Arts Briefs: Miniature golf, Elvis and puppets

A graphic with the state of minnesota and pieces of art
The MPR News arts and culture team's arts briefs offer a weekly guide to the ever-evolving art scene in Minnesota.
Sam Stroozas | MPR News

The Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis is seeking to commission six early-career or emerging Minnesotan composers and musicians.

Artists must create and perform 30 or more minutes of new music at The Cedar.

Submissions are due by June 29 and can be found on the organization’s website.

A grant from the Jerome Foundation supports the program.

Grow the Future of Public Media

MPR News is Member supported public media. Show your support today, donate, and ensure access to local news and in-depth conversations for everyone.

From tapestry to tee

Rooftop miniature golf has returned to Minneapolis's Walker Art Center. 

This year's courses include one designed by teenage organizers from the Hmong community. Theirs is tabletop-sized and on springs and the ball is moved by tilting the course. It shows images of the Twin Cities Hmong community and is inspired by Hmong story cloths.

One of the designers, Ethan Vue, says the embroidered textile part of Hmong culture is significant.

“In the Hmong language, or in the Hmong culture, there's a lot of embroidery and tapestry in which story cloths are an important part of the Hmong community,” Vue told MPR News. “In the Hmong language, it's pronounced pan dow. So then that has been part of the way to record stories and share stories in the Hmong community.”

Tickets are available on the Walker website.

a tabletop golf course
The tabletop golf course at the Walker Art Center is designed by Hmong teens.
Max Sparber | MPR News

Puppet power

Monkeybear's Harmolodic Workshop is an organization dedicated to diversifying the puppetry field by supporting people of color in their skill development. 

The group will showcase the work of their last cohort of puppeteers at Pillsbury House Theater until May 21.

Visit their Facebook page for more details. 

Minnesota dance troupes eye national funding

Two Minnesota dance organizations are finalists for National Dance Project production grants. 

Finalists include Ananya Dance Theatre and Morgan Thorson, both in Minneapolis. Ananya seeks to create a full-length dance theater work exploring history and memory. Thorson plans to create an outdoor nocturnal dance event inspired by nightscapes and winter.

The grants provide funding for creating a new dance project. It also assists with operating expenses, community engagement and touring subsidies.

The grants are overseen by the New England Foundation for the Arts.

a group of people dance
A performance of Ananya Dance Theatre's "Shātrangā."
Isabel Fajardo, courtesy of Ananya Dance Theatre 2018

Hip hop harmonics

Cypherside is a breakdance and hip hop studio school whose mission is to teach young dancers different styles in a diverse environment. Founder Lue Thao says that the student showcases are designed as community events:

“It's high energy, so it's not your usual dance studio recital where you wait and just clap at the end,” Thao explained to MPR News. “For us, we like to encourage our family and friends to be engaged.”

The studio will offer a student showcase Saturday.

Historical hodgepodge

In an old Duluth church, you may find original Louisiana Purchase documents or Star Trek memorabilia.

The Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum in Duluth is one of 11 nationwide. Duluth philanthropist David Karpeles, who died in 2022, opened these museums to showcase his collection of rare documents — one of the largest in the world, says director Matthew Sjelin.

That includes anything from William Shatner letters to the current exhibition on Chinese history. 

“So this is President Lincoln's original order to amend the Treaty of the Tien-Tsin between China and the United States,” Sjelin told MPR News. “So this is my favorite because it shows that presidents were dealing with China long before I even thought that they were, you know, it's just kind of feels like somebody forgot to tell me something in school.”

The museum is free. A collection of Charles Darwin manuscripts go on view in the fall.

From Soul Asylum to stunt dogs

The Minnesota State Fair has announced performances on its various free stages for 2023.

The roster includes Minneapolis alt-rock band Soul Asylum, who topped the charts with their 1992 song “Runaway Train.” They will play on the Leinie Lodge Bandshell Stage Sept. 3 and 4.

Other acts include country musician Drake Milligan, The Bacon Brothers featuring film actor Kevin Bacon and the All-Star Stunt Dogs Splash, in which dogs do stunts.

Guitarist smiles out at the crowd while stumming an acoustic guitar
Soul Asylum and Ivan Neville performed at State Theatre in Minneapolis on April 20.
Davin Brandt

Echoing Elvis in Minnesota

Anthony Shore, who started performing Elvis songs in his teens, has performed as Elvis for almost as long as the King of Rock and Roll.

Elvis died at 42. As Shore nears his 42nd birthday, he’s planning a show of Elvis songs. However, the London-born artist emphasizes that he focuses more on music than impersonation.

“If you come and see my show, I speak in an English accent. I speak like this: ‘How are you doing, everybody?’ you know, and then I sing, I do the songs. It's, it's kind of second nature. I sing like Elvis second nature now I've done it for such a long time,” Shore told MPR News.

Shore will be at the Parkway Theater in Minneapolis on Sunday.

a man wearing a white outfit sings on a stage
London-born, Minnesota-based Elvis impersonator Anthony Shore.
Courtesy Anthony Shore

Other Briefs

  • Ballet Co.Laboratory will present “Carmen in the 1920s,” starting tonight and running through this weekend. The production takes the opera by Georges Bizet and sets it in the Jazz Age, including extensive swing dance choreography by artistic director Zoé Emilie Henrot. Performances will be at the E.M. Pearson Theatre, on the Concordia University Campus in St. Paul.

  • The Duluth Playhouse has announced its 2023-24 Underground season. The season will open with a stage adaptation of the Stephen King novel “Misery.” Other plays include “Nick Payne's Constellation” and the What She Said Festival, which celebrates female-identifying playwrights and directors.

  • The Red Eye Theater in Minneapolis will present its New Works 4 Weeks Festival starting May 25. The series begins with works in progress by Rebecca Nicholson, Sam Aros-Mitchell, Margaret Ogas and Atim Opoka.

  • Ten Thousand Things Theater has announced its 2023-24 season. Performances will include Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” and “The Spitfire Grill” by James Valcq, both directed by Artistic Director Marcela Lorca, and “The Hatmaker's Wife” by Lauren Yee, directed by Joel Sass.

Absolute Bleeding Edge

The MPR News arts team offers suggestions for the best in avant-garde, experimental and off-the-beaten-path arts and culture.

Music: “L'Herbe de D​é​tourne” by Sourdurent

The first song on “L'Herbe de D​é​tourne,” called “Franc De Bruch,” at first sounds like an ecstatic North African tune, with droning folk reed instruments and soaring vocals. But there are surprising sounds there too, electronic blips and bloops and drum machine-style rhythms.

It’s not easy to explain Sourdurent, the brainchild of French experimental composer  Ernest Bergez, except that the album can be seen as inventing new folk music for a place that defies modern ideas of nationality. That place is Occitania, a sprawling area that comprises much of the southern third of France, as well as part of Spain, Monaco and Italy, and is connected by a common language, Occitan. 

The music on the album somehow sounds both ancient and very modern, the sounds of a people that have defied being swallowed up by the nation-states that sprang up around them.

A colorful image with a lion
"L'Herbe De Detourne" by Sourdurent.
Courtesy of Antoine Marchalot
This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment‘s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.