Hizzoner’s Fall Arts Preview

Mayor R.T. Rybak on Hitchcock, gorilla suits, and the art of stage diving

What are you excited to see this season?

The 39 Steps at the Guthrie Theater [opens October 30]—my wife is a huge Alfred Hitchcock fan. Also, Eiko & Koma, the Japanese dancers, in their artists residency at the Walker Art Center [October 2 through November 28]. It sounds so cool, a “living installation” where they’ll dance in a gallery day after day.

What’s the strangest show you’ve seen?

I saw a Fringe show where a man—in what was either a tunic or a dress—opened a series of cupboard doors and small heads fell out. That was pretty wild. And I saw Karen Finley fill her bra with Jell-O and then remove the bra, which on the basis of it sounds absurd and stupid, but in context was really powerful.

You’ve performed at First Avenue. Are you the only mayor in the country who stage dives?

There may be someone else who does it, but no one else is this consistent.

Who would play you in a hypothetical R.T. Rybak Story at the Guthrie?

I don’t want to say someone boring like Tom Hanks…Steve Carrell maybe? [Shouts to his assistant] Janna, who should play me in a movie? Um … Mark Harmon? No! He’s washed up!

Prince recently declared the Internet “over.” Madman or prophet?

I’m tempted to say Prince is over. But I guess I should pay some attention. He is the best.

How do we get non-Minnesotans to focus on the depth of our arts instead of our snowfall?

Minneapolis is America’s best arts city. Period. If people elsewhere don’t get it, that’s their problem.

For more on Rybak’s Fall picks, see mnmo.com/rtarts2010.