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‘Jimmy and Lorraine: A Musing’ at Pillsbury House; Theater Celebration at the Lab

ALSO: 23rd Annual Art & Artists Celebration at Franconia Sculpture Park; Pittsburgh Ballet’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ at Northrop; and more.

Jimmy and Lorraine
Talvin Wilks’ new play views the American political climate of the 1950s and ’60s through the eyes – and words – of James Baldwin and Lorraine Hansberry.
Courtesy of the Pillsbury House Theatre

Artscape will be on break from Sept. 24 through Oct. 8. But we’ll leave you with plenty of carefully chosen arts and culture options from now until we return. This is part 2. Here’s part 1.

Opens Friday, Sept. 20, at Pillsbury House: “Jimmy and Lorraine: A Musing.” Talvin Wilks’ new play views the American political climate of the 1950s and ’60s through the eyes – and words – of James Baldwin and Lorraine Hansberry. Weaving together text from journals, letters, interviews and more, Wilks brings the two friends, radical artists and revolutionaries to life. Directed by Brian Jennings, with Sasha Andreev, Vinecia Coleman and Jon-Michel Reese. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($25; pick-your-price option). Closes Oct. 20. Pro tip: Sept. 26 is Artists’ Night. Mingle with local artists and activists before the show and view a lobby display on Minnesota’s civil rights history from the Minnesota Historical Society. Stay after for a post-show discussion featuring Junauda Petrus, whose forthcoming novel is one of the fall’s hottest books.

Saturday, Sept. 21, in the Northrup King Building: NEMAA 10 x 10 Fall Member Fundraiser. It’s like Midway Contemporary Art’s Monster Drawing Rally, except the art won’t be made on the spot. To raise operating funds, the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association (NEMAA), which each year brings us Art-A-Whirl, will hold a fundraiser for itself. Hundreds of Northeast artists will donate work that fits into a 10″ x 10″ cube. (Remember that Art-A-Whirl has art in all kinds of media, from drawings to sculptures, jewelry to clay.) Everything will be priced at $35, and when something calls to you, you won’t know who made it until you buy it. The show is free, but if you want a sneak peek and first dibs, nab a Preview Hour ticket ($50). In the Third Floor Gallery (332). 5-9 p.m. Preview hour starts at 4.

Tony Ross
Courtesy of the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota
Tony Ross
Sunday, Sept. 22, at Hamline’s Sundin Music Hall: Chamber Music Society of Minnesota: Tony’s 60th Birthday Celebration. Minnesota Orchestra’s principal cellist Tony Ross is the founding cellist of the CMSM, and this concert is in his honor. On the program: Beethoven’s Cello Sonata and Schubert’s String Quartet. For the Schubert, Ross will be joined by his wife, Beth Rapier, also a cellist with the Minnesota Orchestra. 4 p.m. FMI and tickets ($25/20; students free).

Monday, Sept. 23, at the Lab Theater: Twin Cities Theater Celebration. What was known last year as the MN Theater Awards – a response to the demise of the Iveys, without trying to replicate the Iveys – is now the Twin Cities Theater Celebration. And it’s still a work in progress by Four Humors, which is striving to craft a theater recognition program “that reflects the values of this community and that represents the full spectrum of work, artistry and identity in the Twin Cities theater scene.” Meanwhile, it’s a party, with a red carpet, beer and wine bar, theater slideshows, and an open invitation to dress to impress, if that’s what you want to do. Doors at 7 p.m. FMI and tickets ($30-50, pay what you choose).

Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019 at the Dakota: Brian Blade & Life Cycles: Honoring the Music of Bobby Hutcherson. One of the most esteemed and beloved drummers in jazz today, Blade joins with Rogerio Boccato on percussion, Jon Cowherd on piano, Monte Croft on vocals and vibes, John Hart on guitar, Myron Walden on woodwinds and Doug Weiss on bass to honor the music and the memory of vibes master Hutcherson, who died three years ago. Blade performed with Hutcherson as a founding member of the SFJAZZ Collective. Cowherd and Walden are both members of Blade’s longtime and sublime Fellowship Band. This is a new project; there’s not even an album yet. But there will be no shortage of the inspiration, elation, and spirituality that Blade always brings to his playing. 7 and 9 p.m. FMI and tickets ($30-40).

