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Swede emotion: Suzie kicks off new ballroom series Wednesday

Suzie's Mark Ritsema recently tried out the Turnblad Mansion's ballroom inside the American Swedish Institute. / Courtesy ASI

Suzie's Mark Ritsema recently tried out the Turnblad Mansion's ballroom inside the American Swedish Institute. / Courtesy ASI

Back in early March, a very un-Swedish-looking music critic took a trip to the American Swedish Institute in south Minneapolis and fell in love with the mansion-turned-museum’s third-floor ballroom. He sent out a photo of it via Instagram with the note, “This room is screaming to host a quiet acoustic music series.”

Turns out, great minds think alike, and the folks at ASI were already planning a music series there, which kicks off this Wednesday with a not-so-quiet performance by Night Moves member Mark Ritsema’s glam-pop band Suzie. Scheduled every second Wednesday of each month, the ASI’s “Ballroom Music Series” will also feature jazz great Connie Evingson with guitarist Sam Miltich, acoustic guitar guru Dean Magraw, and classical pros the Musical Offering with another guitar maestro, Christopher Kachian.  

The series is in conjunction with a couple of music-related exhibits, “Amp Up! The Hagstrom Guitar Sensation” and "The History of Swedish Music In Three Minutes Or Less.” Performers have even been invited to use some of the Hagstrom instruments and incorporate Swedish music into their sets. Word is Suzie plans to round out Wednesday’s opening set with a tribute to Swedish pop music wizard Max Martin, co-writer of Britney Spears and Taylor Swift hits, plus maybe an ABBA song or two.

Here’s the schedule (and the aforementioned Instagram post).

WEDNESDAY, JULY 8: Suzie, 8 p.m., $12 ASI members/ $15 for nonmembers. Click here or call 612-871-4907.

AUG. 12: Connie Evingson with Sam Miltich

SEPT. 9: Dean Magraw

OCT. 14: The Musical Offering with Christopher Kachian

 

This room is screaming to host a quiet acoustic music series.

A photo posted by Chris Riemenschneider (@chrisrstrib) on

New signs that Garrison Keillor may retire next season

Garrison Keillor took some serious steps forward Monday in proving that talks of his upcoming retirement aren't just tall tales out of Lake Wobegon.

The "Prairie Home Companion" host has said little to the press since an article in the Berkshire Eagle (Mass.) newspaper reported that the legendary broadcaster would fade out sometime next year with mandolin player Chris Thile taking his place.

Those who have followed Keillor over the years have learned to take his mumblings about hanging up his red sneakers with a tablespoon of salt since the public-radio host has inevitably either returned or stayed behind the microphone.

But in an e-mail to the Star Tribune Monday, Keillor indicated that,this time, he means it.

"Really, it's no big deal.I'm getting old.It's an old story," wrote Keillor who turns 73 in August. "We last longer in radio because you can't see the bags under our eyes."

It's not that Keillor's popularity is waning.His 4th of July show on the lawns of Macalester College drew over 3,500 fans.

"On Saturday,I sang, 'Wouldn't It Be Nice,' the Beach Boys song, and thoroughly screwed up the bridge," Keillor said. "Not a good sign."

As telling as Keillor's e-mail might be,the recently released "Prairie" schedule for the 2015-16 speaks even louder.

On Oct. 10, Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O'Donovan and Sara Watkins will share hosting duties while Keillor takes a break. Thile, who confirmed to the Mandolin Cafe website that he is scheduled to eventually take over, will preside Jan. 30 and Feb. 6 at the Fitzgerald Theatre.

Perhaps,most intriguing: Thile and Keillor co-hosting from San Diego's Civic Theatre on Jan. 23 and New York's Town Hall on April 16.

An official passing of the reins?

Keillor and his team declined to go into details, particularly when it came to speculating on what kind of role he might play after stepping down as the emcee.

"It really is no big deal," said Keillor as he prepared for a trip to London. "And as for the future future, we'll just have to wait and see."

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