Nordic Center. Renowned artist Liz Bucheit's exhibition "Hand of Huldra" showcases the tradition of silver as protection against evil, blending myth and craftsmanship. Alison Aune is a professor of art education at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and a former board member at the Nordic Center. She recommends a show currently at the Nordic Center, “Hand of Huldra” by Liz Bucheit of Lanesboro.“What she specializes in is reimagining Norwegian folk tales, folk traditions, through her contemporary jewelry,” Aune explains.“In Norway — and in a lot of the Nordic and Baltic countries — silver was thought to protect you against evil. So there’s a tradition with the bride wearing a bridal crown of silver, having all sorts of silver pendants so that she's protected.”On display are crowns, as well as other silver objects, which Aune describes as “phenomenal. She's just really an expert on taking those Norwegian stories and finding their way to jewelry.”“Hand of Huldra” is on display until April 27.Celebrating NowruzJoin the Twin Cities Iranian Culture Collective for a vibrant celebration of Nowruz, the Persian New Year, at the Ordway in St. Paul. Experience international and local musicians in a concert followed by a reception featuring tea and cookies.Visual artist Katayoun Amjati says she’s been hearing from friends in the northeast Minneapolis arts and music scene about the concert “Voices Unveiled: A Nowruz Celebration and Community Gathering,” presented by the Twin Cities Iranian Culture Collective. Nowruz is the Persian New Year, which was celebrated on March 19. The concert includes both international and local musicians and will be followed by a reception afterward that includes tea and cookies. Amjati says the concert will be a chance to celebrate and also to honor and mourn alongside those women struggling for rights in Iran. She notes that two of the singers recently moved from Iran to the U.S., and she looks forward to hearing their voices.  “Voices Unveiled: A Nowruz Celebration and Community Gathering” is Saturday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Ordway in St. Paul. Tickets are limited. A tragicomedy journey Embark on a poignant yet uplifting journey with "Phantom Loss," a puppet show by Oanh Vu, staged by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre in Minneapolis. Join a Vietnamese American girl in a tale of haunting, friendship with ghosts and the struggles of generational trauma and deportation. Anh-Thu Pham of Theater Mu has seen previous workshops of Oanh Vu’s puppet show “Phantom Loss,” and she’s looking forward to seeing the final version staged by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre in Minneapolis.It’s a tragicomedy about a Vietnamese American girl who moves to a new small town with her mother to run a nail salon. The house where she lives is haunted, and she becomes friends with the ghost. It’s a refugee story about generational trauma and deportation, told with heart and humor. Pham, who grew up watching “Sesame Street” and “Mr. Rogers,” points out the power of puppetry to take on heavy subjects without losing sight of joy.  “I think, for any of us that have dealt with generational trauma, or any hard things in our lives,” says Pham, “if you sit in the darkness, you won't be able to live, you won't be able to process through that. And I think that's when good art is done: you kind of see and experience life in its wholeness. I think this is what ‘Phantom Loss’ can do.” The show opens Friday with a preview show Thursday, and it runs through April 7. There is a pay-what-you-can performance on April 2. The show is rated PG/PG-13.
Art Hounds: We cannot eat ceramics
Mar 21 2024
Art Hounds: We cannot eat ceramics
Fiber and textile artist Shannon Twohy of Minneapolis recently saw the Northern Clay Centers exhibition “Edible,” which she found thought-provoking. The show brings together works by five Asian American artists, including Anika Hsiung Schneider of Minneapolis, all investigating food and culture through clay. Twohy appreciates that each artist explores the medium differently, creating sculptures that vary from stylistic representations to creations that look good enough to eat. “Edible” is on view through April 21 both in-person and online, here.   Edible at Northern Clay Center Charlie Leftridge is the executive director of the Carnegie Art Center in Mankato, and he wants people to know about the vibrant local music scene. Leftridge served as director of operations of Mankato’s Symphony Orchestra heading into the pandemic, and he continues to enjoy their music from the audience. He loves that MSO showcases a diverse mix of composers, presented in a friendly and accessible way.  The MSO’s Chamber Music series, known as Music on the Hill, presents its next concert this Sunday, March 24 at 3 p.m. at Bethany Lutheran College’s Trinity Chapel in Mankato. This performance’s theme is Bohemian Folk, and it includes Antonín Dvořák’s “Cypresses” for string quartet, among others. Minneapolis musician Dylan Hicks is looking forward to listening to some great jazz when the Chris Thompson Quartet perform next week at Berlin. The group is led by Chris Thompson on clarinet and saxophone, who also composes electronic music under the name Cedar Thoms. Hicks has performed with Thompson in the past and calls him a creative, lyrical player with a great ear for improv.  “He can pay to play very advanced harmony, but he always really draws you in melodically. And so I think he will appeal to people who are, hardcore jazz aficionados and maybe people who are exploring the music.” Thompson joins with Kavyest Kaviraj on piano, Jeff Bailey on bass, and Abinnet Berhanu on drums — all leaders in their own right. Hicks recommends checking out Berlin, an intimate, European-inspired jazz club in the North Loop of Minneapolis that he says fills a much-needed niche in the music scene. There is no cover charge for this show.
