Today’s Arts and Entertainment roundup

Ruthe Kay is a teenaged blues phenom who is just starting to perform locally — though she has played stages in Minneapolis and Chicago. She is pictured at Leif Erikson Park in Duluth, a place where she likes to write. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

Ruthe Kay is a teenaged blues phenom who is just starting to perform locally — though she has played stages in Minneapolis and Chicago. She is pictured at Leif Erikson Park in Duluth, a place where she likes to write. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

This week’s A&E story is about Ruthe Kay, a 15-year-old making her way in the Minnesota blues scene.

Best Bets include: “Take It With You,” Harmony in the Park, Nerd Nite, Melissa Etheridge, Rhubarb Fest and the Park Point Art Fair.

Music reviewer Tony Bennett considers FFS’s “FFS.”

Today’s Arts and Entertainment roundup

Brent Muscat (far right) performed with Faster Pussycat when the band played the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center in 1990.

Brent Muscat (far right) performed with Faster Pussycat when the band played the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center in 1990.

This week’s A&E section includes a story about how an ex-member of Faster Pussycat is making his way from Vegas to Superior for a show with Rock Brigade.

Music reviewer Tony Bennett reviews Jonathan Rundman’s new album.

Best Bets include: Rock the Big Top, Lake Ave Live, Wood Blind at Chester Bowl, “[Title of Show]” at Teatro Zuccone, Jonathan Rundman at the Brewhouse and an exhibition of work by comic book artists and web comics and illustrators at the Duluth Art Institute.

Here’s my column about how I ran a marathon one time. Kind of.

Twin Ports Bridge Festival announced its focus (anti-bullying) and its headliner (Cloud Cult.)

This week’s Arts and Entertainment roundup

Amazing Grace owners Marcie Stoyke and her son Connor Riley in the bakery, cafe and music venue. Amazing Grace is celebrating is 20th year. Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com

Amazing Grace owners Marcie Stoyke and her son Connor Riley in the bakery, cafe and music venue. Amazing Grace is celebrating is 20th year. Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com

This week’s A&E section has a story about Amazing Grace Bakery & Cafe, which celebrates its 20th year on Friday with a day full of music.

Here’s an update on the play Louis Jenkins co-wrote with Mark Rylance.

Music reviewer Tony Bennett considers Christopher David Hanson Band.

Best Bets include: “[Title of Show],” at Renegade, a reading of “Clue” at The Underground, Michael Franti at Big Top Chautauqua, Norwegian folk music, a chamber music festival and a country band at Black Bear.

A&E Notes: Jonny Lang is coming and so is Martin Sexton. Here is UMD’s theater season for 2015-16.

I wrote a column about driving his car, comparably a hot rod.

This week’s Arts & Entertainment roundup

spirit mountain 0604

Nicholas Sunsdahl’s film “Adam Swanson’s Spirit Mountain Mural” plays today during the Duluth Superior Film Festival. Photo courtesy of the DSFF.

This week’s A&E section includes a guide to some of the films that will be playing (for free) during the Duluth Superior Film Festival, which started on Wednesday and runs through Sunday’s 10th anniversary screening of “North Country.” Go here.

I wrote a column about the dangers of trusting Pinterest.

Best Bets include: “Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike” at the Playhouse, “Behind the Shining Star” at The Underground, an arty tour of the city, Shakespeare in the park and the DSFF.

Tony Bennett reviewed Rich Mattson and the Northstars’ self-titled album.

This week’s Arts and Entertainment roundup

People clap as Florian Chmielewski plays at the Cloquet VFW on Sunday, performing “The Auctioneer.” (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)

People clap as Florian Chmielewski plays at the Cloquet VFW on Sunday, performing “The Auctioneer.” (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)

This week’s A&E section has a story about longtime polka man Florian Chmielewski, whose annual Polka Fest starts Friday in Hinckley, Minn.

Best Bets include: Goody Night’s tribute to Eric Swanson, Duluth Superior Film Festival kickoff, Chicken Hat plays, The Defenders series and The Band Perry.

