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'American Idiot': It's all about the music — and the flying scene

Scene from 'American Idiot'

Photo by Doug Hamilton

Scene from 'American Idiot'

“American Idiot” opened Tuesday at the Orpheum and ends Sunday evening, Feb. 26. Five more performances remain (one tonight, two each on Saturday and Sunday) for those who love the band Green Day, nonstop high-energy dancing, post-9/11 angst, and moments of real magic.

The bildungsroman rock opera scored big on Broadway (two Tonys) and features many Green Day hits including “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” “21 Guns,” and, of course, “American Idiot,” loosely tied together by a sort-of story about three friends who dream of changing their lives. It’s all about the music, and the flying scene, and the one where a tall rolling platform tips downward (with actor Van Hughes holding on) and suddenly it’s a bus. Not for little ones (F-bombs, drugs, middle fingers raised high, and so on). If you go, read Jay Gabler’s “Complete idiot’s guide to American Idiot” first. FMI and tickets.

Lifelike,” the Walker’s new exhibition, opens Saturday, Feb. 25. Yesterday’s press preview was an exercise in guessing what was still in process of being installed (descriptions of artworks taped to walls?) and what had been finalized (descriptions of artworks taped to walls?). Either is possible in a show that messes with your mind from the start (Warhol’s Brillo boxes, Duane Hanson’s lifesize janitor) and continues to challenge your perceptions of reality, authenticity, scale, art, artifice, and the everyday.

Hand pressing button for tiny elevatorsMaurizio Cattelan, Untitled, 2001. Stainless steel, composition wood, electric motor, electric light, electric bell, computer. 23-1/2 x 33-5/8 x 18-5/8 in. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Nothing is what it seems. (Spoiler alert!) A Hefty trash bag is carved from Carrara marble. What looks like a room full of junk leftover from the installation is part of the show. Weeds are not growing up out of the floor. A pile of construction materials (scrap wood, drop cloths) is painstakingly crafted from precious metals and woods. A down-filled sleeping bag is cast in bronze. (There should be a sign: Do Not Kick.) Keith Edmier’s re-created childhood kitchen is time machine, period room, memory and illusion. Near the end, when you reach the teeny elevators, hear the little “ding,” and see the doors open, you expect teeny people to walk out. “Lifelike” will make your head buzz. Through May 27. Walker After Hours party tonight. Opening day talk at 2 p.m. Saturday.

For you potters who procrastinate or have just returned from six months at the North Pole: Applications for the 2012 Jerome Ceramic Artists Project Grants are due by 5 p.m. today, Friday, Feb. 24. This generous grant (now in its 22nd year) provides three emerging Minnesota-based artists with an award of $6,000 each and a group exhibition at Northern Clay Center. FMI.

Take the kids to Carnaval Brasileiro 2012 at the Fine Line, where a two-day celebration of the world’s biggest party includes an all-ages family matinee on Saturday at 2 p.m. Guitarist/vocalist Robert Everest leads a 10-piece group in Brazilian dance music. Other kid-centric attractions include mask-making, instrument-making, dance lessons, face-painting, and a magician. The event is funded in part by legacy money. FMI and tickets.  

Sunday is Rock the Cradle, the Current’s annual family blowout at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and Children’s Theatre Company. Starting at 11, ending at 5, it’s a jam-packed day of music, stories, dancing, puppets, community art, interactive theater, and more. Kevin Kling will read from his new children’s book, “Big Little Brother.” Deejays from the Current will host a kids’ disco. MacPhail will host its popular Musical Instrument Petting Zoo. The Bunny Clogs, Okee Dokee Brothers, and Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lappelles will perform. And when a meltdown seems imminent, you can sneak away to the Family Room/Quiet Space on the MIA’s first floor. Free. FMI.

Pianist and composer Jeremy Walker is back in town. Jazz fans know him as the former proprietor of Brilliant Corners in St. Paul, where many youngsters learned to love the blue notes (no liquor license made it an all-ages club), and as the head of Jazz is NOW! (the orchestra, the website, the nonprofit, the notion). After almost three years in New York, he has returned to the Twin Cities to spend more time with his family and make music. Hear his latest group, BootCamp (his nickname is Boot), at the Dakota’s Late Night on Saturday. Walker will be on piano, with Chris Thomson on saxophones, Chris Bates on bass, and Jay Epstein on drums, cymbals, and other noisemakers, some inexplicable. 11 p.m., $5 at the door.

Jeremy Walker
Courtesy of Jeremy WalkerJeremy Walker's BootCamp will perform at the Dakota on Saturday.

On Monday, Feb. 27, the U.K.’s National Theatre will broadcast a live performance of Nicholas Wright’s play “Travelling Light to the Guthrie’s McGuire Proscenium theater. Directed by Nicholas Hytner, starring Antony Sher, the play is described as “a funny and fascinating tribute to the Eastern European immigrants who became major players in Hollywood’s golden age.” (Huh. Sounds a bit like Christopher Hampton’s “Tales from Hollywood,” coming to the Guthrie this fall.) 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets.

After three months of remodeling, Patrick’s Cabaret, the venerable Twin Cities arts organization (25 years!), will reopen on Friday, March 9. Expect a full calendar of music, dance, performance art, comedy, theater, video, and more. Opening night features the return of the Singer/Songwriter Series, with Jack Klatt (Cat Swingers), John Fender (Strange Friends), Drew Peterson (Dead Pigeons), Venus DeMars (All the Pretty Horses). 7:30 p.m., $10 at the door, cash or check only. It seems the remodeling did not include credit card machines, but it did include bathrooms.

Growing up as one of 11 children in a St. Paul family with issues, comedian Louie Anderson couldn’t help but be funny—or seriously disturbed. He carved out a successful career in Hollywood, played to SRO crowds in Vegas, hosted “Family Feud,” created the animated series “Life with Louie,” and penned best-selling books including “Dear Dad.” He’s at the Brave New Workshop for one night only, March 10, at 7 p.m. FMI and tickets.

You can catch up on this year’s Oscar nominees before Sunday at various movie theaters around the Twin Cities, but there’s only one place you can see the bleak and brutal “Bullhead,” a crime story about meat hormone mobsters and a nominee for best Foreign Film. The directorial debut of Michael R. Roskam, starring Belgian actor Mattis Schoenaerts in a breakout role (for which he gained 60 pounds, all muscle), plays at the Film Society’s Screen 3 at St. Anthony Main Theatre from tonight through March 1. In French with English subtitles. FMI.

Reporting for, Alison Morse makes Intermedia Arts’ new ArtsHub sound like a great place to co-work. Basically, it’s a space where you can rent a desk, and around you are people from Art Shanty Projects, the Givens Foundation for African American Literature, Diversity Alive, Springboard for the Arts, and other places. People you might want to hang with and get to know, if you’re an artist, organizer, community group, or nonprofit.

Are you dying to write a book about a favorite album? Bloomsbury Academic is accepting new proposals for its 33 1/3 book series, formerly published by Continuum. The 86 albums covered in the series so far include the Rolling Stones’ “Some Girls,” Celine Dion’s “Let’s Talk About Love,” Tom Waits’ “Swordfishtrombones,” and Elliot Smith’s “XO.” What, no “American Idiot”?  

Correction: A previous version of this article included an outdated item about the Minnesota History Center. It has been removed.

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