Tiny Twin Cities choir at Tiny Desk
The Twin Cities all-male choral ensemble Cantus got a big national-awareness bump Monday as featured performers in the music office at National Public Radio’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. The so-called “Tiny Desk” concert series — meant to be consumed as workday breaks on PCs and mobile devices — spotlights musical guests who have come there for interviews and studio recordings. The popular series has hosted a wide variety of musicians ranging from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis to Hilary Hahn. Cantus, which will be on “A Prairie Home Companion” Saturday, sang a 15-minute set of “Wanting Memories,” “Zikr” and “Ave Maria.” - Kristin Tillotson
Lucinda Williams went all the way from Nashville to Los Angeles to her husband’s native Twin Cities to gloat about her tumultuous experiences in Nashville. Playing her third of five semi-acoustic shows at the Dakota on Monday, the L.A.-based songwriting heroine opened with “Passionate Kisses” and the story of Mary Chapin Carpenter fighting Nashville label executives to release her cover of the Lucinda classic. “They said it wasn’t country enough,” Williams recounted, “and, of course, it went on to win a Grammy — for best country song!” A similar fight came up when Patty Loveless covered “Something About What Happens When We Talk,” which wound up being a tender highlight of Monday’s set. Best of all, Williams unveiled an up-tempo but downtrodden new song, “Bitter Memory,” which she boasted would soon be sung by Connie Britton on her new hit ABC TV series. Yep, the one called “Nashville.” Said Williams, “Not that somebody in Nashville is to thank. [L.A. producer] T Bone Burnett is the one who got me to do it.” - Chris Riemenschneider
Kid ’n’ play
First Twitter, now baby sitting. In the race to be the most accommodating live-entertainment venue in town, the Guthrie will offer cheapo child care to culture-starved parents who just want to get out of the house and attend a matinee of something besides “Sesame Street Live!” for once, please. Licensed YMCA day-care providers will watch kiddies — ages 4 to 14 (good luck getting those teens to cooperate) — for just $10 extra during 10 select matinees between March 16 and Aug. 24. A three-play package including child care is available now for $100 (612-225-6238); single tickets go on sale Friday (612-377-2224). - Kristin Tillotson
A Valentine’s quickie
In 20 seconds, you can say a lot: You can recite a haiku. Or a rhymed couplet. Or a limerick. Or, if you talkreallyfastlikethis, maybe an entire sonnet. On Valentine’s Day, you’ll get your chance to show off. Rain Taxi Review of Books is sponsoring an open mic for any and all writers of love poems. Everyone gets 20 seconds to read. Twenty seconds! What have you got to lose? Paper and pencils will be on hand for those who wait for last-minute inspiration. Cash bar will be on hand, too, for those who require liquid courage. The event, called “Social/Brief: The Love Version,” will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Cargill Lounge of Walker Art Center. Featured readers include Lynette Reini-Grandell, Venus DeMars, William Waltz (who just won a big poetry prize — but don’t be intimidated!) and James Lenfestey, but the nine poets together will take up only about three minutes of the hour, leaving lots and lots of time for you. Well, technically, leaving 20 seconds for you. But lots of time for everyone. - Laurie Hertzel
How soon is never?
Not that Morrissey is one to wallow in his own misery (as if!), but the Smiths singer sure is trying Twin Cities fans’ patience with his multiple excuses for staying off the road. Of course, the first postponement of his Orpheum Theatre show back in October so he could be with his ailing mother was not just excusable, it was noble. Then the initial word on the second Orpheum postponement in January was that half his crew was suffering from the flu. That has since changed to reports that Morrissey himself is battling a bleeding ulcer, which has forced him to miss even more shows. While fans are still waiting to hear of a makeup date, Moz’s long-estranged ex-bandmate Johnny Marr (the Smiths’ guitarist) has booked an April 23 gig at the Varsity Theater on his first-ever U.S. solo tour. That’ll show him! Marr, by the way, has a local connection that may or may not be a good one: His daughter Sonny dates Minneapolis rocker Jordan Gatesmith of Howler. - Chris Riemenschneider
Up close with SPCO
A concert and fundraiser by and for the locked-out musicians of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra will take place at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the University Club (420 Summit Av., St. Paul), featuring a 40-minute music set. Participating musicians include Daria Adams, Christopher Brown, Steven Copes, Kathryn Greenbank, Joshua Koestenbaum, Sarah Lewis, Alicia McQuerrey, Brenda Manuel Michens and Carole Mason Smith. A $50 donation is suggested. Please RSVP at email@example.com. - Kristin Tillotson
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