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‘The Lowertown Line’ to hit the road; Parklot adds Workday Afterparty

Deborah Harkness reads from “The Book of Life”; Kevin Kling’s “Hammer, Anvil, and Stirrup” to preview at Open Eye Figure Theatre; Christian Marclay’s “The Clock” at the Walker; and more.

The 4onthefloor opens TPT's new "The Lowertown Line" lineup.
Courtesy of The 4onthefloor/Sara Montour

Twin Cities Public Television is taking “The Lowertown Line” on the road. Featuring area musicians in concert before live audiences, the series that began in October 2012 will return this month with more concerts in more locations. TPT’s building in St. Paul’s Lowertown will undergo an $18 million renovation starting later this year, a perfect excuse for moving shows to venues around the cities. Shows will be filmed for broadcast, live-streamed, and supported with new web content on the revamped website.

The schedule so far: Aug. 26 at Icehouse in Minneapolis: The 4onthefloor (rock in 4/4 time, with every band member playing a big bass drum). Sept. 25 at the Amsterdam: The Blind Shake and Kitten Forever. October date and location TBD: Mayda. Nov. 19 at Bedlam Lowertown: Black Diet. More artists, dates and locations will be announced in the coming months. Tickets for The 4ontheFloor are on sale now.

A few things have changed since the pilot series. “The Lowertown Line” is no longer presented by “MN Original,” TPT’s long-running series about the arts in Minnesota; now it’s part of the Rewire initiative, formed to engage “a new generation of public media consumers.” Dessa was the on-air host; there’s no host this year. Interviews with performers will still be part of the show, but they will take more of a “day in the life” approach. David Roth holds the title of series producer. As it was last year, “The Lowertown Line” is funded by Legacy money.

Hennepin Theatre Trust is expanding the programming in its Parklot pop-up park (part of the Orpheum’s surface lot) to include a free music and entertainment series called Workday Afterparty on Tuesdays from 5–6 p.m. Tonight: the Gilbertson Brothers. Aug. 12: Daniel Nass. Aug. 26: Accordionist Mark Stillman. The free lunchtime speaker series, Food for Thought, continues this Friday with Russ Henry, owner of Giving Tree Gardens, who’ll speak on the topic of composting. Free guided tours of Made Here, downtown’s urban walking gallery of storefront windows, take place every other Monday from 5:30 to 7 p.m.; the next scheduled tour is Aug. 18. You can tour the windows on your own anytime you’re downtown. Visit the website for a helpful map and lots of information.

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The Fringe Festival is in full swing. During the first four days (it started last Thursday), it issued 17,700 tickets to 383 performances. Several shows sold out over the weekend, including the Theater of Public Policy’s “The History of Minnesota – Unscripted,” Rooftop Theatre Company’s “Top Gun: The Musical,” Live Action Set’s “Crime and Punishment” (one of the Fringe’s three site-specific shows), and New Native Theatre’s “Native Man the Musical.”

Here’s something you won’t see every day: an artist painting a billboard by hand. To promote its new line of scratch baking mixes, Immaculate Baking Company has hired mixed-media artist Andy Saczynski to hang 60 feet in the air over Hennepin Avenue (more specifically, above the former National Camera store at 930 Hennepin) and paint a 40′ x 18′ billboard illustrating his interpretation of the Minneapolis skyline. Weather permitting, Saczynski will paint each day between 7 and 10 a.m., noon to 2 p.m., and 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. The billboard will be on display through August. Immaculate Baking joined General Mills in 2013. 

The Picks

Tonight (Tuesday, Aug. 5) at Macalester College in St. Paul: Deborah Harkness reads from her latest novel, “The Book of Life,” the final volume in her “All Souls” trilogy. The first two volumes are both New York Times bestsellers. The series began when Harkness asked herself, “If there really are vampires, what do they do for a living?” We’d like to know that, too. At Weyerhauser Chapel. Sponsored by Common Good Books. 7 p.m. Free.

Wednesday at Carleton College in Northfield: a free screening of the National Theatre Live broadcast of Shakespeare’s “Coriolanus.” Produced by the big-deal Donmar Warehouse theater in London’s West End, starring Tom Hiddleston (“War Horse”) and Mark Gatiss (“Sherlock”). Carleton recently acquired the technology needed to screen National Theatre Live broadcasts and other performing arts events. 7 p.m. in the new Weitz Center for Creativity Cinema, Third and College streets. Free.

Wednesday at Open Eye Figure Theatre: Preview night for Kevin Kling’s “Hammer, Anvil, and Stirrup.” For the eighth year in a row, the nationally known storyteller has created a new work for the Open Eye. Named for the tiny bones of the inner ear, it explores through words and music, folktales, history, and personal accounts the science of waves in sound, light, water and emotion. Kling is joined by his regular collaborators Jacqueline Ultan and Michelle Kinney. Opening night is Thursday. Through Monday, Aug. 11. FMI and tickets ($20). If you haven’t been to the Open Eye, it’s a lovely and intimate space, perfect for this sort of evening.

Thursday at the Freehouse in Minneapolis: Who are those people whose voices you hear on MPR? Meet and mingle with MPR newsroom personalities Curtis Gilbert, Tom Scheck, Sasha Asianian, Matt Sepic, Tim Nelson, Euan Kerr, Beth Kidd and more at a free happy hour event at this North Loop restaurant and brewery. 5 p.m. FMI and tickets (free, but they probably want a general head count).

The Weekend

Friday and Saturday at the Walker Art Center: Christian Marclay’s “The Clock.” Because this 24-hour film screens in real time – when it’s 10 a.m. in the film, it’s 10 a.m. CST – our only chance to see the late-night and wee-hours bits is when the museum stays open all night. That happens just four more times before the film goes away: this weekend (Aug. 8–9) and the weekend of Aug. 23–24. From 5 p.m. – 11 a.m. those nights, admission is free. On closing night, Monday, Aug. 25, the Walker will be open from 5 p.m. – midnight.

Plan Ahead

Jazz giant Chick Corea must love playing the Dakota. The 20-time Grammy winner and NEA Jazz Master shows up here fairly regularly, most recently with Bela Fleck. He returns Sept. 24 with his new band, The Vigil, for an evening of electric/acoustic harmony. Personnel: Corea (piano and keyboards), Tim Garland (sax, flute, clarinet), Charles Altura (guitar), Carlitos Del Puerto (acoustic and electric bass), Luisito Quintero (percussion), Marcus Gilmore, grandson of Roy Haynes (drums). Here’s a track from the album of all-new Corea compositions. 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. FMI and tickets ($55-$95).