September 2017's Top 5 Events
Get out and explore all there is to do this month
photo by Adam Hester
Chef Camp 9/1–9/3, 9/8–9/10
While camping in the Boundary Waters, Dave Friedman, founding partner of a Minneapolis law firm focused on food-industry clients, had to invent ways of feasting on a Spanish chorizo that would last him days. It got him thinking: What kind of creative cooking tips could the Twin Cities’ top chefs devise if they were marooned in the north woods with just the food in their packs? So, last year, Friedman and James Norton, editor of online local food magazine Heavy Table, trotted out the first Chef Camp. Adults of all culinary acumens convened like school-age summer castoffs at Sturgeon Lake to sit on stumps around a fire and learn how to cook Minnesota fish tacos, mix cocktails, and cultivate yeast from harvested pinecones to make bread. This wilderness retreat returns for two weekends this month, now using a pizza oven forged by the Northern Clay Center.
photo by Peter Lee
American Pottery Festival 9/8–9/10
The Northern Clay Center’s largest fundraiser brings potters from across the country to Minneapolis. This year’s show should again remind you that stackable dinnerware from IKEA is, while practical, at most politely soulless. Compare them to Pattie Chalmers’s vases, illustrated in chaste pastoral scenes of blush-kneed picnickers and rural adolescence, where negative space averts preciousness by evoking instead unskilled, nostalgic family photography. Or consider the husband-and-wife team of Gruchalla Rosetti, firing American takes on Japanese tea-ceremony dishes as vibrant in color as fresh vegetables. Or Beth Lo’s reimagining of iconic blue-and-white fine China—which she moves from the redoubtably ornate to the baldly childlike. The Northern Clay Center has helped brand Minnesota as a pottery haven; let your coffee mugs and ramekins tell that story.
The Abominables 9/12–10/15
A generation ago, kids played sports for recreation—to make friends, to stay healthy, to kill time. Today, with college matriculation more stressful than ever, and extracurriculars crucial application fodder, parents pay through the nose for year-round private hockey coaches to force-bloom their children into highly specialized rink prodigies, regardless of natural talent. What’s great about having the Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis is the country’s premiere kids’ theater commissioning a play about just that strain of carnivorously overachieving suburbanism. Working with an NYC team, the company reconned hockey games across the state to interview more than 100 hockey players, coaches, and family members. The result is a musical of whimsy (featuring an abominable snow kid) and social commentary (featuring hockey moms).
Carlos Creek Winery Grape Stomp
courtesy of carlos creek winery
Carlos Creek Winery Grape Stomp 9/15–9/17
You’ve seen it in cartoons, that one Fellini film, and that infamously gone-viral YouTube video. Grape harvest season means the Alexandria winery trucks in more than 10,000 pounds of grapes—ripe, straight from a California valley, and perfectly crushable. Pull up your pant legs, step (squish, squish) into the wine barrel, and don’t forget: it’s a contest—your partner focused on filling up a bucket with the juice draining through a hole in the bottom of the barrel while you march in place as fast (and as safely) as you can. And if you’re wondering: no. They don’t use the juice to make wine. Not because it would be gross foot wine; because of complicated logistics whereby you can expose grape juice to the natural yeast of the air only at a certain point in the fermenting process, etc., etc.
The Nether 9/16–10/15
It’s earned a divisive reputation making the rounds in New York City, D.C., and Chicago. Now, the contemporary play that explores how ethics should or shouldn’t limit virtual reality—technology imminent if not already with us today—comes to Minneapolis’ fearless Jungle Theater. Past productions of the sci-fi allegory have taken audiences from an interrogation room to the beguiling verisimilitude of an internet-like space called the Nether, where private desires run unchecked. In a twee, digital Victorian home, artificial violence skirts real-world repercussions, but morality still plays the heart. The show welcomes director Casey Stangl back to the Jungle, part of a season featuring all women directors—correcting for the theater’s more than 25 years of only two.
More This Month
The Minnesota Show 9/1
He’s been gone for a minute, but Garrison Keillor is back to host an episode of Minnesota’s favorite road-trip silence filler. At the State Fair Grandstand, the live radio show will round out the Great Minnesota Get-Together with a salute to an icon of all things grumpy, ironic, old-fashioned, well-spoken, and proud (our answer to the nation’s other cult of personality).
Minnesota Renaissance Festival 9/2–10/1
Going on nearly 50 years, Minnesota’s Renaissance Fair is among the nation’s oldest, and this year it announced that in 2020 its feisty throngs of bar maids, knights, and Dr. Whos will have to move from the medieval village in Shakopee to a new location—so pay nostalgic visits to Mermaid Cove and Fairy Wing Forest while you can. renaissancefest.com
Déformation Professionnelle 9/7–2/4
Iranian artist Nairy Baghramian has titled her first U.S. exhibit, here at the Walker Art Center, after a French phrase referring to the way that over-specialization in any subject can warp one’s worldview. Her work puts bodies in conversation with installations, challenging both what we see as sculpture and how we navigate the exhibit space. walkerart.org
Lantern Light Festival
photo by Red Bardes
Lantern Light Festival 9/7–10/1, 10/5–10/22
Canterbury Park is set ablaze with more than 400 lanterns constructed into huge light displays by 80 Chinese artists using steel and pieces of silk cloth. Through lantern tunnels and past giant flowers, you’ll find a 400-foot dragon, a Prince tribute, Paul Bunyan, and more. lanternlightfestival.com
Alarmél Valli 9/14, 9/16
Minneapolis’ Ragamala Dance Company has been finding ways to make Indian culture resonate with U.S. audiences for 25 seasons now. Choreographer Alarmél Valli, who trained the company’s artistic directors in a form of classical Indian dance called Bharatanatyam, helped lay the foundation. Watch how she transforms tradition into self-expression at the Cowles Center. thecowlescenter.org
11th Annual Minneapolis Bike Tour
photo by scott a. schneider
11th Annual Minneapolis Bike Tour 9/17
Bikers who’d like to take in Minneapolis without worrying about motor traffic can hit up the city’s parkway system—riding past lakes, along the Mississippi River and Minnehaha Creek, and around Lake Calhoun/Bde Maka Ska and Lake Harriet—on this all-ages tour, offering both a 16-mile and a 32-mile route. minneapolisparks.org
Graywolf Literary Salon 9/27
Graywolf reminds us what makes the Twin Cities a hotspot for writers and publishers. The indie press holds a night of poetry and prose featuring three of today’s lodestar literary voices in downtown Minneapolis, including the city’s own Danez Smith, whose bravura performances of political pieces touch on issues close to home. graywolfpress.org