It’s a strange time for the performing arts.
We are now seeing shows that were planned for two months ago and were canceled … and also two years ago. We are also mourning for those we’ve lost during this COVID-19 pandemic, especially those lost when it wasn’t possible to gather. As an undercurrent, wars, politics, a climate disaster all hover at the horizon, with artists ready to speak to life’s most challenging issues.
This week marks the end of one program that had a toll taken out of it from COVID – Cellular Cinema. It’s a bummer the series isn’t continuing, but they’re having one last screening as a final send-off. Meanwhile, check out these shows — some rescheduled after previously having been canceled, others taking on the issues of our time, and some, like Kiss the Tiger’s new song cycle, “Stone Baby,” that relishes in the cathartic power of rock and roll.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
The enveloping sound of Godspeed You! Black Emperor will fill First Avenue this weekend as the Canadian chamber post-rock ensemble brings their wordless orchestrations to Minneapolis. You can expect to be mesmerized by a loud (bring ear plugs), dramatic show with visual layers and an anti-capitalist mood. 8 p.m. Friday, March 18 at First Avenue ($30-34). More information here.
Arena Dances: Thermal
It’s your last chance to catch Arena Dances’ “Thermal” this weekend, presented at the American Swedish Institute. A giant creature-like sculpture acts as the main set piece of the work. Created by Kim Heidkamp, the installation, formed out of cut paper, doesn’t move, but it certainly evokes some kind of arctic being, if not an abstracted polar bear. Three dancers — Rachel Clark, Dustin Haug and José A. Luis, don paper-napkin-like costumes as they perform around the installation. They share weight, lift each other, and strive for survival with movement that is both elegant and evokes the feeling of desperation. The dance takes place within Joshua Clausen’s intricate sound score. The last two performances are 7 p.m. Friday, March 17, and Saturday, March 18 ($30). More information here.
Alternative Motion Project
Alternative Motion Project shares its 10th season performance, two years after originally scheduled. The modern/contemporary dance company gets an infusion of jazz with a piece created by Erinn Liebhard, called “Assemblage,” set to jazz standards. Liebhard danced with the company in its first season and returns as a choreographer for the concert. Spoken word artist Cole Sarar is another guest artist, performing in a piece called “Shine On,” choreographed by co-director Kristin Howe. “On the Verge,” meanwhile, choreographed by Howe and co-director Joanna Lees, features an original sound composition by local multi-instrumentalist Dameun Strange. Finally, company member Brenna Mosser has a piece in the show called “Cycles,” inspired by the Northern Lights. 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 18 and Saturday, March 19, and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 20 at the Southern Theater ($20 in advance, $24 door). More information here.
Legends: “Beyond Legends Rainbow”
The Capri Theater’s Legends series honors four jazz greats who graced the Capri stage before they passed. Among the artists celebrated in the concert are singer and pianist Jeanne Arland Peterson, jazz saxophonist and composer Irv Williams, “first lady of song” Debbie Duncan (read about Duncan in MinnPost here), and soloist and choir director Yolande Bruce, known for her work in the award-winning vocal jazz group Moore by Four. Legends’ artistic director Dennis Spears will perform vocals at the concert. He’s joined by pianist and music director Abdi Yeshaya, singer/saxophonist Jason Peterson DeLaire (currently touring with Michael Bolton), bassist Billy Peterson and drummer Nathan Norman. The program will feature favorite songs of the honored musicians. While you’re there, you can check out the Capri’s newly renovated lobby, and visit the gallery. It takes place 7 p.m. Saturday, March 19 and 3 p.m. Sunday, March 20 at the Capri ($25 in advance, $30 door). More information here.
Cellular Cinema 58: THE END
Cellular Cinema, the artist-run experimental film program running at the Bryant Lake Bowl since 2014, is going out with a bang for its last ever event. Since it began, the series has had nearly 60 monthly screenings, and four film festivals. The last showcase will feature a new 16 mm film by John Marks, plus another film that’s a kind of goofy homage to sycamore trees and animated works. Some of the filmmakers will be on hand, including guest artist Jonathan Rattner from Nashville. Local participating filmmakers include Merit Thursday, Dan Schneidkraut, and John Akre. 7 p.m. Sunday, March 20 at the Bryant Lake Bowl ($8). More information here.
Kiss the Tiger: Stone Baby
Is it a musical? A song cycle? A rock show? Don’t worry too much about genre labels when you go to see Kiss the Tiger’s latest project, “Stone Baby,” presented with Trademark Theater. The hybrid performance, taking place at Icehouse, has a clear, energetic narrative driven by its lead singer, musician and actor Meghan Kreidler. You follow the story — one about a child who discovers rock and roll as the antidote to her over-protective upbringing — as the band’s ’70s style rock music takes you along for the ride. The music sounds great, and Kreidler’s talent as a storyteller, poet and singer bring this concert to a new dimension of performance experience. The Controversial New ‘Skinny Pill’ opens for Kiss the Tiger 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday March 23 and Tina Schlieske opens March 30 at Icehouse ($20 advance standing room / $25 door, $35 advance table seat / $40 door). More information here.