As you read this, I may still be sleeping off our week at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs
(AWP) conference. Storymobile was a great hit. So many questions. So many ideas. So many writers, many of whom have their work in the Almanac, whose faces have graced the stages of our many writing series, and who love what we do for Saint Paul and writers. If I am asleep, it is not for a lack of new energy infused into the already strong Minnesota writers scene. In the meantime, I found a few things from the Almanac arts and culture calendar for which I will wake up.
Words and Letters
Kevin Moffett’s short nonfiction has been said to cover the territories trod by greats like Flannery O’Connor and Alice Munro, as the New York Times Kirk Walsh says, “deeply rooted in a sense of place.” You can inspect those literary chops on Tuesday, April 14, when Moffett comes to Hamline University to read from his two short fiction collections. The author of Permanent Visitors and Further Interpretations of Real-Life Events, he is an award-winning writer who teaches at Cal State University in San Bernardino. The reading begins at the Hamline’s Klas Center. The University is at 1536 Hewitt Avenue. The reading begins at 7 p.m.
Sometimes things get lost in translation, and sometimes things can be just plain Untranslatable. Translation can be hard work, and it can be an especially huge challenge with poetry. But it is poetry, and while the technical parts of recreating the tone, sound, and color might be difficult to re-create, the love and emotion of messages delivered by artists can redeem.
On Wednesday, April 15, SubText Books presents In recognition of Poetry Month, SubText presents: Wisława Szymborska’s posthumous collection ‘Map’ as read by 12 local poets at The University Club. Nobel Prize-winning Polish poet Wisława Szymborska passed away in 2012. On Wednesday, twelve poets will come together to celebrate her life and work reading from the collection Map. The readers include: Brit Aarnodt, Sharon Chmielarz, Jim Cihlar, Mary Moore Easter, Mike Finley, Douglas Green, Klecko, John Minczeski, Tim Nolan, Dara Syrkin, Cindy Tran, and Sue Zumberge. A Polish friend who loves her work that has been turned into great songs and says, “She was smart, witty, and she has unusual sense of humor. Some of her poems were turned into songs. I like her lyrics.” Maybe you will, too. Stop by the University Club at 420 Summit Avenue at 7 p.m.
On Friday, April 17, poet Katrina Vandenberg will be at the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library on the campus of the University of St. Thomas for Poetry Reading and Lecture: The Alphabet Not Unlike the World. Vandenberg teaches creative writing at Hamline University and writes poetry and fiction. Her latest book is a collection of poems named for letters of the Phoenician alphabet. It is a great collection from which she, in her performances, skillfully reads from her text but also shares through discussion additional narration, not so much to explain or deconstruct but because this curious practice with words and letters generates so much more discussion. You can be a part of that discussion. It begins at 7 p.m. St. Thomas is at 2115 Summit Avenue.
Saturday, April 18, is the date for the 27th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala! Union Depot is the sight where we will celebrate some of the best writers in our state, those being honored with nominations but also many others who will be in attendance and who will be in mind as we are reminded that we live in a literature-rich part of the world. It is a great literary gathering that shows how much we love literature. Union Depot is at 214 East 4th Street in Lowertown. The event begins at 7 p.m. The event is sponsored by The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, and books will be for sale on site from the Red Balloon Bookshop.
A Little Lunch
What are you doing for lunch this week? You might want to try Landmark Center for a couple of lunch hours. On Tuesday, April 14, the Saint Paul Ballet continues their new season of Ballet Tuesdays. The free exhibitions give a glimpse into the Spring Showcase and will invite audience participation. Saint Paul Ballet’s mission is to “perform a vibrant repertory with a passion for the highest level of excellence, provide the finest dance education and reduce barriers to involvement in the art of dance.” Tuesday’s lunch will be a great access point. Landmark Center is at 75 West 5th Street in Downtown. They begin at noon, and bring a lunch if you care to.
On Thursday, April 16, The Schubert Club presents this month’s Courtroom Concert featuring Music of Abbie Betinis with Zeitgeist. Betinis has written over sixty pieces which have been performed by the likes of Cantus, Dale Warland Singers, Flying Forms Baroque, James Sewell Ballet, New England Philharmonic, The Rose Ensemble, The Singers-MN Choral Artists, and the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus. She draws from a half millennium of music history from around the world to create sounds that employ playful rhythms and inventive melodies. She will be joined by Lowertown’s Zeitgeist. This concert is also at noon at Landmark.
You will be hungry on Friday, too. Check out more of the menu with the Baroque Room’s Lunchtime Concert Series: The Italian Seicento: Music & Poetry. This is a preview for Sunday’s concert at the Baroque Room where musicians Ginna Watson, Julie Elhard, and Donald Livingston join writer Patricia Hampl in a program that combines music and poetry in a tradition dating back to seventeenth-century Spain and Italy. This event also starts at noon. The Baroque Room is at 275 East 4th Street, Suite 280 in Lowertown.
Courtesy of the Schubert Club, on Wednesday, April 15, international violinist Hilary Hahn will be joined by pianist Cory Smythe in concert at the Ordway Center. Hahn is noted for her stage presence, her commitment to new music, and inspired commissions. She and Smythe are currently touring following the release of a recent album containing sixteen commissioned pieces. Hahn’s technical brilliance, stunning and energetic performance, and vast repertoire of work have propelled her stardom in the global concert hall. See Hahn and Smythe for new music with personality. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. The Ordway is at 345 Washington Street near Landmark Center.
