Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) members are being asked to dig a bit deeper. A story in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal spells it out: “PBS is hiking its fee for the next fiscal year, which starts Sept. 1, for the programming that TPT airs by about $400,000 to $2.8 million, said TPT CEO Jim Pagliarini.” A 2 percent rise in PBS’ overall member fees translates into a whopping 17 percent increase for TPT. An earlier version of the story said this created a budget shortfall. It didn’t. But if you get a call from TPT, remember that “Downton Abbey” isn’t free.
Singer Nikki Matteson has that sweet, achy warble in her voice that makes her perfect for folk songs, country blues and roots music. She and her band the RueMates, led by guitarist and Matteson’s songwriting partner Rich Rue (also of the Hightops and Roe Family Singers), are throwing a CD release party tonight (Friday, July 6) for their third album, “Rise & Shine.” They’ll be joined by RueMates members past and present including Jon Olson, Liz Draper, Jimmy “T” Tollefsrud and Carrie Deans. Also on the bill: Matt Latterell of Lucy Michelle & The Velvet Lapelles. 10 p.m., 331 Club. Free.
The Guthrie has announced more details of the Christopher Hampton celebration that will launch the theater’s 50th season this fall. In addition to “Tales from Hollywood” on the thrust stage and the world-premiere “Appomattox” on the proscenium stage, the Dowling Studio will feature the American premiere of “Embers,” directed by Joe Dowling, from Oct. 9-27. Based on a novel by Sándor Márai, “Embers” shows Hampton “at his most psychological and literate,” Dowling says. To deepen understanding of the Civil War and Civil Rights-era themes explored in “Appomattox,” the Guthrie will feature a conversation with former Georgia legislator and NAACP chair Julian Bond on Nov. 4. It has not yet been determined with whom Bond will be speaking; I’ll let you know ASAP. Finally, the Guthrie will host a pair of “Extreme Hampton Weekends” on October 12-15 and October 19-22. Watch all three Hampton plays, go to post-play discussions, attend a conversation between Hampton and Joe Dowling, see a screening of the Hampton-written-and-directed “Carrington,” and stagger out of the theater. FMI.
Getting goosebumps is one way to cool down, and a murder mystery is a reliable source of frissons. Tomorrow afternoon, Edgar winner Bryan Gruley stops by Once Upon a Crime to sign copies of his new novel “The Skeleton Box.” The main character, Gus Carpenter, is the editor of a small-town newspaper; his crime-solving partner is a former reporter for the Detroit Free Press. Gruley knows a little something about the newspaper world; he’s a reporter-at-large for Bloomberg News and the former Chicago bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal, where he picked up a Pulitzer. He won’t be reading, so take this chance to drop in, say hi, and chat with a master. Noon – 2 p.m.
Has there ever been a movie star as elegant, chic and scandal-free as Audrey Hepburn? Starting Sunday (July 8), the Film Society of Minneapolis/St. Paul presents a series titled “Audrey Hepburn: Bona Fide Princess.” On Sundays and Mondays through Aug. 6, you can see five of her best films on a big screen at St. Anthony Main Theatre: “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Charade,” “Roman Holiday,” “Sabrina,” and “Paris When It Sizzles.” FMI and tickets.
The Dakota Valley Symphony 2012-13 season has been announced, and both season and individual tickets are now on sale. The lineup includes “An Afternoon at Pops: A Salute to John Williams” (Oct. 14), “Handel’s Messiah” (Dec. 2), “Grieg Meets Verdi: Requiem” featuring Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor and Verdi’s Requiem (Feb. 10, 2013), “The Archangel: Corelli and Friends,” billed as “an Italian celebration with an Irish twist” (March 17), and a “Young Artists’ Concert” spotlighting the winners of the symphony’s sixth annual Young Artists’ Competition (April 28). FMI and tickets. (Buy from the BPAC box office, save on fees.)
