Weekend ahead: cool stuff reigns

So many things to do and so few hours. How does one choose?

One theatrical treat opening this weekend is the annual Teatro del Pueblo Political Theater Festival. The company is offering three programs and a total of seven different plays in two locations. The theme is “Across the Divide” which will be explored in plays by both local and national Latino writers. The festival runs through March 13th and you can find details here.

Ongoing at Pillsbury House Theatre “No Child….” features Sonja Parks (left) in a powerhouse performance playing 16 characters in a New York school.

The play by Nilaja Sun is based on her time teaching theater to students in New York public schools, and it has thrilled audiences with the way it celebrates the power and hope of youth despite the challenges thrown in their way by the society, the school system, and just life in general.

A great deal of the acclaim has come about through Parks’ performance. An acting mainstay in Twin Cities theater in recent years she’s won critical praise for her ability to inhabit her characters. In City Pages Quinton Skinner described her as “a unique and captivating talent, full of barbed charisma, sweetness, and unflinching powers of observation.”

At the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis two new shows open this weekend. One called “Abstract resistance” features pieces, mainly from the Walker’s collection, by artists who have as the catalog puts it “resisted against the aesthetic orthodoxies of their times.” That resistance takes many forms as you would expect from the likes of Francis Bacon, Kara Walker, and Willem de Kooning, amongst many many others.

If interactivity is more your style, check out “Contact” the other show opening at the Walker. This includes two large scale installations by Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica and Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija.

Oiticica has created a homage to Hendrix (right,) using 10 hammocks and a multimedia system. As viewers lounge in the hammocks they can watch images of Hendrix spill across the walls and ceiling as his music plays in the background.

Tiravanija created a thought-provoking environment out of a table under a shelter based on prefab designs meant for use in Africa. On the table sits the thousands of pieces of a huge jigsaw of Delacroix’s iconic image of Lady Liberty. There is a deliberate juxtaposition which raises issues of colonial history. However it’s likely many people will just get engrossed in the puzzle. (Click on the picture to see the full image.)

If you don’t want to spend admission money you might want to check out Thomas Mullen author of “The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers,” a pulsating new novel which while set in the gangster era of the early 20th century draws some clear parallels with the situation where we now find our ourselves. He’ll be reading at 7pm Thursday night (2/25) at the Bookcase in Wayzata.

If you are more inclined towards the movies, how about this: a collaboration between Werner Herzog, David Lynch, and Academy Award nominated actor Michael Shannon. The film opens at Minnesota Film Arts this weekend in the MFA’s new home at St Anthony Main. We’ll let the trailer speak for itself.

And if none of this appeals there is always the kaleidescope game.

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