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Time for the annual trifecta of Uptown, Powderhorn and Loring Park art fairs

ALSO: Talk of the Stacks to include Amy Tan, Larry Watson; “Les Misérables” lives up to the hype; Martha Redbone’s Roots Project at the Cedar; and more.

This is the 50th year of the Uptown Art Fair.
Courtesy of the Uptown Art Fair

Paul Douglas is promising “some of the best weather in America” over the next week. Aren’t we lucky? So are the more than 600 artists who will be boothing it outdoors all weekend. Today (Friday, Aug. 2) through Sunday is the annual trifecta of the Uptown, Powderhorn, and Loring Park art fairs. This is the 50th year of the Uptown Art Fair (over 340 artists), Minnesota’s largest and our second most popular festival after the State Fair. About 375,000 people are expected to attend, Stop by booth 2113 on the mall and say hello to local jewelers Duke Klassen and LaDes Glanzer. Glass artist Andy Shea (booth 412) tells us that LaDes is the only original participant in Uptown who’s still exhibiting. Friday noon – 8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Powderhorn Art Fair (184 artists), now in its 22nd year, follows the tree-lined walkway around the lake in lovely Powderhorn Park. Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. This is the 14th year of the Loring Park Art Festival (140 artists) set in, you guessed it, Loring Park in downtown Minneapolis. Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. All three have live entertainment, activities for kids, and tasty fair food. (Does anyone remember a fourth art fair on the same weekend, at Lyndale Farmstead Park on Bryant Ave.? One year only. It didn’t stand a chance.)

Whenever we see Block E, we wish we were looking at a park, with trees and benches and a fountain. Call it Block D for disaster or Block B for boondoggle or maybe Fort Hennepin, because it’s about as inviting as a military stronghold. But that’s about to change. Hennepin Theatre Trust and local artist Joan Vorderbruggen (of the acclaimed and successful Artists in Storefronts) have teamed up for a project called Made Here, which will bring nearly 40 illuminated pop-up galleries to Block E’s street-level windows on Hennepin Ave. Artists, the next step is yours. Applications are now being accepted online. Submission deadline is Sept. 3. The opening date will be sometime in late September.

Talk of the Stacks has announced its fall season of four programs, all about new works. Sept. 2: Milkweed National Fiction Prize-winning authors Larry Watson (“Let Him Go”) and Jon Pineda (“Apology”) discuss their new books with their publisher, Daniel Slager. Oct. 25: Singer, songwriter and performance artist Dessa (whose latest album, “Parts of Speech,” came out in June) talks about her yet-to-be-titled poetry chapbook with Rain Taxi editor Eric Lorberer. Nov.15: Best-selling author Amy Tan (“The Joy Luck Club”) shares “The Valley of Amazement,” her first published novel in almost 10 years. Dec. 12: Award-winning poet Nikki Giovanni (over 30 books to date) reads from her new collection, “Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid.” All at the Minneapolis Central Library on Nicollet Mall. Doors at 6:15 p.m., programs at 7. Free.

Opening today (Friday, Aug. 2) at the St. Peter Art Center at Gustavus Adolphus College: “Departures: New Works by Cameron A. Jarvis and Betsy Ruth Byers.” Byers is on faculty at the college; Jarvis (’15) is a junior from Cottage Grove. The two have been meeting since April and working collaboratively on the theme of “departure” in art, exploring how two artists with different life experiences can articulate that theme on canvas. Through Sept. 8. Reception and artist talk Saturday, Sept. 7, 2:00 p.m. FMI and hours.

Courtesy of the MacRostie Art Center
Beaded moccasins by Leah Yellowbird

Opening today at MacRostie Art Center in Grand Rapids: the 21st Annual Juried Art Exhibition, featuring works by 24 different artists from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Their work will be shown the MacRostie Gallery; the Minnesota Gallery will present the work of this year’s juror, Kent Kapplinger, Associate Professor of Art at North Dakota State University. Reception: 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. Free. Through Aug. 31.

Courtesy of the Square Lake Film & Music Festival
Camping is free at the Aug. 10 Square Lake Film & Music Festival.

