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The Black Dog inspires creativity -- its high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows and spacious tables encourage daydreaming, journaling, doodling and other precursors to art making.


THE SHOWS




Twin Town High (vol. 8)

Your Locally Grown Alternative Newspaper


Hot Tickets for April 26 - May 2, 2006
Friday 28 April @ 14:25:19
Hot TicketsChain @ The Walker... A lot more films from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival... Eyes + Hands Festival... Student Walkout... Tuesday's Robot CD release... Meow: Rock for Pussy III... Lucy Kaplansky... International Workers Day... Crashing the Gate...

CHECK YOUR PULSE!



April 26 - May 2, 2006


Chain
Walker Art Center


The amazing power of art is that it can highlight what surrounds us—things we take for granted or don’t even notice—and stun us into recognizing it anew. Installation artist Jem Cohen’s debut feature film, “Chain,” explores how shopping malls, parking lots and chain stores are invading our culture. Cohen expands on his 2002 Walker Art installation “Chain x Three,” creating a narrative that mixes documentary and fiction. Two women—an affluent Japanese businesswoman, Tamiko (Miho Nikaido of “Flirt”) and a homeless squatter named Amanda (Mira Billotte from the band White Magic, in her film debut)—embody the zero-sum economics of corporate globalization that worships deal-making while it downsizes workers and bulldozes neighborhoods and landscapes. This is cinema that disturbs and provokes. 7:30 p.m. $8/$6. Also Thu. Apr. 27. 1750 Hennepin Ave., Mpls. 612-375-7600. LYDIA HOWELL

The Shutka Book of Records
Bell Auditorium


An immensely charming documentary by Aleksandar Manic that looks at a small, Romany-inhabited Balkans town called Shutka, where, seemingly, everybody is the village oddball. Narrated by Doctor Kolijo, a Rom actor of some renown (International film fans might remember him from Emir Kusturica’s “Black Cat, White Cat”), every single Shutka resident seems to have a secret. These are sometimes peculiar, such as a storekeeper who also keeps the village stocked with illegal pornography, and sometimes dazzling, such as the local who is able to compose complete songs – some that go on to be enormously popular – on the spot. The whole film is shot in a deliberately eccentric style that reflects the subject matter: contemporary footage will pretend to be ancient, badly spliced black and white images, while the focus of the film meanders from one character to another, and to a variety of bizarre events, such as boxing matches between pigeons and villagewide vampire hunts. The whole of it is scored with infectious, driving indigenous music, but the film never becomes cloying or saccharine. Instead, it’s a testament to a collection of people who are poor in almost every regard but for their collective imagination, and how effectively they use their inventiveness to entertain themselves. 7:15 p.m. $9/$7. 17th & University Ave. SE, Mpls. mnFilmArts.org. MAX SPARBER

Eyes + Hands Festival
The Varsity Theater


Last year’s Eyes + Hands festival took place way up in Duluth, but this year they’re bringing it to the Varsity Theater for two days of virtually filler-free music and, according to the press release, “movies and fire between bands.” Friday night will include the retro femme métale of Koalas, the abstract hip-hop of Kill the Vultures, the dark and slippery electro of Digitata and the hands-in-the-middle, DOOMTREE-on-three family-style hip-hop of, well, Doomtree, who are headlining that night. On Saturday night, ethereal goth-soundscapers A Whisper In The Noise head up a bill featuring calculus-rockers (like math-rock, but harder) Building Better Bombs and straight-ahead punkers Die Electric! And no, I’m not more excited about Saturday: The exclamation point is part of the name. The Varsity proved it can do more than just host mellow theater-worthy acts with the Doomtree Blowout back a couple of months ago, and the interminable waiting in line outside should be tempered by the increasingly temperate weather. If this festival comes off successfully, maybe the Twin Cities can scoop Chicago and shoehorn Lollapalooza into the Varsity next summer. 6 p.m. $12. 21+. 1308 4th St. SE., Mpls. 612-604-0222. STEVE MCPHERSON

