It’s now precisely a week before the elections, and we at the Glean have been covering it a lot, but it’s the sort of thing that can crowd our other news, especially when your town starts filling up with presidents. But let’s take a moment to glance outside the world of politics to see what else is going on in Minnesota.
Quite a lot, actually. It’s a big time for theater and dance, as an example — more performing arts organizations start their seasons in the fall. And there is quite a variety as a result. Graydon Royce of the Star Tribune looks in on one example, an experimental production of the avant-garde favorite “Woyzeck,” created by Luverne Seifert and Carl Flink. Introducing the production’s more outre elements, Royce ends his first paragraph by saying that “we still haven’t gotten to the caged youngsters, clad in rags, screaming, dancing, climbing their chainlink fence, two feet in front of us.”
If your taste is less to the psychological horror of Georg Büchner’s tale of a murderous soldier, there is the more cinematic — if deliberately campy — horror of “Evil Dead: The Musical,” produced by Minneapolis Musical Theatre and reviewed by William Randall Beard for the Strib, who starts by essentially explaining that he’s not the right reviewer for the job: “Personally, I hate horror movies.” As a result, Beard doesn’t seem aware that the play is adapted from a cult low-budget horror film, or that the film had Minnesota’s own Joel Coen of the Coen Brothers as an assistant editor. Nonetheless, he enjoys the musical’s tone, which substitutes satire for horror.
But if that’s not campy enough for you, Ballet of the Dolls have reimagined “Swan Lake” by combining it with the arch Hollywood gothic of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane,” producing a dance piece that they have titled, as you might expect, “Whatever Happened to … Swan Lake.” Caroline Palmer reviews it for the Strib, and Palmer is, thankfully, aware that it’s based on a movie, and this forms the basis for her critique — specifically, the troupe has tried to put too much of the movie into the performance, and it feels crowded at times, minimizing the dramatic impact of many of the scenes: “[T]here’s no need to retread (or repeat) every detail,” Palmer writes, “especially when the sources of inspiration come from such well-worn cultural touchstones.”
If you’ve traveled up and down University Avenue between Minneapolis and St. Paul in the past six months, there is a good chance you have seen the hundreds of photographs placed along the thoroughfare by Wing Young Huie; if not, can we politely ask that you surrender your driver’s license? Euan Kerr of Minnesota Public Radio revisits Huie’s project as it winds down. It was ambitious in many ways — firstly, there were the photographs themselves, which documented the people who inhabit and populate University Avenue. Then there was the choice of using the entire street to display the works. Finally, there has been a series of events related to the exhibit, including public music performances. Kerr quotes Huie: “We’ve probably had 6,000 people who have been in that site. All different kinds of weather. Sometimes it’s just a handful of people. A lot of couples — a great place to take a date, especially younger couples.”
Looking backward, the Stuff About Minneapolis blog has started a project called The Dark Side of Minneapolis. Entries currently include a detailed description of the horrific West Hotel Fire from 1906, in which a small fire threw the hotel residents into a panic, causing some to leap to their deaths out windows. The blog also revisits the Catherine Ging murder from 1894, in which a ne’er-do-well “man of leisure” bullied a building engineer into murdering a young woman for insurance money.
If this author might be permitted to indulge in a self-link for a second, he has obsessively been mapping such dreadful tales onto Google maps for several years now, and you can find the location where poor Miss Ging’s body was dumped here. On a related note, this author has also been mapping reported haunting in the Twin Cities, which can be found here. Surprisingly, Ging is not haunting the Twin Cities. although a homeless man is supposed to be stalking the links of the Braemer Golf Course near where her body was dumped.
All right, back to the elections: With just one week left to go before residents of the 6th District cast their ballots, congressional candidates Michele Bachmann and Tarryl Clark are finally going to debate, according to the Associated Press. They will actually face each other three times, and also face IP candidate Bob Anderson, who, as the AP politely puts it, has been running an “under-the-radar” campaign. Why so late? Well, Clark and Anderson have actually already debated, but Bachmann didn’t bother to respond to the debate invitation. Bachmann is notorious for only talking to whom she wants to talk to. And a case can be made that she has put off this debate until it is too late for it to affect the outcome. Your feelings about that are going to depend on how much you think a vigorous public debate contributes to democracy, and how much its absence detracts from voters making an informed choice.
Pat Kessler from WCCO remains vigilant in looking at campaign ads, and he takes aim at one from the corporate political fund called MN Forward that has been titled “Trick or Treat” (and can be watched here). The ad consists of a deputy sheriff complaining that DFL canddiate Mark Dayton’s tax hikes will take money out of his pocket (illustrated by somebody stealing candy from trick-or-treaters). According to Kessler: “What’s really scary: How misleading the ad really is.“
In arts: According to Forbes, Minneapolis’ Elliot Park-native Charles Schulz ranks fourth in its annual list of top-earning dead celebrities, which is probably not that comforting when you’re dead.
In sports: We’ve been steering clear of the topic of Brett Favre’s private business, but when it becomes a sketch on “Saturday Night Live,” it’s impossible to ignore. You can watch the sketch on City Pages, and while it may be popular to complain about “SNL” not being funny anymore, this is the sort of sketch that has us struggling to remember when they were funny.