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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.


Twin Town High (vol. 8)

Your Locally Grown Alternative Newspaper

Hot Tickets for January 10 - January 16, 2007
Wednesday 10 January @ 16:29:30
Hot TicketsRoad to Guantanamo :: Louis Alemayehu & Tish Jones :: The Pines :: Cinema Revolution Party :: Shoe Shiners :: Pocahontas County CD Release Show :: Alicia Wiley & Kymara :: Daddy's Little Girl Benefit :: Värttinä AND THIS WEEK'S HOT PICK: Free: Verse Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean at the Walker


Road to Guantanamo
Jack Pine Community Center
The International Red Cross, human rights organizations, detainees' lawyers and journalists are mostly banned from the U.S. Army's Guantanamo "detention center." British director Michael Winterbottom pierces those walls, merging documentary and fictional filmmaking in "Road to Guantanamo." The story focuses on now-released prisoners known as the Tipton Three—Pakistani-British citizens swept up while on a vacation/wife-search in Pakistan after the 9/11 attacks. Winterbottom is a director who couples Hollywood finesse with social consciousness. His amazing "Welcome to Sarajevo," starring Woody Harrelson as a journalist reporting during the civil war in early 1990s Yugoslavia, was profound. "Road to Guantanamo" moves between interviews with the actual Tipton Three and intense dramatizations of their arbitrary capture by U.S. troops and harrowing ordeal: endless interrogation, isolation and torture. The experiences of these men should rock any decent American out of silent complicity with the Bush Administration's torture policies. For related events, see article on p. 8. 7 p.m. Free. 2815 E. Lake St., Mpls. LYDIA HOWELL

Free Verse: Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean
Walker Art Center
Fantasy collaborators writer Neil Gaiman and his favorite visual artist Dave McKean are extraordinary in their intense imaginative co-creations—from graphic novels (the "Sandman" covers) to children's books, ("The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish," "The Wolves in the Walls," and children's novel "Coraline"), to the strange beauty of the feature-length film "Mirrormask," written by Gaiman and directed by McKean, which I gleefully was absorbed by the other night. Listed in the "Dictionary of Literary Biography" as one of the top ten living postmodern writers, master storyteller Gaiman has won innumerable sci-fi and fantasy awards for the cult "Sandman" graphic novel series, as well as novels "Anansi Boys," "American Gods," his children's books, and the BBC series "Neverwhere." McKean is renowned for his incomparable visual storytelling via photography, collage, sculpture, painting, drawing and film, and graphic novel, "Cages." Although McKean remains in England and Gaiman now lives in our neck of the woods just outside the Twin Cities, they continue to frequently co-create delightfully dark surprises. Tonight they'll present both visual and verbal work and converse with the audience. Free Verse is co-presented by Target Free Thursday Nights, and Rain Taxi Review of Books and Target. 7 p.m. Free. 1750 Hennepin Ave., Mpls. 612-375-7600. CYN COLLINS

Cinema Revolution Party
Varsity Theater
Cinema Revolution celebrates three years, two moves and 2,200 independent and foreign film titles, with many bangs and bands in the dark of the cinematically dramatic environs of the Varsity Theater. The drama unfolds with the world premiere of the Fortune Cookie Film Project's seven short films based on fortune cookies randomly chosen by filmmakers. There will also be performances by three up-and-coming local bands, accompanied by their favorite films. Zerkalo with Thupten Dadak performs ambient guitar combined with traditional Tibetan instruments, and is accompanied by Victor Erice's classic film "Spirit of the Beehive." Roma di Luna's beautiful, stripped down folk sound is accompanied by Fellini's "La Strada," and the Blackthorns, considered the best local band by Cinema Revolution, headline with their sublime dark folk songs accompanied by Orson Welles' "The Trial." Beauty courts danger as the Blackthorns' mesmerizing strings and haunting vocals leave achingly filmic imprints on your heart and soul. Don't miss this opportunity to celebrate Cinema Rev, and show your support for one of the best DVD rental stores in town for lovers of foreign, indie and classic films. 7 p.m. $8. All Ages. 1308 4th St. SE, Mpls. 612-604-0222. CYN COLLINS

Louis Alemayehu, Tish Jones
Patrick's Cabaret
The second Thursday of every month, TC literary/spoken word organization SASE sponsors its Writers of Color Reading series. Starting the New Year is "Visions: 2 Generations Face 2 Face, Heart 2 Heart, Mind 2 Mind: Spoken Word and Dialogue, In and Out of Time," a poetic dialogue among longtime, beloved poet and spoken word artist Louis Alemayehu (an SASE co-founder), jazz pianist Carei Thomas (of Ancestor Energy) and emerging spoken word artist Latisha "Tish" Jones. The event is hosted by Sherry Quan Lee. 7 p.m. Free. 3010 Minnehaha Ave., Mpls. 612-721-3595. LYDIA HOWELL

The Pines
Turf Club
If you were at the Turf Club for the first Twin Town High release show this past July, you know what a treat the Pines are live. For this show, the blues/roots duo of David Huckfelt and Benson Ramsey are going to again be joined by crack rhythm section aces J.T. Bates on drums and Chris Morrissey on bass. And if you've been paying any attention to something we've been shouting about for a while, The Pines are also the latest group to sign to storied Red House Records, and the boys are busy whipping up a new batch of rough-and-tumble, raw-at-the-bone originals for their debut album on the label. Back up there, I referred to them as a blues/roots duo, which is an easy enough handle to apply, but they've got that rare and magical ability to breathe life into what, in the hands of lesser conjurers, could be an exercise in rote recreation. It's a quality they share with Mike Gunther, one of the openers for this show, whose gruff and, yes, Tom Waits-esque voice powers his band the Restless Souls through bracing and carnival-esque (carnie-esque?) performances. Also with Jason Shannon. 9 p.m. $4. 21+. Corner of University & Snelling Aves., St. Paul. 651-647-0486. STEVE McPHERSON

