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Minnesota theaters will shine a light for inclusiveness on eve of Trump inaugural

Thursday, the eve of the inauguration of president-elect Donald Trump, is shaping up to be a day of action and observance for many across the nation, including artists.

At 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, people from three dozen Minnesota theaters will gather for the Ghostlight Project, named for the illumination that’s kept on in theaters that are “dark,” or not in use.

The project, spearheaded by high profile theater artists such as composer Jeanine Tesori, playwrights David Henry Hwang (pictured), Lisa Kron and Moises Kaufman, and directors Liesl Tommy, Lear deBessonet and Rachel Chavkin, is part of a national effort involving companies in all 50 states.

The Twin Cities companies include the Children’s Theatre, Intermedia Arts, the Jungle, Mixed Blood, Penumbra and the Playwrights’ Center. All are making or renewing “a pledge to stand for and protect the values of inclusion, participation, and compassion for everyone,” according to a mission statement.

Randy Reyes, artistic director of Mu Performing Arts, is one of the national organizers.

“At a time like this, it is important to affirm that theater will be a place that is inclusive and welcoming to all,” he said.

The roster of Minnesota theaters that are making a pledge for inclusion and compassion includes St. Paul’s Ordway Center and Park Square Theatre, Stages in Hopkins, the Commonweal in Lanesboro and Pangea World Theater and the Southern Theater, both in Minneapolis.

Concert news: Lil Wayne, Blue Ox Fest, plus U2 and Radiohead road trips

Lil Wayne appeared at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles in June. / AP Photo, Nick Ut

Lil Wayne appeared at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles in June. / AP Photo, Nick Ut

Rounding up more concert news this week…

LIL’ WAYNE: Is Weezy still an arena headliner? We’ll find out very soon. Target Center announced a relatively short-notice Feb. 25 date with the New Orleans rap star. Mike Stud and local bro rapper Mod Sun will open. Tickets go on sale Thursday at 10 a.m. for $37-$104 via AXS.com. The real-life Dwayne Carter Jr., who claimed to be retiring a few years back, is now claiming to have a new album, “Tha Carter V,” in the can for release later this year.

BLUE OX FEST: Another musical campout on the outskirts of Eau Claire, Wis., the third annual Blue Ox Music Festival will featured a couple of alt-country staples in 2017, the Drive-by Truckers and Son Volt, alongside its usual depth of bluegrassy pickers and rootsy jammers, including Chris Thile’s Punch Brothers, Greensky Bluegrass, the Sam Bush Band, Railroad Earth, Travelin’ McCourys, Infamous Stringdusters and headlining hosts Pert Near Sandstone.

Organizers announced this year’s lineup on Tuesday along with word that three-day passes will be available for $145 until Jan. 26. The fest is scheduled June 8-10 at Whispering Pines Campground. Other performers will include Dave Simonett’s Dead Man Winter, Horseshoes  & Hand Grenades (currently recording an album with Simonett as producer), Split Lip Rayfield, Willie Watson, White Iron Band, Trout Steak Revival and Dead Horses.

U2: Since Live Nation gave us Billy Joel instead of Bono & Co., many local fans are planning to see this summer’s Joshua Tree 30th anniversary tour in another city. The nearest one to us, Chicago, was one of a handful of cites to earn a second date on the tour after the first round of dates all sold out right away. Soldier Field will now host them June 4 in addition to June 3. Tickets go on sale Monday at 10 a.m. via Ticketmaster for $35-$280, with various pre-sale options starting today.

RADIOHEAD: Not seen in Minnesota in almost 19 years despite it being a prime market for them, the British indie-rock gods once again quizzically booked a Kansas City gig instead of a Twin Cities date on a new round of tour dates announced Tuesday. They’ll be at KC’s Sprint Center on April 5. Tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. via AXS.com at prices to be announced. Other dates on their late-spring trek, timed to two Coachella headlining dates, include Seattle, Portland and New Orleans (yes, all smaller concert markets than the Twin Cities).

FIRST AVE GIGS: Along with the three grand-opening gigs at the Palace Theatre, First Avenue reps also announced some big dates at their club on Tuesday. The New Pornographers will return with grade-A opening band Waxahatchee on April 18. After nearly two decades of not playing there, the Gear Daddies will be back for the third year in a row on May 6 with ex-BoDeans co-leader Sam Llanas opening.

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