Last Oct. 2, Richard Painter – former chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, current S. Walter Richey Professor of Corporate Law at the University of Minnesota Law School – kicked off The Theater of Public Policy’s fall season at the Bryant Lake Bowl. An evening of comedy improv and witty, erudite commentary, it was enlightening and massively entertaining.
On April 2, Painter will return for the start of T2P2’s spring season. Earlier this month, he announced that he’s considering a run for Senate – specifically, Al Franken’s former seat, currently held by Democratic Sen. Tina Smith. Will he or won’t he commit? More to the point, will he use his BLB appearance to let us know? T2P2 is sure hoping he will. As unlikely as it seems, it’s worth showing up to find out.
In case you haven’t yet gone to a T2P2 show, it’s a smart, fun way to learn about important issues affecting our lives today. It starts with a member of the T2P2 team interviewing an expert on a public policy issue. The interviewer is most often T2P2 co-founder Tane Danger, a Gustavus grad who turned a 2014 Bush fellowship into a master’s degree in public policy from the Humphrey School. The interviewee can be anyone. (Public figures have learned to trust that a T2P2 appearance is not a roast or a shaming.) After the interview, the T2P2 troupe turns information gleaned from that into a comedy improv show. The evening ends with a moderated audience Q&A. [Disclosure: MinnPost is a media sponsor of the T2P2 season.]
The whole season was announced over the weekend: nine events, all Mondays in April and May. Other guests will include Jacob Frey, the newly elected mayor of Minneapolis (April 16), a double bill of Capitol reporter and TPT “Almanac” anchor Mary Lahammer and MinnPost’s state government reporter Briana Bierschbach (April 23), and meteorologist Paul Douglas (May 14). In a wry twist T2P2 probably enjoyed, the season will end (May 28) with a pair of end-of-life planners, Bush Fellow Brenda Hartman and emergency physician Ann McIntosh.
Chopin Society announces 2018-19 season
Once upon a time in classical music, pianists were also composers, and they performed their own compositions. Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven, Liszt, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, and more recently Ravel, Stravinsky, and Shostakovich gave concerts of their works. So did Frédéric Chopin, for whom the Chopin Society was named. Today it’s tough to name more than a handful of these artists. Stephen Hough, Philip Glass, Mark-André Hamelin … who else?
For its 36th season, announced over the weekend, the Society will add something new to its mix of internationally known piano talents. Its lineup for 2018-19, and for several seasons after, will include a modern-day composer pianist. To start things off, they’re bringing in Russian American Lera Auerbach.
The Loft might want to get in on this, and an area gallery; Auerbach is also a poet and visual artist. (And a playwright, librettist, author and lecturer.) She has published more than 100 works for opera, ballet, orchestral and chamber music. She has won several important prizes. The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, named her a Young Global Leader (2007) and a Cultural Leader (2014). She has published several books of poetry, writing in Russian and English. Her paintings, sculptures and drawings have been featured in exhibitions around the world.
Auerbach has often been called a Renaissance woman, and no wonder. Geez. Pulled in many artistic directions, excelling at all, Auerbach once told an interviewer, “It’s not an easy way to live. It’s not something I recommend. At the same time, it’s my choice not to limit myself.” Her Chopin Society performance on Feb. 24, 2019, will include “Pictures for the 21st Century,” her newest composition, and Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” which inspired it.
As we’ve come to expect from the Chopin Society, the rest of the season will also be stellar. On Oct. 14, 2018: Ukraine-born, Moscow-educated Vadym Kholodenko, who won the Gold Medal and several other top prizes at the 2013 Van Cliburn Competition. Nov. 11: Israeli pianist Shai Wosner, who was here just last week with violinist Jennifer Koh on the Schubert Club’s International Artist Series. This will be his second solo appearance with the Chopin Society. March 31, 2019: Minneapolis native Kenny Broberg. In February, the 24-year-old, 2017 Cliburn Competition silver medalist filled in for flu-struck André Watts at a Minnesota Orchestra subscription concert. It was a “highly auspicious debut.” The season wraps on May 5 with Moscow-born, Israeli-trained Boris Giltburg, Rachmaninoff specialist and first prize winner at the 2013 Queen Elisabeth competition in Brussels.
All in all, an exciting season. Concerts take place Sundays at 3 p.m. in Macalester’s Mairs Concert Hall. More details and ticketing information will be posted on the Society’s website in May.
Tonight (Wednesday, March 28) at the Dakota: Patricia Barber. Barber is not just the rare woman in jazz; she’s the rare gay and out woman in jazz, with several fine albums to her credit and a weekly gig at Chicago’s Green Mill for 20 years and counting. The moody, contemplative, cool-as-ice pianist/composer/singer/songwriter hasn’t been to the Dakota for a while. We always enjoy her artistry and her poetic, nuanced lyrics. She’ll bring her own trio, with Patrick Mulcahy on bass and Jon Deitemyer on drums. 7 p.m. FMI and tickets ($30-40).
Thursday at Mia: DJ Savarese. Rain Taxi and the Autism Society of America have teamed up to present an evening you won’t forget. Poet DJ Savarese has autism and can’t speak. Abandoned by his birth parents, adopted by a loving family, he found a life in words, typing on a text-to-voice synthesizer, confronting society’s obstacles to inclusion, and dreaming of college. The program includes a screening of the feature film “Deej,” which he wrote; poems from his just-published chapbook “A Doorknob for an Eye”; a Q&A with DJ; and work by two Minnesota poets with autism, siblings Meghana and Chetan Junnuru. 6:30 p.m. FMI and reservations. Free. Here’s the trailer for “Deej.”
Thursday at the Walker: Native Arts Panel. Have we ever talked more about Native arts? Thanks, sort of, to last year’s Scaffold controversy and the Jimmie Durham show, the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, the rise of activism and the rapidly growing lack of tolerance for marginalization and misappropriation, conversations are happening – online, among peers, and in live panels across the country. Moderated by Dyani White Hawk, the Walker’s will include artist Nicholas Galanin and three curators and writers: Steven Loft, Ashley Holland and Candice Hopkins. 7 p.m. in the cinema. Free.
Starts Thursday at the Heights: The Minneapolis Hitchcock Festival. Hitchcock’s films never get old. They get better, deeper and creepier. See for yourself at this annual retrospective, curated by the Trylon and split between the larger Heights and the Riverview theaters. This year’s films include “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” “Vertigo,” “Rear Window,” and “Notorious.” Thursdays at the Heights, Mondays at the Riverview. Complete schedule here. Ends May 21.
Thursdays through Sundays at the Gremlin: Theatre Unbound: “Measure for Measure.” The women’s theater planned to present Christina Ham’s “A Wives’ Tale” starting March 24. But the rewrites weren’t finished in time, so that play was postponed. In its place: a “Measure for Measure” for the #MeToo era, adapted by Shakespeare expert Kate Powers, who also directs. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. FMI and tickets ($18-22; Sunday is pay-what-you-can). Ends April 8.