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Springboard to help Duluth artists; State Fair lineup set

Springboard for the Arts has made emergency funds available for artists affected by the flooding in Duluth and northeast Minnesota. Springboard’s Emergency Relief Fund will help pay up to $500 of an unpaid bill that has directly resulted from the flooding – for example, professional cleaning or replacement of damaged items. FMI and to apply.

The Minnesota State Fair Grandstand lineup is now complete, and the last concert to be added is a big duh: “MN Music On-A-Stick” presented by 89.3 The Current. Starting at 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31, the show will feature Semisonic, the Jayhawks, Dessa, and Jeremy Messersmith; more artists may be added later. Why duh? Because last weekend’s Rock the Garden sold out in 90 minutes. That’s 10,000 tickets at $49/pop ($175 VIP). Because the Current is, to quote Chris Riemenschneider, “the most powerful music broker in town.” Because not letting the Current program a grandstand show would be dumb. Tickets on sale June 29 at 11 a.m.

SemisonicPhoto by Emmy ShermanSemisonic is playing the Minnesota State Fair this year

If you weren’t at Rock the Garden, here’s the annual timelapse video.

Want to see a Current show for free? Show up (early) at the Cedar next Wednesday for “Local Current Live” with Chastity Brown, Van Stee and The Chalice. Folk, indie pop and hip-hop. “Local Show” host David Campbell, “Local Current” blogger Andrea Swensson, and Jon Schober will DJ between sets. Tickets at the door, no advance reservations, standing show. Doors at 7 p.m. FMI.

Amanda White ThietjeAmanda White Thietje

Mixed Blood Theatre has a new managing director, Amanda White Thietje. She takes over from P.J. Doyle, who has retired. Thietje has been with Mixed Blood less than a year – since Sept. 2011, when she was hired as director of radical hospitality, a successful new pricing model that offered a number of first-come, first-served no-cost seats for each main stage production during the 2011–12 season. Previously she worked at Lincoln Center and the William Inge Center for the Arts. Also, director of touring Charlie Moore has been named general manager, a new position. Moore has been with Mixed Blood since 1984. 

The McKnight theater awards were announced earlier this week by the Playwrights’ Center. Sarah Agnew (seen most recently at the Guthrie in “Time Stands Still”), Christopher Lutter-Gardella of Puppet Farm Arts, and lighting designer Mike Wengen were named Theater Artist Fellows. Two playwrights, Christina Ham (“Crash Test Dummies”) and Cory Hinkle, have won this year’s McKnight Advancement Grant. New York writer Betty Shamieh receives the McKnight national residency and commission.

In Tuesday’s Artscape, we wondered aloud how many McKnight Artist Fellows have been named since the program began in 1982. The answer: more than 1,100. The original fellowship stipend was $10,000. In the year 2000, after conducting a statewide survey of artists, the foundation raised it to $25,000. 

When National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) chair Rocco Landesman was in town last week – meeting with Rep. Betty McCollum and local arts leaders, speaking at the McKnight party – he had nice things to say about the Twin Cities and the arts. “The Twin Cities are poster children for what the arts need to be in every city across the country, with this kind of support and this kind of commitment,” he said. “It really is a special place for the theater which is my field, and the arts generally.”

It’s also a special place for record stores. Rolling Stone just published a list of the Best Record Stores in the USAthe 30 top spots for unique vinyl and CDs, from San Francisco to Boston.  #6: Electric Fetus. #24: Hymie’s Vintage Records

According to a study released Tuesday by the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), getting an arts degree isn’t such a bad plan after all. More than 36,000 alumni of arts colleges and programs in the U.S. and Canada took part in a survey about their lives and careers. Eighty-seven percent of arts grads currently employed are satisfied with their jobs; 82 percent are satisfied with their ability to be creative in their current work, whether working in the arts or not. Seventy-two percent perform or make art during their non-work time. How many actually have arts-related jobs? Sixty-seven percent. Architects make the big bucks. Dancers … ouch. You can read the complete report here (click Annual Report 2012 under What’s New) and/or view an interactive “SnaapShot” of survey data here. SNAAP is based at the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research.

In case you haven’t heard, it’s Pride weekend. Yesterday Mayor R.T. Ryback invited me and 4,521 other people (oh, all right, on Facebook) to join him for the parade on Sunday (June 24), which starts at 11 a.m. Line up near the intersection of 3rd St. and Nicollet around 10:30. See the Pride website for a list of events including Pride in Concert with headliner Kelly Rowland. Starting Friday at around 8:30 p.m., the St. Anthony Falls Bridge will shine with rainbow colors.

It’s Pride’s 40th year, a milestone anniversary. How galling that it’s also the year the Marriage Amendment appears on the November ballot. If you go to the parade, the mayor suggests you wear teal clothing to match the new signs against the amendment.

