March Arts and Entertainment Picks

March 2017’s top cultural events in the Twin Cities

through 3.2


Time marches on—if you’re looking for evidence, consider that the man initially known as the singer for the Police is now a senior citizen (gasp!). But while the guy born as Gordon but only called Sting (apparently even his mother and children refer to him by the nickname earned a lifetime ago because of an outrageous bumblebee sweater) has logged a lot of miles, he’s in absurdly good form. I saw him a couple of years ago at Xcel Energy Center on a double bill with Paul Simon, and he seemed almost ageless (along with Paul McCartney, whose most recent Twin Cities appearance at Target Field could have been that of a man a third his age). Expect the hits and tunes from his new 57th & 9th album in the relatively intimate confines of Myth.

3.10 – 12

Chris Rock

It’s been about two decades now since Chris Rock was, in my estimation, hands down the funniest and most biting standup comic in the English-speaking world. For those who were paying attention (and there were a lot of us), the HBO special Bring the Pain was the high-water mark of a few years in which Rock occupied an intersection of righteous truth-telling, shattering of pieties, and high-wire verbal wit that was ridiculously exciting and full of his own particular intellect and insight. The heights were dizzying, and he hasn’t exactly been resting on his laurels since—his turn writing, directing, and starring in the 2014 film Top Five is among his best work: confident, sophisticated, unapologetically grownup. And of course race, class, and conflict are always the beating heart of Rock’s standup, and one imagines this in this run at the Orpheum he might find a thing or two from current events to draw upon for material. (Photo courtesy Hennepin Theatre Trust)

3.11 – 26

Goodbye Cruel World

A bad review is no one’s favorite experience, but Nikolai Erdman’s 1928 Russian play The Suicide took things to another level altogether. It was banned by famously harsh critic
Joseph Stalin before it ever premiered, and its director was subsequently tortured and executed. The dark humor in the previous sentences is altogether purposeful—it’s to match the play itself, in which a man makes an offhand remark about doing away with himself and subsequently finds himself the object of all kinds of competing forces who want him to do it in their name. This production by Theatre Pro Rata in the new NE Minneapolis venue the Crane Theater should be a 2017 absurdist benchmark.

3.31 – 4.2

Titcut Follies: The Ballet

Filmmaker Frederick Wiseman’s 1967 documentary Titicut Follies was shot in a facility for the criminally insane (it took its title from the annual inmate-staff variety show). A stark depiction of incarceration and mental illness, with graphic and disturbing scenes, it was instantly controversial and provoked questions of privacy and identity that are essentially unresolved to this day. In 2014, Wiseman was a fellow at New York University, where he met Minnesota dance pioneer James Sewell—the spark that led to the creation of this contemporary ballet with original score and costumes. Like the movie, the ballet revolves around the titular talent show and explores questions of individuality amid constricted social circumstances and of dignity amid imprisonment. It’s a daring and challenging new work. (Photo by Sara Rubenstein)

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