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Cowles announces 2020-21 season; Graywolf book is shortlisted for Booker Prize

ALSO: Natalie Diaz and Patricia Smith: 2020 McKnight Judges’ Reading (online); Jazz Fest Live presents Jon Weber; and more.

Hatch Dance & STRONGmovement
Helen Hatch and Darrius Strong of Hatch Dance & STRONGmovement will present four pieces including the premiere of “Hybrid,” a fusion of each company’s aesthetics.
Photo by Shelly Mossman

The Cowles Center has announced a 2020-21 season that honors earlier commitments and looks toward the future, when every performance might be a hybrid.

Called “Take Back the Stage,” it will feature artists who were scheduled to perform in the Spring 2020 season but never got the chance. Most performances will be available two ways: live and in person on the Goodale Stage (with capacity limits and other safety protocols in place) and livestreamed.

This will be the first time the Cowles will offer a streamed option. If you want to see dance but can’t go downtown, don’t want to go downtown or aren’t ready to attend a performance indoors, you can livestream. All performances, either way, will be ticketed.

Events will take place almost every weekend from Feb. 26-27, 2021, to April 16-18. FMI and tickets at the links. Here’s the schedule:

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February 26-27: The Mixtape Collective: “Mixtape IV: Now Streaming.” Hip-hop and street dance, reimagined to explore digitized movement. This will be a virtual performance only.

March 5-6: Hatch Dance & STRONGmovement: “Hybrid.” Helen Hatch and Darrius Strong will present four pieces including the premiere of “Hybrid,” a fusion of each company’s aesthetics.

March 12-13: Alanna Morris-Van Tassel and Penelope Freeh: “Bring It Down Under Your Feet.” Two solos and one duet, each exploring the history of narrative. Mature content. Recommended for ages 16 and up.

March 19-20: Berit Ahlgren and Nathan Keepers: “Give Ear.” A dance/theater collaboration based on the act of listening.

April 8-11: Ballet Co.Laboratory: “Freddie – Break Free.” The delayed world premiere of a contemporary rock ballet exploring the life of rocker Freddie Mercury. The cast of 20 dancers will be accompanied by a live Queen tribute band, Ready Freddie.

April 16-18: Minnesota Dance Theater: “The Enchantment.” A neoclassical story ballet based on the fairy tale “Twelve Dancing Princesses.”

On Wednesday, Sept. 23, in the TEK Box, the Cowles will present “6 Feet/6 Solos,” a program of six original performances that explore this year’s isolation and connection. Featuring Amanda Sachs, Ayumi H. Shafer, Melissa Clark, Roxanne Wallace, Tyreis Adriel Hunte and Vie Boheme, it will play to a maximum of 30 people. FMI and tickets. Or wait a week and watch the stream.

Graywolf news

A publisher at St. Martin’s Press recently called books “pandemic-proof.” Are they? Release dates have been pushed back, book festivals have been canceled or moved online, in-person author tours aren’t happening and deliveries are being delayed. But readers are still reading, we’re staying connected to our favorite local bookstores, and publishers are still publishing, including the University of Minnesota Press, Minnesota Historical Society Press, Milkweed Editions and Coffee House Press.

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Holy Cow! Press in Duluth just released “Hands and Heart Together: Daily Meditations for Caregivers” by Patricia Hoolihan, a book written pre-pandemic but made even more timely by COVID.

Graywolf Press, one of the nation’s leading nonprofit literary publishers, is never far from the spotlight. Claudia Rankine’s publisher since 2004, Graywolf recently released her latest, “Just Us: An American Conversation,” which will open this year’s Talking Volumes series next week, on Sept. 22.

Earlier this year, Graywolf released “The Discomfort of Evening” by Marieka Lucas Rijneveld, translated from the Dutch by Michele Hutchison. “Discomfort” won the 2020 International Booker Prize, an award given annually for a single book translated into English and published in the UK or Ireland.

Tsitsi Dangarembga
Wikimedia Commons
Tsitsi Dangarembga
On Tuesday, Graywolf announced that “This Mournable Body” by Zimbabwean novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga, which was longlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize in July, has now been shortlisted and is one of six finalists. The Booker is one of the world’s most prestigious literary prizes.

