Minnesota-based multimedia artist Chris Larson is never boring. For his 2008 video “Deep North,” he built a full-scale New Orleans-style shotgun house, then hosed it down with hundreds of gallons of water, inside and out, in the deep winter of February. Everything froze solid – curtains, a tablecloth, a book upside down on a table – and icicles hung from the roof. Images showed up on T-shirts made for Mia’s 100th anniversary in 2015.
In 2013, for Northern Spark, he built a full-scale replica of a historic house designed by Marcel Breuer, then set it on fire. (The real house stands on a St. Paul bluff overlooking the Mississippi.) In his video “Heavy Rotation” – shown in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, then acquired by the Walker – he wears a hole through the floor of a studio, then climbs down a ladder into the same studio.
In 2015 at the Soap Factory, Larson created a disorienting set for a live performance of Flannery O’Connor’s “Wise Blood.” His 2016 film exhibition at the Walker, “Land Speed Record,” featured objects from the childhood home of Hüsker Dü drummer Grant Hart that were retrieved from a fire. Also in 2016, Larson installed a full-size replica of the Lorraine Motel sign in a far corner of Franconia Sculpture Park. (The Lorraine Motel in Memphis is where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. The sculpture is still on exhibit.)
Those are just a few examples.
In 2017, Larson and his wife, Kriss Zulkosky, bought an old linoleum shop on Payne Avenue in St. Paul. They’re turning it into Second Shift Studio Space, a functional studio storefront for artists, and have already named their first group of residents.
On Friday, Larson will be at Burnet Fine Art & Advisory in Wayzata for the opening of his latest solo exhibition, “Depression Groove.” In his newest work, he uses early American country music ephemera to revisit themes from “Heavy Rotation,” an ongoing project. The reception will be free and open to the public. 6-8 p.m. Closes Nov. 30.
Park Square Theatre cancels two productions in 2019-20 season
Citing financial challenges brought on by lower-than-expected ticket sales and fundraising shortfalls, Park Square Theatre has canceled its planned productions of “Evita” and “Miss You Like Hell.” Both are musicals, which are more costly to produce than most plays, with larger casts, choreography and live music.
Flordelino Lagundino, Park Square’s artistic director, said in a statement, “This was a very difficult decision to make as it causes hardships, especially to the artists working with us. As an actor and director, I do not take lightly the impact it has on the talented people I came to Minnesota to work with.” He further explained, “It is a natural pattern for a 47-year-old theater to evolve, and this is part of that maturation process.”
Lagundino succeeded former artistic director Richard Cook in 2018, part of a wave of turnovers in Twin Cities theater leadership that has taken place in the 2010s.
The rest of Park Square’s 2019-20 season remains intact, including the highly anticipated holiday show “Pride and Prejudice,” adapted from Jane Austen’s novel by Kate Hamill; the world premiere of “UN (the completely true story of Kim Jong Un),” to be directed by Lagundino; Jeffrey Hatcher’s can’t-miss “Holmes and Watson”; and Lauren Gunderson’s “The Revolutionists.”
“Evita” was originally scheduled for January 17-March 1, 2020, and “Miss You Like Hell” for April 17-May 17.
Tonight (Wednesday, Oct. 30) at Crooners: Sophia Shorai and Chris Lomheim. The enchanting singer and the sublime pianist will meet in the intimate Dunsmore Room for a pre-Halloween duo celebration. Both have been part of our local jazz scene for years. Expect warmth and charm and fun. Doors at 5:30 p.m., show at 7. FMI and tickets ($10).
Thursday through Saturday at 2306 Robbins St. in St. Paul: Sparkle Theatricals: “Feed Your Head.” You will have moderate physical contact with the performers, but this isn’t the Haunted Basement. In fact, though it starts on Halloween, it’s not a horror event. Inspired by Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Tea Party, it’s a curious “orientation” for new employees of the fictitious Best Butter Company – including you. Written by Jerome awardee J.J. Kaiser, directed by C.J. Renner, featuring a cast of six including a sleight-of-hand master, it’s a show that includes real butter and bread, and scents. Shows at 6:30, 8, and 9 p.m. FMI and tickets ($35/30). Call 612-404-2110 for a discount code and $10 off each ticket. What’s with the location? Sparkle’s performances take place in unexpected spaces.
Friday at the John Roach Center for the Liberal Arts at the University of St. Thomas: Poetry Reading: Patrick Deeley. Each year since 1997, the Center for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas has awarded the Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award to an outstanding Irish poet. All of the honored poets have visited the campus for up to a week meeting with students, visiting classes – and giving a free reading. Deeley is the latest recipient, and he’ll read from his new collection, “The End of the World.” 7 p.m. Free and open to the public.
Sunday at Sundin Music Hall: Chamber Music Society of Minnesota: Violist Nobuko Imai. With an extensive career as a soloist and chamber musician, Nobuko Imai is regarded as one of the most outstanding viola players of our time. She has appeared as soloist with many of the world’s great orchestras and performed alongside Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Isaac Stern and others. In this tribute concert to Takuzo Ishida, a longtime CMSM board member who died in April, Imai will perform the Minnesota premiere of Akira Nishimura’s “Song of Birds” for solo viola. The concert will also include Dvorák’s “American” string quintet and Bach chorales arranged by Toshio Hosokawa. The performing musicians will be Ariana Kim and Young-Nam Kim (violin), Sally Chisholm (viola), Anthony Ross (cello) and Asako Hirabayashi (piano). 4 p.m. FMI and tickets ($25/20/15).
Monday at Westminster Hall: Accordo. The all-star chamber music ensemble comprises present and former principal string players of the SPCO and Minnesota Orchestra. It will close out the first part of its 2019-20 season with music by Haydn, Prokofiev, Ruth Crawford Seeger and Debussy. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($38/28). Westminster Hall is the raved-about new venue at Westminster Presbyterian Church.