On the Townsend

By John Townsend July 16, 2008

Categories: Arts & Culture, Our Scene

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Queer Boyz Nite
July 25-26, 8 PM
Patrick’s Cabaret
3010 Minnehaha Ave. S., Mpls.
(612) 721-3595
www.patrickscabaret.org

That wonderful dancer with the campy comic flair, Justin Leaf, is curating Queer Boyz Nite at Patrick’s Cabaret. You can bet he’ll be funny, but beneath the exterior, he’s got some pretty serious views. For example, his Songs of Papa segment will channel to absurd and ironic effect his strong views not only on being queer, but also as a self-described feminist and vegan.

Leaf asserts, “I question any spiritual institution relying on antiquated scripture that advocates the subjugation of women, animals, and/or homosexuals. I explore religion as it concerns patriarchal authority that subdues our sexual instincts, which I believe to be purely natural. It has long been my interest to understand how spirituality and sexuality are intertwined. Freedom to be one’s self feels like ultimate spirituality. The courage and conviction to live one’s truth are spiritual virtues. To me, a religion that restricts that freedom is not, in fact, spiritual, but is, instead, riddled with hypocrisy.”

What’s more, Leaf also looks at teen pregnancy through this lens, asking, “When is someone’s body his or her own property? Who is making choices for the individual? Does she make the choice? At what point do we as individuals have a right to choose for ourselves? When the choice is made, who takes the responsibility?”

Leaf has invited the following artists to perform: Nicolas Lincoln, Kenny Kiser, David Schmidt, and Scotty Reynolds, along with Kats Fukasawa, who combines humor with the Butoh dance tradition.

We Gotta Bingo
July 26-Aug. 10
Lowry Theater
16 W. 5th St., St. Paul
(651) 227-2464
www.ActorsMN.org

Back in the 1990s, the interactive comedy Tony and Tina’s Wedding was all the rage at Hey City Stage in Minneapolis. That production employed and developed some of the region’s best comedy talent back then. Frankly, those people only have gotten better in the years since. You may have caught some of them at Hardcover’s recent marvel, Johnny Bocca’s Sex Farce For Swingin’ Singles. You can catch some of them again in the reprise of We Gotta Bingo at Actors Theater of Minnesota’s Lowry Theater home. Indeed, the show, with its German beer hall atmosphere and Italian dinner, has been a recurring sleeper hit for a while now.

Eric Webster, who plays the show’s bingo caller, loves working with a sharp-witted cast who can think and quip on their feet like gangbusters.

As Webster explains, “The show is primarily improv, putting a bunch of actors into a real situation, and giving them the conclusion of the story, and watch how they get there in a new way every night. It takes a very well-rounded and multidimensional actor to pull this off, combining improv, comic timing with acting ability, in a live setting where the audience interacts with the show.”

Director Mark Bergren adds, “The show has so many familiar threads for the audience to immediately respond to: a church fund-raiser, actually playing bingo with a high-energy loopy host, archetypal characters, not to mention a great polka band, food, and dancing. We’ve worked to make the audience believe that this is a very special event in which they are taking part…Oh, yeah, and cocktails.”

Fit For A Queen: The Nobel Gowns of Queen Silvia
Through Aug. 17
American Swedish Institute
2600 Park Ave., Mpls.
(612) 871-4907
www.americanswedishinst.org

Every December, Sweden’s Queen Silvia is central to the festivities surrounding the awarding of the Nobel Prize. Of course, that means she has to look absolutely fabulous. Now, you can see for yourself just how fabulous, as the gowns she has worn at past Nobel ceremonies and banquets are on display at the American Swedish Institute. Some of the most illustrious designers have been commissioned for them, including Christian Dior, Nina Ricci, Jorgen Bender, and Yuki. But the Queen doesn’t merely request these gowns—she essentially collaborates with the designers.

German-born Silvia met Carl Gustav XVI at the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics when he was Crown Prince of Sweden. Following his succession to the throne, she became Queen when she married the King in 1976. Cofounding the World Childhood Foundation in 1999, she has been a towering figure in sounding the global alarm about sexual abuse, exploitation, and trafficking of children, as well as the plight of children with HIV/AIDS.

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