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MayDay for MayDay; Frank Theatre’s ‘The Cradle Will Rock’ to open

ALSO: Zenon Dance Company to close; Sun of Goldfinger at Icehouse; percussionist Colin Currie with Minnesota Orchestra; and more.

MayDay for MayDay! Fundraising Fest
Tickets to the MayDay for MayDay! Fundraising Fest, set for Friday, March 29, are $12 for adults, $7 for kids under 12.
Photo by Max Haynes

In January, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre announced that “multiple anticipated income sources for HOBT’s programming year did not materialize.” Rather than close permanently in June, it slashed staff and programming. HOBT also warned that 2019 will be the last year it produces the annual MayDay parade and festival on its own, without help. A 45-year-old South Minneapolis tradition is imperiled.

It’s MayDay for MayDay. Which happens to be the name of HOBT’s upcoming fundraiser. Don’t panic, no one is asking you for a big chunk of money (though you can certainly go there, if you have it and want to give it). HOBT is not a fancy outfit. Tickets to the MayDay for MayDay! Fundraising Fest, set for Friday, March 29, are $12 for adults, $7 for kids under 12. Seward Coop will match the first $5,000 in donations.

For your $12, you’ll get a red-carpet night at the historic art deco Avalon Theater, HOBT’s home on East Lake Street. The evening will include live music from The Changeups, a puppet photo booth, a make-and-take activity for kids, a family-friendly puppet cabaret and the premiere of a new short film about the parade, “Children of Spring,” which captures MayDay through the eyes of children. “MayDay Formal” attire is encouraged. In other words, go crazy.

HOBT has also launched a crowdfunding campaign with a $50,000 goal.

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This year’s MayDay Parade, Ceremony and Festival will take place Sunday, May 5. To underscore the point, the theme is “Build Beloved Community.” Before the parade, before the fundraiser, you can catch some HOBT programming. The eighth annual Puppet Lab opens this Friday for two weekends. Four emerging puppet artists – each the recipient of a $2,500 Puppet Lab grant – will present four world premieres. This will not be sweet baby puppetry, but puppetry and stories about issues and concerns of today: respect for the earth, immigration, white supremacy, belonging, identity, family, grief and loss.

This weekend (March 15-17): “Devotion: The Early Years of Rachel Carson” by Tara Fahey, a puppet epic about the early life of the author of “Silent Spring.” And “A by Akiko,” in which shadow puppetry, collage, poetry and dance explore white supremacy and white fear from an immigrant point of view.

Next weekend (March 22-24): “The Alluvial” by Andrew Young, in which shadow puppetry, live performance, storytelling and sound consider questions of place, belonging and memory. And Kallie Melvin’s “Not here, Not there,” the tale of an international adoptee told through original music, paper shadow puppets, photography and live action performance.

Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2:30 p.m. FMI and tickets for those ($15).

Zenon Dance Company to close

After 36 years, Zenon Dance Company, an important part of the Twin Cities dance scene, will close. Their performances at the Cowles this summer will be their last.

In an article in the Star Tribune on Tuesday, artistic director Linda Z. Andrews said, “We are being forced out because of lack of funding.” The company has been supported in part by the Jerome Foundation and recently learned it would lose that funding.

Meanwhile, the Target Foundation has changed its priorities. Target has given extra funding to sponsor Zenon’s final concerts on June 13-15.

For many Minnesota arts organizations and other nonprofits, the sands of financial support are shifting.

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The picks

Today (Thursday, March 14) through Saturday at Orchestra Hall: Vänskä, Currie and Copland. Music by two American composers and a Brit, with guest artist Colin Currie. The virtuosic Scottish percussionist has premiered many new works, a list that will now include Mark-Anthony Turnage’s “Martland Memorial” for Percussion and Orchestra. The program also includes Missy Mazzoli’s “These Worlds in Us” and Copland’s Third Symphony. P.S. We have loved everything we’ve heard by Mazzoli. 11 a.m. today, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. FMI and tickets ($30-97; $12 student rush available). Saturday’s concert will be broadcast live on Classical MPR.

Colin Currie
Courtesy of the artist
Colin Currie will premiere Mark-Anthony Turnage’s “Martland Memorial” for Percussion and Orchestra.
Opens Friday at the Gremlin: Frank Theatre: “The Cradle Will Rock.” The last time Frank produced “Cradle” was in 2003, at the former Sears Building on Lake Street. Frank’s plays always resonate with the current moment, no matter how old they are – Mark Blitzstein’s pro-union “play in music” dates from 1937 – and since corporate greed hasn’t gone away since 2003, and money still equals power, this Brechtian allegory remains fresh. The original production was directed by Orson Welles. We have Wendy Knox. Her cast includes Sasha Andreev and Scotty Reynolds. 8 p.m. FMI and tickets ($30/25). Ends April 7. P.S. “Cradle” closes Frank’s 30th season. Here’s to longevity.

Opens Saturday at the Ordway: Minnesota Opera: “The Fix.” The world premiere of a new opera – about baseball, of all things – with music by Joel Puckett (no relation to Kirby) and a libretto by Eric Simonson, who also directs. Commissioned by Minnesota Opera as part of its New Works Initiative, it was inspired by the 1919 Chicago White Sox scandal and the story of Shoeless Joe Jackson. Michael Anthony has the whole story, so we’ll just point you there. We need a Great Baseball Opera. Could this be it? Here’s a preview. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($25-200). Five performances. Ends March 24.

Saturday at Plymouth Congregational Church: Ed Bok Lee presents “Mitochondrial Night.” Poets Donte Collins and Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay will open, after which Lee will launch his latest collection, which traces paths through time, genealogy and geography. Lee has won the American Book Award and the Minnesota Book Award. A Literary Witnesses event, co-presented with Rain Taxi and the Korean Quarterly. 7 p.m. Free.

Sun of Goldfinger
Courtesy of ECM
Sun of Goldfinger is percussionist Ches Smith, guitarist David Torn and alto saxophonist Tim Berne.
Monday at Icehouse: Sun of Goldfinger. Formed in 2010, Sun of Goldfinger is experimental guitarist David Torn, volcanic saxophonist Tim Berne, and free-thinking percussionist Ches Smith – all intense, adventuresome artists. Their first album together, just out on ECM, has only three tracks, each about 25 minutes long. Two are drawn from even longer improvisations. So this will be a night for intense, adventuresome listeners. Icehouse has become a place where this kind of music is at home (mostly on Monday nights), and where audiences will go to see it. Think the SPCO’s Liquid Music, or the Walker’s Performing Arts series, with the volume turned up, and the fierceness factor. 8 p.m. FMI and tickets ($20).