The Bookcase, an independent Wayzata bookstore that has been in business for more than 50 years, will close soon.

Owner Charlie Leonard broke the news in an e-mail and on Facebook, telling customers that changing shopping habits, as well as local redevelopment and road construction, caused a dramatic drop in sales.

“It was a drop that we hoped we could weather,” Leonard wrote, “as we have a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm for what the ‘new’ Wayzata is going to look like in a few years. But, in the end, we can no longer afford to stay in business.”

Leonard said the oldest Twin Cities independent bookstore will close its doors on Oct 18.

 

While Garrison Keillor is an icon in the world of radio, local theater critics have found his skills as a playwright lacking. His show “Radio Man,” now on stage at the History Theatre, left critics wanting to know more about the man, and less about the show.

The cast of “Radio Man” at the History Theatre
(Photo by Scott Pakudaitis)

From John Olive at HowWasTheShow.com:

I kept wanting to make connections between the Host’s past and what was going on in the PHC scenes. But Radio Man wouldn’t let me… Also, Radio Man is long, very nearly 3 hours. Do we really need so much Lives Of The Cowboys? And three (at least) quartets? There’s fabulous material lurking here, but I feel that playwright Keillor needs to work further on the script: be more generous with the autobiographical material. Give the Host a clearer arc.

From Graydon Royce at the Star Tribune:

Pearce Bunting, an intuitive actor, has located the cadence of his subject’s voice, the dour and blank face. His slightly unnatural gestures, though, caused me to wonder if he isn’t completely sure what is going on inside the character, largely because the playwright doesn’t want to tell him. We don’t learn much about the guy named Keillor. We see more of a “Radio Man” who prefers to live behind his creation of fiction.

From Dominic P. Papatola at the Pioneer Press:

“Radio Man” — which is being marketed as a behind-the-microphone peek at “Prairie Home Companion” and the man who created it — is really neither of those things. Keillor dribbles out personal information with an eye-dropper. There’s little discussion about the creation or evolution of the show and even less insight into its enigmatic creator, except for the somewhat discomforting conclusion that there’s but a hair’s breadth of difference between Garrison Keillor the radio-show character and Garrison Keillor the human being.

“Radio Man” runs through Oct. 26 at the History Theatre. Have you seen it? What did you think?

The Knight Foundation has announced the winners of the St. Paul Knight Arts Challenge, which will distribute more than $1.3 million in funding to 42 community-based proposals.

Winning proposals include a Latino radio show and the restoration of historic company signs on Lowertown buildings, among others.

Dennis Scholl, Vice President of Art at the Knight Foundation, said the winning proposals were chosen from 868 responses to the question “What’s your best idea for the arts in St. Paul?”

“The criteria were really to give us something that is your dream idea that will compel the community, that will be woven into the fabric of the community so that culture is really a part of your every day life,” Scholl explained. “It’s not a special event.”

The recipients, whose grants range from $4,000 (for theater in a tent) to $125,000, (to expand the Twin Cities Jazz Festival) must all come up with matching funds.

“One of the great things about the contest results is that when St. Paul answered, it was the largest per capita response we had received to date for our contest,” Scholl said.

For a community of about 300,000 to produce 866 proposals, he said, “that’s a lot of people sharing their best art idea.”

This is the first year of a three-year, $8 million commitment by the Knight Foundation to invest in St. Paul’s arts and culture. Of that amount, $4.5 million will go toward the challenge, while $3.5 million has been promised to The Arts Partnership, Penumbra Theatre, Springboard for the Arts, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and TU Dance.

Although the St. Paul Knight Arts Challenge is scheduled to last three years, Scholl said the Knight Foundation is open to possible extending the challenge.

“We’ll see how it goes,” he said. “If the community responds and we feel like we’re getting the best art ideas and we’re improving how the community thinks about culture… if we think the arts are helping people to be more attached to St. Paul, well then we’ve been known to keep going.”

The foundation has launched similar projects in a number of cities, including Detroit, Miami and Philadelphia, where brothers John S. and James L. Knight owned newspapers.

Other St. Paul proposals funded include a light show projected on steam from the downtown power plant, an expansion of the annual Hmong fashion show and a public art sculpture that doubles as a bike rack.

Ananya Dance Theatre has built its reputation on illuminating social and environmental injustices through dance. It’s marking its 10th season with a shift to more-positive themes. Thursday through Saturday, Ananya Dance Theatre presents “Neel: Blutopias of Radical Dreaming”at the Cowles Center for Dance in Minneapolis. Artistic Director Ananya Chatterjea says the concert is the first Read more