Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Icehouse to begin new Monday Night Jazz program

ALSO: A Soap Factory Town Hall Meeting; The Bakken Trio: “Seven Romances” at MacPhail; Nancy Harms at Crooners; and more.

Davu Seru
Drummer Davu Seru’s new quartet, Motherless Dollar, takes the stage Feb. 4 at Icehouse.
MinnPost photo by John Whiting

Weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth followed JT Bates’ Thanksgiving announcement that his Jazz Implosion series would end in late 2018. In a word, we were bummed. For 20 years, give or take, Bates had booked creative, provocative, usually improvised and occasionally head-scratching music on Monday nights, first at the Clown Lounge in the basement of the Turf Club and then at Icehouse. We wondered – now what?

No worries. Brian Liebeck, Icehouse’s authentically big-eared co-owner, already has plans in place starting in February and might add a night or two this month. Though the “JT’s Jazz Implosion” name has been retired like Joe Mauer’s No. 7, “Monday Night Jazz @ Icehouse” will officially begin on Feb. 4, when drummer Davu Seru’s new quartet, Motherless Dollar, takes the stage.

Each month will be curated by a different artist-in-residence. February is Seru’s. In March, Bates returns with four nights of local legends and out-of-towners: Fat Kid Wednesdays (March 4); Mike Sopko, Joe Tomino and Friends (March 11); Sun of Goldfinger with Tim Berne, Ches Smith and David Torn (March 18); and Mike Baggetta, Mike Watt and Stephen Hodges (March 25).

For April, Zacc Harris will curate a Shifting Paradigm Records Showcase featuring artists from the Twin Cities-based collective label he founded and runs. Other months will be curated by Todd Clouser, Dave Power, Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, Bryan Nichols, Chris Hepola, George Cartwright and Dosh, Cody McKinney and Mankwe Ndosi. A sketch of a schedule is live on Icehouse’s website.

Article continues after advertisement

Note the new start time: 8 p.m., not 9:30 p.m., which usually translated into 10 p.m. or 10:30, kind of late for some people on Monday nights. Icehouse will also offer a new dinner and show package. The food is very good.

Submissions are open for the Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry

Formerly the Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry – the name changed when the two law firms Ballard Spahr and Lindquist & Vennum merged in 2018 – the Ballard Spahr is the largest regional poetry prize in the country. The winner receives $10,000 cash and publication by Milkweed Editions, one of the nation’s premiere independent literary publishers, and the book will benefit from national distribution, marketing and publicity.

Any poet at any stage in their career residing in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin or (new this year) Michigan may submit a manuscript. The finalists will be judged by award-winning poet, essayist, translator and MacArthur fellow Khaled Mattawa. Go here to learn more about the prize and previous winners. There is no entry fee.

Bloomington plans new public sculpture, issues RFQ

The City of Bloomington, in partnership with Artistry, is asking experienced public artists to submit their qualifications for the design and installation of a large-scale sculpture to be placed near the intersection of 24th Ave. S. and East 78th St., an entry point into the city’s developing South Loop district.

The South Loop is adjacent to MSP Airport and home to Mall of America, Bloomington Central Station and the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

The total budget for the project is $300,000. The application deadline is Feb. 1, 2019. To learn more and apply, go here, scroll down to Creative Placemaking Projects and click on South Loop Sculpture.

Local artist to paint Dayton’s official portrait

In case you missed this during the holiday break: In March, Mark Dayton told MPR News that he wasn’t interested in having an official portrait painted to hang in the Capitol. He hadn’t thought about it, he wasn’t going to pay for it, and he wasn’t going to ask Minnesotans to pay for it. “If somebody in the future decides they want to do a portrait of me I will send them a Polaroid snapshot,” Dayton said at the time.

Article continues after advertisement

Soon after Christmas, we learned that Dayton had chosen Excelsior-based portrait artist Paul Oxborough to paint him. Oxborough studied at MCAD and the now-defunct Atelier LeSueur in Wayzata. If you’re on Pinterest, you can see a fine collection of Oxborough’s paintings here. Learn more about him here.

The picks

Sunday at MacPhail: The Bakken Trio: “Seven Romances.” The elegant trio’s theme for its 2018-19 concert season is “By the Numbers.” After November’s “Three B’s,” they’ll continue with Sunday’s “Seven Romances,” a program that begins with music by Brahms and ends with Shostakovich’s “Seven Romances on Poems by Alexander Blok” for soprano and piano trio. The trio is Stephanie Arado (violin), Pitnarry Shin (cello) and Michael Kim (piano). With Minnesota native and Los Angeles Opera soprano Liv Redpath. 4 p.m. in Antonello Hall. FMI and tickets ($25-15).

The Theater of Public Policy presents ”This Is Your Improvised Life: Kim Bartmann” on Sunday at Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater.
The Theater of Public Policy
The Theater of Public Policy presents ”This Is Your Improvised Life: Kim Bartmann” on Sunday at Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater.
Sunday at Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater: The Theater of Public Policy: This Is Your Improvised Life: Kim Bartmann.” Bartmann owned eight restaurants until recently, when she sold Bryant-Lake Bowl to a longtime employee. But just because she’s a local mogul won’t make her immune to the jokes and gentle jabs of T2P2, who’ll treat her like anyone else who appears in their shows. First, they’ll interview her. Then they’ll turn her answers into improv comedy. This will be an evening of memories, stories and laughs. Doors at 6, show at 7. FMI and tickets ($12 advance, $15 door).

Monday (Jan. 7) at Can Can Wonderland: Soap Factory Town Hall Meeting. Work on renovations of the art lab’s 130-year-old building has stopped, programming has been suspended, and $1.2 million of its debt to a construction company has been sold to an investment firm at a sheriff’s sale. Now the Soap has six months to buy it back. A crowd-funding campaign is in the planning stages. On Monday, Board Chair Roy Close and Vice-Chair Rosemary Williams will emcee a meeting at Can Can Wonderland to provide an update, talk about ways to secure the building and get back on track as an organization, and answer questions. Close said in an email, “I expect the artists to have some good questions – they always do.” 7-8 p.m. Free and open to the public.

Jerry Bergonzi
New England Conservatory
Jerry Bergonzi
Monday at Crooners: Jerry Bergonzi. The Boston-based, internationally lauded tenor sax giant and former Dave Brubeck sideman has a sterling reputation and an extensive discography – over 40 albums as leader. His quartet in the Dunsmore Room, one of the stops on his current tour, will include Bill Carrothers on piano, Willard Peterson on bass and Adam Nussbaum on drums. 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tickets here ($20-30).

Tuesday and Wednesday at Crooners: Nancy Harms: “New Beginnings.” Each day is a new beginning for the Clara City-born former schoolteacher who now uses New York City as a jumping-off place for her international life as a jazz singer. (After two nights here, she’ll return to New York for a date at the famed Birdland jazz club.) She’ll be singing from the Great American Songbook and her own growing book of original songs. In the Dunsmore Room. 7:30 p.m. both nights. Tickets here ($20-30).

Thursday (Jan. 10) at Icehouse: SongSlam. The first iteration of this event, held last year, was so much fun it made our 25 of the Best Things list for 2018. That sold out (it was SRO) and this will, too. Chris Koza will return to host an evening of new original art songs, premiered by composer/performer teams and performed by trained voices. The audience will choose the winners and $900 in prizes will be awarded. We heard some pretty great stuff last year. And you know you’re in the right place when Libby Larsen and Clara Osowski show up. 8 p.m. FMI and tickets ($20).