Frida’s last stand; hot arts for cold times

Among the many reactions people have had to the Frida Kahlo retrospective that closes this Sunday at the Walker Art Center is how hot it is, both in its provocative, florid, subject matter and more literally–the show is not actually that big, but the crowds are. That could be good or bad this weekend for anyone seeking warmth.

By all accounts, and I admit I’ve waited until tonight to see it expressly to avoid those crowds (a plan that may well backfire), it’s worth the wait. Some folks waited up to 1.5 hours last night (the last free Thursday of the show), and still had a bien experience. That’s music to the ears of the Walker, or more specifically: “chi-ching.” Back in the fall, discussing the show with the media, they admitted it was actually more of a show for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts–the Walker, after all, is generally more interested in contemporary, even living (surprise!) artists. Kahlo is neither. But who’d pass up this cash cow–especially one that apparently is disappointing no one.

What else to do when it’s Arctic out? Try this local success story: Theater Mu, which is staging its sly “The Walleye Kid: The Musical” at the Ordway Theater, a major venue for a previously unsung Asian-American theater troupe. They’ve been around for years, but recently have grown to become the fourth-largest Asian-American theatre troupe in the country. The show opens January 19, and tells of a Korean adoptee who arrives in Minnesota via the mouth of a walleye then magically journeys much later to the land of her birth.

Park Square Theatre in St. Paul is putting on “Well,” a genre-bending comedy (yeah, I read that as “gender-bending” the first time, too) that became a sleeper hit on Broadway in 2006. It stars the effervescent Christina Baldwin and Barbara June Patterson.

Tonight, you can warm up to a dead man–a tribute to Johnny Cash at the Cabooze, with local honky-tonk faves Trailer Trash and the real deal, Sherwin Linton, a veteran honky-tonk musician who palled around with stars like Cash back in the ’60s and ’70s and has made something of a local comeback recently.