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Northrop lines up an eclectic season; ‘Star Trek’ exhibit at MOA

ALSO: Art-A-Whirl in NE; Bill Cosby cancels at Orchestra Hall; jazz at Icehouse; and more.

Compagnie Käfig combine circus, samba, martial arts and hip-hop in a high-energy program that promises to be one of the Northrop season’s most viscerally thrilling.
Photo by Michel Cavalca

Back in its brilliantly reimagined home on the U of M campus after three years in downtown Minneapolis, Northrop announced its 2014-15 dance season earlier this week. It’s an eclectic, international line-up of big names and newcomers to the Twin Cities, laced together by themes of rebirth and renewal.

On Sept. 27, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, now in its 60th year (with Taylor, 84, still choreographing two new dances every year), presents three repertory works including “Piazzola Caldera,” with live music by the Pablo Ziegler Quintet. Oct. 4-5: McKnight Solo brings an evening of world premieres by six McKnight Dancer fellows. Oct. 15-17: the Midwest premiere of Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s “Rosas danst Rosas,” a 1983 dance-theater piece Beyonce reportedly borrowed from for her “Countdown” music video. Co-presented with the Walker at the Walker’s McGuire Theater. Oct. 24: the Midwest premiere of the lively Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, whose works include a sensuous exploration of the Quebec city’s nightlife. Nov. 6: Making its regional debut, the Hong Kong Ballet performs “Turandot,” the brand-new toe-shoes version of Puccini’s opera. Dec. 4: The Suzanne Farrell Ballet presents works by Farrell’s mentor George Balanchine, including his one-act “Swan Lake,” with live music by a 50-piece orchestra. Feb. 17, 2015: Dance Theatre of Harlem, which ended an eight-year hiatus in 2012, comes to the Northrop stage. March 10: the 11 young male dancers of France’s Compagnie Käfig combine circus, samba, martial arts and hip-hop in a high-energy program that promises to be one of the season’s most viscerally thrilling. April 10-11: Over two nights, the Martha Graham Dance Company presents two different programs that include “Rite of Spring,” “Maple Leaf Rag,” and “Prelude and Revolt,” featuring U of M student dancers. Apr. 28: Russia’s Eifman Ballet ends the season with “Rodin,” a ballet about the sculptor’s life and the price of genius. Season tickets are on sale now; call 612-624-2345. Single tickets go on sale Aug. 4.

At an announcement event on Wednesday, Northrop Director Christine Tschida noted that the Paul Taylor Company recently broadened its mission to include works by modern dance masters from the past, redefining itself for the future. The Martha Graham Company keeps re-inventing itself by commissioning works inspired by Graham’s legacy; we’ll see a new piece by Greek choreographer Andonis Foniandakis. Dance Theatre of Harlem was reborn in 2012 with a new artistic director, former prima ballerina Virginia Johnson, a contemporary repertoire and fresh faces.

The “Star Trek” exhibition, opening today at the Mall of America, is for nerds. That’s not meant as an insult, simply as fact. If you don’t know the series, don’t care about the series, can’t tell a Vulcan from a Romulan, have never said “Beam me up, Scotty” or worn a set of plastic ears, if you don’t own a single “Star Trek” figure or com badge or comic, stay away. If you’re a fan of the canon — five television series and ten movies (so far), beginning in 1966 — then this show is your cup of tea. Earl Grey. Hot. So boldly go.

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The exhibitors know that “Star Trek” nerds don’t give a flying Ferengi about things like displays or fixtures, so they kept those simple. Spaces are divided by black curtains. Overall, it’s a pretty low-tech show; revolving LEDs are as fancy as it gets. That’s because it’s all about the stuff. Artifacts, scale models, memorabilia, costumes and props. The engineering deck and sickbay from “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” A Borg in an alcove. Captains’ chairs used in various TV series and films. And — steady, Trekkies — the bridge from the original “Star Trek” series, complete with Captain Kirk’s chair.

A Klingon on the engineering deck of the Enterprise-D
MinnPost photo by John Whiting
A Klingon on the engineering deck of the Enterprise-D from “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

Along with the stuff, there are short films about the show’s origins, special effects, costumes and makeup, and a timeline that interweaves real NASA space program events with “Star Trek” events. Which is kind of weird, but also interesting. At the media preview, the MOA employees happened to be uber-knowledgeable “Star Trek” nerds who were very excited to be there. The exhibition is scheduled to run for six months; let’s hope nerds continue to staff it, and that MOA turns the lights up just a little. Open daily. Presented by EMS Entertainment. Tickets $16.99 adults, $9.99 ages 5-12. FMI.

The Old Log, now with new owners and a new artistic director, announced its 2014-15 season, a colorful mix of popular musicals, regional premieres and children’s shows. Opens June 24: “Free to Be … You and Me.” The upbeat message of this show never gets old. Aug. 22: “Life Could Be a Dream.” This doo-wop musical won the Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Circle Award. Nov. 17: a regional premiere adaptation of the classic TV special “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Will this be the Old Log’s Nutcracker? Jan. 16, 2015: the regional premiere of “Outside Mallinger,” a romantic comedy and Tony Award nominee for Best New Play, penned by John Patrick Shanley (“Doubt,” “Moonstruck”). March 20: “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” based on the film and nominated for 10 Tonys. June 19: “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” FMI and tickets.

