Art Hounds: Shostakovich, Chastity Brown, and “A Dog is a Dog”

dogisadog.JPGIllustration from “A Dog is a Dog” by Stephen Shaskan

This week’s hounds pay tribute to a string quartet series at St. Paul’s Landmark Center, a folky soul singer from Minneapolis, and an illustrator who’s winning national raves for his new kids’ book.

Art Hounds January 5 by MPR News

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maydamiller.JPGSongwriter and musician Mayda knows a thing or two about soul music, so we need to pay attention when she speaks of her admiration for Minneapolis singer-songwriter Chastity Brown. Mayda says Brown’s probing honesty and acoustic guitar craft can transport the listener to another place. Brown will be joined by visual artist Natalie Gallagher for an unusual performance, “Marrow,” at Republic in Minneapolis, Sunday, Jan. 8.

richbarlow.jpgSometimes your friends and fellow artists surprise you. It happened to Minneapolis visual artist and musician Rich Barlow, whose former bandmate and album art illustrator Stephen Shaskan has released a critically-praised children’s book called “A Dog is a Dog,” published by Chronicle Books. Rich says kids will be delighted by the clever way the story’s main character, a dog, continually changes his identity. Rich was also impressed by Shaskan’s ability to professionalize his style as an illustrator.

justin_e_a_busch_1.jpgThe great 20th-century Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich wrote a series of string quartets that St. Paul composer Justin Busch describes as a musical documentation of life behind the Iron Curtain. Justin says eight of those 15 quartets will be performed by the acclaimed Twin Cities-based Artaria Quartet every Thursday in January from noon to 1pm at the Landmark Center. According to Justin, the ‘courtroom concerts’ are not to be missed.

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