Get ready for more music, dance and outdoor baseball

  • Article by: BARBARA FLANAGAN
  • Updated: June 4, 2006 - 11:29 PM

Looking ahead to 2007 and beyond: Downtown Minneapolis will get two new arts centers, thanks to funds recently approved by the Legislature.

The Flanagan Memo -- RE: Finally, we can "play-y-y ball-l-l," so what's next? Playing music at MacPhail and dancing at the Shubert!

What's new?

Well, besides approving the Minnesota Twins stadium, legislators voted $11 million for the Shubert Theater -- which will house performing-arts groups -- so dance will survive. ... Willie's Wine Bar & Coffee House, 1100 Harmon Place, is a tower of "small plates," including a super beet-and-cheese salad and superb salmon. ... Another whopper of a book is being written by "Minnesota Eats Out" authors Kathryn Strand Koutsky and Linda Koutsky all about the mighty Minnesota State Fair and with pictures, yet. ... So, dance in the streets. You can. The Minneapolis City Council has voted to repeal the ordinance that made it illegal.

What's coming?

Now look ahead to the autumn of 2007. That's when the MacPhail Center for Music will open in a spectacular building designed by Minneapolis architect Jim Dayton on S. 2nd Street in Minneapolis near the Mississippi riverfront.

It hasn't been easy. David O'Fallon, MacPhail president, and Teresa Bonner, board chair, have been raising the funds forever, it seems, with the best of help from a long string of volunteers headed by cochairs Judson (Kim) Bemis Jr., Margee Bracken and Sonja Noteboom.

MacPhail will be 100 years old in 2007, spending 80 years downtown at the corner of 12th Street and LaSalle Avenue S. They're more than ready to move on, and they hope to break ground this summer, O'Fallon said.

Dayton -- yes, he is a fifth-generation member of the department store family -- is ready to face up to all of the major foreign or visiting architects who have worked here recently.

And his 55,000-square-foot, six-story building looks superb. There is a multi-use two-story auditorium with a moveable floor; 55 acoustically treated studios; an outdoor performance space; a first-floor room for early childhood arts and a glass-walled classroom on the top floor for rock and jazz music. "We put them up there where they can make noise," O'Fallon said.

Dayton, who worked in California for architect Frank Gehry, is designing his second arts project. His first is the most successful Minnetonka Center for the Arts in Wayzata.

Incidentally, the Legislature approved $5 million for the MacPhail project. What's unusual is that it is the first time in the center's history that they have asked for public money. How about that?

At the library gala

How do you become a successful public servant and mother? Amy Klobuchar, our personable Hennepin County attorney, knows.

At the wonderful opening night of the grand new Minneapolis Central Library, everybody was there -- including Klobuchar. However, after arriving, she headed out, telling me she had to go and play the piano. Why?

"I am doing a duet in a recital with our daughter," she said, and whisked away. When she returned, I asked how it went. "Fine," she said, "only one error ... mine." Ah, well, sometimes it is allowed.

By the way, I told library architect Cesar Pelli that I loved the building. In fact, to me, it's the best new building in Minneapolis. Absolutely.

Now all we need is a park across the street, right?

Closing thoughts

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