Opening tonight at the Jungle: “Waiting for Godot.” Samuel Beckett’s most famous play, a “tragicomedy in two acts,” has become a catch phrase. (“What are you waiting for, Godot?”) It’s an absurdist play, meaning that nothing much happens, yet it’s considered the most important English-language play of the 20th century (although Becket first wrote it in French). Bain Boehlke directs, Nathan Keepers and Jim Lichtscheidl star as Estragon and Vladimir, two friends who debate the meaning of life while waiting for you-know-who. Many critics have compared “Godot” to “Seinfeld,” the television show about nothing that made us laugh for years. Boehlke promises that “Godot” will be “deeply moving, profound – and with this cast – hilarious.” Through Sept. 30. Tickets here.
Opening tonight at Raymond Avenue Gallery: “Reencuentro: Together Again, Photography & Pottery.” Photographer Jorge Provenza and potter Guillermo Cuellar had a joint exhibition in Venezuela in 1982. Thirty years on, artist and gallery owner Joseph G. Brown has brought them together again. Artists’ reception from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. tonight. Through Sept. 28.
Don Shelby has written a play. Is there anything he can’t do now that he’s retired from CCO’s anchor desk and has let his hair grow? Give him a little bench space and some Petri dishes and he’ll come up with cures for most of the major diseases. Meanwhile, he’s starring in his own Sherlock Holmes mystery. Hear the radio debut at Lakes Area Theatre in Alexandria tonight, where the show will be recorded before a live studio audience starting at 7 p.m. 2214 Geneva Rd. NE, Alexandria, MN.
Another block party? That’s what summer is for. This Saturday’s (Aug. 25) happens at Pat’s Tap in 35th and Nicollet, formerly Casey’s. Pat’s is part of Kim Bartmann’s growing empire, which also includes Barbette and Red Stag, both of which threw their own colorful block parties earlier, and Bryant Lake Bowl, which hosted the Pride block party. Pat’s features live music (Mariachi Estrella, Cactus Blossoms, Romantica, more) plus Sideshow Soo, the Soo Visual Arts Center’s interactive carnival, with artist-created games and oddities. Also fortune-telling and food. Fun will be had. 3 p.m. – 9 p.m. FMI.
Starting in September, a Composer Conversation Series will feature some of today’s most interesting composers one-on-one with Classical MPR program director Daniel Gilliam. Maria Schneider (Sept. 28), Laurie Anderson (Nov. 1), Nicola Campogrande (Nov. 13), John Luther Adams (Apr. 16, 2013), Shawn Jaeger (May 29) and one additional composer TBA have been booked for the inaugural season. The series is co-presented by the SPCO, MPR, and American Composers Forum at MPR’s HQ in downtown St. Paul. Events are free but reservations are required. Reservations open Monday at noon for Schneider and Anderson; SPCO subscribers and members of MPR, Walker Art Center and American Composers Forum have first dibs on Anderson. All other reservations are available a month or so before the event. Deets here.
Printmakers Jonas Criscoe, David Frohlich and Caitlin Warner have been named recipients of the Highpoint Center for Printmaking Jerome Emerging Printmakers’ Residency for 2012-13. Each receives nine months of access to Highpoint’s printshop, technical support, critiques with area arts professionals, a stipend for supplies, and the opportunity to work in a collaborative environment. The program concludes with a group exhibition in May 2013.
Opening Friday, Sept. 14 at Highpoint: “Five Beauties Rising: New Works by Willie Cole.” The “beauties” are a series of ironing boards, inked and printed intaglio-style, each named for a domestic worker in Cole’s family. Displayed vertically, an ironing board looks like a tall, narrow Gothic church window. Cole has created 27 different prints that will be hung together in Highpoint’s gallery. In his past work, ironing boards have represented slave ships. Meet the artist at the opening on Sept. 14, 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. Through Oct. 13.
We dropped into Big Table Studio a while back, a working design and print studio in downtown St. Paul near the Amsterdam. The artists there have made some very fine posters about the Real-Phonic Radio Hour, Minneapolis and St. Paul, beer in Northeast, typography, and cycling, to mention a few. Owner Peet Fesch designed the Cedar’s new T-shirt, which combines a turntable and a tree stump (the stump looks like a record with grooves). Thumbs up. It’s available in dark charcoal and red two colors at the merch table during concerts.
We’re wondering if and when there will ever be another Poster Offensive. For five years (2004, 5, 6, 8, and 10) these annual shows featured provocative political art, and people lined up to buy it. The Offensive was begun by Jeff Johnson, founder of Spunk Design Machine, as a direct response to the re-election of George W. Bush. Doesn’t this election season seem ripe for a Poster Offensive?
See all kinds of art this weekend at the League of Longfellow Artists art crawl – LoLa for short. Billed as “the biggest little neighborhood art crawl in Minnesota,” now in its fourth year, it features 115 artists at 69 sites making jewelry, blowing glass, weaving textiles, throwing pots, sculpting, painting, and more. Of interest: Michael Treat’s steampunk jewelry, Jack Rumpel’s clean, muscular pots, Brenda Peterson’s hand-knit monster hats, Jennifer Davis’s colorful, dreamy and sometimes disturbing acrylic paintings, many with animals. Here’s a map. Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. both days. Art is for the spirit.
