Trisha Brown Dance, on final tour, coming to the Walker

Photo by Yi-Chun Wu
Trisha Brown Dance: "I’m going to toss my arms — if you catch them they’re yours"

The Trisha Brown Dance Company is on its final tour and coming to the Walker one last time. In January 2013, Brown, now 77, announced that she would step down as artistic director of the company she founded in 1970 for health reasons. Her long and fruitful relationship with the Walker, which began in the early years of her career, has included multiple residences, investigations and important commissions. In 2008, the Walker, Northrop Dance and the University of Minnesota Dance Program joined forces to present the Year of Trisha.

Co-presented with Northrop Dance, a four-day retrospective starting Wednesday, March 12, includes “I’m going to toss my arms – if you catch them they’re yours” (2011), “Set and Reset” (1983, music by Laurie Anderson, costumes by Robert Rauschenberg), “If you couldn’t see me” (1994) and “Astral Convertible” (1989, music by John Cage, interactive sound and light set by Rauschenberg). Philip Bither, the Walker’s senior curator for performing arts, considers this “a not to be missed cultural moment for the Twin Cities.” Through Saturday, March 15; best availability at this writing is Thursday, March 13. Post-show receptions with the dancers Wednesday and Thursday; post-show discussion on Brown’s legacy Friday; post-show SpeakEasy (casual discussion) Saturday. All performances at 8 p.m. in the McGuire Theater. FMI and tickets ($45/$40). If you go, and especially if you don’t know a lot about Brown, read this first.

Courtesy of the Minnesota State Fair
At the State Fair grandstand this year: Kid Rock

It’s not too soon to look forward to the State Fair, which announced three of this year’s grandstand acts earlier this week. Saturday, Aug. 23: Kid Rock. You know, the “bawitdaba da bang a dang diggy diggy diggy” guy. Monday, Aug. 25: The Happy Together Tour 2014, still happily lead by The Turtles, with Flo & Eddie, Chuck Negron (formerly of Three Dog Night), Gary Lewis & The Playboys, Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad), and Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels. Tuesday, Aug. 26: Linkin Park & Thirty Seconds to Mars, with special guest AFI. All that plus cheese curds and corn dogs. Super eager beavers can buy tickets at the Fairgrounds Ticket Office today from 10-11 a.m. (Linkin Park only) and next Saturday, March 15, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Regular ticket office hours begin in June.

Jeffrey Hatcher

Minnesota playwright Jeffrey Hatcher is taking “Hamlet” on the road. Not Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” exactly, but a one-person show about an 11-year-old named Jeffrey Hatcher who adapted, directed and performed the daunting drama for his fifth-grade English class in Steubenville, Ohio, in 1969. Hatcher plays himself telling the story. He describes it as “about theater as a home, as a refuge, and as a platform … about people who reveal themselves, their talents and weaknesses, when put through the pressure cooker of putting on the world’s greatest play in circumstances not likely to have been repeated since.” Coming to Blue Earth (March 17), Staples (March 20), Brainerd (March 21), Duluth (March 24), Moorhead (March 27), Cambridge (March 29), and Dawson (March 31). FMI.

The American Composers Forum has announced this year’s Live Music for Dance Minnesota awardees. The program supports Minnesota composers and choreographers with $5,000 grants to composer/choreographer teams, to support the creation of new work, and to professional dance companies, to commission a new piece from an American composer or hire musicians to play live during dance performances. Winners for 2014 include composer Jocelyn Hagen and choreographer Penelope Freeh, who are creating an evening-length dance opera about the birth of flight from the perspective of the Wright brothers’ sister, Katharine; composer Jennifer Weir and choreographer Joe Chvala, for new movement vocabulary and rehearsal drills based on a style of taiko drumming; and the dance company Brownbody, which will engage musician Thomasina Petrus to perform a variety of Billie Holiday songs and provide the soundscape for a work on racial oppression. Here’s the complete list of winners and projects.

When you’re asking for money, it’s a lot easier to start high and end lower than it is to start low and hope for a miracle. Which is why the Obama administration’s FYI 2015 budget request to Congress is a disappointment to arts advocates. The request of $146 million for the National Endowment for the Arts compares unfavorably to last year’s request for $154 million and 2011’s request for $161 million. ($146 million = just under 46 cents per person, given a population of 317 million.) Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert Lynch called the request “unfortunately insufficient” and noted that “now is the time to boost investment, not reduce it. To reduce support provides both an inconsistent and confusing message for the creative economy in America.” If this is something you care about, contact your members of Congress and let them know.

