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Political ‘Pick Me’ photo exhibit a timely escape from all those candidate ads

Also: Northrop Dance’s magical opener, Zenon’s 30th fall season; Goldstein’s Italian treat; Guthrie’s 38th “Christmas Carol”; and more.

"Pick me," opening Saturday at King Studios, features political images that aren’t ads.
Courtesy of Workingpress Photo Agency

Just what we need: a politics-themed photography exhibit. No, seriously – it’s just what we need: images that aren’t ads. Opening Saturday, Oct. 27, at King Studios in St. Paul, “Pick Me,” with photographs by Bill Alkofer, Terry Gydesen, Andy King, Craig Lassig and Tom Olmscheid covering politics in Minnesota from Humphrey through Obama. See Jesse Ventura shaving his head, Mitt Romney holding a baby, Al Franken looking thoughtful, Barack Obama mopping his brow, and Rick Santorum getting glitter bombed. Opening reception 6-10 p.m., with music by Café Melange and beer by Surly. Through Nov. 10 at 249 South Snelling.

The 2012-13 Northrop Dance Season is now officially under way, and the season opener — two nights of New York City Ballet Moves, featuring principal dancers, soloists, and members of the corps de ballet — could not have been more auspicious and magical. Sitting in the crowded Orpheum (where the series lives during the “revitalization” of Northrop Auditorium, set to reopen in spring 2014), we thought more than once that we were watching the most beautiful people in the world: graceful, elegant, weightless. They brought their own musicians, a violinist and two pianists, and held us rapt. The NYCB hadn’t been here in 28 years. Thanks, Northrop, for bringing them back. Coming up: the Hofesh Schechter Company (Nov. 13), Joffrey Ballet (Feb. 26), Brazil’s Grupo Corpo (March 5) and Khmer Arts Ensemble (April 5). Note that the Joffrey will perform “The Rite of Spring” in a reconstruction of the controversial and legendary 1913 world premiere, with original costumes, choreography (by Nijinsky) and design. That will be something to see. FMI and tickets.

Zenon Dance has announced its 30th fall season – two weekends of new works and classics from the company’s repertory. Founded by Linda Z. Andrews, Zenon is a Twin Cities treasure. It has a long history of commissioning new works by national and international choreographers, established and emerging. Weekend One (Nov. 16-18): world premieres by Mariusz Olszewski (“Hotel Tango”) and Neta Yerushalmy (“Hello, My Name is Catherine”) and previously applauded works by Luciana Achugar (“Structures of Feeling”) and Daniel Charon (“Storm”). Weekend Two (Nov. 23-25): Olszewski’s “Hotel Tango” and three Zenon favorites, Wynn Fricke’s “Blessing of the Earth,” Johannes Wieland’s “corrosion,” and Danny Buraczeski’s “Elegant Echoes.” Sundays are ASL interpreted. A “Talk Back” Q&A follows the Nov. 17 performance. FMI and tickets.

From the Dept. of Wondering Aloud: Why don’t more people stick around for Q&As (like Zenon’s) or arrive early for pre-performance talks or previews (like those offered by Northrop Dance)? They’re interesting and informative. Walls between audience members and performers come down. We can’t have this experience at (most) movies, and we certainly can’t have it with television.

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It will not be snowing Saturday, so you can make plans to hang out at Art Happens Here, a celebration of artist-led creative placemaking along the Green Line in St. Paul. Watch live performances, make art to take home or leave behind, sample foods from local food trucks, take pictures, have fun. This free event at ZajLaug Chaw promises puppets, spoken word performers, storytelling, music, and more in a carnival-like atmosphere. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., 262 W. University Ave., St. Paul. 

Roman Roofscapes: Homage to Giorgio de Chirico, ca. 1967
Courtesy of the Goldstein Museum of Design
“Roman Roofscapes: Homage to Giorgio de Chirico,” ca. 1967 by Balthazar Korab

A treat for Italophiles opens Saturday at the U of M’s HGA Gallery, presented by the Goldstein Museum of Design. “Circumstantial Evidence — Italy through the Lens of Balthazar Korab” features photographs by the Hungarian-born, Paris-trained architect and award-winning architecture photographer. Korab spent a sabbatical year in Florence in the 1960s; the exhibition is drawn from his photographic portfolios. The book “Balthazar Korab: Architect of Photography,” recently published by Princeton University Press, will be available for purchase at the reception on Monday, Oct. 29. Author John Comazzi, will sign copies and make brief gallery remarks. Balthazar Korab, now in his 80s, will not be present, but his son, Christian, will, and we’ve been told he’ll be happy to answer questions about his father. The reception Monday begins at 6 p.m. in the HGA Gallery, 89 Church St. in Minneapolis (the lobby of Rapson Hall on the U of M’s Minneapolis campus).

The Guthrie has announced the full cast and creative team for this year’s production of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” For the 38th straight year, Scrooge & Co. will take over the main theater for the holidays (previews start Nov. 13 and the play closes Dec. 29), but would we have it any other way? (Maybe some of us would, but enough of us wouldn’t.) Joe Chvala of the Flying Foot Forum will direct Crispin Whittell’s adaptation; previously Chvala served as movement director. And J.C. Cutler, fresh from “Red” at the Park Square, will return as Ebenezer Scrooge. 

Bob Davis (Jacob Marley) and J.C. Cutler (Ebenezer Scrooge) in the Guthrie Theat
Courtesy of the Guthrie Theater/Michael Brosilow
Bob Davis (Jacob Marley) and J.C. Cutler (Ebenezer Scrooge) in the Guthrie Theater’s production of the Charles Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol.”

