A shortened list of the mega-awesome calendar round up from Arts Orbit to tide you over until we return from our company break in 2012:
On the radar
1. Jewbilee is still going strong—now in its sixth year, the Christmas Eve party is happening at First Avenue.
2. Movies are a part of the holiday festivities for many familes; this year, our critics recommend The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Young Adult, My Week with Marilyn, and The Muppets.
3. The Walker Art Center’s collection of Merce Cunningham sets and costumes is an extraordinary new acquisition.
4. Grant Hart, one of the Twin Cities’ living music legends—he was a founding member of Hüsker Dü—is at the Entry on Thursday for one of his typically intense solo performances.
Under the radar
1. Last week I discovered the warm and entertaining ”radio play” adaptation of It’s a Wonderful Life, performed with meal service at the St. Paul Hotel.
2. That was the year that was: on Tuesday, Andy Sturdevant’s Salon Saloon takes on 2011.
3. Also at the BLB, Mystery Science Theater 3000 alumna premieres Man Saved by Condiments, a play based on the true story of a man who, after a crash, subsisted for five days on the contents of his glove compartment.
4. The visual playground/dance night Recess holds down at the Varsity on Christmas Eve Eve with special guest DJ Willy Joy.
5. In another fun event making Dinkytown the place to be on the 23rd, the sartorially/musically fanciful Golden Bubbles are at the Kitty Cat Klub.
It might be a little dorky of us to admit this, but the Foshay Tower is, simply put, awesome. Ignore the super cool, permanently dark lounge on the first floor of what is now the W Minneapolis hotel and head to the check-in desk for information about the museum on the top floor.
There you’ll learn all about the tower that was once the tallest building west of the Mississippi and whose construction was part of a Ponzi scheme that landed its financer, Mr. Wilbur Foshay, in prison until his sentence was commuted by President Truman.
The tower, now on the National Register of Historic Places, represents the best and worst of Depression-era life; brought into being with faulty financing and a three-day celebration of parades and parties, Foshay Tower still retains all of its Art Deco glory and excitement, even if its insides are now cluttered with slick lighting schemes and bars serving over-priced cocktails. In fact, maybe that sort of gaudiness is just what Foshay would have wanted.
"…Because forbidden foods like pork and shellfish are chopped and minced beyond recognition in egg rolls and other dishes, less-observant Jews can take an “ignorance is bliss” philosophy and pretend those things aren’t even in the dish."
Baby, listen, it’s cold outside. And you’re looking real cute, so instead of messing up your hair, just sit right down by the fire and…read.
If that song had been written for us, sexy baritone man would’ve been singing about two things: food and reading about food. That’s what the holidays are all about, right?
Let Andrew Zimmern be that sexy baritone man with his list of excellent food reads for this year. He even admits he’s got a bit of a crush on one Ms. Georgia Pellegrini, author of Girl Hunter.
It’s a formidable list that should keep you busy reading and cooking all winter long (because, again, who wants to go outside for too long?). Notable mentions go to the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook, Ideas in Food, and the ebook from Next Restaurant in Chicago; Paris: 1906.
What’s your favorite thing about Hanukkah? Latkes… no, the musical Hanukcrush blowouts at Cause.
Secrets has the details about super group Dream Crusher’s performances and more. Wednesday’s festivities get under way at 8 pm. Cause’s ode to the festival of lights lasts even longer than any oil, nine nights of awesomeness for goyim and members of the tribe alike.
Andrew Zimmern wrote his holiday column wishing everyone Happy Chanukah and Merry Xmas, but then he got real (as he often does). He pointed out a recent essay by Nona Aronowitz on the 10 percent of the workforce that is in the food industry.
She noted, "Ten million of us hold these jobs, and we’re staying in them longer and longer. If the future rests on the polo-and-apron economy, it only makes sense that we keep tabs on it—and chow down at the restaurants that are treating their workers right.”
For us in the Twin Cities, we’ve got help from the Heavy Table and their handy Atlas of Ethical Eating that details local restaurants’ practices ranging from composting to worker wage standards to use of locally-sourced products.
"Navajo Hipster Panty" no more. Utne reports that the Navajo Nation sent Urban Outfitters a cease and desist letter, forcing the store to rename its “Navajo” brand products. But the problem doesn’t end there.
"Sales of men’s underwear, one of Alan Greenspan’s favorite metrics for predicting growth, are also up.”
Via Planet Money's Sunday piece in the New York Times Magazine
Adam Davidson walks readers through some of the cuter economic indicators out there like nail polish, Champagne and cemetery plot sales. The take-away: regardless, we’re still saving less than ever before and that’s probably not good.
There are plenty of sales to choose from this week, but we’re going with the local, craft bazaar that is Handcrafted Holidays at the Grand Hand Gallery, going strong through Saturday for the people who appreciate creative things but can’t actually make them. They even have a beer and snacks night on Thursdays to try to attract/pacify disinterested companions.
