The price tag for the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and Walker campus renovations (including the new entrance pavilion): $75 million. For the Ordway Concert Hall: $42 million. For Orchestra Hall: $55 million. For Northrop: $88 million.
For the Trylon Microcinema: $175,000. Sure, that’s like comparing apples to oranges, or giant pumpkins to pomegranate seeds. But the tiny Trylon’s redo, funded by grants, donations and frugality, will make a big difference to fans of the revival cinema in Minneapolis’ Longfellow neighborhood.
By mid-August, the Trylon will double the size of its auditorium, add 50 seats (bringing the grand total to 100), shift the entrance around the corner from 3258 Minnehaha Ave. to 2820 East 33rd St., add a new lobby and a courtyard, and improve its wheelchair accessibility. The new cinema design was done pro bono by MSR Design (Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle), whose many other projects have included Open Book and the Mill City Museum.
In conversation last week, Executive Director Barry Kryshka pointed to what he calls “customer psychology improvements.” Like an awning over the door with a new Trylon sign. A show times board. “More room for people to loiter.” And they’re dropping the “micro” from “cinema.” Ignore that part of the architects’ rendering above.
Begun in 2009 by Kryshka and other expats from the Oak Street Cinema, the beloved single-screen movie house in Stadium Village that was demolished in 2011, the Trylon screens classic and indie films six nights a week year-round. Operated by Take-Up Productions, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, it is supported by what Kryshka terms “the three-legged stool of nonprofitness: individual donors, some grant income, and volunteers.” Lots of volunteers, working many hours. “It’s definitely the difference between being viable and nonviable.”
We count on the Trylon for classic films, interesting series, and monthly screenings by Sound Unseen, which specializes in music films and has its own annual festival. The theater has both 35mm film and DCP digital projection capability.
Between tomorrow (Thursday, June 1) and June 15, when the theater will close for renovations, it will squeeze in an evening with experimental animator and video artist Margaret Polzine and performance artist/puppeteer Felice Amato, a mystery Roger Corman film, the rarely screened Prince film, “Sign ‘O’ the Times,” two already sold-out nights of Sound Unseen’s “L7: Pretend We’re Dead” and the first part of a meta series called “The Cinema in Film” – movies set against the backdrop of movie theaters. Its grand reopening is scheduled for the weekend of Aug. 18 and will feature Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator” and “The Immigrant,” the latter with a live score by the Poor Nobodys.
Opens tonight (Wednesday, May 31) at Pillsbury House + Theatre: “Pike St.” Actor, playwright, and teaching artist Nilaja Sun has appeared on the big screen (“The Bourne Legacy”), the smaller screen (as Irene in “30 Rock” and Juliet in “Madame Secretary”) and on stage in her Obie-winning one-woman play “No Child ….” In her latest solo show, “Pike St.,” Sun portrays three generations of a Puerto Rican family on Manhattan’s Lower East Side as they prepare for a hurricane. The Washington Post called her D.C. performance “one of the greatest acts of humanity you’re likely to see.” 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($25 or pick-your-price from $5-20).
Tonight at the Dakota: Chris Potter Quartet. The stellar saxophonist and his latest quartet – Cuban American pianist David Virelles, bassist Joe Martin and drummer Marcus Gilmore – have a new album on ECM, “The Dreamer Is the Dream,” and it’s so good. Potter doesn’t touch down in the Twin Cities often enough; was the last time during the 2015 Twin Cities Jazz Festival, with Dave Holland? An in-demand musician since his late teens, with many recordings as leader and side man, Potter is consistently ranked among the top tenor saxophonists in jazz today. On “Dreamer,” he also plays soprano sax, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute and ilimba – African thumb piano. And he wrote all the music. 7 and 9 p.m. FMI and tickets ($20-30).
Thursday at the MPLS Photo Center: Terry Gydesen Artist Talk. Minneapolis-based photographer Gydesen’s latest show, “Transitions, a Daughter’s Journey,” spans four years of caring for and documenting her father’s slow decline from Alzheimer’s, her parents’ inevitable move out of their family home to assisted living, and her father’s death in 2015. She’ll talk about that and her earlier work with Jesse Jackson, Paul Wellstone and Prince. 7-9 p.m. Register here ($10; free for members). “Transitions” closes June 9.
Thursday through Saturday at the Southern: 2017 Altered Esthetics Film Festival. Now in its fourth year, the Ae Film Fest showcases experimental short films by local, national and international artists, with an emphasis on Minnesota-made projects and a commitment to cultural, gender and racial diversity. This year’s theme is “Unravel/Reclaim.” Featured artists include Nik Nerburn, whose “13 Roads in Otter Tail County” will screen on Thursday and whose documentary “Prairie Dreamers,” about five years of Springboard for the Arts in Fergus Falls, will screen Saturday. There will be five screening events, with live performances and discussions, each about 2 hrs. long. Schedule and tickets here ($5-24 pick-your price; ARTshare members free).
Friday at the Ted Mann: Humphrey School Presents an Evening with Sen. Al Franken. In his interview with MinnPost’s Sam Brodey, Franken says, rather wistfully, that it was “adorable” that people used to care when people lied. He also insists he has no plans to run for higher office. His new book, “Giant of the Senate,” will be hot off the presses at this talk and signing event, moderated by professor Larry Jacobs. Doors at 6:30 p.m., event at 7:30 p.m. Free and open to the public, but registration is requested. Rush line seating will be available at the door if space allows. Tip: If you can’t make it Friday or can’t get in but you really want a signed book, Franken will sign more copies Sunday, June 4, at Common Good Books starting at 1 p.m.
Friday through Sunday: 51st Edina Art Fair. Billing itself as “the first official art fair of the year,” Edina is a big one. Some 280 local, national and international artists fill the streets and parking lots of downtown Edina, drawing crowds of patrons starved for art after the long, cold winter. It’s not just about shopping; the fair also offers live music, wine, craft beer gardens, a cocktail garden, a Kids Zone and activities. The nearby streets fill quickly with cars. Avoid the parking hassle and take the free shuttle from the southwest side of Southdale Center, by the water tower. On Saturday at 5:30 p.m. on the US Bank Music Stage, Paisley Park will present DJ Michael Holtz and an hour of Prince music. Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free. FMI.