August 2006 Best Bets

Diane Arbus Photography

Picture This: “Retired man and his wife at home in a nudist camp one morning, N.J., 1963.” “Child with a toy hand grenade in Central Park, N.Y.C., 1962.” With Diane Arbus’s photographs, the captions say it all. Her lively images of zealots, eccentrics, carnival performers, and everyday people are among the most memorable of American photographs, and 200 of her most significant shots can be seen beginning June 17 at the Walker Art Center in “Diane Arbus Revelations,” the most complete exhibition of her art ever assembled. • Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-375-7600.

Amy Brazil

Doggone Cool: Amy Brazil’s Bullseye painting of a white bull terrier, commissioned by Target (complete with Swarovski crystals and the retailer’s logo), definitely hit the mark. And Brazil really does love dogs. They are her sole subjects nowadays, featured in her new stationery line for Target and in her personal artwork, often depicted amid funky (dare we say, waggish) backgrounds. See Brazil’s latest creations during her “Best in Show” exhibition June 3 to July 23 at Gallery 360. Dogs welcome. • Gallery 360, 3011 W. 50th St., Mpls., 612-925-2400,

Cedar Cultural Center

Musical Coups: When the First Avenue nightclub recently shuttered for a spell, the Cedar Cultural Center snagged some hot acts, and it’s been on fire ever since. This month, the bluegrass icon Ralph Stanley (heard in the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?) plays a benefit show on June 3; Grammy–winning jazz guitarist Bill Frisell performs a benefit on June 9; and Seu Jorge, the bright–voiced Brazilian samba singer and actor, best–known for his role in the film The Life Aquatic, takes the stage June 26. • Cedar Cultural Center, 416 Cedar Ave. S., Mpls., 612-338-2674.

Grand Old Day & Peavey Plaza

Band Together: St. Paul’s 2005 Grand Old Day festival welcomed last summer with 250,000 people grooving to live music, watching a parade, and digging into cheese curds. The 32nd annual G.O.D. will be held June 4. In Minneapolis this month, the musically inclined have two song–centered celebrations on Peavey Plaza to choose from. The Famous Dave’s BBQ & Blues Festival, on June 10, features Spider John Koerner with Tony Glover, and other regional musicians. The Twin Cities Hot Summer Jazz Festival, running June 16 to 17 and June 23 to 25, includes a club crawl to hear local and national jazzcats. • G.O.D. fills Grand Avenue between Dale and Fairview streets. Peavey Plaza is just outside Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Mpls.

TU Dance Company

TU of a Kind: Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands, a couple of veterans of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and a couple themselves, have made a huge impression on audiences and critics alike since launching their TU Dance company a year ago. Named McKnight Fellows and the Star Tribune’s “2005 Artists of the Year,” the local troupe’s most recent coup is a choreography fellowship from the Princess Grace Awards, which has resulted in the raw and powerful work Tearing for Cure. TU Dance will premiere Cure, along with a solo piece created for Pierce–Sands by Ronald K. Brown, at the Southern Theater June 15 to 25. • Southern Theater, 1420 Washington Ave. S., Mpls., 612-340-1725.

La Cage aux Folles

Birds of a Feather Boa: More familiar as its movie incarnation with Robin Williams, The Birdcage, La Cage aux Folles is a Tony Award–winning musical and a gender–bending gem. Minneapolis Musical Theatre (MMT) performs the play at Hennepin Stages beginning June 2, just in time for Pride Month. A timely but lighthearted look at the definition of family and marriage, the story follows a nightclub owner trying to keep his cross–dressing partner (MMT’s executive director Kevin Hansen) under wraps when his son’s prospective in–laws come to visit. Think guys as dolls rather than Guys and Dolls. • Hennepin Stages, 824 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 651-989-5151.

Shadow and Light

Frickin’ Good Dance: Wynn Fricke’s muscular choreography might move mountains if physics allowed, but she’ll happily settle for a visceral depiction of the Appalachian range and the people who inhabit it in her newest piece, Shadow and Light. Performed June 1 to 4 by the Minnesota Dance Theatre, Fricke’s tale of torment stands to challenge the dancers’ bodies, combining haunting music (courtesy of vocalist Ruth MacKenzie and folk guitarist Tim Eriksen) with sorrowful and demanding movements. • Southern Theater, 1420 Washington Ave. S, Mpls., 612-340-1725.

Sosin/Sosin Studio Gallery

Look Inside: Artists are reflective by nature, but “Looking”—the spring show at Sosin/Sosin Studio Gallery, on display through June 10—brings introspection to the fore. Through portraits, paintings, photography, and mixed–media artworks, artists Marilyn Summers Cool, Elizabeth Erickson, and gallery co–owner Georgette Sosin, among others, provide a glimpse into their worldviews and personalities. It’s soul–searching, offering a deep context for the artistic creations, while somehow avoiding self–absorption. • Sosin/Sosin Studio Gallery, 1231 Washington St. NE, Mpls., 612-378-0581,


Everybody Nose: Pine Eyes, a multi–media work performed June 3 at the Walker Art Center, gives the Disney version of the Pinocchio tale a makeover. No lie. Featuring funky new animation, the familiar story is wrapped in the idiosyncratic sound of Zeitgeist, an ensemble of avant–garde musicians who play the clarinet, piano, and percussion ranging from old car parts to marimbas. • Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-375-7600.

Jungle Theater

Identity Theft: The life of German transvestite Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, as recounted in the Pulitzer Prize–winning play I Am My Own Wife, spanned both the Nazi and Communist regimes in Berlin. But von Mahlsdorf’s own family was no less traumatizing than the government—having watched her alcoholic father repeatedly terrorize her mother, she killed him, and it was a long road from prison to her later years as something of a cultural ambassador. Joel Sass lends his cutting–edge direction to the Jungle Theater’s production of the play, which runs June 23 to July 30 and features dynamic vocalist Bradley Greenwald as Charlotte. Edina native Jeffrey Schneider, now a professor of German at Vassar College, served as translator for the play’s original production. • Jungle Theater, 2951 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls, 612-822-7063.