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Soap Factory to reopen; ‘Game Changers’ at the Science Museum

The Soap Factory
Soap Factory Facebook page
The Soap Factory will reopen in 6,500 square feet of their current building, on the lower level, where the Haunted Basement used to be.

The Soap Factory hopes to reopen on Labor Day. Not in the 52,000-square-foot, four-level historic warehouse it once called home, which was to have undergone a $6.2 million renovation, according to plans revealed with some fanfare in October 2017. Instead, the Soap will reopen in 6,500 square feet of that building, on the lower level. Where the Haunted Basement used to be.

But it will reopen.

A deal was announced Wednesday that will resolve the Soap’s debt issues and provide it with $100,000 to eliminate most if not all of its accumulated operating debt. The Soap will sell to its largest creditor, RJM Construction in Golden Valley, for a sum equal to what the Soap owes RJM, subcontractors, and others. RJM will forgive the Soap’s project-related debts ($3.8 million) and pay subcontractors and other creditors, including the holder of a $1.2 million lien purchased at a sheriff’s sale auction in December. RJM will then sell the building to an investor, not yet publicly identified, who plans to repurpose it as an office building.

The Soap can stay on as a rent-free tenant for two years.

In a statement, board chair Roy Close called this “a bittersweet moment for the Soap Factory.” He said, “RJM’s offer keeps us alive and gives us an opportunity to reinvent ourselves, which is very much in the tradition of the Soap Factory.  … We know that some of our constituents were disappointed that we were not able to find a way to continue in an ownership role. From our perspective, however, this is not an end but a new beginning.”

The board has established a program committee to start planning exhibitions and other programs for fall and winter.

The picks

Now at the Science Museum: “Game Changers.” Do “Pac-Man,” “Space Invaders,” “Sonic the Hedgehog” and “SimCity” mean anything to you? What about “Heart of Darkness,” “Flight Control,” “Minecraft” or “Angry Birds”? From now through May 5, the Science Museum’s exhibit gallery is a 10,000-square-foot video arcade with 100 playable games from yesterday and today, plus concept artwork and interviews with more than 30 game designers including pioneers, contemporary designers and independent artists. Spanning nearly 40 years of video game history, the exhibition was created and curated by Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne, the world’s most visited moving image or film museum. Admission is included in regular Science Museum exhibit gallery admission: $19.95 adults, $14.95 kids 4-12 and seniors. FMI. 

Starts tonight (Friday, March 15) at MacPhail’s Antonello Hall: Cantus: “When I Grow Up.” Don’t tell Cantus there’s still snow on the ground, because this is its spring program. And it’s all new, with songs about the cycle of life from childhood through adulthood, and themes of adolescence, companionship, parenthood, masculinity, mortality, and becoming who we are.  They’ll sing Malcolm Dalglish’s “My Little Potato,” and Lennon and McCartney’s ‘When I’m Sixty-Four,” and songs by Grieg, Schubert, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Kelly Clarkson and Alberto Cortez. Because it’s never too late to figure out what kind of person we want to be. 7:30 p.m., with performances in five more venues between now and Sunday, March 24. FMI and tickets (prices vary by venue).

School Girls, Or: The African Mean Girls Play
Photo by Dan Norman
Shá Cage directs the Jungle’s first all-women-of-color cast in Jocelyn Bioh’s “School Girls, Or: The African Mean Girls Play.”
Opens tonight at the Jungle Theater: “School Girls, Or: The African Mean Girls Play.” Shá Cage directs the Jungle’s first all-women-of-color cast in Jocelyn Bioh’s comedy about beauty and colorism. Set in the 1980s in Ghana’s most exclusive boarding school (Bioh’s parents grew up in Ghana), “School Girls” had its world premiere in 2017, was an Off-Broadway hit and a New York Times Critic’s Pick and won a 2018 Drama Desk Award. Seitu Jones designed the Jungle’s set; Ghanaian-born Jacqueline Addison designed the costumes. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($35-50). Closes April 14.

Opens tonight at the Off-Leash Art Box: Combustible Company: “The Gun Show.” Ian Bivins stars in EM Lewis’ one-man play about firearms, with which Lewis has a complicated relationship. The show leans neither right nor left but asks, “Can we have a conversation about this?” It premiered in Chicago and has since been produced in more than 25 theaters across the country and at the Edinburgh Fringe. Kym Longhi directs. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($15-30 sliding scale). Ends March 24.

Connie Evingson
Connie Evingson will be joined by Jon Weber on piano, Dave Karr on saxophone and Gordy Johnson on bass this Sunday at the Jungle.
Sunday at the Jungle Theater: The Best of Jazz at the Jungle. For 10 years, vocalist Connie Evingson has brought a series of smart programs to the stage of the Jungle Theater on Sunday afternoons. She’s done shows about the Beatles, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Dave Frishberg, Hot Club swing, Bossa Nova and more. Even if she chooses just one song from each, that will be enough for her audience to leave happy. She’ll be joined by Jon Weber on piano, Dave Karr on saxophone and Gordy Johnson on bass. 4 p.m. FMI and tickets ($30).

Tuesday at Westminster Town Hall Forum: David Hogg: “Putting the USA over the NRA.” A survivor of the 2018 mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and a founding member of March for Our Lives, one of the largest youth-led movements in the world, Hogg has been praised and excoriated. At the forum, he’ll answer questions submitted by the in-house, radio and online audiences. At Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis. Doors at 10:30 a.m., music at 11:30 a.m. by the Southside Aces, program at noon. FMI. Free.

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