A crazy awesome ‘Arrivals and Departures’ at Union Depot; Orchestra hires classical programming advisor

Courtesy of Union Depot
“Arrivals and Departures” will feature a poem about a hobo alphabet.

There’s a page on Pinterest called Crazy Awesome Public Art, and we’re betting it will soon link to “Arrivals and Departures,” the brainchild of Todd Boss, poet, artist, and founding director of Motionpoems. A Motionpoem is a poem made into a short film. On Friday and Saturday nights, four Motionpoems will be writ large – very large – on the 1,000-foot neoclassical façade of Union Depot, projected onto nine 35-foot screens hung between the columns.

All of the poems have travel as their theme. All were written by Minnesota poets chosen from a statewide contest co-sponsored by the Loft. The winners are Linda Back McKay, Robert Dougherty, Brian Beatty and Mike Rollin. Filmmakers from Pixel Farm and Browntown Collective and independent artists Nick Clausen and Barbara Weiner turned the poems into films, and actors read the words. Starting at dusk both nights, ending around 10:30 p.m., the films will play in a continuous loop, with audio from lawn-area speakers.

The poems – about traveling by train to New Orleans, a carousel, the hobo alphabet and reading Gwendolyn Brooks on a city bus – will unfold on a massive scale. To us, they seem like love letters to the reborn Union Depot, which houses its own collection of public art; to the return of Amtrak and passenger rail service to downtown St. Paul; to the recently completed Green Line; to the Lowertown boom. The Fall Art Crawl also happens this weekend, so it’s a grand time to be in St. Paul.

The Minnesota Orchestra has appointed Asadour Santourian artistic advisor for classical season programming. Santourian, vice president of the Aspen Music Festival, will have a consulting role. He previously worked for the orchestra as director of artistic planning from 1991–2000, and he is already collaborating with Osmo Vänskä, orchestra musicians and the orchestra’s artistic staff to plan the 2015–16 season. His resume includes positions as artistic director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic and the Gergiev Festival, lecturer with the L.A. Philharmonic and seven ASCAP awards.

Kate DiCamillo has written a new novel, to be published by Candlewick in spring 2016. The Publishers Weekly announcement began with these words: “Kate DiCamillo must be taking lessons from the Energizer Bunny.” This will be her seventh novel. Her sixth, “Flora & Ulysses,” won the 2014 Newbery Medal, as did her third, “The Tale of Despereaux.” She currently serves as the Library of Congress’ National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, plus she has started a new chapter book series. Kate, you are making the rest of us look bad.

Heads up, Lutherans! In 2016, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts will host a major Martin Luther exhibition. On the eve of the 500th anniversary of his 95 Theses, the German theologian whose writings sparked the Protestant Reformation will be celebrated with a show of religious paintings, miniatures, sculptures, satirical prints, manuscripts and recent archaeological finds from Luther’s boyhood homes and his house in Wittenberg. A re-creation of his studio will feature original furnishings and precious objects in gold and silver. We’re waiting to see how the MIA will wrap the Luther exhibit into its Third Thursday programming, and whether things will be nailed to doors.

The weekend

Today (Friday, Oct. 10) at the Bedlam: “Landmark to Lowertown.” If it’s not past noon and you haven’t yet had lunch and you’re in downtown St. Paul, stop by the Bedlam Lowertown. Drummer J.T. Bates will be joined by guitarist Jeremy Ylvisaker (now one of the Suburbs) and bassist Jim Anton for an hour of new music. L2L is a new program from the American Composers Forum that features award-winning composers in nontraditional settings.

Saturday at the Minnesota Historical Society Library: “I’m New Here: Introducing the Library.” Learn to find your way around our state’s rich resource of information on our past. People come to the Historical Society Library to research their family history, look into the history of buildings, organizations and neighborhoods, and explore our many cultures. This free class is held each Saturday year-round. 9:15–10:15 a.m.

Saturday at a movie house near you: “Macbeth Live in HD.” Superstar soprano Anna Netrebko is Lady Macbeth, baritone Zeljko Lucic the doomed thane in the Metropolitan Opera’s new production that’s been winning rave reviews. (Netrebko’s performance has been called “demented,” high praise in the opera world.) Showtime is 11:55 a.m., run time 3 hours 15 minutes. FMI and tickets (you’ll enter your ZIP code). Can’t make it Saturday? There’s an encore presentation in select cinemas on Wednesday, Oct. 15 at 6:30 p.m.

Saturday at Hopkins High School: JazzMN Orchestra with Dave Weckl. JazzMN opens its 16th season with a tribute to four jazz greats we lost this summer: Kenny Drew Jr., Fred Sturm, Horace Silver and Gerald Wilson. Drummer Weckl has toured with Simon and Garfunkel and spent seven years in Chick Corea’s Elektric and Akoustic bands. 2400 Lindbergh Drive, Minnetonka. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($28–$34).

Sunday at Wayzata Community Church: Vänskä Plays Mozart. The Minnesota Orchestra’s maestro plays Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A major with the Wayzata Symphony Orchestra. Also on the program: music by Sibelius and Grieg. 3 p.m. Free.

Sunday at Patrick’s Cabaret: “Outrage! Writers Respond to Ferguson.” It began as a way to give poets and spoken word artists a chance to express themselves about the death of Michael Brown and the police response to the protests; it became a stellar line-up of locals including poet Ibe Kaba, rapper Longshot, playwright David Daniels, improv artist/poet Lisa Brimmer, spoken word artist Brilyahnt Peace and others, with music by DJ Keezy. 7 p.m. Free, but donations to a legal support fund will be encouraged.

Early next week

Monday at Bryant Lake Bowl: The Theater of Public Policy: School Board Forum. This year’s Minneapolis school board race is hot hot hot. Candidates Iris Altamirano, Rebecca Gagnon, Ira Jourdain and Don Samuels will join the T2P2 crew for a live conversation followed by unscripted improv comedy theater. Doors at 6 p.m., show at 7. FMI and tickets ($10/$7).

Monday and Tuesday at the Dakota: Roy Hargrove Quintet. Two-time Grammy winner Hargrove is one of the top jazz trumpeters; full of surprises and new ideas, he can play pretty much anything from hard bob to Latin, ballads to hip-hop-tinged outings. He has a long relationship with the Dakota and has been here many times, but you can’t see him too often. 7 and 9 p.m. FMI and tickets ($30–$40).

Tuesday at the Cowles: 10th Annual Minnesota SAGE Awards for Dance. Dancers, choreographers, and fans turn out each year to honor our local dance scene, one of the nation’s best. The evening also includes dance performances (with music by Butch Thompson) and a reception at Mason’s Restaurant and Barre. This year’s awards were designed by sculptor Fuller Cowles, son of Sage Cowles, the choreographer, dancer and philanthropist for whom the awards were named. She passed away earlier this year, so expect memories and tributes to take center stage. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($15/$20). 

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