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Airport arts; a ’12 Years a Slave’ Q&A in Brooklyn Center

ALSO: ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ opening at the Jungle; Bryan Nichols at the Artists’ Quarter; ‘Arabella’ to open at the Ordway; ‘Enter the R.T. Rybak’ at HUGE; and more.

'12 Years a Slave' opens to wide release on Saturday.
Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

There’s art in Union Depotart in the windows of Block E in Minneapolis“City Art” in St. Paul. What’s next, art at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport? Actually, yes. Robyne Robinson, former Fox 9 News anchor and herself an artist, was named the airport’s arts and culture director earlier this week, a newly created position that will bring rotating exhibits, performances, and commissioned installations by regional artists to spaces throughout the airport. What’s first, Robyne?

The highly acclaimed film “12 Years a Slave” had its regional premiere at the Walker on Oct. 30. On Saturday, director Steve McQueen will be at the Walker for a dialogue with Stuart Comer, a curator at the Museum of Modern Art. This event sold out quickly, which has been a topic of controversy. Local activists questioned whether people of African descent would be underrepresented in the audience. The film opens to wide release on Saturday, and if you want to see McQueen in person but don’t have tickets to the Walker, you have a second chance. The director will appear at the Regal Brooklyn Center Stadium 20 for a Q&A after the 12:30 p.m. screening. The theater is at 6420 Camden Ave. N. in Brooklyn Center. Tickets here.

Are you MN enough? What does it even mean to be Minnesotan? There’s the whole Minnesota Nice thing, for starters – and that’s where Twin Cities Public Television’s new original web series, “Are You MN Enough?” begins. TPT invited 10 producers to take on 10 different Minnesota clichés and prove or disprove them in 2-3 minutes. The series launched on Oct. 23 with “Minnesota Nice.” On Oct. 30, “Everyone in Minnesota Is Scandinavian.” On Nov. 6, “Food on a Stick” (did it really start with Teddy Roosevelt?). What’s next? We can hardly wait. “Are You MN Enough?” is part of TPT’s Rewire, “public media with a twist,” a rebranding of its Open Air initiative. It’s aimed at the state’s younger crowd, but you don’t have to show a student ID to check it out.

The Minneapolis College of Art and Design has donated two homes on Stevens Avenue to the Whittier Neighborhood Alliance. Located on the southwest corner of MCAD’s campus, the homes will be moved to new lots in the Whittier neighborhood, where the Neighborhood Alliance will update them for code compliance, give them new basements, and refresh the first- and second-floor living spaces. It’s expected they’ll be available for sale to an owner occupant later this year. Meanwhile, the grounds will be landscaped and open for campus use. Weather permitting, the house at 2541 Stevens Ave. will be moved the evening of Nov. 12 around midnight, if you want to show up and watch. The house at 2453 Stevens Ave. was supposed to be moved Nov. 4, but it snowed, so that will happen at a later date. Update: 2543 will be moved  Monday, Nov. 11. The date for 2541 has been changed; this might now happen sometime during the week of the 18th.

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Starting this weekend, all U.S. military veterans and their families enjoy free admission year-round to the Rochester Art Center. As a participant in the Blue Star Museums program, the Art Center previously offered free admission to active duty personnel and their families each year from Memorial Day in May through Labor Day in September. Now anyone who has served or is serving may visit the museum anytime at no charge. Current exhibitions include “David Rathman: Stand By Your Accidents,” the first survey exhibition of the Minneapolis-based artist’s work on notions of masculinity.

Our picks for the weekend

Photo by Drew Trampe
Wendy Lehr and James Craven in the Jungle’s ‘Driving Miss Daisy’

Opens tonight at the Jungle: “Driving Miss Daisy.” The Jungle’s 2013 season ends with Alfred Uhry’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about a white Atlanta matriarch and her black chauffeur. We liked the Oscar-winning movie starring Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy, but we’re really looking forward to Bain Boehlke’s directorial hand on the original play, with James Craven as Hoke Colburn and Wendy Lehr as Jessica Tandy. Craven, a Penumbra Theatre company member (and a very fine actor who has performed nationally in all 10 of August Wilson’s Decade Cycle plays), is making his Jungle debut; Lehr is a Jungle regular and Ivey Lifetime Achievement Award. It’s a dream cast. 8 p.m. Through Dec. 22. FMI and tickets. And kudos to the Jungle for a terrific season: “Venus in Fur,” “Deathrap,” “Urinetown,” “Fool for Love,” and now “Driving Miss Daisy.”

Starts tonight at the St. Anthony Main Theatre: “Wajdja.” The first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia, and the first by a female Saudi director, tells the story of a 10-year-old girl who wants a bicycle, despite living in a society that sees bicycles as dangerous to a girl’s virtue. Presented by the Film Society of Minneapolis/Saint Paul. Through Nov. 14. Here’s the trailer. FMI, showtimes and tickets here.

Opens tonight at Nimbus Theatre: “The Beacon from Belle Isle.” Freshwater Theatre Company won an Ivey for its spring production of “Freshwater Theatre Goes Back to High School.” They’re back with the world premiere of “Beacon,” a modern fairy tale starring Michigan (the state, not someone’s idea of a wacky baby name). Penned by local playwright and Michigan native J. Merrill Motz, directed by Jamil Jude, producer-in-residence at Mixed Blood, the play explores Michigan’s growth, decline, and dilemma as Detroit files for bankruptcy and some of its greatest assets (including, perhaps, Belle Isle Park) are at risk of being sold to the highest bidder. Runs through Nov. 23. 7:30 p.m., 1517 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis. Ages 16 +. Tickets here ($15, $13 with Fringe button) or call 612-816-8479.

nichols photo
Photo by John Whiting
Bryan Nichols

Tonight and Saturday at the Artists’ Quarter: Bryan Nichols. AQ owner Kenny Horst promised great weekends between now and the end of the year, when he plans to close the club. He’s keeping his word and drawing standing-room crowds. This weekend, the exceptional young pianist Bryan Nichols comes for two nights with two bands and two different programs. On Friday, he’ll play music by Duke Ellington with Brandon Wozniak on saxophones, James Buckley on bass, and Coyy Healy on drums. On Saturday, he returns with all original compositions, a second saxophonist (Michael Lewis) and a different drummer (JT Bates). 9 p.m. both nights, $12 at the door. In the basement of the Hamm Building in downtown St. Paul.

Opens Saturday at the Ordway: Richard Strauss’s “Arabella.” A witty romantic comedy set in Vienna’s Golden Age. No murders, no suicides, no tubercular sopranos. Arabella wants to marry for love, not money; meanwhile, her family faces financial ruin. What’s a daughter to do? Here’s a smart 60-second summary. The Minnesota Opera performance itself will run a bit longer. Five performances only; ends Nov. 17. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets.

Sunday at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts: the grand opening of the African Galleries. For the past 10 months, a big chunk of the MIA has been boarded up and closed to visitors. On Sunday, the African Galleries reopen as an immersive, interactive, and decidedly non-Western 360-degree viewing experience, a new way to see and understand African art. Sunday is Family Day, and family-friendly activities are on the program, from drumming workshops to dance, storytelling, mask-making, a gallery hunt, and more. You can also see “The Audacious Eye: Japanese Art from the Clark Collections” free on that day. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free.

Sunday at the Mall of America: Giada De Laurentiis. Is the Food Network star really that fabulous-looking in person? See for yourself when she comes to MOA to sign stacks of her new cookbook, “Giada’s Feel Good Food.” 1 p.m. in the Rotunda.

Photo by Ann Marsden
John Gorka

Sunday at Hope Christian Church in Shoreview: John Gorka. Rolling Stone once called Gorka “the preeminent male singer/songwriter of the new folk movement.” His songs have been performed by Mary Chapin Carpenter and Nanci Griffith. An artist on the Minnesota-based Red House label, he’ll bring his soulful baritone and emotional, storytelling lyrics to Hope Church as part of its 13th annual Sunday Evening Concert Series. Here’s Gorka singing “If These Walls Could Talk” for TPT’s MN Original. Doors at 5:15 p.m., show at 6, tickets at the door ($7, $5 seniors).

Monday at HUGE Theater: “Enter the R.T. Rybak.” Less than a week after the election that put Betsy Hodges in the mayor’s chair, the improvisers of The Theater of Public Policy will put R.T. Rybak through a “This Is Your Life”- type retrospective, examining the political highs and lows of 11 years in office. A Q&A will follow, so come prepared with the one question you’ve always wanted to ask R.T. 6:30 p.m., 3037 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis. This show will sell out, so if you haven’t bought your tickets already, do it now. Five bucks.