TU Dance, spoken word, pop-locking and more

You know you’re in the full swoon of the arts season, when not one but two Inspecting Carol plays are running simultaneously–by the U of M’s Theatre troupe on the Minnesota Centennial Showboat in St. Paul starting Nov. 16, and by the Commonweal Theatre down in Lanesboro starting Nov. 17. The play is now beyond a repertory staple–it’s more like a repertory giant paper clip, and for good reason: like “Waiting for Guffman,” it’s about a small theater trying to impress someone, not a critic but an NEA inspector supposedly in danger of pulling their grant money. Add the usual holiday follies of the show being “The Christmas Carol” and hilarity ensues.

But how could I not also mention that Accordion Fest is taking place Nov. 9 to 11 at the Cedar Cultural Center, being a squeezebox junkie myself. Accordion troupes from Norway, Canada, and the U.S., plus local virtuosos. Squeeze yourself.

Also on Friday, Nov. 9, the Art for Choice show is held starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Graves 601 Hotel with artworks for sale from such hip locals as Terrence Payne, Yuri Arjas, Jen Davis, Amy Rice, Matthew Doubek and more.

On Saturday, Nov. 10, check out spoken-word/hip-hop sensation Desdemona, MCing an art silent auction benefit at Jungle Red Salon/Spa in the Loring Park neighborhood called “Free Mona and Free Arts” for Free Arts Minnesota , which helps neglected and abused children through artistic expression. (The Mona in question is the evening’s mascot, a life-size rendition of a cow that somehow resembles the Mona Lisa (by Tim Schools, whose art is in the collection of Nelson Mandela and Jesse Jackson’s wife, Jacqueline.

Also on Saturday, Nov. 10, the Minneapolis Central Library hosts one of the coolest mixes of spoken-word hip-hop shows as part of the Jewish Historical Society’s exhibit and performance series called “I Couldn’t Live at Home,” about young Minnesotans in crisis. The line-up: Quilombolas (a Latin band) performing with e.g. bailey (spoken word extraordinaire); Dancing Dave, the so-called Prince of Pop-locking (breakdance); Truthmaze (hip hop), Amy Salloway (theatrical monologue); Blazin up Quick (young hip-hop dance collective); MN Spoken Word Association’s “Youth Liberation Poets” and other guests. Hosted by Sha Cage, a terrific actress and spoken-word artist.

Finally, get your tickets now for the Nov. 16 to 18 show by TU Dance at the O’Shaughnessy in St. Paul. Last year’s show was one of the most exciting dance performances of the year, if not in years. And how’s this for coolness: Uri has been contracted to choreograph the U’s spring production of The Wiz.