Culture Compass: Nada Surf, “Chasing Ice” and Emily Dickinson

A&E plans your weekend. You’re welcome, rubes.

by Joseph Kleinschmidt




Who: Nada Surf with Eternal Summers

Where: Fine Line Music Cafe

318 N. First Ave., Minneapolis

When: 8:30 p.m.

Price: $18


Somewhere between 1990s fuzz bands The Lemonheads and Weezer, Nada Surf’s alternative edge sounds much like a slacker’s wet dream. They’re through slyly complaining about popularity in high school (see: 1996’s “Popular”), on to more mature themes on this year’s release, “The Stars are Indifferent to Astronomy.” Sway like you’ve never swayed before.



What: “Chasing Ice”

Where: Uptown Theatre

2906 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis

When: 7:30 p.m., 9:35 p.m.

Price: $9


As a photojournalist for National Geographic, James Balog set out to discover if any evidence that proves climate change exists. Once a skeptic, his Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) documented in “Chasing Ice” changed his mind. His camera gives a multi-year time lapse of the disappearing glaciers in the Arctic, incontrovertible proof of humans’ destructive impact. Catch Balog after the first showing for a Q-and-A.



What: Emily Dickinson’s Black & White Birthday Bash

Where: The Loft Literary Center

1011 S. Washington Ave., Minneapolis

When: 7 p.m.

Price: Free


Taste liquor never brewed for the birthday of the woman in white, Emily Dickinson. Or better yet, prepare yourself beforehand with alcohol in tow because the event features open recitations of the poetry of one of the most reclusive and death-obsessed poets of American literature. Dress in all black or white to further your obsession, but be careful not to upchuck on yourself — a Tide to Go pen will hardly wash off the embarrassment you’ll receive from a crowd of former doctoral candidates and Prius owners.




Listen to this: “Silver & Gold,” Sufjan Stevens


Stretching five discs of music, totaling to nearly three hours, Sufjan Stevens’ latest Christmas-tied project leaves a clash between a love for Santa and a distaste for everything horribly repulsive about the holiday. Now streaming online, the effort ranges from stripped-down covers with an aching voice to moments that recall an interstellar psychedelic trip from his brilliant 2010 release, “The Age of Adz.” Enjoy the varying collection of tracks like you enjoy the overrated holiday — with equal parts nostalgia and cynicism.


Consider this: “That’s So Random: The Evolution of an Odd Word,” NPR’s “All Things Considered”


From the publishing company Random House, to a bunch of Massachusetts Institute of Technology computer nerds in the 1960s referring to students as “randomized tools” and finally with the slang usage of “random” in 1995’s teen comedy “Clueless,” the word “random” might simply be just too overused. Nowadays, the word might as well join “literally,” “awkward” or “epic.” Here’s hoping the word’s evolution reaches its pinnacle with an Alicia Silverstone movie. That’d be random.


Read this: “Green World,” Sherman Alexie


One of Sherman Alexie’s more understated short stories from this year’s collection, “Blasphemy,” appears to satirize the environmental movement. A man picks up the fallen birds that a giant windmill kills with each rotating blade, pondering his job as a gatherer. But the lasting appeal of “Green World,” a story under three pages long, is the brevity behind Alexie’s descriptions. His utopia extends infinitely beyond the prescient relation between our dead feathery friends.