Get your art on and get ‘Izzy,’ fo’ shizzle

Celebrate fall with the starving artist’s version of homecoming.

I wasn’t joking when I told y’all to see three plays this year. I will make you hurt. Intellectually.

I suggest you spend part of tonight on the West Bank of your pristine campus. No, I don’t mean schlepping a Middlebrook laundry cart packed with phone books only to toss them out of a lounge window. Make the University’s ARTSmosis the place to get your Friday night lights.

The event is an all-too-rare showcase for students attending classes and creating work in the Arts Quarter – that cluster of Regis, Ferguson, Rarig and the Barker housing the art, music, theater and dance majors. As the old saying goes, come for the ice cream, stay for the interdisciplinary collaboration.

If you want to avoid the elephantine wrath of starving art majors, I advise you to get there before the 5 p.m. start time.

You’ll have time to immerse yourself in the limitless possibilities of the unknown and the unanticipated. For five hours.

A highlight is sure to be “Not Your Mama’s Fashion Show,” an amalgam of funky costumes, three dancers, and music to boot.

A particularly imagination-firing piece will be “Firefly Circle.” Set under the Washington Avenue Bridge, it will feature performers given simple rules to create complex ritualistic patterns that they can’t readily perceive or understand. The similarly engrossing and interactive “Intoxication and the Plastic Energy Complex,” which involves wireless sensors placed on dancer-choreographer Heather Parker control elements from composer-programmer Zac Crockett. It’s a Greek-style battle of the gods and the sexes for control. While you’re on this human-relationship kick, check out “An Anagram for a Heartbeat,” a bird’s-eye view of photography and poetry.

Be ready for the workshop-style “Transformation: Restriction Game/Freedom Dance,” a “living poem” traversing the metamorphosis from restriction to freedom. In the true collaborative spirit of ARTSmosis, this piece features cast members from several departments arting their hearts out..

Ongoing throughout the evening will be “Radio Sub Rosa,” which takes strange and ambient shortwave broadcasts and rearranges and re-imagines them. “Drop Me Up and Lift Me Down” is participatory and involves tumbling on the grass and a tarp.

If you run headlong into someone from the Arts Quarter Collective, thank them. The AQC has become perhaps the best advocate for arts students at the University, which is often a lonely place for anyone with, as Pete Townshend says, “a guitar or a pen.”

The organization’s sole mission is to re-grant its meager pool of funding to brash, risk-taking and talented artists, who then turn what few Benjamins they have to veritable Apollos and Dionysians. Their signature event for the year is tonight, compadres.

Connect with them. The opportunities to support experimental arts at the University of Minnesota are few and far between. Attendance at last year’s ARTSmosis festival – 400 students – doubled that of 2003. Tonight, let’s give our resident purveyors of beauty their own homecoming.

Unlike a certain other overpriced, overrated student group, you’ll never see them forced to punt.

And even if they chose to, you can bet it would be rendered beautifully.

Adri Mehra welcomes comments at [email protected].