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Arts-fest weekend in Minneapolis — and a Barnfest in Red Wing

ALSO: ‘Rembrandt’ hours extended at MIA; Alexandria Festival begins; a big-name Talk of the Stacks season; and more.

We’re about to get a break from summer’s hammering heat, just in time for art fairs weekend. Uptown, the Godzilla of Minnesota art fairs, starts at noon today (Friday, Aug. 3) and continues through 5 p.m. Sunday. At 375,000, give or take, Uptown’s annual attendance is second only to that of the State Fair. Powderhorn, Uptown’s hippie Mothra cousin, runs Saturday and Sunday, as does Loring Park, the one we’ll call Gamera. Download a free Metro Transit ArtPass, park once, and ride from fair to fair.

Courtesy Franconia Sculpture Park
A scene from 2011’s Franconia hot metal pour

Hot metal pour, anyone? Franconia Sculpture Park hosts one on Saturday featuring artists from around the world. Once you’ve seen artists cast red-hot molten metal into iron sculptures, you’ll wonder why anyone would do such a crazy, dangerous thing. 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Music by Savage Aural Hotbed at 12:30, 2:30, and 4 p.m. FMI.

MIA’s “Rembrandt in America” show is proving so popular that the museum has extended its hours starting in September. From Tuesday, Sept. 4 through Sunday, Sept. 16 (closing day), the Rembrandt exhibition and museum shop only will remain open until 8 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Thursday, the whole museum will stay open as usual until 9 p.m. Tickets here.

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Christine Tschida has been named director of Northrop at the University of Minnesota. Northrop is undergoing a major renovation; a grand reopening is scheduled for the spring of 2014. Along with housing the Concerts and Lectures performing arts program directed by Ben Johnson, Northrop will also be home to the University Honors Program and the Institute for Advanced Study. The newly created position is a homecoming for Tschida, who spent the past 10 years in New York. Prior to that, she was producer of “A Prairie Home Companion” and executive director of the Fitzgerald Theater.

It seems Garrison Keillor isn’t retiring for at least another year. “A Prairie Home Companion” starts its 39th season on Saturday, Sept. 15, with a live broadcast from the Fitz. Come for the show, stay for the annual Street Dance and Meatloaf Supper on Exchange Street. Five more live APHC broadcasts are scheduled for the Fitz: Sept. 22 and 29, Oct. 6, 13, and 20. Tickets on sale now.

The 20th Annual Alexandria Festival of the Lakes concert series begins tonight with music by Mozart, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Brahms. Tomorrow (Saturday) night’s performance features Ensemble 61, a new-music chamber group based in Minneapolis. Their water-themed program includes music by George Crumb, Morgan Krauss and Kirsten Broberg. The festival continues with concerts on Aug. 8, 10 and 12. At United Methodist Church in Alexandria. FMI and tickets.

Courtesy of Ensemble 61
Ensemble 61 is a new Minneapolis-based chamber group.

Through Sunday, Aug. 5, the Minnesota Orchestra is offering 25 percent off all fall and holiday concerts from Oct. 18-Dec. 23. Some small print applies, but this is a good deal for a lot of great music. Browse the calendar starting here. Of special interest: November’s Clarinet Festival. On Friday, Nov. 9, Anat Cohen and Evan Christopher will perform with the Minnesota Orchestra, led by Sarah Hicks. I’ve seen both Cohen and Christopher several times, but never together, and I’m kind of beside myself about this. Cohen will return the next night (Nov. 10) to play with the Klezmatics and the orchestra. On Sunday afternoon (Nov. 11), Christopher will be the special guest of the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Classical concerts Thursday-Saturday (Nov. 15-17) will feature two renowned clarinetists, the Swedish virtuoso Martin Frost and our own maestro, Osmo Vänskä. It’s a licorice-stick extravaganza.

Meanwhile, the musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra have joined Minnesotans United for All Families and the coalition of more than 180 Minnesota nonprofits opposing the marriage amendment. According to their press release, the musicians “voted overwhelmingly to take a public stand” and are “hopeful that the corporate leadership team of the Minnesota Orchestral Association will follow our lead.” The orchestra offers employment benefits including health insurance to same-sex partners of its employees.

When a film begins with a cow falling out of the sky, you don’t forget. There’s much to remember and savor about Sebastián Borensztein’s film “Chinese Take-Away,” which opens tonight at the Film Society’s St. Anthony Main Theatre. A huge hit in Argentina, it tells of the friendship between a lonely, cantankerous Buenos Aires hardware store owner, Roberto (Oscar winner Ricardo Darin of the fabulous, lived-in face), and a bereft young Chinese man, Jun. In short, it’s about kindness, humanity, life, love, and surprises, with laugh-out-loud moments. In Spanish and Mandarin with English subtitles (for the Spanish, not the Mandarin, so we’re in the same boat as Roberto; we can’t understand a word Jun says). FMI and tickets.

The Guthrie has appointed Lauren Ignaut director of Studio Theater Programming. She will oversee programming and presentations in the Dowling Studio. Ignaut has been at the Guthrie since 2006, most recently as presentations administrator. She is a founding member of The Strange Capers theater company, which presents Shakespeare in Minneapolis parks. If you haven’t yet made it up to the Dowling, the black-box theater on the Guthrie’s ninth floor, you might want to check it out. It’s an intimate, flexible, more casual space than the thrust or proscenium stages.

