Art Hounds Each week three people from the Minnesota arts community talk about a performance, opening, or event they're excited to see and think others should check out.
Art Hounds

Art Hounds

From MPR News

Each week three people from the Minnesota arts community talk about a performance, opening, or event they're excited to see and think others should check out.

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Art Hounds: 'Beowulf' finds new meaning with coronavirus

Guthrie lighting designer Stephanie Richards recommends you catch the final weekend of "Beowulf." Walking Shadow Theatre Company's John Heimbuch gives a one-man retelling of the Old English epic poem. Richards says the story, which features a monster that silently kills people in groups, feels eerily timely. You can watch Heimbuch's performance livestreamed via Facebook as you cower behind your own door from a much smaller — but also deadly — monster. Amateur musician Dana Farmer thinks you should check out the new Facebook group "Livestream Cover Challenge." Local musician Joe Scarpellino started the group as a way to pass the time during the coronavirus pandemic. How it works: Musicians challenge each other to cover songs, and then the person who has been challenged has 24 hours to respond with a performance. In just a few weeks, the group has grown to more than 25,000 musicians, both professional and amateur, and Farmer says the vibe is wonderfully supportive and enthusiastic. Artist Heidi Jeub is finding Mary Bruno's "Quarantine Storytime" to be a much-needed sanity break. Bruno is a letter-press printer with her own company "Bruno Press." At noon each day, Bruno takes a break to read her favorite children's books. Jeub says Bruno's enthusiasm is appealing to both kids and parents alike, but what makes her particularly charming is her ability as a letter-press printer to appreciate illustrations and design. You can find her on her Facebook page.

Art Hounds: Abstract paintings inspired by the geometry and beauty of nature

Artist and writer Ann Klefstad is impressed with Tara Austin's paintings which, while abstract, are inspired by nature. Brightly colored and richly patterned, Austin's paintings reference botany, geometry and even rosemaling. Klefstad says Austin's technique of painting on two sides of plexiglass add dimension and energy, as the two sides "shimmer" at one another. An exhibit of Austin's paintings was scheduled for Friday through May 30 at Joseph Nease Gallery in Duluth — the gallery is moving the exhibition onto its website. Yellow Tree Theatre's Bailey J. Hess recommends you give a listen to "Break the Dice," a podcast that is a mashup of improv comedy and Dungeons&Dragons. Produced by Minneapolis-based The Bearded Company, it's basically some really funny people acting out a fantasy adventure with their characters' fates determined by a 20-sided die. You can find "Break the Dice" wherever you get your podcasts. Melodie Bahan, executive director of Minnesota Film and TV, says while movie theaters may have shut down and film festivals canceled, there are hundreds of Minnesota made film and TV/web series to be found online. Looking for an inspirational documentary? She recommends "The Starfish Throwers," which follows three people — one in Minneapolis — working to end hunger. Need something that will make you laugh? Bahan is a big fan of the web series "Theater People," a tongue-in-cheek look at "the drama behind the drama" in the Twin Cities theater scene. Bahan says you can find a list of all Minnesota made films and series on Minnesota Film and TV's website.

Art Hounds: Abstract paintings inspired by the geometry and beauty of nature

Art Hounds: Art in a time of 'social distancing'

Jeyca Maldonado-Medina co-hosts the podcast "Tuesdays with Lazerbeak" and she's feeling for all the bands that have had to cancel their shows. In particular, she's been listening to "Gully Boys," a self-described "boy band" made up of three non-boys who know how to rock. While their tour has been canceled, you can still listen to them on Spotify and other music platforms, and they'll be performing live on Saturday on Facebook with NUR-D. What do you do when your puppet show's been canceled? Turn it into a radio show! Ghost writer David Walbridge is impressed with how Z Puppets Rosenschnoz quickly converted their puppet show into a webcast "radio" show. He says it works because theater — in all its forms — is really about your imagination. "Through the Narrows" weaves together the stories a Cherokee boy travelling the Trail of Tears and a 3500-year-old Jewish woman crossing the Red Sea. Walbridge says their experiences navigating these "narrow" spaces are a fitting metaphor for our time. Angelique Powers teaches scenic art at the University of Minnesota, and admits she spends way too much time on Facebook. But it was on Facebook she discovered St. Joseph potter Joel Cherrico. She says she's become a big fan of Cherrico's live streams, where he invites you into his studio to watch while he throws pots. Powers says he makes it looks easy, and she finds watching him work mesmerizing and relaxing. Follow him on Facebook at Cherrico Pottery to get notifications when he's streaming.

