Posted at 11:39 AM on May 3, 2011
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: News and reviews
Paul Simon performed well, "I Wish You Love" will return to the Penumbra in the fall, and a former Jeune Lune board member has bought the theater company's old home. Plus lots of reviews...
'Art?' Altered Esthetics explores the definition of art
Regardless of art's ever-changing meaning, it's still a fun question to ask and to try to answer. This is the playful premise of Altered Esthetics' latest show, "Art?"
- Jessica Armbruster, City Pages
'ars domestica: a mending of the soul' at Susan Hensel Gallery
Through old-school visions of domesticity, Libbie Soffer invites us to reflect on our own memories
- Coco Mault, City Pages
The news, the web, and the urge to create: Artistic first responses to bin Laden's death
This is the sort of moment that can leave an art critic, and, by extension, the arts community, seeming woefully out of touch with the rest of the world. How do you start your column the day after Osama bin Laden was killed by helicopter-borne Navy SEALS?
- Max Sparber, MinnPost.com
Books & Bars selection "A Visit from the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan: Time tells
The book was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in fiction this year. Clearly, the people have spoken.
- Courtney Algeo, TC Daily Planet
Talking with Brady Kiernan, director of "Stuck Between Stations"
While taking its title from a song by The Hold Steady (a New York band fronted by native Minnesotan Craig Finn), the soundtrack features mostly Twin-Cities-based artists and bands including Leisure Birds, Thunder in the Valley, Dillinger Four, Atmosphere, and P.O.S.; all the contributed music really hits home.
- Jim Brunzell III, TC Daily Planet
The kitchen sink and the favela: 'White Irish Drinkers' and 'Fast Five'
Titling a film "White Irish Drinkers" is catnip to people like me. I am, after all, likewise white, Irish, and a drinker, and Irish-Americans have a history of being fascinated with themselves. And why wouldn't we be? Have you seen how interesting we are?
- Max Sparber, MinnPost.com
Minnesota Twins phase out local music programming, amp up Top 40 hits
Longtime music director Kevin Dutcher, who was with the team from 2000 up until last year's inaugeral season in the new stadium, has been removed from his post and replaced by 96.3 NOW programming assistant Dan Edwards.
- Andrea Swensson, City Pages
Paul Simon at the Minneapolis Convention Center, 5/2/11For fans of Paul Simon, Monday night's show at the Minneapolis Convention Center couldn't have been more satiating. The man knows how to put on a show, and delivered a two-hour set that expertly wove new songs alongside old for the near-capacity auditorium.
- Andrea Swensson, City Pages
A relaxed Paul Simon delivers moody, moving musical travelogue
REVIEW: Smiling and swaying to his own songs, the singer-songwriter was low-key, artful.
- JON BREAM , Star Tribune
Review: Vital Simon is no nostalgia trip
He may be 69, but the man who made his first record back in the 1950s is still bursting with musical ideas and having a great time making music if Monday night's concert at the Minneapolis Convention Center is any indication.
- Rob Hubbard, Pioneer Press
No Bird Sing CD-release at the Cedar, 4/29/11
No Bird Sing have always been big on collaboration, but that spirit of togetherness was off the charts on Friday night as the group invited a wide array of friends to the stage to take part in an emotionally charged, raw, and cathartic performance.
- Andrea Swensson, City Pages
Chris Pureka at Aster Cafe, 5/2/11
Stylistically, she is Patti Smith meets Joe Purdy; she has a voice like grain and dust, like wind whipping around sand dunes, quiet but expansive and powerful, with a Lucinda Williams-esque approach to her lyrics.
- Natalie Gallagher, City Pages
Penumbra to bring back 'Love'
The musical about singer Nat King Cole's struggles on the set of his pioneering 1957 TV will be back for a special engagement in the fall.
- Rohan Preston, Star Tribune
Penumbra adds 'I Wish You Love' shows - next season
- Kathy Berdan, Pioneer Press
Former Theatre de la Jeune Lune board member plans new cultural venue in the company's past home
Former Theatre de la Jeune Lune board member Peter Remes has bought the former home of the theater at 100 First Avenue North in downtown Minneapolis and is on the verge of launching the space as a new cultural and music venue that he says will transform the arts scene in Minneapolis.
