Ragamala bringing DJ Rekha to Cedar for dance party; Guthrie extends ‘Music Man’

Courtesy of the Cedar
DJ Rekha

Save Saturday night for an all-ages, cross-cultural dance party at the Cedar. To celebrate its 23rd birthday, Ragamala Dance is partnering with the West Bank venue to bring an internationally known DJ to Minneapolis for the first time.

Born Rekha Malhotra in London to traditional Indian parents who moved the family to New York City when she was still a child, DJ Rekha is all kinds of rebel: a woman in her 40s in a field dominated by young men; creator of a popular New York City dance party now in its 18th year; not the lawyer her parents hoped she would become; not married; politically active, outspoken and entrepreneurial; an educator, curator and record label owner. Among her long list of credits, she has performed at the White House and was named one of the most influential South Asians by Newsweek.

At the turntables, Rekha puts her own spin on a traditional Indian folk music called bhangra, mixing it with hip-hop and electronica. Ragamala is bringing her here because, as Ashwini Ramaswamy explained, “Like us, Rekha explores the overlap between her cultural roots and her experience as an Indian American.”

Ragamala won’t dance on stage at this event (they will have just returned from performing “Song of the Jasmine” in Reno), but “all the company members will be there and ready to hit the dance floor … and, literally, let our hair down.” That’s another good reason to go.

Here’s Rekha’s promo reel. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8. DJ Chamun opens. FMI and tickets ($18 advance, $20 day of show, $50 online-only Ragamala patron tix, of which $30 is tax-deductible.)

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Coffee House Press is continuing its In The Stacks program with a match that seems made in heaven. In The Stacks places writers and readers in libraries and special collections around the metro. The artists-in-residence spend a month or two digging into source materials and creating new work informed by what they find.

Courtesy of Eric William Carroll
Eric William Carroll, “Radioscope” 10″ x 8″, Pigment Ink Print, 2014. Located in the middle of the Pisgah Forest, this 26 meter radio telescope was once instrumental in NASA’s Gemini and Apollo missions. It is now used by the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute.

For the latest iteration, CHP partnered with the Bakken Museum, which will host award-winning photographer Eric William Carroll. A visiting professor of art at Macalester, Carroll uses photography to explore the intersections of science and art.

Carroll admits to being “obsessed with obsolete technologies.” Since 2013, he has had access to the personal archives of Nobel Prize winning physicist Donald Glaser, inventor of the bubble chamber, which made visible the previously invisible world of subatomic particles. (Apparently, when the particles zoom around inside the bubble chamber, they leave little bubble trails, which has led to all sorts of other discoveries, like quarks.) He created a series of photographs at a former NASA site in a national forest and was invited to photograph areas of the Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois.

In short, Carroll is the perfect guy to explore the Bakken, whose collections – some 11,000 books, journals and manuscripts and over 2,500 objects – are mostly related to the history of electricity in life. He plans to focus on the personal stories behind some of science’s greatest discoveries. We can’t wait to see the results of his residency: a show of new photographs in Bakken’s Great Hall in early 2016. 

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The Guthrie has added seven more performances to its popular production of “The Music Man,” the Tony-winning classic about a fast-talking salesman, a librarian named Marian and 76 trombones. The added performances begin Tuesday, Aug. 25 and end Sunday, Aug. 30. FMI and tickets (single tickets start at $34).

Ever wonder how arts organizations assign subscriber seating? In a new blog post, Tessa Retterath Jones takes you inside the Schubert Club’s laborious process, designed to make as many people happy as humanly possible.

The picks

Today (Thursday, July 9) on the Minneapolis Convention Center Plaza: Creative City Market. Explore “mini_polis” and enjoy views of Minneapolis at the first of three summertime markets celebrating Minnesota makers. The Convention Center’s big front yard will host vendors selling locally made merchandise, a beer garden with selections from the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild, the Filfillah Food Truck (traditional Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine), performances by Minnesota artists Body Cartography Project and Chicks on Sticks (women on stilts), activities with spoon carvers Jess Hirsch and Ginny Sims and Adventures in Cardboard, and an 8:30 p.m. screening of the Minnesota-made film “The Okee Dokee Brothers’ Through the Woods: An Appalachian Adventure.” 4 p.m. to sunset. Free. Creative City Market is a program of the Creative City Challenge; this is the first of three markets planned for Thursdays during the summer. The next two are Aug. 13 and Sept. 10. FMI.

Tonight at Studio Z: The James Buckley Trio with Jacob Hanson. The second season of the “All Original” jazz series curated by trumpeter/composer/bandleader Steve Kenny begins with new music by a new collaboration. Bassist Buckley, pianist Nichols and drummer JT Bates will be joined by guitarist Hanson, who brings experience with artists including Mason Jennings, Solid Gold, Haley Bonar, the Pines, Halloween Alaska and others. See the complete series schedule. 8 p.m. FMI. Tickets $10 online or at the door.

Tonight through Friday at Mixed Blood: New Arab American Theatre Works. Minnesota’s first Arab-American theater festival ends this weekend with the final performances of three plays by Minneapolis-based Arab American theatre artists. Kathryn Haddad’s “Road to the City of Apples,” directed by Pangea’s Dipankar Mukherjee, joins two undocumented Palestinians on a road trip from New Jersey to Wisconsin, exploring themes of the Israeli occupation, gay rights, the American treatment of Arabs and Muslims, and the plight of undocumented immigrants. Taous Claire Khazem’s “In Algeria They Know My Name,” directed and dramaturged by Dreamland Arts’ Zaraawar Mistry, is a one-woman play about a Minnesota-raised Algerian who travels to her father’s homeland to work as a theater artist and falls in love with a clown. “A Clown in Exile” by Mohammed Yabdri with Live Action Set’s Noah Bremer follows a tragic clown as he overcomes his sense of cultural inferiority. FMI (including showtimes) and tickets ($15 per show, free for residents of the 55454 area code).

Photo by Gene Pittman
“Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.” Choreography: Nic Lincoln. Performers: Scott Mettille, left, and Stephen Schroeder.

Starts tonight at the Southern: Momentum: New Dance Works. What’s fresh and exciting on the Twin Cities dance scene? Since its founding in 2001, the Momentum Dance series has explored that question, commissioning work from emerging choreographers and dancers and giving them a place to perform. This year’s dances explore themes of individual and group identities and the need for connection. Week One (Thursday-Saturday, July 9-11) features “State of the Moon Address” by Hiponymous (Renée Copeland and Genevieve Muench), in which performers confront cultural systems that seek to control them, and Luke Olson-Elm’s “Broken,” which explores group dynamics that lead to alienation and doubt. Week Two (Thursday-Saturday, July 16-18) includes Angharad Davies’ “The Scraps” for an all-female cast, and Nic Lincoln’s “Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing,” for an all-male cast, with original music composed and performed by Venus De Mars. Presented by the Cowles in partnership with the Walker and the Southern. FMI and tickets ($20).

Saturday at Saint Croix Vineyards: Jazz Fest. With good weather, this sounds like a pretty perfect way to spend an afternoon. Bring a picnic (or buy food there), sip some uber-local wine, enjoy the scenery and listen to music by the Javi Santiago Quartet (12 p.m.), the Andrew Walesch Trio (1:30), the Adam Meckler Orchestra (3:00) and Doug Little’s Seven Steps to Havana (4:30). 6428 Manning Ave. N., Stillwater. Free. 

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