Minneapolis performance artist Scott Seekins has already switched to the trademark white suits he wears in summer. That will make him even more conspicuous at Saturday’s debut of “The New Eden” featuring his controversial “history” paintings at Douglas Flanders’ gallery in south Minneapolis. The 40-some pictures have already roused objections from American Indians upset by Seekins’ interpretation of the tragic 1862 confrontation between starving Lakota and Dakota Sioux and white settlers in the Minnesota River valley. In its aftermath, 38 Indians were hanged near Mankato, the largest mass execution in U.S. history. As he often does, Seekins inserts himself into that history, appearing variously as a gunslinger, a scalped corpse, surrendering to an Indian warrior. Seekins claims they’re all about “white imperialism,” but critics say they exploit American Indian history, especially those that mimic ledger paper drawings done by Indian prisoners of war. They’re “self-promotion of the worst kind,” Joe Horse Capture, a curator at the National Museum of the American Indian, told MPR News.
The Current favorite
You see: All those 89.3 the Current listeners aren’t too cool for school. The Twin Cities’ public modern-rock station wound down its 893 Essential Albums countdown at 7 p.m. Thursday after what felt like a monthlong reveal (it actually only lasted about as long as one of Mark Wheat’s favorite soccer matches: a week). Instead of Alt-J and Bon Iver dominating the list — voted on by the station’s listeners and online at TheCurrent.org — the top 20 hued pretty close to a tally you might see in Rolling Stone, with lots of Beatles records (“Abbey Road” at No. 3, “The White Album” No. 9) and landmark LPs like “Pet Sounds” (No. 15), “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust” (No. 8), “Dark Side of the Moon” (No. 5) and “London Calling” (No. 2). Three Minnesota acts made the top 20: The Replacements at No. 20 with “Let It Be,” Bob Dylan at No. 7 with “Blood on the Tracks” and Prince at No. 4 with “Purple Rain” (voting ended before his death). Two picks specifically point to the audience not being as overly hipster-y as people think: Radiohead’s accessible “OK Computer” came in at No. 6 over the art-farty “Kid A.” And the No. 1 entrant for the whole shebang was Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” a record that also might top out a 93-X voters poll. OK, now back to our regularly scheduled Alt-J.
When it rains …
Mixed Blood Theatre learned on May 6 that its 40th anniversary gala set for this Saturday at Paisley Park was being canceled. Lots of revenue was lost, lots of people were disappointed and the staff and board were devastated. Could it get any worse? Yes. Burglars broke into the West Bank theater and stole computers over the weekend. “There’s this little Pigpen cloud that’s hanging over everyone here right now,” artistic director Jack Reuler said on a soggy Monday afternoon. “I feel like people are probably blaming me for the rain.” Reminded that the rain would mean that the Twins couldn’t lose another game that night, Reuler laughed. “Hey, they’re going to go 20-2 in the next month, you watch.” He said the gala won’t be rescheduled; people were hoping to go to Paisley Park, and inviting them to a hotel ballroom for cold cuts and crackers would be bait-and-switch, he said. “We expect to be made whole by the estate,” Reuler said.
Gonna make it home tonight
Country music superstar Brad Paisley and bluegrass hero Del McCoury were both on the bill for Saturday’s broadcast of “Prairie Home Companion,” but the only artist to get a standing ovation from the crowd at Ryman Auditorium was the show’s longtime truck driver. Russ Ringsak, who has been hauling the show’s equipment for more than 30 years, was an unbilled performer in Nashville, performing “Six Days on the Road” with Paisley lending guitar licks. Ringsak, 80, prepared for the gig by purchasing a new set of cowboy boots. “I couldn’t go out on the Ryman stage in sandals,” he said in the legendary theater’s wings after his final rehearsal. “This is the mother church.” Ringsak has performed more than a half-dozen times on the show, but this was special, not only because of the venue. His drive home the next night was his last for the program. Host Garrison Keillor retires from the program in July.
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