Walker cinema renderingCourtesy of the Walker Art CenterA rendering of the new Walker cinema

The Uptown Theater remains closed for renovations, but the shiny new Walker Cinema throws open its doors tonight (Friday, June 22). Nearly four decades old, the former Walker theater felt a bit like a high-school auditorium. I can’t wait to see the new one. Better projection, better sound, better seats. The renovations were designed by John Cook of the Minneapolis-based HGA (aka Hammel, Green, Abrahamson), the same firm behind Northrop’s redo and the Nelson Cultural Center at the American Swedish Institute (opening June 30). The Walker is celebrating with three special screenings: Benh Zeitlin’s “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” winner of the 2012 Sundance Grand Jury Prize, tonight; Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi’s “This Is Not a Film” tomorrow; and “Aelita: Queen of Mars,” a Russian sci-fi classic from 1924, on Sunday afternoon. For “Aelita,” Dennis James and Mark Goldstein (the Filmharmonia Duo) perform on historical instruments including a Theremin. FMI and tickets at the hotlinks.

Dazzling DaveYo-yoing at the Mall of America this weekend

If you’re at the Mall of America on Saturday (isn’t there a sale at Nordstrom’s?), stop by the rotunda for the 15th Annual Midwest Regional Yo-Yo Championship. Yo-yoing at this level takes crazy skills; here’s a video from the 2010 contest. Notice that sometimes the yo-yo isn’t even attached to the string.

Through Saturday, July 28, at the Lab Theater: “When a Man Loves a Diva.” A celebration of pop’s great ladies and the men who love them, this musical review drew raves when it opened three years ago. The original cast reunites for a new version with new musical selections, new script, new set and new director (Andrew Rasmussen). The Lab has been turned into Ruby’s Cabaret with tables (and beer and wine). With Ben Bakken, Julius Collins and Dane Stauffer; Sanford Moore leads the band. Preview tonight, opening night tomorrow. 8 p.m. FMI and tickets.

On Saturday, four singers from Copenhagen’s Royal Opera perform a midsummer concert at the Minnehaha Academy Theatre. Danish soprano Randi Gislason, Swedish soprano Cecilia Lindwall, Icelandic tenor Magnus Gislason and Danish baritone Hans Lawaetz, collectively known as the Nordic Singers, plan a program of opera favorites, Scandinavian songs, and contemporary pop/rock hits. The concert is presented by the American Swedish Institute, the Danish American Center, and the Edvard Grieg Society. 7:30 p.m. Tickets here or at the door.

On sale today: Single-day tickets for the SoundTown Music and Camping Festival in Somerset, Wis. Headliners are Jane’s Addiction, Weezer, and Florence and the Machine. FMI and tickets. Jackson Browne at the State Theater, Sunday, Oct. 28. Singer-songwriter and fiddle player Sara Watkins opens the 2012 U.S. Acoustic Tour. FMI and tickets. Moonwalker: The Michael Jackson Concert Experience. Michael Firestone stars as “The Reflection of Michael” at the Burnsville Performing Arts Center, Sunday, Oct. 28 at 3 p.m. Is he any good? Here’s a video. FMI and tickets.

On sale tomorrow: Morrissey with special guest Kristeen Young at the Orpheum, Monday, Oct. 29. FMI and tickets.

On sale Monday: Individual tickets to the 2012/2013 Pen Pals season. Highlights: Salman Rushdie, Roz Chast, Armistead Maupin. FMI at the hotlink.

Capsule Review: “Anytown”

Most dance companies’ seasons are brief, not much longer than the lifespan of a mayfly. Blink and you’ve missed something worth seeing, something with the power to move you and stay in your head – like “Anytown: Stories of America” a Shapiro & Smith dance production at the Guthrie’s Dowling Theater, but only through Sunday.  

“Anytown” is a series of 19 dances set to music by Bruce Springsteen, Patti Scialfa and Soozie Tyrell. Scialfa is Springsteen’s wife and a member of his E Street Band; Tyrell is a member of Springsteen’s touring band. Much but not all of the music has lyrics, and sometimes additional words are projected on the wall at the back of the stage – words selected from interviews with Springsteen and his songs. Like “Take a character. Try and walk in their shoes. You start out standing, but you end up crawling.” And “Men and women – what’s that about?” Which could be the theme of “Anytown.”

Springsteen is, of course, a great storyteller, so his songs are ripe for interpretation in dance. Using simple props – a table, rocking chair, ironing board, an iron bed on wheels – the dancers tell stories of love and loss, struggle and death, frustration and desire. Because these are Springsteen songs, there are no princesses or swans; these are working-class men and women just trying to get by. The dances are intensely physical. In one shocking sequence, a woman hits a man so hard he falls to the ground again and again. In another, a woman flies into a frenzy. But there are also moments of tenderness and sensuality. It doesn’t hurt that the company is beautiful. Laura Selle Virtucio has a solo late in the second half, but by then you have already spent much of the evening watching her. She’s graceful, strong and solid, with a face by Hans Holbein. Carl Flink looks almost too big to be a dancer; his presence on stage is the anchor your eyes return to. Kari Mosel uses her long hair as if it were another limb. Eddie Oroyan is a flame.

The Springsteen songs, if you’re wondering, are “Human Touch,” “Youngstown,” “The Big Muddy,” “Ain’t Got You,” “Empty Sky,” “Maria’s Bed,” “Countin’ on a Miracle,” “Born in the USA” (acoustic blues version) and the curtain, “Glory Days.” 

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