As you’re well aware, this week the Twin Cities plays host to one of the biggest political extravaganzas known to man: The Republican National Convention. The chaos that will surely descend on our fair cities will be met with more Minnesota-brand arts and culture than you can shake a stick at, as well as thousands of protesters, scrambling media, and organized demonstrations of all shapes, sizes and affiliations. If you want to avoid the fray, we’d recommend the Days Inn in Brainerd, because the Twin Cities are going to be thoroughly ablaze with political spirit and, most likely, gridlock traffic. Being the adventurous souls we know you are, however, you’ll want to make the most of it by speakin’ your piece, rockin’ out to some awesome live music or just checking out the scene, which is bound to be wild! And whether you’re a visitor or a local – you’re sure to find something to inspire you in our eclectic guide to events surrounding the RNC!
Know about something we didn’t list? Did you go to one of the listed events? Post about it in the comments section at the bottom of this article and keep the chain of democracy alive!
SECTION ONE: BE HEARD!
Through September 4th
Artists of all sorts, regardless political beliefs, are invited to take place in The UnConvention, a series of events that runs through the RNC. Designed as a forum for people to exchange and promote their ideas on the big issues, it is meant to counteract the tightly formatted and scripted process that is the presidential election process. Projects taking place during The UnConvention include "My Yard Our Message," where artists from around the world will vote on the design of political signs promoting participatory democracy; "American Politics Sideshow: Weird and Wild," where the Weisman Art Museum will host speakers, discussions, performances and more; and the Liberty Parade, a large-scale event to precede the RNC where individual liberty and freedom is celebrated. For more information, including a complete list of projects visit www.theunconvention.com.
Nineteen people were arrested on August 31, 2007 during the Critical Mass group bike ride in a melee that made headlines. This year, Critical Mass returns to remember the one-year anniversary of that event and to kick off the string of peaceful RNC demonstrations by crowding the streets with bikes of all types. Starting around 5 pm in Loring Park on August 29, Critical Mass will overtake the streets of Minneapolis once more to strike out against oppression and celebrate freedom of expression. For more information on this year’s event and last year’s fallout, visit http://cmsupport.wordpress.com.
Forget all your rightist or leftist arguments and come join the Liberty Parade on August 31 at 1 pm in Minneapolis. A celebration of the American values that stretch beyond political sides, the Liberty Parade will march down Nicollet Mall to Loring Park, where music acts and other entertainment will await participants. Celebrate liberty, freedom, equality and justice with your neighbors in a genuinely nonpartisan fashion. For more information, visit www.libertyparade2008.com.
REVOLUTIONARY LOVE 2: I AM YOUR BEST FANTASY
The second in a two-part project taking place at both the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention, Sharon Hayes’s Revolutionary Love 2: I Am Your Best Fantasy will unite crowds of people at the capitol to speak about love, politics and gay liberation to the masses. The performance will begin at approximately 3:30 pm on September 1 at the Capitol Ground green below Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in St. Paul. The performance will last for around two hours as a chorus reads the piece Hayes has written for the convention. For more information on this and other projects by Hayes, visit www.creativetime.org.
September 1st – 4th
Hundreds of protest groups from around the country will meet, mingle and march throughout the convention to peacefully (hopefully, anyway) show their stripes. Anyone is welcome to come express his views on the current government and demonstrate the kind of active democracy that makes this country great. For your guide to anything and everything protest related visit www.protestrnc2008.org for more radical news than you can shake an angry fist at.
RALLY FOR THE REPUBLIC
Ron Paul will be at the Target Center to help the Campaign for Liberty kick-off its events on September 2 during the Rally for the Republic. Also featuring rock star Aimee Aleen, Barry Goldwater Jr, everyone’s favorite bow-tied TV personality Tucker Carlson and more, the event starts at 12:30 pm and runs until 10 that night. Celebrate your country by picking up a few of the $17.76 tickets for this spirited and provocative political event. Visit www.ronpaul.com for more info.
Bonus: Mingle and party with Ron Paul-ites at Clubhouse Jager at 923 Washington Avenue North, the official party spot for Ron Paul supporters throughout the RNC.
NADER SUPER RALLY
Not really a fan of McCain or Obama? Then try perennial presidential candidate Ralph Nader, who will once again be on the ballot. Celebrate your favorite independent (unless you’re still a Ventura fan) by skipping the Target Center and Xcel Energy Center and heading straight to Orchestra Hall on September 4 at 7:30 pm as Nader and his running mate Matt Gonzalez make a call to throw the election into full-swing. Nellie McKay, Cindy Sheehan and Tom Neilson will be among those appearing at the rally. For more information, visit www.votenader.org/events.
