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'Book of Mormon' booked at the Orpheum

Book of Mormon
REUTERS/Gary Hershorn
'The Book of Mormon' has been called filthy, funny, offensive, sweet, affectionate, profane, and awesomely lame.

"The Book of Mormon" comes to the Orpheum next February (that's 2013), leaving plenty of time to organize protests and write letters to the editor. This is not, as the innocent might think, a heartwarming musical about missionaries. Written by the creators of "South Park," it's a satire that has been called filthy, funny, offensive, sweet, affectionate, profane, and awesomely lame. A huge hit on Broadway, it won nine Tonys last year, including best musical.

The Uptown Theater will close for renovation next week, Colin Covert reports. It's way past time. I stopped going years ago and waited for its films to show up at the Edina Theater — which is due for its own facelift. That formerly lovely neighborhood movie house has gotten seedier than its popcorn.

Just call me Sleepy Liver Green. That's my blues name, according to a chart that's been making its way around the interwebs. What's yours?

A Minneapolis fixture since 1958, Brave New Workshop keeps us laughing with sketches, songs and horrible puns. Its new show, "Occupy Arden Hills: or, Brother Can You Spare a Dome?"opens Saturday, Feb. 11, with previews from Feb. 2 to Feb. 10. They promise to skewer politics and pop culture and expose all sides of the unhappiness movement. P.S. BNW is no longer at 26th and Hennepin in Uptown, but at 824 Hennepin downtown. They bought the former Hennepin Stages building last year.

The Minneapolis Jewish Humor Festival at Sabes JCC ends tomorrow, Jan. 28, with "An Evening With Rachel Feinstein." A finalist on season 7 of NBC's "Last Comic Standing," she has her own half-hour special, "Comedy Central Presents," and has been featured on numerous comedy shows. Phoebe Bottoms opens.

Many of us learned about classical music from Warner Bros. cartoons. At "Warner Bros. Presents Bugs Bunny at the Symphony," coming to Orchestra Hall on Feb. 3 and 4, some great old Looney Tunes ("The Rabbit of Seville,""What's Opera, Doc?") will flicker on the big screen while the Minnesota Orchestra plays the music live. Two words from pops programmer Lilly Schwartz: "It's hilarious." And almost sold out.

More from MnOrch: Get a Get a Friday Night Classical Pass and attend as many Friday evening classical concerts as you like between now and June 8. That's a lot of Fridays and a lot of music, starting tonight with Charles Ives (an "Inside the Classics" performance), moving into February with Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich, then Sibelius, Haydn and Schumann in March, Beethoven and Bruckner in April, et cetera. While supplies last, it's a steal.

Osmo Vänskä conducting.
Photo by Chris LeeOsmo Vänskä conducting.

MPR's Julia Amacher reports on the orchestra's first release in Osmo Vänskä's new series of Sibelius recordings. This is the second time the maestro has tackled Sibelius; he recorded all the symphonies in the 1990s with Finland's Lahti Symphony Orchestra.

Innova Recordings, the new-music label (meaning "label for new music," not "brand-new label") has announced its first new releases of 2012. Based in St. Paul, part of the American Composers Forum, the nonprofit Innova has a unique business model that allows it to take risks, producing albums most labels won't touch: new classical, experimental electronic, jazz, world, genre-free. Coming during January: "The Eleanor Hovda Collection," "The Multiple Personality Reunion Tour" (featuring composer/accordionist Guy Klucevsek), the Marc Rossi Group's "Mantra Revealed," and Zack Browning's "Secret Pulse." Listen on Soundcloud to the Rossi recording (and others via the Search window). Here's a video about Innova.

Tonight and tomorrow, the St. Paul City Ballet returns to the McKnight Theatre for a mixed-repertory program of excerpts from "Raymonda" (music by Glazunov), a new work for SPCB, "One," by emerging choreographer Joseph Morrissey, and two pieces from last year's program: "Not an Etude" with choreography by Ted Sothern and original music by Minneapolis jazz composer George Maurer, and Greg Drotar's "Bolero." A post-show party and reception at the Saint Paul Hotel follows Saturday's performance. The McKnight is the smaller theater at the Ordway, about to be expanded into a larger hall and the primary home of the SPCO.