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Thursday, Sept. 26, at the Riverview Theater: “Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché.” Jodie Foster narrates the fascinating story of history’s first female filmmaker and one of the first directors to make a narrative film. Alice Guy-Blaché completed her debut film in Paris in 1896 (not a typo), made films in France and the United States for 20 years, founded her own studio, and wrote, directed and/or produced 1,000 films, including many shorts. But who knew? Almost no one, until now. “Be Natural” was part of the Luminaries Tribute Program at this year’s MSPIFF. If you missed it then, here’s life, giving you another chance. Here’s the extraordinary opening sequence, which will make you really, really want to see this. At the time of this writing, we didn’t know Riverview’s show time. So check with the theater before you go.

Thursday, Sept. 26, at Grace-Trinity Community Church: Amitav Ghosh. The acclaimed Bengali author of the best-selling Ibis trilogy and “The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable” will present his new novel, “Gun Island,” at this free event. “Gun Island” a work of what’s being called “cli-fi” – literature that deals with climate change, not always speculative. The Sierra Club magazine described it as “an intricate narrative of people, animals, technology, and folklore.” Ghosh has been shortlisted twice for the Booker Prize. Rain Taxi is sponsoring this free-to-the-public event. 7:30 p.m. FMI. RSVP here to be entered in a prize raffle.

Thursday, Sept. 26, at the Hook and Ladder: JC Sanford Quartet “Keratoconus” album release. When Sanford, a trombonist, composer and bandleader, moved from New York to Northfield, Minnesota, in 2016, he was taking a risk. Northfield was his hometown, but he hadn’t lived there since 2000. Almost since arriving, he has fit right into our local jazz scene – and added a lot to it. Most recently, he was named artistic director of the JazzMN Orchestra, succeeding founder Doug Snapp. Sanford’s latest album features his new quartet with the Bates brothers – Chris on bass, JT on drums – and guitarist Zacc Harris, someone else who knows what it’s like to be the new guy in town. “Keratoconus” shows off his chops and everyone else’s in a series of original compositions that shine with fierce virtuosity and humor. 21+. 7:30 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. show. Arthaus (Erik Fratzke and Noah Ophaven-Baldwin) supports. FMI and tickets ($10 advance, $15 day of show).

A scene from "Tiny Souls," screening Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Arab Film Fest.
Courtesy of the Film Society
A scene from "Tiny Souls," screening Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Arab Film Fest.
Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 26-29, at the Film Society’s St. Anthony Main Theatre: Mizna’s 14th Annual Twin Cities Arab Film Fest. Like “History Is Not Here,” Mizna’s 20th anniversary retrospective exhibition now at the M, the Arab Film Fest starts with a wide-angle view of the Arab world, then focuses in on individual lives and stories. This year’s edition is 30 films (including many shorts) gathered from Palestine, Tunisia, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, and U.S.-based Arab filmmakers. Several films shine a spotlight on Sudan. The opening night film, “It Must Be Heaven,” is from award-winning director Elia Suleiman, who plays himself trying to escape Palestine and finding it’s inescapable. FMI including trailers, times and tickets. Or you can use MSP Film Society’s website.

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Saturday, Sept. 28, at Franconia Sculpture Park: 23rd Annual Art & Artists Celebration. Speaking from experience, what a great way to spend the day. Walk the spacious 43-acre grounds of the sculpture park in Shafer, where more than 120 large-scale sculptures are on exhibit. Take guided tours of new work, hear live music, enjoy family art-making activities and check out the food trucks. New this year, for participants of all ages and abilities: a scavenger hunt that ends with a raffle and a prize. 12 noon-6 p.m. Free admission. Parking $5/vehicle. Yes, you can bring your well-behaved dog.

The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre performing “The Great Gatsby.”
Photo by Rich Sofranko
The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre performing “The Great Gatsby.”
Saturday, Sept. 28, at Northrop: Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre: “The Great Gatsby.” Last November, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra got together at Northrop to perform three works by Mozart, choreographed by George Balanchine. The audience loved it. Why not do it again, sort of? This performance reunites the Pittsburgh with the SPCO for a completely different program: a new ballet based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s acclaimed novel, with choreography by Jorden Morris and music by Carl Davis. Mention must be made of the dazzling period costumes by designer Pete Farmer. The ballet had its world premiere in February of this year. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($30-76).