Filmmaker/director Sequoia Hauck, playwright/actor JuCoby Johnson, actor/dramaturg James Rodriguez and director/actor Angela Timberman have been named to the Jungle Theater’s inaugural artistic cohort.
The plan, announced in April, when Christina Baldwin officially became the Jungle’s latest artistic director, was to create a new leadership model that would bring more voices to the table. Three or four artists would be added to the year-round staff, given access to the Jungle’s decision-making processes (show selection, budget creation, management) and provided with resources to support their own independent projects. Power would be shared, diversity expanded, and the future of the Jungle shaped by more voices.
The idea sounded interesting at the time. Now that we know who the artists are, it’s even more intriguing. We’re least familiar (so far) with Hauck, having seen just one of their projects for An Opera Theatre (AOT) earlier this year. But we’ve long been admirers of Johnson, Rodriguez and Timberman, who elevate whatever they’re involved in.
Johnson recently won a 2021-22 McKnight Fellowship in Playwriting. We’ve enjoyed him on stage at the Guthrie, the Jungle, Latté Da and others and caught his lyrical play “How It’s Gon’ Be” when it was produced by Kory LaQuess Pullam’s Underdog Theatre in 2019. We’ve been captivated (and sometimes terrified) by Rodriguez’s powerful presence in plays at the Jungle and Dark & Stormy. Timberman has been a mainstay of Twin Cities theater for decades, in roles large and small.
In short, it’s a dream team. Overnight, the Jungle has broadened and deepened. In Baldwin’s words, “In our 30th season, the Jungle is entering into a structural transformation that is exciting, intrepid and imperative to its evolution. This is an ensemble of working artists possessing complementary skillsets and experiences that will impact the DNA of this initiative for years to come.”
LynLake Street Art Festival planned for Aug. 7-8
The Jungle will play a major role in the 2021 LynLake Street Art Festival, a free outdoor event featuring more than 60 local and national muralists and many live performances on an outdoor stage in the parking lot behind the theater.
Legacy Glassworks has invited the muralists, who will do their thing on walls and businesses in the area. The Jungle will manage the stage, with performances on Saturday by Ragamala Dance, Huge Improv featuring the Shrieking Harpies and Lifting a Finger. The day’s entertainment will also include a live performance of the Jungle’s next Serial project, “Words + Music,” with Isabella Star LaBlanc, Michael Hanna, Saymoukda Vongsay, Mayda Miller, Dameun Strange and Keno Evol. There will be glass blowing demonstrations and food trucks. At night, a lighting display by Karin Olson will animate the theater.
This is the same weekend the Uptown Art Festival would have taken place, except Uptown has been canceled. Here’s something completely different.
V is for virtual, L is for live and in person.
L Today and tomorrow (Friday and Saturday, July 9 and 10) in Schoenecker Arena at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul: Twin Cities Antiquarian Book Fair. Canceled in 2020, this popular fair among collectors is back for 2021 (and its 30th year), with books and ephemera from the 1500s to the 2000s. It’s usually held at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds but has moved. Expect around 40 independent booksellers from across the Midwest. On Friday at 5:30 p.m., Frederick Beseler will give a talk on Minnesota author and aviator Arthur Donahue. On Saturday at 1 p.m., a three-person panel will answer questions on the history of rare books in the Twin Cities. Fair hours are Friday 3-7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The Schoenecker is on the corner of Summit and Cretin. $7 Friday (covers both days if you want to return) or $5 Saturday. COVID protocols are in place. Go here for everything you need to know (scroll down).
L Opens tonight (Friday, July 9), in Hopkins Downtown Park: Stages Theatre Company: “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” Happiness is live theater, outdoors in a park, with two casts of talented kids (all Twin Cities youth performers ages 12-18), familiar characters (Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Snoopy, Woodstock, Peppermint Patty, Pig Pen!), and lots to love. Directed by STC’s artistic director, Sandy Boren-Barrett, this is the third time the company has presented this hit musical, and it’s hard to imagine a better comeback from a pandemic. Tonight’s show is sold out, but tomorrow’s shows (at 1 and 4 p.m.) are not (at least, not at this writing). Here’s an adorable video teaser. FMI and tickets ($17-19). Closes Sunday, Aug. 8.
V Now available online: 2021 Uptown Art Fair Artist Directory. The juried festival has posted its artist directory so we can see who would have been there. Most of the artists have websites and many are experienced online sellers of their work. If there’s someone you were looking forward to seeing at this year’s festival, or you want to do some shopping, check out what Uptown is calling the online gallery.
L Now in MSP Film Society’s St. Anthony Main Theatre 3: “Summer of Soul.” Our Facebook feed has lit up with posts from people around the country who are seeing this in theaters. It deserves a big screen and a good sound system. The audience choice winner at this year’s MSPIFF, winner of the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at Sundance, Questlove’s ear-opening film about a festival that took place in Harlem the same summer as Woodstock and was largely forgotten might be one of the most important (and most entertaining) films you’ll see this year. It’s music, it’s history, it’s awareness, fashion and culture, and it raises the question: What other important events and performances haven’t yet been seen because they’re not about white people? FMI and tickets ($6.75-9.50).