Weekend Picks: Twin Cities Jazz Festival, the Dalai Lama, and an AR Sacred Hoop Walk

From the Twin Cities Jazz Festival to a play celebrating the Dalai Lama, it’s a great weekend to get outside and experience art. Marlena Myles’ highly-anticipated Sacred Hoop AR Walk opens this weekend to a sold-out event, but you can go anytime afterwards with regular admission to see Myles’ next-level augmented reality. Also this week, Pillsbury House + Theatre premieres its latest piece by Sharon Bridgforth, Tia Keobounpheng takes over the MAEP Gallery at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and artists with disabilities unveil their giant butterfly murals at the Northtown Mall in Blaine. 

Twin Cities Jazz Festival 

The thrum of Cuban beats, New Orleans brass, and American jazz rhythms will take over downtown St. Paul this weekend for the return of the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. Local and national acts perform outdoors at Mears Park and at venues all around the area (kj’s hideaway, the Landmark Center, Big River Pizza, and many more). So, whether you bring a lawn chair and get ready to take in the summer breeze with a hint of saxophone, or head indoors to the many nightclubs and venues participating in the festival, you’ll get an around the world experience with local and national acts. 

Don’t miss New York-based composer, saxophonist, and singer Camille Thurman, performing with the Darrell Green Quartet on Friday at 6 p.m. at Mears Park, and the legendary Havana-born clarinet player, saxophonist and composer, Paquito D’Rivera. The 14-timeGrammy winner and Carnegie Hall Lifetime Achievement Award winner has recorded more than 30 solo albums and is a not to miss act at the festival. He performs with Dizzy Gillespie Afro-Latin Experience on Friday at 8:30 p.m. at Mears Park. 

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Saturday’s headliners include Davina and the Vagabonds, performing at 6 p.m. in the park, followed by composer/bassist and bandleader Christian McBride, from New Jersey at 8:30 p.m. 

Also watch out for Avant Garde Presents, organized by Chadwick “Niles” Phillips, who is hosting the TPT stage this year. Avant Garde brings in Grammy-winning trumpeter Nabaté Isles performing with Jeff Bailey on bass, Kevin Washington on drums and Kayvesh Kavira on piano at the TPT stage

Finally, local Jazz singer Katia Cardenas has partnered with the festival and Jazz88 to organize youth programming, including a program of youth performances and music clinics with festival headliners. Cardenas also brings her earthy voice to the Creator’s Space (7th & Wacouta) on Friday at 7:30 p.m. performing with Ted Godbout, Ted Olsen, and Beth Varela. 

Pre-festival shows begin Thursday, June 22 at various venues, with the main event taking place, Friday, June 23 and Saturday, June 24. (Free, some of the indoor venues charge covers). More information here

TigerLion Arts has worked with Minnesota’s Tibetan community for a new processional theater piece about the Dalai Lama.

Courtesy of TigerLion Arts

TigerLion Arts has worked with Minnesota’s Tibetan community for a new processional theater piece about the Dalai Lama.

Buddha Prince 

TigerLion Arts developed its “walking play” technique, bringing audiences to different spaces in one outdoor venue for its production of “Nature,” about Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Now the company has worked with Minnesota’s Tibetan community (the second largest in the U.S.) for a new processional theater piece about the Dalai Lama. 

With the Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota, they are celebrating the Dalai Lama through physical theater, mask, puppetry, and Tibetan music and dance orchestrated by master Tibetan artist Tenzin Ngawang. Audience members move through Washburn Fair Oaks Park as the performers take them on a journey from boyhood in Tibet to his exile in India. Friday, June 23 at 6 p.m., Saturday, June 24 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., Sunday, June 25 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., through June 29 at Washburn Fair Oaks Park, ($25 adults with a pay-what-you-can option, children under 12 free). More information here

Artists in front of the butterfly mural

Courtesy of Achieve Service

Artists in front of the butterfly mural

Achieve Wings

Artists with disabilities working with the Blaine, Minnesota-based Achieve Services have been hard at work creating a giant butterfly mural project which they’re unveiling this weekend with a ribbon cutting ceremony and celebration. The artists will be on hand along with the group’s house band, “Dance at Your Own Risk.” 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday, June 23 at Northtown Mall (free). More information here

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Tia Keobounpheng: Revealing Threads 

Fresh off a riveting solo show at SooVAC Gallery, and from designing Semisonic’s recent album cover, “A Little Bit of Sun,” artist Tia Keobounpheng heads to Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program gallery at the Minneapolis Institute of Art for “Revealing Threads,” an exhibition that features abstract tapestries inspired by Nordic craft techniques. Of Finnish and Sámi descent, Keobounpheng traveled to Sápmi, the area the Sámi people call their traditional territory in the Northern parts of Scandinavia and Western Russia. There, she re-connected with cultural language and histories that ultimately informed her recent vivid works. The show runs July 22, through October 29, 2023 at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (free). More information here

AR Sacred Hoop Walk

Marlena Myles, who just in the past month has been awarded a $50,000 Knight Foundation Arts + Tech Fellowship, and a $75,000 Joyce Award, unveils her latest augmented reality project at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, called the Dakota Sacred Hoop Walk. The installation features five locations within the Landscape Arboretum— beginning at the Harrison Sculpture Garden and concluding at the Ornamental Grass Collection. At each stop, visitors experience the Dakota land and history in an entirely new way, thanks to Myles’s designs and audio visual experience (make sure you bring ear buds and download the Revelo AR app from Pixel Farm before you go). The opening event is sadly sold out but you can visit the AR Sacred Hoop Walk during regular hours at the Arboretum after that. ($15 regular admission) See here for more info.

Aimee K. Bryant and Omi Osun Joni L. Jones in “bull-jean / we wake.”

Courtesy of Pillsbury House + Theatre

Aimee K. Bryant and Omi Osun Joni L. Jones in “bull-jean / we wake.”

bull-jean / we wake

Pillsbury House + Theatre wraps up its season-long focus on playwright/poet/theater artist Sharon Bridgforth with the premiere of bull-jean / we wake, directed by Daniel Alexander Jones. (You can read my interview with Bridforth here.) Aimee K. Bryant and Omi Osun Joni L. Jones star in the jazz-infused ritual installation, filled with moments of audience interaction. Thursday, June 22, and Friday, June 23 at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 24 and Sunday, June 25 at 3 p.m., through July 2 at Pillsbury House + Theatre. ($30 regular price with pay as you are options). More information here.


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