1 Rarely does a rock star explore his own psyche in depth like Kiss’ Paul Stanley does in the autobiography “Face the Music: A Life Exposed.” He was bullied as a kid (because he had only one outer ear) and ignored by his parents, who were busy dealing with his older sister who was in and out of psychiatric institutions. Stanley (real name Stanley Eisen) knew he had issues so he went on his own, at age 15, to see a shrink — who later became Kiss’ manager. Oy vey! The rocker also talks about how original Kiss members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss seemed anti-Semitic and how the rivalry between him and Gene Simmons plays out. You wanted the best? You get the mess — insecurities, makeup and all.
4 The Wendy Knox-directed, Frank Theatre production of “Threepenny Opera” is a thing of strange beauty, with heavenly voices and a look that suggests scenes from a nether dream. The classic Brecht/Weill musical tells a gangland story involving an ice-cold killer’s secret marriage to the daughter of the exploitative king of the beggars in Victorian England. The prodigiously gifted Bradley Greenwald, as Mack the Knife, leads a killer cast at the Southern Theater. franktheatre.org
3 In a clever new show at the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Amy Toscani has mined thrift-store trinkets for inspiration and body parts for Brobdingnagian sculptures, whose huge scale dwarfs viewers. Typically, she fuses doll heads (dog, princess, teddy bear) to gigantic torsos that turn the gallery into an Alice in Wonderland fantasy. Mountain retreats, bears in giant trees and monstrous plastic trinkets flesh out Toscani’s fun fair. artsmia.org
2 In “The Unknown Known,” Donald Rumsfeld, the only person to hold the position of U.S. secretary of defense twice, emerges as a ninja master of ego-flattering rationale. The film, by master documentarian Errol Morris, asks him to review his career with special emphasis on the Iraq war, and Rumsfeld’s performance is nothing less than dazzling. Morris is evenhanded, never demonizing his subject, but gives him enough rope to hang himself. Rumsfeld, cool and bemused, refuses to knot the noose. At St. Anthony Main
5 Americana ace Rodney Crowell has been on a roll this century. “Tarpaper Sky” is his seventh album worth owning since 2001. What distinguishes this diverse collection are the mid- and up-tempo tunes, buoyed by the stellar guitar of Steuart Smith. Moreover, there’s a resurgence of Louisiana flavoring, notably on the boogie “Frankie Please” and the saxophone-spiked roadhouse romp “Somebody’s Shadow.” There are poignant pieces, too, including the priceless old-time love song “I Wouldn’t Be Me Without You.”
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