Fire and Ice: The Winter War of Finland and Russia
Oak Street Cinema


”Fire and Ice: The Winter War of Finland and Russia” is a documentary written, directed and produced by Ben Strout. This fascinating film is a great way to learn history. September 1939 was perhaps the darkest time in the 20th century. Hitler invaded Poland, beginning World War II. Two months later Stalin invaded Finland hoping to protect Leningrad and establish a naval and airbase at the mouth of the Baltic Sea. Russia’s invasion of Finland became known as the “Winter War” (record temperatures dropped to 50 degrees below zero) and began with the bombing of Helsinki. Outnumbered and outgunned, the hearty Finns were amazing skiers who used machine guns, sharp knives and Molotov cocktails to defend their homeland. Ill prepared for the paralyzing cold, the Russians who weren’t killed suffered horribly from frostbite and lack of hot meals. After 105 days, the Russians retreated and a year later Hitler was at the gates of Leningrad. 7:15 p.m. $9/$7. 309 Oak St. SE, Mpls. mnFilmArts.org. ERICA BOUZA

 

 


Student Walkout
Northrop Plaza


One of the most inspiring elements of the anti-war movement is being waged by high school students who are resisting military recruiters on their campuses—especially in inner cities and rural areas, where military recruitment targets youth of color and the poor. In the last decade, college tuition rose 40 percent, Congress is planning a $12 billion cut from financial aid, and youth unemployment is up between 44 and 62 percent (higher for youth of color). Still, young people are refusing to be funneled into the war machine. They are challenging recruiters’ manipulative tactics, creating counter-arguments in their own newspaper, Resistance (available at May Day Books), and building new coalitions with immigrants. This Friday students will boycott school and stage a rally to end the occupation of Iraq, create living-wage jobs and provide equal access to education. The event is organized by Youth Against War and Racism. Noon. Free. U of M East Bank, Mpls. YAWR.org. HOWELL

Tuesdays Robot
331 Club


After a long frickin’ wait, rock-folk duo Tuesdays Robot are releasing their debut album at the 331 Club this Friday. I might be biased because I’ve lived with both boys at one time or another (and consequently seen them in their underwear). The new disc is top-notch stuff, ranging from driving political tunes (“Daddy’s Vietnam Blues”) to sweet poppy love songs guaranteed to make the ladies swoon on the street (“Another Cup of Tea”). There’s a little Dylan here, a little grunge, and an unnameable quality that I attribute to Heart, Captain-Planet style. They’re one of those groups you catch and wonder why you haven’t heard of them before. RickRobot and Android are masters of their instruments, so their stage shows are silly and entertaining because they knew when to break the rules. (And when to hold ’em and, uh, never mind.) They’ll be handing out free CDs to the first hundred comers. With political folkster Gabe Barnett and the Como Avenue Jug Band (also featuring Robot and Android). 9:30 p.m. Free. 21+. 331 NE 13th Ave., Mpls. 612-331-1746. JENNIFER WHIGHAM


 


 

Street Fight
Bell Auditorium


First-time documentarian Marshall Curry takes a disquieting look at the 1992 New Jersey mayoral battle between incumbent Democratic candidate Sharpe James, an oily career politician, and a reformist Democratic upstart, Cory Booker. The Yale-educated Booker comes across as an honest broker: he’s an earnest, engaging, if sometimes wonky, character who lives in a Newark housing project (he argues that politicians should always live in the worst housing of the district they represent.) We don’t hear much about Booker’s politics, however, or those of Sharpe James, as the campaigns rapidly deteriorate. Sharpe James, it turns out, is willing to drag the mayoral fight as deep into the mud as he can, and Booker’s campaign is forced to spend much of its war-chest defending itself against James’ seemingly limitless supply of slime. Some of it is simply preposterous, such as James’ constant insistence that Booker, a lifetime Democrat, an African-American and a Baptist, is a white Republican Jew. But when James’ campaign begins to use the Newark police force to shut down businesses that display Booker campaign signs, harass press members who insist on giving Booker equal time, and arrest Booker supporters on charges of terrorism, the campaign becomes chilling. The film documents raw, machine-style politics at its meanest, in the process raising a troubling question: When will the Marines finally come and restore democracy to Newark? 5:30 p.m. $9 /$7. 17th & University Ave. SE, Mpls. mnFilmArts.org. MAX SPARBER