SECTION 2: PARTY LIKE YOU CARE!
What better way to precede out-of-state RNC bigwigs descending upon the Twin Cities than by celebrating the best in local performances and art? Spark24, a 24-hour marathon of free entertainment, will begin 5 pm on Sunday, August 30. Local theatre companies, music groups and bands will take the stage from Peavey Plaza to Orchestra Hall and 60+ venues across the Twin Cities. For more information, including a complete schedule of performances and venues, visit www.spark24.org.
Bonus: The Rake’s A+E Editor Kate Iverson will be live-blogging at Spark24 from the IDS, so check our site Saturday and Sunday for pictures, recaps and craziness, live from Spark24!
CALL AND ANSWER: BLACK DOG BLOCK PARTIES
August 31st & September 2nd
The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar will throw its "Welcome to the Neighborhood" Block Party in Lowertown on August 31 and September 2, just in time for the RNC. The two-day festival of music, food and more will give locals a voice to express what’s important to them in a
time when the Twin Cities has never been more visible on a national level. The Black Dog is located at the corner of 4th and Broadway in Lowertown St. Paul. For more information, visit www.theblockpartyinlowertown.com.
Join The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign and the Hip Hop Congress in Powderhorn Park on August 31 for the People’s Fest! An all day celebration of arts and culture featuring music by Mic Crenshaw of Portland, OR; Blade Triple, M.O., and Element of Surprise from Cincinnati; local faves The Brass Kings and Bemidji’s Shannon Murray. Plenty of food, basketball games, and children’s activities round out this all-day party in the park. Runs from 10 am to 9 pm at Powderhorn Park. visit www.economichumanrights.org for more info.
TAKE BACK LABOR DAY FESTIVAL
The Service Employees International Union want to help you kick-off the RNC with gusto as they throw a Labor Day Festival on September 1 to celebrate workers’ achievements. Visitors to Harriet Island on Labor Day between noon and 7 pm will find a You Tube station, a blogger lounge, a children’s area, an audience-participation art project and many other free events. Scheduled appearances include Sen. John Edwards plus an all-star lineup of musicians such as The Pharcyde, Mos Def, Atmosphere, Steve Earle, Allison Moorer and Tom Morello. Visit www.takebacklaborday.com for more info.
RADICAL NIGHTLIFE AT THE BEDLAM
September 1st – 4th
The Bedlam Theatre keeps things radical during the RNC with their nightly gatherings for music, food and political activist mingling. Prince Myshkins and guests WYXY will appear every night at 7 pm during the convention, following a dinner and community building session at 5:30 pm. The Nonsense Company, Di Nigunim, Bryan Bevell and "The Fever" and Dreamland Faces will also appear during the four-day long festivities. For more information, visit www.bedlamtheater.org.
RIPPLE EFFECT 2008
On September 2 at 12:30 pm, thousands will descend on the Capitol for Ripple Effect, a daylong festival celebrating and uniting a few in the forefront of progressive action. Featuring training, workshops, music, art and other activities to bring awareness to social and environmental change, Ripple Effect will go beyond convention and partisanship to unite people of all kinds in an effort to create a better world. Featuring the music of Michael Franti, Dead Prez, Anti-Flag, Wookiefoot, Matisyahu, I Self Divine, Indigo and more, plus special guest speaker Winona LaDuke. The festival takes place on the Capitol lawn and will last until 7 pm. For more information, visit www.livewithsubstance.org/rippleeffect.
END OF AN ERA POST-RNC PROTEST PARTY
What better way to blow off steam after the September 2 protest at the State Capitol than a night of music at the Cabooze? Doors open at 8:30 pm for the 18+ event, hosted by Yoni. Pleasure Pause, Black Blondie and New Rebelution will perform, along with many more special guests. For more information, visit www.cabooze.com.
RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE
Fresh off a wild stint at the DNC, Rage Against the Machine bring their fist-pumping protest rock to the Target Center. Doing what they do best, this long-time group of rock n’ roll activists will inspire and rile up the masses with their politically tinged, angry (but thought-provoking) music just in time for the close of the RNC. At the 2000 Democratic National Convention, the aftermath of a Rage show incited a police riot – so wear your mace goggles and nutcup just to be on the safe side. Visit www.rageagainstthemachine.com for more info.
PEACE ISLAND PICNIC
After four days of the convention and all that comes with it, everyone could use a break and a little fun in the sun. So head over to Harriet Island on September 4 from 1 pm to 8 pm for the Peace Island Picnic, a celebration of freedom and peace. Part of The UnConvention projects, the picnic will feature music all day, kite-making and flying, a sunset drum jam and an attempt to break the human peace sign world record. Everything is free for the event, so bring the family along. All the events will be held on Harriet Island just outside of downtown St. Paul. For more information, visit www.theunconvention.com.
