The Bow Wow Film Festival, now in its fourth year, is a mixed doggie bag of 25 shorts. None will win an Oscar, but together they do their job: make you laugh, cry, and say aww, touch your heart and inspire you to adopt a rescue dog, or think about it.
This year’s fest has one showing Saturday at the Parkway, where the first Bow Wow screened in 2015. If you haven’t been to the Parkway in a while, you’re in for a tail-wagging treat. The theater has been tastefully renovated. There’s leg room and a bar serving craft cocktails.
You’ll see dogs on surfboards, dogs in snow, dogs in mountains and dogs in paradise – a lush green sanctuary in Puerto Rico called Territorio de Zaguates, or Land of the Strays. It’s a 1,000-foot enclosure where 900 former street dogs are safe, fed and cared for, thanks to volunteers, donors, and founder Lya Battle.
In Taiwan, engineer Pa Chieh makes affordable wheelchairs for disabled dogs and cats. Most of the animals were hit by cars and left at shelters, where their chances of being adopted were zero. When this film was made, Pa had made 400 wheelchairs. Dogs are seen zooming around in the contraptions, tongues hanging out, happy to be alive.
In Alaska, a young woman named Stacey took in a starving dog that was found by the side of a road. She named it Oberon and posted pictures and videos on the Internet. Swedish filmmaker Carl Fristedt saw them and flew to Alaska to meet her. As in many stories about people rescuing dogs, Oberon also rescued Stacey. She described the experience as “one of those events that happen in your life where you kind of figure out who you are.”
In Tanzania, dogs are being trained to help stop poaching and wildlife trafficking. In Italy, they’re being certified as lifeguard dogs. A dog stays calm in a crisis, can pull several people through water at the same time and instinctively knows the best directions to swim, avoiding dangerous currents.
A few of the films are amateurish, and a few are just strange. But there are lovely surprises in this year’s reel. Like the story of ultramarathon runner Dion Leonard and his dog, Gobi, named for the desert in China where she came out of nowhere and ran beside him for 25 miles. Then, when he wanted to bring her back to Scotland, the Chinese said she had to be quarantined for four months first. And then she was stolen by dog meat thieves! No worries – happy ending. A sweet, skillful animation by 14-year-old Ava Phillips, set to Debussy’s “Clair de Lune,” wordlessly shows a friendship between two dogs. Maybe we’ll see her name in the Oscars someday.
The 4th Annual Bow Wow Film Festival will be at the Parkway on Saturday. Doors at 6 p.m., film at 7. FMI and tickets ($13/8 advance, $16/9 door). The festival will benefit Wags and Whiskers Animal Rescue of Minnesota.
There’s a whole lot of music on Sunday afternoon.
Opens tonight (Friday, March 1) in the Science Museum’s Omnitheater: “Cuba.” See Cuba through the eyes of a historian, a ballerina and a team of scientists. Historic photography and modern-day footage combine in this giant-screen visit to our neighbor to the south. Opening weekend will feature live music, tropical décor, Cuban-themed food and a visit from a 1956 Buick Special. With the closing in January of the IMAX at the Minnesota Zoo, the Omnitheater is now the largest movie screen in Minnesota. FMI including trailer, times and tickets; 651-221-9444.
Today through Sunday: Christian Zacharias Plays Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27. Zacharias’ recordings of the complete Mozart piano concertos won several prestigious awards, including France’s Diaposon d’Or. The former SPCO artistic partner will play Mozart’s final piano concerto, conducting from the piano, and lead works by Bruckner, Widmann and Beethoven. 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. today at the Ordway Concert Hall, 8 p.m. Saturday at Carleton College in Northfield (in the new Kracum Performance Hall) and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Ted Mann. FMI and tickets (start at $11 for adults, kids and students free; all free at Carleton). The four concerts are lead-ups to a performance by Zaharias and the SPCO next Tuesday, March 5, at the 2019 Casals Festival in Puerto Rico. Those who wish to do so may contribute to hurricane relief on the island through El Fondo Boricua, a donor-advised fund of the Saint Paul Foundation.
Sunday at the Cathedral of St. Paul: Music for a Grand Space. From the University of Minnesota School of Music, a choral concert made for the Cathedral’s grand acoustic, featuring works by Mathias, Monteverdi, Brahms, Abbie Betinis and more. With the University Singers, Chamber Singers, and U of M Men’s and Women’s Choruses. 2:30 p.m. Free and open to the public.
Sunday at Christ Church Lutheran: Mardi Gras: Hot Jazz in a Cool Sacred Space. The Eliel Saarinen-designed church in Longfellow has a brand-new Dobson pipe organ, a mighty instrument and a major investment – nearly three quarters of a million dollars. Obviously, it will be used during services and for solo recitals, but what else can it do? Anyone who heard John Zorn play the organ at St. Mark’s Episcopal in 2013 knows at least one answer to that. Christ Church wants the instrument to be part of the wider Twin Cities musical community. On Sunday, they’ll dip a toe in those waters. With organist Bill Chouinard (brother to Dan, if you’re wondering), trumpeter Bill Simenson and his Longfellow Jazz All-stars will play an afternoon concert of New Orleans jazz. 3 p.m. Free. Christ Church Lutheran formerly hosted Accordo’s concerts. It’s a beautiful space and this should be fun. A free-will offering will benefit Our Saviour’s community services.
Sunday at Mindekirken: Wilhelmina Smith, Cello. A late-afternoon concert of solo cello by the McKnight Artist Fellow and prizewinner in the Leonard Rose International Cello Competition. Smith will play a program of Finnish and Danish works including Esa-Pekka Salonen’s “knock, breathe, shine,” to be released the following week on her new album on the Ondine label. 4 p.m. FMI and tickets ($20; students free with ID).
Sunday at Adath Jeshurun Congregation in Minnetonka: Ernest Bloch’s “Sacred Service.” Three local choirs, over 90 combined voices, one Minnesota premiere. Bloch’s five-part cantata “Avodat HaKodesh (Sacred Service),” sung entirely in Hebrew, is one of the great choral works of the 20th century – the Hebraic equivalent to the Christian Masses and prayers of Bach, Haydn, Mozart and others. This performance will feature MacPhail’s adult choir Sonomento, the Adath Jeshurun Congregation’s synagogue choir, the Twin Cities’ Jewish Chorale, a 45-piece professional orchestra and Detroit cantor Daniel Gross, with Sonomento director Craig Fields conducting. 4:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($18-54).
Tuesday at the Walker: Insights Design Lecture Series: Forest Young. The 2019 edition of the popular series co-presented by the Walker and AIGA Minnesota kicks off with the head of design at Wolff Olins, the global brand consultancy whose clients include Uber, Google and Microsoft. The series continues March 12 with illustrator Bráulio Amado of BAD Studio, March 19 with fashion and culture guru Mirko Borsche of Bureau Borsche and March 26 with Gail Bichler, deputy art director/design director of the New York Times Magazine. FMI and tickets ($24, $19 Walker and AIGA members, $10 students; series packages available). Each talk is followed by an after-lecture reception with the speaker.