MSPIFF dates are announced; Liquid Music brings Anna Meredith and ‘Varmints’ to Aria

Photo by Andrew Lussenhop
The St. Anthony Main Theatre will still be the main festival site, with select shows at the Capri, the Uptown, Metro State’s Film Space in St. Paul and the Galaxy 16 in Rochester.

Film buffs, take a moment to block out these dates on your calendar: Wednesday, April 12 through Friday, April 28. Lock down vacation time, secure babysitters and dog walkers, and don’t plan to leave town. If you’re serious about cinema, you know what this is about: the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival.

One of the longest-running film festivals in the nation, now in its 37th year, MSPIFF can be a marathon of movies. Or you can pick one or two you want to see and leave it at that. Most are films that won’t screen anywhere else in the Twin Cities.

Last year, nearly 50,000 people came to more than 350 films from 72 countries. This year’s films were chosen from screenings at numerous international film festivals and 1,000+ submissions from around the world.

New this year:

  • MSPIFF will add select screenings at Mia. The St. Anthony Main Theatre will still be the main festival site, with select shows at the Capri, the Uptown, Metro State’s Film Space in St. Paul and the Galaxy 16 in Rochester.
  • The focus this year will be on Chinese cinema. MSPIFF is partnering with Mia’s “Power & Beauty in China’s Last Dynasty” exhibition (which opens this Saturday, Feb. 3) to present films from China there throughout the festival.
  • The 2018 Spotlight program is “Chasms and Bridges,” films and conversations that examine the differences and highlight the similarities among the world’s many populations.

The complete schedule will be announced March 22. Festival passes and 6-packs are on sale now. Individual ticket sales open March 22 to Film Society members, March 29 to the general public.

Flint Hills festival changes name, hours

A popular annual festival will return in June with a slightly different name and new hours, changes aimed at making it even more accessible and family-friendly.

For its 18th year, the Ordway’s Flint Hills International Children’s Festival will become the Flint Hills Family Festival, start on a Friday evening, June 1 (4-8 p.m.) and continue on Saturday, June 2 (10 a.m.-8 p.m.). The festival will not take place on Sunday this year.

The focus will stay international. Along with free outdoor performances, crafts, public art and activities, and food trucks, there will be four indoor shows at famously inexpensive Flint Festival ticket prices: $8 per seat, with some pay-what-you-can performances on Saturday.

This year’s indoor shows are “Moon Mouse: A Space Odyssey,” a cosmic adventure about celebrating differences; “Tetris,” a real-life Tetris game featuring four dancers; “Moona Luna,” with danceable tunes in Spanish and English; and “Panda’s Home,” an imaginary journey through dance and sound, led by an adorable panda bear. FMI, times and tickets, on sale now.

Talk of the Stacks lineup announced

Identity, ancestry, and citizenship will be the topics of this year’s Talk of the Stacks, the award-winning author series presented each year by Friends of the Hennepin County Library.

On Tuesday, Feb. 27: In conversation, Alicia Eler, Stephanie Glaros and Stephanie Curtis will explore identity as it relates to digital media. Eler is the Star Tribune’s visual art critic/reporter and author of “The Selfie Generation.” Glaros’ habit of asking strangers on the street if she could take their picture evolved into her blog, “Humans of Minneapolis,” and book by that title. Curtis is the senior producer for MPR’s “The Thread” and co-host of “The Cube Critics,” a weekly film review podcast.

On Tuesday, April 24: Alex Wagner will present “Futureface: A Family Mystery, an Epic Quest, and the Secret to Belonging,” a journey into her own ancestry and the ways race and immigration define the American experience.

Tracy K. Smith
Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths
Tracy K. Smith will dissect the nature of citizenship as she discusses her latest collection, “Wade in the Water.”

On Wednesday, May 16: Tracy K. Smith, U.S. Poet Laureate, Pulitzer Prize winner for “Life on Mars” and Graywolf author will dissect the nature of citizenship as she discusses her latest collection, “Wade in the Water,” due out in April.

All Talk of the Stacks events are held in Pohlad Hall at the Minneapolis downtown library. All are free, and seating is first come, first served. Doors at 6:15 p.m., programs at 7. Book sales and signings follow the presentations.

The picks

Starts today (Friday, Feb. 2) at the Film Society’s St. Anthony Main Theatre: “Django.” While Nazis persecute Romanis and condemn jazz as degenerate, guitarist Django Reinhardt performs to sold-out crowds in occupied Paris. Reda Kateb (“Zero Dark Thirty”) stars as Reinhardt in Etienne Comar’s film, which plays fast and loose with facts but still tells a good story.  FMI including times, tickets and trailer.

Tonight at House of Hope Presbyterian Church: The Singers Community Sing 2018: John Rutter’s “Requiem.” Join the Singers, the House of Hope Motet Choir, organist Aaron David Miller, and a chamber orchestra in a performance of Rutter’s “Requiem,” written in memory of his father. Conducted by Matthew Culloton, this will be a moving and memorable evening. Scores will be provided, or bring one if you have one. 7 p.m. Free. No registration required.

Opens tonight at Art House North: “ ’Til Death: A Marriage Musical.” Starring real-life married couples Jeremiah and Vanessa Gamble (19 years) and Damian and Anna Leverett (three years), this musical comedy is a Valentine’s seasonal staple. Stuck in a tiny cabin together, Ethan and Olivia are going through a marital midlife crisis; Leslie and Freddie are on their honeymoon. Will their marriages last the weekend? Written by the Gambles, this popular show returns for its seventh straight year. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($22-27); includes coffee and cupcakes. Pay-what-you-can on Monday, Feb. 12. Through Feb. 24.

Monday and Tuesday at the Playwrights’ Center: “Three Quarter Inches of Sky.” Madge Darlington directs Barbara Chisholm , Jim Lichtscheidl  and Sophina Saggau in a reading of core writer Sherry Kramer’s new play, a meditation on memory and the lives we live on our screens. As Trula, a woman of a certain age, cares for her father, whose memory is fading, she searches through her own memories for a way to understand her life. Part of the Ruth Easton New Play Series. 7 p.m. Free. FMI and reservations.

Anna Meredith
Photo by Anna Victoria Best
Anna Meredith performs Wednesday at Aria as a part of the SPCO’s Liquid Music series.

Wednesday at Aria: Liquid Music: Anna Meredith: “Varmints.” Pitchfork described British composer and producer Anna Meredith’s “Nautilus” as “designed to pummel and intimidate listeners” and “monstrous in scale,” and Meredith herself as sounding “drunk on power and spoiling for a fight.” “Nautilus” is the title track on her acclaimed debut album “Varmints” (2016). A maximalist composer and multi-instrumentalist with a classical background who also plays pop, electronic and IDM (intelligent dance music), Meredith is a perfect fit for the SPCO’s genre-indifferent Liquid Music series curated by Kate Nordstrum, who knows all the cool people. 7 p.m. FMI and tickets ($25/20).

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