400 Bar rebirth at MOA wasn’t to be; special events at MN Orchestra season opener

MinnPost photo by Pamela Espeland
An eviction notice has been taped to the door at the 400 Bar in Mall of America.

It seemed too good – make that weird – to be true: the 400 Bar in the Mall of America? The famously funky West Bank indie-rock institution relocating to Bloomington and being reborn as a live music venue, restaurant and music museum complex on the Mall’s fourth floor near Hooters? That was the plan back in February, but no more.

The original opening, scheduled for late July, was mysteriously postponed. (A “Minnesota Beatle Project” event was temporarily on the MOA’s calendar, then disappeared.) Yesterday Reed Fischer reported for City Pages that an eviction notice had been duct-taped to the door. He included a statement issued by the MOA that reads, in part, “In any economy, it is frequently challenging for small or new businesses to establish themselves. Often finding appropriate financing terms can be a substantial obstacle for small business. This seems to be the circumstances for 400 Bar as they prepared to open at Mall of America. Timing and economic environment appear too challenging … . While disappointed that 400 will not open at the Mall, we wish them the very best.”

Meanwhile, we’ll always have our memories of the Beatles exhibit that occupied part of the space from June 5–Sept. 7. The jacket Paul wore at Shea Stadium, the jacket Ringo wore on the “Abbey Road” cover, all kinds of memorabilia, and those fab black-and-white photos taken by American tour manager Bob Bonis. We’re glad we saw that, and for a while, we thought the whole kooky notion might actually work.

Even if you don’t have tickets for the Minnesota Orchestra’s highly anticipated season opening this weekend, you can still join the party in the lobby before and after each concert. Orchestra staff and musicians and advocacy groups Save Our Symphony Minnesota (SOSMN) and Orchestrate Excellence have collaborated on a community celebration called “All Together Now!” that throws the doors open to anyone who wants to come. Special events have been scheduled for all three days, including live music by area musicians, a trivia contest with prizes, guided tours of Orchestra Hall, the chance to help name the orchestra’s exclusive new beer (created by Boom Island Brewing Company), a place to leave a love note for the musicians, and the opportunity to be part of a huge new Minnesota Orchestra photo mosaic that will be permanently displayed in Orchestra Hall.

You’ve seen photo mosaics – images made up of pixels that, as you draw closer, reveal themselves as tiny individual photographs, usually headshots. The one planned for Orchestra Hall was conceived by artist/photographer Cy DeCosse, whose wife, Paula DeCosse, is co-chair of Orchestrate Excellence. Cy created an 8′ x 8′ prototype featuring musicians, board members and staff that will hang in the glass-walled atrium as an example of what to expect. Anyone who shows up during the season opening can have his or her photo taken by one of six photographers for a final, even larger banner (maybe 12′ x 12′?) that will hang in a location TBD.

If you go, don’t be shy. “We want to include photos of as many people as possible who care about the Minnesota Orchestra and are working toward rebuilding and strengthening the institution,” Paula DeCosse explained. “[The photo mosaic] is a way to visually represent how many people it takes to support the orchestra – the audience and wider community, as well as those directly involved.” It’s also a way to add life to the lobby, something interim CEO and president Kevin Smith mentioned at a community meeting in August. Currently, the new space is majestic but a bit cold. Imagine the addition of all those smiling faces.

Tickets are still available to all three concerts – Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. – but act fast, because their numbers are few. In the first half, cellist Alisa Weilerstein will join the orchestra for Barber’s lyrical, reflective Cello Concerto. The second half is given over to Mahler’s mighty “Resurrection” symphony, with the Minnesota Chorale. On Monday, Smith told MPR’s Tom Weber, “The choice of [the] ‘Resurrection’ symphony is not haphazard … The symbolism is entirely intended. It was chosen by Osmo Vänskä, our music director, and the musicians in particular because they feel that this organization, and they as an orchestra, have been resurrected.” FMI and tickets ($25–$85).

The picks

Today (Thursday, Sept. 25) at the Film Society’s St. Anthony Main Theatre: Terry Gilliam’s “The Zero Theorem.” First came “Brazil” (1985), then “Twelve Monkeys” (1995), and now the final installment of the former Python’s dystopian sci-fi trilogy. Set in a future London, it stars Oscar winner Christoph Waltz (“Django Unchained,” “Inglourious Bastards”) as a computer hacker searching for the meaning of life. Also in the cast: Matt Damon (as Management) and Tilda Swinton (as Dr. Shrink-Rom). If Swinton is half as interesting here as she was in “Snowpiercer,” she may steal the show. 4:20 and 9:50 p.m. FMI, trailer and tickets ($5–$8.50).

Tonight at Central Park Amphitheater in Woodbury: Club Book presents Sue Miller. The bestselling author of “The Good Mother,” “Inventing the Abbotts,” “Family Pictures” and “While I Was Gone” reads from and discusses her latest, “The Arsonist,” a novel about the tensions between summer people and locals in a small New Hampshire town. The Amphitheater is at 8595 Central Park Place. 6:30 p.m., free. Can’t make it? A podcast will be available later on the Club Book site. FMI and map.

The weekend

Opens Friday (Sept. 26) at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage: Walking Shadow presents the regional premiere of Moira Buffini’s “Gabriel.” The New York Times’ Charles Isherwood gave this play a fabulous review when it opened in New York in 2010. The setting: the Nazi-occupied island of Guernsey, 1943. A naked young man washes up on the mine-filled beach. Is he a savior or an even greater peril? The Times called “Gabriel” a “juicy romantic melodrama … a tense tale of wartime intrigue … riveting.” Amy Rummenie directs. 711 Franklin Ave., Minneapolis. 7:30 p.m. Through Saturday, Oct. 11. Pay-what-you-can performance on Monday, Sept. 29. FMI and tickets ($10–$22).

Friday at the Cedar: Alice Boman. “Haunting” is a word that is much overused, but for Boman, it fits like a fine kid glove. The Swedish singer is touring behind her American debut, “EPII,” which somehow sounds both heartbreaking and comforting, faraway and like a lover’s whisper in your ear. Here’s a video. StoLyette and Strange Relations open. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8. FMI and tickets ($10 advance/$12 day of).

Friday at MacPhail: Adam Meckler Orchestra CD Release. Trumpet player/composer/educator Meckler is a force on the Twin Cities music scene, leader of his own jazz orchestra and quintet, member of the Pete Whitman X-Tet, the Jack Brass Band, the Graydon Peterson Quartet, Lulu’s Playground, and singer Jana Nyberg’s group (Nyberg, another force, is Meckler’s wife). The first CD from his 18-piece ensemble, “When the Clouds Look Like This,” features all original music by Meckler – the kind that will have you nodding your head and tapping your feet along with everyone else in the room. Not to say Meckler is derivative, but the title track reminds us of Maria Schneider’s music in a grand, gorgeous, big-sky way. We like the whole outing very much, and MacPhail’s gemlike Antonello Hall is a perfect place to hear it. 7 p.m. FMI. $10 at the door. 

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply