1 “Rose,” the story of an 80-year-old Holocaust survivor, is enthralling, even though it is a minimalist work that is being performed in intimate homes throughout the Twin Cities area under the aegis of the Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company. The one-woman play seems to lack major action as the title character sits on a bench for the duration of the show. With words alone, some weary, all emotion-laden, the masterful Sally Wingert, one of the area’s finest actors, channels injustice and chaos, love and light. Her utterances alone move our very souls. mnjewishtheatre.org
2 One New Orleans musical visionary salutes another on Dr. John’s “Ske-Dat-De-Dat … The Spirit of Satch.” Working with an all-star cast, the singing piano man interprets 13 songs associated with Louis Armstrong. Of course, he’s aided by trumpeters (Terence Blanchard, Nicholas Payton, Arturo Sandoval) and singers (the Blind Boys of Alabama, Anthony Hamilton, Shemekia Copeland). “What a Wonderful World” is re-imagined as part spiritual, part swing. “Mack the Knife” is minimalist jazz meets hip-hop. And “I’ve Got the World on a String” is a sly duet with the good Doctor and Bonnie Raitt. Satchmo would be proud.
3 H.D.S. Greenway spent his journalism career in war zones and Third World countries. A veritable Forrest Gump, he was there at the fall of Saigon, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and the killing fields of Cambodia. In his new memoir, “Foreign Correspondent,” he doesn’t just tell war stories (of which he has a million), but he observes the world and analyzes the way it has changed, and continues to change. All of this is delivered in the steady, clear prose of a veteran writer for the Boston Globe and Washington Post. It’s a book to make you fall in love with newspapers all over again.
4 Artist Monica Haller’s “Monoliths” bring dirt right into the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. She created 10 shallow wooden boxes, containing core samples of earth from around Minnesota and northern Iowa and as far south as New Orleans. She pairs her Midwestern monoliths with art in the museum’s collection that depicts — or came from — landscapes like those in the dirt samples. The art spans centuries and cultures, from a 500-year-old Japanese screen to Dutch paintings and American Indian garments. Paired, the samples make for a surprisingly engaging display, full of revelations and subtle connections between art, science, history, politics and economics. artsmia.org
5 Calling Five Watt a coffee shop is like saying LeBron James is a dribbler. There’s so much more to it. The folks behind this coffee destination at 38th and Nicollet in south Minneapolis are pushing the boundaries of that little roasted bean. They’re using all manners of brewing (yea, Aeropress!). The specialty coffee drinks are made with cocktail bitters. They offer their own house roast, plus a lineup from regional indie star Kickapoo. One more thing: Go for “Sunday Service,” when the thin interior is filled with live music (usually an organ player). fivewattcoffee.com
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