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Weekend picks: The Great Northern, a seasoned ‘Rocky Horror’ and Cantus & Chanticleer at Orchestra Hall

Many options for adding some zest to your January.

The Great Northern kicks off its expansive offering of public art, wellness, music, the outdoors and more in spots around the Twin Cities and beyond this week.
The Great Northern kicks off its expansive offering of public art, wellness, music, the outdoors and more in spots around the Twin Cities and beyond this week.
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Don’t let the winter blues get you down. The Great Northern is here to add some zest to your January, with all kinds of arts and culture events both outdoors and indoors, proving that snowy wintery days can be filled with joy and creativity. And that’s not all. Besides the many events taking place during The Great Northern (we’ve listed a few), watch out for a version of “Rocky Horror Show” featuring older actors, Cantus & Chanticleer at Orchestra Hall, as well as exhibitions at Dreamsong and Franconia Sculpture Park. 

The Great Northern
The Great Northern kicks off its expansive offering of public art, wellness, music, the outdoors and more in spots around the Twin Cities and beyond this week. Beginning with its first iteration in 2017, when the festival joined together the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships, the City of Lakes Loppet Winter Festival and the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, the Great Northern has illuminated the wonders of the northern way of life in all of its glory. In 2019, the big thinking Kate Nordstrum, of the eclectic and ambitious Liquid Music Series, was hired to lead the festival’s direction and has broadened and expanded the series. This year’s line-up looks pretty fantastic. (See here for Pamela Espeland’s interview with Nordstrom last year.) 

Some highlights: 

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Other things to do:

Lawrence Hutera as Dr. Frank-N-Furter in “Rocky Horror Show.”
Photo by Ross Willits
Lawrence Hutera as Dr. Frank-N-Furter in “Rocky Horror Show.”

Rocky Horror Show
Lawrence Hutera claims to be the oldest actor ever to be cast as Dr. Frank-N-Furter in the iconic play, “Rocky Horror Show,” by Richard O’Brian. 60-something actor Lori Gehrke plays Janet in this production by Theater 55. It’s all part of an inclusive philosophy taken on by the company, which populates its casts with older adults. Shows are 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29, and 3 p.m. Sunday Jan. 30, through Feb. 6 (pay what you can: $5-40). More information here. 

Chanticleer
Courtesy of Chanticleer
Chanticleer

Cantus & Chanticleer
Two a cappella male vocal groups join forces at Orchestra Hall this Sunday. The Twin Cities-based Cantus previously teamed up with Chanticleer, based in San Francisco, back in 2016 for a sold-out concert. Now they blend their voices again for a concert filled with music from the 15th century as well as contemporary sounds. It takes place 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 30 at Orchestra Hall ($30-130), and will also be live-streamed and then available on-demand through Feb. 6. More information here. 

Paul Anthony Smith, “The violence of His Embrace of Things American is Embarrassing,” 2018
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery
Paul Anthony Smith, “The violence of His Embrace of Things American is Embarrassing,” 2018

Benjamin Merritt: A feather plucked from its bird + Fill the Void
Benjamin Merritt chronicles his experience of living with a chronic illness in a series of copperplate etchings produced for an artists’ book, which will also be on view at Dreamsong Gallery in “A feather plucked from its bird.” The exhibition is presented along with a group show, “Fill the Void,” a group exhibition by Cory Arcangel, Sadie Barnette, Crystal Z Campbell, Jonathan Rosemond, Gary Simmons, Joe Smith and Paul Anthony Smith filled with art works that address notions of the unseen. Opening reception takes place 5-8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29 at Dreamsong (free). The exhibition is up through March 12. More information here

Opening Reception for ‘Lisa Bergh: I’ve Never Seen the Northern Lights’
New London, Minnesota-based artist Lisa Bergh shares her architectural, sculptural use of paper, vinyl and other materials in works that merge different mediums to meditate on ideas and emotions. Before or after visiting the gallery exhibition, visit Franconia’s beautiful grounds. 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29 at Franconia (free.) More information here.

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