Art Hounds: A MN Biennial, Dead Pigeons and The Collector


"Fog #7" by Stefanie Motta. (Image courtesy of the artist and The Soap Factory)

Music writer Ira Brooker urges you to check out The Dead Pigeons:

If you're a Twin Cities fan of roots/folk/country music, you don't have much excuse for not knowing The Dead Pigeons. Not only does the band have an extensive song catalog streaming free on SoundCloud, they currently maintain no less than three weekly residencies in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, plus a fair number of in-between gigs.

In other words, no matter the day of the week, the odds are pretty good that there's a Dead Pigeons show going on somewhere.

Grow the Future of Public Media

MPR News is supported by Members. Gifts from individuals power everything you find here. Make a gift of any amount today to become a Member!

Being a prolific live band is one thing, but this isn't some lounge act sleepwalking through the Great American Songbook every night.

Front man Drew Peterson is a top-flight lyricist, a sardonic, scatological songwriter who tempers his mournful insights with gallows humor. (A sample verse from "Regret on Toast": "Regret spreads really nice onto toast / Lightly warmed is how I like it most / Best when eaten young / When it's softer on the tongue / I have so much, but I don't mean to boast") Peterson's outlook is consistently grim and sometimes gross, but it's always delivered with a Kris Kristofferson-esque wink that keeps things from getting oppressive.

Old-timey instrumentation has become a red flag for some music fans of late, but The Dead Pigeons are decidedly not The Lumineers. The band employs acoustic guitar, mandolin, fiddle, stand-up bass and percussion to create a ragged, homemade sound that's never forced or feigned. The aesthetic is as much DIY punk as it is folk, and it's a perfect complement to Peterson's acerbic worldview.

The Dead Pigeons perform every Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Harriet Brewing in Minneapolis, every Wednesday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Burger Moe's in St. Paul and every Sunday at Dusty's Bar in Minneapolis from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The band will also perform at the Linden Hills Farmer's Market this Sunday from 9 .m. to 11 a.m.

Nicole Soukup of the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts will be at The Soap Factory this weekend:

It's that time of year again, when everyone is talking about the Soap Factory's Haunted Basement, except for me. I skip the scare and stick to the art exhibitions.

Starting this Saturday, Sept. 7 and running through Nov. 3, The Soap Factory presents ,,, the 3rd Minnesota Biennial.

Unlike past years, curators John Marks and David Peterson are going to take a laissez-faire approach, allowing the artists to freely create and install their works without a curatorial preconception or a connecting theme. Love it or hate it, the Minnesota Biennial offers us a cross-section of what's happening in Minnesota today.

Thirty-eight Minnesota-based artists will be on exhibit with works running the gamut from performance to sound to visual arts.

I am genuinely excited to see new work by thought-provoking artists like Broc Blegen and the Basketball Team. Duluth-based artist Kristina Estell's elegant installation works always bring a new perspective to familiar spaces that I thought I knew. And if you missed Andy Sturdevant's insightful artist panels at The Museum of Russian Art, fear not, as Andy will continue this tradition hosting with artist panels on Sundays throughout the run of the show.

And did I mention there's even going to be a limited edition LP by nine artists? Mark your calendars today!

Bianca Pettis, half of the sound art duo Beatrix*JAR, is excited a San Diego puppet theater is coming to town:

Dynamic puppet duo Bridgett Roundtree and her husband Iain Gunn of the San Diego-based puppet theater Animal Cracker Conspiracy are performing their latest collaboration "The Collector" at the Bedlam Theatre Design Center this weekend and will also host an artist workshop.

I first encountered "The Collector" in San Diego when experimental sound artist Margaret Noble, the sonic mastermind behind the original soundscape of the show, invited me to a rehearsal. I found it to be absolutely mesmerizing from beginning to end. Bridget and Iain create a visually stunning tale and their rhythm and alchemy together as performers is some of the most inspired I've ever seen.

"The Collector" is not your traditional puppet theater performance. Bridget and Iain are mixed media artists utilizing a hybrid of puppet theater approaches to create their vision. The mysterious, otherworldly story of a lowly debt collector unfolds through the use of toy theater, tabletop puppets, stop motion animation and film.

For more Art Hounds, check us out on Facebook and Twitter. Art Hounds is powered by the Public Insight Network.  We’ll be back on the radio in a couple weeks. And if you want to be an Art Hound, you can submit your ideas here.