SECTION 3: EXPERIENCE THE ARTS
POSITION AND IMPOSITION: MCAD FACULTY RESPONDS TO POLITICS
Ongoing through September 24th
The Minneapolis College of Art and Design’s annual faculty exhibition takes on a timely message in this election year as they present Position and Imposition: MCAD Faculty Responds to Politics, beginning August 22 in MCAD’s main gallery. The work will demonstrate how artists feel the need to let their vision be seen and how their works can affect the most controversial issues of the day. There will be an opening reception on September 5 from 6 – 8 pm. The exhibit runs until September 24. For more information, visit www.mcad.edu.
FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY
Ongoing through September 2nd
Minneapolis College of Art and Design students find their voice with Freedom to Assembly, a new creative collaboration organized by the school’s Student Advisory Council. Combing studio work and gallery work, the students will develop their sense of political identities, both individually and as a community. The event will be held in MCAD’s Gallery 148 from August 22 to September 7. There will be an opening reception on September 5 from 6 – 8 pm. The Minneapolis College of Art and Design is located at 2501 Stevens Avenue in Minneapolis. For more information, visit www.mcad.edu.
HINDSIGHT IS ALWAYS 20/20
Ongoing through January 4th
Open your eyes to a new view of State of the Union addresses with R. Luke DuBois’ Hindsight is Always 20/20, a new exhibit at the Weisman designed to channel into today’s politically-charged climate. Forty-three prints sort the State of the Union addresses of each president in order of word frequency, giving viewers a new vision of what the government means to its people. The exhibit opens August 23 to coincide with the arrival of the RNC in Minnesota and runs through January 4. For more information, visit www.weisman.umn.edu.
WHAT DO YOU SAY, AMERICA?
Ongoing through January 4th
There’s nothing like good ol’ fashioned American wartime propaganda, and visitors to the Weisman Art Museum can get their fill when What do YOU say, AMERICA? begins on August 23. Featuring government-issued posters from the two World Wars and taken from the Weisman collection, the exhibit will invite viewers to reflect on how the government informed its people in times of war and how those tactics correlate to the world we live in now. Created to complement Hindsight is Always 20/20 (see listing above), the exhibit runs through January 4. For more information, visit www.weisman.umn.edu.
HAIL TO THE CHIEF: IMAGES OF THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY
Ongoing through September 21st
Want some hint of how we got where we are? The Minneapolis Institute of Arts’ free, non-partisan exhibit Hail to the Chief: Images of the American Presidency displays over 70 objects focusing on our presidential past, from paintings and sculptures to photographs and hand-written correspondences. Designed to coincide with the RNC, the gallery features works from the MIA’s permanent collection as well as a private collection that focuses on presidential themes. The exhibit, which opened August 2nd, runs through Sunday, September 21 in Gallery
263. Visit www.artsmia.org for more information.
PARTY PARTY IN A TWEETY LAND
Ongoing through October 4th
Pop singles of years past are used as a springboard to study our culture’s complex relationship with the real world. The glitz of celebrity living is compared to the seriousness of real living in Party Party in a Tweety Land b/w This Republic of Suffering, an exhibition opening at the Form + Content Gallery on August 28. Part of The UnConvention projects, the exhibit is co-curated by Colleen Sheehy and Camille J. Gage. Featuring contributions from eight other artists, the exhibit examines the tensions between what we obsess over and what we’ve lost. For more information, visit www.formandcontent.org.
THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WAR HERO; OR IS MCCAIN ABLE?
Ongoing through November 8th
As the RNC rolls into town, the folks over at Brave New Workshop are determined to show the world that political satire is alive and well. Brave New Workshop stalwarts will return to the stage to mercilessly satirize the politicians, election process and voting habits that infect the entire country every four years. The production runs through November 8th at the Brave New Workshop on Hennepin Avenue South in Uptown Minneapolis. For more information, visit www.bravenewworkshop.com.
POSTER OFFENSIVE 4
August 29th – September 15th
The Poster Offensive is pleased to present its 4th annual show of politically themed screen print art. This year, Poster Offensive has teamed up with Minnesota organization Provention – a group of Minnesota artists offering a heartfelt and sincerely peaceful welcome to the GOP Conventioneers as they arrive in our town. The Poster Offensive is a non-partisan poster show dedicated to the promotion of peace and democracy. Reception August 29 at 5 pm. Runs through September 15. Visit www.blackdogstpaul.com for more info.
