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Love Song to a Clement World
During a 2010 trip to the Arctic, Cynthia Hopkins serenaded a sailing vessel, the Noorderlicht, that carried her and other artists on what she calls a “lucky, life-transforming” journey. First sung with ukelele accompaniment on the ship’s deck, the song is now part of Hopkins’ new climate-themed music-theater work, one she characterizes as a “love song to the miraculous clemency of our world.”
Ganesh, Nazis, and the Elephant in the Room
Staging a story of the deity Ganesh traveling to Nazi Germany to reclaim the Sanskrit symbol of the swastika was complex enough, even without this factor: It’s told not by a Jewish or Hindu cast but through “actors perceived to have intellectual disabilities.” Back to Back Theatre’s Bruce Gladwin discusses the work and the questions it raises about exploitation, power, and cultural appropriation.
Reconstructing King Lear’s Tragic Condition
Ever since Shakespeare penned King Lear in the early 1600s, the tragedy’s text has been endlessly challenged—so much so, writes Guthrie Theater senior dramaturg Michael Lupu, that it’s nearly impossible to find a “pure” Lear. From a 1681 version with a happy ending to Peter Brook’s famed 1962 staging, Lear has seen countless reconstructions—including She She Pop’s Lear with a twist, Testament.
25 Years on the Edge: Mark Russell on Out There’s Anniversary
The best performance work, says PS122’s founding director Mark Russell, comes from crossing and combining genres or disciplines: “Those were the cracks where the light gets in.” In conversation with the Walker’s Philip Bither, Russell reflects on punk, performance, and the legacy of the Walker’s Out There festival at the quarter-century mark.
Laurie Anderson: Stories from the Never-Ending War
Amid the clamor of Super PAC–powered politicians duking it out on a whole new level this election season, Laurie Anderson’s Dirtday! offers a timely, quietly powerful rejoinder. An artist who normally steers clear of directly addressing politics in her work, she recently discussed her motivations in applying the “sharp tools” of her art to the topics of peace, politics, and never-ending war.
Walker Flashback: Art in the 1980s
Archivist Jill Vuchetich offers a sampling of Walker events, from the premier of David Byrne’s The Knee Plays to a 1988 exhibition by Tim Rollins and K.O.S.
Performing Through Crisis: Patrick Scully on Art and AIDS in the 1980s
Patrick Scully as told to Paul Schmelzer
Turning 27 in 1980, Patrick Scully left the dance collective he called home to work independently and “explore what being gay meant to me as an artist.” A decade that began with optimism yielded surprises as political conservatism, the destruction of his downtown block, and AIDS rocked his world. For our continuing series reflecting on the Twin Cities in the 1980s, Scully shares his memories.
A Performance Chronology
In the 1980s and 1990s, the Walker welcomed performing artists like Bill T. Jones, Karen Finley, and Ron Athey, whose work reflected concerns of the day. In conjunction with the exhibition This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s, John Killacky, performing arts curator from 1988 to 1996, shares his memories of Walker performances—and politics—of the era.