Fringe is in full swing, and the recommendations and reviews are pouring in. The Daily Planet has a rabid pack of Fringe bloggers including arts editor Jay Gabler, whose “What you should see because I probably can’t” post mentions the fact that he has his own Fringe show, “Ivory Tower Burning.” I wanted to see it last Sunday, then learned it didn’t run that day. Fringe is fantastically well-organized, but planning your schedule can be daunting. If there’s something you want to see, like the top-rated “Ash Land,” you’d best boogie.
The Twin Cities chamber ensemble Accordo has added three new members. Rebecca Albers joined the Minnesota Orchestra in 2010 as assistant principal viola; Violinist Erin Keefe is the recently appointed concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra; Kyu-Young Kim is the SPCO’s new principal second violin and former associate concertmaster. Accordo’s 2012-13 season begins Oct. 15 and tickets are on sale now. Concerts are held at Christ Church Lutheran in Minneapolis, a National Historic Landmark designed by Eliel Saarinen and his son Eero. The other five members are all SPCO and MnOrch principal players: Ruggero Allifranchini and Steven Copes, violin; Maiya Papach, viola; and cellists Anthony Ross and Ronald Thomas. BTW, both Accordo concerts we attended last season were exquisite.
Accordo is co-presented by the Schubert Club, Northrop Concerts and Lectures, and Kate Nordstrum Projects. Nordstrum is also creator of a daring and eclectic new-music series for the SPCO called “Liquid Music.” Watch your mail for the debut season brochure, which drops in the next two weeks.
Minneapolis’ own Raul Osorio is aus on “Project Runway.” The episode 3 one-two punch of being paired with tomboy designer Alicia Hardesty to create a red-carpet look did him in. “You guys will hear more about Raul at one point,” he told the judges before being auf weidersehned. He admitted later in his exit interview that “the dress sucked. It’s so immature. God! I hate to say I made this piece of crap.” Because he didn’t blame Hardesty, he deserves a Class Act award.
Nominations have closed for the Walker’s Internet Cat Video Festival, but voting for the “People’s Choice” category continues through Aug. 12. After news of #catvidfest went viral and global, the Walker received nearly 10,000 nominations. Festival organizer and “cat-lady-in-residence” Katie Czarniecki Hill (may we call you Kitty?) has a lot of watching to do between now and Thursday, Aug. 30, when the final selections air starting at 8:30 p.m. on Walker Open Field. Since my favorite didn’t make the finals (big hairball to that), I went for “Henri 2, Paw de Deux.” T-shirt, anyone?
On Thursday, Walker Open Field hosts an ’80s-themed “Mad Ripple Hootenanny.” Jim Walsh, frequent MinnPost contributor, former City Pages music editor and Pi Press pop music columnist, gathers friends and guests including Chris Osgood, Lianne Smith, and Chan Poling for songs and stories that take us back to the Twin Cities circa 1980-89. 8 p.m., free. Arrive early for Conversationalist’s Café (6 p.m.) and a curator-led tour of the exhibition “This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s” (7 p.m.). FMI. Free.
On Wednesday, singer/songwriter Jeremy Messersmith comes to the Trylon Microcinema – not to perform, but to host and defend a film that will remain secret until then. (Hint: he has a fondness for films with robots in them.) Messersmith appears in the Trylon’s monthly series “The Defenders.” The theater is teensy and tickets might have sold out already, but it’s worth a try. Starts at 7 p.m.
Get two free tickets for Saturday, Sept. 29, to any one of 15 museums across Minnesota, including the American Swedish Institute, Hennepin History Museum, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Minnesota Marine Art Museum (Winona), Stearns History Museum (St. Cloud), and The Works (Bloomington). Sept. 29 is Museum Day Live, and the free tickets are offered in the spirit of Smithsonian Museums, where admission is free every day. Are you traveling or reading this outside Minnesota? Tickets may be used at any participating venue across the U.S. FMI.
Mark your calendar for the galas and benefits that support the arts orgs of your choice. On Sunday, Aug. 26, James Sewell Ballet’s “Dancing Waters” includes a sneak preview of the season. Arrive by car or canoe; the event is held at a home on Cedar Lake. On Friday, Sept. 7, the Cowles Center celebrates its first year and launches its second with “Gotta Dance!” at the Depot. For tickets or tables ($250 – $5k), call 612-206-3623. A late-night dance party featuring Adam Levy’s band Hookers and Blow is open to the public; tickets here. On Saturday, Sept. 8, the Walker hosts “Avant Garden” in the sculpture garden.
