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2 Minneapolis artists named USA Fellows; ‘A Little Night Music’ to open at the Ritz

ALSO: Roman Verostko retrospective at MCAD; SPCO plays Haydn; a Michael Bazzett reading; and more.

Painter and mixed-media artist Dyani White Hawk is a new USA Fellow in visual art.
Photo by David Ellis

United States Artists has announced the winners of its coveted 2019 USA Fellowships, $50,000 unrestricted awards “recognizing artists for their contributions to the field, and allowing them to decide how to best support their lives.” In other words, no strings.

Lesley Nneka Arimah
Photo by Emily Baxter
Lesley Nneka Arimah
Two Minneapolis artists are among the winners. Painter and mixed-media artist Dyani White Hawk is a new USA Fellow in visual art, fiction writer Lesley Nneka Arimah in writing.

Other names on the 2019 list will be familiar to fans of the SPCO’s Liquid Music, the Walker’s Performing Arts series and Icehouse, because the artists have appeared thanks to them: avant-pop musician and performer Helado Negro, multi-instrumentalist and composer Roscoe Mitchell and vocalist and composer Jen Shyu.

Previous Minnesota USA Fellows are Frank Big Bear, Jonathan Muecke, Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands, Ranee Ramaswamy, Mary Ellen Childs, Morgan Thorson, Carlyle Brown, Siah Armajani, Michael Sommers, Dominique Serrand, Sandra Benitez and Susan Power.

Our mighty indie literary publishers

PEN America has announced the finalists for its 2019 Literary Awards, and two Twin Cities publishers have books in the running.

Ada Limón’s “The Carrying: Poems,” published by Milkweed Editions, is up for the $75,000 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award. Graywolf Press is the publisher of three finalists: Jamel Brinkley’s “A Lucky Man,” for the $25,000 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection; Jenny Xie’s “Eye Level,” for the $5,000 Open Book Award; and Bernardo Atzaga’s “Nevada Days,” translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa, for the $3,000 Translation Prize.

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Books from Milkweed and Graywolf are up for prestigious (but cashless) National Book Critics Circle Awards. Ada Limón’s “The Carrying: Poems” is also a finalist for the NBCC award in poetry. Anna Burns’ “Milkman,” published by Graywolf, won the Man Booker Prize in October; it’s a finalist in fiction. A second Graywolf title on the NBCC list is Diane Seuss’ “Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl,” a finalist in poetry.

The PEN winners will be announced Feb. 24, the NBCC’s March 14 in ceremonies in New York City.

The picks

Tonight at the Powderhorn Rec Center: Minneapolis Art Lending Library Winter Lending Event. Swing by, browse over 100 original works of art, and take one home for three months, for free. The Minneapolis Art Lending Library (MALL) collection features mostly work from Twin Cities artists: paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, ceramics, and sculptures. Here’s a video about MALL from TPT. 5-8 p.m. FMI. Free. If you’re a first-timer, be sure to bring proof of your current address. You’ll need to sign a borrower agreement. That’s all.

"Cloud of Unknowing," Roman Verostko
Courtesy of MCAD
"Cloud of Unknowing," Roman Verostko
Tonight at the MCAD Gallery: Artist reception for “Roman Verostko and the Cloud of Unknowing: From Ideas in Mind to Ideas in Code.” Most artists working in generative, algorithmic art came from engineering and computer science backgrounds; Verostko was a Benedictine monk. An emeritus professor at MCAD who taught for 26 years, he’ll be present for this major retrospective of more than 70 original works. A 168-page exhibition catalog will be available. 6-8 p.m. FMI. Free. Closes Feb. 24. A panel discussion on Tuesday, Feb. 19, will feature Verostko, Grant D. Taylor, and Christine Paul in conversation with Northern’s Steve Dietz.

Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw in a scene from the Split Britches production of "Unexploded Ordnances."
Photo by Stephen King
Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw in a scene from the Split Britches production of "Unexploded Ordnances (UXO)."
Opens tonight in the Guthrie’s Dowling Studio: “Unexploded Ordnances (UXO).” The first play in a miniseries the Guthrie is calling “Part of Get Used To It: A Celebration of Queer Artistry.” A political satire from New York’s gender-bending Split Britches theater company, it explores aging, anxiety and doomsday theory in a “Dr. Strangelove”-inspired “situation room” setting. About 90 minutes, no intermission. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($9). Ends Feb. 10.

Tonight through Sunday at the Ordway Concert Hall: Haydn’s Morning, Noon and Evening Symphonies with Jonathan Cohen. SPCO artistic partner, Baroque specialist, keyboardist and cellist Jonathan Cohen will lead the musicians through the first three pieces of music Haydn wrote for the music-loving Hungarian Prince Esterházy. Haydn wanted to impress his new patron and employer, so all three include virtuosic solo lines for various instruments. The prince must have been very impressed; Haydn remained in his employ for nearly 30 years. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. FMI and tickets ($12-50, kids and students free).

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Opens Saturday at the Ritz: “A Little Night Music.” There’s a lot of excitement swirling around Theater Latté Da’s new production. A half-dozen reasons: 1) Sondheim. 2) Sally Wingert and Mark Benninghofen, together again (remember “Six Degrees of Separation” and “Sweeney Todd”?). 3) This is the one with “Send in the Clowns.” 4) The musical won tons of Tonys. 5) Peter Rothstein directs. 6) It’s a romantic comedy, and we could all use some of that. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($31-51). Ends March 3.

Monday at Edina Morningside Church: Michael Bazzett. The church’s “Morningside After Dark” winter coffeehouse series presents Milkweed author Bazzett, whose free-verse translation of the Mayan origin epic “The Popol Vuh” is a New York Times Best Poetry Book of 2018 and a World Literature Today notable translation. There’ll be a complimentary Caribou coffee bar and treats. 7:30 p.m. Free.

Tuesday at Minneapolis Central Library: Talk of the Stacks with Matthew Desmond. MacArthur Fellow Desmond won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for his painstakingly researched, eye-opening and heartbreaking “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City,” set in Milwaukee in our neighboring state of Wisconsin. Plan to arrive early; a big crowd is expected. Doors at 6:15, program at 7. Free. First come, first served. Overflow seating with live video feed will be available.