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Weekend Picks: A powerful exhibit on gun violence, An American Tail the Musical, Skinny Puppy

Plus: Black Dance Improvisation Festival; “The Wanderers”; Russ White: Harder Not Smarter.

Kyle Fokken’s “Loco Motive”
Kyle Fokken’s “Loco Motive” is part of the the 11th installation of “Art is My Weapon.”
MinnPost photo by Sheila Regan

Does art have the power to instill change in our communities? It has a better shot than most. An exhibition on view at the Minneapolis Central Library takes on one of the most important issues of our time: the violence caused by guns in our society. That and other arts and events are listed below, including the Black Dance Improvisation Festival, a new adaptation of “An American Tail,” and “The Wanderers” at Six Points Theater. Also this week, artist Russ White shares his work in an event co-hosted with the creative collective Joyce, and Skinny Puppy takes the stage at the Fillmore.

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Art is My Weapon: “Unburden Myself”

A powerful exhibition currently on view at the Minneapolis Central Library takes on gun violence in its many forms. It’s the 11th installation of “Art is My Weapon,” a nonprofit organization headed up by Nikki McComb, a documentary photographer and social justice “artivist.” Works in the exhibition take on school shootings, police violence against Black communities, and the ways that guns cause harm in communities. “Loco Motives,” (2023) by Kyle Fokken, takes the shape of a school bus, made with #2 pencils. Inside the bus is a casket. It’s a chilling work. “Cochito Warrior” (2022), by Guillermo Guardia, appears as a cartoonish toy, one that is suited up with bombs. Christopher Harrison places a hoodie, pants, and athletic shoes on the floor, representing a dead body. On the back of the hoodie is a shooting range target, making a statement about the unacceptable number of young Black men killed by police.  Sean Garrison’s “City of Fruit,” uses gun handles to represent a cityscape emerging from the water, an indictment on political leaders that continue to say they can do nothing to end gun violence. The exhibition is on view on the second floor of the library and is up through May 27 (free). More information here.

Call to Remember Black Dance Improvisation Festival
Courtesy of Pillsbury House + Theatre
Call to Remember Black Dance Improvisation Festival

Black Dance Improvisation Festival

Leading up to Leslie Parker Dance Project’s performance of “Divination Tools: imagine home” premiering at the Walker Art Center May 11 through 13, Parker presents an additional iteration of her multi-year “Call to Remember” project with two evenings of improvisational dance performances. New works commissioned by Pillsbury House + Theatre and Pangea World Theater feature artists invited by Parker to create short solo works, with Queen Drea joining in as DJ and emcee. You’ll see dance solos by Ashe Jaafaru, Ryan-Olivia Lundy, Tumelo Khupe, Jazz Casteneda, Arneshia Williams, and Imagine Joy. Friday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. at Pillsbury House + Theatre, ($0-30) Saturday, April 29 at 7 p.m. at Pangea World Theater ($0 to $35). More information here.

Russ White: Harder Not Smarter

Local artist Russ White teams up with the design firm Joyce for a pop-up art exhibition and 13th birthday party for the creative collective. There will be free art buttons, eye-popping turntable slip mats by art collective Visual Research Projects, and Russ White’s colorful takes on realism through drawing, collage, and more. You’ll also enjoy food, music, drinks, creative activities, and a raffle, plus places to buy cool art. The opening reception takes place Friday, April 28 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. You can also visit during office hours Saturday, April 29 from 12-5 p.m. or by appointment through May 3. (free). More information here.

The Wanderers

Two couples, a generation apart, grapple with social roles, yearning, Jewish identity, and institution of marriage in a play by Anna Ziegler. Told in alternating chapters, the stories of Orthodox couple Esther and Schmuli and secular Jewish couple Sophie and Abe offer different perspectives on the messy business of love and relationships. Directed by Miriam Monasch, the production of “The Wanderers” at Six Points Theater opens Saturday, April 29 at 8 p.m. with additional performances Sunday, April 30, at 1 p.m., Wednesday, May 3 and Thursday May 4 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 6 at 8 p.m., Sunday, May 7 at 1 p.m., through May 14 at Six Points Theater ($25 to $40). More information here.

Lillian Hochman as Tanya and Matthew Woody as Fievel in “An American Tail the Musical” at Children's Theatre Company.
Photo by Kaitlin Randolph
Lillian Hochman as Tanya and Matthew Woody as Fievel in “An American Tail the Musical” at Children's Theatre Company.

An American Tail

The Children’s Theatre Company brings the 1986 animated film “An American Tail” to life in a world premiere adaptation that opens this week. Tony Award winning playwright Itamar Moses wrote the book and lyrics, while Michael Mahler and Alan Schmuckler, who previously teamed up on “Diary of a Wimpy Kid the Musical” and “The Secret of My Success” created the music. The director of the adaptation, Taibi Magar, who is Egyptian-American, is a big deal, and holds credits from the Guthrie,  A.R.T., and the off-Broadway Signature Theatre in New York, where she directed Anna Deavere Smith’s “Twilight: Los Angeles.” Previews Thursday, April 27 and Friday, April 28 at 7 p.m. ($15 to $25) Opens Saturday, April 29 at 7 p.m. with additional performances Sunday, April 30 at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. through June 18 (tickets from $15 to $94). More information here.

Skinny Puppy

It may be your last chance to see Canadian industrial band dance group Skinny Puppy, in town on Monday as part of their “Final Tour” in conjunction with the group’s 40th anniversary. Outspoken for their political beliefs and animal rights activism, Skinny Puppy once invoiced the U.S. government for using their songs to torture prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Touring currently with three musicians— including founding members cEvin Key and singer Nivek Ogre, the tour promises the group’s signature outrageous costumes and props, distorted synths, and pulsating, dramatic and layered sound. Get ready for a visually and aurally stimulating feast of music to the extreme. 7 p.m. Monday, May 1 ($39-55). More information here.