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A dozen things to do as the fall arts season begins

We’ve seen more than a few fall arts seasons, but none that compares to this one.

"Tackle Box" by 2021 Fellow Moko Fukuyama, located at the Franconia Sculpture Park.
"Tackle Box" by 2021 Fellow Moko Fukuyama, located at the Franconia Sculpture Park.
Courtesy of the Franconia Sculpture Park

Can you hear that growing rumbling sound? Like a distant storm, a massive train or a thousand hooves? That’s the sound of the fall arts season moving in, of doors opening and lights turning on, musicians tuning their instruments, singers warming up, feet hitting floors, rehearsals taking place, popcorn popping, theater seats being lowered and people gathering again.

After 18 months of postponements, cancellations and virtual events, there is so much pent-up energy, with so many things happening at once or about to happen, that it’s impossible to stay in front of it all. We’ve seen more than a few fall arts seasons, but none that compares to this one. What’s live, what’s virtual, what’s hybrid? What’s on, what’s off, what’s TBD? What’s limited capacity, what’s full capacity? Indoors or out? What’s now, what’s next? How can we feel safe? Can we really make plans for six months from now, or a week, or tomorrow?

Last year at this time, we were all sitting in front of our screens. Some of us still are, and that’s OK. For today’s Artscape, we took a deep breath, dove in and chose a dozen events taking place (or starting) this weekend. It’s just a sampling.

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

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Hang out outdoors

L Now at the Fulton Brewery Taproom: “Byproduct.” Artist Aaron Dysart has created a new site-specific installation that “carbonates” the building’s façade and patio with shifting colors scattered by an enormous disco ball. The colors display data from a sustainable wastewater research project conducted by environmental engineer Paige Novak and her team at the U of M. (Yes, brewing beer makes waste, sorry to have to tell you that.) If you’re reading this on Thursday (Sept. 23), there’s an opening meet-and-greet on the patio from 7-9 p.m. tonight. Or view the installation anytime after sunset until Oct. 31. 414 N. 6th Ave., Minneapolis. FMI.

L Tonight (Thursday, Sept. 23) through Sunday: Saint Paul Art Crawl: Solidarity Street Gallery. With the Art Crawl turning 30 this year, just one weekend isn’t enough for a celebration. The main crawl will take place in Lowertown from Oct. 1-3, but there are also events leading up to and following it. This weekend’s Solidarity Street Gallery will take place along Payne Ave. between Maryland and Tedesco, bringing together artists, performers, poets, activists, entrepreneurs and the community for conversations about indigenous sovereignty and environmental justice. This unique cultural festival is expected to involve 20-30 venues. (East Side Freedom Library will be there.) Thursday and Friday, 5-9 p.m., Saturday 12 noon-10 p.m. FMI.

The "Kaposia Times" mural by Indigenous artist Marlena Myles, located at Gobeil Co., 715 Raymond Ave., St. Paul.
Chroma Zone Mural & Art Festival
The "Kaposia Times" mural by Indigenous artist Marlena Myles, located at Gobeil Co., 715 Raymond Ave., St. Paul.
L Saturday, Sept. 25: Chroma Zone Mural Tours. The 2021 Chroma Zone Mural & Art Festival will wrap this weekend, leaving 15 new public murals for us to enjoy. Sign up for a free guided bike tour at 9 a.m. or 12 noon, leaving from Dogwood Café and led by Move Minnesota. Or grab a free map from the CEZ tent at Murphy Rigging (2299 W. Territorial Road) anytime between 5-7 p.m. and walk, run, bike or drive to see the 39+ murals of the Creative Enterprise Zone. Stay for Missy Whiteman’s “Expanded Cinema” multimedia show and live dance performance located one block west at Bro-Tex (on Territorial), with pre-show events starting at 7 p.m.

Watch TV

V Now at “Muhammad Ali”: A Film by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon. “Bigger than boxing. Larger than life.” Not that we haven’t all seen plenty of TV in the past 18 months, but this is a can’t-miss no-brainer. Critics adore it, if you care about that. All four episodes are streaming on PBS, whose website includes many extras. Here’s the trailer. Meanwhile, if you want to feel like a total underachiever, peruse this list of Ken Burns’ films. What a show-off.

Hear some jazz

L and V Friday, Sept. 24, at Jazz Central Studios: Will Kjeer & Friends. It’s mere coincidence that the talented young pianist Kjeer is nephew to drummer Kenny Horst, former owner of the Artists Quarter. Kjeer, still in his mid-20s, played the AQ several times before it closed on New Year’s Eve 2013, and if it weren’t for COVID, he probably would have left Minneapolis for New York or L.A. by now. He has a library of jazz and popular classics literally at his fingertips, but this night will feature his own compositions. With Omar Abdulkarim on trumpet, Aaron Hedenstrom on saxophone, Charlie Lincoln on bass and Ben Ehrlich on drums. 8-10 p.m. Limited live performance tickets ($10) are available to vaccinated audience members. Or watch online and donate if you can.

