Five arts stories from the week

You’ve been busy, I know. And it’s hard to always have the radio on in order to catch all the arts stories as they air. So here, for you leisurely perusal, is a collection of some of the most interesting local arts stories from the week. Enjoy!

Jane Austen fans descending on Twin Cities this weekend

“Janeites” — the term used to describe fans of Jane Austen — are in the Twin Cities for the Jane Austen Society of North America’s annual general meeting.

This year is special for Austen fans as they celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of “Pride and Prejudice.” The conference includes dance and bonnet decoration workshops to prepare for Saturday’s ball.

The Daily Circuit’s Kerri Miller talks with John Mullan, Professor of English at University College London, author of “What Matters in Jane Austen?: 20 Crucial Puzzles Solved” and Janine Barchas, Associate professor of English at the University of Texas, and the author of “Matters of Fact in Jane Austen: History, Location and Celebrity.”

Cuban singer Omara Portuondo performed with the Buena Vista Social Club at the Plaza de Toros Mexico in Mexico City in 2011.
(Photo by Alexandre Meneghini/ASSOCIATED PRESS )

Buena Vista Social Club brings classic Cuban sound to Minnesota

The Buena Vista Social Club took traditional Cuban music off the island and made it worldwide cool.

Sessions by the collective became an artistic and commercial phenomenon in the late 1990s. An album and documentary turned singer and guitarist Compay Segundo, pianist Ruben Gonzalez, Ibrahim Ferrer and others into international stars.

Some of the original performers have passed away. But the music — an earthy mix of Spanish guitar, African rhythms and percussion known as “son” — continues to thrill. And the Buena Vista Social Club, infused with youthful energy, is still going strong. On Wednesday, the ensemble brought its classic Cuban songs to the Burnsville Performing Arts Center.

Children’s book author Kate DiCamillo at Fitzgerald Theater

Award-winning children’s book author Kate DiCamillo was interviewed by MPR’s Cathy Wurzer at the Fitzgerald Theater in downtown St. Paul on Sept. 24,2013. DiCamillo’s newest book “Flora & Ulysses, the Illuminated Adventures” is nominated for a National Book Award.

One year in, Minnesota Orchestra lockout jeopardizes another season

Nearly a year ago today, the Minnesota Orchestra’s management decided to lock out its musicians. Since then the two sides have made no progress on an agreement, even with the help of their esteemed mediator, former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell.

A new three-year contract offer management released Thursday would cut musicians salaries from an average of $135,000 a year under the old contract to $104,500. Each musician would also receive a $20,000 signing bonus. But the musicians immediately criticized it.

Adding to the urgency is pressure from music director Osmo Vanska, who wants an end to the dispute so that the musicians can start rehearsing next week for two upcoming Carnegie Hall concerts. If the concerts are cancelled, Vanska has said he’ll resign.

Evolution dispute scraps New Ulm play

There will be no production of the play “Inherit the Wind” by the New Ulm Actors Community Theatre.

The production lost two many cast members after professors at Martin Luther College objected to the way the debate over creationism vs. evolution is depicted in the play, which is a fictional version of the 1925 Scopes “Monkey” Trial.