It’s true–everyone loves a parade. Except me. Same with most outdoor music festivals. A lot of hustle, planning, and putting up with Joe Public, just to sit on my butt and sunburn. Too passive, on a nice day. And yet, while I wish our town landed some festivals like this, I’ll also say the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, formerly the Hot Summer Jazz Festival, also gets me off my feet and on my butt simply because of its agreeable venues, top-notch lineup, and pretty-good price: free.
Held June 19 to 29, the 10th annual festival features Ravi Coltrane, Charmaine Neville, and Salsa Del Soul, among others, for free at Peavey Plaza in Minneapolis and Mears Park in St. Paul.
Another worthwhile outing this weekend–the Solstice Film Festival–is trying to showcase the kind of independent features shown at the Tribeca Film Festival and Sundance. Held at Galtier Plaza in St. Paul, it’s fittingly tucked into the Lowertown artists scene (expect film talk this weekend at the nearby Black Dog Cafe). The features are a little on the dark side, though each has much to recommend. The opening flick on Friday, Killer Movie, about a reality TV series gone awry, was shot around Minneapolis with such local acting talent at Stephen Pelinski and Chris Carlson. From Within has a similar they-die-one-by-one plot, albeit this time by their own hand. The closer, Brothers At War, is a documentary by a filmmaker who risks his life being embedded to tell the story of his brothers fighting in Iraq. Comes highly recommended by soldiers over there and none other than Jon Voight, who gushes, “One of the most important films I’ve ever seen.”
Elsewhere, Yuri Arajs gets his farewell show at his friend Nick Harper’s place, the Rogue Buddha Gallery in northeast Minneapolis. Just a few months after I declared him the Twin Cities’ most interesting curator of local art, Arajs has decided to return to his native Canada. As if it’s not bad enough we lose so many potential movie shoots to our northern neighbor. In any case, Yuri’s show opens Friday with a new series he’s created using other folks’ discarded photographs in collages that evoke shared memories.
Plus: You know the Cedar Cultural Center has completed its transformation from hootenanny central to world music showcase when Bill Frisell, the acclaimed avant-garde jazz guitarist, stops by this Saturday.
And: You know Atmosphere, the local hip-hop star, has gone legit when he’s contracting local PR/advertising heavyweight Colle + McVoy to produce his new album’s website. The site, promoting the album When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Sh** Gold, allows visitors to graffiti any site on the Web using virtual tools.