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Giant ice castle coming soon to a mall near you; SPCO cancels more concerts

ALSO: Many weekend art-buying opportunities; Guthrie courts youth with ’30 Below’ program; Film Society’s Civic Cinema; and more.

What’s winter in Minnesota without an ice castle?
Courtesy of Ice Castles, LLC

What’s winter in Minnesota without an ice castle? Over the years, St. Paul has had several during its Winter Carnival, most recently in 2004. Fans of St. Paul native F. Scott Fitzgerald know his short story, “The Ice Palace,” and these words: “On a tall hill outlined in vivid green against the wintry sky stood the ice palace. It was three stories in the air, with battlements and embrasures and narrow icicled windows, and the innumerable electric lights inside made a gorgeous transparency of the great central hall. … It was magnificent, it was tremendous!”

There won’t be an ice castle in St. Paul this year, although there will be ice sculptures in Rice Park. But don’t despair. The Mall of America is bringing us an ice castle. Built by Ice Castles, LLC, a company based in Colorado, it will stand 40 feet tall at its peak and cover more than an acre. Made from over a million fused icicles (not the more usual stacked blocks of ice), it will feature 50 ice towers joined in a series of archways, tunnels, walls and caverns. Inside the castle will be several “throne rooms” with large ice chairs. At night, thousands of multicolored LEDs will illuminate the castle from within. This will be MOA’s first ice castle and the largest ever built by Ice Castles, LLC. Everything depends on the weather, but plans call for a late December opening. Tickets are priced at $5 for kids 3-12, $10 for adults; family packs are available.

Seemingly frozen in place, with all sides standing firm, the orchestra lockouts continue. On Wednesday (Oct. 31), the musicians of the SPCO unanimously rejected management’s latest contract offer. Overnight following the musicians’ vote, musicians and management mutually agreed to meet again on Nov. 8. On Thursday, SPCO management canceled all concerts through Dec. 31.

Also on Wednesday, the Minnesota Orchestra sent an email to stakeholders titled “Misrepresentation vs. Reality,” an abbreviated version of a document posted at the Orchestra’s website countering the musicians’ claims that management is proposing 50 percent salary cuts, has turned down three musician contract proposals, refuses to share financial specifics with the musicians, and should use funds raised for Orchestra Hall’s renovation to support the musicians instead. On Thursday at noon, Minnesota Orchestra musicians rallied at Peavey Plaza to observe the one-month anniversary of their lockout. Minnesota Orchestra concerts have been canceled through Nov. 25.

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Responding to the reality that arts audiences are aging, the Guthrie has announced a new “30 Below” ticket program. If you’re age 30 or younger, you can now buy tickets on the day of a performance at the same price as the public rush line, but without having to stand in line. You can purchase them in advance by phone or in person. Rush tickets can be priced as low as $15, so this offer should tempt millennials. If you want to bring Mom and Dad, you can buy up to three additional tickets. To sign up for 30 Below, bring proof of your age to the Guthrie box office.

The Guthrie, the American Composers Forum, Children’s Theatre Company, Greywolf Press, Hennepin Theatre Trust, the Jungle Theater, the Minnesota Opera, the Minnesota Orchestra Musician’s Association, the Ordway, the SPCO, the Schubert Club, and the Walker Art Center have something in common besides being major arts organizations. All are among the 120 art orgs in Minnesota that oppose the constitutional amendment that would limit the freedom to marry. See the latest list here.

Let’s go shopping. Add to your own collection(s), buy holiday gifts, and support our local arts community. This weekend is full of opportunities to visit private studios, meet artists, and come home with a little something.

Casket Arts' Mercury Mosaic
Courtesy Casket Arts
Casket Arts’ Mercury Mosaic

Tonight (Friday, Nov. 2) through Sunday, the Northrup King Building will host its 15th annual Art Attack. This giant former warehouse in the heart of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District is home to more than 200 artists working in painting and drawing, sculpture, photography, custom furniture, fiber arts, metal, ceramics, glass, jewelry, mixed media, and more. The festivities include demonstrations, live music, and tarot readings. The irresistibly named Casket Arts Community holds its 5th annual Fall Caché at Casket Arts event in three historic buildings filled with more than 100 artists’ studios and arts-based businesses. And the recently renovated Solar Arts Building opens its doors for browsing and buying from its many resident artists.

