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Weekend picks: Love your Earth by cleaning up Lake Hiawatha and partying with kiddos at First Avenue

Plus: Global Poetry Celebration, “Housefuck*r” the play — an existential comedy about real estate, “Memphis” the musical, two exhibitions at SooVAC, and “Dear Lenny” at the Dakota.

“Transect” is a 360° video that creates curious dimensions of space and time in an exploration of humans’ impact on ecology, opening Friday at SooVAC.
“Transect” is a 360° video that creates curious dimensions of space and time in an exploration of humans’ impact on ecology, opening Friday at SooVAC.
Courtesy of SooVAC

It’s Earth Day on Friday. Time to reflect, donate to an environmental cause, make renewed pledges about reducing your carbon footprint, or maybe even sign up for a neighborhood cleanup, like the Lake Hiawatha cleanup organized by artist Sean Connaughty on Saturday. If you’ve got kiddos, you might consider taking them to the Earth Day party at First Avenue with music by the Grateful Dead. Or head to the White Bear Center for the Arts on Friday for an evening of poetry from around the world. Other picks this week include a new play taking place in people’s homes, by a new company called We Are Married, a production of the musical “Memphis” by Artistry, two new exhibitions at SooVAC, and “Dear Lenny” at the Dakota. 

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2022 Global Poetry Celebration

The Saint Paul Almanac is teaming up with the White Bear Center for the Arts for the 2022 Global Poetry Celebration, held on Earth Day. The National Poetry Month festivities will feature poets reading in more than a dozen languages, including Arabic, Burmese, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Irish, Latin, Northern Sami, Norwegian, Ojibwe, Spanish, Ukrainian and Urdu. With both original works and poems by writers from around the world, the event aims to highlight the shared humanity of the world, even in a time of war and strife. 6:30 p.m. Friday at the White Bear Center for the Arts (free). More information here.

Jay Eisenberg and Shelby Richardson in “Housefuck*r.”
Supplied
Jay Eisenberg and Shelby Richardson in “Housefuck*r.”

“Housefuck*r”

A new Twin Cities Theater company in town called We Are Married is putting on its first show, “Housefuck*r,” in residential homes in the Twin Cities. The group is led by married couple Shelby Richardson and Jay Eisenberg, two trans actor/theater makers who have both worked at theater companies around the Twin Cities (you may have seen Richardson in “The Wolves” at the Jungle, or caught Eisenberg as Yitzhak in Theatre Latte Da’s production of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”). The two have been collaborating together since 2017, and have a commitment to pay trans artists a living wage for their labor (for this show, the artists were paid $30 an hour for rehearsals). 

“Housefuck*r,” directed by Lizz Windnagel, is a kind of existential comedy about real estate. It’s framed around a house showing (the two actors play real estate agents). Audience members are shuffled in under the auspices of buying the home, and are treated to a goofy story full of clowning antics, relationship drama and dream sequences. They don’t dip too much into the politics of housing, though there is a land acknowledgment at the beginning. The piece rather explores transness through the metaphor of a building. It’s a lot of fun. When you sign up, you get the address. The show taking place this weekend is the only one taking place in a condo, so for folks who can’t use stairs, these performances would be the ones to check out. The shows this weekend are Saturday, April 23, and Sunday, April 24, with additional performances through May 8. More information here. 

“Memphis”

At the Bloomington Center for the Arts’ Schneider Theater, Artistry has put together a fantastic team for its production of the musical “Memphis.” Local jazz legend Ginger Commodore is the music director for the show, while the wonderful Aimee K. Bryant, well known as an actor in the Twin Cities, is the stage director. Meanwhile, actor, singer and dancer Vie Boheme plays the fictional role of singer Felicia Farrell, while Matt Riehle plays Huey Calhoun, a DJ in the 1950s who works to desegregate the radio waves. The trailer is pretty enticing! The show runs April 23rd through May 1st at the Bloomington Center for the Arts ($17-49). More information here.

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“You Are Walking Down Bryant Avenue” and “Inhabitants”

In “You Are Walking Down Bryant Avenue,” Dietrich Sieling brings viewers along into his view of Bryant Avenue: its coffee shops, cars, characters and storefronts. Sieling’s line drawings are filled with color, pattern and unusual shapes, offering a perspective of the Minneapolis Street you could only see through the lens of Sieling’s art. Also opening is an exhibition featuring Areca Roe called “Inhabitants,” which brings together three different bodies of work that traverse nature and human worlds through large photographic prints, lenticular (3D) photographs and video. The whimsical “Ghosts” series places bedsheet ghost figures in different landscapes, while the “Terrestrial” series juxtaposes human figures and floral-patterned backgrounds with 3D images of native trees and plants of Minnesota. The exhibition also features “Transect,” a 360° video that creates curious dimensions of space and time in an exploration of humans’ impact on ecology. Both shows hold an opening reception 6-9 p.m. Saturday, April 23, at SooVAC and run through May 22 (free). More information here

Rock and Roll Playhouse
Photo by Kristen Drum
Rock and Roll Playhouse

Earth Day Grateful Dead for kids

The Rock and Roll Playhouse, a national kid-friendly live concert series, celebrates Earth Day 22 with music by the Grateful Dead at First Avenue this Sunday. There will be games, movement and satires, as the group introduces the next generation to the Dead, all while donating 50 cents from every ticket to the Rex Foundation for a fund earmarked for environmental groups. Adults must be accompanied by a kid under 18 to attend. 11:30 a.m. Sunday, April 24, at First Avenue ($18, kids under 1 free). More information here

Prudence Johnson, Dan Chouinard, Bradley Greenwald and Liz Hawkinson
Courtesy of the Dakota
Prudence Johnson, Dan Chouinard, Bradley Greenwald and Liz Hawkinson

“Dear Lenny: Bernstein’s Life in Songs & Letters”

Fans of Steven Spielberg’s recent film “West Side Story” can take a deeper dive into the composer of its music, Leonard Bernstein, with a kind of epistolary musical. It’s made up of letters by and to Bernstein throughout his life to people like Stephen Sondheim, Jackie Kennedy, Aaron Copeland, Miles Davis and more, along with newspaper articles and, of course, his songs. You’ll get a better appreciation of Bernstein’s life, all with songs performed by Bradley Greenwald, Prudence Johnson and Liz Hawkinson with pianist Dan Chouinard, clarinetist Bruce Thornton and bassist Gary Raynor. 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, at the Dakota ($25-35). More information here