Our picks for the weekend

Opens tonight (Friday, March 7) at the St. Anthony Main Theatre: “The Great Beauty.” Director Paolo Sorrentino’s film about Rome’s idle rich just won the Oscar for best foreign language film. Critics are calling it “visually stunning,” “deliriously alive,” “glitteringly hypnotic” and “a surge of pure pleasure.” Sounds like the perfect way to spend 142 minutes. Here’s the trailer. FMI and tickets. Through Thursday, March 13.

Tonight in a blue house in St. Paul: Tennessee Williams’ “A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur.” Get up close and personal with the actors and themes in Gremlin Theatre’s site-specific production of this rarely produced play. The setting is an actual house (897 Portland, next to St. Clement’s Church), the audience is limited to 40, and you’ll literally be in the midst of the characters’ lives as the story unfolds. Williams’ play explores the meaning of loneliness, the need for human connection, and the compromises one makes to get through “the long run of life.” If you’re used to seeing plays at a distance, with a clear separation between you and the action, this will be a new experience. Trust us and give it a try. With Suzanne Warmanen, Sara Richardson, Jane Froiland and Noe Tallen, directed by Jef Hall-Flaven. UPDATE: The play will not take place in the house and, in fact, the production has been suspended. From a press release sent Friday morning by Gremlin Theatre: “It came to our attention that the occupancy and legal status of the Blue House were not what we believed them to be when we rented the facility from St. Clement’s Episcopal Church for this production. This came as a sudden surprise to Gremlin Theatre as well as to the Church itself and to the City of St. Paul when it was discovered Wednesday. We have spent the last several days working with the City of St. Paul and St. Clement’s Church to try to resolve this, but were unable to find a solution in the time allotted for the production’s originally scheduled run.” Ticket sales have been suspended, and refunds will be issued for tickets already purchased. Gremlin is exploring new options for mounting “A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeuer” elsewhere in the Twin Cities before taking it to Provincetown, Mass. in September for the Tennessee Williams Festival.

Tonight at the University of Minnesota, Duluth: Art Lande Trio. Noted jazz improviser Art Lande (piano and drums) joins multi-instrumentalist Bruce Williamson (saxes) and bassist Johannes Weidenmueller for an evening of rhythmic complexity, melodic lyricism and harmonic freedom. It’s interesting to learn that the three musicians do a yearly retreat in upstate New York for the purposes of connecting musically and personally. They’ll communicate to the audience the results of their deep and ongoing communication with each other. 7:30 p.m. at Weber Music Hall, 1151 University Drive. FMI and tickets ($20-$5).

Saturday afternoon, back at the St. Anthony Main Theatre: “Teorema Venezia (The Venice Syndrome).” If you’ve been to Venice or dreamed of going someday, this documentary film will make you weep. Tourism – including cruise ships on the Grand Canal, dwarfing the Basilica of San Marco – is killing La Serenissima more effectively than the Black Plague ever could. Part of the Italian Film Festival, which continues through Sunday. 3:30 p.m. Here’s the trailer. FMI and tickets ($10-$7). Come early (2:30) for a free short documentary on the life of opera composer Giuseppe Verdi, “Restoring Verdi’s Places.”

Saturday at Camp Bar: “Buddy & the Boys.” Come as you are or slick back your hair for a Buddy Holly tribute, complete with the iconic look, sound and songs including “That’ll Be the Day,” “Peggy Sue,” “Maybe Baby” and “Reddy Teddy.” Presented by the Actors Theater of Minnesota, with Nicholas Freeman as Buddy, Scott Jorgenson as the Big Bopper (“Chantilly Lace”) and a special guest as Ritchie Valens (“La Bamba”). 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($34.50/$39.50; use code word TEN to save $10). Through Sunday.

J P Dodel Photography
Cécile McLorin Salvant

Sunday at the Dakota: Cécile McLorin Salvant. Just 24, Salvant is one of today’s most exciting and intriguing young jazz singers. Winner of the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition and a 2014 Grammy nominee for “WomanChild,” her first American release, she’s smart and serious, choosing her repertoire from songs that were popular decades before she was born. And she has an extraordinary voice. We spoke with her for the Star Tribune. 7 and 9 p.m. FMI and tickets ($35/$25).

Monday, back at the St. Anthony Main Theatre yet again: a free advance screening of Wes Anderson’s latest film, “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” You’ll have to become a member of the Film Society to see it, but with the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival just around the corner (April 3-19), now is as good a time as any, and this is the perfect excuse. 7 p.m. Here’s the yummy trailer. FMI.

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