Art Hounds: Dancers navigate personal boundaries and consent in 'Touch Code'

Rhythmically Speaking's Erinn Liebhard recommends checking out "Touch Code" at The Southern Theater this weekend. Choreographed by Jennifer Glaws and performed by six women, "Touch Code" explores our physical boundaries and personal spaces, and what it means to give consent. Liebhard says Glaws' choreography is visceral, musical and frequently surprising. Performances run Thursday through Saturday. Actor Andrew Erskine Wheeler is a fan of "The Rinky Dink Show" at Bryant Lake Bowl. Created by the same mind behind the perennial favorite "A Very Die Hard Christmas," Wheeler says "The Rinky Dink Show" is a skit comedy show that seeks to drive through every boundary it can find. Performances run Friday through March 21. Lanesboro Arts' Melissa Wray recently saw "The Fox" at Commonweal Theatre, and she was impressed. The show is the culmination of Commonweal's Capstone project, in which apprentices stage a show, taking on everything from building the set to sewing the costumes to acting the parts. "The Fox" takes place in 1918; as two female friends struggle to keep their farm afloat and save their hens from a wily fox, a young soldier wanders into their lives and offers help in exchange for lodging. Wray says the play examines toxic masculinity and gender roles in a way that makes it seem all too contemporary. Performances run Friday through March 29.

Art Hounds: Dancers navigate personal boundaries and consent in 'Touch Code'

Art Hounds: 'Let the Crows Come'

Actor Lizzy Andretta is excited for "Let the Crows Come" to make its way to Lanesboro's St. Mane Theatre on March 6. This dance performance created by Ashwini Ramaswamy uses the idea of a DJ remix and applies it to the Indian classical dance of Bharatanatyam. Ramaswamy uses this structure to investigate what it feels like to be a second-generation immigrant. Actor and singer Monica Heuser is headed to Lakeville South Theater to see Twin Cities Ballet perform "The Wall." This "rock ballet" is set to the iconic concept album by Pink Floyd. Heuser is a fan of both rock and ballet, she's looking forward to seeing how the two come together. Choreographer and Red Eye Theater artistic director Emily Gastineau recommends Eric Larson's performance piece "Tweezer Burn." She says his work is always funny, strange and makes you think. Gastineau says this conceptual piece was inspired by examining the human desire to collect precious things, and what we choose to value. The performances — which run through Sunday — take place at DuNord Craft Spirits.

Art Hounds: Champagne Confetti in Red Wing

Anderson Center's executive and artistic director Stephanie Rogers has got her tickets for Champagne Confetti at the Sheldon Theatre in Red Wing, Minn., and she highly recommends you join her. Champagne Confetti is the brainchild of Aby Wolf and Eric Mayson, and it brings together some of the finest musical talent in the Twin Cities to create music that defies categorization. You can hear classical, jazz and pop all at once in their tunes. Champagne Confetti performs at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 29. Poet and English professor Doug Green thinks you should check out "From Puerto Rico ... With Love?" The show, which consists of two solo performances, is being remounted by Teatro del Pueblo Thursday through Sunday at the Avalon Theater in Minneapolis. Green says both performances will make you laugh, and will leave you smarter than before when it comes to this unincorporated territory of the United States. Music lover and occasional gospel singer Marie Denholm is looking forward to "The Sounds of Gospel" this Saturday at Bethel University. The concert, directed by Jevetta Steele, traces the evolution of gospel music and features some great vocal talent. Denholm says it's a great way to mark Black History Month while enjoying some powerful, uplifting music.

