We need to talk

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindI was going to start this entry with “I happened to come of age when” before realizing there weren’t enough barf bags in this entire state to accommodate you all (and by “you all” I mean both of you). So let’s just say the 1990s were a great time for a lot of things, including some of my favorite, very talkie movies. People no longer thought they were going to solve anything in the 1990s, but they sure wanted to hash it out. And I suppose I still like art that speculates–even better if it looks great while doing it.

So this week we have a retrospective, starting May 11, at the Walker of the films of Michael Gondry, who directed two films with the great speculative writer Charlie Kaufman: “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and the earlier “Human Nature.” Before and during, he was a commercial and music-video director, landing in the Guinness Book, of all places, for having created the most award-winning ad ever. What does a guy trading in persuasion and pure imagery know about story-telling? Go find out.

Also this week, through May 19, the under-the-radar Interact Theater, which presents theater from the perspective of people with disabilites, hosts some unexpected collaborators–former DFL state senator Ember Reichgott Junge this week, local blues legend Willie Murphy earlier–in a so-called “genetically modified musical” speculating that genetics research will steer us toward greater “perfection,” and everyone outside of that will go underground–undoubtedly the more interesting place to be. This place knows how to have fun.

Elsewhere, catch Branford Marsalis (he’s the sax one) at the Dakota on May 15. And hear one of the few classical musicians who needs extra security at his shows (to keep the lovesick at violin’s length) when Joshua Bell completes his artistic partnership with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra starting May 17.

Also, support locals who’ve made this scene what it is: “Backstage with Bellamy,” a special night of performances and story-telling on May 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the U’s Willey Hall celebrating Lou Bellamy and Penumbra Theatre. And Ragamala Music and Dance Theatre’s fundraising gala May 18 at Soo Visual Art Center. Ragamala once combined the music of Billie Holiday with ancient Indian dance–and brilliantly. That’s worth cracking your wallet for.

Man, what a talkie entry. You can take the kid out of the ’90s but…

Photo: “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”