Now in its 11th year, the Square Lake Film & Music Festival in Stillwater is more than an imaginatively programmed one-day event. It’s also an annual destination for cyclists. More than 50% of the people who attend arrive by bike, many from the Twin Cities – and get a 75% discount off admission. The festival is held on a 25-acre hobby farm where camping is free. This year’s line-up includes a film score and live performance by Dark Dark Dark, local animation, short film screenings, and live music by Heavy Deeds, Greg Grease, Crimes, Moors & McCumber, Food Pyramid, Is/Is, and Body Omara. Saturday, Aug. 10, 2 p.m. – midnight. FMI and tickets (note that the festival usually sells out). Information for bikers here.

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If you were at the Walker in April for the John Zorn-a-thon, you saw percussionist Cyro Baptista play. Baptista arrived in the U.S. from his native Brazil in 1980 and has performed and recorded with a Who’s Who of artists including Yo-Yo Ma, Herbie Hancock, Sting, Paul Simon, David Byrne, James Taylor, Bobby McFerrin, Wynton Marsalis, et cetera, et cetera. He’s coming to Icehouse on Saturday, Aug. 10, to play with Todd Clouser’s art-rock band A Love Electric. Clouser divides his time between his native Minneapolis and Mexico; in February he released “The Naked Beat,” his third album of the year. This should be a high-energy, creative and joyous night. Icehouse was recently featured in an MTV video about the Minneapolis music scene. Doors at 10 p.m., show at 11. FMI and tickets ($10/$12).

Tickets are on sale now for the 2013 Ivey Awards, a celebration of our large, vibrant theater community set for Monday, Sept. 23, at the State Theatre. This year’s theme: “Heroes of Twin Cities Theater.” The first Iveys were held in 2004, and the annual to-do has since become one of our biggest red-carpet events. Randy Reyes and Shanan Custer are co-hosts; entertainment will include excerpts from the Jungle’s “Urinetown,” the Guthrie’s “Clybourne Park,” and Mixed Blood’s “A One-Hijra Stand-Up Comedy Show.” FMI and tickets ($35-$125).

Single tickets go on sale Monday, Aug. 5 at 10 a.m. to the 2013-14 Northrop Dance season. Learn about the season here, then order tickets through Hennepin Theatre Trust. (During the revitalization of Northrop, the dance series is presented at the Orpheum and State Theatres.) Single tickets go on sale Monday, Aug. 5, at 11 a.m. to all Schubert Club concerts including the International Artist Series, Music in the Park, and Schubert Club Mix. Buy online or call 651-292-3268.

musical photo
Photo by Deen van Meer
The Company of the New 25th Anniversary of Les Misérables

The prologue to “Les Misérables” is a novel in itself: A prisoner is released after 19 years on a chain gang, soon discovers the world isn’t about to treat him kindly, gets mad, commits another crime, is saved by an act of kindness and decides to change his life. And that’s just the first few moments of this spectacular show, which opened Tuesday at the Orpheum for a one-week run before heading back to Broadway. With 28 scenes and 34 songs – including “On My Own,” “One Day More,” “Bring Him Home” and “Who Am I?” – “Les Miz” is a non-stop bullet train of a musical. As someone behind us observed during intermission, “If you’re going to squeeze a thousand-page book into three hours, you have to move it along.” These may be the fastest three hours of your life. There’s never a dull moment, but there are many jaw-dropping ones, including scene changes and effects (animations and projections) that drew gasps from the sold-out opening night crowd. Cameron Mackintosh’s 25th-anniversary production is cinematic and operatic, epic and affecting, and enormously entertaining. The singing is sublime, especially by Peter Lockyear (Jean Valjean), Andrew Varela (Inspector Javert), Lauren Wiley (Cosette), and Devin Ilaw (Marius). We don’t know why we haven’t seen this iconic musical before (unlike some 65 million other people), but we’re sorry we waited so long. This is a show that lives up to its hype. Through Aug. 4. FMI and tickets.

Artscape is taking next Tuesday off; we’ll return Friday, Aug. 9. Meanwhile, we’ll post the occasional artsy bits and links on our facebook page, if you want to do the “like” thing.

