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Art Hounds: Duluth artists and Hmong-Lao friendship

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Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay and May Lee-Yang
Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay and May Lee-Yang in the "Hmong-Lao Friendship Play or Lao-Hmong Friendship Play."
Sean Smuda | Intermedia Arts

This week on Art Hounds we take a look at the relationship that inspired the "Hmong-Lao Friendship Play / Lao-Hmong Friendship Play," learn about the woman behind Portrait of an Artist and (Self)Portrait of an Artist and hear a song from "The Spitfire Grill." 

The executive director of Gazillion Strong Kevin Vollmers declared the "Hmong-Lao Friendship Play/ Lao-Hmong Friendship Play" one of the funniest things he's seen in a long time. The raucous show follows two friends as they navigate through cultural norms associated with American life. The playwrights and performers May-Lee Yang and Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay are real-life BFFs. You can watch their rapport on stage at Penumbra Theater in St. Paul this Thursday through Sunday. 

Director and actor, Lawrence Lee was enamored with Sarah Brokke Erickson's exhibits at the Duluth Art Institute. Brokke Erickson painted 36 portraits of area artists, ranging from visual artists to performers. The portraits hang next to work from the artists featured in them. Lee appreciates this set up as a way to get to know the people behind the art, including Brokke Erickson herself. "Portrait of an Artist" and "(Self) Portrait of an Artist" will be on display at the Duluth Arts Institute now through January 21.  

The blogger behind One Girl, Two Cities, Laura Vanzandt says that anyone can relate to the story of redemption and finding oneself featured in "The Spitfire Grill." The main character, Percy, is a recently reformed inmate who is a little rough around the edges, but is looking for a fresh start. She heads for a small Wisconsin city that she saw in a newspaper clipping and builds community at grill that has also hit hard times. "The Spitfire Grill" is on stage at Lyric Arts now through November 1st.