Sometime in November, the American Swedish Institute will host superstar Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson for the third time. He won’t be here in person, but there’s no doubt his considerable charisma will find its way through whatever device you use to stream virtual events.
Nilsson, who became famous for starting and running Fäviken – one of the world’s best, smallest and most remote restaurants, with two Michelin stars – first came to ASI in 2016, touring his 768-page bestseller “The Nordic Cookbook” and his photography exhibition, “Magnus Nilsson’s Nordic: A Photographic Essay of Landscapes, Food and People.” By then, he had already been featured in the PBS series “The Mind of a Chef” and the Netflix series “Chef’s Table.”
His appearances at ASI drew sold-out crowds. He returned in 2018 with the equally hefty “The Nordic Baking Book.”
Nilsson’s latest book, “Fäviken: 4015 Days, Beginning to End” comes out in November from his publisher, Phaidon. It tells the story of the restaurant and why Nilsson decided to close it at the height of its success.
A quick scan of the table of contents includes these tempting stops: “Why would anyone write a book about a closed restaurant? And who would want to read it?” “Why Fäviken had to close, really.” “Inherently wasteful: the hypocrisy of sustainability in restaurants.” And “A complete list of dishes served at Fäviken in chronological order.” There are recipes throughout.
You won’t want to miss the ASI’s event, whatever form it takes. And because it will be virtual, it’s likely more people will be able to attend. As are many arts organizations in these difficult times, ASI is discovering that its reach is broader and more global than it knew.
UMN English Writers Series includes a MacArthur ‘genius’
Minneapolis and St. Paul are cities of readers. And author series. Lots of author series. So far, Friends of the Hennepin County Library’s Talk of the Stacks and Pen Pals have been announced. So have MELSA’s Club Book and the Star Tribune and MPR’s Talking Volumes. (Talk of the Stacks would normally be over by now, but Julia Alvarez was rescheduled for Oct. 8 because COVID.) All have gone virtual.
As will this fall’s UMN English Writers Series, which starts a week from Wednesday. Here’s what they have in store for us. All events are free and on Zoom. Register at the links.
Wednesday, Sept. 23, 7 p.m.: Kao Kalia Yang. The prolific three-time Minnesota Book Award winner has two new books coming out this fall: “Somewhere in the Unknown World,” a collective memoir about refugee lives, and “The Most Beautiful Thing,” her latest book for children.
Tuesday, Sept. 29, 7 p.m.: Curtis Sittenfeld. She’s the bestselling author of six novels, including 2020’s “Rodham,” which imagines what might have happened if Hillary Rodham hadn’t married Bill Clinton. Sittenfeld will be in conversation with author and UMN faculty member Julie Schumacher, the first woman to win the Thurber prize for humor writing (“Dear Committee Members”).
Wednesday, Oct. 7, 7:30 p.m.: Alison Bechdel. Her autobiographical graphic novel, “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic,” was adapted into a Broadway musical and won five Tony Awards. Bechdel won her MacArthur “genius” grant in 2014. Her self-syndicated comic strip “Dykes to Watch Out For” ran for 25 years.
Thursday, Oct. 15, 7 p.m.: Ada Limón. Limón’s most recent book of poetry, “The Carrying,” won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The book before, “Bright Dead Things,” was a finalist for the National Book Award and others. Limôn will be in conversation with poet, essayist and UMN faculty member Ray Gonzalez.
Thursday, Oct. 29, 7 p.m.: Hanif Abdurraqib. Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic with several books to his credit, including the New York Times bestseller “Go Ahead in the Rain.” Forthcoming from Random House: “They Don’t Dance No Mo’,” a history of Black performance in the United States. Abdurraqib will be in conversation with UMN faculty member Douglas Kearney.
V is for virtual, L is for live and in person.
L Opens today (Tuesday, Sept. 15) at the Textile Center: “We Are the Story: Gone but Never Forgotten: Remembering Those Lost to Police Brutality.” Part of a massive multivenue exhibition of quilts created by the Women of Color Quilters Network (WCQN) and curated by Carolyn Mazloomi, this show includes 28 quilts selected by a jury from 423 submitted from around the nation. All honor people whose lives ended violently because of police negligence and brutality. This won’t be easy, but it will be unforgettable. Free. Ends Dec. 14. Book your appointment here. Another show, “We Who Believe in Freedom,” opened last Thursday at the American Swedish Institute, where it may be viewed for free. Registration is required.
L Tonight (Tuesday, Sept. 15) through Saturday (Sept. 19): Bach Society of Minnesota Mobile Mini-Concerts. When BSM called this their Vagabond Season, they weren’t kidding. Starting tonight at 5 p.m. (actually yesterday, but it’s too late to tell you about those) and continuing through Saturday at 7:45 or so, professional classical musicians will fan out across Minneapolis, St. Paul, St. Cloud, Rochester and Duluth to play more than 150 15-minute solo mini-concerts. The Saturday concerts will start at 10 a.m. Check the map or read down the looong list for concerts near you. BSM will do this again in the spring, from May 10-16.
L Opens Thursday, Sept. 17, at Mia: “Vision 2020: Jess T. Dugan.” Eight respectful, powerful, often tender large-scale photograph portraits of transgender and gender expansive (aka gender nonconforming) older adults by St. Louis-based photographer Dugan. Each is accompanied by a first-person narrative as told to the artist and Dugan’s partner, social worker and assistant professor Vanessa Fabbre. All are drawn from their book-length project, “To Survive on This Shore.” This is the first solo display of Dugan’s work at a major metropolitan museum. On view through March 7, 2021, in the Perlman Photography Gallery.
V Friday, Sept. 18: Bill Frisell Trio at the Blue Note. While the Dakota remains closed and continues to reschedule concerts from this year to next, it is livestreaming shows from the Blue Note’s New York stage. Frisell and his trio – Thomas Morgan on bass, Rudy Royston on drums – have a new album out, the lavishly praised “Valentine,” and we’ll probably hear some of that. A portion of ticket sales will support the Dakota. 7 p.m. FMI and tickets ($15).
L Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, at the Shed outside of the Lab Taproom in St. Paul: HoneyWorks and Hatch Dance present Live @ the Shed. Dancers gotta dance, but there have been few opportunities since COVID. Presented by Berit Ahlgren (HoneyWorks) and Helen Hatch (Hatch Dance), this program will include the world premiere of “bolerobolero,” a contemporary interpretation co-choreographed by Ahlgren and Hatch set to music by Ravel. It begins with works-in-progress presentations from members of the 20-member cast, including Penelope Freeh, Alejandra Iannone, Jake Lewis, Da’Rius Malone and Sally Rousse. Social distancing will be strictly enforced and masks will be required. Attendance will be capped at 25% capacity. Saturday’s shows are full; reservations are still available for Sunday at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Suggested donation $5-20.