UNCONVENTIONAL WISDOM AND MILLIONS OF INNOCENT ACCIDENTS
August 29 – October 26
Two exhibits collide at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts when Unconventional Wisdom and MILLIONS OF INNOCENT ACCIDENTS open August 29. Presented by the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program, Ruthann Godollei and Mike Elko’s Unconventional Wisdom uses text to satirically off-balance familiar objects and images in advertising. Hardland/Heartland’s MILLIONS OF INNOCENT ACCIDENTS creates a narrative landscape influenced by popular culture and current events to present, "an ongoing saga of grandiose proportions." There will be an opening reception for both exhibits on August 28 at 7 pm. For more information, visit www.theunconvention.com or www.artsmia.org.
CIVICFEST: A VERY MINNESOTA CELEBRATION
August 29th – September 4th
Think you’d make a better president than McCain, Obama or anyone else? You can start your path to the Oval Office off right by getting your picture taken in a full-scale replica of the presidential hotspot during CivicFest: A Very Minnesota Celebration, which runs August 29 through September 4 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. A replica of the Oval Office is just one of more than 35 exciting exhibits that can be found there. Visitors will also find an actual presidential limousine, a scale model of the White House, historical memorabilia and much, much more! For more information on the exhibits and hours, visit www.civicfest.org.
SOLUTIONS VOLUME 3
Just before the RNC begins, celebrate free-thinking with some of the Twin Cities’ most cutting edge artists. Solutions Volume 3, hosted by Intermedia Arts, will be an informative and thrilling evening utilizing multiple forms of media to try and present solutions to today’s most pressing issues. Featuring live music, food and more, Solutions will give people everywhere a chance to express themselves and inspire action. Doors open at 7:30 pm for an 8:30 pm start. For more information, visit www.solutionstwincities.org.
ART ON WHEELS
August 31st – September 2nd
Art takes to the streets as part of The UnConvention projects with Minneapolis Art on Wheels. Created to give voice to communities in coordination with the RNC, MAW will project works of arts on the streets of the Twin Cities to explore the uses of public spaces for artists. For more information, visit www.theunconvention.com or www.minneapolisartonwheels.org.
BACKBONE, VALUE AND HAIRSTYLE
August 31st – September 2nd
An aluminum voting booth is the center of Andrea Steudel’s new piece, Backbone, Value and Hairstyle. Circuit-bent electronic keyboard hardware has been embedded into the booth, so that it now makes irregular sounds when the switches are pushed. These sounds highlight the absurd nature of the voting process. The booth will be on display in Peavey Plaza at the intersection of 11th Street and Nicollet Avenue from August 31 to September 2. For more information, visit www.theunconvention.com.
IMPACT FILM FESTIVAL
September 1st – September 4th
The most pressing social issues of today will take the spotlight at the Impact Film Festival, running from September 1-4. Coordinated to coincide with both the Democratic and the Republican National Conventions, the festival will showcase two to three documentaries and dramatic films each day, followed by thought-provoking panel discussions with filmmakers, lawmakers and other civic leaders. All film screenings will be held at the Landmark Center, located at 75 West 5th Street, across from the Excel Center in St. Paul. The festival will culminate with a reception that celebrates the contributions film can give to societal issues. For more information, visit www.impactfilmfestival.org.
KULTURE KLUB ART SHANTIES
September 1st – 2nd
Art Shanty Projects and Kulture Klub Collaborative will team up on Peavey Plaza during the convention to bring together local artists and youth experiencing homelessness to get involved in a participatory democracy. Workshops and guerrilla cinema projections fill the plaza on September 1 and 2 to explore non-partisan forms of media and democratic expression. This shanty base-camp will be erected as part of The UnConvention. For more information, visit www.theunconvention.com.
MINNEATURES BY PLASTICGOD
September 1st – October 26th
Los Angeles based artist Plasticgod has been dubbed "The 21st Century Warhol." His popular "Heads" collection is his personal twist on celebrity caricatures, the collection is comprised of over 700 pop and political icons. A selection of these works will be exhibited in Minneatures. Lego figurines inspire the style of these quirky figure paintings, a pop culture icon in its own right. This solo show will be Plasticgod’s first exhibition in Minneapolis. On exhibit at SooVAC / Toomer Gallery, located on 27th & Lyndale in Minneapolis from September 1-October 26. Visit www.soovac.org for more info.
