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TPT to launch new free TV channel for kids; Walker to hold weekend open house

ALSO: Lowertown Reading Jam at the Black Dog; Nathaniel Fuller and Stephen Yoakam to play Lear at Guthrie; Paisley Park plans four-day “Celebration 2017”; and more.

Kids can watch ‘Splash & Bubbles,’ a new series from the Jim Henson Company, on a new TPT kids channel starting in January.
Courtesy of Jim Henson Company

According to the Nielsen company, which measures these things, PBS stations reach more 2- to 5-year-olds than any other kids’ TV network. They reach more moms with children under 6 and more children from low-income families. TPT, aka Twin Cities PBS, which already devotes more than one-third of its broadcast hours to educational programs for children, is poised to do even more.

Starting Monday, Jan. 16 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day, when kids are home from school and itching for something to do – TPT will launch a new free TV channel for kids, along with a live stream watchable at the PBS KIDS website and at the PBS KIDS video app, which is available on tablets and platforms including Roku, Apple TV, and Xbox One.

The TV channel will broadcast PBS KIDS shows 24/7. The live stream will complement the on-demand clips and episodes available at the PBS KIDS website and the video app. After the launch, the live stream will expand to include a games feature that lets kids toggle between PBS KIDS shows and activities that extend learning.

Also in 2017, TPT will offer new STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) content, a new national children’s show currently in development for PBS and more family events in its Street Space. Earlier this year, TPT received a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to support its SciGirls CONNECT project, which includes the Emmy-winning show “SciGirls.”

‘Celebration 2017’ set for Paisley Park in April

Paisley Park on Tuesday announced a big purple save-the-date(s) event for Prince fans with deep pockets: a four-day “Celebration 2017” to mark the first anniversary of his death. From April 20-23, musicians, guests, friends and fans will gather at the estate in Chanhassen for concerts, panel discussions and presentations.

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“Celebration 2017” continues a tradition begun by Prince himself with “Prince: A Celebration,” a weeklong event held at Paisley Park in 2000, followed by “Prince: A Celebration ‘The Rainbow Children’ ” in 2001 and “Xenophobia” in 2002.

Bands set to perform so far include The Revolution, Morris Day and The Time, and members of the New Power Generation and 3RDEYEGIRL. More guests and details will be announced in the coming weeks.

On sale now at the website, four-day General Admission passes are $499, VIP passes are $999. Individual day passes are not available at this time.

Effective tomorrow (Thursday, Dec. 1), Paisley Park will boost its programming with new options. VIP tour ticket holders will be able to record live vocals over a short segment of a Prince song in the Studio B control room, then take the live mix home on USB. “Paisley Park After Dark” events on Fridays and Saturdays will feature dance parties, Prince movies and performance footage. Guests will be able to stay at Paisley Park until 11 p.m. The first “After Dark” happens this Friday. 

Two actors to play Lear

The Guthrie announced yesterday that two actors will play the title role of “King Lear” in its upcoming production, which opens Feb. 11 on the thrust stage.

Staying close to home, the theater has tapped two veterans who have acted in many Guthrie shows: Nathaniel Fuller and Stephen Yoakam. Fuller most recently appeared in “Trouble in Mind,” Yoakam in “The Crucible.” Fuller’s résumé includes more than 80 Guthrie productions, Yoakam’s more than 75.

This will be the first time the Guthrie has double cast a major adult role.

In a statement, Artistic Director Joseph Haj acknowledged the “rich, deep pool of fine actors who have made their artistic lives here in the Twin Cities” and praised Fuller and Yoakam as “two of our community’s greatest talents.” Haj will direct the play.

The actors will alternate performances as Lear. When they’re not wearing the crown, they will shift to supporting roles. Yes, you’ll be able to choose the performance – and the actor – you want to see. It will be oh so very tempting to see both Fuller and Yoakam in the lead.

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The Guthrie last staged Shakespeare’s play about the king who divides his kingdom and loses his mind in the 1974-75 season.

The picks

Tonight (Wednesday, Nov. 30) at the Black Dog: Lowertown Reading Jam. After October’s jam packed the newly renovated (and bigger) Black Dog, the popular event returns for “Black Poets on Black Magic – Joy & Survival.” Keno Evol, founder and executive director of Black Table Arts, has invited a group of seven poets to an evening of “conjuring and creation as we travel to other worlds in Black time and Black space.” Participants include Donte Collins, a recent winner of the Most Promising Young Poet Award from the Academy of American Poets. 7:30 p.m. Free.

Courtesy of the artist
Sinne Eeg

Tonight at Crooners: Sinne Eeg. A star in Scandinavia, Sinne Eeg (SEE-neh EE) is a classic (and classy) jazz singer; steeped in Nancy Wilson, Betty Carter and Sarah Vaughan, she was a finalist in this year’s Sarah Vaughan Jazz Vocal Competition, held earlier this month in Newark. Her current U.S. tour brings her to the Dunsmore Room at Crooners for a single show. Will she ever return? Why take the chance? 7 p.m. Tickets here ($25/$50 dinner show).  

Thursday at the U’s Continuing Education and Conference Center: Headliners: “One for the Record Books: 2016 Election Results and the Implications for Governing.” Associate professor of political science Kathryn Pearson will guide us through the post-election, pre-inauguration terrain and its implications for governing in the years to come. Because someone has to. On the St. Paul campus. 7 p.m. FMI and registration ($20).

Thursday at the Humphrey School: Beth Dooley and J. Ryan Stradal: “Farm Fields, Gardens, Kitchens and Libraries of the Great Midwest.” This is the University Libraries’ 3rd Annual Kirschner Lecture, which makes it sound all stuffy and boring, but we’re pretty sure it won’t be. “Kirschner” is for the U’s ginormous Kirschner Cookbook Collection (3,500+ titles), which began in 1995 with a donation from St. Paulite Doris Schechter Kirschner. Beth Dooley is a food writer (“In Winter’s Kitchen”) and frequent guest on “The Splendid Table” podcast. J. Ryan Stradal is a novelist (“Kitchens of the Great Midwest”). If you’re at all interested in food (duh), this should be great. In the Cowles Auditorium. Dessert reception (yum) and book signing follows. 7 p.m. Free and open to the public, but do register.

Thursday at the Minnesota Transportation Museum: Book launch celebration for “The Ford Century in Minnesota” by Brian McMahon. The book just came out from the U of M press, and McMahon is doing a lot of events, but this one sounds like the most fun and includes a slide show. Doors at 6 p.m., presentation at 7, signing to follow. Free and open to the public, but please RSVP. Here’s MinnPost’s Amy Goetzman on the book. (She also lists other events, if you can’t make it to this one.)

Thursday-Sunday at the Walker: Open House. The Walker’s new main entrance is a thing of beauty, functionality, and good sense. It’s spacious, inviting, light-filled and cool. You want to hang out there, lounging around on a sleek, low-slung sofa or planting yourself on a felted rock. The Walker is throwing its new doors open for four days so we can check it out. At 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Walker ED Olga Viso and the architects from HGA will have a public chat. Thursday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m, Friday-Sunday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Free.