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.

Most Recent Episodes

Art Hounds: A family struggles with the death of a patriarch

From MPR News, Art Hounds are members of the Minnesota arts community who look beyond their own work to highlight what's exciting in local art. Want to be an Art Hound? Submit here. Click here. Confronting shadows Full Circle Theater Company's thought-provoking new production "They Wear Teal Ribbons Around Their Tongues" delves deep into the dynamics of a family grappling with the aftermath of their patriarch's death. St. Paul actor Chris Collier had a chance to read the script for Full Circle Theater Company's current show, "They Wear Teal Ribbons Around Their Tongues," and he's looking forward to the staged production. Written by Minnesota playwriter Siddeeqah Shabazz, the play follows a family reconciling with the loss of their patriarch and a burgeoning secret that threatens to shatter their long-held perfect image. Trigger warning: the play deals with sexual assault and mental health issues within the family dynamic. "Especially as it pertains to communities of color and to black families, specifically, I think that there's such a stigma surrounding mental health and sexual assault that just doesn't get talked about," said Collier. "And I think that this show does a great job of addressing a much-needed conversation." "They Wear Teal Ribbons Around Their Tongues" runs through April 28 at the Gremlin Theatre in St Paul. Rhythms and threads Revel in the vibrant energy of the Guild of Middle Eastern Dance's Spring Spectacular. MJ Gernes is a St. Paul fiber artist and drummer who has had a chance to drum before with members of the Guild of Middle Eastern Dance. For more than 40 years, the Guild has drawn dancers from around the Twin Cities and beyond to perform a variety of folk dance styles from across the Middle East as well as other American-fusion styles. Gernes loves the high energy, the beautiful costumes and welcoming atmosphere of the Guild's dance performances, and she's looking forward to their Spring Spectacular, this Sunday, April 21 at 4 p.m. at the Elision Playhouse in Crystal. For those interested in learning new dance skills, the Guild is offering six workshops this weekend in St. Paul and Crystal. Revisiting rebellion Experience a timeless tale of struggle and satire with An Opera Theatre's production of "The Cradle Will Rock." Twin Cities illustrator and designer Jerrald Spencer Jr. had a chance to see a preview production of An Opera Theatre's performance of "The Cradle Will Rock." Written in 1937 by Marc Blitzstein and billed as "The Working Man's Musical," the opera still feels relevant today; Spencer described it as "Succession meets The Producers." The villainous Mr. Mister (whose wife, naturally, is Mrs. Mister) seeks to control the media and crush rising labor unions. The opera is laced with some "very, very funny lines," says Spencer, along with beautiful singing and shadow puppetry, which adds to the emotional depth of the story. The Cradle Will Rock runs April 18 – 21 at the Heart of the Beast Theatre in Minneapolis. The show is 90 minutes without intermission.

Art Hounds: High school and college classical

From MPR News, Art Hounds are members of the Minnesota arts community who look beyond their own work to highlight what's exciting in local art. Want to be an Art Hound? Submit here. Click here. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/art-hounds/id525807829 Future stars shine Experience the talent and dedication of tomorrow's musical stars at the Schubert Club student scholarship competition winners' recital. Aimée Baxter of St. Paul loves the arts, and one of her favorite concerts of the year is "Musicians on the Rise — Competition Winners Recital." Over 200 high school and college students compete in 15 categories that include piano, strings, voice, guitar, brass and woodwinds for scholarships to support their musical education. The winners (listed here) perform this Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Ordway in St Paul. The concert is free. "It is truly a gem," says Baxter. "The wide range of musicians that are playing and the skill of these young people — it just blows you away, and you feel like you're kind of finding out about somebody before they really hit it big." Weaving awareness "Making Climate Change Visible" by Carolyn Halliday uses the unique medium of knitted wire to create a powerful commentary on our environment and the impacts of climate change. Twin Cities fiber artist Amy Usdin recommends a visit to the Kolman & Reeb Gallery in northeast Minneapolis for a textile exhibit, "Making Climate Change Visible." Halliday's exhibit of knitted wire draws you in with a large, central piece of brilliant blue that recalls how blue the skies were without traffic during the pandemic lockdown. Other pieces recall skies gray with wildfire smoke from the summer of 2023, as well as the paradoxically beautiful sunsets that occur on smokey evenings. Usdin calls Halliday's use of color "exceptional and unique in wire knitting." There is an artist reception Saturday at 7 p.m., and a music and dance performance in the space on Thursday, May 2 at 6 p.m., followed by an artist talk. The exhibit runs through May 11. Celebrating Native fashion "Celebrating Native American Fashion" illuminates the rich tapestry of Indigenous design, featuring community members as models, many of whom will present their own creations. Jill Doerfler is the department head of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. She says contemporary Native fashion is having a moment right now, and she's thrilled that there will be a Native American fashion show at the Tweed Museum on campus this Saturday from 12-2 p.m. The models include some 25-30 community members, many displaying clothing they have made, including jingle dresses, ribbons skirts, applique and bandolier bags. Doerfler says it's an inclusive show — all are welcome to attend and encouraged to wear their own Native American fashions that they have made or bought. The event is free, with refreshments to follow. A surprise special guest is scheduled to attend the event. Doerfler highly recommends continuing your visit with a tour through the Tweed Museum's art exhibits while you're there. The three co-sponsors for "Celebrating Native American Fashion" are the Tweed Museum of Art, the American Indian Housing Organization (AICHO) and the McKnight Foundation. Recently, AICHO held workshops teaching how to make ribbon skirts, and Doerfler expects some of those participants will be strutting down the runway.