Our picks for the weekend

Opening tonight (Friday, Aug. 2) at the Edina Theater: “Still Mine.” A stellar supporting actor with a long list of credits, James Cromwell finally plays his first lead role in his 70s, portraying a man of 87 opposite Geneviève Bujold (now 71). Fiercely independent farmer Craig Morrison (Cromwell) and his wife Irene have been married 61 years, and she’s showing signs of short-term memory loss. When he decides to build a smaller, more accessible home on their land in New Brunswick, he butts heads with the local bureaucrats and their building codes. Based on a true story, filmed in scenic St. Martins and Saint John, New Brunswick, this Canadian indie unfurls slowly, revealing a deeply loving, profoundly committed relationship. In a summer of epic fail blockbusters, “Still Mine” is a reason to go to the movies. We’d link to the trailer, but it makes the film look like sentimental geezer mushy-mush, which it’s not. Showtimes and tickets.

film still
Courtesy of Ken Woroner/Samuel Goldwyn Films
James Cromwell as Craig and Genevieve Bujold as Irene in “Still Mine.”

Tonight at the Rosalux Gallery: GREEN! Art Raffle. Five dollars may get you a one-of-a-kind original artwork by a Rosalux artist. More than 20 works of many kinds – print, collage, painting on panel, watercolor, mixed-media – are being offered. View and bid online as often as you want, for as many items as you want ($5 per bid), or show up in person and wait for the clock to tick down. Opens at 7 p.m., drawing begins promptly at 10. 1400 Van Buren St. NE, Ste. 195, Minneapolis.

Tonight at the University of Minnesota’s Ridder hockey arena: Physics Slam on Ice! Six physicists battle for the audience’s applause with 10-minute presentations of their work. The winner will be determined by applause meter. Professor Jim Kakalios, author of “The Physics of Superheroes,” will emcee. Contestants include professors from Yale, Fermilab, and Indiana University. There will be giveaways. How quirky is this? Doors at 7 p.m., event at 8. Free. FMI.

Tonight at midnight at selected theaters (including the Showplace ICON and the Eagan 16): “Sharknado.” Super tornadoes suck sharks up from the ocean floor, hurling them at L.A. The made-for-TV disaster movie became a meme when it aired on Syfy in July for free. Now you can pay to see it on a giant screen with a bunch of other people. Consider this a snapshot of the zeitgeist. Go here and enter your ZIP code to find the theater nearest you.

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Saturday in the Sculpture Garden: Momentum @ 10. Watch dance outdoors in one of the cities’ most beautiful spaces. Kenna Cottman, Chris Schlichting and Kaleena Miller perform dances newly commissioned by the Walker: Cottman’s with Senegalese roots, Schlichting’s a follow-up to his acclaimed “Matching Drapes,” Miller’s a percussive piece with live music and tap dance. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Free.

Photo by Fabrice Trombert
Sunday at the Cedar: Martha Redbone’s Roots Project

Sunday at the Cedar: Martha Redbone’s Roots Project. English majors and roots-music fans should be fighting over tickets to this show. Her own roots a blend of Cherokee, Choctaw, Shawnee, and African-American, blues and soul singer/songwriter Redbone (no relation to Leon) is best known for her contemporary Native American music (“Skintalk”). Her latest album, “The Garden of Love: Songs of William Blake,” is one of those out-of-the-blue surprises that make critics respond with raves like “brilliant” and “a major find.” Turns out the words of the 19th-century English Romantic poet are a perfect fit with the Appalachian string-band sound Redbone heard as a child in Black Mountain, Kentucky. The arrangements (written with Aaron Whitby and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s John McEuen), Blake’s language, and Redbone’s voice – sometimes a mountain holler, sometimes a sweet caress – add up to something genuinely new and exciting. Go if you can; you haven’t heard this before. Then keep Redbone on your radar, because who knows what she’ll do next? She’s touring with Whitby on keyboards and melodica, Alan “AB” Burroughs on guitar. Here’s a taste. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($18/$15).

Tuesday, Aug. 6: Boneshaker Books launches its Fresh Poetry series with readings by three area poets, Mark Berriman (“Kink in the Chain”), McKnight fellow Matt Rasmussen (“Black Aperture,” winner of the 2012 Walt Whitman Award), and St. Paul Poet Laureate for Life Carol Connolly (“All This and More”). Co-sponsored by Hazel & Wren. 7 p.m., 2002 23rd Ave. S., Minneapolis. Free. UPDATE: Carol Connolly is unable to attend. Todd Boss, whose poems have appeared in Poetry magazine and the New Yorker and on NPR, has been added to the evening.