On sale today (Friday, Aug. 10) at 11 a.m.: The Monkees at the State Theatre on Thursday, Nov. 15. (More than one wag has suggested they play at the zoo.) Davy Jones, the cute one, died in February, but we will see Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork – and Michael Nesmith, the big surprise. Except for a few European dates in the late 1990s, Nesmith hasn’t joined any of the reunion tours since the band broke up in 1971. “Davy’s presence and his past will be throughout the show,” he told Rolling Stone. A fun fact most Carleton College students know: Tork (formerly Thorkelson) went there but didn’t graduate.
The Playwrights’ Center and the Jerome Foundation on Wednesday announced a major expansion of the Many Voices Fellowships for early-career playwrights of color. Starting July 2013, the award more than doubles from $5,650 to $12,500, with $2,500 designated for living expenses. For the first time in the program’s history, the center will accept applications from national playwrights for one of the two 2013-14 fellowships. FMI. Applications will be posted in early September and due Feb. 7, 2013.
If you’re downtown St. Paul this afternoon, stop by the Soundbite Café at McNally Smith College of Music. The college is trying something new: “Speakeasy,” a monthly series of get-togethers for members of the arts community and the public. Today’s guest DJ is drummer JT Bates, member of Fat Kid Wednesdays, the Pines, and way too many other bands to name here. It’ll be interesting to hear what he spins. Complimentary coffee and wine. 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Open now at Flow Art Space: “Passages, Pathways, and Portals,” a juried group show of works by more than 20 artists. Featured are Minneapolis photographer Doug Johnson’s images of the new 35W bridge and large-scale paintings from Flynn Geissel of Washington, D.C., that deal with childhood trauma and healing. Flow is in the lower level of the Keg House Arts Building in Northeast Minneapolis. Wednesdays-Saturdays through Aug. 25.
Starting tonight: Kevin Kling’s “Politico” at Open Eye Figure Theatre. Through stories and music, Kling and collaborators Michael Sommers, Simone Perrin, Jacqueline Ultan and Michelle Kinney explore what drives our current political system. Kling calls it “a love letter to democracy, but as the Englishman said, ‘the course of true love never did run smooth.’ ” Through Saturday, Aug. 19. FMI and tickets.
Tonight at Open Book: a reading by Arab Canadian writer and thinker Joe Kadi. His reading launches a new community program, Silaat/Connections, designed to explore the creative and cultural needs of the Twin Cities Arab and Muslim communities. Silaat/Connections is a project of Mizna, an organization devoted to promoting Arab-American culture and publisher of the only journal of Arab-American literature. Co-sponsored by the Loft. 7:30 p.m, $10 at the door. For those who are fasting, food at sunset is provided by Saffron Restaurant, and prayer space is available for those observing Ramadan.
Opening tonight at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts: “In Association: Collaboration in the Book Arts,” a group of four coordinated exhibitions exploring the power and potential of collaborative artmaking. Work by Thomas Rose and Wilber H. “Chip” Schilling, Harriet Bart, Burlesque of North America and Permanent Art & Design Group, and the Manulua Project, a joint effort by artists from Brigham Young University and the Kingdom of Tonga. Reception 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Ends Nov. 2012.
Today through Sunday on Harriet Island: the Irish Fair of Minnesota. The nation’s largest free celebration of Irish culture features contests (including Best Legs in a Kilt), a hurling competition, Gaelic football, music, storytelling, food, dance, even dance lessons. You, too, can learn to do that dance where everything below the waist is a blur, everything above the waist as motionless as Mount Rushmore. Performers include the Belfast Cowboys, Gaelic Storm, Laura McKenzie, Derek Warfield and the Young Wolfe Tones, Atlantic Steps, the Young Dubliners, and Liz Carroll with pianist Cormac McCarthy and Trian. Complete schedule here.
While the Irish convene in St. Paul, the Poles meet in Minneapolis for the Twin Cities Polish Festival along old Main Street, with nonstop entertainment, music, dancing, food, exhibits, and activities. This year’s headliners: Akordisimo, an accordion quintet from Koszalin, Poland, and the Polonia Polish Folk Dance Ensemble from Regina, Saskatchewan. Saturday 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Starting a day earlier (tonight) and running longer (through Aug. 16), the Film Society presents the Polish Film Fest at the St. Anthony Main Theatre. FMI.
On Saturday, Stillwater hosts the Square Lake Festival. Now in its 10th year, Square Lake is part music, part film fest. This year’s musical guests include Spider John Koerner, the Retribution Gospel Choir (whose members include indie rockers Alan Sparhawk and Matt Livingston, and whose music includes covers of the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, and Neil Young), and the Pines. Food Pyramid plays for a late-night dance party in the barn. Tickets often sell out in advance; as of Thursday, some were still available.
