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A Fashionable Fall Arts Preview

35 must-see shows! Plus: 10 artists to watch (and why we love them) in the season’s most dramatic new looks.

A Fashionable Fall Arts Preview

DANCE

Seemingly solid now, with a new overseer, the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts celebrates its first anniversary with dancers/illusionists MOMIX at its September 7 fundraising gala. • The Northrop Dance Series continues vacationing at the O’Shaughnessy and Orpheum Theatre while Northrop Auditorium is renovated—take advantage, especially at the intimate O’Shaughnessy. • Marciano Silva dos Santos, the hottest choreographer in town (take that however you’d like), favors fans with a solo Afro-Brazilian performance at the Ritz Theater, set to the percussive music of local composer Timothy Berry. Watch for the date in late November.
 

Eddie Oroyan

There’s no other way to say this: Oroyan is a looker. You want him to stand still, the better to gaze. Instead, with his fellow extremists in Black Label Movement, he throws himself around the stage with abandon. His own choreography is almost surreal: he takes himself about as seriously as he takes gravity. For the SOLO dance showcase, September 21 to 22 at the Ted Mann Concert Hall, he’ll premiere a work by circus-inspired Roberto Olivan, cementing his reputation as the high-wire act of dance.


Eddie Oroyan

Helen Hatch

Hatch dances as though animated by unseen forces, possessed by a muscular spirit. Working with Minnesota Dance Theatre, this gives her the guise of unpredictability, embodying ballet’s tension between technique and emotion. In her own choreography, blending ballet with vigorous American movement, this edginess leaves you breathless. She’s perfectly suited, then, to perform at the Cowles Center from October 5 to 14 in MDT’s The Enchantment: 12 Dancing Princesses, about royal beauties who disappear every night to dance, moved by magic.


Helen Hatch

Top 7 Picks

9.6-9 Ananya Dance Theatre debuts Moreechika: Season of Mirage at the Southern Theater. ananyadancetheatre.org
9.21-22 Mathew Janczewski’s Arena Dances offers new avant-garde choreography at the Cowles Center. thecowlescenter.org
10.3 Noche Flamenca, Spain’s biggest touring dance company, performs at the O’Shaughnessy. northrup.umn.edu
10.18-28 Ballet of the Dolls revives the 1950s exotica music craze with The Peruvian Nightingale: The Songs of Yma Sumac & Les Baxter at the Ritz Theater. ritzdolls.com
10.23-24 The New York City Ballet performs a historical sampler at the Orpheum Theatre. northrup.umn.edu
10.25-27 Local experimentalists BodyCartography Project perform Super Nature at the Walker Art Center. walkerart.org
11.16-18 TU Dance returns to the O’Shaughnessy. tudance.org
 


THEATER

The Guthrie opens its 50th season with a nod toward its namesake’s roots across the pond—a celebration of British writer Christopher Hampton. (See our Q&A with Hampton on page 16.) • Pillsbury House Theatre hits the Dowling Studio twice this season, starting September 7 with the strongest three-man cast on any local stage this fall: James Williams, Gavin Lawrence, and Namir Smallwood in The Brother Size, part two of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s galvanizing trilogy. • Drop admission to zero, people show up. Mixed Blood Theatre’s “radical hospitality” bumped patronage by 18 percent last year and it’s free again this season.
 

Jessica Fredrickson

She starred as Cinderella (in the Ordway’s original production last winter), got engaged (to Aleks Knezevich, the romantic lead in last year’s Guthrie hit H.M.S. Pinafore), and landed a juicy new role (as Kim, the innocent teen in Bye-Bye Birdie, opening October 5 at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres). That’s a fairy-tale year, especially considering that Fredrickson was a secretary before recently making the leap to bonafide triple threat. Sometimes the glass slipper just fits.


Jessica Fredrickson

Steven Lee Johnson

This is the guy with the switchblade, the secret—the blue-eyed boy who seemed so fragile and sweet at the bar, but you’re now afraid to let in the door. This is the actor you can’t stop watching. Just 21, Johnson had a breakout role as a combustible gay teen in Theater Latté Da’s Beautiful Thing this past spring. Starting September 21, he’ll star at Park Square Theatre as the brash assistant to J.C. Cutler’s bitter Mark Rothko in Red. A single color may never make you feel so tense again.


