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‘Inspired at Blu’ features work of U design students; vote for summer Walker Cinema films

ALSO: Choir of King’s College Cambridge coming to Cathedral of St. Paul; R.E.S.P.E.C.T. at Bunkers; Record Store Day is April 18; and more.

Michelle Bowitz's work is on display at the Radisson Blu Downtown.
Courtesy of Michelle Bowitz

A new artist-in-residence program at Radisson Blu Downtown, “Inspired at Blu,” means great exposure for students at the University of Minnesota’s College of Design. On view now on a large digital wall in the hotel’s lobby: work by student Michelle Bowitz, a senior in the graphic design BFA program. You can see it for six weeks, after which it will be replaced by student work from the apparel design BS program. “Inspired at Blu” will cycle through all of the U’s design programs including architecture, product design, and landscape architecture, and may expand into a gallery space in the skyway for 3D work. The featured students are juried in by a panel of College of Design faculty members and local design professionals.

What films would you like to see at the Walker Cinema this summer? Vote for your favorites here, then check back after April 15 to see if they made the lineup for this year’s Walker Dialogues and Film Retrospectives program, a 25-year Walker tradition. (At this writing, “Do the Right Thing” is #1, and “The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover” is trailing the pack at #26.)

We just spent waaaay too much time at Minnesota By Design, a web-based initiative by the Walker Art Center that launched last week with 100 examples of our state’s ingenuity and creative thinking. Organized alphabetically, starting with the Aeron Chair (what? That was designed here?), it’s full of places and things that might not exist were it not for clever Minnesotans. Click on any image to learn more.

Did we miss something? We read several obituaries for architect Michael Graves, who died last Thursday at his home in Princeton, New Jersey, and saw over and over how he designed teakettles, mops and colanders for Target. Not once did we see a reference to the Michael Graves-designed Children’s Theatre Company renovation and expansion (2001) or his 113,000-square-foot Target Wing for the MIA (2006). So we’ll mention them here and say thank you, Michael Graves.

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Northwest Airlines no longer exists, but its history does at the NWA History Centre, a collection of artifacts, documents, photos and models. Founded in 2002, the History Centre is moving from its current location (8101 SW 34th Ave. S. in Bloomington) to a new one in the Two Appletree Square building. Want to help with packing and moving? Come to an orientation meeting at 9 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday, March 21), where professional museum managers will demonstrate the proper packing of fragile historic items. Then sign up for a packing and/or moving session starting March 23. 

In case you haven’t heard: Maplewood is one of 12 finalists for up to $1 million in funding each from Bloomberg Philanthropies for a public art project that addresses a civic issue. Its proposal: a multidisciplinary initiative by Z Puppets Rosenschnoz that strengthens connections among the city’s multicultural youth community. More than 237 cities applied from 45 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. … The Northeast Minneapolis Arts District was named Best Arts District in a USA Today Readers’ Choice 10Best poll, leading a list that also includes SoWa (South of Washington) Boston, Baltimore’s Station North and Detroit’s Heidelberg Project. We thought we’d find the 10Best logo on the NEMAA and Northrop King Building websites, but wait, there’s a licensing fee.

You can reserve your tickets now to see Dr. John and the Nite Trippers in June. They’re coming to the Twin Cities Jazz Festival and playing CHS Field (the new Saints Stadium) on Saturday, June 27 at 3:30 p.m. General admission tickets are free, but you’ll be asked to make a tax-deductible donation to support Jazz Fest.

The weekend and a bit beyond

Tonight (Friday, March 20) at Open Book: The 2015 Minnesota Book Awards Finalists. Many of the finalists from across the award categories – Allen Eskens, Ray Gonzalez, Nicole Helget, Julie Klassen, Jim Lenfestey, Larry Millett, Margi Preus, Lori Sturdevant, Mike Wohnoutka and more – will read briefly from their nominated works. A wine, cheese and dessert reception will follow. Books will be available for sale and signing. 6:30 p.m. in the Target Performance Hall. Free.

Saturday at the Fitzgerald Theater: Dr. Michio Kaku with Kerri Miller. Telepathy, mind control, telekinesis, and the possibility of uploading the human brain to a computer (why not?) may well be among the topics of Miller’s conversation with the theoretical physicist, futurist and bestselling author of “Physics of the Impossible,” “Physics of the Future,” and his latest, “The Future of the Mind.” 8 p.m. FMI and tickets ($25, $23 MPR members). UPDATE: This event has been postponed due to a sudden emergency for Dr. Kaku. All tickets previously purchased will be moved to a new date TBA on April 3. To request a refund, call 651-290-1200.

Friday and Saturday at Bunkers: R.E.S.P.E.C.T. – A Musical Tribute to the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin. Jamecia Bennett, Ginger Commodore, Kathleen Johnson, Paris Bennett, Ashley Commodore, Johannes Tona, Brian Ziemniak, Troy Norton and Brian Kendrick pay tribute to the one and only Aretha. It will be noisy, it will be crowded, it will be fun. 9:30 p.m. $10 at the door.

Starts Saturday on your teevee: “Mystery Science Theater 3000.” The cult comedy series started in 1988 on what was then KTMA (Channel 23), moved to Comedy Central, relocated to the Sci-Fi Channel (today’s Syfy) and is now testing the waters at TPT 2. Four episodes will air, and if enough people tune in, we might see a new public television series, “The Best of MST3K.” 10 p.m. Saturday nights, also 4 a.m. Sundays, through April 11. With no commercials.

Sunday at Hamline’s Sundin Music HallChamber Music Society of Minnesota Presents John Harbison. A concert devoted to chamber music by the respected composer, with Harbison appearing as pianist for his “Jazz Trio” for piano, bass and drums. The program also includes Haydn’s unfinished String Quartet in D minor, with a third movement written by Harbison, and “Four Encores for Stan” for string quartet and narrator, commissioned in honor of Maestro Stanislaw Skrowaczewski’s 90th birthday in 2014. 4 p.m. FMI and tickets ($25/$15).

Monday at the Cathedral of St. Paul: The Choir of King’s College Cambridge. Founded in the 1500s by King Henry VI to sing daily services in his chapel, one of the world’s most famous choirs touches down in St. Paul. They’re used to singing here (click for a virtual tour, and go full-screen), but our cathedral has its own splendors; go here for a panoramic walking tour (click View Larger Map). 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($30-$65).

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Plan ahead

Saturday, April 18 is Record Store Day, when vinyl collectors line up at independent record stores across the country in hopes of nabbing exclusive releases. Among this year’s prizes: the first-ever Elvis Presley recordings Jack White (of the White Stripes) bought for $300,000. Go here for a complete list of releases and participating stores, including dozens in the Twin Cities and surrounding area. For jazz fans: “Miles Davis: The Prestige 10 Inch LP Collection Vol. 2” and “Thelonious Monk London Collection, Volume 2.”