The holiday season brings with it all sorts of things to do, and by that I don't mean shopping and decorating. Each December artists of all striped vie for your attention, offering a dizzying array of activities to choose from.
I was going to attempt to write a complete lists of EVERY HOLIDAY SHOW on offer this month. But then I realized it would be too overwhelming, for you and for me.
Joe Leary is Crumpet the Elf in The Santaland Diaries
Photo courtesy Frank Theater
So instead, I'm going to break down the holidays into some manageable bite-sized portions, giving you an opportunity to pick and choose your personal style of holiday merriment.
We begin with a look at all the belly laughs you can get this year by attending any of these holiday comedies:
The Santaland Diaries
Once edgy and new, this tale of Crumpet the Elf and his less than merry job dealing with Santa and the kids at the local department store has become its own sort of holiday classic. Frank Theater returns with its highly acclaimed staging, featuring Joe Leary, at the Southern Theater.
Fifty Shades of White
Brave New Workshop presents its annual holiday sketch comedy show. featuring some old chestnuts along with new gems made shiny by other people's absurd behavior. Fifty Shades of White runs through January 12 at BNW's Hennepin Ave location.
When a global conspiracy of sinister puppets threatens to steal all the world's toys, only one man can sneak into their deadly lair and return the toys before Christmas morning: Secret Agent Santa! The creators of The Harty Boys Save Christmas return with another action packed comedy for the whole family. Performances run through December 21 at Bryant Lake Bowl.
A Very Die Hard Christmas
Yippe Kai Yay Father Christmas! NYPD's John McClane is back, and he's out to prove that Die Hard is actually a Christmas movie. This new holiday treat promises to come with all the trimmings: singing, dancing, and bloodshed. Performances run through December 15 at the Bryant Lake Bowl.
Mary Mack's St. Paul "North Star Comedy Hr & Meat Raffle" Holiday Edition
It's a meat raffle. It's a comedy show. It's the holidays. Featured acts include Mary Mack as host & house band, with accordionist Karen Townsend, poets Paul Dickinson & Annette Schiebout, tongue-in-cheek Rap Group Valley Meadows, and comedian Tim Harmston as Tony Pastrami the Butcher. Holiday sing-along to be led by the Profanity Singers with closing rock and roll music performed by Frances Gumm. One night only: Thursday December 13 at the Turf Club.
This week's hounds guide us to an interactive poetry reading, vibrant 3-D art in Fergus Falls and a horn saturated Afro-Latin band from Ottawa, Canada.
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According to local poet Kris Bigalk, there's no risk of droning poets, stiflingly warm rooms or excessive sleepiness at The Maeve's Sessions, at Maeve's Cafe in Minneapolis. It features some of the best Twin Cities poets reading their work and interacting with audiences. The next installment happens tonight at 7:30pm, and features poets Leslie Adrienne Miller, Jim Moore, Katrina Vandenberg and Kathryn Kysar.
After ten years of being away, sculpture artist Naomi Schliesman has returned home to Ottertail County. Michele Anderson, program director for Springboard for the Arts in Fergus Falls, says Schliesman has installed an eye-popping 3-D installation at the Kaddatz Gallery in Fergus Falls, which reflects on her homecoming. The show runs through January 5.
Go see the Souljazz Orchestra, says Minneapolis bass player Alex Hamberger, and you will be compelled to dance, whether you want to or not. The band guarantees it. Alex says the group, from Ottawa, Canada, truly thrills with its horn section and Afro-Latin rhythms. The Souljazz Orchestra will heat up the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis on Saturday, Dec. 8.
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Minnesota musicians are up for five Grammy Awards this year.
The locked out Minnesota Orchestra musicians are nominated for Best Orchestral Performance, specifically for a performance of Sibelius Symphonies Nos. 2 and 5 (conducting Sibelius is widely considered one of Osmo Vanska's strengths).
Composer Rene Clausen's new cd of choral music "Life & Breath" is nominated for three different Grammy Awards: Best Engineered Classical Album, Best Choral Performance (for the Kansas City Chorale), and Classical Producer of the Year. Clausen teaches at Concordia College in Moorhead.2 Comments)
The Minnesota Orchestral Association is holding its annual meeting today. This year it's taking place behind closed doors, without the typical performances by orchestra musicians to punctuate the proceedings.
In an interview with Morning Edition's Cathy Wurzer, Chicago-based arts consultant Drew McManus said that, compared with many other orchestral negotiations across the country, the Minnesota Orchestra's situation is "particularly bad."
McManus said that at this point the orchestra is risking the loyalty of its audience. But there's still hope for resolution.
"When it's gotten to this level of animosity it's not unusual for the dispute to become more about winning the fight than whatever the issues were to begin with - it becomes personal on both sides. And it's very difficult for individuals in both stakeholder camps to step back from that. The thing I talk about a lot with clients in this situation is you have to find a way to provide an opportunity for both sides to save face with a solution, so that somebody doesn't have to lose in order for someone else to win."
Meanwhile, Russel Platt writes in The New Yorker that the trouble in the Twin Cities points to a shift in culture:
For decades, the situation for classical-music lovers there has been almost impossibly generous. Minneapolis-St. Paul is the only major metropolitan center in the country that boasts not one but two world-class symphony orchestras: another way in which Twin Citians, who sometimes speak of their home with an affectionate affliction that even many in-state call Shangri-La Syndrome, can claim to be "above average." (There is also the Minnesota Opera, a prominent regional-level company, a bevy of superb choruses, and a vibrant new-music scene.) In truth, they have much to boast about: one is indeed lucky to live in a metro area where, to paraphrase Garrison Keillor, you can have your pick of great restaurants and world-class cultural events but still live on a tree-lined street and send your kids to a public school. (It is also an attractive place to be a working-class composer, hence my long residency.)
Platt charges today's wealthy aren't as interested in classical music as their parents were. And the liberal golden age of Hubert Humphrey has given way to "the brave new world of Michele Bachmann."
...the Twin Cities musicians need to remember that their peers were forced to give in in Detroit, Atlanta, and Indianapolis, all comparable institutions. Only a mutual love of the art form will keep players and management on the same map; beyond that, there be dragons.
Do you see any hope for resolution between the musicians and the management?
Posted at 3:56 PM on December 6, 2012
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Public Art
For the past six years, artist Marcus Young has served as the "artist in residence" for the city of St. Paul. It's thanks to him that there are now close to 600 poems embedded in city sidewalks. He's also brought his artistic sensibilities to city planning, the rebuild of the Union Depot, and residential street construction.
Now two more artists will join Young in his civic role. Amanda Lovelee and Sarah West will bring their particular expertise in public art-making to various city agencies.
Amanda Lovelee, whose artwork explores how and where people connect, now holds the title of "City Artist in Residence for Temporal Work and Public Engagement." Sarah West, whose work often involves highlighting beauty in an urban setting, will serve as the "City Artist in Residence for Streets and Open Space."
The City Artist In Residence project - or CAIR - is a collaboration between the City of Saint Paul and Public Art Saint Paul.