The Doomtree Blowout, the annual concert mini-series by the Twin Cities hip-hop collective that includes Dessa, P.O.S., Lazerbeak and Sims, has become one of the year’s big events. Doomtree recently announced Blowout X – ten concerts over eight December days – and also that this would be “the last Doomtree Blowout ever.” (But not the end of the collective.) The marathon begins at the Turf Club on Dec. 6 and ends at First Avenue on Dec. 13. Tickets go on sale today at noon, and Doomtree will also sell tickets in person at the Depot starting at 4:30 p.m. TPT announced Tuesday that it will record the Dec. 10 concert (at the Varsity) for a future episode of “The Lowertown Line,” its new series of music specials. So if you can’t get tickets or would rather avoid the crush, you can still see what all the noise is about.
Minnesota Citizens for the Arts is turning 40. In 1975, when MCA began, annual state funding for the arts was $300,000. Today Minnesota is the national leader in per capita arts funding, thanks in large part to MCA, which led the cultural community in passing the Legacy Amendment and has worked to protect it ever since. MCA makes sure that no matter where in Minnesota you live, you have access to the arts. It helped to create the state’s 11 Regional Arts Councils and has trained thousands of citizens to be arts advocates at the state and local levels. Today it’s the oldest continuously-operating statewide arts advocacy in the country. Happy birthday, MCA, and thanks for all you do.
Back in March we wrote about the new Amtrak writers’ residencies, a program that began as a tweet and led to a blizzard of applications – more than 16,000. It seems that writers everywhere want to write on a train, or think they do. (We would enjoy the ride but would probably look out the window most of the time.) Twenty-four winners were selected by a panel of judges that included the director of literature for the National Endowment for the Arts. Each will receive a free round-trip, long-distance train trip, meals, and a sleeping compartment. Among the winners are Marco Werman, host of Public Radio International’s “The World,” and at least one Minnesotan, novelist Katie Heaney. Here’s the whole list.
The weekend and a bit beyond
Today through Sunday at Robert Briscoe’s studio in Harris, MN: Fall Pottery Sale. For pottery fans (and there are a lot of us in Minnesota, thanks in no small part to Briscoe), this sale, now in its 25th year, is a much-loved fall tradition. See what’s fresh from the kiln from Briscoe and guests Jo Severson, Jason Trebs and Matthew Krousey, winner of a 2014 Jerome Ceramic Artist Project Grant. Today: 12–7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. 2785 Stark Road. FMI and directions.
Saturday at the Loft: “Rewriting Hiawatha.” If you’re a Minnesotan, you know “The Song of Hiawatha,” Longfellow’s epic poem about a Native American hero and his love, Minnehaha. Join poet Chris Martin (“Becoming Weather”) and guests Heid Erdrich, Gwen Westerman, Brad Zellar, Brian Laidlaw, Sarah Fox, Joe Horton and others in an evening of rethinking, revising, and rewriting “Hiawatha” in poetry, prose and song. 7 p.m. FMI. Free.
Saturday at Grand Central Cafe in St. Paul: Opening night for the Saint Paul Ballet Project Photo Exhibition, Part 1. Photographer Caroline Yang documented the St. Paul Ballet school and company for almost a year, posting photos daily on her Instagram account. Ballet is one of the most photogenic subjects ever, and Yang is a fine photographer, so this is worth a visit. 1672 Grand Ave. 6–9 p.m. Free. Through Jan. 17.
Sunday at the Ordway: “A Night in Havana” with Nachito Herrera and His Cuban Orchestra. Even if you’ve seen the fiery, passionate and superhumanly speedy Cuban pianist play at the Dakota, his second home in the Twin Cities, this will be different. He’ll bring his 16-piece band and the Minnesota Youth Symphony to the Ordway for a concert of Cuban music with a dance floor, for those who are so inclined (and sufficiently limber). 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($23–$55).
Sunday at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi: Choral Showcase Season Preview. A chance to hear some of our finest choral groups for free. The Minnesota Chorale, so splendid when it sang Mahler’s “Resurrection” last week with the Minnesota Orchestra, will perform, as will Cantus, Kantorei, Magnum Chorum, One Voice Mixed Chorus, the Singers, the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus, and VocalEssence. 4 p.m. Free-will offering.
Sunday and Monday at the SPCO Center in the Hamm Bldg.: Third Coast Percussion and Glenn Kotche: “Wild Sound.” Liquid Music, Kate Nordstrum’s imaginative, in-the-moment series, starts its third season with the Chicago-based percussion ensemble and the drummer for the Grammy-winning band Wilco. “Wild Sound” is built around field recordings Kotche has gathered in cities around the world while touring. Some of the instruments will be built onstage, and some will be destroyed. Kotche counts Bach, John Cage, and John Luther Adams among his influences; his compositions include commissions for the Kronos Quartet. Here’s a video about the project. 7 p.m. Sunday, 7:30 pm. Monday. FMI and tickets.
Monday at Bryant Lake Bowl: the Theater of Public Policy. Briefly, here’s what T2P2 does: invite public figures to speak about serious issues, then use that as a basis for improv comedy. While there’s nothing funny about neighborhood sustainability, Chuck Marohn, president of the Minnesota-based Strong Towns and a man with a national following, will give the company plenty to work with as Monday’s invited guest. Doors at 6 p.m., show at 7. FMI and tickets ($10/$7).
Monday at the Landmark Center: Innova Hi-Fi Club. We live in the age of the shuffle, when the music we hear is often chosen randomly by our iPods or phones. Innova, the record label of the American Composers Forum, thinks it’s playback time — time to start listening to albums all the way through once again. They’re hosting a free monthly series of listening parties in one of the Landmark Center’s courtrooms, during which they’ll play a selected Innova recording from beginning to end, under ideal conditions and using their equipment. Start with socializing and refreshments in the ACF-Innova office (#522) from 5–6:30 p.m., then head for Courtroom 317 at 6:30 to hear Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians.” Stick around after for comments from director Bill Ryan and engineer Silas Brown. Free. FMI.
Tuesday at Northrop: An Evening with George Saunders. Saunders is the MacArthur Fellow and award-winning author (“Tenth of December”). All tickets include a copy of the book. FMI and tickets ($25/$20/$10). Free to U of M students.