It will be a fuller week than you can imagine. There is a lot going on, but you don’t have to just imagine all of it. You can see it with your own eyes and hear it with your own ears. TWISP is your first step. Also, don’t forget the Almanac arts and culture calendar. Take a moment to see where you will show up this week.
The Mic and the Word
Last Wednesday’s Lowertown Reading Jam was great. We have to wait a month for the next Jam, Eva Song Margolis’s “ReMix the Struggle.” In the meantime, There are a lot of live mics to keep the artistic juices flowing.
Today, Monday, March 2 is the monthly Soap Boxing Poetry Slam. This Slam happens on the first Monday of each month. The Soap Boxing Poetry Slam is one of the strong hubs for the local spoken word community, honing the performances of award-winning poets. Check out the show at the CAMP Bar, with doors opening at 7 p.m. and the show beginning at 8 p.m. The CAMP Bar is at 490 North Robert Street in Downtown.
I have no sense of humor. I don’t know funny from nothin’, but maybe you have not been so stricken and can use or generate a laugh. On Tuesday, March 3, check out Golden Deli’s Comedy Open Mic. I cannot promise you that you will laugh, because, as I said, I don’t know funny from nothin’. Go and tell me on Wednesday. I will at least smile.
We can’t get enough spoken word, and TruArtSpeaks knows that well. As they do every Thursday, they continue a tradition of open mic, education and feedback, artist development, and world-changing ideas at Golden Thyme Coffee Shop with Re-Verb Open Mic!. New generations of artists continue to be developed by this nervous system of a powerful narrative-changing movement. This well of words will never run dry. This week’s theme is “Words for Womyn.” It’s an open mic, so share what’s in your heart and on your mind. Golden Thyme is at 921 Selby Avenue (at Milton). They start workshopping at 5 p.m. and preaching at 6 p.m.
Also on Thursday, March 5, Quan Barry will be at SubText Bookstore reading from her new book She Weeps Each Time You’re Born. Quan Barry is a Saigon-born writer whose work has been recognized by the NEA and the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP). Barry’s debut fiction is a personal tale of post-war Vietnam that completes the narrative of a conflict that changed two continents. Her novel is being held as one to be included in the lexicon of stories that brings important perspective to the war that altered the American psyche and defined a generation of realities in two hemispheres. The reading will begin at 7 p.m. SubText is at 165 Western Avenue, at Selby, below Nina’s Coffee Shop.
The spoken word open mic night continues with the Vibin’ Collective. Come hear and tell at this showcase for poets, spoken-word artist, singers, hip-hop artists, acoustic performers, a capella performances, comedians, actors, monologuists, dancers, designers, activists, and whatever you’ve got! Know that hip-hop artists need to connect before the night of the show. No violent words or haters on stage. This is a gathering that has been resurrected for these challenging days and changing world. You will like it. They also meet every Thursday. The place is the 7th Street Tavern, 2401 West 7th Street. Sign up at 9 p.m. Happy hour starts at 9:30. The creativity flies at 10:15.
We have touted First Tuesdays with Dean Magraw and Davu Seru at the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar. Time to remind you of it again. It is that first Tuesday, and one of the best and most versatile guitarists in the Twin Cities will join one of the most dynamic improvisational jazz percussionist (and literary scholars) in town for their monthly gig. That’s Dean with the strings and Davu on the skins. Some say that democracy is at the center of the American experiment. I think it is music, especially jazz. Join these two alchemists on Tuesday, March 3, at 7 p.m. The Black Dog is at 308 East Prince Street in Lowertown.
On Thursday, March 5, the sounds of Lowertown get even more interesting when Studio Z hosts its next Lowertown Listening Sessions as Zeitgeist presents a performance and informal discussion of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Stimmung. In this piece, the German composer challenges both listeners and performers to contemplate and truly understand what it means to be “in tune,” with the notes, with one’s self, with other performers, and with one’s environment and and the people in it. Hear sounds that are described as “adventurous” and have conversations with people who are willing to explore. A social hour starts at 5:30 p.m. with music starting at 6 p.m. Studio Z is at 275 East 4th Street, Suite 200.
Friday, March 6, is a milestone with Lowertown Classics #10 – Special Edition. Yes, it is the 10th Lowertown Classic and features Venezuelan cellist Tulio Rondón playing a suite by Bach; the world’s only oboe/bass duo, Duo OboeBass, back by popular demand, with Carrie Vecchione on oboe, and Rolf Erdahl on bass; and Choro Borealis, a trio of Robert Everest on seven-string guitar and cavaquinho, Pat O’Keefe on B-flat clarinet, bass clarinet, and percussion, and Tim O’Keefe on mandolin, cavaquinho, and percussion. The trio will performing Choro music from Brazil. If you don’t know Lowertown Classics, it is a rare and generous opportunity to see some of the best classical musicians in a very informal and intimate space. It is mostly classical and a little bit of the jazz and new music that make music what it is.
You can see them all, plus host and curator Eva Beneke. Lowertown Classics is at the Lowertown Lofts Artist Cooperative, 255 East Kellogg Boulevard. (Enter on the well-lit, friendly alley side off of Wall Street.) The music and socializing start at 8 p.m.