Art Hounds: Learn the meaning of Wee-Woo
Mar 14 2024
Art Hounds: Learn the meaning of Wee-Woo
Phil Schenkenberg is an attorney practicing law in Minneapolis and a resident of New Brighton. He recommends “The Doctor Wee-Woo Show,” although he admits, “I don’t know quite what to expect.”It’s a call-in show, of a sort, that, according to the website, “follows the eponymous Doctor Wee-Woo and his friends (Mailbag, Mrs. Apple Tree, Sedrick the Sasquatch and more) as they perform their award-winning and long-running children’s television program.” Audiences were asked to send in their life problems in advance. “DO NOT write about failed dreams, letting go of the past, and/or sasquatch politics,” they warned.The show was created by Jake Mierva and Danylo Loutchko of an alleged Theatre Company (the proper name of the company, lower-cases deliberate). “They have great chemistry on stage together. I always expect to have a lot of fun — and we always do,” Schenkenberg says.The show plays March 15-24 at the Open Eye Theatre in Minneapolis.Bruce Gerhardson of Fergus Falls is an arts enthusiast. He recommends the art collection at Fergus Falls campus of Minnesota State Community and Technical College, which contains more than 400 works, calling it a “hidden gem … I think it really would stack up against any campus art collection in the state.”Gerhardson is especially excited that the art now features a self-guided tour. Through the use of QR codes that are at various works of art, visitors can access more information about and interviews with the artists.“The art collection is open to the public. It’s not in a closed gallery setting. It’s really in the hallways of the campus, which creates a vibrancy but also it makes it accessible to anybody who happens to be visiting the campus,” Gerhardson says.Marie Denholm lives in the Powderhorn neighborhood of south Minneapolis and considers herself to be “a music head of all types.”The music that has attracted her attention at the moment is a requiem. The composer is Minnesota musician Doug Weatherhead. “He’s a singer-songwriter, rock and roll guy from lots of different bands,” Denholm explains. But Weatherhead decided to write a classical requiem, and will perform it with a 32-member choir.“Requiem” will be performed on Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Judson Memorial Baptist Church in Minneapolis. Requiem
Art Hounds: The scent of art, the poetry of Bly, Gilbert and Sullivan
Feb 29 2024
Art Hounds: The scent of art, the poetry of Bly, Gilbert and Sullivan
Michelle Wegler of Duluth recommends seeing the exhibit of fellow plein air painter Cheryl LeClaire-Sommer. Her current show, “Scents to Scenes: A Project Space Exhibition” consists of oil paintings of landscapes inspired by scent. LeClaire-Sommer used essential oils to inspire her choice of location for each painting. Balsam or cedar scents, for example, might lead her to paint a cedar grove. The oil paintings, created from locations across Minnesota specifically for this show, range from 8x10 to larger pieces, which she finished in-studio. Both the studies and larger pieces are on view, along with the essential oils that inspired each project. Wegler says that you stop and look at a painting in a new way after sniffing the accompanying oil. (Saturday, March 2 is a scent-free day from noon to 4.) Her work is on view at the Kohlman & Reeb Gallery in northeast Minneapolis through March 23, with an artist talk on March 7 at 7 p.m.  LeClaire-Sommer also has an exhibit at the Plein Air Collective at the Bell Museum in Roseville through May 26. Singer/songwriter/troubadour Larry Long of Minneapolis recommends “DO NOT FORGET US: Poets, Writers, Musicians Against the War (s) on the Earth.” The event was organized by poet James Lenfestey and is described as “a remembrance in words and music of the victims of wars on the creatures of Mother Earth, and of the activist legacy of Robert and Ruth Bly.”Participants will include James Armstrong, an award-winning poet and naturalist from Winona; Sarina Partridge, a community song circle leader; and soul singer Robert Robinson, among many others. There will also be a special presentation of poems by Robert Bly.The event will take place Thursday at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis at 7 p.m. Jeanne Farrar of Minneapolis has seen several shows by The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company in Minneapolis, and she’s looking forward to seeing “Utopia, Limited; or, The Flowers of Progress” this month. One of Gilbert and Sullivan’s lesser-known works, the operetta is a political satire. A British ship has arrived at the remote island “Utopia,” and its king has earnestly undertaken to emulate all things British. His Cambridge-educated daughter has just returned and is trying to help her father reform the nation’s government. Meanwhile, the king’s unscrupulous wise men are out to enrich themselves. As the characters and situation grow increasingly absurd, the show serves up its satirical bite with a dose of sweetness with its loveable — or at least laughable — characters. Farrar notes that Gilbert and Sullivan “are really good at making fun of pretentious manners and mores, incompetence in powerful positions and the slavish adherence to a rule or philosophy to the point of absurd.” The company has revised “Utopia, Limited” for a modern audience; read more about those efforts here.  Performances will be at the Conn Theater at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis March 1 – 24.
