When P.O.S. went M.I.A.
Talk about tearing it up on stage. P.O.S. delivered a full-tilt performance last Friday to kick off Doomtree's three-night Blowout VIII marathon at First Avenue, but instead of returning to the stage Saturday, he had to head to a hospital around showtime, suffering from dizziness and vomiting. "I might have overdone it Friday, but I can't say for sure," e-mailed the rapper, aka Stef Alexander, who is still on track for a kidney transplant next month. Doctors suspect one of his kidney medications might have been the culprit. That left the rest of Doomtree's members to perform without their biggest star -- when they were already sort of winging it with their first-ever live band (which included members of Marijuana Deathsquads and Dessa's backing group). Sunday's show went off without a hitch, though, with P.O.S.' parts in such songs as "Bangarang" handled by Ander Other, who was supposed to DJ and back up the canceled P.O.S. fall tour. "Say hi to Stef," Dessa urged the crowd as she held up her camera at the end of the show for the start of "Get Down," a song P.O.S. debuted at last year's Blowout. It has become so ingrained since then, the entire audience filled in this time.
CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDERCrowd-sourcing a kiss
Ballet of the Dolls has been filling the Ritz Theater in northeast Minneapolis for its adults-only "Sinderella," which really is more burlesque-esque than raunchy. The only male role (leaving out Grant Whittaker, who is one of the evil stepsisters), is played by gay aerobics king Doug Melroe. On opening night, with a house overflowing with Melroe's workout disciples, his character is called on to dance with and eventually kiss Cinderella (Lisa Conlin). At which point a loud chorus of theatergoers shouted in unison, "Don't do it!" Melroe maintained his debonair air, but it must have seemed to Sindy like one more indignity.
CLAUDE PECKLittle talk
Before they played their last show of 2012 and headed back to Iceland, hard-touring Of Monsters and Men entertained 250 invited Cities 97 listeners at the New Century Theatre in Minneapolis on Wednesday afternoon. What was with the dour faces on the six musicians? Was it the Up North cabin setting? (The play "A Don't Hug Me Christmas Carol" is being staged in the theater.) The lunchtime gig between nighttime shows at sold-out First Avenue? Or is there something about Icelandic musicians? Nonetheless, the four acoustic, accordion-driven folk-pop tunes with mystical English lyrics were pretty fantastic. In an interview after the performance taped for later broadcast, Cities DJs Brian Oake and Keri Noble managed to find the funny bone in Of Monsters and Men. Oake asked about a bottle of booze called Black Death that his father brought him from Iceland: "Is it popular?" "It's popular among tourists," deadpanned co-lead singer Raggi. The burly, bearded singer also played the role of tourist himself, talking about making frightened faces while on a ride at Mall of America last time through town. "It was just for the video camera," he joked. What Oake didn't ask: Why didn't Of Monsters and Men sing their smash hit "Little Talks" at the private gig?
JON BREAMMusical mouthpiece
Though he's not a member of the Minnesota Orchestra musicians' labor negotiating committee, violist Sam Bergman is the guy they bring out to rally the faithful. Last Saturday night, Bergman emceed a concert at Ted Mann Concert Hall that included guest appearances by former concertmaster Jorja Fleezanis and onetime music director Edo de Waart. Post-intermission, Bergman assured the audience that "no one places a greater value on the orchestra's long-term financial viability than musicians." He noted the orchestra's recent Grammy nomination, then told a lengthy story about the plot of "The Music Man" that equated that film's con man with orchestra management. In a defiant rhetorical finale that could have been marked "vivace," Bergman asserted that musicians "will struggle and sacrifice for one day longer than management" in the continuing dispute that has resulted in a lockout and 10 weeks of canceled concerts thus far.
CLAUDE PECKFrench connection
If you need another reason to go to Paris, head for that city's Centre Pompidou and look for "Made in America" tags. In a bid to expand its American art collection, the Pompidou -- known for its contemporary programs and spectacular views of central Paris -- has hired Sylvia Chivaratanond as an adjunct curator charged with acquiring American art. Her very international résumé includes work at London's Tate Gallery and an early stint in Walker Art Center's curatorial department, where she met and later married then-chief-curator Philippe Vergne. The French-born Vergne now heads the Dia Art Foundation in New York, where the couple will continue to live.
MARY ABBEJerome for the holidays
The Jerome Foundation has awarded 10 grants to Minnesota arts organizations, the largest going to Northern Lights.MN and the Loft Literary Center. In all, the St. Paul foundation announced 24 grants totaling more than $790,000, with the rest going to New York groups. Northern Lights.MN, which mixes various disciplines and technology to create art in public spaces, got $130,000 for Art(ists) on theVerge, a fellowship program for emerging talents. The Loft received $104,000 for its Mentor Series, which connects acclaimed authors with promising Minnesota writers for intensive study. Other Minnesota groups receiving grants between $68,000 and $9,000 were Forecast Public Art, the Givens Foundation for African American Literature, Pillsbury House + Theatre, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Playwrights' Center, Tofte Lake Center in Ely, Zenon Dance Company and Mu Performing Arts.