Art Hounds: Remembering Denomie

From MPR News, Art Hounds are members of the Minnesota arts community who look beyond their own work to highlight what's exciting in local art. Want to be an Art Hound? Submit here. Click here. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/art-hounds/id525807829 A tribute to Jim Denomie Explore the vibrant legacy of Minnesota artist Jim Denomie in "Conversations with Jim," an exhibition at ArtsReach St. Croix in Stillwater. This showcase features 60 new works by artist Dougie Padilla, Denomie's longtime friend, who has created a series of pieces as a dialogue with Denomie posthumously. Carleton College art professor and photographer Xavier Tavera wants people to know about an exhibition of new artwork memorializing Minnesota artist Jim Denomie (1955–2022). His longtime friend artist Dougie Padilla began a series of works in response to — and in conversation with — Denomie after his death. Related Art Hounds celebrate milestones of life Both artists, Tavera says, are masters of color whose paintings tell stories. He says Padilla's bold, spiritual work shows characters with teeth, tails and antlers caught up in conversation with each other. The longer you look at these works, Tavera says, the more deeply you see the narratives these paintings create. "Conversations with Jim," which contains some 60 new works by Dougie Padilla, is on display ArtsReach St. Croix in Stillwater, which also housed Denomie's final show. The exhibit opens tonight with an artist reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Padilla will also host a gallery talk on April 14 and a poetry reading on April 28. The exhibit runs through May 11. A glimpse into Zelda Fitzgerald's life Dive into the tumultuous and fascinating life of Zelda Fitzgerald in the one-woman play "The Last Flapper." Staged at Yellow Tree Theatre in Osseo, this compelling production opens its curtains on Friday, offering a unique portrayal drawn from Zelda's real letters and stories. Actress Sarah Dickson recommends the one-woman play "The Last Flapper" about Zelda Fitzgerald, which opens at Yellow Tree Theatre in Osseo on Friday. Zelda inspired her husband, writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, to create the character Daisy Buchanan in "The Great Gatsby." This show is drawn from Zelda's real letters and stories, and it's told on the last day of her life, which ended in an insane asylum. The show stars Broadway actor Monette McGrath of Marine on St. Croix. "The Last Flapper" is the first of two back-to-back shows mounted at Yellow Tree in partnership with Frosted Glass Creative, and it's billed as a collaboration for Women's Month: two theater companies led by woman artistic directors, mounting a one-woman show. (Dickson performs in the ensuing show, "Seven Keys," which starts in May.) "The Last Flapper" runs April 5 – 14. Music of the cosmos Join the celestial journey as the Bakken Ensemble presents a performance inspired by the majesty of the cosmos. This Sunday's concert promises an auditory exploration of the stars and the sky, fueled by recent cosmic discoveries and celestial events. Malinda Schmiechen, an amateur violinist and violist living in Excelsior, has been attending performances of the Bakken Ensemble for years, and she says they're "always extraordinary." In particular, she loves watching violinist and artistic director Stephanie Arado. "I love how excited she gets when she performs. She's so dynamic. She plays with so much emotion and energy." Of cellist and artistic director Pitnarry Shin, "She has great expression, great intensity when she plays." Schmiechen says she always encounters a new, diverse selection of music at their concerts. This Sunday's performance focuses on music that celebrates the stars and the sky. Inspired by recent photographs from the James Webb telescope as well as the solar eclipse on Monday, April 8, this performance contains five works that reach for the stars and the sky. Two are by living composers (Max Vinetz's "Stars on the Ground" for string quartet and Stephen Hartke's "The King of the Sun: Tableau for Violin, Viola, Cello and Piano." The concert is Sunday, April 7 at 4 p.m. at MacPhail Center for Music's Antonello Hall in Minneapolis. Pro tip: Schmiechen recommends arriving early to the concert, as tickets are open seating. She loves to sit in the front to get a close-up look at the performers' techniques.

