We've asked our Art Hounds to tell us about their Minnesota arts and culture highlights of 2011. Here is the first installment (look for parts two and three next week):
Center of the Margins Festival at Mixed Blood Theatre
This one-of-a-kind theatre festival featured three plays delving deeply into disability. One play spotlighted Asperger's, autism, and what is "normal," another show was performed completely in American Sign Language, and the third dealt with race, adoption, and disability -- both mental and physical. Each piece challenged the audience and their conceptions of disability. Part of Mixed Blood Theatre's new Radical Hospitality concept, Center of the Margins pushed Minneapolis theatre into new directions.
-Michael Merriam, author and storyteller
Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg at Orchestra Hall
Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg's performance at Orchestra Hall on October 22 blew me away...all the way to Buenos Aires! She is likely the only solo violinist on that stage to wear bright red leather pants, and her energetic performance was just as fiery, with spirited movements and enthusiasm accompanying every note. Astor Piazzolla's Four Seasons of Buenos Aires was an ideal choice for the dynamic musician, seducing us with tango and Latin rhythms that flowed into or were interrupted by familiar Vivaldi melodies.
-Laura Westlund, managing editor of University of Minnesota Press
The Free Range Film Festival in Wrenshall
It's a film festival showcasing many local filmmakers, created by local filmmakers, taking place in a barn outside of Wrenshall. What's more Minnesotan than that? Also: they had good popcorn.
-Joshua Carlon, filmmaker and film editor