Talk of the Stacks has announced its 2012 fall/winter season. On September 21, Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon presents his new novel, “Telegraph Avenue.” On October 4, author and social critic Naomi Wolf reads from “Vagina: A New Biography.” On Nov. 17, genre-bending writer Geoff Dyer discusses “Otherwise Known as the Human Condition” with Graywolf publisher Fiona McCrae. On Dec. 6, journalist Calvin Trillin alternates between “Dogfight: An Occasionally Interrupted Narrative Poem About the Presidential Campaign” and “Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin: Forty Years of His Funny Stuff.” Trillin was originally on last year’s schedule but canceled for health reasons. Talk of the Stacks is a program of the Friends of the Hennepin County Library. All events are held at the Minneapolis Central Library on Nicollet Mall. 7 p.m.; doors at 6:15. Free and open to the public. FMI.

The Minnesota Museum of American Art has appointed Christina Chang its curator of engagement. What, exactly, is a Curator of Engagement? MinnPost asked Kristin Makholm, the museum’s executive director. “It may not be the most definable job title I’ve ever heard,” Makholm said. “The word ‘curator’ is being use extremely liberally these days. The lexicon is bursting apart. In the old days, a curator took care of collections and things. Today it’s about taking care of people in a cultural setting, creating experiences, connecting with new partners and neighboring businesses, and engaging together as a community, with and around and between art.” Sounds like Chang will have her hands full. She comes to MMAA from the Weisman, where she recently completed two years as assistant curator. Chang will develop programs in the museum’s new gallery in the Pioneer Building in St. Paul (opening this fall), make connections with artists and organizations throughout the community, and lead the collaborations put forth in the $150,000 NEA “Our Town” grant the museum won last month.

Minneapolis resident Martin “Marty” Monson has been named CEO/executive director of the Barbershop Harmony Society, an international organization headquartered in Nashville with 29,000 members in North America and nine other countries. During his 21 years in the Twin Cities, Monson served as president and owner of a strategic planning consulting firm and president of the Hilltop, Minn., chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, turned the Youth in Harmony Collegiate Male Chorus into a medal winner, and co-founded a K-8 charter school in Apple Valley where music is a core subject.

Theater Latté Da has unveiled its 15th anniversary season. Oct. 25-Nov. 18 at the Ordway McKnight: Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s “Company,” an insightful, hilarious examination of marriage in contemporary society (nicely timed to provoke pre-election thought and conversation). Dec. 19-22 at the Pantages: the return of “All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914” with the vocal ensemble Cantus. Jan. 3-27, 2013 at the Pantages: a re-imagining of Elton John and Tim Rice’s “Aida.” March 14-April 7 at the Ordway McKnight: “The Light in the Piazza.” Latté Da is also launching a new works initiative called “Next,” featuring three musicals in the making. April 12-28 at the Lab. FMI.

We now know Heart of the Beast’s 2012-13 mainstage season. Oct. 18-28: “Hidebound,” part of the Soulographie series by Erik Ehn, uses puppets to explore the conquest of the indigenous populations of North and Central America. Dec. 13-22: “La Natividad de Acuerdo a San Mateo y San Lucas/The Nativity According to St. Matthew and St. Luke.” The Christmas Story performed in Spanish and English. Jan. 25-Feb. 10, 2013: “Kid Endiku.” A puppet-poem mashup inspired by “The Little Prince,” the epic of Gilgamesh, and Japanese anime. Plus, in March 2013, four Puppetlab world premieres.

Courtesy of Red House Records
Red Wing’s Barnfest takes place on Saturday

When MinnPost wanted to know more about Barnfest, Red House Records’ 4th annual folk and roots music bash happening this Saturday in Red Wing, we asked Katryn Conlin, dedicated concert-goer, bluegrass musician, and Red Wing resident. “The venue [Hobgoblin Music’s outdoor amphitheater] is a barn on a beautiful hillside with a view of rolling hills and bluffs,” Conlin says. “The schedule is packed with really good acts, both well-established and up-and-comers. Bill Staines is the dean of American folksinger-songwriters. Lucy Kaplansky is great. Natalia Zukerman is the daughter of Pinchas Zukerman” (who led the SPCO back in the day). Red Wing is about an hour’s drive from the Twin Cities, and Barnfest has a sensible schedule: starts at 1 p.m., ends at 7:30 p.m.  The lineup also includes Dean Magraw and John Williams, Drew Nelson, the High 48s, Black Audience, and Jon Rodine. Plus fun for kids. FMI, tickets, and all-important driving directions here. (Advance online sales end today at 3 p.m.)

You might save Sunday evening for the Bloomington Jazz Festival. Bring a blanket for the sloping green lawn of the Normandale Lake Bandshell and enjoy music by Steve Clarke and the Working Stiffs (7 p.m.) and the George Maurer Big Band (8:30 p.m.). Free fun.

On sale Saturday at 10 a.m.: Bruce Springsteen at the Xcel Energy Center on Nov. 11. Stand in line at the box office or jump onto Ticketmaster’s website. While you’re waiting, you might want to read David Remnick’s superb profile of the Boss in the New Yorker.