To her first major U.S. exhibition, which opens at the Walker on Thursday, award-winning Korean artist Minouk Lim has brought three videos, several totemic staff-like constructions made from discarded household materials, a series of newly commissioned wearable sculptures and a singular sense of time. As the present literally disappears around her — Lim lives in Seoul, a city in the shadow of North Korea that has gone from third- to first-world in a single generation — she seeks to capture collective memory and make the invisible visible. Past, present, and future intersect in her performance-infused installations and fabrications, which make us think hard about modernization, globalization, alienation and loss without preaching or plucking at our heartstrings. Her work is moving but not sentimental, poignant without being manipulative, and not only about Seoul. “I trust and believe that our local problem has universality,” Lim says.
The large-scale videos are “New Town Ghost,” in which a slam poet raps on the back of a truck moving through a development in Seoul where people have been displaced in the name of progress; “S.O.S. – Adoptive Dissensus,” a nighttime cruise along the Han River with staged interludes on the banks; and the newest, “The Weight of Hands,” where infrared photography turns humans into aliens, water into lava and distant cranes on a construction site into swans.
On opening night, Lim will collaborate with Minneapolis-based choreographer Emily Johnson (Emily Johnson/Catalyst) on a performance called “Firecliff 3.” Johnson and her company will wear Lim’s sculptures of foam, velvet, feathers and bone. It was the Walker’s idea to bring Johnson and Lim together, and Lim loves collaboration, but the two come from completely different worlds. “They have been finding similarities and differences,” says exhibition curator Clara Kim. “One of the things that plays out in the performance is Emily’s relationship to nature and the land, which is very different to Minouk’s, whose nature is a landscape of concrete, bulldozers and construction sites.” Together they will explore nature, myth and civilization. The performance takes place in the gallery where Lim’s works are being shown. 7 p.m. Thursday, free. “Minouk Lim: Heat of Shadows” through Sept. 2. FMI.
Tonight at Minneapolis Central Library on Nicollet Mall, Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Ford launches Talk of the Stacks’ summer season by presenting his new novel, “Canada.” We don’t know if he’ll read the beginning, but here it is:
“First, I’ll tell about the robbery our parents committed. Then the murders, which happened later.” The Guardian called Ford’s latest “luminous and utterly forlorn.” Pohlad Hall, 7 p.m., free.
A new independent bookstore opens in June in the space recently vacated by Garrison Keillor’s Common Good Books. Subtext (the perfect name for a basement bookstore) is owned by Sue Zumberge, former manager of Common Good. Zumberge has hired David Unowsky, former owner of the late and still lamented Ruminator Books, to organize author appearances and other in-store events. Unowsky once had a similar job at Magers & Quinn. After he was let go from there, David Enyeart was hired, but now Enyeart is at Common Good. So who’s at Magers & Quinn? Writer Ethan Rutherford. My head kind of hurts after writing this. A flowchart would have been simpler.
On Friday at Common Good Books, Dana Gioia reads from his new book of poetry, “Pity the Beautiful.” Gioia, who teaches at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, chaired the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003-2009. Among his accomplishments at the NEA was the creation of the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship, the Pulitzer Prize of jazz. Gioia’s new book was published by Graywolf Press in St. Paul. A reception will follow the reading. 7 p.m., free. FMI.
On Thursday at the James J. Hill Reference Library, the Real-Phonic Radio Hour presents the Honeydogs with Desdamona. Led by Adam Levy, the Honeydogs recently released their 10th studio album, “What Comes After.” Desdamona is a hip-hop and spoken word artist who often performs (as Ill Chemistry) with beatboxer Carnage. The Real-Phonic Radio Hour is a monthly showcase of American roots music, poetry, and the arts in a spectacular setting: a private library in downtown St. Paul with soaring ceilings, stately columns and lots of wood. Real-Phonic is also a band whose members are Erik Koskinen, Paul Bergen, Molly Maher, Frankie Lee, JT Bates and Thom Middlebrook. 8 p.m. Thursday. Tickets here or at the door on the day of the show.
Drummer JT Bates is one of the artists featured in Andrea Swensson’s recent blog post about the jazz-rock overlap in the Twin Cities music community. Swensson spoke with Bates, bassist James Buckley, cellist Jacqueline Ultan, and pianist Bryan Nichols about their experiences playing many sides of the Twin Cities scene. At the Walker, performing arts curator Philip Bither has often commented on how the lines between genres are blurring.
