While Art-A-Whirl and the big art fairs are annual events, the St. Paul Art Crawl happens twice each year, in spring and fall, giving us two excuses to wander through artists’ studios and explore Lowertown, now arguably the city’s hottest neighborhood. We asked St. Paul Art Collective VP and artist Tom Reynen to clue us in to what’s new as the Art Crawl nears its 24th year.
“The public art display at Union Depot,” he said. “Thirty-five feet high.” (We’ll tell you all about that on Friday.) “The free Metro Transit pass, which now includes the Green Line. A flash mob [with dancers] on Friday night in Mears Park. A dedicated music director, which means we have a lot more music than we’ve had before, at various venues. Food trucks, especially around Broadway and Prince Streets. Busker stations on the street corners, so people are entertained as they’re walking around. More studios open in the Schmidt Artist Lofts. And the Mingle Party at the Bedlam on Saturday night. The Art Crawl ends at 8 p.m., but that’s too early to go home and go to bed, so we’re inviting people to come and party with the artists. It starts at 8:30 and ends at closing.”
Somewhere around 20,000 to 25,000 people will tour the Fall Crawl’s 25 buildings and meet its nearly 200 participating artists. The Crawl extends beyond Lowertown; you can download a map, a directory and a catalog here, or pick up hard copies at many locations. Be sure to get your free Metro Transit pass. Now that the Green Line is up and running, you can park somewhere easy, then hop on the train. Friday, Oct. 10, 6-10 p.m.; Saturday noon to 8 p.m., Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
On Saturday, book lovers of all stripes will converge on the 2014 Twin Cities Book Festival, the largest, most important literary gathering in the Upper Midwest. Held at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, this celebration of the printed word (and our awesomeness as a state of readers) features exhibitors, readings, signings, a Children’s Pavilion, a Middle Grade Headquarters, a Teen Tent, a raffle, giveaways, prize drawings, discounts and activities including Scrabble Board Poetry. Dozens of authors will be on hand, including Julie Schumacher, Dylan Hicks, Ann Hood, Anders Nilsen, Okey Ndibe, Hoa Hguyen, Julie Kramer, Derek Anderson, Phyllis Root, Kelly Barnhill, Jessica Day George, Morgan Matson and Marie Lu. Go here for everything you need to know about this free daylong festival, which ends at 5 p.m. so everyone can grab a bite, let the dog out, then rush to the Minneapolis Central Library to see Steven Pinker (see the weekend picks below).
The new film at the Science Museum’s Omnitheater, “Flight of the Butterflies,” has a Minnesota connection. The film tells of the 40-year quest to solve the mystery of the monarch migration: Where do monarchs winter each year? The mystery was solved when a Canadian researcher found a butterfly in Mexico that had been tagged by two schoolboys in the western suburbs of the Twin Cities. Take in the film, then tour the Live Butterfly House and see dozens of species up close. On the way home, promise yourself to plant some milkweed next year, since monarchs only lay their eggs on that particular herbaceous perennial. FMI and tickets.
Textile artist Nancy MacKenzie has died at 80. A founder and supporter of the Textile Center, MacKenzie made wearables and sculptural wall pieces from all kinds of materials: hand-dyed textiles, coffee filters, twigs, barbed wire, plastic netting, abacus beads, baling twine. Gracious and elegant, she lived in Stillwater with her husband, the internationally known potter Warren MacKenzie. Minnesota Original paid her a visit in 2011.
Tonight (Wednesday, Oct. 8) at Cultivate Northeast: Cooking Demo and Garden Talk. Cultivate Northeast is a permaculture demonstration garden at the busy Minneapolis intersection of Central and Lowry. (Permaculture means modeled on natural ecosystems.) Tonight’s event features food by Hazel’s Northeast and permaculture gardening tips from expert Krista Leras. There’s not much time left this year to hang out in gardens, so this sounds extra appealing. 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Tonight at the U’s Coffman Union Theater: James McBride. This year’s prestigious Esther Freier lecture is by James McBride, author of the National Book Award-winning comic novel “The Good Lord Bird” and the memoir “The Color of Water.” Laurie Hertzel wrote a wonderful piece about him for the Star Tribune. If you read it, you’ll want to go. 7:30 p.m. Free and open to the public. FMI.
Starts Thursday evening on the U of M’s St. Paul campus: “Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie School.” Apologies for the last-minute notice, but registration is still open for this three-session Learning Life course taught by writer and architectural historian Richard Kronick. This Thursday’s session is a lecture on Wright and his cohorts. On Oct. 16, you’ll tour the John and Lu Howe House in Burnsville; Howe was Wright’s apprentice for more than 30 years. On Oct. 23, you’ll tour the Purcell-Cutts House and the E.L. Powers home, designed by Purcell and George Grant Elmslie in 1910. Meeting times are 7–9 p.m. Tuition $125. FMI and registration.
Friday and Sunday at the Cowles: The Steeles. J.D., Fred, Jearlyn, Jevetta, and Billy sing “The Colors of Gershwin,” a collection of George and Ira Gershwin songs re-imagined with new arrangements by the award-winning singing family. Expect familiar tunes infused with jazz, gospel, soul and those unmistakable Steeles harmonies. 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Sunday. FMI and tickets ($40).
Thursday through Sunday: Martin Fröst makes his Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra debut. In a pre-season interview, SPCO CEO Bruce Coppock had this to say about the Swedish clarinetist: “He’s the Paganini of the clarinet. He’s a matinee idol. He’s a rock star. He’s a genius. He’s absolutely extraordinary. Do not miss Martin Fröst.” On the program: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1, Grieg’s “Holberg” Suite and Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major. Thursday at Trinity Lutheran Church in Stillwater (7:30 p.m.), Saturday at the Ordway (10:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.), Sunday at the Ted Mann (2 p.m.). FMI and tickets ($10–$40, kids $5).
Saturday at the Third Place Gallery: “Get Outside of Your Bubble with Your Camera,” a workshop with Wing Young Huie. You’ve seen his work all over the city – in museums, public installations, galleries and libraries. (His latest exhibition, “We Are Different, We Are the Same,” is on display in United Theological Seminary’s Bigelow Chapel through Nov. 21.) In this three-hour workshop, open to everyone “whatever your experience level, interests, biases or age,” you’ll view some of his work and make some of your own. Bring a camera (and wear comfortable shoes); you’ll photograph on the street, like Wing does. Here he is on Minnesota Original. 3730 Chicago Ave. S., Studio B. 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. $30. Call 612-817-2771.
Saturday at the Minneapolis Central Library: Talk of the Stacks with Steven Pinker. One of our most influential scientists and thinkers presents his latest book, “The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century.” Doors at 6:15 p.m., program at 7. Seating is first-come, first-served.
Sunday at the Carleton College Concert Hall in Northfield: Jazz Piano Legends. Pianist Laura Caviani and JazzAx – David Milne, Mike Walk, Pete Whitman and Greg Keel – play works by Dave Brubeck, Horace Silver, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Mary Lou Williams and Stravinsky. 3 p.m. Free and open to the public. Park in the lot off Winona St. near the Chapel.