- Sheila Regan, TC Daily Planet
Judy, Coco, soldiers and gangsters
History Theatre season takes audiences back to Civil War, gangster St. Paul, jazz age and tumultuous 1968.
- Pioneer Press
A writer sifts the details of loss
Barbra Berlovitz finds the cool method of a woman investigating her own grief, in Joan Didion's memoir
- Graydon Royce, Star Tribune
'The Whiz: Moneyapolis' at Intermedia Arts
The Whiz isn't a remake of 1978's The Wiz starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson; it doesn't have a narrative.
- Sheila Regan, City Pages
"Now Eye See You, Now Eye Don't" falls short of Off-Leash Area's high bar
Even when Off-Leash Area is, well, a little off, they're still working at a level of originality and theatricality that beats half the other theaters in town.
- Matthew A. Everett, TC Daily Planet
Chris Hardwick promises his nerdiest comedy show ever this Friday
As host of the uber-popular Nerdist podcast (www.nerdist.com) and G4's Web Soup, he has attracted legions of fans over the past 20 years with his signature sarcasm and self-deprecating sense of humor.
- Patrick Strait, City Pages
The cast of The Scottsboro Boys, music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb, book by David Thompson. Directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman. On the McGuire Proscenium Stage of the Guthrie Theater through September 25, 2010.
Photo credit: Paul Kolnik.
The Tony Award nominations are out, and local Guthrie fans are sure to recognize one show on the list: Scottsboro Boys.
A minstrel-style musical about the trial of a group of black men, Scottsboro Boys ran on the Guthrie's proscenium stage last August and September, received generally glowing reviews in its pre-Broadway warm-up run.
But once on Broadway, the show failed to draw an audience, and closed after a short run and lackluster ticket sales.
Still, that didn't prevent the show from getting 12 nominations this morning, second only to "The Book of Mormon."
Scottsboro Boys is nominated for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical (twice), Best Direction of a Musical, Best Choreography, Best Orchestrations, Best Scenic Design of a Musical, Best Lighting Design of a Musical, and Best Sound Design of a Musical.
Joking Envelope presents "Sexy Librarian" at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage through May 21. Here's how playwright Joseph Scrimshaw describes the show:
A meek librarian lives in quiet frustration until she finds an ancient tome with a horrible spell and transforms herself into a beautiful monster. Whip off your glasses and shake out your hair for this stereotype smashing twist on the classic Jekyll and Hyde tale. A rock musical about fantasy, obsession, and rockin' the bookmobile after hours. Get ready for the total opposite of quiet in the library.
Thinking of going? Check out these excerpts form local reviews, or click on the links to read them in their entirety.
Writer/director/drummer Scrimshaw's genre-busting plotting and often clever jokes--presented, per Scrimshaw usual, with infallible regularity--keep Sexy Librarian moving, but it's sometimes an uphill battle. At two and a half hours (including intermission), the show feels long, and if you gave me the editing pen, I'd trim the whole "rock musical" part of Sexy Librarian: File Under Rock Musical. Though the band adds an element of fun to the proceedings--and reveals that actor Adam Whisner has serious guitar chops--Mike Hallenbeck's songs are just okay, and the sound mix at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage on Saturday night often made Scrimshaw's lyrics difficult to discern. (I should note that I was sitting far to stage right; the mix might have been better in the middle of the house--er, the garage.)
Scrimshaw's assembled a wonderful cast, from the leads down to invaluable supporting player Kevin McLaughlin as a patron who keeps stumbling upon Internet porn--possibly deliberately. Sundberg, Landman, and Rylander have their characters on lock, and deliver rich comic performances that are a treat to watch. All three find the humanity behind their caricatures. Most poignant is Landman, whose hands are so gnarled from carpal tunnel syndrome that he won't even pull them out of his pockets; watch him try to pick up a book with his knees rather than accept Sundberg's help.
