Weekend Picks: Poetry at the Walker, skiing across the Mississippi, and something for the book lovers

I went to see the opening of “ReVisión: Art in the Americas,” at the Minneapolis Institute of Art last weekend (which I had posted about in the last episode of Weekend Picks), and I had a chance to peek into where the museum was installing “The Lyrical Artwork of Jim Denomie.” It just looks fantastic, and I recommend checking out both exhibitions, not to mention Caravaggio′s “Judith and Holofernes,” on loan through August 20. Read about the Denomie retrospective below as well as Ginger Commodore channeling Tina Turner, Tish Jones at the Walker, water skiing on the Mississippi River, the ethereal Kiltro hitting the 7th St. Entry, and the return of Wordplay. 

Green Roof Poetry: Curated by Tish Jones 

Word wizard Tish Jones is at once a dynamic poet and person devoted to working in community as a leader and educator. The founding executive director of TruArtSpeaks, an organization that nurtures young voices in spoken word and hip hop, Jones has been included in several anthologies, and is working on her first full-length manuscript of poems. This Thursday, Jones curates an evening of poetry as part of the Walker Art Center’s “Green Roof Poetry” series, on the hillside outside of the museum. See the poets Jones has brought together while enjoying the downtown views at the Walker. Thursday, July 6 at 6 p.m. at the Walker Art Center (free). More information here

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Free Water Ski Show with the Twin Cities River Rats

If you’ve never experienced the delightful Twin Cities River Rats, do yourself a favor and head to the Mississippi River in Near North for a display of water skiing wizardry. The skiers create pyramids and other death-defying formations, do tricks and show off their incredible skills while you enjoy the beauty of the water. They have shows every Thursday throughout the summer, with additional Tuesday shows starting in August. Thursday, July 6 at 7 p.m. with a pre-show at 6:30 p.m. at the Mississippi between Broadway and Plymouth (free). More information here.

Photo by Julian Brier



In the album “Underbelly,” released on June 2, the Denver-based Kiltro, fronted by Chilean-American singer-songwriter Chris Bowers Castillo, creates an intriguing swell of rhythms and textures. It’s at once trance-like and groovy, fusing Latin rhythms, pop sparkle and meditative ambience. The band heads to Minneapolis this week, sharing tunes from the new album including the “Softy,”All the Time in the World,” and “Guanaco.” They play Friday, July 7 at 9:30 p.m. at 7th St. Entry ($15). More information here.

“Standing Rock,” Jim Denomie, oil on canvas

Minneapolis Institute of Art

“Standing Rock,” Jim Denomie, oil on canvas

The Lyrical Artwork of Jim Denomie

When Jim Denomie died of cancer in March of 2022, he left a hole in the Twin Cities art community, not to mention the broader art world in the U.S. and elsewhere. Denomie was a familiar face at art openings and events; always quick to show his support to fellow artists, mentoring many, all while constantly pushing his own practice as he explored the form of painting as well as sculpture and photography. When he died, Denomie was sought after by galleries and museums internationally, and was in talks with the Minneapolis Institute of Art about a solo exhibition at the museum. 

Since his death, Mia has planned a posthumous retrospective of Denomie’s work, called “The Lyrical Artwork of Jim Denomie,” with nearly 60 pieces, including the unfinished series of portraits Denomie was working on at the end of his life, called “They Sing Their Death Song.” The exhibition also features Denomie’s last completed painting, “Four Days, Four Nights, Ceremony” (2020), as well as sketches and sculptures. Fans of Denomie will also recognize art the artist has previously exhibited, including political works like his epic “Standing Rock 2016,” subversive, darkly humored works like “Vatican Cafe,” as well as intimate paintings depicting family life and erotic, spiritual works. The exhibition opens Saturday, July 8 and runs through March 24 (free). More information here.

Ginger Commodore

Courtesy of the artist

Ginger Commodore

Ginger Commodore 

Twin Cities vocalist Ginger Commodore channels Tina Turner this weekend, in a tribute show at the Dakota. If anyone has got the chops to emulate the queen of rock, Commodore seems on top of the list with her powerful, soulful belt. Dennis Spears takes on Ike Turner’s baritone part, while Ash Smash (Ashley Commodore) and Lyndora Turner join in the performance. Keyboardist Brian Ziemniak, bass player Yohannes Tona, drummer Brandon Commodore, guitarist Deevo Dee, trumpeter Omar Abdulkarim and saxophonist Peter Vircks make up the band. The show goes on Sunday, July 9 at 7 p.m. at the Dakota ($20-35). More information here

Commodore is also doing a show featuring pop-rock hits of the 1960s and 70s on Saturday, July 8 at 8 p.m. at Crooners ($25-35). More information here

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National literary luminaries like Alexander Chee and Pulitzer Prize winner Mitchell S. Jackson will join local writers Shannon Gibney, Marcie Rendon, Carolyn Holbrook and many more for the return of The Loft Literary Center’s Wordplay Festival. After its smashing debut in 2019, featuring renowned authors and events over two days, the festival ran for two years virtually and took a hiatus last year. Now, it’s back for a one day event. 

There will be panels, a Drag Story Hour performance, and Wordplay after dark activities including a screening of M. Night Shyamalan’s “Knock at the Cabin,” followed by a talkback with Paul Tremblay, who wrote the book. Saturday, July 8 from 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Open Book with additional locations— see the website for details. ($20 in advance. $25 at the gate). More information here


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