Saturday (Nov. 3) only: 60 Artists on 50th. What began many years ago as 15 on the River, a semiannual sale in a private home in Bloomington, now happens at Burroughs Community School in south Minneapolis (1601 W. 50th). Clay, jewelry, fiber, leather, paper, porcelain, mixed media, blown glass, sculptures, prints, woodcuts, weaving, and more, with the artists on hand to tell you about their work. We like the scale of this event and many of the artists who will be there, including potters Peter Jadoonath and Jo Severson, jewelers Duke Klassen and LaDes Glanzer, and glassmaker Thomas Maras. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., 1601 W. 50th in Minneapolis. Also on Saturday only: the Walker’s Jewelry Artist Mart, with original designs by more than 20 artists from around the region and the country. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Members may arrive an hour early for refreshments and first picks. Register here or call 612-375-7655.

Let’s get riled up. Art can please and delight; it can (and should) also provoke, challenge and disturb. Now in its sixth outing, the Poster Offensive is an occasional poster show that interprets and critiques political and social issues. It bills itself as nonpartisan but it leans to the left. Founder Jeff Johnson of Spunk Design Machine held the first Offensive in 2004 as a direct response to the re-election of George W. Bush; the fourth, in 2008, was not so coincidentally scheduled opposite the Republican National Convention. This year’s takes place at Big Table Studio in St. Paul. Opening reception at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3 at Big Table and its neighbor, Amsterdam Bar & Hall. Show closes Dec. 3.

Starting tonight (Friday, Nov. 2), the Film Society of Minneapolis/St. Paul presents Civic Cinema, a series of politically charged films meant to spark healthy debate. Nov. 2-8: Grace Lee’s (“American Zombie”) documentary-fiction hybrid “Janeane from Des Moines” follows a conservative Iowa housewife whose personal convictions are severely tested when she seeks answers from the Republican presidential candidates leading up to the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. Includes encounters with Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann (remember when she was a presidential candidate?). Director Lee and actress Jane Edith Wilson will be present for a Q&A on Sunday at 7. FMI and tickets. Nov. 2 and 4: Preview screenings of “Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare” (it opens theatrically Nov. 9). How can we save our broken health-care system? Friday’s showing will be followed by an expert panel discussion. FMI and tickets. Nov. 3 and 4: Gustav Hofer and Luca Ragazzi’s “Suddenly, Last Winter” chronicles a gay couple’s personal journey through Italy’s homophobia. FMI and tickets.

On Saturday (Nov. 3) at 11 a.m., the Trylon Microcinema (3258 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis) will screen “God Votes No,” a short documentary by longtime Twin Cities journalist Matt Peiken that highlights the religious left and the fight for marriage equality in Minnesota. Includes interviews with U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, practicing Mormons Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker of the Duluth band Low, and author Jay Michaelson. Post-screening reception. View a trailer on the facebook page.

Also on Saturday (Nov. 3): Can we learn to see beyond our own noses? Author and futurist Cecily Sommers believes we can. But that’s her job. Find out more at the launch party for her new book, “Think Like a Futurist,” at CoCo Minneapolis (formerly the Grain Exchange Trading Floor), 6-9 p.m. Light bites, cocktails, music, Future Trivia, and forward-thinking people. Here’s the author’s website and the book trailer. FMI and RSVP.

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Let’s have fun. The 15th Annual Northeast Accordion Festival happens this weekend, and you know you want to go. Music, polka dancing, a Squeez-In Accordion Orchestra (open to anyone with an accordion), workshops, and performances by Dee Langley, Patrick Harison, Denny Malmberg, Dan Newton and more. FMI. Schedule here. Opening Saturday at Gamut Gallery in Minneapolis: “Imaginarium,” with bright, colorful art by Kate Renee and Brett Early featuring anthropomorphic and imaginative creatures reflecting the joy and wonder of childhood. Reception 7-10 p.m.; through Nov. 24.

Deborah Keenan
Deborah Keenan

Let’s learn something. Have you always wanted to know more about poetry? How to read it? Hear it? Appreciate it? No? Well, then, we’re done here. Yes? Here’s a rare opportunity: a one-day, jam-packed intensive co-led by popular, respected, Minnesota Book Award-winning poets Deborah Keenan and Jim Moore. “Poetry 101: Reading and Appreciation” is being offered by the U of M’s College of Continuing Education. Clear your calendar for Saturday, Nov. 10 and cough up $125. You’ll come away with a solid handle on one of the world’s most ancient, durable, moving, entertaining and satisfying art forms. FMI and registration.