October Arts and Entertainment Picks

October 2016’s top cultural events in the Twin Cities

the last firefly, things to do, children's threatre company, plays, arts and entertinament picks9/27-11/13

The Last Firefly

Children’s Theatre Company director Peter Brosius describes this new world premiere as “an amazing journey that mixes action adventure, epic fights, and a boy’s heroic quest to save his family.” A show pitched at fans of anime and superhero movies and comics (not limited to children, in other words), it starts with a crash in the sky and the story of Boom setting out to find his father Thunder. The script is by the prolific and innovative Naomi Iizuka, who is adept at crafting a mythological feel from small details. This one promises to be intense—so it’s recommended for young people 8 and older. childrenstheatre.org (Photo courtesy of Children’s Theatre Company)

brian wilson, concerts, stepping out, things to do, arts and entertainment picks10/2

Brian Wilson Presents Pet Sounds

For a long time the notion of former Beach Boy Brian Wilson returning as a working musician seemed little short of impossible, given his mental-health and substance struggles—he was a classic-rock Icarus ill suited for the business of music (while his former band mates toured the world constantly like an increasingly unseemly cover band). Somehow he seems to have reached an accord with his demons, even releasing a version of Smile—a project he’d started more than 40 years before and the great lost holy grail of music obsessives everywhere—in 2004. This month at the Orpheum he’s celebrating the 50th year since the recording of Pet Sounds by playing the album in its entirety (it’s the one where they’re inexplicably visiting a petting zoo on the cover) plus some other favorites. A couple of former Beach Boys are in his band this time out, which is roughly the equivalent of Nixon’s rapprochement with China (set to the tune of “Surfin’ Safari”). hennepintheatretrust.org (Photo by Brian Bowen Smith)

bill maher, things to do, stepping out, arts and entertainment picks10/8

Bill Maher

Reaching agreement on what to watch on the flat-screen fireplace is not always a simple matter in my household, where the filmic career of Melissa McCarthy and the cultural merits of superhero movies are persistent matters of contention. But one thing we all have in common is being a batch of smart-asses, and so we all dig Bill Maher. There’s no other show (HBO’s Real Time) in which Hollywood liberals and right-wing politicians sit elbow-to-elbow and drive each other nuts while the sardonic host punctures balloons of pomposity and beams beatifically whenever someone plants their foot on a third rail and the live audience erupts in outrage. Maher is an ace standup, and this show at the State Theatre so close to the finish line of this annus horribilis of a presidential election will be a corker. hennepintheatrertrust.org (Photo by David Becker)

mccoy tyner quartet, concerts, dakota jazz club, things to do, stepping out, arts and entertainment picks10/20-21

McCoy Tyner Quartet

Legendary ivory tickler McCoy Tyner was still a teenager when he joined the John Coltrane Quartet, and in the subsequent four-plus years was an integral part of some of the most high octane, brilliant, lightning-strike jazz—he played on the indispensable A Love Supreme, which you must drop everything and listen to now if you haven’t before. He followed that tenure by leading his own band on a series of incendiary releases including the 1967 classic The Real McCoy. His facility with tone, improvisation, and generally being an instrumental badass make him one of the true giants of jazz. dakotacooks.com (Photo by John Abbott)

through 2/26/2017

“Art of Valerian Formozov: Visions of the Russian Heartland”

There’s a remarkable backstory to the Russian painter Valerian Formozov’s gorgeous rural curves and rustic forms. He fought at the front lines of World War II, earning nine medals in horrific battles, then went to Latvia for art school. He grabbed an opportunity to visit a retreat in the countryside outside Moscow in the early 1950s and fell in love with the sweeping plains and farm fields—buying a dacha there and spending the rest of his career painting. Russia shares with America a fixation on (and romanticizing of) its heartland and the people who live in it—the grain baskets that feed both huge countries as well as represent an elemental connection to the land. With this exhibit at the Museum of Russian Art, we can see an artist who followed the nightmare of war with an almost metaphysical embrace of rural peace. tmora.org