Brave new beginning
While I.W. still admires the oral history of the Brave New Workshop published in this newspaper in 2005, St. Paul writer Rob Hubbard has expanded the story to a new book titled, appropriately enough (if not a little bland), "Brave New Workshop." With cooperation from Dudley Riggs and other BNWers, Hubbard spins together interviews going back to the beginning, news coverage and excerpts from shows. He even got BNW alum Al Franken to write a foreword. Published by the History Press, the book is a decent enough browser, with lots of photos and posters and many pages of those great titles such as "Love the One You Whip" and "Girth of a Nation, or Alice Doesn't Work Out Here Anymore."
Brave new Louie
An appearance by Louie Anderson in the Twin Cities is usually not newsworthy, as the Minnesota native comes home at least three times a year. But his just announced two-nighter at the Brave New Workshop will be his first local gig since stealing the show in FX's "Baskets," the Louie C.K.-produced sitcom that has just been renewed for a second season. It's also one of Anderson's smallest local gigs in ages. Anderson, a BNW alum, will perform stand-up at the theater's downtown Minneapolis location on March 18 and 19. Those purchasing VIP tickets will be invited to a Q&A session after each show.
The recent Orpheum run of Disney's "Newsies" set a Hennepin Theatre Trust box office record for a one-week engagement. Now, you must understand that this is a limited triumph, as the bragging rights pertain only to "one-week" tours — shows that aren't expected to be smashes. "Wicked" or "Book of Mormon," for example, generally come in for multiple weeks. Still, I.W. has to give it up for "Newsies," which drew more than 20,000 for the eight shows – north of 95 percent capacity in the 2,600-seat Orpheum. That's nothing to sneeze at. The gross was about $1.45 million, which means the average ticket cost about $70. Gee, a copy of the Star Tribune is only $1.
Have art, will travel
Exhibitions organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Art and Walker Art Center opened to acclaim in London and Philadelphia during February. First presented last year in Minneapolis, both are ambitious displays of art on loan from museums and private collections around the world. Assembled by institute curator Patrick Noon, "Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art" is on view at the National Gallery in London. The Financial Times heralded it as a "rich, jumbled, stimulating new show." Meanwhile, the Walker's "International Pop" exhibition opened at the Philadelphia Museum of Art this week. It was co-curated by two Walker curators who have since moved on to other institutions. Calling the show "carefully selected and bound to inform, if not shock," the New York Times said: "A groundbreaking effort, it expands both the definition and the fomenters of Pop, reshaping it as the global phenomenon that it was."
New photo curator
The Minneapolis Institute of Art has chosen Yasufumi Nakamori to head its photography and new media department, starting May 31. He has been associate curator of photography at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston since 2008. While there he purchased more than 700 images for the museum's collection and organized forward-looking exhibitions of mostly modern and contemporary images. His previous curatorial posts were at the MIT List Visual Arts Center in Boston and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
Red House retirement
Eric Peltoniemi is retiring after more than 30 years at St. Paul's Red House Records, including the past 10 as president. A singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, graphic designer and Grammy-winning producer, he has had a five-decade career in the music business. Red House owner Beth Friend, widow of co-founder Bob Feldman, will become president/CEO, and Peltoniemi will remain as a consultant.
Jorja Fleezanis, who was the Minnesota Orchestra's concertmaster for 20 years before retiring in 2009, has taken a sabbatical from her current job as a music professor at Indiana University for a real labor of love. Fleezanis, who was in town last weekend to perform Bach concertos at the MacPhail Center for Music, is compiling a collection of writings by her late husband, the prolific esteemed classical music critic Michael Steinberg. "He was quite an archivist," she told I.W. "It's been a very moving experience." Proceeds from the book will go to a foundation she plans to create in Steinberg's name.