AMERICANS WHO TELL THE TRUTH
September 1st – September 30th
The Traffic Zone art gallery will premiere a new exhibit by painter Rob Shetterly just in time for the RNC – Americans Who Tell the Truth. Featuring images of influential Americans, including Minnesotans Paul Wellstone and Colleen Rowley, Shetterly’s works combine the words and images of those who have lashed out against their oppressors. The exhibit opens September 1 and runs through September 30. There will be an opening reception on September 18 from 6:30 – 9 pm; Shetterly will be present for a discussion and book signing. The Traffic Zone gallery is located at 250 Third Avenue North in Minneapolis. For more i
nformation, visit www.trafficzoneart.com.
September 1st – 4th
The Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association and The UnConvention will present Translating Politics, a group exhibition at the Northrup King Building in Northeast Minneapolis. Thirteen local artists use paintings, photography, sculptures, mixed media and video to offer up different perspectives on global politics in a time when it has never been more discussed. The exhibit runs September 1- 4 in the third floor gallery of the NKB building. It will be open from 1 – 9 pm each day with receptions planned every night. Local and national elected officials have been invited to attend. The NKB Building is located at 1500 Jackson Street Northeast. For more information, visit www.nemaa.org.
Bonus: The best day to see this show is Thursday, September 4 when dozens and dozens of artists in Northrup King will open their studio doors to the public as part of the monthly "First Thursdays in the Arts District" event.
DRILLING FOR FREEDOM PRESENTS: OUR 44TH WHITE DUDE
September 1st – 2nd
John McCain, the RNC and everything Republican will be celebrated at the Bryant Lake Bowl theater when conservative fanatic sketch comedians Drilling For Freedom take the stage. The alter-egos of three writers for 23/6 and Huffingtonpost.com, Drilling For Freedom will screen exclusive protest footage and interview people who may not love the Republican party as much as their interviewers. The performances will take place September 1 and 2. Doors open at 7 pm for the 8 pm show. Tickets are $10. For more information, visit www.bryantlakebowl.com.
YOU DON’T KNOW ME: A CITIZENS GUIDE TO REPUBLICAN FAMILY VALUES
For every liberal who’s wondered what exactly makes those Republicans tick, this is the book for you. Political commentator Win McCormack’s new book You Don’t Know Me: A Citizens Guide to Republican Family Values explores over 100 of the most devious and dirty cases of sexual tomfoolery that has plagued conservative "family men" over time. Researched using court records and other documents and featuring appearances by ever-popular disgraced Republicans like Larry Craig, You Don’t Know Me explores such family-friendly topics as bestiality, pedophilia, incest, autoerotic asphyxiation and more, to examine the inner workings of our political system and put it into context. Win McCormack will be appearing at Magers & Quinn Booksellers on September 1 at 6 pm to help kick-off the Republican National Convention. For more information, visit www.magersandquinn.com.
CHAMBERS’ ART OVERFLOW
Sidewalk chalk art will literally wrap-around the corner of 9th and Hennepin in downtown Minneapolis as Chambers, the award-winning luxury art hotel, literally overflows with art. Artists from Juxtaposition Arts will use chalk and watercolors to transform the sidewalks around the hotel. Juxtaposition Arts student, Cateisha Pierson, will create the piece themed around a “celebration of Minnesota” with assistance from other members of the youth-focused visual arts organization. In addition to the street art, the hotel’s Burnet Art gallery is showcasing politically inspired art in its latest exhibition, Important if True (Hootenanny in E). Artists will create work from 6:30 am until 10:30 am. Visit www.chambersminneapolis.com
Ever wondered what exactly goes on behind the closed doors of the political fundraising world? Playwright and author Susan Johnston teams up with former Republican fundraiser Nicole Sexton to present Party Favors, the rise and fall of Temple Sachet, the Big Money Babe of the Republican Senate. Susan Johnston will discuss her novel and life as a playwright, journalist and author on September 2 at 6 pm. The discussion will be held at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis and RVSP is required. For more information, visit www.pwcenter.org
September 2nd – 21st
The Sabes Jewish Community Center opens its 2008-2009 theatrical season with Wellstone! a new play that covers the career of the man with the green bus. Playwright Mark Rosenwinkel takes on the lead role of Paul Wellstone, who tragically died in a 2002 plane crash, just weeks before the election for his third term in the U.S. Senate. The study of a man with a set of values that often conflicted with his position, Wellstone! opens September 2nd and runs through the 21. All performances will be held at the Sabes Jewish Community Center in St. Louis Park. Tickets are $18 for members, $20 for non-members and $16 for students and senior citizens. For more information, visit www.sabesjcc.org.
For more hot tips on activities surrounding the RNC, check out "Art is Patriotic: A Look at Art and
Politics as the Twin Cities Prepare to Host the Republican National
Convention," a one-hour radio documentary you can listen to online HERE courtesy of our friends at KFAI!