City Pages just named Joking Envelope the best local theater company presenting original comedy, and that assessment is hard to argue with--especially on the basis of the shows Scrimshaw writes. He's not just one of the funniest local writers, he's also one of the smartest and most challenging. That's evidenced not only by his ability to write ribald jokes about books and libraries--though he can do that too. After Sexy Librarian, you'll never look at a bookmark the same way again.
The play stars Anna Sundberg, and that's all you really need to know.
...Sundberg makes the louche play work. As the Sexpot she is attractive and convincingly over-sexed but I came to greatly prefer her quiet and composed Librarian. Sundberg gives the frowzy Constance razor sharp cynicism and an impish grin. She makes long deliberate takes. The overall effect is, imho, very sexy.
Sundberg is greatly aided by her two male compatriots. As Frederick, Constance's superior, arthritic hands permanently thrust into his pockets, Sam Landman displays edgy amiability and impeccable comic timing. When he suddenly (and for unclear reasons) recovers the use of his hands, Landman is a hoot and a half. As is Mike Rylander who plays Chad the actor (he's auditioning for the timeless role of "Guy Selling Ladies Swimwear") beautifully. He's gorgeously air headed and appropriately swept off his feet by the hungry Constance. The rest of the ensemble (Kevin McLaughlin, Katie Kaufman, Lisa Bol and phillip andrew bennett) are quite good.
As to the material, well, gee. Joseph Scrimshaw (who also directs and plays the drums) has written a script that lurches along with admirable bravado and with regular flashes of brilliance ("You're prettier, but meaner." "Which is your Jekyll and which is your Hyde?") But the plot is garbled, fitfully developed and repetitive. How many toilet paper jokes can one play sustain? Still, as is always the case with Joking Envelope, the material is played with seriousness and passion. This adds up to a recognizable style.
[Sundberg's] Jekyll-to-Hyde change is one of the things that work well in this promising, if slow-paced, musical comedy at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage.
The show, which riffs on cultural types and tropes, revolves around a librarian on the frontline of a citizenry that is becoming increasingly dumb and entitled. Patrons seek classic texts that they know only from films, and demand books that have movie pictures on the covers.
One library visitor wants Constance to re-stock the toilet paper in the men's bathroom. And yet another, a bad speller, keeps getting his Internet connection broken because he's typoing things to get into porn sites.
...Some of the tunes are catchy, and hummable, even if the score could be improved with better orchestration and a bigger band.
"Sexy Librarian" is a work-in-progress. The pacing suggests a drama, not a fast and funny show. The music and the play exist in different realms. In fact, although it's billed as a rock musical, it feels more like a play with rock musical interludes.
Have you seen "Sexy Librarian" at the Minneapolis Theater Garage? If so, what did you think of the show? Share your reviews in the comments section.
In a rather low energy talk, software developer Mike Matas demos the first full-length interactive book for the iPad -- featuring video, audio, and even a windmill that responds to your breath. The book is "Our Choice," Al Gore's sequel to "An Inconvenient Truth."
One commenter on the TED website said "It's an interesting way to present information, but I don't think it's a book." What do you think?
Wang Ping was born in Shanghai and grew up on a small island in the China Sea. After three years of field work on a rural commune, she attended Beijing University. In 1985, she left the People's Republic of China to study in the United States, and earned her Ph.D. from New York University. She's the author of numerous collections of short stories and poetry, including "The Last Communist Virgin" and "The Magic Whip." She teaches at Macalester College.
She walks to a table
She walk to table
She is walking to a table
She walk to table now
What difference does it make
What difference it make
In Nature, no completeness
No sentence really complete thought
Language, like woman
Look best when free, undressed
- "Syntax," by Wang Ping, as it appears in her poetry collection Of Flesh Spirit, published by Coffee House Press. Reprinted here with permission from the publisher.
If you have an HD-capable radio, you can now listen to Local Current on the air at 89.3 KCMP HD2.
For those of you who don't own HD-capable radios, not to worry - Local Current is still also a web stream.
So have you given Local Current a listen? What do you think? >