Art Hounds: Horror theater, family jazz and a ‘conceptual dreamscape’
Feb 22 2024
Art Hounds: Horror theater, family jazz and a ‘conceptual dreamscape’
Performance artist and musician Tri Vo loves the work of Theater Mu, and he’s looking forward to seeing them take on the horror genre in the world premiere of Keiko Green’s play “Hells Canyon.” As with many classic horror pieces, we’re headed to a cabin in the woods with a group of unsuspecting friends. They’ve booked a weekend trip in eastern Oregon, near Hells Canyon. In 1887, it was the location where white gang members massacred 34 Chinese gold miners, an actual event called the Hells Canyon Massacre.As the night progresses, supernatural forces threaten to break in, raising the temperature of the simmering tensions among the friends. Vo recalls being "freaked out” by the digital stage effects in Theater Mu’s staging of “The Brothers Paranormal” in 2019, and he looks forward to seeing how this play and its stage effects work together to create an atmosphere of horror. “Hells Canyon” runs Feb. 24 — March 17 at the Jungle Theater in Minneapolis. There is a post-show playwright talkback on Feb 25. This show is recommended for ages 16 and up. Arts appreciator Natasha Brownlee of St. Paul enjoys both the music and the art of Ian Valor. She calls his solo art exhibit “Wild Imagination” at Vine Arts in Minneapolis a “conceptual dreamscape.” Brownlee was particularly intrigued by Valor’s line drawings. Look closely, and you can see a single line of changing thickness; stand back, and the line coalesces into a single image. Valor is color blind, and his earlier work is in black and white. More recent works in color includes bold, eye-catching color combinations. Valor is the frontman of the rock group The Valors, and his art show also includes a wall of hand-lettered show posters for his and other bands. It’s a visual dive into the local music scene. “Wild Imagination” is on view at Vine Arts Center in Minneapolis this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a closing artists reception from 5-8 p.m. John Carrier of Winona is a retired scenic carpenter and an ongoing jazz enthusiast. He’s spreading the word about the debut album from H3O Jazz Trio, a father-and-sons group based in Winona. The father in the trio is a composer and former St. Mary’s University assistant music professor named Eric Heukeshoven, who plays keyboard, among other instruments. The band also includes his sons, Max on bass and Hans on percussion and vibes. Carrier loves watching the trio improvise when they perform in person.  Their new album, “TafelJazz,” translates from German to “table-jazz,” a play on “table music.” Carrier says it’s the perfect album to set the mood while sitting around the table with friends. The 12 original songs include guests Janet Heukeshoven on flute, John Paulson of Paulson Jazz and John Sievers of the Rochester-based D’Sievers. H3O will perform the full album this Sunday from 2-4 p.m. at Island City Brewing in Winona. Island City Brewing also hosts a Jazz Jam on the third Sunday of each month that combines local live jazz, local beer and local support; it’s a fundraiser for a rotating series of area nonprofits. As of early February, H3O Jazz Trio and Island City Brewing helped support local nonprofits with over $43,000 in total donations from its monthly Jazz Jams.