Buy art

V Saturday, Sept. 25, online: NEMAA 10×10. Shop hundreds of pieces of original artwork by hundreds of Northeast Minneapolis artists, all 10″ x 10″ or smaller. This annual fundraiser would normally be a crowd crush in the Northrop King Building. This year, like last, it’s virtual. Works by new emerging artists and seasoned pros are displayed anonymously in random order, and everything is priced at $35, first-come, first-served. The event opens to the public at 5 p.m. and is free to attend. If you want, you can purchase a code for the preview hour beginning at 4 p.m. for first dibs on the artwork. Last year, 50% sold in the first 45 minutes of the preview hour. The code is $100 and available here.

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Get out of town

Woodcut artist Betsy Bowen at work in her studio in Grand Marais.
Visit Cook County
Woodcut artist Betsy Bowen at work in her studio in Grand Marais.
L Starts Friday, Sept. 24 Up North: Art Along the Lake Fall Studio Tour. A magnificent tour along the shores and through the fall colors of Lake Superior. The 20+ locations from Schroeder to Hovland (and a couple up the Gunflint Trail) include galleries, studios, schools and private homes, where artists will greet you, answer questions about their work and happily sell you something to bring home. It’s a splendid way to spend a day, a weekend or longer. All locations are open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Through Oct. 3. FMI including a map, brochure and a list of daily events. This tour was formerly called Crossing Borders.

L Saturday, Sept. 25, in Shafer, MN: Franconia Sculpture Park 25th Anniversary Celebration. A full day of events, nearly all of them free, at the awesome, public-art-filled 50-acre outdoor museum in the scenic St. Croix River Valley. Executive director Ginger Shulick Porcella and her staff believe that art has the power to change the world, and when you wander the grounds, see what the artists are up to and experience Franconia’s programming, it makes sense. The day’s events will include a tour of the new 2021 sculptures by Porcella, a meet-and-greet with artists-in-residence, the opening of a new group exhibition in the gallery, and the grand opening of the FSP Artist Billboard Project, which gives emerging Minnesota artists of color a platform for exploring race in rural spaces. There will also be a ticketed ($25) fashion show by “Uselding Fridays” (Joshua McGarvey) and a ticketed ($25) performance by NUR-D. It will cost you $5 to park. Food trucks will be on site. Here’s the schedule.

Catch a concert

Rene Izquierdo
Rene Izquierdo
L Saturday, Sept. 25, at Hamline’s Sundin Music Hall: The Minnesota Guitar Society presents classical guitarist René Izquierdo in concert. Cuban-born virtuoso Izquierdo has performed and taught around the world. In his first appearance for the Guitar Society, he’ll play a solo program of music by Rodrigo, Torroba, Scarlatti, Falla and others. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($25/20/10). thespco

See a movie

L Sunday, Sept. 26, at the Trylon: “Mikey and Nicky.” The original Trylon, which opened in 2009, had 50 seats. In 2017, it underwent a major expansion and now seats 92. For a while during COVID, it limited audience capacity to 20. There’s no other screening room in the Twin Cities remotely like it. And if all you know of Peter Falk is “Columbo,” you owe it to yourself to see this 1976 classic directed by Elaine May, where Falk and John Cassavetes are two insecure small-time gangsters. 6:30 p.m. Sunday; also 7 and 9:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. FMI and tickets ($8).

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Go to a play

L Opens Friday, Sept. 24, at the Elision Playhouse in Crystal: Classical Actors Ensemble: “Hamlet.” CAE is the only Twin Cities theater company exclusively dedicated to English Renaissance drama. But they’ve never done “Hamlet” until now. In the words of Joseph Papke, producing artistic director, “It’s an apt time for this production: like us, the characters are also living in a time of uncertainty and anxiety while actively adapting to a new ‘normal.’” CAE will give its production a contemporary setting, perhaps to underscore the similarities between then and now? Jacob Hooper will play the conflicted young prince (“To be, or not to be?”). 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($18-42). Through Oct. 17.

Do something out of the ordinary (way out)

L Friday, Sept. 24, at Finnegans Brew Co.: Danger Boat Comedy Presents Live Improv Comedy Meat Raffle. Danger Boat is the company behind The Theater of Public Policy (T2P2), and all proceeds will benefit Firefighters for Healing, a super worthy cause. This event is free to attend, raffle tickets are $2-3 and there will be beer. The live, unscripted short-form comedy may or may not include chicken jokes. Prime meat selections will range in value from $25-50, with multiple chances to win. Firefighters for Healing is a local nonprofit that supports burn survivor patients and helps firefighters and first responders whose lives are changed by a medical diagnosis or line-of-duty injury. 7-9 p.m. No tickets or registration necessary. Can’t make it to this one? Life has given you two more chances: Friday, Oct. 8, and Friday, Oct. 22. 817 S. 5th Ave., Minneapolis.