Arts Briefs: Festivals!

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 Rosalux Gallery in Minneapolis is opening an exhibit called “Holding Up / Holding With — Rethinking Resilience.”

The exhibit features four local artists: Rajine Williams, AK Garski, Talulah R.M. and Nikki McComb.

The artists use a variety of mediums to explore tactics for responding to challenges, including LGBTQ+ discrimination, ableism and illegal firearms.

There will be an opening reception Saturday at 7 p.m.

Create a More Connected Minnesota

MPR News is your trusted resource for the news you need. With your support, MPR News brings accessible, courageous journalism and authentic conversation to everyone - free of paywalls and barriers. Your gift makes a difference.

Take me to the river

First Avenue and the Minnesota Orchestra announced a partnership to build a new performance venue.

The venue, to be called the Community Performing Arts Center — or CPAC — will be built within the Upper Harbor Terminal development, a planned 20-acre park on the north Minneapolis riverfront.

CPAC is expected to have a capacity for 8,000 concert-goers, with a percentage of ticket sales earmarked to be reinvested into the surrounding community. 

Construction is scheduled to be completed by spring of 2025.

Aerial view
Aerial view of Upper Harbor Terminal Community Performing Arts Center from the north.
Courtesy First Avenue

A lot of theater

The Minnesota Fringe Festival has begun. The now-30-year-old performance festival will feature 86 shows in eight venues throughout the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis, with additional independently-produced shows throughout the city. 

Fringe Executive Director Dawn Bentley stresses that these shows directly support the artists who create them. Her advice to newcomers is to start with a show that you think you will like and then “take an adventure.”

The festival runs through Aug. 13.

Rollin’ on the river

If you’re hanging out along the Mississippi River within the next couple of weeks, you may run into a band of musical nomads performing on an old-timey wooden raft. The Flotsam River Circus is making stops at towns along the river to perform a story guided by aerial gymnastics, puppets, clowning and more.

The circus has provided free entertainment along rivers over the past four years. But the mighty Mississippi is their biggest undertaking yet. Jason Webley, of Washington, is the founder of the project. 

“The basic premise is that our boat is our stage,” Webley explained. “And so the action all takes place on this boat. There’s a number of characters living on the boat, and they get visited by another character. And that’s kind of the beginning of the story.”

The Flotsam River Circus' first performance is today in the University area of Minneapolis. 

Classical for the young

The Schubert Club, a classical music organization located in the Landmark Center in St. Paul, has announced a range of new initiatives designed to improve access to music education for children, students and families.

These will include offering free concert tickets to children aged 6-17 and students of any age who show a valid ID. The organization is also launching a program called Schubert Club Student Connections, which provides additional opportunities for students 7th grade and up, including backstage meet-and-greets and opportunities for master classes.

Instrument tornado at Schubert Club
A tornado of instruments at the Schubert Club Museum in St. Paul.
Elena See | MPR Classical 2016

Other Briefs:

  • The Hennepin History Museum in Minneapolis is currently offering an exhibition titled “Faraway Home: Tibetans in Minnesota,” including photographs by Tenzin Phuntsok Waleag and Keri Pickett.

  • The Playwrights’ Center has welcomed a new cohort of fellows. The organization’s many programs include support for mid-career playwrights in Minnesota; a two-year residency for early-career Black playwrights, playwrights of color and Indigenous playwrights; and a fellowship for early-career playwrights.

  • The former Dreamland Arts building in St. Paul has been purchased and will be a new arts organization. The venue, formerly owned and run by Leslye Orr and Zaraawar Mistry, will now be The Hive Collaborative and is owned by theater professionals Laura Rudolph Morris and Eric Morris.

  • ValleyFair in Shakopee, Minn., will be offering a variety of Latin musical performances this weekend as part of the amusement park’s Latin Days celebration. Bands include Mariachi Alma de Mexico and Minnesota performer María Isa. Performances begin Saturday at 11 a.m.

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: ‘CATalysis’ by Merzbow

Japanese musician Masami Akita remains a sort of Platonic idea of avant-garde music: Since 1979, as Merzbow (a name borrowed from Dadaism), he has produced an astonishingly prolific amount of recordings of pure noise.

This year alone has seen at least four recordings, some partnered with a U.S. noise band whose name we cannot print, with albums sometimes containing 80 or more separate recordings on each album.

For many, one track would be enough — Merzbow likes noises that are harsh, discordant, industrial, seemingly gormless, often sounding like the static from an old television set having a tantrum.

The artist seems to be taunting us with impossible abundance — in 2019 he released at least 28 titles as Merzbow, and he has a dozen side-projects. If you can’t handle one of his songs, he seems to be saying, ‘how about a thousand?’

But each of his recordings, somehow, impossibly, is distinct, although it may take a few times listening to catch their unique textures and personalities. There is a pranking, “I dare you to listen” quality to his music, especially when he offers such superabundance, but the recordings themselves are not stunts.

He genuinely appears to be on a profound, 44-year-and-counting investigation into the outer limits of recorded sound, and it’s a heck of a trip for those who choose to join him.

— Max Sparber

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