Golden Fig is throwing their second annual cookbook author nosh and sign this Thursday from 7 pm-9 pm. Writers like Marjorie Johnson, Beth Dooley, and Michael Lerma will be there, so you should too. More details from Stephanie March here.
Tad Simons provides a pretty comprehensive rundown of the many Nutcrackers out there in our current issue, but the one that pops out is the collaborative production, Nutcracker: The Lost Act, put on by Le Cirque Rouge and the Ritz Dolls. Described as “sweet holiday entertainment sans the saccharine” and “reliably sacrilegious…without killing the spirit of the season.” If walking that fine line of murder sounds fun, head to The Ritz Theater Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.
Woody Allen finally has a club he’d feel comfortable in: Haters Club. If you, like Woody, don’t want to belong to any club that would have you as a member, you may have found the perfect balance of grouping and aversion. Stop by the Kitty Cat Club Monday night starting at 9 pm. Performances by Paul Fonfara, Pepper Patriot, and Greetings Starfighter.
Ignore the 690-minute run time and focus on the marathon Lord of the Rings screenings this Sunday starting at 10:45 am. And maybe wear some comfy clothing.
It’s the Riverview Theater's seventh time hosting this thing so they're prepared. In addition to the regular concession stand choices, you'll also get pizza during the two breaks. Sounds pretty humane.
Just like back when Time named “you” person of the year and “you” were less than excited about it (did “you” even buy a copy?), the magazine has done it again. This year’s Person, in case “you” haven’t heard (really, “you,” what have you been up to?), is “The Protester.”
The magazine defended its choice saying something along the lines of, “Well, the decision isn’t meant to be an honor. Plus, we just noticed that a lot of people were upset this year.”
Is it possible more people are upset about this lame cover?
Should we, as Jeff Jarvis did in 2006, just be happy Time is recognizing the general power of people and pushing our understanding of how things change and happen to one less centered on individual men? Well, we could. Or we could point out that Moscow doesn’t equal Syria doesn’t equal Wall Street doesn’t equal Greece, etc. Then again we could just say, “Wait, what is Time?”
Okay, fine. We’ll help ‘em out. Here’s who you should have picked: Gene Sharp. The New York Timeswrote about him back in February casually mentioning, “When the nonpartisan International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, which trains democracy activists, slipped into Cairo several years ago to conduct a workshop, among the papers it distributed was Mr. Sharp’s “198 Methods of Nonviolent Action,” a list of tactics that range from hunger strikes to “protest disrobing” to “disclosing identities of secret agents.” That’s right, we nominate “The Protest Handbook Writer.”
Meet Steve Morgan. He works at Willie’s American Guitars in St. Paul and he’s been working with guitars since he was 16 years old. You can find him there or teaching guitar at St. Thomas.
We included him in our “Where to Fix Your Best Stuff” feature along with a cobbler in the skyways, a restorer who helps nurse works of art back to health for various museums, and a magical makeover for this grandma chair.
1. The fourth annualSomali Entertainment Awardsat The Cedar celebrates the best movies, sports, music and arts of the year (as voted by the SEA Family board) and features a blue carpet.
2. Bedlam Theatre reunites the cast of their cluck-claimed production The Turducken for “the longest cabaret of the year” at the BLB. You have to appreciate that kind of truth in advertising.
3. Just as Bedlam Theatre carries on despite the 2010 loss of their infamously awesome West Bank space, so does the dance night Bomp, the most gloriously shameless hookup hotbed in the Twin Cities.
3.The Nutcracker According to Mother Goose by Zenon Dance Company combines Tchaikovsky with the timeless nursery rhymes of our collective youth. The show lasts only the weekend with four performances, so Jack be quick.
4.Stuck Between Stations breaks away from its film festival roots and moves to St. Anthony Main Theatre for its official theatrical release on Friday. The movie was made in the Twin Cities and features a tour of beloved local spots.
State Fair season is not our most stylish season, as Ali Kaplan noted. You dress for comfort, survival even. And that means fanny packs and less-than-couture footwear. And sometimes you wear something along the lines of this ensemble put together by Columbia Heights-resident Tenessa Gemelke. Gemelke found herself on TLC’s What Not to Wear when she was ambushed in one of her goofy outfits at the State Fair this past summer.
But the whole thing has been way less embarrassing than it could have been. I mean, there we were, Minnesotans on trial at our beloved and much-maligned State Fair. And we weren’t looking great. I may have left the house with scrunchied-pigtails.
But Gemelke was totally cool and gracious about it, Minnesota Nice without any of the passive aggressive stuff. She wrote in a post for parentfurther.com, “Although I make fashion a low priority, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to explore this uncharted territory and possibly learn something about myself.”
She called the show “positive peer pressure” and said it led her to decisions that were “surprisingly satisfying.” This woman is so zen, can we put her in charge of something?