Opening Saturday at Hopkins Center for the Arts: “Salon 300 – The State Fair Overflow Show,” with some 300 works of art (paintings, pastels, photographs, fiber, stoneware, metal, glass, wood) that were not chosen for this year’s State Fair Fine Art Exhibition. Why see the also-rans? Because these pieces made the first cut; because they’re likely to include previous award winners. Opening reception 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Through Sept. 2.
On Saturday at the Dakota: the Dave King Trucking Company. One of two Dave King bands that debuted at the Walker’s “King for Two Days” celebration in 2010, the Trucking Company has held together, evolved, and released a CD, “Good Old Light,” that the New York Times liked a lot when it came out last year. The band includes King on drums, Erik Fratzke on guitar, Adam Linz on bass, and two saxophonists, Chris Speed and Brandon Wozniak. Speed lives in New York and won’t make it, but the band plays more often without him, and Wozniak does just fine. 8 p.m., $12 cover.
Notable national jazz acts on the Dakota’s calendar: Marcus Miller (Sept. 11-12), John Scofield (Sept. 18), Delfeayo Marsalis (Sept. 19), Chick Corea and Gary Burton (Sept. 26-27), Cassandra Wilson (Oct. 14-15), Béla Fleck and the Marcus Roberts Trio (Nov. 17-18), the Maria Schneider Orchestra (Oct. 30-31).
As the vote on the marriage amendment nears, we’ll see more arts events meant to raise awareness and spark discussion – and maybe change minds, although anti-amendment arts events are preaching to the choir, since much of the arts community and many supporters already believe the amendment would be a bad thing. (As do three Fortune 500 companies based here: Thomson Reuters, General Mills and St. Jude Medical. If you’re wondering where Target stands, the big red bulls-eye told Fortune in an email that “it encourages employees to vote, but limits its position there.”) Just announced: Chameleon Theatre Circle’s production of Canadian playwright Robin Fulford’s “Steel Kiss,” about the 1985 murder of a gay man in a Toronto park. Scott Gilbert directs. At the Burnsville Performing Arts Center Black Box Theatre, Sept. 7-9. FMI and tickets.
Saturday and Sunday at Gamut Gallery: “Gold Press,” a new choreographed piece by Judith Howard featuring Krista Langberg and Kristin Van Loon, with Naomi Joy on violin and live scoring by Chester Yourczek. “Gold Press” responds to the work of printmaker Ash Marlene Hane, whose “Conditions” exhibit, currently on view, explores the ideas of vulnerability and control expressed through portraits of the female body. Two shows each night in the gallery, 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Suggested donation $5-$10.
Have you seen the time-lapse movie of Orchestra Hall’s renovation? It’s fun to watch, especially if you’re not downtown Minneapolis often enough to view the real thing. So far, it’s mostly a dismantling. You can also check the Orchestra Hall web cam, with three different perspectives.
Under way now in Richmond, MN: the 33rd annual Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Festival. On the main stage Saturday: Cactus Blossoms, the Larry Stephenson Band, Chris Jones and the Nightdrivers, Blue Hazard, No Grass Limit, and an all-star jam with the Barley Jacks with Brian Wicklund. Richmond is about 80 miles northwest of Minneapolis. FMI.
Crafty Minnesota, a series of art workshops for adults funded by legacy money and presented in collaboration with the Textile Center, continues Saturday with classes on omiyage envelopes at the Nokomis Library and Northeast Library. Go here to learn about more classes on monogramming and making a jersey scarf. Materials are provided; all you have to do is register and show up.
On Sunday at 2:30 p.m., a memorial service will be held at the Fitzgerald Theater for photographer Ann Marsden, who died in July at age 55 after 30 years of capturing the Twin Cities arts scene.
Later that night, Honey hosts “Opera on Tap,” which this week is collaborating with the American Composers Forum on a night of new vocal works by local composers. Is it possible you might hear the next “Carmen” or “Silent Night,” “Cosi fan tutte” or “Einstein on the Beach”? As Fatts Waller would say, one never knows, do one? 6 p.m. $5 suggested donation.
On Monday at Common Good Books, Minnesota novelist (and former WCCO-TV producer) Julie Kramer reads from her latest Riley Spartz murder mystery, “Shunning Sarah.” 7 p.m. FMI. Also on Monday, at Magers & Quinn, New York Times bestselling author Neal Stephenson reads from his new collection of essays, “Some Remarks.” 7:30 p.m.