Steven Lee Johnson

Top 7 Picks

9.11 Buccaneers, a world premiere from comedic playwright Liz Duffy Adams, opens at the Children’s Theatre Company. childrenstheatre.org
9.21 Jon Cranney directs Wendy Kesselman’s new adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank at Yellow Tree Theatre. yellowtreetheatre.com
9.25 Holly Down in Heaven, about a bratty and pregnant teenager, plays at Penumbra Theatre. penumbratheatre.org
9.27 Ten Thousand Things’s Measure for Measure, starring Sally Wingert and other top actors, premieres at Open Book. tenthousandthings.org
10.6 Straight from Broadway, Lombardi barges into the History Theatre. historytheatre.com
10.16-21 Disney’s Beauty and the Beast returns to the Orpheum Theatre, where it began touring in 1995. hennepintheatretrust.org
11.2-3 Laurie Anderson goes eclectic at the Walker Art Center. walkerart.org
 
 

MUSIC

Call it an out-of-studio experience: the new Current Sessions at the Fitz will be hosted by deejays, starting with Mary Lucia welcoming Conor Oberst on September 20. • It’s Netflix for the string and bow set—a new membership program from the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra that allows access to as many SPCO concerts as you wish, for as little as $5 a month. • Mozart would love the Bryant-Lake Bowl’s new Ménage à trois, and not just for the name: Matt Peiken hosts three classical ensembles amid the crash of pins on the first Tuesday of every month, starting in September.
 

Pippi Ardennia

She came to Minnesota six years ago for some peace and quiet—funny considering the ruckus her voice can make, a swinging gospel shout that can bounce the beer in your glass. But then, she’s from Chicago, where she sang for President Clinton and Mayor Richard M. Daley before moving to Eden Prairie to record. Now in St. Paul, she hosts PipJazz Sundays at the Landmark Center and is a go-to performer for charity balls, not least because as she’s just as fun as you’d expect someone named Pippi to be.


Pippi Ardennia

Ben Kyle

Born in Belfast but enamored of American country music à la Gram Parsons, the Romantica frontman has a voice to make grown men cry and grown women fiddle with their wedding bands. (Just look at the way Texas fiddle queen Carrie Rodriguez is glancing up at him on the cover of their recent duets album.) A voice not hardened by heartbreak, but softened, like suede. On September 11 at the Cedar Cultural Center, he’ll release a new solo record, full of sweet melodies and aching pedal steel, to break your heart all over again.


Ben Kyle

Top 7 Picks

9.6 The Cedar Cultural Center presents synth wizard Amon Tobin at the Orpheum Theatre, where a 3-D art installation will move and glow to the music. thecedar.org
9.20 British blues-rock legend John Mayall brings his guitar to the Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant. dakotacooks.com
9.22 The Minnesota Opera opens Nabucco, Verdi’s lush, Biblical epic about Jewish exile (and romance). mnopera.org
9.28-29 Maria Schneider leads Dawn Upshaw and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in reprising her first classical work, performed last year at Carnegie Hall. thespco.org
11.10 The Cuban choir Schola Cantorum Coralina travels to the United States for the first time for a concert presented by VocalEssence. vocalessence.org
11.10-11 Regina Marie Williams channels Eartha Kitt at the Capri Theater. thecapritheater.org
11.29 Wilco guitarist Nels Cline, artist Ed Ruscha, and poet David Breskin blend music, poetry, and projections of conceptual art. walkerart.org
 


BOOKS

The best books you will read this year may be intended for a 15-year-old—but don’t be insulted. This fall, the University of Minnesota Press tiptoes into the booming young-adult market with Mary Casanova’s Frozen (U of M Press, $17), about a silent teenager. • Coffee House Press is pumping out hyper-creative poetry by young writers, such as Raymond McDaniel’s Special Powers and Abilities (Coffee House, $16), which weaves superheroes into myths—with sonnets. • Readings are the geeky rage, with big names like Salman Rushdie favoring the suburbs with multiple appearances (see Top Picks).
 

Jim Heynen

For decades, Heynen wrote short. Like, really short: terse but touching stories the length and breadth of poems. This month, the St. Paul author goes long. His debut novel, The Fall of Alice K. (Milkweed, $24), follows a 17-year-old girl as she negotiates the widening cracks of her Iowa childhood: a failing farm, a superstitious mother, homogeneity broken by Hmong immigrants. To pry prophetic revelation from her story, Heynen leans on his own strict Protestant upbringing, plus plenty of well-chosen words.


