Artful diplomacy

Three contemporary Cuban artists are showing photos, paintings and sculpture at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The exhibit, called “Buoyancy,” opened this week in Concourses E and F of MSP’s Terminal 1 (aka the Lindbergh terminal). The display’s title is a tip of the hat to the enduring resilience of the Cuban people despite political and economic isolation from their near neighbor, the United States. The event bills itself as “the first-ever Cuban art exhibit at a U.S. airport.” The display includes a visual and sound installation about Cuba that was produced by the Touch of Sound (thetouchofsound.com), an online collection of recordings assembled by Jesse and Jonah Marks, Minnesota brothers who roam the world, recording what they hear. The works are by photographer Omar Valenti, painter Adrian Rumbaut and illustrator/sculptor Camilo Diaz de Villalvilla.

Mary Abbe

Corny, or Cornell?

Chris Cornell did not do his cover of Bob Dylan’s “The Times, They Are a-Changin’ ” during his sold-out show Monday at the State Theatre just because he was in Minnesota — he’s playing that song in most cities on his current solo-acoustic tour — but he did set it up with a Minnesota-related anecdote. Turns out, his oft-quoted lyric from Soundgarden’s song “Outshined” about “looking California and feeling Minnesota” is not one of his proudest lyrics. He recalled writing it one unhappy day while wearing shorts in Los Angeles. “I’m so skinny, I look ridiculous in shorts,” he explained. “I thought it was one of the dumbest things I’d ever written, but I left it in. And then it wound up being a movie title and everything.” Hey, they can’t all be Dylan-level masterpieces.

CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER

A lump of coal

This year’s edition of KDWB’s annual Jingle Ball is bringing Calvin Harris, Demi Lovato, perennial Fall Out Boy and Nick Jonas, last year’s Jingle Ball emcee, to Xcel Energy Center on Dec. 7. All are household names to Top 40 fans. But we certainly feel like chopped liver compared with the filet-mignon Jingle Balls sponsored by other iHeartMedia radio stations. One Direction will headline Jingle Balls in Dallas and Los Angeles; the Weeknd tops the bill in New York City, Miami and Boston; Selena Gomez in San Francisco, and 5 Seconds of Summer in Chicago, Tampa and Washington, D.C. Well, maybe DJ/singer/producer Harris will bring his gal pal Taylor Swift to St. Paul. She owes us a special guest appearance.

Jon Bream

Todd Fest

Todd Haynes is the next filmmaker to be featured in Walker Art Center’s Dialogue and Retrospective series. His sizable catalog includes the surreal Bob Dylan salute “I’m Not There,” in which a half dozen actors played him across his career; “Far From Heaven”; “Velvet Goldmine,” and “Safe.” His new film, “Carol,” features Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in an R-rated story of forbidden lesbian love in the 1950s. “Todd Haynes: 20 Years of Killer Films” runs Nov. 5-14 in the museum’s cinema, with the dialogue hosted by former Variety critic Scott Foundas on Nov. 6.

Colin Covert

Two for the road

It’s pure luck that Posies co-leader and longtime R.E.M. sideman Ken Stringfellow will be in town this weekend just a week after he co-helmed the Big Star Third concert at First Avenue. It’s also just coincidence that his partner this time happens to be a Minneapolis music scene expat, former Aviette singer Holly Muñoz, who performed with him last year in Seattle. “A very good friend of mine who I trust said afterward, unexpectedly, ‘You should make a country record with her,’ ” Stringfellow told I.W. “That’s exactly what we did.” Billed as the Ken & Holly Show, they just issued a twangy concept album based on Willie Nelson’s concept album “Red-Headed Stranger.” Stringfellow praised Muñoz’s knack for working independently, which led to them booking Friday’s gig at Yoga Garden in northeast Minneapolis and a private house party (see our Big Gigs roundup on E4). “We’re doing things her way, and I love it.”

CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER

Royalty in the house

History Theatre artistic director Ron Peluso took the stage to introduce the premiere of “Glensheen” and said first things first: “It’s an honor to recognize in our audience the former vice president of the United States, Walter Mondale.” This provoked the first standing ovation of the night. Peluso thanked “all you Republicans in the audience.” Chan Poling, composer of “Glensheen,” was married to Mondale’s daughter, the late Eleanor. I.W. noted a few audience members who stayed in their seats, but the moment was genuinely warm and spontaneous.

Graydon Royce