The Agenda

What you need to do, see, and hear in February

Photo by Tom Sandelands

The real-life 1933 kidnapping of brewery president William Hamm Jr. inspires shenanigans from the era of gangsters and bootleggers in a wild, martini-drenched, old-timey Twin Cities in this new work written by local actor John Middleton. It’s the first original production by Torch Theater and features an all-star cast of TC stage talent in a witty quasi-historic fermentation. • 2/14-3/8,


Schiller’s Mary Stuart 
Mary Queen of Scots has been exiled by her cousin Queen Elizabeth, but she’s hoping that her cohort of conspirators can help her retake England—just another day in European history, in other words, but in this case an up-close performance of a story of bloodthirsty power and defiance, a British game of thrones played very much for keeps. • 2/7-3/1,


Olga Bell
Photo Courtesy of Walker Art Center

Olga Bell: Origin/Outcome
The Brooklyn-based musician Olga Bell bridges a classical background with a bent for electronics; her ethereal and evocative pop songs feel knowingly naïve and often conjure a fragile beauty. This night at the Walker begins with the world premiere of Krai, a meditation on her Russian homeland: She’ll be supported by an ensemble of vocalists, chamber musicians, and video projections for an intersection of the shimmering and the catchy. • 2/13,


Paul Simon and Sting: On Stage Together
The latest Elder Statesman Rock Star Touring Package™ sees Rhymin’ Simon and the one-time Police-man play together and apart to dig into lavish back catalogues and hopefully, in the case of Simon, a couple of vital late-career triumphs (Surprise and So Beautiful or So What). • 2/23,


Nordic Lights Film Festival
Nordic Lights curates present-day cinema from Scandinavia across a diverse range, from feature-length to short films, encompassing offerings for both kids and adults. This year’s theme is “Fire and Ice” (we understand the latter, we are curious about the former); juried and audience-choice awards wrap up the week—yes, we might hope for bragging rights when we spot the next Ingmar Bergman. • 2/28-3/6,


Tucker Center Film Festival
The U of M’s Tucker Center is devoted to studying sports and physical activity in the lives of girls and women, and the theme of its fourth-annual film fest is “Women in Coaching,” including works examining women’s basketball coaches and trailblazers Pat Summitt and Vivian Stringer. • 2/6,


Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater
SPDT launched in 1978, inaugurating a 35-year run marked by love of language and social awareness wedded to the ever-evolving vocabulary of contemporary movement. This anniversary showcase presents revivals of several noted works, including the anti-war Sentry, which draws on military drills as visual metaphor, and Swimming to Cecile, which the New York Times in 1991 called a “touching tribute” to the memory of Pimsler’s mother. • 2/14-2/15,


Royal New Zealand Ballet
The oldest of the four pieces in this program is a fevered work by the choreographer from Black Swan, so this is ballet with a decidedly European and of-the-moment flavor with themes from bullfighters to a Bavarian beer hall—deftly eschewing the staid. • 2/8,

Visual Arts

courtesy of The Estate of Roy Lichtenstein

Pop Art and Beyond
Like some sort of mutant fallout, Pop Art emerged after the Bomb in the 1950s as the movement that would bear major hallmarks of the decades to come: It both celebrated and spoofed itself, it reveled in images reproducible by the millions, and it raised a plastic shield of detachment between itself and the viewer through which emotions were both distorted and magnified. Without its sensibility, one can hardly imagine Miley, or Austin Powers, or the “very special episode” (favorite sitcom name here). This show of prints at the Highpoint Center includes a who’s who of the greats—Andy Warhol, Alex Katz, Roy Lichtenstein, Damien Hirst, among others—in a retrospective of a viewpoint that is so much a part of how we look at things as to seem self-obvious. Pop triumphs over all. • 2/7-3/29,


Alton Brown Live: The Edible Inevitable Tour
Culinary MacGyver and Food Network Good Eats host Brown keeps a dogged emphasis on invention and science in the culinary sphere on his TV gig as well as this barnstorming variety show. Ponchos are offered to audience members in the rows nearest the stage, and some attendees become co-conspirators when they are enlisted for his gleeful food experiments. • 2/7,


The City of Lakes Loppet
Yes, we’re the most frigid major city in America and we own it—with a celebratory spirit. The Loppet is the Mardi Gras of wholesome outdoor activity, with cross-country skiing, a snow-sculpture competition, and an arms-open embrace of winter. Plus there’s the Surly Beer Garden, because grownups need fuel. • 1/31-2/2,