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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

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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
 

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