Art Hounds: Reggae, dance in Duluth, and ‘Push Button. Get Bacon’

The cast of The Recovery Party's "Push Button. Get Bacon." (Photo courtesy of The Recovery Party)



The cast of The Recovery Party's "Push Button. Get Bacon." (Photo courtesy of The Recovery Party)

Film and theater director John Gaspard highly recommends The Recovery Party's "Push Button. Get Bacon."

Okay, I’ll admit that it took me a moment to figure out the graphic for The Recovery Party’s new show at the Bryant Lake Bowl, “Push Button. Get Bacon.” My bad. Like the graphic and title, the show is sly and funny and generally a step ahead of the audience at all times. Their goal seems to be to make you laugh, then think, then laugh again. Mission accomplished.

I was introduced to The Recovery Party via their last show at the BLB, “Department of Redundancy Department,” a fast and funny revue of pop culture and the dumb things we humans do again and again. This new show is equally adept at skewering American culture, including deft looks at coming out to supportive families, corporate double-talk, and a time-traveling mom. While the entire cast is strong, special praise must go to Jim Robinson, cheerfully a step behind the rest of the cast in musical numbers, and Jen Maren, who effortlessly maneuvers from role to role while bringing the funny at all times.

There is precious little bacon in the show, but also very little fat, making for a crisp 90 minutes that flies by and comes to a rousing conclusion with (what else?) a Hawaiian dance performed by the whole cast … and with Jim Robinson again one step behind.

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Performer and arts administrator Yumi Inomata is looking forward to seeing Dances on the Lakewalk:

Duluth will have its own summer dance festival this weekend, called Dances on the Lakewalk - A Festival of Dance in Duluth. The Festival is presented by Ressl Dance! and takes place at Lake Place Park. It begins at 7:00 p.m, each on Friday, July 19 and Saturday, July 20. It's free and open to public. The festival will bring together professional choreographers and dancers from Duluth and the Twin Cities performing a variety of dance styles on the historic Lake Superior waterfront. Natural lighting and outside air will breathe a new life to these performances. This festival would be a great introduction for people who don't usually attend dance performances.

I highly recommend seeing these dances because of the high-level of professionalism and the event's truly unique venue and relaxing atmosphere. But don't be fooled by the audience-friendly set-up -- the dancers have worked very hard to put on professional-level performances. They've trained for months and will make their performances look effortless. I'm truly excited to see such a professional collaboration between dance companies in Duluth and the Twin Cities. Such regional arts exchanges strengthen Minnesota's arts communities for both performers and audiences.

Julia Nekessa Opoti, radio host of Reflections of New Minnesotans, is excited about the Bayfront Reggae and World Music Festival:

The annual Bayfront Reggae Festival will be in Duluth this weekend July 19 - 20. I have heard so much about it; and cannot wait to experience it for the first time. The festival, in its eight year now, will be at the Bayfront Park on the beautiful Lake Superior.  Janna Dreher, the festival's manager describes the festival as one that promotes love and equality and attracts roots and reggae fans from around the country as well as from Canada. The festival is a favorite among many immigrants from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. There is something thrilling about outdoor concerts, and in Minnesota, its even more exciting to be at a concert with thousands of people from around the world.

This year's lineup includes Caribbean artists like Richie Spice and Everton Blender as well as local "world music" bands like Innocent (Tanzanian) and Charanga Tropical (Cuban, Mexican and Brazilian).

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