Art Hounds: Gospel, community and a talking house
Feb 15 2024
Art Hounds: Gospel, community and a talking house
St. Paul actor, vocalist and community organizer T. Mychael Rambo wants everyone to know about “The Sounds of Gospel” presented by 2nd Chance Outreach this weekend at the Cowles Center in Minneapolis.  The two-hour show highlights the range and evolution of gospel music, from spirituals to psalms to contemporary songs. Rambo says to expect an evening of music that will have you clapping your hands, stomping your feet and raising up a shout for more.The performances are Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Padma Wudali of Minneapolis describes herself as an amateur musician who plays the veena, a South Indian Carnatic classical instrument similar to a lute. She is excited to see local musician Shruthi Rajasekar take to the Ordway stage this Sunday. Presented by the Shubert Club Mix, Rajasekar’s show is entitled “Parivaar — a Celebration of Community as Family.” (“Parivaar” is Hindi for “family.”)Rajasekar’s music combines both Carnatic and Western classical traditions. Wudali loves her approach to this performance: in addition to presenting her own original, commissioned work, Rajasekar has invited other South Asian Twin Cities artists working in theater, music and visual arts to take part in the performance, thus celebrating the local creative community. The performance will include a new work by Rajasekar commissioned for the event and film, dance and writing by other Twin Cities performers.  Schubert Club Mix is a regular event designed to make classical music feel less formal and more approachable to audiences. The performance is Sunday, Feb. 18 at 3 p.m. at the Ordway in St. Paul. Children and students can attend for free. Shruthi Rajasekar video Musician Leslie Vincent of White Bear Lake saw the one-person play “Honey, I’m Home” twice during its first run, and she’s excited that the show is back for a new run at Open Eye Theatre in Minneapolis.In “Honey I’m Home,” the main character is a brick house who wants to be a home to a new family. From there, writer and actor Madeleine Rowe goes on to play other characters as well.It’s a show that combines comic clowning and poignant, heartfelt observations about the metaphorical houses we inhabit. Vincent recalls the two performances she saw last time felt “so different, because both audiences were so different, and the performer Madeline Rowe is incredibly adept at reacting to an audience.”The show opens tonight and runs through Feb 24.
Art Hounds: Flamenco, sculpture and Indigenous writing
Feb 8 2024
Art Hounds: Flamenco, sculpture and Indigenous writing
Myron Johnson of Minneapolis, former artistic director for Ballet of the Dolls, recommends “The Conference of the Birds” from Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre. The dance piece is based on an epic poem by 12th-century Persian mystic Farīd al-DīnʿAṭṭār.“It’s been performed and created by one of my absolute favorite artists in this community, Susana di Palma,” Johnson said. “I can’t imagine anyone taking this story and doing an interpretation any better than Susana and her live musicians and singers and flamenco dancers and original music.”“The Conference of the Birds” plays Feb. 10-11 at the Cowles Center in Minneapolis.Minneapolis resident Mary Thomas is an art historian and arts administrator. She is looking forward to “In the Middle of Somewhere,” an exhibit by artist Martin Gonzales.An alum of the University of Minnesota’s art department, Gonzales is based in Massachusetts. Thomas sees Gonzales “grappling with questions of how he takes up space and how he can occupy space in different ways.” “The sculptures are a way to think through and meditate on some of those questions through his own life and his own experience,” Thomas said.The exhibit is on display at the Silverwood Park Visitor Center in St. Anthony through Feb. 29. Linda LeGarde Grover, a member of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa in northern Minnesota, is a professor emeritus of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth. She’s very pleased to recommend the Indigenous Writer Series at AICHO in Duluth. The series features Indigenous writers from around the region. “Some of them will actually have drawings for some of their books, and the community will get to listen to them, ask questions of them and especially hear them talking about their writing,” Grover said. The event Saturday will include authors Tashia Hart of Red Lake Nation and Staci L. Drouillard of Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, from 2-4 p.m. at the Dr. Robert Powless Cultural Center in Duluth.