William Shatner will bring his one-man show "Shatner's World: We Just Live in It" from Broadway to the Orpheum on March 15. It's being described as a voyage (groan) through Shatner's life and career. To those of you who have read this far, I'll confess to recently watching his documentary, "The Captains," in which he interviews the five actors who followed him on "Star Trek." (It's streaming on Netflix now.) His "World" sounds like a fun, if hammy, place to visit. Tickets go on sale Feb. 3.

The Walker's newest exhibit, "Frank Gaard: Poison and Candy," opened last night with a gallery tour and conversation in the Cargill Lounge. Based in Minneapolis, Gaard is a painter of satire, relationships, portraits, ponies, and panties; this is the largest showing of his work to date. Read a blog about the installation and see pictures.   Read a HuffPost interview with curator Betsy Carpenter. Read Mary Abbe's chewy piece for the Strib. Read Gaard's blog,  in which he calls Abbe "the much dreaded art writer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune." Stop reading and go. While at the Walker, pick up an awesome Walker Death Metal Logo T-Shirt.

Three film screenings on the horizon:

At 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 2 at the Showplace Icon in St. Louis Parkthe Minnesota premiere of "Something Ventured: Risk, Reward, and the Original Venture Capitalists." The New York Times called it "a genuine love story about capitalism." A panel discussion on the future of innovation will follow with Rick Kupchella, Paul Wagner, Kathy Tunheim, Eddie Moradian, and Mike Berman, all movers and shakers. Tickets here.

Tilda Swinton in 'We Need to Talk About Kevin'
Courtesy of BBC FilmsTilda Swinton in 'We Need to Talk About Kevin'

What would have been the area premiere of "We Need to Talk About Kevin," Lynn Ramsay's controversial film about a school shooting, has moved from the Walker to the Lagoon "due to extraordinary advance interest" (and awards season). "Kevin" was named best film at the BFI London Film Festival in October, and people are grumbling that star Tilda Swinton is not among this year's Oscar nominees. Starts Friday, Feb. 3. If you're a Walker member, you can wait until Feb. 10 and see it for free. The Walker will show several other Ramsay films starting Feb. 11.

"American Teacher," a feature-length documentary produced by Ninive Calegari and Dave Eggers (McSweeney's, "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius") chronicles the stories of four teachers living and working in disparate urban and rural areas of the country. Narrated by Matt Damon, it shows at the Bryant Lake Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 19, at 3 p.m. First-come, first-served free seating.

News from the money trail:

Fifteen Minnesota organizations have been named finalists for support from ArtPlace, a public-private collaboration of nine of the nation's top foundations, eight federal agencies (including the NEA), and six of the nation's largest banks. Over 2,000 applications were submitted; 127 reached the finals. This year's winners will be announced in May, when ArtSpace expects to distribute $15 million in "creative placemaking" grants. The Minnesota finalists are the American Composers Forum, Lanesboro Arts Center, Ethnic Cultural Tourism Destinations Collaborative (ECTD), Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Forecast Public Art, Intermedia Arts, Juxtapositino Arts, New York Mills Regional Cultural Center (Wadena), Pangea World Theater, Pillsbury House + Theatre, Public Art Saint Paul, Cedar Cultural Center, The Gymnasium, World Savvy, and Native American Community Development Institute.

The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC) has awarded $209,033 to 23 organizations in the first round of its FY 2012 Arts Learning grant program, which provides arts education for Minnesotans of all ages. The money will fund arts experiences and activities in the seven counties of the Twin Cities metropolitan area including music and movement, ceramic arts, puppet theater, spoken word and beat box, ballet and modern dance, theater, tap, literary arts, and murals. Go here for specifics. One of 11 regional arts councils in Minnesota, MRAC is funded in part by Legacy money.

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