With an eye for wellness and mental health similar to the popular HazelFest, Twin Cities musicians are banding together for the inaugural Frebella Festival, a benefit for the eating-disorder foundation the Emily Program. Haley, the Cactus Blossoms, White Iron Band, Lucy Michelle's Little Fevers and We Are the Willows all are confirmed for the family-friendly festival Sept. 22 in Victoria's Lions Park. Early-bird tickets can be bought via Frebella.com for $25 through July 31 ($35 after), as can $100 VIP tickets (which come with free food and drink). Kids 12 and under get in free. Launched in St. Paul in 1993, the Emily Program has grown to include help centers around Minnesota and in three other states. They include the Anna Westin House in St. Paul, named for the Chaska teen whose suicide was an impetus for national legislation. Co-organizer Tom O'Neill said the event is an extension of an annual outing he and other high school classmates of Westin have held in her honor for the past 18 years. "We thought one of the best ways to honor her was to agree to stay friends and get together every year. Not only do we want to raise money for this important cause, but we want to continue to erase any stigmas related to mental illness and eating disorders, and to tell the community, 'We're all here for you.' "
Speaking of HazelFest, the celebration of sobriety and self-care is returning for its sixth year Aug. 4 at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation campus in Center City, Minn. Performers include hip-hop hero Brother Ali, returning sobriety champs Communist Daughter and Davina & the Vagabonds as well as the aforementioned Cactus Blossoms. You really can never have too much Cactus Blossoms. Tickets are $15 via hazeldenbettyford.org.C.R.
It's months away, but Mixed Blood Theatre's 2018-19 season already has an award winner. She's Dame-Jasmine Hughes, returning to the stage where she performed in "Pussy Valley" and "An Octoroon," to open the season Sept. 21 in Aleshea Harris' outrageous satire "Is God Is." Hughes won an Obie Award for her performance in the play — about two sisters and the cycle of violence — earlier this year at Soho Rep in New York. Nataki Garrett, who helmed both "Pussy Valley" and "An Octoroon," will direct. "Octoroon" playwright/provocateur Branden Jacobs-Jenkins also returns to Mixed Blood in November with "Gloria," a satirical comedy/drama about workplace violence that was a finalist for a 2016 Pulitzer Prize. "Gloria" will be staged in repertory with two other plays by African-American men as a response to the midterm elections: Idris Goodwin's "Hype Man, a Break Beat Play," and Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm's "Hooded, or Being Black for Dummies." After a yet-to-be-announced play next spring, Mixed Blood's season concludes with "Autonomy," a piece of "drive-through theater" that will find theatergoers watching the action from their own cars, which they drive from one scene to the next. A little like vintage-car "cruising" and a little like a drive-in movie, "Autonomy" was written by Ken LaZebnik, with music by Eric Mayson.
During Tuesday's concert at the State Theatre, Jackson Browne brought up the fact that his grandmother was from the Twin Cities. That's nothing new, but this time it came with a topical twist: He revealed she was a Norwegian immigrant: "It reminds me of the political cartoon I saw [in the New York Times] where the Statue of Liberty just read, 'Bring us your Norwegians,' " he quipped in a jab at President Donald Trump. Browne also paid the local crowd a compliment when he added the song "Farther On" by fan request. "There's something about you as an audience," he said. "It must be that you all grew up listening to great live music on 'A Prairie Home Companion.' " He went on to sing the praises of "Prairie Home's" replacement, "Live From Here," calling host Chris Thile "a musician's musician."C.R.
$57K for Puerto Rico
The Guthrie Theater raised $57,300 for Puerto Rico relief with its public dress rehearsal of "West Side Story" last Friday. Patrons paid $25 to $250 per seat for a rare sneak peek at the theater's summer musical. Medtronic Philanthropy sweetened the pot with a $25,000 matching grant. The money will go to Americares, to help Puerto Ricans get back on their feet after last year's devastating hurricanes.
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