Pride month is heating up like the weather this June. Get a dose of Pride in your opera by visiting Divas and Drag, an opera show featuring 6 drag performances at Historic Mounds Theatre, or celebrate queer filmmaker Atlas O Phoenix in their retrospective at Trylon Cinema. Also this week, both SooVAC and Hair + Nails host opening receptions for intriguing shows, Paula Poundstone teams up with Jearlyn Steele at Crooners, and Mirage Performing Arts doubles the fun with two piano players and two ballet dancers.
Divas and Drag
Five opera performers team up with six drag artists in the return of Divas & Drag, presented by An Opera Theatre. Hosted by burlesque performer Nadine DuBois, the show mixes live opera with a drag aesthetic for a lively celebration of opera that’s high on spectacle, queerness, and fun. Emi Ndiya, who performs under the name Damien D’Luxe, performed in the show when AOT presented D&D back in 2019, and returns this year as a producer and performer. Friday, June 16 & Saturday, June 17 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, June 18 at 4 p.m., Historic Mounds Theatre, ($20 or pay-as-able and pay-it-forward tickets available). More information here.
Flight of the Phoenix: A Retrospective by Atlas O Phoenix
Before heading to France later this month to receive their trophy at the Aviff Art Film Fest in France for their film “Ordinary,” Atlas O Phoenix is heading to The Trylon Cinema for a retrospective of their work of the last 23 years. Phoenix’s body of work shown in the screening goes back to a 2001 digital video called “cord.” That piece juxtaposes Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” with a true story using the Dogme 95 avant-garde filmmaking technique made famous by Danish filmmakers Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg. Other experimental works include “Do I Qualify for Love?,” a film Phoenix made using a cellphone with a budget of $28 in 2020. In “This One,” made in 2003, Phoenix collaborates with rapper Brown Child for a video shot at an ice shanty in the middle of a frozen Minnesota lake. Other works by Phoenix explore identity, including race, disability, queerness and transness. Their most recent piece, “Ordinary,” probes different identifiers and asks viewers to perceive people more deeply and with more authentic nuance. Thursday, June 15 at 7 p.m. ($10). More information here.
Oakland, California-based painter Gregory Rick is coming home to the place he grew up and will be showing his work in the South Minneapolis Hair + Nails Gallery after recently being honored with the SECA Art Award from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where he held a solo exhibition. Rick calls his work history paintings, and they often detail large real world events as well as Rick’s own personal history. With incisive storytelling, bold shapes and emotion, Rick invites viewers to enter into a forceful powerful narrative. Opens Saturday, June 17 from 7 to 10 p.m. and runs through July 23 at Hair + Nails Gallery (free). More information here.
Hale Ekinci and Erin Paradis at SooVAC
In the exhibition “For (Y)Our Eyes Only,” Chicago-based artist Hale Ekinci has transferred photos onto bedsheets that are framed with a lace edging using a technique called “Oya,” common in Turkey, where the artist grew up. Interrogating notions of gender and power structures, Ekinci employs pattern and texture in her playful and often humorous pieces. The exhibit will open this week along with “A Way Through,” by Erin Paradis. Paradis invites viewers into a journey toward spacial, intellectual and mental openness using unusual forms, texture and color through the artist’s ceramic explorations. Both exhibitions will be on view at an opening reception on Saturday, June 17th from 6-9 p.m., with the exhibitions running through July 16 at Soo Visual Arts Center (free). More information here.
Island of Discarded Women
Comedian Paula Poundstone and local crooner Jearlyn Steele guest star on the latest live podcast show, “Island of Discarded Women,” hosted by Sue Scott. It’s not the first time these talented women have teamed up— Poundstone (frequently heard nowadays on NPR’s “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me”) and Steele (radio talk show host who has sung with the likes of Prince, Mavis Staples, and her family band The Steeles) performed together on Prairie Home Companion in days past. The host and her guest stars will breeze through a night of storytelling and music, with plenty of biting social commentary in the mix. Thursday, June 15 at 7:30 p.m. at Crooners Supper Club ($30 and $40 for VIP seating). More information here.
Two by Two – Live Music and Dance Performance
Ballet dancer/choreographer Yuki Tokuda, who was announced recently as a 2023 Dancer Fellow by the McKnight Foundation, dances Shohei Iwahama in an evening of work accompanied by two piano players, Rie Tanaka and Koki Sato. Mirage Performing Arts presents this four person group as they take on Suite No.2, Op.17 for Two Pianos by Sergei Rachmaninoff, as well as a piece by Takashi Yoshimatsu, also for two pianos, called “Random Bird Variations Op. 23.” Finally “Two by Two” features a 1996 piece by John Adams called “Hallelujah Junction.” Tuesday, June 20 and Wednesday, June 21 at 7 p.m. at Antonello Hall at MacPhail Center for Music ($20). More information here.