Art Hounds: Folk tales cast in silver

From MPR News, Art Hounds are members of the Minnesota arts community who look beyond their own work to highlight what's exciting in local art. Want to be an Art Hound? Submit here. Click here. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/art-hounds/id525807829?mt=2 Crafting tales in silver Discover the enchanting world of Norwegian folk tales reimagined through contemporary jewelry at the Nordic Center. Renowned artist Liz Bucheit's exhibition "Hand of Huldra" showcases the tradition of silver as protection against evil, blending myth and craftsmanship. Alison Aune is a professor of art education at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and a former board member at the Nordic Center. She recommends a show currently at the Nordic Center, "Hand of Huldra" by Liz Bucheit of Lanesboro. "What she specializes in is reimagining Norwegian folk tales, folk traditions, through her contemporary jewelry," Aune explains. "In Norway — and in a lot of the Nordic and Baltic countries — silver was thought to protect you against evil. So there's a tradition with the bride wearing a bridal crown of silver, having all sorts of silver pendants so that she's protected." On display are crowns, as well as other silver objects, which Aune describes as "phenomenal. She's just really an expert on taking those Norwegian stories and finding their way to jewelry." "Hand of Huldra" is on display until April 27. Celebrating Nowruz Join the Twin Cities Iranian Culture Collective for a vibrant celebration of Nowruz, the Persian New Year, at the Ordway in St. Paul. Experience international and local musicians in a concert followed by a reception featuring tea and cookies. Visual artist Katayoun Amjati says she's been hearing from friends in the northeast Minneapolis arts and music scene about the concert "Voices Unveiled: A Nowruz Celebration and Community Gathering," presented by the Twin Cities Iranian Culture Collective. Nowruz is the Persian New Year, which was celebrated on March 19. The concert includes both international and local musicians and will be followed by a reception afterward that includes tea and cookies. Amjati says the concert will be a chance to celebrate and also to honor and mourn alongside those women struggling for rights in Iran. She notes that two of the singers recently moved from Iran to the U.S., and she looks forward to hearing their voices. "Voices Unveiled: A Nowruz Celebration and Community Gathering" is Saturday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Ordway in St. Paul. Tickets are limited. A tragicomedy journey Embark on a poignant yet uplifting journey with "Phantom Loss," a puppet show by Oanh Vu, staged by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre in Minneapolis. Join a Vietnamese American girl in a tale of haunting, friendship with ghosts and the struggles of generational trauma and deportation. Anh-Thu Pham of Theater Mu has seen previous workshops of Oanh Vu's puppet show "Phantom Loss," and she's looking forward to seeing the final version staged by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre in Minneapolis. It's a tragicomedy about a Vietnamese American girl who moves to a new small town with her mother to run a nail salon. The house where she lives is haunted, and she becomes friends with the ghost. It's a refugee story about generational trauma and deportation, told with heart and humor. Pham, who grew up watching "Sesame Street" and "Mr. Rogers," points out the power of puppetry to take on heavy subjects without losing sight of joy. "I think, for any of us that have dealt with generational trauma, or any hard things in our lives," says Pham, "if you sit in the darkness, you won't be able to live, you won't be able to process through that. And I think that's when good art is done: you kind of see and experience life in its wholeness. I think this is what 'Phantom Loss' can do." The show opens Friday with a preview show Thursday, and it runs through April 7. There is a pay-what-you-can performance on April 2. The show is rated PG/PG-13.

