A Mu-ving tribute
I.W. had a great time saluting Rick Shiomi on Monday at the Minnesota History Center. Shiomi, the playwright, director and visionary behind Mu Performing Arts, was honored as the McKnight Foundation Distinguished Artist for 2015. Mu’s artistic director Randy Reyes spoke beautifully about his mentor, who is both a fine artist and a better human being. It was a great crowd. Isabella and Francesca Dawis, two crazy talented kids who grew up in Mu shows, chatted up I.W. Actors Sara Ochs, Carolyn Pool, Lara Trujillo, Heart of the Beast’s Sandy Spieler (last year’s winner), Park Square’s Richard Cook and choreographer Sandy Agustin were in the crowd. Shiomi topped off the evening by playing taiko drums with Iris Shiraishi and the irrepressible Jennifer Weir. Good times.
Clean out your closets and haul your “unloved, neglected and unwanted paintings” to the Northrup King Building in northeast Minneapolis, where Kolman & Pryor Gallery will pay you for them. Through Jan. 2, the gallery will pay $1 for each painting regardless of the picture’s style, subject, quality (or lack of quality) and no matter whether it’s done on canvas or wood panel, framed or unframed. Artists Patrick K. Pryor and Jodi Reeb plan to recycle and up-market the art for a future exhibition. This Art Up-Cycle program, co-owner Pryor told I.W., was inspired by dentists who after Halloween buy candy from trick-or-treating kids. That gives I.W. something to chew on.
Sitting in limbo
Fans of Alyssa Baguss’ ethereal drawings — which look like relief maps of the surface of a blue moon — should check out her Burnet Gallery show before it closes Dec. 31. That may be a last look at the downtown Minneapolis gallery itself. Its future has been in limbo since noted art collector Ralph Burnet sold its building, the Le Méridien Chambers hotel, to the Dallas-based Ashford Hospitality Trust in June. “We’re in a holding pattern right now,” said gallery director Jennifer Phelps. “When Ralph owned them, the gallery and hotel worked together and there were a lot of board meetings, dinners and events in the gallery that people loved. He approved all the shows, bought art for the hotel’s 60 rooms, and loaned pieces from his own collection for display in the lobby.” Stay tuned.
A popular spot for metal shows in its previous incarnation, Somerset Amphitheater will get an extra day of the hard stuff next year when Northern Invasion expands to a two-day fest May 14-15. Organizers announced the new format Monday along with a 2016 lineup of vets who’ve previously played the venue in Somerset, Wis. Among the names: Korn, Rob Zombie, Disturbed, Seether, Lamb of God, P.O.D. and Sevendust, plus newer metal stars such as Shinedown and Bring Me the Horizon. Last year’s Slipknot-led inaugural Northern Invasion sold out with 25,000 attendees.
Straight outta MOA
Ice Cube, whose early hip-hop career is featured in this year’s hit “Straight Outta Compton,” and Kevin Hart, comedy’s most bankable movie star, will meet the public at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Mall of America Rotunda to promote their movie “Ride Along 2,” which opens Jan. 15. The stars will answer questions submitted via Twitter. I.W. wants to know why Cube didn’t cut 20 minutes of fat out of “Compton” such as the details about his early inability to join N.W.A — which just got voted in the Rock Hall of Fame — because of other commitments.
The folks at Milkweed Editions had some good news this week when the National Endowment for the Arts awarded $27.6 million in grants to arts organizations across the country — including a $50,000 Art Works grant to Milkweed. The book house will use the money to publish print and e-books, including an anthology on literary publishing, a number of poetry collections, and a novel.
Joyce to the world
Thanks to a $50,000 Joyce Award, Twin Cities performers and choreographers Aparna Ramaswamy and Kyle Abraham will team with composer Colin Jacobsen for a new work that will premiere in fall 2017 at Walker Art Center. St. Paul’s Penumbra Theatre also has won a Joyce Award to commission musician/composer Imani Uzuri and playwright/lyricist Zakiyyah Alexander to stage “GIRL Shakes Loose Her Skin” in spring 2017. The Joyce Awards are given to outstanding artists of color to create new works with the backing of local institutions.