Arts Briefs: Plans for a busy weekend

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

Two large-scale community artworks in Minnesota are among the 100 finalists for the 2023 People's Choice CODA Awards out of Madison, Wis.

The awards celebrate works that integrate art into interior, architectural and public spaces.

The first, “A Not So Private Sky” is located near Mayo Clinic in Rochester. It's a sculpture made of 15 stainless steel objects that look like 12-sided dice stacked atop each other.

The other finalist, “Our Common Home,” was a collection of three digital arts structures placed around St. Paul during the Great Northern Festival last winter. 

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!

The public is currently able to vote for their favorites online.

A different kind of ‘pot’ this weekend 

While recreational marijuana becomes legal in Minnesota next Tuesday, a different kind of pot will be on display this weekend at the 11th Minnesota Pottery Festival in Hutchinson this weekend. The two-day celebration of pottery features more than 40 individual potters from North America and is described as family-friendly and open to the public for free.   

“The Minnesota pottery festival is its own nonprofit, and our focus is on education,” said organizer Morgan Baum, owner of the Clay Coyote in Hutchinson. “Throughout the weekend, we have a ton of demos for people to participate in.” 

Events include programs on how to dig your own clay and cook it on a gas grill. The event is on the shore of the Crow River on Saturday and Sunday.  

a group of people gathers under a white tent
The Minnesota Pottery Festival
Courtesy of Morgan Baum

Break dancing takes center stage in Minneapolis

Music venue First Avenue will be the site of a break-dancing competition, the Red Bull BC One. This year Minneapolis will serve as the host for the American Midwest regional qualifier. Winners will go on to the national competition in Philadelphia in August. Local b-boy and hip-hop instructor Jake “Boogie B” Riley will serve as the event's host.  

“Breaking is an inclusive, family-friendly, welcoming community and environment,” explained Riley, who has been breaking for 19 years. “I think that if parents and guardians were to bring their kids, it'd be fun for the whole family.” 

The competition begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.  

Arthurian legend under the big top 

Circus Juventas is a youth performing arts circus school based in the Highland Park neighborhood of St. Paul. Their next show is “Excalibur” inspired by the legend of King Arthur. The theme was chosen because the musical “Camelot” has special meaning for Rachel Butler Norris, one of the circus’s artistic directors.

“It's Rachel's favorite movie that she grew up watching,” said Dan Butler, co-founder of Circus Juventas and Rachel’s father.  

He also shared it will be the last show he and his wife Betty Butler — who co-directed the show — will work on in their official capacities of executive and artistic directors, respectively.  

“It’s been an amazing journey,” Butler said.  

“We're so proud of all the people that we've been impacted by and have impacted ourselves,” Butler said. “ Our entire international coaching staff is the lifeblood of our organization and who work so diligently and tirelessly with our young people to hone their skills.” 

Highlights include a horse puppet jousting match and a finale that utilizes a swing trapeze-like apparatus called the Russian cradle.  

“Excalibur” runs until August 13.  

acrobats perform on stage
Circus Juventas is celebrating their 29th year with "Excalibur," running July 29 through Aug. 13.
Courtesy of Dan Norman and Circus Juventas

Flatbed arias

Mixed Precipitation is a theater known for outdoor opera events in Minnesota. This year, they are celebrating their 15th anniversary with a “pickup truck opera,” a series of pop-up shows performed from the flatbed of a truck.

This year, they will perform “Romeo and Juliet,” based on the opera by Vincenzo Bellini. The show also incorporates music by Fleetwood Mac, The Fugees and the Pixies.

Performances begin Saturday at the Loppet Trailhead in Theodore Wirth Park and continue through September at other locations in Minnesota.

A group of people perform in colorful clothes and costumes outdoors.
Loki Graham in a previous production from Mixed Precipitation
Courtesy of Mixed Precipitation


Madison Rubenstein of Bloomington is one of the winners of the Midwest Award for Artists with Disabilities.

Rubenstein is a visual artist whose work explores themes of trauma, mental illness and chronic pain.

The award comes from a Minneapolis organization, Arts Midwest, which supports and amplifies artists and arts organizations throughout the region.

Other Briefs:

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.

Film: They Cloned Tyrone

The debut film by writer/director Juel Taylor (trailer here; some cursing) is set in an unusual world that draws from science fiction and the blaxploitation films of the 1970s.

It tells of an unlikely team of sullen drug dealer (a charismatic John Boyega) a pimping popinjay (co-producer Jamie Foxx, giving himself permission to be extremely silly) and scene-stealing Teyonah Parris as a sex worker-slash-amateur detective. 

They discover that their community is a vast experiment, a paranoiac conspiracy that recalls earlier films “Black Dynamite” (2009), in which sinister forces were poisoning the Black community with tainted malt liquor, and “Sorry to Bother You” (2018), in which capitalists were using cocaine to turn Black workers into horse/human hybrids.

All three films share a wild satirical sensibility, but in service to a scalding critique of institutional racism.

This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment‘s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.