Shoe Shiners
Memory Lanes
Memory Lanes is a trippy place to catch a band, and I mean that in the best way possible. The stage straddles a couple of lanes, and the bands have to wait for whoever's bowling it up on those lanes to finish before they can even begin to think about bringing the rock. Fortunately, the Flashback Cafe has delicious mozzarella sticks you can munch on while you wait, and when you finally wedge yourself into one of those legless chairs that are attached to the underside of the tables on the mezzanine level like some kind of 1960s-era idea of a future in which chair legs have been rendered obsolete, one in which we'll apparently have fewer internal organs to be squished betwixt Formica tabletops and chair backs, you'll be treated to black-light wall decorations in one of the most seriously punk rock venues in the cities. Shoe Shiners are carrying on in the proud smart-ass tradition of The Plastic Constellations and Lifter Puller as a bunch of not so much angry as wry young men. They're not a bunch of mopers, not a bunch of screamers; just a bunch of like-minded guys looking to deliver some musical escape. With Ampersand & Charles de Gaulle. 9 p.m. Free. All Ages. 2520 26th Ave. S., Mpls. 612-721-6211. STEVE McPHERSON

Pocahontas County CD Release
Turf Club
Frankly, roots music ain't usually my bag. I'm an innovation man, not a tradition guy, but I also admire tradition when it's done just a hint non-traditionally, and the bluegrass quartet Pocahontas County has just a touch of tongue in its cheek, just a smidgeon of leftfield in their cornfield. Jake Hyer, he of Get Up Johns fame, plays mando and fiddle for these good ole boys as well, but rather than play Bo to Josh Wenck's Luke Duke, here he's just one of the gang, which includes upright bassist Justin Bruhn, guitarist Jackson Buxton and banjo player Colin Anderson, whose sleeve of tattoos on his right arm gives a band that favors white shirts and ties a little visual kick. Live, Hyer, Bruhn and Buxton huddle around a single condenser mic to deliver their spot-on three-part harmonies, and they're a tireless bunch—last time I saw them, they played for close to four hours at a wedding reception, delivering originals and covers for Western swing dancing into the wee hours of the morning. I have yet to hear the whole thing, but their second release, What Can I Do?, apparently boasts a White Stripes cover. I smell crossover hit. Their pals The DitchLilies will also be releasing their new CD at this show, as will openers The Mill City Grinders. 9 p.m. $5. 21+. Corner of University and Snelling Aves., St. Paul. 651-647-0486. STEVE McPHERSON

Alicia Wiley, Kymara
Acadia Cafe
Two uncommonly gifted performers in one night. Not bad at all. Alicia Wiley has been quietly blowing minds all over town for the past several years, and upstarts Kymara bolted out of the blue to generate strong attention. Wiley, winner of the 2004 Minnesota Music Awards for Best Female Vocalist and Best Self-Released Recording (Alicia Wiley), is a jazz-tinged stylist with a remarkably fresh sound. There are times, in fact, when she brings the young Laura Nyro to mind. Kymara, after impressive opening stints, gets a richly deserved shot at headlining. Their EP Liquor Hot and this year's full-length offering Kymara Live at the Fine Line—kicked off by an incredible show at the Varsity Theater—represent this band well, showcasing Shannon Johnson, as volcanic a vixen as there ever was. This is gonna be a good show. With Debra G, Ill Chemistry. 8 p.m. $5. 1931 Nicollet Ave. S., Mpls. 612-874-8702. DWIGHT HOBBES

Daddy's Little Girl Benefit
When Javier Trejo throws a benefit, he does not fool around. The premiere guitarist and singer-songwriter has put together a roster headlined by God Johnson, New Primitives, White Iron Band and Trampled By Turtles' Dave Simmonett. This is going to be one hell of a night. The "Daddy's Little Girl" benefit concert, presented in association with the Anoka fathers' rights organization Helping the Kids, is certainly a worthy cause. Trejo's a non-custodial dad battling in court to be part of his daughter's life, and proceeds will help pay his legal bills. Buy his solo CD Javier Trejo and/or vintage release The Beads, from when he headed up that still well-remembered kick-ass band. P.S.: With all these heavies on hand, don't be the least bit surprised if the night ends with a monstrous jam. Trejo will also be performing at the Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant in February. 6 p.m. $10. 917 Cedar Ave., Mpls. 612-338-6425. DWIGHT HOBBES

Cedar Cultural Center
Who knew that a Finnish musical group has topped the charts in Europe and Britain? Värttinä has! Described as having "a Viking fierceness," Värttinä has been wowing world music audiences for 23 years. Acoustic musicians with "a hard rock swagger," this concert offers Minnesotans the chance to get beyond the likes of "Fargo" and Lake Wobegon as genealogic definitions, and connects us with more beastly roots. Another reason to catch this band: They co-composed the stage adaptation of "Lord of the Rings." Co-sponsored by KFAI radio, you can bet that DJ Blanche will be previewing this show on her program Fubar Universe, which airs Fridays from 6 to 9 a.m. 7:30 p.m. $25. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Mpls. 612-338-2574. LYDIA HOWELL
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