 

Today’s Arts and Entertainment roundup

The smelt queen puppet leads stilt walkers down the Lakewalk during the Magic Smelt Puppet Troupe "Run, Smelt, Run!" parade in Duluth Sunday afternoon. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

The smelt queen puppet leads stilt walkers down the Lakewalk during the Magic Smelt Puppet Troupe “Run, Smelt, Run!” parade in Duluth Sunday afternoon. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

The annual Run, Smelt, Run! parade was on Sunday and included all the fun and frivolity you’ve come to expect from your town. Stilts, smelt costumes, a 12-piece band and a 10-foot smelt queen. With vid.

Lawrance Bernabo reviewed Wise Fool Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” on opening night and wrote “there is nothing this cast will not do to provoke a laugh …”

It was days ago, but here is a reminder about some times that B.B. King played in Duluth.

RIP B.B. King

B.B. King last played the DECC Auditorium in 2005. 2005 file/ News Tribune

B.B. King last played the DECC Auditorium in 2005. 2005 file/ News Tribune

Legendary blues musician B.B. King died on Thursday night, which means a trip through the archives was in order. There were a lot of great photos, including this one by Amanda Odeski, taken at his final show in Duluth in 2005. Yow.

Here’s the story about his death at age 89 after suffering diabetes-related dehydration.

Stay tuned for the one where we revisit some of his Duluth shows.

Today’s Arts and Entertainment roundup

Artist Cheng-Khee Chee works on a watercolor painting of a mountain and river scene in his basement studio at his home in Duluth on Monday afternoon. (Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com)

Artist Cheng-Khee Chee works on a watercolor painting of a mountain and river scene in his basement studio at his home in Duluth on Monday afternoon. (Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com)

This week’s A&E section has a feature on Cheng-Khee Chee, who has a retrospective of his work opening today at the Tweed Museum of Art. “The Way of Cheng-Khee Chee” runs through Sept. 20 at the museum at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Here’s the story.

Longtime reviewer Paul Brissett is retiring. His goodbye column includes a few parting words for the theater community.

Tony Bennett has a review of Portrait of a Drowned Man’s soundtrack to “Wicker Kittens.”

Best Bets include: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Run, Smelt, Run, an opening at the Duluth Art Institute, Pat Dononue and the Prairie All Stars and Dylan Fest.

Homegrown finale: Day 7 and Day 8

Saturday had a weird vibe. There was the exhaustion of having to squeeze a vehicle into a rare Superior Street parking space, an 8-point maneuver in front of like 15 festival-goers. So many masks. Such a mix of ages. That place on the small of your back where sweat just pools now. I said some pretty weird things out loud. Chow Haul was closed because of a propane sitch.

There was much buildup on stage at The Red Herring Lounge before a masked Scott Millis called “Ladies and gentlemen: The Tysonettes!” Fred Tyson, a flashy shuffling crooner in a brown pin-striped suit and cap, led off with “Ladies Night,” which included six backup singers — a group wholly overshadowed by the Tysonette on the right. Carolyn Reisberg in a green velvet dress with a scoop neck and Molly Ringwald hair.

“Be safe, be safe, be safe, be safe,” Freddie told the audience, then later, “Love ya, love ya all. Love all you fans.”

He performed his signature tune: “Freddy Gonna Do What He Wants to Do, So (Eff) You.”

The Horror played its instrumental sci-fi soundtrack at The Flame and Billy Wagness was all-business, clothes-wise, with a blonde wig with a complicated hairdo, bobbing and leaping while he manned the synth. It felt like something you’d stumble on after midnight in the basement of an unmarked skateboarder bar in an unfamiliar city.

Black-Eyed Snakes played for a packed Rex Bar, a show that started with the rock ‘n’ blues band of Alan Sparhawk, Bob Olson, Brad Nelson and Bryan Johnson seated. Sparhawk’s vocals were distorted when he wished everyone a “Happy Homegrown” and later when he finally stood to ooze around the stage.

