Building the Boys of Summer

There’s no tarp on the ball field at Cretin and Grand, though snow sprinkles the brownish grass and the morning promises more. A white portable fence arcs in awkward sections from the right to leftfield foul lines, where orange foul poles stand uncertainly against a wicked northwest wind. For a clueless pilgrim seeking the heart […]

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Red Fish Blue

Forget about those suburban seafood chains where the waiters break into the macarena every half-hour. This self-described “ocean diner” (hey, a pun!) over Macalester-way has a pleasantly casual atmosphere with prices that won’t bite like a shark. The walls are dominated by solid reds and blues, getting a subtly undersea theme over without needing to […]

The Sound of Music

This is, of course, the show that asked the musical question “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” What a lot of people don’t realize is that in a very early draft of the play, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s song actually asked “How do you solve a problem like multivariate normal distribution in orthagonal matrices […]

Perfect Crime

At 6,000 performances and counting, the New York production of Warren Manzi’s Hitchcockian thriller is the longest-running nonmusical in Broadway history. Such longevity is doubly amazing in view of Manzi’s criminally sloppy handle on the mystery story; his script is so overstuffed with red herrings, dropped subplots, implausible twists and flat-out plot holes it could […]

The Handmaid’s Tale

also: Margaret Atwood on MPR’s Talking VolumesFitzgerald Theater, May 8You most likely know Margaret Atwood from her chilling 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale, the book that made her modern literature’s prophetess of feminist and ecological doom. It was made into a rather dull film in 1990, but the story’s lately found new life in a […]

Embodied Spirits Revisited: Ritual Carvings of the Asmat

There are very, very few cultures left even partly free from the homogenizing touch of the modern world. The Asmat people are one of them. A tribal culture of about 65,000 from the rainforests of New Guinea, they only recently stopped practicing headhunting and ritual cannibalism. The St. Paul museum’s current “Embodied Spirits” exhibition of […]

Art-a-Whirl

Man, we’re getting old. It seems like just yesterday that Art-a-Whirl was the fresh-faced l’il whippersnapper of a neighborhood arts festival, a new hip event in a rather stodgy part of town that nobody was really sure would see a second year. Now, in year eight, it’s well past the point of becoming an expected […]

Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater, Hidden Places

Sometimes great artists move from New York to Minneapolis—no kidding! Stuart Pimsler relocated his company here in 1999, and now he opens his 25th season with this exciting trio of pieces; Rooms of Disquiet, Islands, and Total Surrender. If this performance stacks up to SPDT’s platinum reputation, it will be as moving as it is […]

Suzanne Vega

Lyrically and vocally reminiscent of an acerbic but less rough-edged Lou Reed, Suzanne Vega first made her mark in the mid-80s among the Edie Brickell/Natalie Merchant crowd of earnest female folk-rockers. Even in her mawkish breakout hit, the anti-child abuse ode “Luka,” she had an almost hidden steely edge that set her apart from her […]

Kurt Elling

That decision to drop out of divinity school looks like the right one. As far as record sales go, Kurt Elling has yet to crack the Billboard Jazz Top 10. Nevertheless, he’s widely considered one of the hottest things going in male jazz vocalists, and with five Grammy nominations on five CDs, he must be […]