Reality TV, Norski style
The downtown Crave probably got a few requests for lefse last week. A group of Minnesotans who have each appeared over four seasons on the Norwegian reality show "Alt for Norge" convened there when a Norwegian magazine sent a crew to do a feature. "We sang a rousing rendition of the Norwegian national anthem, 'Ja Vi Elsker Dette Landet,' " said first-season pioneer Kari Tauring of Minneapolis. (Translation: "Yes, We Love This Land.") "We tend to sing it a little fast and with more gusto than they do in Norway." Uff da! BURN. The show recruits Americans of Norwegian heritage who have never been there and don't speak the language to come on over and compete in various activities. The winner's prize? Getting to meet their Norwegian relatives (that is sooo Norwegian). "I'm surprised TPT hasn't picked up on this show," said Tauring, who also has mad skills on the Volva stav, a mystical pagan instrument disguised as a long wooden stick (check her out at Merlin's Rest). "Yes, it airs in Norway, but then 800,000 Norwegians emigrated to Minnesota, so everyone is related to someone who has either seen it or been in it." Check out the first season on YouTube.
Don't know why
The first artist to perform at Xcel Energy Center before she came to 7th Street Entry, Norah Jones popped up unannounced at First Avenue's junior-varsity club on Monday when her pals in the Wild Rovers Tour performed. They included Iron Range-bred rocker Cory Chisel (who opened her tour last year) and the Candles, featuring members of Jones' touring group. She had appeared with the entourage on dates last week, but a better clue Jones would be there was the pre-show prohibition of photographers. She only sang harmonies and played a little keyboards, so there's another first: A nine-time Grammy winner who came to the Entry just to play backup.
The Walker giveth and taketh away
Walker Art Center is keeping its popular mini-golf course open an extra three weeks. The artist-designed holes, built in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, will now continue until Sept. 29. Hours have been extended, too, to 5-10 p.m. Thursdays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sundays. The Walker also is offering free gallery admission through Sept. 21 because it has to close several galleries as construction work continues on the brick façade of its old Edward Larrabee Barnes-designed building. Regular admission prices will be reinstated Sept. 22, when the museum opens "Claes Oldenburg: The Sixties."
MDT seeking NYC talent
Minnesota Dance Theatre is casting its net eastward. On its Facebook page, the company announced an Aug. 24 audition in Manhattan for dancers for the 2013-14 season. MDT, which recently welcomed back New York City ballet star and Minneapolis native Charles Askegard as associate artistic director, is offering three levels of positions: company, apprentice and trainee. Looks like Askegard, who's been charged with infusing fresh ideas into the 50-year-old company's work, is also looking for some new blood. "It's a building process," he said. "There's so much good young talent out there and we'd like to bring some of it back to add to the great energy we already have."
After weeks of trying to describe the free Autoptic convention that he's hosting on Sunday, local artist and musician Zak Sally finally might've nailed it: "A one-day festival of cartoonists and graphic artists for people who don't want to see superhero comics," said the former Low bassist and "Sammy the Mouse" comic artist. Taking place from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday at the Aria Event Center (105 N. 1st St., Mpls.), the fest was co-organized by artists Anders Nilsen ("Big Questions") and Tomasz Kaczynski ("Million Year Boom"). There's quite a music-related component, too. Rock-poster greats Aesthetic Apparatus will be there, as will members of the Doomtree and Rhymesayers hip-hop crews. Sims is even taking part in a panel. "All these people are into the same sort of weird mix of art worlds," Sally said, "and they've all been successful doing it themselves." More details at Autoptic.org.
Back to the lake
Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra will perform a free concert Sept. 15 at the Lake Harriet bandshell in Minneapolis. The players drew nearly 4,000 listeners when they did the same thing last September, when it looked like contract talks were headed for trouble. And what trouble. The musicians have been locked out since Oct. 1. Manny Laureano, the orchestra's principal trumpet, will conduct Weber's Overture to "Der Freischutz" and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5.
The Mixed Blood model
Theaters elsewhere are catching on to the example set by Minneapolis' Mixed Blood, whose "Radical Hospitality" program lets patrons see shows for free. Forum Theatre of Silver Spring, Md., is reserving roughly half of its 150-seat house as pay-what-you-can seats. Citing Mixed Blood's successful experiment to diversify its audience, artistic director Michael Dove told the Washington Post that the goal is to "make theater accessible to everyone, and get past the idea that it's only for someone in a certain economic bracket."