Rock for Pussy III
First Avenue

The mail carrier at Pulse delivers more than just letters and promo packages—she regularly brings news of homeless cats she sees along her South Minneapolis route. Last summer we saved a litter of six-week-old stray kittens by wrangling them out from under a porch near our office, and just last week I drove an emaciated but friendly puss to the Humane Society. The admissions person kindly reminded me not to call for a status report, as they take in upwards of 40 cats per day. This weekend why not Rock for Pussy, where you can pay a nominal cover charge that will benefit no-kill cat shelters and pay homage to the Diamond Dog of the 20th century? Like your Bowie glittered and star-dusted? Or as the alabaster aristocrat? How ’bout spaced out or crazy? From Ziggy Stardust to the Thin White Duke, Major Tom to Aladdin Sane, Bowie’s had more (stage) lives than your average cat … which might explain the feline connection. For the third year running Mary Lucia helped organize the event—not as a representative of the Current, but by her own admission as a “crazy cat lady.” John Eller has stacked the house band (aptly dubbed “Kitty Stardust”) nicely with local notables John Munson, Randy Casey, Steve Price and Tom Alsides. Chris Perricelli, Chris Koza and Jeaneen Gauthier are just a few of the lads and lassies that’ll take a stab at covering, in my humble opinion, the greatest rock musician EVER! (But please, please, no more “Space Oddity”!) I challenge all participants to top Koza’s 2005 glam-fused rendition of “Let’s Dance,” which was clearly the best in show. This will be a hunky dory night. 8 p.m. $6/$8. 701 First Ave. N., Mpls. 612-338-8388. NANCY SARTOR

Lucy Kaplansky
Cedar Cultural Center


Sweet sultriness, thy name is songbird Lucy Kaplansky. The Red Thread, her fifth album on Red House Records, was countrified soft-rock done to a tantalizing tee, brandishing exquisite, shoot-from-the-hip covers “Off and Running” and “Hole in the Head,” along with splendid, haunting originals like “Line in the Sand,” “Brooklyn Train” and “The Red Thread.” If you’ve worn out your copy of her out-of-print debut The Tide or simply haven’t discovered her yet, that CD has been re-issued. For good measure, the re-release has a pair of added cuts: Dug up from yesteryear are legendary tunesmith Jesse Winchester’s “Everybody Knows But Me” and the Beatles’ “I’ve Just Seen a Face.” Kaplansky richly deserves every bit of the praise she’s received from such sources as The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe and Country Music International. See for yourself. 8 p.m. $23. 416 Cedar Ave S. Mpls. 612-338 –2674. DWIGHT HOBBES

 

 



International Workers Day
Powderhorn Park Community Center


Around the world, workers parade in solidarity for a better life, but most Americans don’t know that International Workers Day is a holiday that began here in the United States (Chicago, 1886) by workers struggling for an eight-hour work day. Catch the spirit of the immigrant rights rallies and anti-war movements and effect change in our national and local priorities. The event includes speakers, food and music and childcare is available. 2 p.m. Free. 3400 15th Ave. S. (near Bloomington Ave. & E. 34th St.), Mpls. 612-823-2841. HOWELL

 


Crashing the Gate
Arise! Bookstore & 331 Club

Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, creator of the popular progressive blog DailyKos.com, and Jerome Armstrong, creator of MyDD.com, are in town promoting their new book, “Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics.” Both Zuniga and Armstrong have been described as part of a national, reform-minded progressive movement that is populist and patriotic. Their work is already transforming the political, media, and activism landscapes for the 21st century, and this book tells that story. “Crashing the Gate” delivers a no-holds-barred assessment of how the Democratic Party has become ineffective and failed to adapt and respond to new realities and challenges. The solution lies with the vast progressive network of netroots and grassroots constituents who are demanding a people-powered politics. A must-read book for anyone with an interest in the future of American democracy. Noon. Free. Arise! Bookstore, 2441 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls. Also 6 p.m. Free. 331 Club, 331 NE 13th Ave., Mpls. And May 3 breakfast, 7 - 9 a.m. Louisiana Cafe, 613 Selby Ave., St. Paul. CrashingTheGate.com. AARON NEUMANN

 

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