Art Hounds: We cannot eat ceramics

Fiber and textile artist Shannon Twohy of Minneapolis recently saw the Northern Clay Centers exhibition "Edible," which she found thought-provoking. The show brings together works by five Asian American artists, including Anika Hsiung Schneider of Minneapolis, all investigating food and culture through clay. Twohy appreciates that each artist explores the medium differently, creating sculptures that vary from stylistic representations to creations that look good enough to eat. "Edible" is on view through April 21 both in-person and online, here. Edible at Northern Clay Center Charlie Leftridge is the executive director of the Carnegie Art Center in Mankato, and he wants people to know about the vibrant local music scene. Leftridge served as director of operations of Mankato's Symphony Orchestra heading into the pandemic, and he continues to enjoy their music from the audience. He loves that MSO showcases a diverse mix of composers, presented in a friendly and accessible way. The MSO's Chamber Music series, known as Music on the Hill, presents its next concert this Sunday, March 24 at 3 p.m. at Bethany Lutheran College's Trinity Chapel in Mankato. This performance's theme is Bohemian Folk, and it includes Antonín Dvořák's "Cypresses" for string quartet, among others. Minneapolis musician Dylan Hicks is looking forward to listening to some great jazz when the Chris Thompson Quartet perform next week at Berlin. The group is led by Chris Thompson on clarinet and saxophone, who also composes electronic music under the name Cedar Thoms. Hicks has performed with Thompson in the past and calls him a creative, lyrical player with a great ear for improv. "He can pay to play very advanced harmony, but he always really draws you in melodically. And so I think he will appeal to people who are, hardcore jazz aficionados and maybe people who are exploring the music." Thompson joins with Kavyest Kaviraj on piano, Jeff Bailey on bass, and Abinnet Berhanu on drums — all leaders in their own right. Hicks recommends checking out Berlin, an intimate, European-inspired jazz club in the North Loop of Minneapolis that he says fills a much-needed niche in the music scene. There is no cover charge for this show.

Art Hounds: Learn the meaning of Wee-Woo

Phil Schenkenberg is an attorney practicing law in Minneapolis and a resident of New Brighton. He recommends "The Doctor Wee-Woo Show," although he admits, "I don't know quite what to expect." It's a call-in show, of a sort, that, according to the website, "follows the eponymous Doctor Wee-Woo and his friends (Mailbag, Mrs. Apple Tree, Sedrick the Sasquatch and more) as they perform their award-winning and long-running children's television program." Audiences were asked to send in their life problems in advance. "DO NOT write about failed dreams, letting go of the past, and/or sasquatch politics," they warned. The show was created by Jake Mierva and Danylo Loutchko of an alleged Theatre Company (the proper name of the company, lower-cases deliberate). "They have great chemistry on stage together. I always expect to have a lot of fun — and we always do," Schenkenberg says. The show plays March 15-24 at the Open Eye Theatre in Minneapolis. Bruce Gerhardson of Fergus Falls is an arts enthusiast. He recommends the art collection at Fergus Falls campus of Minnesota State Community and Technical College, which contains more than 400 works, calling it a "hidden gem ... I think it really would stack up against any campus art collection in the state." Gerhardson is especially excited that the art now features a self-guided tour. Through the use of QR codes that are at various works of art, visitors can access more information about and interviews with the artists. "The art collection is open to the public. It's not in a closed gallery setting. It's really in the hallways of the campus, which creates a vibrancy but also it makes it accessible to anybody who happens to be visiting the campus," Gerhardson says. Marie Denholm lives in the Powderhorn neighborhood of south Minneapolis and considers herself to be "a music head of all types." The music that has attracted her attention at the moment is a requiem. The composer is Minnesota musician Doug Weatherhead. "He's a singer-songwriter, rock and roll guy from lots of different bands," Denholm explains. But Weatherhead decided to write a classical requiem, and will perform it with a 32-member choir. "Requiem" will be performed on Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Judson Memorial Baptist Church in Minneapolis. Requiem