Art Hounds: 'Peerless' gives Macbeth a dark and comic update

Lighting designer Emmet Kowler loves the play "Peerless," now on stage at Gremlin Theatre in St. Paul. The story revolves around two twin sisters who are determined to win a coveted "affirmative action" spot at a prestigious college. Kowler says the play is actually a witty update of Shakespeare's Macbeth and Theater Mu's production takes audiences on a similarly dark ride. Writer Lucie Amundsen is delighted to see that the NorShor Theatre in Duluth is presenting two performances of the musical comedy "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" just in time for Valentine's Day. The show is a series of vignettes capturing all the seasons of love, from first blush to enduring romance and everything in between. Performances are on Friday and Saturday. Heather Rutledge, executive director of ArtReach St. Croix, says Stillwater is the perfect setting for your romantic outing. This Saturday, the upbeat a cappella group Tonic Sol-fa performs a Valentine-themed show at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Zephyr Theatre.

Art Hounds: A 'Skeleton Crew' struggles to survive in working-class America

Minneapolis Arts Commissioner and performer Janay D. Henry says she's super excited to see "Skeleton Crew" at Yellow Tree Theatre in Osseo. The show is a co-production with New Dawn Theatre, a new company founded by some of the best theater talents in the Twin Cities. "Skeleton Crew" looks at the issues facing a small team of factory workers as the recession takes it's toll on Detroit. Performances run through March 1. Roseville Area Middle School Theatre's assistant director and props master Peg Cavanaugh highly recommends grabbing your favorite pillow and blanket and heading to University Lutheran Church of Hope in Dinkytown for "Night Songs." This hourlong event features live music and poetry accompanied by projections of the universe on the ceiling of the church. Cavanaugh says the evening provides a breathtaking reminder of the beauty of the universe and a much-needed escape from news of the day. "Night Songs" takes place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb 13. Poet Tim Stouffer is a fan of the Ely Art Walk, which turns the northern Minnesota town into an open-air gallery. Approximately 400 works of art by local residents of all ages will be on display in shop windows. The art walk coincides with the town's annual Winter Festival, which includes snow sculpting, guided hikes, and more. Both run Thursday through Feb. 16.

Art Hounds: A 'Skeleton Crew' struggles to survive in working-class America

Art Hounds: Wednesdays with My Grandma's Cardigan

Musician John Sievers is looking forward to February — because "My Grandma's Cardigan" will be the artist in residence at Thesis Beer Project in Rochester, Minn. On Wednesday nights, the indie folk band will perform; a different band will open for them each week, and Thesis Beer Project has event crafted a special beer in their honor. This is a year long project by the brewery, which will be hosting a different band every month in 2020. Improv performer and educator Jill Bernard recommends you head to Aster Cafe in Minneapolis for the release party for James Rone's new album "Quiet as Fists." Bernard loves Rone's witty, catchy tunes; she says he's great at writing lyrics that are very specific, but end up feeling universal. The music begins at 9 p.m. on Friday. Arts lover Nina Grunseth thinks Hennepin History Museum is an underrated gem that deserves more attention. Case in point: It's currently showing an exhibition on women's voting rights in honor of the centenary of the passage of the 19th amendment. In conjunction with the exhibition, there will be a birthday party for Susan B. Anthony on Feb. 15. "Votes for Women" runs through July 5.

Art Hounds: Ely celebrates 'The Quiltmaker's Gift'

Humanities teacher and theater director Sara Skelton says it's a great time to visit Ely, Minn. Not only do they have a foot of fresh snow, but the whole community is coming together to celebrate the artwork of resident Gail de Marcken. She illustrated the children's book "The Quiltmaker's Gift." This weekend the town is putting on the musical version of the children's book at the newly renovated Historic State Theater. It's also hosting a quilt show, storytelling and family-friendly workshops in conjunction with the show. Artist Nancy Valentine recommends paying a visit to the Charles Beck Gallery on the campus of Minnesota State Community and Technical College to see the Lake Region Arts Council Consortium art exhibition. The features the work of nine area artists working in a variety of media, including Gyotaku fish prints, made from inking actual fish. The show runs through Feb. 6. Theater artist Brooke Nelson says the weather forecast is looking perfect for some outdoor winter fun. That's perfect because this Saturday there are two great events for the whole family. The Lake Harriet Winter Kite Festival starts at noon; watch the pros fly fancy kites or bring your own to fly along with them. Then head over to Powderhorn Park for the 13th annual Art Sled Rally and see what outlandish creations people have built to send flying down the hill.

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