On Saturday, March 7, The Lyra Baroque Orchestra performs Esther: A Handel Oratorio at Sundin Hall at Hamline University. Handel’s work renders the Biblical story of Esther and is finely executed by the Lyra Baroque ensemble’s sounds of oboes, flutes, horns, and trumpets in this concert that celebrates Lyra’s magnificent wind players. Soprano Linh Kauffman will join the orchestra in the role of Esther and will be backed by a chamber choir assembled specifically for this performance. Hamline University is at 1536 Hewitt Avenue, just off north Snelling Avenue. The concert starts at 8 p.m. and will be preceded by a talk, “The Book of Esther: Why It’s So Much Fun!” given by Dr. Diane Jacobson, professor emeritus of the Old Testament at Luther Seminary at 7 p.m.
Switch gears later on Saturday with the CD release party for Ashley DuBose with Maria Isa, Proper-T, Sankophoenix and Vie Boheme. Ashley DuBose is one of Saint Paul’s own who has made her mark from here to the television show The Voice. Be You is the second album from this artist who has been described by The Current’s Andrea Swenson as someone with a “voice reminiscent of modern-day pop singers like Rihanna and Emeli Sandé… (a) powerhouse singer and burgeoning songwriter, Ashley DuBose immediately stands out to me as someone who deserves a closer look.” Get up close at Bedlam Theatre and see for yourself. Doors open at 9 p.m. The show is at 10 p.m. Bedlam Theatre is at 213 East 4th Street at the end of the Green Line.
We go from Handel back to Bach—and Mendelssohn and Beethoven—on Sunday, March 8. Macalester College hosts the Chopin Society’s guest, Argentine pianist Nelson Goerner. Goerner’s reputation has led him to play with a long list of prominent orchestras and conductors and has a discography to match. He has received honors including a 2013 French Diapason d’Or for his recordings of Debussy. He brings his rich and poetic tones this night to Bach’s Partita No. 6; Mendelssohn’s Fantasy, Op. 28; and Beethoven’s Sonata No. 29 in B-flat, Op. 106 (“Hammerklavier”). The concert begins at 3 p.m. in the Mairs Concert Hall, Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center. Macalester College is at 1600 Grand Avenue.
There is a lot of other amazing music in this week’s Almanac arts calendar. You can’t be disappointed.
It’s not even summer, and we are getting a taste of Shakespeare from Park Square Theatre. The classic story of Romeo and Juliet gets another tale spinning with a production that shows the timelessness of this classic. With a slightly time-bending setting, we get to see the joy and tragedy of young love. Will it end the same? Check show times and dates here to see for yourself. This short run ends on March 8, so don’t delay. The production is on their Boss Stage. (Enter the Hamm Building at 408 St. Peter Street and take elevators to the lower level.)
O’Shaughnessy’s A Women of Substance series brings Jasmine Guy and the Avery Sharpe Trio to the stage on Friday, March 6, in Raisin’ Cane: A Harlem Renaissance Odyssey. As the Harlem Renaissance dawned, men and women of letters such as Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Zora Neale Hurston, and W.E.B. Du Bois painted the backdrop of an emerging American aesthetic that ushered in some of the most powerful art, music, and literature known in this country. Raisin’ Cane is inspired by the music and literature of the period, including the book Cane by Jean Toomer. This production is an homage to that high time in history and place. You can see it at 7:30 p.m. on the 6th. The O’Shaughnessy Auditorium is on the campus of St. Catherine’s University, 2004 Randolph Avenue.
The Minnesota Opera brings The Manchurian Candidate to the stage of the Ordway Center, beginning Saturday, March 7. This is a world-premier opera of this famous tale. A Korean War veteran, decorated for his service, is brainwashed into becoming an unwitting assassin in a conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. government. Drama, romance, conspiracy. What else do you need except the drama of song? It’s here. There are two shows this week: Saturday, March 7, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 8, at 2 p.m. Check here for other dates and show times. The Ordway is at 345 Washington Street in Downtown.
Our city is filled with icons. You can see a lot of them and learn about the work they have done in the pages of any edition of the Saint Paul Almanac. You can see one of them on Wednesday, March 4, when many of our neighbors will gather for a benefit for Grace Lee Boggs, who for seven-decades has worked for justice for women and people of color. She is an author and activist whose most recent book is The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century, co-written by Scott Kurashige. The Penumbra Theatre is the place for this event, which is a benefit to help this 99-year-old giant during hospice care. Honoring an American Revolutionary: A Celebration and Fundraiser for Grace Lee Boggs is a benefit but also a gathering place to facilitate discussion on challenges facing us today and will feature performances by Almanac Lowertown Reading Jam alum Sha Cage + Million Artist Movement, the curator of the next Lowertown Reading Jam Eva Song Margolis, and Tom LeBlanc. This celebration of life begins at 6 p.m. Penumbra is at 270 Kent Street.
There are a lot of other artists who need your support, so go out and support them. Check out some of these events, but there are many more all over town. Be sure to check out Lowertown First Fridays and don’t forget the rest of the Almanac arts and culture calendar. There is something waiting for you. See you on the town and have a great week!