Since you’re obviously holiday shopping illiterate (you still aren’t done, really?), let the good folks at StyledLife help you get rid of the guess work. Ali Kaplan wholeheartedly supports the creation and use of wish lists and encourages all other like-minded shoppers to make their way to the Galleria store this Wednesday from 5 pm-9 pm for the start of their Show the Love event. There customers can put together their own lists for perusal by loved ones the following night. There will be beverages, gift wrapping, and best of all, the promise of a happy Christmas morning.
A few of our editors have pointed out that, for all our winter wonderland scenery, the Twin Cities are a bit lacking. Unlike New York or SF, we don’t do the big outdoor Christmas market scene. But Stephanie March still found plenty holiday treats around. She suggests stopping by the Arboretum for ice lantern demos, holiday meals, and hot cocoa walks. This Saturday, join a guided-tour (with fortifying hot chocolate in hand) leaving the visitor center at 10 am.
Maybe one day Occupy Wall Street will have its very own musical with guest appearances from Miley Cyrus and Mario Batali (is that end-of-the-world Dec. 21st date still available?), but until then we’ll take the adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. Our critic, William Randall Beard, has some misgivings about the show on at the Orpheum Theatre through Dec. 18, but it’s sort of impossible to hate too hard on this performance. Check it out and then get to work penning the next great social-conscience musical.
Place is the discourse of the day. City planning and design have become cool topics to discuss and fair game for art exhibits everywhere. Which is why we’re excited for Paul Shambroom’s show Shrines: Public Weapons in America opening tonight at the Katherine E. Nash Gallery at the U of M. Shambroom’s photography takes on the taxidermy-like practice of displaying decommissioned weapons in public spaces. Tehran has poets, Paris has artists, and we have weapons.
Redundant and repetitive or just meta enough to be genius?
Howl at the Moon joins The Shout! House in the two-piano-scene. Stephanie March expresses her ill-fated hope that this will make 1st Ave. a touch saner.
The best part is the description of Howl at the Moon, which promises the regular 1st Ave. clientele “enhanced by traveling business people and conventioneers.” Picture the floating cities of wandering merchants and thieves that would gather each evening along the banks of the Mississippi in makeshift camps held together by ropes and home to lots of drinking, lots of fire-risk, and maybe even a couple of pianos. We really hope these two piano bars become fierce rivals, the headlines would be worth it.
Read on, Stephanie talks about the imminent opening of two chocolate shops on Selby in St. Paul. Competing Cocoa Confectioners?
“Also people like the one where he is emotional over fonts. I do get emotional over fonts, who doesn’t hate Comic Sans?”—via Village Voice
This is the one and only Amy Sheridan talking with the Village Voice about her hand-stitched Kanye tweets available on Etsy. They’re all really awesome because everything that man says is really awesome, but a few highlights:
"I specifically ordered persian rugs with cherub imagery!!! What do I have to do to get a simple persian rug with cherub imagery uuuuugh"
"I hate when I’m on a flight and I wake up with a water bottle next to me like oh great now I gotta be responsible for this water bottle"
We know what you mean, Ye. We hate how plastic water bottles always make us feel all responsible and stuff about climate change…uuuuugh.
We definitely get the holiday humbugs out there. The music is repetitive, few people look good in red, and if you’re not careful you end up drinking coffee that tastes like sugary toothpaste. Which is all to say, high five to whoever took the time to string these lights up on the roof. You took apathy to a whole new level of effort.
Of course, holiday cheer isn’t all bad. And if you do want to take in some more traditional light displays in the area, might we recommend a drive down Summit Ave. in St. Paul with a stop at the Governor’s house. The house always has an impressively large (compensating? for a small budget?) tree and they’re even offering free tours this Thursday between 11 am and 1 pm. Or there’s Inver Grove Heights who do holidays so hard they even have a Holiday Lights Trolley to view all their lights, free with a ticket from the Parks and Rec office. Rides start at 6:30 pm this Saturday. A little cheer won’t hurt, too much.
Back in November, the Minnesota American Institute of Architects announced its 2011 award winners. The projects included several performance spaces in California, but, we’re more into the projects from Twin Cities-based firms, like…
KNOCK, Inc. by Julie Snow Architects Inc.
Just north of downtown Minneapolis, this downright hot piece of building was once a rundown 1960s office. Some solar tube light collectors, cedar siding, and plenty of natural light later and you’ve got slick, modern Minnesota design.
Ramsey County Roseville Library by MS&R
That’s right, that’s a library in the age of Apple. So, the books might not take center stage, but the design has made the library a hip place to be and we’ve got no problems with that.
Gunflint Lake Cabin by VJAA
Maybe if Kim K knew our cabins could look like an episode of MTV Cribs, she would’ve reconsidered all those indelicate putdowns. But she probably didn’t realize VJAA would win the national Firm Award from the American Institute of Architects for 2012. That’s fine, we’ll keep the cutting edge design to ourselves.