Heads up, artists: the Arab American Cultural Institute in Minnesota has issued a Call for Art for “The Dance of Words,” a group exhibition of contemporary art referencing and/or incorporating the calligraphic traditions found in many languages. The exhibition will include work by the artist Ayad Alkadhi and a juried group of artists referencing diverse calligraphic traditions. Submission deadline: Sept. 1. “The Dance of Words” opens Feb. 25. FMI.
Heads up, songwriters: the second annual Weekend of Song starts today and runs through Sunday at the Local Blend in St. Joseph. Songwriters-in-the-round, open mics, meet-ups, swag, and the pleasure/inspiration/surprise/frustration/envy of hanging out with others like yourself. FMI.
Fun facts we picked up from the Meet Minneapolis blog “10 Secrets We Bet You Didn’t Know About the State Fair”: On average, 500,000 corndogs are consumed during each fair season. Nearly 200 animals are born. And 22,000 rolls of TP are used. The Fair is well under way as you read this. MPR is there every day at the corner of Judson and Nelson, with live broadcasts and musical performances by the Minnesota Boys Choir, Chastity Brown, the Cactus Blossoms, Brother Ali, and more. Here’s MPR’s Fair calendar. Unless you were there Thursday, you missed the Daily Circuit live broadcast with Mayors R.T. Rybak and Chris Coleman. But you can still catch congressional debates, the U.S. Senate debate (Thursday at noon), and a live broadcast with Gov. Mark Dayton (next Friday at noon).
Happening Sunday: Literarty Party, a literary open mic, social hour, and music set co-presented by Hazel & Wren and pop-up art gallery Ad Hoc Art. Social hour and sign-up starts at 6 p.m., readers begin at 7 p.m. in order of the sign-up sheet. Each reader has four minutes, with a 30-second grace period. 88 S. 10th St., downtown Minneapolis. If you missed Amy Goetzman’s article on Hazel & Wren earlier this week, here it is. It will make you want to go to Sunday’s party, if only to observe and be inspired.
For those of you who are deeply into dance, or curious enough to jump into the grownups’ end of the pool: in early September, the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus hosts a three-day symposium, “Dancing Fugitive Futures: Conversations with Artists and Thinkers” about dancing, categories, and understanding genres used to describe dance. The symposium is a collaboration among Ananya Dance Theatre in Minneapolis, SLIPPAGE based in Durham, NC, the U of M’s dance program, and the Institute for Advanced Study. It includes performances and discussions. Free and open to the public, but space is limited. Interested? Email email@example.com. FMI.
On sale today:
- Actor and MC Yaslin Bey (Mos Def) at the Guthrie, Monday, Oct. 1. FMI.
- Soul singer Joss Stone at the O’Shaughnessy, Thursday, Oct. 4. FMI.
- Guitarist Sonny Landreth at the Cedar, Wednesday, Nov. 14. FMI.
- Jazz singer Karrin Allyson at the Dakota, Monday-Tuesday, Nov. 26-27. FMI.
On sale now:
- Amon Tobin’s “Isam: Live 2.0” at the Orpheum, Thursday, Sept. 6. Rolling Stone calls it “an immense audio and visual performance.” Tobin, a revered electronic music artist, is enveloped by a multi-dimensional, shape-shifting art installation. Something about “projection mapping, generative/audio reactive real time and pre-rendered elements combined with custom software.” Don’t be scared; it’s 2012. Here’s a video. FMI and tickets (and more videos). The fact that both the Cedar and First Ave have joined forces to bring this to Minneapolis is no small matter and guarantees a schlock-free evening. Holy Other opens.
- “Buccaneers” at the Children’s Theatre. In March, director Peter Brosius told MinnPost that “hundreds and hundreds” of hopefuls turned out for the auditions. The swashbuckling pirate musical, a CTC world premiere written by Liz Duffy Adams, is the tale of Enid Arabella (Megan Fischer), a feisty young girl who is captured by the dreaded Johnny Johné (Ivey winner Bradley Greenwald). Choreography by Joe Chvala, music by Obie winner Ellen Maddow. Sept. 11 – Oct. 21. FMI and tickets.
- The 2012-13 Northrop Dance Season, complete season and individual events. Ben Johnson at Northrop Concerts and Lectures has programmed an exciting season – everything from the Joffrey to Grupo Corpo to Khmer Arts Ensemble. His line-up is to dance what the Met’s summer program at Northrop once was to opera. He is not messing around. While Northrop is being “revitalized,” the dance series happens mostly at the Orpheum, sometimes at the O’Shaughnessy or the State. Starts Wednesday, Oct. 3. FMI and tickets.
- Kurt Elling at the Dakota, Tuesday, Oct. 23. Elling is the best male jazz singer performing today. He’s probably winning the 77th Annual Downbeat Reader’s Poll as I write this; he’s topped it six times already, including last year. He’ll be touring behind his 10th album, “1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project.” FMI and tickets.