Culture Compass: Maria Bamford, Fire in the Northern Firs and F. Scott Fitzgerald comes alive

A&E plans your weekend. Your welcome, ragamuffins.

Joseph Kleinschmidt



Listen to this: “Sleeping Ute” by Grizzly Bear

The second single from Grizzly Bear’s latest album, “Shields,” showcases the Brooklyn four-piece’s lilting pop harmonies over thoroughly constructed guitar-work. It’s a restless single from an even more challenging album that expands on 2009’s brilliant “Veckatimest.” If you think you’ve heard everything Grizzly Bear has to offer, “Sleeping Ute” proves otherwise. Vocalist Daniel Rossen explodes throughout the track “And I can’t help myself.” For a band charged with being too boring, each peak and valley the song rotates through keeps the demand for re-listening high until you can’t help yourself either.

Watch this: “Parks and Recreation,” fifth season premiere

When the first season of “Parks and Recreation” premiered, the half-hour mockumentary felt too much like a wannabe “The Office.” The bureaucracy of the local Pawnee, Ind., government now proves even more interesting and hilarious to watch compared to Dunder Mifflin. From Leslie Knope’s (Amy Poehler) overly ambitious aspirations to Ron Swanson’s (Nick Offerman) Libertarian philosophy, the show’s characters keep upping the humor with each passing season. Leslie Knope returns as the newly elected city council member in season five, which premieres Thursday at 8:30 p.m. on NBC.

Read this: “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union” by Michael Chabon

Several reasons exist why you should read Michael Chabon’s alternate history of the Jewish diaspora other than its gripping murder mystery or the fact that it won numerous science fiction awards. Chabon crafts a pulp detective story set in Sitka, Alaska, now turned a major Jewish settlement, and works within this mode to create humor and drama out of the novel’s initial homicide. Yiddish jokes are aplenty, too. (Cops call guns “sholem,” for instance.) If you’re looking for cool points, the Coen brothers are also planning on adapting the book into a feature film. For the speed readers, you can catch the Pulitzer Prize-winning author in person Friday when he speaks at the Minneapolis Central Library at 7 p.m.


Maria Bamford

St. Paul Student Center, North Star Ballroom

Doors 7:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m.

Two admitted with U-card

Maria Bamford’s bizarre menagerie of voices and impersonations make for comedy like no other. Self-deprecatory and psychologically revealing, her observations poke fun at her family and personal life. Bamford’s near-perfect Midwestern accents among her arsenal produce discomfort in the funniest way possible. Known for her bit roles in Adult Swim’s “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” and its spin-off with John C. Reilly, “Check it Out! with Dr. Steve Brule,” Bamford handles the comedy and art of eccentric expertly. More recently, she played herself opposite Louis C.K. on FX’s “Louie.” If these aren’t compelling reasons to get on the bus to St. Paul, keep in mind last time the Duluth native was in town she performed at ACME Comedy Co. for more than your (probable) hourly wage.


Fire in the Northern Firs LP Release

Kitty Cat Klub


8 p.m.


One of the most anticipated local releases of the fall includes Fire in the Northern Firs’ debut full-length, “Of Bones and Things.” The album’s release at the Kitty Cat Klub will surely provide an intimate space for the band to showcase their augmented krautrock. Frontwoman Carin Barno repurposes a telephone for her microphone on stage, causing an eerie filter for her voice to resonate through. The four-piece straddles shoe-gaze and post-punk on tracks like “Chatrooms,” off of the forthcoming release, but Fire in the Northern Firs plead for a live show’s listen. Other acts Wiping Out Thousands, Hollow Boys and Clap Chapel will join the band for an eclectic night of local music.


F. Scott Fitzgerald Walking Tours

James J. Hill House

$12 adults, $10 seniors and college students

1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Call 651-297-2555 for reservations

In his younger and more vulnerable years, F. Scott Fitzgerald was busy writing his first novel, “This Side of Paradise,” on Summit Ave. in St. Paul. Celebrate his lasting legacy and impact on literature with the F. Scott Fitzgerald walking tour, offered by the James J. Hill House. Consider it an early (or late) present for the “Lost Generation” author, whose birthday falls on the following day, Sept. 24. Born in 1896, Fitzgerald left an indelible mark on American literature with “The Great Gatsby.” Learn more about St. Paul’s impact on Fitzgerald’s short stories and novels, his relationship with his wife, Zelda, and connections to the Hill family on the 75-minute tour sure to give any doll or old bird a real historical boner for the Roaring Twenties era. If you’re not privy to learning about St. Paul’s literati god, consider the tour a primer for the forthcoming film adaptation of Fitzgerald’s 1929 classic, “The Great Gatsby,” due out next year starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby. (Though don’t expect to hear any nuggets of DiCaprio gossip on the tour.)