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Louise Erdrich to launch novel ‘Night Watchman’ at Plymouth Church

Louise Erdrich
Louise Erdrich
Louise Erdrich will launch her highly anticipated new novel, “The Night Watchman,” at a free event Sunday afternoon, March 1, at 4 p.m. in the sanctuary at Plymouth Congregational Church. A reception and signing will follow her reading, with copies available for the first time anywhere in the U.S. (The release date is March 3.) You should plan to arrive early.

Erdrich’s appearance is a coup for Literary Witnesses, Plymouth’s esteemed long-running author series. And a testament to relationships. Birchbark Books in Minneapolis is the founding book-selling partner of Literary Witnesses, and Erdrich is the owner of Birchbark Books.

Erdrich is the author of 15 previous novels, including a National Book Award winner, a National Book Critics Circle award winner and a Pulitzer Prize finalist. She has won the Library of Congress Prize for American fiction and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Erdrich has also written poetry, children’s books, short stories and a memoir.

Sean Hill
Courtesy of the artist
Sean Hill
Literary Witnesses’ 2020 season will officially begin three weeks earlier, on Monday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m. in Plymouth’s Guild Hall. Poet Sean Hill will be here with four friends from the Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference at Bemidji State University, which he directs. This event will also be free.

Hill won a Minnesota Book Award for “Dangerous Goods.” He’ll share the podium with Erin Lyn Marsh, author of the poetry collection “Disability Isn’t Sexy”; Preeti Kaur Rajpal, a recent Loft Literary Mentor Series fellow; Julian Randall, a Living Queer Black poet from Chicago and the author of “Refuse”; and Naomi Cohn, a poet and teaching artist who works with older adults and people with disabilities.

Insights Design Lecture Series to return

Design is all around us, good, bad and just there. Each year, in its Insights Design Lecture Series, the Walker helps us see design more clearly and understand it better.

Co-presented with AIGA Minnesota, the series is now in its 36th year. Starting in 2005, the lectures were recorded and are online (with a few exceptions). They’re always loaded with visuals.

The 2020 series is the usual four lectures, plus a bonus pre-recorded lecture, with the speaker live via Skype. All are on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in the Walker Cinema. Here’s the line-up:

March 3: Leland Maschmeyer. Branding expert Maschmeyer helped reimagine Spotify, Airbnb and Facebook, then joined Chobani in 2016 and is now the company’s chief creative officer.

Daniel DeSure's clients include Sonos, Nike and Sundance.
Courtesy of the artist
Daniel DeSure's clients include Sonos, Nike and Sundance.
March 10: Daniel DeSure. The Los Angeles multidisciplinarian’s clients include Sonos, Nike and Sundance. His Total Luxury Spa is a fashion line that serves Los Angeles’ Crenshaw neighborhood.

March 17: Hassan Rahim. Rahim is cofounder of Shabazz Projects. His clients include VSCO, Sony Music, Urban Outfitters and Marilyn Manson.

March 24: Veronica Ditting. Creative director of the fashion magazine “The Gentlewoman,” Ditting runs a London studio whose clients include Tory Burch, Hermès, adidas, and IKEA.

March 31: Ruben Pater. The Amsterdam-based design ethicist restricts his overseas air travel due to its outsized carbon footprint. He’ll premiere a pre-recorded lecture made for the occasion and be available live via Skype. Pater is the author of “The Politics of Design.”

Tickets are available now ($24-10 individual lecture, $72-30 for the series). If you can’t attend in person, you can watch via the livestream ( and send in your comments and questions via twitter  (#InsightsDesign)

The picks

Tonight (Wednesday, Feb. 5) at Hamline Midway Library: Fireside Reading Series: Staci Lola Drouillard, “Walking the Old Road: A People’s History of Chippewa City and the Grand Marais Anishinaabe.” Drouillard is a descendant of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Anishinaabe. Her book – drawn from memories, family history, historical analysis and testimony – is a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award. 7 p.m. Free. Registration is requested.

Cynthia Erivo in a scene from “Harriet.”
Courtesy of the MSP Film Society
Cynthia Erivo in a scene from “Harriet.”
Thursday at North Community High School: “Harriet.” The First Thursday Films at the Capri series has moved to North High while the Capri is closed for construction. Three things make the series special: the films themselves, the partnership with co-presenter MSP Film Society and the passionate discussions that follow each screening. This month’s film is the Oscar-nominated story of freedom fighter Harriet Tubman. The discussion will be led by John Wright, University of Minnesota professor emeritus and a founder of its African American Studies department. 7 p.m. FMI and tickets ($5 or pay-what-you-can online or at the door).

Thursday at Khyber Pass: Amir ElSaffar Performance and Conversation. ElSaffar’s “Rivers of Sound,” performed at the Walker with 17 musicians, was one of the best things we saw in 2016. His score for Ragamala’s “Written in Water” (which returns to the Ordway on Feb. 15) is radiant. He’ll be here for that, performing and leading a five-person ensemble. Before then, the Iraqi-American composer/musician will make two special appearances: at Khyber Pass at 9:30 p.m. Thursday (a small space; get tickets now, $10) and at Walker West next Tuesday, Feb. 11, for a master class. 6 p.m., free and open to the public. FMI. Register to confirm your spot.

Opens Friday at the James J. Hill House: Minneapolis Musical Theatre: “Daddy Long Legs.” The Hill House is a special place to experience theater, opera, and now a musical. Built as a private home for a railroad tycoon, the space can be challenging, but the period ambience is unbeatable. Minneapolis Musical Theatre’s past productions include “High Fidelity” at the Electric Fetus. A turn-of-the-century love story based on the 1912 novel by Jean Webster, “Daddy Longlegs” was adapted for the stage by John Caird with music and lyrics by Paul Gordon. It ran off-Broadway in 2015-16 and won a Drama Desk Award. FMI and tickets ($36/28). Through Feb. 29. P.S. Tickets are still available for Valentine’s Day night (Feb. 14).

With the SPCO this weekend, Leif Ove Andsnes will direct and perform Mozart’s Piano Conertos Nos. 21 and 22.
Photo by Gregor Hohenberg
With the SPCO this weekend, Leif Ove Andsnes will direct and perform Mozart’s Piano Conertos Nos. 21 and 22.
Friday through Sunday: Leif Ove Andsnes Plays Mozart. The great Norwegian pianist is deep into a project he calls “Mozart Momentum 1785/86.” He considers those years to have been “an incredibly creative time for Mozart,” and he’s exploring them fully. With the SPCO this weekend, he’ll direct and perform Mozart’s Piano Conertos Nos. 21 and 22, both written in 1785. The program will also feature contemporary works by two Györgys: Kurtág’s String Quartet “In memoriam Andrea Szervánsky” and Ligeti’s Six Bagatelles for Wind Quintet. 11 a.m. Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Ordway Concert Hall, 2 p.m. Sunday at the Ted Mann. FMI and tickets ($11-50 adults, kids and students free).

Sunday at the Off-Leash Art Box: NACHMO Twin Cities. Think of it as National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), except for dance. Founded 11 years ago in New York City, NACHMO (National Choreography Month) challenges dancers and choreographers to make a new work in a single month. Sparkle Theatricals has brought NACHMO to the Twin Cities, and this is its inaugural year. January was the challenge month, and our first-ever NACHMO Show will take place Sunday, with new works by five choreographers: Mary Willmeng, Ella Dierberger, Rick Ausland, Alejandra Iannone and Alexandra Bodnarchuk. Doors at 6 p.m., show at 6:30. FMI and RSVP. $5 at the door.

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