Regret: Not seeing The Electric Witch.
Regret II: Never getting the Wonton of the Day.

And then there was Pesto Benedict with Pushing Chain, a duo of Boyd Blomberg and Adam Moe who played one of the brunch shifts at Pizza Luce Sunday morning. But we got seated by the bathroom, so.

The end.

Homegrown: Day 6

Nancy Sudak of Duluth breaks a plate by throwing it into a garbage can during The Blasphemists' Homegrown Music Festival performance at Teatro Zuccone in Duluth on Friday night. The band encouraged audience members to break plates during its show. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

Nancy Sudak of Duluth breaks a plate by throwing it into a garbage can during The Blasphemists’ Homegrown Music Festival performance at Teatro Zuccone in Duluth on Friday night. The band encouraged audience members to break plates during its show. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

This year in Blasphemists fashion: A black garbage bag cinched at the waist with a belt, best paired with Moon Boots.

The foursome known for its shank-revealing styles and punk sensibilities played for a full house at Teatro Zuccone on Friday night in the early hours of Day 6 of Homegrown Music Festival. There was no mosh, but plenty of smash. As usual, members of the audience were invited to spontaneously chuck small plates into a metal garbage can at the front of the stage.

Some did so with gusto; others required a tug.

“This is a good line for it,” singer Adam Sundberg said, breaking away from a song about a failed Arctic expedition to coax an audience member toward the can. Guitar player Joshua Herbert wore a helmet with antlers and drummer Steve Hamlin had the word “cheese” written across his chest.

They clawed at the the garbage bags until they hung from their waists.

Local musician Mark Glen got up from his chair in the audience and broke a plate.

“There’s no turning back,” the band harmonized.

Sundberg told a snippet of the band’s origin story, which included a tale about something tossed from the stage and almost hitting a woman, then segued into the next song.

“This song is about piracy,” he said.

Audience member Paul Lundgren emerged from the crowd to put an empty can of Bent Paddle between two plates and then smashed the whole thing.

More than 40 bands were scheduled to play at 15 venues in Duluth on Friday night, kicking off the final weekend of the eight-day mostly music festival. The music continues through Sunday afternoon. All told, more than 200 bands are taking part in this year’s festival.

Over the years, musicians have frequently given unofficial performances aboard the free DTA Trolley that delivers festival-goers to downtown venues. This year, the acts were pre-booked.

Raphael Tiller — who performs as Accipiter, Buteo — had the first shift and played his acoustic guitar on the bus’s back bench, his audience coming and going at trolley stops.

“This is the coolest. I didn’t know they did this,” said Luke Donahue, who was on his way to The Underground.

“Freebird!” a rider called.

“Free Chicken,” Tiller responded, then added, “I don’t have a song about a chicken, but I have a song about apples.”

He sang about climbing so high he almost touched the sky and when more riders hopped aboard he called out:

“Howdy! Welcome.”

Earlier in the night, a group of young musicians dressed in Hawaiian shirts and shorts performed a vacation-themed set.

“Will you love me in the morning,” Paper Parlour’s Kirdan Wenger sang in a folky-blues style with a tune that had traces of “You are my Sunshine.”

The group that includes Mitch Selin on guitar, Wilson Johnson on bass and Chad Erlemeier on drums took a break mid-set to tell jokes.

“What do you call a bear with no teeth?” Wenger asked. The answer: A gummy bear.

A crew of 10 folk musicians and friends, the house band for a church in Mahtowa, played within the Seuss-ian set of an upcoming production of “The Cat in the Hat” at The Underground. The Holy Hootenanners have a country gospel sound and sing original tunes, mixing it up between a handful of singers, a bass player, a keyboardist and drummer and violin players.

Rashelle Sweney of Superior hadn’t seen the group before Friday. She was drawn by the band’s description.

“I figured they were my kind of people,” she said.

Also: she shares a name.

“I call myself the Hootegranny,” she said.

Photographer Clint Austin also snagged all sorts of pics and vids. Right here.