The Live on the Drive summer evening concert series continues Thursday with a performance by Ipso Facto, a seven-piece band that blends reggae, funk, and jazz. Come for the music and community feel of this series, now in its fifth year, and take time to see the kids’ art gallery. At Victory Memorial Drive and 34th Ave. in Minneapolis. 6 p.m. Free.
The 24th Annual Bayfront Blues Festival starts Saturday in Duluth. One of the largest outdoor music events in the upper Midwest takes place at Bayfront Festival Park, which was not affected by the June 20 flooding. This year’s lineup includes the Chastity Brown Band, Ana Popovic, Erik Koskinen, the Royal Southern Brotherhood (featuring Cyril Neville, Devon Allman and Mike Zito), Elvin Bishop, Paul Metsa and Willie Walker, and the Brooks Family Blues Dynasty. At noon on Friday on the Leinenkugel’s Stage, the time slot traditionally held by Big Walter Smith, his band the Groove Merchants and Jimi “Prime Time” Smith will pay tribute to Big Walter, who died July 24.
VocalEssence has added a second performance by the renowned Cuban choir Schola Cantorum Coralina to its 2012-13 season, having nearly sold out the first to season ticket buyers. The new date is Sunday, Nov. 11 at 4 p.m. at House of Hope Presbyterian Church in St. Paul. Coralina’s repertoire spans the Renaissance to the present day, with a focus on folk and sacred music of Cuba and Latin America as well as famous choral masterpieces. Their concerts are noted for their nuances, humor, energy and emotion. FMI and tickets here. (Tickets are sold by the Minnesota Orchestra; don’t be confused when you’re taken to that site.)
Opening tonight (Tuesday, Aug. 7) at the Ordway: six-time Tony winner “Chicago,” the hit Broadway musical, starring John O’Hurley as Billy Flynn. (O’Hurley was hilarious as J. Peterman on “Seinfeld” and hosted “Family Feud” from 2006-10.) One week only. FMI and tickets.
On sale now: “An Evening With Dr. Maya Angelou” at the State on Tuesday, Oct. 23. “An Evening With Olivia Newton-John” at the Guthrie on Monday, Sept. 24. “An Evening With Art Garfunkel,” a concert spanning his musical career, at the Pantages on Saturday, Oct. 28. “An Evening With Leo Kottke” at the Guthrie on Monday, Nov. 26.
Touchdown confirmed! Now that the NASA rover “Curiosity” has landed safely on Mars, one might expect a few celebratory Mars-themed events. I’ve looked around and so far found nada. (Not even at the Science Museum.) You? Meanwhile, I’ll turn to my dog-eared “Martian Chronicles” (R.I.P., dear Ray Bradbury, who died June 5 of this year) and dig out Kim Stanley Robinson’s richly detailed Mars trilogy (“Red Mars,” “Green Mars,” “Blue Mars”). In “Red Mars,” the first colonial voyage to Mars leaves Earth in 2026. That’s just 14 years from now. We’d best boogie.
Out and about
I expected to like whatever David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash brought to the Orpheum last night, one of many stops on their current marathon tour. What I didn’t expect was how current and relevant their music would sound and feel. It’s easy to think that because all three are in (or nearing) their 70s, two have white hair, and they achieved supergroup status half a century ago that they’re just another nostalgia act. But they’re still writing, still politically liberal (to the point where some people in the audience got tetchy), still speaking to the daily news.
We heard many of the harmony-drenched hits from the catalog, including “Carry On,” “Chicago,” “Long Time Gone,” “Southern Cross,” “Marrakesh Express,” “Helplessly Hoping,” “Guinevere,” “Our House,” “Wooden Ships,” and “Teach Your Children.” We also heard “Almost Gone,” a song about Bradley Manning, the American soldier accused of giving documents to WikiLeaks. And “In Your Name,” which CS&N dedicated to the families of those killed in the Sikh temple shooting in Milwaukee last weekend. And “What Are Their Names?” which they performed last year at Occupy Wall Street. Crosby even risked a new song about the plight of a young prostitute.
All three sang as if they meant it. Stills’ voice is the worse for wear, but it retains its distinctive timbre. (And he remains a guitar monster.) Nash and Crosby sing as if the years have barely passed. They rock hard, infusing the old songs with potent energy. Bill O’Reilly of Fox News saw the show in late June and proclaimed that the group is “running on empty.” Like some members of last night’s audience, O’Reilly might have been expecting a quaint and harmless hippie love fest. But CS&N still have their passion and conviction, and they still have their teeth.