winter break scene

December 14


Agymah Kamau. As part of their 2001-2002 Mentor Series program, the Loft Literary Center presents award-winning author Agymah Kamau in a public program this week at the Open Book Performance Hall.

Kamau, a native of Barbados, originally pursued a career in economics and sought writing as a creative outlet. Kamau explains his reason for writing is “to create literature that serves the needs of those of us scattered throughout the African Diaspora”. His first novel, Flickering Shadows, was named by Library Journal as one of the top 20 first novels of 1996.

Village Voice listed his second novel, Pictures of a Dying Man, as one of the best books published in 1999. He will read excerpts from both of these books and one other that comprise his trilogy of novels set in Barbados. Two other Mentor Series participants, Dai Thao and Taiyon Coleman, will appear with Kamau. (Lora Barstad) $5/$7. The Loft, 1011 Washington Ave. S., Mpls. 7:30 p.m. (612) 215-2575.


December 15


Small Bronzes by Two Sculptors: Harriet Whitney Frishmuth and Paul Howard Manship. This winter, the Minnesota Museum of American Art will present Small Bronzes by Two Sculptors: Harriet Whitney Frishmuth and Paul Howard Manship. The exhibition compares the works of these two important early twentieth century sculptors, each of whom excelled in different styles. Born in Philadelphia and raised in Europe, Harriet Frishmuth was one of the groundbreaking women sculptors of her time and one of the few Americans to study with the famous French sculptor, Auguste Rodin. Inspired by the freedom and grace of modern dance and the human figure in motion, she portrayed these ideals in the naturalistic French style. Paul Manship, a St. Paul native, contributed to the development of Art Deco with his dramatic style. He was inspired by the ancient Greek sculpture he saw while studying at the American Academy in Rome, transforming his work into more simple and stylized themes. Though they found their influences in very different time periods and places, both sculptors successfully created lasting, dynamic sculptures for the modern age that are enjoyed today. (Marina Agerter) Free. Minnesota Museum of American Art, 505 Landmark Center, 75 West 5th St., St. Paul. Through February 10, 2002 Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Thursday, 11 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, 1 – 5 p.m. (651) 292-4340.


December 21


Winter Solstice Celebration. At 1:22 p.m. on Friday the 21st the Sun will shine directly over the Tropic of Capricorn, signaling the Solstice. After that, winter officially begins and our days become longer.

In ancient Rome, the Winter Solstice was occasion for servants to feast with their masters and parade in the streets. Shortly after the Solstice they celebrated Sigillaria by giving gifts and decorating their homes with green plants, traditions that we now associate with Christmas.

Modern Minnesotans celebrate the return of the sun by gathering at the Minneapolis Planetarium for the annual Winter Solstice Celebration. This year the event takes place before, during and after the Holidazzle Parade and features arts and crafts, telescope observing, winter story time and $1.00 holiday star shows. (Nick Dobbins) Free. Minneapolis Planetarium, 300 Nicollet Mall (inside the Public Library) 4p.m. to 8 p.m. (612) 630-6150.


January 4


Screening: Films First Fridays: The Hawaii Show. “All these shows are experiments,” says a surprisingly candid Mr. Hawaii Dude, talking about The Hawaii Show’s upcoming performance Friday, January 4 at Intermedia Arts. “But this time we’re going to try experimenting with some interactive video.”

While Dude, leader of the local rock performance act, admits he hasn’t really “worked on it yet,” his vision for the video project is clear in his mind.

“We’re going to mix it up. It’s going to be about half live and half video performance. Then part of the video will interact with the live show,” he says.

The plot will star Dude as a “kind of like Captain Kirk” battling bad guys via video (“You know how he always had the bad guys up on the screen there?”). The antagonists in this case are the Master of Disguise and the Pirate, played, respectively, by Hawaii Dhow manager Honolulu Higgins and The Afro-Disiac.

What else is Mr. Hawaii Dude planning to do over winer break?

“I’m going to Aspen because that’s where the hot tub was invented – no wait, that was cocaine.” (Dan Haugen) $7/$4. Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls. 8 p.m. AA.


January 4


Tou Ger Xiong: Teaching Culture Through Laughter. Tou Ger Xiong did not have a typical childhood. His family immigrated to the United States in 1979 after spending four years in a refugee camp in Thailand. After settling in St. Paul and as a student at Humboldt High School and Carleton College, Xiong experienced firsthand the difficult transition into a new culture that many Hmong-American youths are faced with. Along the way, Xiong learned that laughter is a universal language and humor can allow individuals to explore sensitive and controversial issues by bringing them together in a supportive environment. Xiong will bring his educational and upbeat program, Teaching Culture Through Laughter, to the Minnesota History Center next month. He uses humor and music to reach young people and in street-language style; he raps about dealing with racism, building self-esteem, and balancing a bicultural identity. Since Minnesota is home to more than 40,000 Hmong-Americans, Xiong’s important program helps bring a sense of understanding and acceptance in the community as he explores the Hmong’s transition between two worlds. (Marina Agerter) Free. Minnesota Historical Society, 345 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul. 2 p.m. (651) 296-6126.


January 11-13


Wordance. Indian dance company Ragamala Music and Dance Theater of Minneapolis, and African dance troupe Ko-Thi Dance Company of Milwaukee combine their culturally-based dance onto one stage. Ko-Thi’s bold, high-energy style and Ragamala’s poised, sensual dance join together through rhythm in Wordance, yet keep their styles completely separate.

Wordance, the name inspired by the spoken syllables used by both cultures to express rhythm, is performed in traditional costumes to live music. It is one of twenty projects nationwide to receive a National Dance Project Grant from the New England Foundation for the Arts.

Ko-Thi, choreographed and directed by Ferne Yangyeitie Caulker, is the third-oldest African dance company in the country. The company tours nationally and internationally. They use a variety of traditional instruments, native costumes and inspiring energy.

Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy direct and choreograph for Ragamala Music and Dance Theater. They base their choreography on the classical style of Bharatanatyam. This South Indian dance style blends classical steps and rhythmic patterns with expressive dance to demonstrate themes of love and devotion found in Hindu mythology. (Angie Bents) $15-$22. O’Shaughnessy Auditorium, 2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. on Sunday (612) 823-1872.