Art Hounds: The scent of art, the poetry of Bly, Gilbert and Sullivan

Michelle Wegler of Duluth recommends seeing the exhibit of fellow plein air painter Cheryl LeClaire-Sommer. Her current show, "Scents to Scenes: A Project Space Exhibition" consists of oil paintings of landscapes inspired by scent. LeClaire-Sommer used essential oils to inspire her choice of location for each painting. Balsam or cedar scents, for example, might lead her to paint a cedar grove. The oil paintings, created from locations across Minnesota specifically for this show, range from 8x10 to larger pieces, which she finished in-studio. Both the studies and larger pieces are on view, along with the essential oils that inspired each project. Wegler says that you stop and look at a painting in a new way after sniffing the accompanying oil. (Saturday, March 2 is a scent-free day from noon to 4.) Her work is on view at the Kohlman & Reeb Gallery in northeast Minneapolis through March 23, with an artist talk on March 7 at 7 p.m. LeClaire-Sommer also has an exhibit at the Plein Air Collective at the Bell Museum in Roseville through May 26. Singer/songwriter/troubadour Larry Long of Minneapolis recommends "DO NOT FORGET US: Poets, Writers, Musicians Against the War (s) on the Earth." The event was organized by poet James Lenfestey and is described as "a remembrance in words and music of the victims of wars on the creatures of Mother Earth, and of the activist legacy of Robert and Ruth Bly." Participants will include James Armstrong, an award-winning poet and naturalist from Winona; Sarina Partridge, a community song circle leader; and soul singer Robert Robinson, among many others. There will also be a special presentation of poems by Robert Bly. The event will take place Thursday at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis at 7 p.m. Jeanne Farrar of Minneapolis has seen several shows by The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company in Minneapolis, and she's looking forward to seeing "Utopia, Limited; or, The Flowers of Progress" this month. One of Gilbert and Sullivan's lesser-known works, the operetta is a political satire. A British ship has arrived at the remote island "Utopia," and its king has earnestly undertaken to emulate all things British. His Cambridge-educated daughter has just returned and is trying to help her father reform the nation's government. Meanwhile, the king's unscrupulous wise men are out to enrich themselves. As the characters and situation grow increasingly absurd, the show serves up its satirical bite with a dose of sweetness with its loveable — or at least laughable — characters. Farrar notes that Gilbert and Sullivan "are really good at making fun of pretentious manners and mores, incompetence in powerful positions and the slavish adherence to a rule or philosophy to the point of absurd." The company has revised "Utopia, Limited" for a modern audience; read more about those efforts here. Performances will be at the Conn Theater at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis March 1 – 24.

Art Hounds: The scent of art, the poetry of Bly, Gilbert and Sullivan

Art Hounds: Horror theater, family jazz and a 'conceptual dreamscape'

Performance artist and musician Tri Vo loves the work of Theater Mu, and he's looking forward to seeing them take on the horror genre in the world premiere of Keiko Green's play "Hells Canyon." As with many classic horror pieces, we're headed to a cabin in the woods with a group of unsuspecting friends. They've booked a weekend trip in eastern Oregon, near Hells Canyon. In 1887, it was the location where white gang members massacred 34 Chinese gold miners, an actual event called the Hells Canyon Massacre. As the night progresses, supernatural forces threaten to break in, raising the temperature of the simmering tensions among the friends. Vo recalls being "freaked out" by the digital stage effects in Theater Mu's staging of "The Brothers Paranormal" in 2019, and he looks forward to seeing how this play and its stage effects work together to create an atmosphere of horror. "Hells Canyon" runs Feb. 24 — March 17 at the Jungle Theater in Minneapolis. There is a post-show playwright talkback on Feb 25. This show is recommended for ages 16 and up. Arts appreciator Natasha Brownlee of St. Paul enjoys both the music and the art of Ian Valor. She calls his solo art exhibit "Wild Imagination" at Vine Arts in Minneapolis a "conceptual dreamscape." Brownlee was particularly intrigued by Valor's line drawings. Look closely, and you can see a single line of changing thickness; stand back, and the line coalesces into a single image. Valor is color blind, and his earlier work is in black and white. More recent works in color includes bold, eye-catching color combinations. Valor is the frontman of the rock group The Valors, and his art show also includes a wall of hand-lettered show posters for his and other bands. It's a visual dive into the local music scene. "Wild Imagination" is on view at Vine Arts Center in Minneapolis this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a closing artists reception from 5-8 p.m. John Carrier of Winona is a retired scenic carpenter and an ongoing jazz enthusiast. He's spreading the word about the debut album from H3O Jazz Trio, a father-and-sons group based in Winona. The father in the trio is a composer and former St. Mary's University assistant music professor named Eric Heukeshoven, who plays keyboard, among other instruments. The band also includes his sons, Max on bass and Hans on percussion and vibes. Carrier loves watching the trio improvise when they perform in person. Their new album, "TafelJazz," translates from German to "table-jazz," a play on "table music." Carrier says it's the perfect album to set the mood while sitting around the table with friends. The 12 original songs include guests Janet Heukeshoven on flute, John Paulson of Paulson Jazz and John Sievers of the Rochester-based D'Sievers. H3O will perform the full album this Sunday from 2-4 p.m. at Island City Brewing in Winona. Island City Brewing also hosts a Jazz Jam on the third Sunday of each month that combines local live jazz, local beer and local support; it's a fundraiser for a rotating series of area nonprofits. As of early February, H3O Jazz Trio and Island City Brewing helped support local nonprofits with over $43,000 in total donations from its monthly Jazz Jams.