Two new State Fair grandstand shows were announced earlier this week. Sept. 1: Journey, with special guest Joan Jett & The Blackhearts. Arnel Pineda, Journey’s new lead singer (since late 2007), sounds uncannily like Steve Perry, the group’s former frontman. His discovery on YouTube was the subject of a PBS documentary titled “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Aug. 28: Fall Out Boy & Paramore with special guest Bad Suns. FMI and tickets (on sale this Saturday, May 17).

Comedian Bill Cosby has canceled his own Orchestra Hall concerts scheduled for May 31. Orchestra management said in a release that the cancellations were due to “lower than anticipated ticket sales,” and that the intent is “to reschedule in the future.” Cosby was originally slated to appear at Orchestra Hall in February 2013 but was bumped twice due to the 16-month labor dispute that ended in January of this year. “I was asked to move the date two times … and I complied even though I don’t use a band,” Cosby said in a statement. “When these performances are reset, I guarantee to perform two shows. Orchestra Hall and its supporters are my friends.”

Our picks for the weekend

Today (Friday, May 16) through Sunday in NE Minneapolis: Art-A-Whirl. More art than you can shake a stick at, in more places than you can possibly visit on a single weekend, with more people than you’ve seen since the State Fair. Presented by the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association (NEMAA), Art-A-Whirl is the largest open studio tour in the country. Well, it is. If you’re an old hand, you know what to do and where to go, including plenty of stops for beer and live music. If you’re a newbie, read the FAQs, pick up an Artist Directory and Guide and download the 2014 map. And don’t be intimidated. If you don’t see everything you want to see, there’s always next year. Just enjoy. This is a big, loose, colorful, fun event, one of our best. Tonight: 5-10 p.m. Saturday: 12-8 p.m. Sunday: 12-5 p.m.

Tonight through Sunday at the Cowles: Zenon Dance Company’s 31st Spring Season. Two world premieres including “Folktale Zero” by Daniel Stark, which re-imagines an Icelandic folk tale; a reprise of Danny Buraczeski’s “Ezekiel’s Wheel,” inspired by the writings of James Baldwin; and MacArthur fellow Kyle Abraham’s “My Quarreling Heart.” Writing for the Pi Press, Rob Hubbard called this “among the most physically demanding dance programs a Twin Cities stage has hosted in recent years.” Here’s a peek. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets here ($34).

Tonight at Douglas Flanders & Associates Gallery in Minneapolis: Opening night for Scott Lloyd Anderson’s “Paradise, Paved: An Oil Painter’s Exploration of the Suburbs.” Landscape painters usually take on subjects like fields and shorelines, mountains in the distance and woods in the fall. In his new series on display at Flanders, Minneapolis artist Scott Lloyd Anderson explores another American landscape: strip malls, office parks, fast-food franchises, car dealerships and asphalt. He paints things he sees around the Twin Cities and in his own Minneapolis neighborhood, so you can expect familiar scenes. Who knew a Best Buy parking lot could be such a beautiful thing? Reception from 6-9 p.m. Through July 5.

Courtesy of Scott Lloyd Anderson
59 Cent Soft Drinks, 30 x 40″ oil on canvas

Tonight at SubText Books in St. Paul: Three Red Dragonfly Poets. Naomi Cohn, Scott Lowery, and Mike Hazard, a.k.a. photographer and filmmaker “Media Mike,” read from their new books, “Between Nectar & Eternity,” “Empty-handed,” and “This World Is Not Altogether Bad.” 7 p.m., free and open to the public.

Tonight at Sweet 317 in St. Paul: Fantastic Merlins with Jean-Brice Godet. The Twin Cities-based jazz/chamber trio of Nathan Hanson (saxophones), Doan Brian Roessler (bass) and Pete Hennig (drums) is joined by French clarinetist/bass clarinetist Godet for a night of collaboration and improvisation. 8 p.m. (doors at 7:30), 308 Prince St., $10 suggested donation. Can’t make it tonight? They’re at Icehouse on Monday. See below.

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Sunday: May is Minnesota Museums Month, and Sunday is International Art Museum Day. At the Walker, get in free all day and see “Hopper Drawing: A Painter’s Process.” Children are admitted free (with paying adult) every day in May to the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul and Mill City Museum in Minneapolis. Take a moment and download the Minnesota Museums App for your smartphone.

Sunday at Studio Z in St. Paul: Ellen Lease/Pat Moriarty/Michael Attias/Homer Lambrecht. New jazz and improv with Lease on piano, Moriarty and Attias on saxophones, Lambrecht on live electronics. Attias is in from New York for the premiere of his new big-band piece, commissioned by Roseville Area High School. For those not familiar with Lambrecht, he was on the scene in the 1970s and ’80s as an avant-garde trombonist and composer; live electronics are his latest thing. In Moriarty’s words, “Homer has developed a number of interactive soundscapes which we’ll use as the basis for improvisations that move in all directions.” 8 p.m., $10 ($5 students).

Monday at Icehouse in Minneapolis: the Minneapolis modern jazz group Atlantis Quartet (Brandon Wozniak, saxophones; Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; Pete Hennig, drums) takes the stage at 10-ish, followed by Fantastic Merlins with Jean-Brice Godet at 11-ish. Take a nap after work so you can stay out late. $8 at the door.