Choreographed by Walker favorite Bill T. Jones, “Fela!” opens June 12 at the Ordway. Even those (especially those) who claim not to like musicals should think seriously about going. “Fela!” is the high-energy, incendiary story of Nigerian superstar Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, musician, composer, inventor of Afrobeat and political activist. Audience members leave dancing. Here’s the real Fela playing the Berlin jazz festival in 1978. Here’s a glimpse of the Broadway show that won three Tonys in 2010. Six days only (June 12-17). FMI and tickets.
The third annual Out Twin Cities Film Festival starts Thursday at the St. Anthony Main Theater with a 5:30 p.m. screening of “Inspired: The Voices Against Prop 8.” Director Charlie Gage will be on hand to answer questions. Other films in the fest include “America’s Most Unwanted” (about LGBT foster youth), “Homo Promo” (a crash course in gay and lesbian movie history), “Gun Hill Road” (starring Esai Morales), and the award-winning German film “Harvest.” On Sunday at 1 p.m., Minneapolis writer Alvin Easter’s script “The Queen’s Deception” will have a reading directed by Bill Cooper. Easter’s screenplays have been read at the Jungle and the Guthrie. FMI, trailers and tickets.
The First Official Art Fair of the Year and the Second Largest Art Fair in Minnesota, the Edina Art Fair, now in its 46th year, starts Friday at 10 a.m. and ends Sunday at 5 p.m. In between, thousands of people will visit more than 300 artists from across the U.S. and Canada. An art festival this large that’s been around for so long could have a better organized, more helpful website, I’m just saying.
On Saturday: Soul food on the 35th floor. A benefit for Obsidian Arts, “Artists Who Cook” is a fusion of art, food and music. Guest artists include Larry M. Walker, Seitu Jones, Frank Brown, Tacoumba Aiken, and Chef Emanuel Washington. Marquette Place, 35th floor, 5 to 8 p.m. Tickets ($40 for dinner high above the city) online or call 612-787-3644.
The Minnesota Orchestra and the Current have partnered for a summer concert they’re calling “Big Gig.” Five hours of music by Minnesota bands, including Charlie Parr, Jeremy Messersmith, Solid Gold, and Halloween, Alaska on two stages: indoors at the Ted Mann Concert Hall and outdoors on the Terrace Stage. Sunday, July 15, 4 to 9 p.m. FMI and tickets.
The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC) has awarded almost $182,000 in arts learning grants to 19 organizations in and around the Twin Cities metro area. The goals of the Arts Learning grant program are to cultivate creativity and deepen knowledge of and/or through the arts. Grantees include Bedlam Theater, Franklin Art Works, the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra Association, Walker West Music Academy, the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education, Partnership Resources, Inc., and the Twin Cities Chinese Dance Center. See the complete list here.
Capsule review: Preservation Hall Jazz Band and NOJO
Billed as an Orchestra Hall Commemoration Concert, it was a traditional New Orleans jazz funeral in the best sense: festive, celebratory and joyous. On Saturday night, Orchestra Hall, which is now looking past due for its makeover, was filled to capacity and beyond, from the highest tiers to the very back, where people held standing-room tickets. Before the concert began, our own Jack Brass Band (you can hear them every Tuesday at the Driftwood Char Bar) held forth in the lobby; once the audience had been shooed to their seats, the band walked slowly down an aisle and onto the stage playing “The Old Rugged Cross.”
The first half of the concert belonged to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the most famous and revered of all NOLA jazz bands; earlier this year, they marked their 50th anniversary at Carnegie Hall. For the second half, Irvin Mayfield, the Orchestra’s artistic director of jazz since 2008 (he’ll be back next year), led his Grammy-winning New Orleans Jazz Orchestra in a performance that threatened to burn holes through the stage. NOJO is a big band with several great soloists and a sense of humor. They brought a surprise guest, Davell Crawford (aka “the piano prince of New Orleans”), and kept inviting Pres Hall back on stage, which made the concert feel even more like a party for and among friends. Clarinetist Evan Christopher, who appeared at the Hopkins Center for the Arts earlier this month and is scheduled for the Minnesota Orchestra Clarinet Festival in November, played the most thrilling solo I have ever heard on that skinny little instrument, after which the crowd roared and jumped to their feet. (If you were there and want to know, that particular piece was “Creole Thang,” an original composition and arrangement cooked up by Mayfield and Christopher.) Shortly before 11 p.m. the concert ended with a second-line out the door. Then members of both bands and many audience members marched down Nicollet Mall to the Dakota, where the Southside Aces did Minnesota proud. It was a night for the books. Someone should write a song about it.