Fiona McRae, Graywolf’s publisher and director, said in a statement, “This wonderful honor will give the book a second life here in the States, as well as a wider international readership. This seems particularly urgent now, given Dangarembga’s recent arrest in her native Zimbabwe during a peaceful demonstration.” Dangarembga was later released on bail.

In 2018, Graywolf had two books on the Booker Prize shortlist, one of which (Anna Burns’ “Milkman”) took the prize.

On Oct. 8 at 7:30 p.m., Graywolf will host its fifth annual Literary Salon. Past featured authors have included Charles Baxter, Danez Smith, Maria Machado and Rankine. The event has traditionally been a fundraiser for the press.

This year’s salon, “Conversations From Home,” will be held on Zoom and admission will be free, with donations of $25 or more encouraged. The lineup is stellar: novelist and MacArthur fellow Natalie Diaz; poet Roy G. Guzmán; poet, translator and MacArthur fellow Khaled Matthews; and Kevin Young, poetry editor of the New Yorker and author of 13 books of poetry and prose. Register here.

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The picks

V is for virtual, L is for live and in person.

V Tonight (Wednesday, Sept. 16) online: Close Encounters: The Moth Livestreamed from Green-Wood Cemetery. Broadcast live from the 478-acre National Historic Landmark cemetery in Brooklyn, this first-of-its-kind Moth show features stories of “confrontation and crossing paths, chance meetings, secret rendezvous, near misses and narrow escapes.” Dion Flynn, Flash Rosenberg, Devan Sandiford and Angelica Derecas Taylor are the storytellers; Tara Clancy will host. Virtual doors open at 5:15 p.m. CST; stories begin at 5:30. FMI and tickets ($15).

A still from “Jimmy Carter” featuring Carter and country singer Willie Nelson.
Courtesy of Greenwich Entertainment
A still from “Jimmy Carter” featuring Carter and country singer Willie Nelson.
V Now available from Sound Unseen: “Jimmy Carter: Rock and Roll President.” Did you know the 39th President of the United States was a huge music fan? That his friends included Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson? This lighthearted, mostly feel-good film (well, except for the Iran hostage crisis) takes us back to what seem like much simpler times, when a president hung out with the Allman Brothers and had them over to the White House. Mary Wharton is the director. FMI including trailer and tickets ($9.99). Through Friday, Sept. 25.

V and L Thursday (Sept. 17) at 5:30 p.m.: Jazz Fest Live presents Jon Weber. A virtuosic and crowd-pleasing pianist, Weber knows all the songs in all the keys and all the composers’ birthdays. A regular at the Twin Cities Jazz Fest and a frequent visitor to the Twin Cities (he lives in New York), he’s someone you can see again and again. (Trust us; we have.) Sign up here to save your spot for Jazz Fest’s free livestream from Crooners’ Lakeside Cafe. If you’d rather be there in person, tickets are still available ($20). “Doors” at 4:30 p.m.

Patricia Smith
Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths
Patricia Smith
V Saturday (Sept. 19) online: Natalie Diaz and Patricia Smith: 2020 McKnight Judges’ Reading. The Loft presents two powerful poets. Diaz (“When My Brother Was an Aztec,” “Postcolonial Love Poem”) is a 2018 MacArthur Fellow; Smith (“Incendiary Art,” “Blood Dazzler”) is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam. It’s a good thing this is an online event; if it were live and in person, your hair might catch on fire. 7 p.m. FMI and tickets (regular $10, member $5, pay-what-you-can).

L Sunday (Sept. 20) at Butter Bakery Café: Bird and Clare Typewriter Day. Manual typewriters at the ready, Julia Klatt Singer and Clarence White will tap out an original poem or letter for you. Suggested topics: the resistance, the pandemic, the uprising, love, your dog, your cat, or anything you choose (you know, within reason). 3700 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis. 12 noon-4:30. Wear a mask. Rain day is Sunday, Sept. 27.