The Cleveland Orchestra and its governing organization, the Musical Arts Association, reached a tentative agreement on a three-year contract earlier this week, proving that it’s possible for musicians and management to sit down together and hammer something out. The Plain Dealer reports that “the announcement marks a successful conclusion to the ‘play and talk’ strategy that had been under way since early September and a distinctly peaceful end to a process that last time resulted in a strike.” If they can do it, so can we, right? But first, people have to agree on a meeting date. As of today, no talks are scheduled between the Minnesota Orchestra and management. At the SPCO, the musicians proposed Nov. 2, 3, and 4; management said no. Management offered Nov. 8, 9, and 10; musicians said no. The SPCO musicians will vote on management’s latest contract offer Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Matt Peiken has posted a conversation with Ellen Dinwiddie Smith of the Minnesota Orchestra and Carole Mason Smith of the SPCO on his MNuet website. And this provocative blog post has been making the rounds. 

Hungry for live classical music? The locked-out orchestras are the big games in town, but they aren’t the only games. Friday, Oct. 26, the Baroque Room in St. Paul’s Lowertown hosts soprano Sarah Jackson and New York-based pianist Melody Fader in a program of music by Chopin, Debussy and Poulenc. 8 p.m. FMI and tickets. On Sunday at the Baroque Room, the Lyra Baroque Orchestra plays an informal afternoon concert of music by Haydn and his protégés. 3 p.m. FMI. Also on Sunday (Oct. 28), the Minnesota Symphonic Winds, a 90-member Twin Cities-based adult concert band, opens its 35th performance season with a free concert at Andover High School. The program features music on the theme of dance by Aram Khachaturian, John Philip Sousa, Malcolm Arnold, Northfield composer Daniel Kallman and the band’s conductor, Dr. Timothy Mahr, a professor of music at St. Olaf College in Northfield. 3 p.m. And still on Sunday, the award-winning avant-garde wind quartet City of Tomorrow plays an ambitious concert of music by European and American contemporary composers Darius Milhaud, Elliott Carter, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Luciano Berio, David Lang, and Franco Donatoni. 7:30 p.m at the Cedar. FMI and tickets.

The Schubert Club is probably happy not to have its own band, but this esteemed presenting organization is all about classical music: the Music in the Park Series, the star-studded International Artist Series (next up: pianist Stephen Hough on Nov. 20), the free weekly lunchtime Courtroom Concert Series, and (new this year) a happy hour series called Cocktails With Culture. On Sunday (Oct. 28), the Music in the Park Series hosts award-winning Latvian sisters Baiba and Lauma Skrideon on violin and piano. 4 p.m., St. Anthony Park United Church of Christ. Pre-concert discussion at 3 p.m. FMI and tickets. The Bakken Trio opens its 2012-13 concert series at MacPhail’s lovely Antonello Hall with music by Beethoven, Takemitsu, and Dvorak. The Bakken is violinist Stephanie Arado (assistant concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra), pianist Judy Lin, and cellist Katya Linfield. MnOrch violist Rebecca Albers is guest artist. 4 p.m., Nov. 4. FMI and tickets.

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On Saturday, Nov. 3, the ear-opening Ensemble 61 presents the wonderfully titled concert “Dylan/Dylan/Dillon,” with music inspired by the work of Dylan Thomas, Bob Dylan and original works by U of M professor James Dillon. 7:30 p.m. in the SPCO Music Room in the Hamm Building. FMI and tickets. Hamline University’s Sundin Music Hall hosts three resident music series: Keyboard Conversations with Jeffrey Siegel, the Artaria String Quartet, and The Musical Offering, whose ranks include musicians from the Minnesota Orchestra. Next up: The Musical Offering’s Veterans’ Day concert, “Vienna: 1780-1930.” Sunday, Nov. 11, 3 p.m. Call 651-523-2459.

For you, artists: How much should you charge for that painting, print, sculpture, mixed-media work, or whatever it is you create and produce or provide? Do you usually pick a number out of the air? Learn how to be compensated fairly at “Work of Art: Pricing Your Work,” a free workshop at Ridgedale Library on Monday, Oct. 29. Presented in collaboration with Springboard for the Arts, funded with Legacy money (thank you, Minnesotans), it’s free but registration is required. Oops, the event is currently full; get on the waiting list here.

For you, photographers: the Mpls Photo Center has thrown open the doors for its latest competition, “Picture This: What We Photograph.” No theme, just an invitation to submit your best work: portraits, documentary, landscapes, architecture, nature, wildlife, kittens. (OK, probably not kittens — we added that.) Digital, film, alternative process, pinhole, iPhone, multimedia (as long as it’s a photograph). Cash prizes, public exhibit, full-color Exhibit Book. Surprisingly small entry fee: $35 for the first 5 images. Deadline Nov 4. FMI

If you devoured Justin Cronin’s modern-day apocalyptic vampire thriller “The Passage,” got to the final pages, and discovered the story was just beginning (curse you, Cronin! It’s a trilogy!), you’ll be glad to learn, as we were, that the sequel is out. MPR’s Kerri Miller made “The Twelve” her Pick of the Week and interviewed the author on Thursday. BTW, Cronin’s vampires are not the handsome teenage crushes of the “Twilight” series. They are very bad dudes.

One more thing: Artscape now has a facebook page.  Stop by and “like” us if you’re so inclined.