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The best things in Twin Cities arts in the next two weeks, Part 1

Hautman brothers’ duck-stamp paintings on display; a Lesley Nneka Arimah reading; SPCO season opener; the American Pottery Festival; and more.

2017-2018 Federal Duck Stamp by James Hautman
Courtesy of USFWS
2017-2018 Federal Duck Stamp by James Hautman

Another summer is ending (sad!), but we love this time of year. Arts organizations big and small are gearing up for their new seasons. They’re getting ready to burst through the gates and show us what they’ve got. So – what kind of arts columnist doof takes an extended break in September?

We’ll be off starting Friday, Sept. 8, returning Wednesday, Sept. 20. But we’re leaving you with a two-part list of superpicks – things to do, see and hear from now until then. (Part 2 will appear on Wednesday.)

Thursday, Sept. 7: Hautman brothers opening reception

Movies have the Oscars, music has the Grammys, and wildlife art has the Federal Duck Stamp contest, run by the Fish and Wildlife Service. It’s the only juried art competition sponsored by the federal government, and winners become superstars overnight in the wildlife world. The Hautman brothers are Minnesota’s own Duck Dynasty, winning the competition 12 times in the past 28 years. All 12 of their winning original paintings will be on display, plus 50 new paintings by the brothers, who will be on hand to greet visitors and sign merch.

When, where & how much? Registration starts at 6 p.m., reception at 6:30. In the Reedy Gallery at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. $30 members/$40 non-members. FMI.

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Friday, Sept. 8: Opening reception for Erik Madigan Heck: Old Future

Born in Excelsior, Minnesota, based in Connecticut and New York City, Heck is one of today’s most successful and prolific fashion photographers. He believes that all photographers should learn art history, and his own brilliant, gorgeous work proves how right he is. Heck will be present. 6-8 p.m. The show stays up through Oct. 20. Related: Fashion Week Minnesota starts Thursday, Feb. 7.

When, where & how much? 6-8 p.m. at the Weinstein Gallery. Free. FMI.

Friday, Sept. 8: Joan Osborne sings Bob Dylan

The multiplatinum recording artist is touring behind her new album, “Joan Osborne: Songs of Bob Dylan,” which goes beyond covers to her own personal interpretations of classics like “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35,” “Highway 61 Revisited” and “Masters of War.”

When, where & how much? 7:30 p.m. at the O’Shaughnessy. This concert is part of the Women of Substance series. $22-47. FMI.

Friday through Sunday, Sept. 8-10: American Pottery Festival

Handmade pots are a big deal in Minnesota for several reasons, including the tremendous influence of Warren MacKenzie, the internationally renowned potter who established a studio in Stillwater in 1952; MacKenzie’s many students; the annual St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour, which just had its 25th anniversary (a related exhibit at the Weisman, “A Culture of Pots,” closes Saturday, Sept. 10); and Northern Clay Center, a national center for the ceramic arts established in 1990. This is NCC’s annual shebang, a three-day fundraising benefit, sale, and celebration of clay, with 1,500 pots by 25 leading artists from across the nation, including Sarah Chenoweth-Davis, Suze Lindsay and Jeff Oestreich.

When, where & how much? 6-9 p.m. Friday at Northern Clay Center: Opening night party and benefit sale, $25. Saturday and Sunday show and sale, $5. Workshop passes available. FMI.

Monday, Sept. 11: Charmin Michelle sings Billie Holiday with Sam Miltich

One of the Twin Cities’ finest singers, Michelle is often compared to Holiday for her relaxed, easy delivery and deep sense of jazz. She’s been performing a lot with Northern Minnesota-based guitar phenom Sam Miltich, and theirs is a true class act: sympatico, affectionate and richly musical.

Sam Miltich and Charmin Michell
MinnPost photo by John Whiting
Sam Miltich and Charmin Michelle

When, where & how much? 7:30 p.m. in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners, where people actually listen to the music. $15. FMI and tickets.

Thursday, Sept. 14: Lesley Nneka Arimah reading

Born in the UK, Arimah describes herself as “awkward before it was cool” and “Nigerian … ish.” Her still-new debut short story collection, “What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky” (2017), earned dream buzz and lofty praise from places like the New York Times, plus it won a 2017 O. Henry Prize. And she teaches right here at the U of M in the creative writing program.

When, where & how much? 7 p.m. at the Weisman Art Museum. Free. FMI.

Friday through Sunday, Sept. 15-17: The SPCO season opener

The SPCO wants you to share their passion for great music. It’s bending over backwards to make it easy by offering low ticket prices, performing in neighborhoods all around the Twin Cities, and putting many live concerts online for free streaming. The season opener includes Beethoven’s “Triple Concerto,” spotlighting SPCO associate concertmaster Ruggero Allifranchini, principal cello Julie Albers and American pianist Orion Weiss in his SPCO debut. Also on the program: Jessie Montgomery’s multicultural take on “The Star Spangled Banner,” with guest artists Catalyst Quartet, and Ginastera’s “Variaciones concertantes,” where all the different instruments of the chamber orchestra take solo turns.

When, where & how much? 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday in the Ordway Concert Hall. $12-50. Kids and students free. FMI.

Friday and Saturday, Sept. 15 and 16: Illuminate the Lock

The Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock & Dam closed to traffic in 2015, a casualty of invasive carp. It reopened in 2016 as a public attraction, with a visitor center and daily tours offered by the National Park Service. For two weekends in September, the 49-foot-tall chamber will be a canvas for experimental artworks. Sept. 15-16 will feature “Surface” by artist Aaron Dysart, a lightshow displaying the lock’s 52-year operating history using handwritten data recorded by Army Corps of Engineers staff. Sept. 29-30 will be “The Uncompromising Hand” by artist Andrea Carlson, a hand-drawn animation based on photographs of Spirit Island, a Dakota sacred site dismantled between the 1890s and 1960s.

When, where & how much? 8-10:30 p.m. all four nights at the Lock & Dam. Free. FMI.

Saturday, Sept. 16: Third Annual Lantern Lighting Celebration

A touching and beautiful way to remember loved ones you’ve lost, in community with others. More than 650 people turned out last year, kids and grownups, to the park-like setting tucked between Lakes Harriet and Calhoun/Bde Maka Ska. There will be live music, and food trucks, and art supplies for creating personal messages on your lantern, and when the sun goes down and the lanterns are lit and floating on the lake, it will be awesome. Bring Kleenex; there’s a bagpiper.

2016 Lantern Lighting
Courtesy of Lakewood Cemetery
2016 Lantern Lighting

When, where & how much? 5-8 p.m. at Lakewood Cemetery. Free, with $5 donation requested. Please register to reserve a lantern.