Jim Heynen

Kelly Barnhill

Barnhill’s books, mostly middle-grade mysteries, immediately draw you to the bio in back: who is this wry lady who would describe a man as looking like “he were trying to suck his face right into his nostril”? Her first novel, The Mostly True Story of Jack, came out last year, a creepily poetic story about kids pulled under cornfields. Iron-Hearted Violet (Little, Brown; $17) comes out in October, featuring a terrified dragon and a plain-looking princess—a dubious duo for fighting evil, but ideal for slaying clichés.


Kelly Barnhill

Top 7 Picks

9.1 Coffee House Press releases poet Sun Yung Shin’s Rough, and Savage. coffeehousepress.org
9.17 Molly Ringwald discusses her short-story collection, When It Happens To You, at Common Good Books. commongoodbooks.com
10.1 U of M Press releases Luke Longstreet Sullivan’s Thirty Rooms to Hide In: Insanity, Addiction, and Rock ’n’ Roll in the Shadow of the Mayo Clinic. upress.umn.edu
10.2 Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy and his illustrator wife, Carson Ellis, discuss their new young-adult novel, Under Wildwood, at the Roseville Library. clubbook.org
10.9 Unbridled Books releases Peter Geye’s The Lighthouse Road, set in Minnesota logging camps. petergeye.com
10.18-19 British Indian novelist Salman Rushdie discusses Joseph Anton: A Memoir at the Hopkins Center for the Arts. supporthclib.org
11.29-30 Alice Kaplan reads from her triple biography, Dreaming in French: The Paris Years of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag, and Angela Davis, at the Hopkins Center for the Arts. supporthclib.org
 
 

VISUAL

After three years of exile, the Minnesota Museum of American Art is moving into the Pioneer-Endicott Building in downtown St. Paul and opening a new exhibition this fall. • The Walker Art Center reshuffles its permanent-collection display with The Living Years: Art After 1989, opening September 6 and sampling the global-art scene post-Cold War. • What are those zeitgeisty Scandinavians up to now? The new Nelson Cultural Center at the American Swedish Institute, with its gallery and gift shop, is perhaps Minnesotans’ best way to find out, offering quirky, clean-lined design to make us feel like the fuddy-duddy Americans we are.
 

Andy DuCett

It takes vision to fill the 12,000-square-foot Soap Factory gallery, as DuCett will do by September 8 when he opens Why We Do This, a series of installations playing off shared memories and myths. (Visitors can play a giant game of Battleship or glimpse Sasquatch through a cabin window.) It also takes cojones. In fact, DuCett may be the Twin Cities’ most amiably ambitious artist right now, balancing exhibitions with commissions, like a deal with the Walker Art Center gift shop to design pint glasses. It’s his art, we just live in it.


Andy DuCett

Broc Blegen

When his MAEP exhibition, Coming Out Party, opens at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts on October 19, Blegen will be one of the youngest artists ever chosen for the honor. But he’s no novice. Four years ago, while still at the University of Minnesota, he erected an inflatable monument of President George W. Bush in Washington, D.C., and founded 1419, a notorious Minneapolis art space since closed by the city. He’s now copying artworks by Jenny Holzer and other artists he could never afford to collect, a commentary on the art world itself.


Broc Blegen

Top 7 Picks

9.7 Michael Kareken, known for his evocative paintings of recyclable scrap, exhibits at the Groveland Gallery. grovelandgallery.com
9.29 Graphic designers parse politics in We the Designers at the Goldstein Museum of Design. goldstein.design.umn.edu
10.5 The Weinstein Gallery summarizes a local legend’s career in Charles Biederman: 60 Years of American Modernism. weinstein-gallery.com
10.13 The Weisman Art Museum shows Guy Tillim: Avenue Patrice Lumumba, a collection of Tillim’s coolly composed photographs of Africa. wam.umn.edu
10.28 China’s Terracotta Warriors features eight of the famed artifacts and many contextual objects at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. artsmia.org
11.3 Contemporary landscape artist David Malcolm Scott and architectural designer Bob Roscoe open Space is the Place at Rosalux Gallery. rosaluxgallery.com
11.10 Cindy Sherman opens at the Walker Art Center, featuring 170 photographs of—who else?—Sherman. walkerart.org
 

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