Our five faves of the moment: Brave New Workshop, Jim Hodges, 'Omar,' 'Prints,' Band of Horses live

  • Updated: February 22, 2014 - 2:00 PM

Taj Ruler and Tom Reed in “A Snowplow Named Desire” at Brave New Workshop.

1 Not only has the Brave New Workshop coined one of its most clever titles for its latest comedy revue, but the 283rd show also is one of the sketch comedy troupe’s funniest. In “A Snowplow Named Desire,” the seven-member ensemble plows the old terrain of romance with sidesplitting gusto. They sing a lot. They prance. They do a penguin-like two-step. In all of it, they keep us laughing at the foibles and faux pas around love, relationships and sex, proving that “Saturday Night Live” has nothing on the Brave New Workshop. bravenewworkshop.com.

3 A trove of visual stimulation, “Give More Than You Take” — a Walker Art Center retrospective of the work of New York artist Jim Hodges — begins with a ribbon of artificial flowers tumbling from the ceiling and a wall strewn with flower petals. There are intimate drawings of the full moon, chain-link spider webs, glass bells, shattered mirrors, mosaics of black glass and mirrored tesserare. There are camouflage patterns everywhere, wanted posters without faces, a glass-crystal skull and musical scores sliced into poetry. In short, this exhibit is an enticing antidote to a particularly irksome winter. walkerart.org

2 A riveting blend of thriller and romance elements, “Omar” grabs you from the very first image. A fit, energetic young man climbs a knotted rope to the top of Israel’s 25-foot separation wall, the concrete curtain isolating West Bank Palestinians from Israelis. You watch stomach knotted, gripped by fear that he’ll plummet to the roadway below. The rest of the film — nominated for the best foreign language Oscar — details Omar’s actual fall, as the cycle of Mideast violence costs this would-be freedom fighter his freedom, illusions and ideals. At the Edina Theater

5 Twin Cities actor John Middleton turns playwright with “Prints,” exercising his droll wit in a play that grinds truth and fiction into a pulpy noir that knocks off “The Front Page.” Middleton uses the notorious 1933 kidnapping of brewing magnate William Hamm to spin a tale full of smart-aleck reporters, corrupt cops, ditzy molls and venal crooks. He and Mo Perry star in Torch Theater’s production, at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage through March 8. This spoof is not history — or art — but it is mostly a hoot. Torchtheater.com.

4 Rock acts doing “unplugged” albums seems so 1993, but Band of Horses’ new live set “Acoustic at the Ryman” proves unplugged is still a great way to test a band’s songwriting worth. Frontman Ben Bridwell strips away his beloved South Carolina indie-rock troupe’s bleeding guitar work to get to the tender heart of such tunes as “Marry Song” and “Older.” The choice of Nashville’s hallowed auditorium as the recording site seems perfect, since the raw versions sound solid enough to pass for epic country songs.







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