The Schubert Club is offering a flexible subscription package for its International Artist Series that begins Oct. 3. This respected series brings renowned artists to the Ordway’s main stage for intimate recitals – sometimes a soloist, or a top singer with an acclaimed accompanist, or a pair of instrumentalists. For a limited time, new subscribers may choose any three concerts from the series with seating on the balcony level for $99. My personal picks for the season: pianist Stephen Hough (Nov. 20), cellist Alisa Weilerstein and pianist Inon Barnatan (Jan. 8, 2013), and tenor James Valenti (Feb. 9). FMI on all 5 concerts. Special offer here; ends July 20.
The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC) has awarded more than $150,000 in Next Step Fund money to artists in and around the Twin Cities metro area. Funded by the McKnight Foundation, Next Step grants enable artists to complete projects that will help them rise to the next level in their careers. With their $5,000 grants, the 32 winning artists plan to release recordings, finish films, attend workshops, purchase equipment, improve their workspaces, travel, tour, and mount exhibitions. See the complete list of 2012 grantees here.
Single tickets are now on sale to the Ordway’s 2012–13 performance season. (You can still buy subscriptions if you want.) Choose from among Broadway and Tony-winning musicals, the World Music Series, the Dance Series, and the Broadway Songbook Series. Five things I like: “Elf, the Broadway Musical,” because the movie made me laugh (Dec. 5-30); “Sing-A-Long Sound of Music,” because it would be a riot to sing “Edelweiss” with a crowd (May 18, 2013); Minnesota-raised Mexican vocalist Lila Downs, for her haunting and singular voice (Oct. 17); Poncho Sanchez and His Latin Jazz Band, because they are a foolproof good time (Oct. 26); and Black Grace, because I’m curious to see this contemporary New Zealand dance company (March 19, 2013). FMI and tickets.
It’s not too hot to exercise your gray matter, as Hercule Poirot might say. The U of M’s College of Continuing Education can help. From July 10 through Aug. 9, its “Century of Ideas” seminar series looks back at the preceding 10 decades starting with the 1910s, focusing on the defining moments and movements of each. The seminars last two hours (9 a.m. – 11 a.m.) and most are at the Continuing Education and Conference Center on Buford Ave. in St. Paul. The faculty includes U of M professors and Twin Cities experts. Three that tempt me: “1920s: The Jazz Age” with trad jazz and ragtime master Butch Thompson at the piano (July 12); “1940s: The Atomic Age,” in which U professor James Kakalios (of the “Spiderman and the Decay Rate Algorithm” video we mentioned earlier this week) explains the atom bomb and radioactivity with comic books and science-fiction films (July 19); and “1970s: Putting Women’s Rights on the Political Agenda” with Arvonne Fraser, U of M poli-sci professor Kathryn Pearson, and Strib columnist Lori Sturdevant (July 31). Seminars are $50/pop. FMI and registration.
The United Arts Fund (UAF), a program of COMPAS, has created a new funding collaboration with ArtsLab, a program of Arts Midwest serving Minnesota. Donations are diminishing, grant requests are increasing, and arts funders are looking for ways to have more impact with fewer dollars. The reallocation of $270,000 (anticipated amount) to ArtsLab through December 2014 is a step in that direction. ArtsLab is a national leader in capacity-building for small arts organizations. Here’s the full announcement if you want to know more.
On sale now: tickets to Circus Juventas’ summer program, “Showdown.” What’s Circus Juventas? Kids on trapezes, high wires, and a blazing spiral wheel of fire, among other equipment that wouldn’t be allowed on most playgrounds. Circus Juventas is North America’s largest youth circus and only the second in history to perform a 7-person pyramid on the high wire. With children! “Showdown” features a Wild West theme, characters including Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kidd, Black Bart and Lilly Langtry, aerialists on a wagon-wheel chandelier, parkour on a wall trampoline, clowning, teeterboarding, dancing, lassoing, and shooting. Aug. 2-19 in the Big Top on Montreal Ave. in St. Paul. FMI and tickets. I’d like to see the permission slip parents have to sign for their kids to join this club.