Art Hounds: Poetry, weavings and 'Cabaret'
Feb 1 2024
Art Hounds: Poetry, weavings and 'Cabaret'
Puppetry artist Sandy Spieler plans to attend Minneapolis author Patrick Cabello Hansel’s book launch Thursday night for his poetry collection, “Breathing in Minneapolis.”The collection arises from the tumultuous events of 2020: the COVID pandemic, the murder of George Floyd, the destruction along Lake Street and the challenges immigrant communities faced.It’s Cabello Hansel’s third collection, and he draws in part from his work as pastor of a bilingual Spanish-English speaking church in south Minneapolis, from which he recently retired.“These are poems of immediate relevance. Here are poems of hiding, of being torn apart, of mourning, of marching, of anger and ultimately of reverent adoration,” says Spieler, “true to the calling of his holy office.” Poets Joyce Sutphen, Walter Cannon and Dralandra Larkins will also participate in Thursday’s reading, along with Chilean musician Ina-Yukka. The event is at 7 p.m. at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, which Spieler says feels fitting since it served as a medic station during the uprising following George Floyd’s murder.  Art lover Colette Hyman of Winona attended the opening weekend of the exhibit “Aabijijiwan / Ukeyat yanalleh, It Flows Continuously” at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum.The show, which first appeared at All My Relations Gallery in Minneapolis, pairs the textiles of Ojibwe artist Karen Goulet and the photography and collage of Houma artist Monique Verdin. The two artists live at opposite ends of the Mississippi River, and their work explores the health of the water that connects us all.The exhibit includes several collaborations that tie deeply to land and water. There are a series of weavings that the artist buried and later retrieved from various locations along the river, allowing the natural colors of the soil to permeate the work.Hyman also appreciated a “stunning, understated” star quilt Goulet created from cotton dyed by medicine plants grown by Verdin. The light fabric flows and ripples as visitors walk by.The exhibit is on view now through July 7 at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona.Actor and theatermaker Greta Grosch of St. Paul is looking forward to Theatre 55’s production of “Cabaret,” opening Friday night.Grosch appreciates Theatre 55’s role in the Twin Cities arts scene, mounting iconic musicals with talented actors who have aged out of the roles they previously might have played. Grosch enjoys how they push the envelope of the expected, including “Rent,” “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Hair.”  All actors are 55 and older, and the show includes a mix of veteran and amateur performers. She’s looking forward to seeing the role of Sally played by Prudence Johnson, whose long career includes appearances on “A Prairie Home Companion.”“Cabaret” runs Feb. 2 – 10 at Mixed Blood Theater in Minneapolis.
Art Hounds: Love, dance and embroidery
Jan 25 2024
Art Hounds: Love, dance and embroidery
Opera lover Miluska Novota of Minneapolis says she’s “saltando en dos patitas — jumping on two feet” for joy as she looks forward to seeing Venessa Becerra in Minnesota Opera’s “Elixir of Love.” Novota loved the soprano’s performance in “The Daughter of the Regiment,” and she’s happy to see a Latina performer take the lead role as Adina. In Gaetano Donizetti’s popular comedic opera, lowly farmer Nemorino (Andrew Stenston), tries to win the heart of the beautiful, strong-willed Adina, and a love potion feels like just the way to go. It’s a plot worth of a telenovela, says Novota, but with beautiful arias. Novota appreciates that the Minnesota Opera has been “doing such a good job … recruiting singers of color, and bringing communities that may not have felt welcome in the classical world and in opera.” The production is set in 1916 California. It will be sung in Italian with English captions projected above the stage. The show opens Saturday, Jan. 27, and runs through Feb. 4.Minneapolis-based performer Sam Johnson has long followed the work of choreographer Morgan Thorson, and he’s looking forward to watching her newest creation this Saturday night. “Untitled Night” stands out for its location: it takes place on a frozen lake at night.  “She often tackles these big, huge issues, concepts that we're all dealing with in our lives. But she comes at it in this in a really interesting, very dance-centric way that I really appreciate.” The 30-minute dance performance investigates our relationship with winter and the night sky, performed as a collaboration of a dozen interdisciplinary artists. There are two shows at 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Silver Lake in St. Anthony. This performance is part of The Great Northern, a Twin Cities Arts festival that runs Jan. 25 through Feb. 4. Art lover Marc Robinson of Northfield is looking forward to seeing the third and final installment of an interdisciplinary art project traveling southeast Minnesota that investigates the concept of home. Artist Cecilia Cornejo Sotelo created a traveling recording studio, and she interviewed people in Northfield, Lanesboro and Red Wing about home, belonging and community. In each town, their words were transcribed, and community members embroidered selected phrases onto squares that were then pieced together into a giant quilt. Red Wing’s exhibit includes three large quilts with the Mississippi running across all three, uniting them. “Embroidering Red Wing: stories of home told with needle and thread” is on view at the Red Wing Arts Depot Gallery through Feb. 24. There is a public reception Saturday, Jan. 27 from 2-4 p.m. “Embroidering Red Wing” also features an interactive touchscreen, that allows the public to listen to the original, anonymous recording made in 2022, on which the embroidered work is based.  The exhibition also includes The Wandering House - Sonic Archive, a repository of testimonials and ambient sounds designed as an exploration of home from a rural perspective. The archive comprises testimonials that Cornejo has been recording since 2019 with community members in Northfield, Lanesboro and Red Wing.