Art Hounds: Horror theater, family jazz and a 'conceptual dreamscape'

Art Hounds: Gospel, community and a talking house

St. Paul actor, vocalist and community organizer T. Mychael Rambo wants everyone to know about "The Sounds of Gospel" presented by 2nd Chance Outreach this weekend at the Cowles Center in Minneapolis. The two-hour show highlights the range and evolution of gospel music, from spirituals to psalms to contemporary songs. Rambo says to expect an evening of music that will have you clapping your hands, stomping your feet and raising up a shout for more. The performances are Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Padma Wudali of Minneapolis describes herself as an amateur musician who plays the veena, a South Indian Carnatic classical instrument similar to a lute. She is excited to see local musician Shruthi Rajasekar take to the Ordway stage this Sunday. Presented by the Shubert Club Mix, Rajasekar's show is entitled "Parivaar — a Celebration of Community as Family." ("Parivaar" is Hindi for "family.") Rajasekar's music combines both Carnatic and Western classical traditions. Wudali loves her approach to this performance: in addition to presenting her own original, commissioned work, Rajasekar has invited other South Asian Twin Cities artists working in theater, music and visual arts to take part in the performance, thus celebrating the local creative community. The performance will include a new work by Rajasekar commissioned for the event and film, dance and writing by other Twin Cities performers. Schubert Club Mix is a regular event designed to make classical music feel less formal and more approachable to audiences. The performance is Sunday, Feb. 18 at 3 p.m. at the Ordway in St. Paul. Children and students can attend for free. Shruthi Rajasekar video Musician Leslie Vincent of White Bear Lake saw the one-person play "Honey, I'm Home" twice during its first run, and she's excited that the show is back for a new run at Open Eye Theatre in Minneapolis. In "Honey I'm Home," the main character is a brick house who wants to be a home to a new family. From there, writer and actor Madeleine Rowe goes on to play other characters as well. It's a show that combines comic clowning and poignant, heartfelt observations about the metaphorical houses we inhabit. Vincent recalls the two performances she saw last time felt "so different, because both audiences were so different, and the performer Madeline Rowe is incredibly adept at reacting to an audience." The show opens tonight and runs through Feb 24.

Art Hounds: Flamenco, sculpture and Indigenous writing

Myron Johnson of Minneapolis, former artistic director for Ballet of the Dolls, recommends "The Conference of the Birds" from Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre. The dance piece is based on an epic poem by 12th-century Persian mystic Farīd al-DīnʿAṭṭār. "It's been performed and created by one of my absolute favorite artists in this community, Susana di Palma," Johnson said. "I can't imagine anyone taking this story and doing an interpretation any better than Susana and her live musicians and singers and flamenco dancers and original music." "The Conference of the Birds" plays Feb. 10-11 at the Cowles Center in Minneapolis. Minneapolis resident Mary Thomas is an art historian and arts administrator. She is looking forward to "In the Middle of Somewhere," an exhibit by artist Martin Gonzales. An alum of the University of Minnesota's art department, Gonzales is based in Massachusetts. Thomas sees Gonzales "grappling with questions of how he takes up space and how he can occupy space in different ways." "The sculptures are a way to think through and meditate on some of those questions through his own life and his own experience," Thomas said. The exhibit is on display at the Silverwood Park Visitor Center in St. Anthony through Feb. 29. Linda LeGarde Grover, a member of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa in northern Minnesota, is a professor emeritus of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth. She's very pleased to recommend the Indigenous Writer Series at AICHO in Duluth. The series features Indigenous writers from around the region. "Some of them will actually have drawings for some of their books, and the community will get to listen to them, ask questions of them and especially hear them talking about their writing," Grover said. The event Saturday will include authors Tashia Hart of Red Lake Nation and Staci L. Drouillard of Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, from 2-4 p.m. at the Dr. Robert Powless Cultural Center in Duluth.