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Free Outdoor Concerts

We won’t remember the songs. Or the bands. Or anything else but the ants in our pants. Yet we throw down our blankets in a sea of others surrounding the Lake Harriet Bandshell or the Hilde Performance Center in Plymouth (pictured, with the Minnesota Orchestra) because it’s the social thing to do—the Minnesota thing to do. We’re solo fliers most of the year, glimpsing each other only fleetingly behind coats and hats. Outdoor music allows us to see who else is here. And months from now, when we’re asking each other for jump-starts, it’ll be nice to know that we shared a piece of grass on a summer evening, when we couldn’t imagine (just before the mosquitoes came out) any place we’d rather be. The Minnesota Orchestra performs at the Hilde Performance Center in Plymouth on July 1 at 8:45 p.m.
 


Q&A: Gerry Spiess

Thirty years ago this month, Spiess, a White Bear Lake teacher, completed a 54-day solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, a voyage he made aboard a 10-foot sailboat he built in his garage. Still living in Minnesota, Spiess reflects
on his record-setting expedition:

» What was the most memorable aspect of the Atlantic crossing? The psychological challenges, and the discipline and preparation it took to plan to do something like that trip, to put yourself in a place where you cannot get outside help.

» The boat you used was on display at the Minnesota History Center for several years. I think most people were shocked when they saw how small it was. The boat never seemed small to me. Whether it was my doing or just luck, that boat was wonderful. It could do anything. I’ve built several boats, but everything came together with that one.

» How much safer would that voyage be today because of technology?
Well, people make a big mistake relying on technology in that environment. If it doesn’t work, you’re in trouble. I could sail to Hawaii today with no instruments at all. With a transistor radio, I wouldn’t even have to think about it.

» Is there any adventure you didn’t get to do?
One regret is that I didn’t spend more time in other cultures. I would have liked to live in Istanbul, and I never got to Russia.
 


Hot Waters

Getting to know Minnesota’s most famous lakes

BY TIM GIHRING

 HARRIETGULLLEECHPEPINMINNETONKA
LOCATIONSouthwest MinneapolisBrainerd areaNorth Central MinnesotaSoutheast MinnesotaWest Metro
BEST KNOWN FORThe Troll TreeResortsEelpout FestivalReutedly harboring a sea monsterBlondes on bows, yacht sinkings
PERSONAOctomom meets Cesar MilanMichael Scott meets Arnold PalmerTed Nugent meets Kent HrbekJimmy Buffett meets Kevin KlingAristotle Onassis meets Colin Farrell
DRESS CODEBaby Bjorn, Baby Jogger, Kate Spade diaper bagCell-phone holster, khakis, company-logo poloCamo, tatoosDocksiders, aura of contentmentNo jacket (or pants) required
LOCAL CUISINECheerios in a Ziploc, kibblePrime-rib buffetSlim Jims, Skoal, walleyeWine and cheeseShot of Patron at Lord Fletchers
WHAT’S BITING?PugglesThe mortgage on the cabin you bought in 2006Walleye, muskie, leechesThe windCougars
WOULD LIKE TO FORGETPublic spat over bandshell colors“The new austerity”Moondance JamLaura Ingalls WilderFred Smoot
SECRETLY ENVIOS OFLakes of the IslesBay LakeLake VermillionActual lakesEnvy is for other lakes
HOT COMMODITYBabysittersCompany cardSecret fishing holeCuban cigarsA good attorney

 


King of the Jungle

Bain Boehlke, founder of the Jungle Theater and recently named McKnight Distinguished Artist, is a central figure of the Twin Cities stage. Here, we trace his sphere of influence.

BY TIM GIHRING
 

Early 1960s
Forms the Theatre on the Road touring company, giving Wendy Lehr and several other beloved actors their start

1965 to 1978
As a lead actor and associate artistic director, helps turn the Children’s Theatre Company into the country’s largest theater for kids

1991
Founds the Jungle Theater in Minneapolis, having come up with the name while vacationing in Mexico

1996
Appears as the enigmatic Mr. Mohra in the Coen brothers’ Fargo

2000
Begins staging the plays of Craig Wright, a St. John’s University alum who goes on to write for Six Feet Under, Lost, and other TV series

2006
Hires Joel Sass, an award-winning designer and director, as associate artistic director of the Jungle

2010
Returns from a yearlong sabbatical to lead the Jungle into its third decade
 


Hit Formula

The revived Lab Theater experiments with crowd-pleasers

The former Guthrie Lab, in the Warehouse District of Minneapolis, once echoed with the words of Shakespeare, but these days it’s rocking with the songs of the Supremes, Dolly Parton, and other brassy babes—sung by men in the cheeky revue When a Man Loves a Diva. The walls are also being pummeled by Power Balladz, a spandex-filled romp through 1980s metal music, complete with three Freddie Mercury impersonators and a T-shirt cannon.

“Is it art or entertainment—or both?” asks Mary Kelley Leer, who took over the space last year. She’s reviving the eclectic, convivial spirit of her former club, Ruby’s Cabaret, a staple of the Warehouse District scene 20 years ago. She’s also rocking the box office, in large part because of the talent behind the toe-tapping. Diva showcases top local R&B singers, and Power Balladz was directed by Peter Rothstein, a theater veteran more often associated with the Guthrie than Guns ’n’ Roses. Leer says her success just proves that quality and fun aren’t mutually exclusive: “Who says that ‘art’ means something three hours long and boring?”

—TIM GIHRING
 


THE CURTAIN

Who’s up, who’s down in local arts and culture

RISING

Sarah Agnew
Her one-woman Syringa Tree returns to the Jungle Theater
Take-up Productions
Its screenings of classic movies at the Ritz Theater are selling out
Shubert Theater
Gets stimulus money for rehabbing, over objections that other projects seeking funding would have created more jobs
Minnesota Historical Society Press
Cutbacks will reduce its output by 30 percent
St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
The ensemble suffers pay cuts

FALLING
 


KEEPING TRACK

The summer of our discontent

This summer marks the state’s busiest and most expensive construction season ever. Here, a look at the numbers :

135,500 Total miles of roadway in Minnesota
223 Number of transportation projects under construction in the state this summer
$1,400,000,000 Total cost of those projects
$520,000,000 Cost to build the new Twins stadium
$131.15 Per capita amount of federal stimulus money dedicated to transportation and infrastructure projects in Minnesota
$46.14 Per capita amount of stimulus money dedicated to school and college modernization projects in Minnesota
$288,000,000 Total cost of the Crosstown project, which will add lanes to I-35W and Highway 62 south of downtown Minneapolis
2010 Year the Crosstown project is scheduled to be completed
31,128 Number of hours the project will have been under construction if completed on time

 

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