Hot new plays, SXSW

Let’s do some housecleaning first–it’s been awhile. I wish I could say I was at South By Southwest, the massive indie music festival in Austin, but better yet, I was in Mexico. In a treehouse. Enough said.

But since regular readers know my affection for eBay oddities, I was kindly sent this Jesus on a Salisbury Steak just in time for Easter. Seriously, up to $212 at press time? Maybe artists should reconsider their mediums. Again, enough said.

In any case, Minnesota musicians made another big impression at SXSW this year, with one story being the rise of Electone Records (as SXSW is all about marketing oneself these days), Martin Devaney’s relatively new label based here. It’s coalesced a lot of bands with good word-of-mouth followings and a sound, well, kind of like Devaney’s: mellow but poppy. The label now includes Dan Israel, Charlie Parr, Big Ditch Road, and sponsored a SXSW showcase with similarly minded locals Romantica, Cloud Cult, Kid Dakota, etc. So much for garage punk being the dominant Minnesota sound: we mellowing out, folks, and I, for one welcome it. Guys with acoustic guitars can be scary–you’re worried about Dylan impressionisms, but these go in new directions and it feels so…Minnesota.

In theaters now: Third, by the magnificently witty Wendy Wasserstein is winning over folks at the Guthrie–one person told me it was the best play she’d ever seen.

And check out Rabbit Hole opening at the Jungle. Maggie Chestovich, Mark Nelson–a nice crew of actors for an award-winning dark comedy.

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