On Thursday, April 16, Saint Paul is down to business. State of the City addresses are quite interesting to those of us whose brains are too curious about politics and policy. Others might want more to spice up their everyday State of the City. The politicians were listening, so before Mayor Chris Coleman’s address, there will be Saint Paul song to set the mood in the newly opened Concert Hall at the Ordway. They are calling it the Saint Paul Sampler, featuring a few of our city’s most prominent musical sounds, including trumpeter Solomon Parham, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Saint Paul “rap giants” Heiruspecs, singer/songwriter Jeremy Messersmith, hip-hop wordsmiths Dem Atlas, and genre-melding super songstress Chastity Brown. I am not sure if this would work for the President before the State of the Union, nor the Governor for the State of the State. Maybe afterwards to mollify the restless. Regardless, it is our treat. We’ll see if it makes policy easier to understand.
This week, we have Hilary Hahn bringing a bit of new music to town, but the new music community here in the Twin Cities is already very substantial. The American Composers Forum has been an important resource along with some important venues like Studio Z. On Friday, April 17, Weyerhaeuser Auditorium, Landmark Center will be the site for ACF Showcase 2015. The Showcase will feature works from the three winning composers, who answered the call for works written for piano and electronic instruments as well as two pieces written specifically for the competition’s co-sponsor Keith Kirchoff. The featured composers include Ashkan Behzadi: Cronistoria Plastic; Scott Miller: Every Problem is a Nail; Liviu Marinescu: Shadows; Joshua Clausen: Pidgin Cycles; and Ian Dicke: Get Rich Quick. Again, Landmark is at 75 West 5th Street in Downtown. The concert begins at 7 p.m.
Paddy O’Brien has been filling the air with Irish music for a long time, and it has also been quite a wait for the release of this latest sound recording of his work. The time has come and on Friday, April 17, the Celtic Junction hosts Paddy O’Brien, Nathan Gourley, and Dáithí Sproule for the CD release of Bright and Early. For this show, the familiar duo of O’Brien and Gourley will be accompanied by Sproule. O’Brien is one of his generation who has kept Irish music alive for future generations as well as the Irish diaspora. Taste his legend and this show that starts at 7:30 p.m. (doors at 7:00). Celtic Junction is at 836 Prior Avenue North.
On Saturday, April 18, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra moves from Downtown to Summit Avenue for Baroque Concerto Extravaganza with works from Vivaldi, Handel, Georg Matthias Monn, and Charles Avison. This concert is at Saint Paul’s United Church of Christ, 900 Summit Avenue at 8 p.m.
Sunday, April 19, brings the main course from Friday’s Baroque Lunchtime Series event. The Baroque Room presents The Italian Seicento: Music & Poetry – Ensemble Sprezzatura. The Ensemble Sprezzatura is Ginna Watson, viola da braccio; Julie Elhard, lirone; and Donald Livingston, arpa doppia. Again, they appear along with writer Patricia Hampl, who brings poetry to accompany the seventeenth-century-style collage of genre and media. The event begins at 3 p.m. The Baroque Room is at 275 East 4th Street, Suite 280.
Odds and Not The End
You can check out a not-your-grandma’s-opera at Bedlam Theatre over the next two weekends. Down Below, or the Womb of the Worlds: A Shadow Opera is a feature-length performance based on the life and work of Leonora Carrington, a British-born Mexican surrealist painter. This production incorporates shadow puppets, narration, and light projections to create a special sensory musical theater experience that leaves an impression. This week’s dates are Friday, April 17; Saturday, April 18; and Sunday, April 19. The production runs through April 26. All shows start at 8 p.m.
This show also includes opening and closing music featuring Paul Metzger, the owner and creator of the world’s coolest banjo opening on the 17th, Land closing on the 17th, and Circadia (Crystal Myslajek of Brute Heart and John Marks) opening on the 18th. Bedlam Theatre is at 213 East 4th Street at the end of the Green Line in Lowertown.
You can get more puppets for the whole family on Friday, April 17, and Saturday, April 18, at Dreamland Arts. Out of the Blue is a collection of seven puppetry shorts. They include:
The Law of Three written by Aaron Fiskradatz
A shadow and music piece inspired in equal parts by spaghetti westerns and the story songs of Johnny Cash.
Sorted written by Alan Pagel with Ted Hansen, Abbee Warmboe, and Laura Wilhlem
Alley-way trash talk at 7:55AM.
Blue Bird conceived by Jen Rand
Through harmonies and movement, a tree tells the story of a beloved friend.
Blue Puppetry Live! coached by Ted Hansen
Improvisational puppetry before your very eyes!
The Wreck of the S.S. Matilda written by Marc Berg
Deep, deep under the sea, the lost captain of a long-forgotten shipwreck awakens, his restless bones compelling him mysteriously onward.
The Gettin’ Ready Blues written by Laura Wilhelm, Ted Hansen, and Abbee Warmboe
Put your best furry foot forward. Can a monster bumble his way into love?
Parachutes written by Laura Wilhelm
Gifts drop from the sky. Each box a mystery, and the contents a surprise.
This is fifty minutes of fast fun. Whether you are a kid with a short attention span or an adult with a short attention span, or you just enjoy the rare craft of art created out of brevity, this is a show to catch. Friday’s showing is at 7 p.m. Saturday’s showings are at 3 and 7 p.m. These shows will also run next Friday and Saturday as well, at the same times. Dreamland Arts is at 677 North Hamline Avenue.
That’s not everything. “Everything” is in the Almanac arts and culture calendar. Get out and check the state and the pulse of the city. The art and weather call. Have a great week.