After a longer than usual absence from your teevee, “Minnesota Original” is back. For its ninth broadcast season, which starts Sunday, Oct. 14, the arts and culture series seen on TPT and funded by Legacy dollars has rebranded and repositioned itself as bigger than broadcast.
The former “mn o” logo is now a bold “MNO,” sometimes in white and shades of gray, sometimes in color, with the O a bit lower than the MN, like a camera lens or an O of surprise. Formerly planned and created for broadcast, then moved to the web, all segments are now digital first and curated later to air as episodes.
The three segments in the first episode of season 9 are already at the Twin Cities PBS Originals website, along with others that will air in future episodes. They’re side-by-side with selections from “Almanac,” TPT documentaries, and other TPT series, projects and initiatives including “The Wrap,” “America From Scratch,” “Citizen Lane,” “In It Together,” Next Avenue and Rewire.
You’ll find the MNO segments under Arts, along with what everyone these days calls “value-added content,” or text provided by the producers. Nearly all of the MNO segments at Twin Cities PBS Originals are new.
But wait! Since the show launched in 2010, hundreds of segments featuring thousands of artists across disciplines, practices and genres have been filmed. And they have all been accessible on the web, a vast archive of the arts in Minnesota for fans to enjoy, writers to research and artists to use. Several artists have experienced the MNO bump in attention and sales.
So, where did seasons 1-8 go? They’re still where they used to be – as segments and full episodes, all searchable by artist. Eventually, everything MNO will be in the same place.
By going digital first and not being driven by a broadcast schedule, TPT is able to spend more time with artists, to follow and work with them over longer periods, to do bigger projects and tell better stories. MNO has increasingly been about stories – artists as people, their lives, why they do what they do, what they’re saying. Art comes from the heart, and MNO covers both.
MNO is something no other state has. The new season debuts on Sunday at 6 p.m. on TPT 2. Here’s a preview.
Two Minnesota publishers, three National Book Award finalists
When the National Book Award long lists were announced in September, five books from three Minnesota publishers were in the running: Jos Charles’ “feeld” (Milkweed Editions), Justin Phillip Reed’s “Indecency” (Coffee House Press) and Jenny Xie’s “Eye Level” (Graywolf) for poetry; Jamel Brinkley’s “A Lucky Man” (Graywolf) for fiction; and Heather Cleary’s translation of Roque Larraquy’s “Comemadre” for translated literature.
Three of the five books have moved on to the finals, announced Wednesday: Brinkley’s “A Lucky Man” and Xie’s “Eye Level” (both Graywolf) and Reed’s “Indecency” (Coffee House).
We’ll learn who the winners are on Nov. 14.
Opens today (Friday, Oct. 12) at the Science Museum’s Omnitheater: “Living in the Age of Airplanes.” Filmed in 18 countries across all seven continents, narrated by Harrison Ford, actor and pilot, this is definitely one to see on a giant screen. Flying today is a drag in many ways, from endless fees to shrinking bathrooms, but it’s still a freaking miracle that we travel through the air at all. Let this National Geographic film restore your wonder and awe, if only until your next trip through airport security. FMI, times and tickets. Ends Jan. 3.
Saturday at the Anahata Collaborative: Visitor. Decades after playing 1960s-influenced free jazz at places like the Walker and John Cage’s Music Circus at Butler Square, Timothy Kane (drums, woodwinds), Keith Miller (tuba, drums) and Kurt Wenzel (modified trumpet) have returned to free improvisation in response to a political and cultural climate mirroring that of the early 1970s. 2836 Lyndale Ave. S. 8-9:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($15).
Monday at Icehouse: Jakob Bro Trio with Joey Baron and Thomas Morgan. It should be a night of pin-drop quiet as everyone leans forward to hear this longtime working trio play their subtle, mesmerizing music. Danish guitarist Bro, a former member of the Paul Motian & The Electric Bebop Band, has made 15 albums as a leader. Baron spent 10 years with Bill Frisell and another four with John Abercrombie. Morgan has worked with Frisell, Motian, Lee Konitz and many others. They’re touring behind “Bay of Rainbows,” their latest album for ECM, recorded live at the Jazz Standard in New York. Here’s a teaser. 9:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($20 advance/$25 door).
Tuesday at the Westminster Town Hall Forum: Mona Hatta-Attisha: “What We Can Learn from Flint, Michigan.” The daughter of Iraqi immigrants, Hanna-Attisha is the pediatrician in Flint who discovered lead in the water and proved that children were being exposed to it. She’s written a memoir, “What the Eyes Don’t See.” Music at 11:30 a.m., program at noon. 1200 Marquette Ave. in Minneapolis. FMI. Free.
Tuesday at Summit Brewery Ratskeller Hall: “What Is Public Art Today and Why Does It Matter?” Public Art Saint Paul’s annual Distinguished Public Artist Program brings together three important artists for lively conversation. This year’s guests are environmental artist and activist Christine Baeumler (“Bee Real Bee Everywhere”), multidisciplinary artist Seitu Jones and photographer/cultural convener Wing Young Huie. Jones was the 2017 McKnight Distinguished Artist; Huie won that honor in 2018. PASP Executive Director Colleen Sheehy will moderate. 910 Montreal Circle, St. Paul. Reception and art activities from 5:30-7 p.m., program from 7-8:30. FMI. Free.
Since February 2018, youth from the Rondo community have been learning documentary and production skills from experts. Their film, “Rondo: Beyond the Pavement,” collects and preserves the historical memory of a neighborhood destroyed by the I-94 highway. Presented by Saint Paul Almanac in partnership with Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) and High School for Recording Arts, it will screen on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 4:30 at SPNN. Free, but please RSVP.