by Ann Klefstad, editor   September 10, 2007

School has started, pull up your socks, look for some seriously engaged art—we’ve got news of it here.

Stop by the Soap Factory for the big Host show: an installation of artists from here and elsewhere, curated by Elizabeth Grady of the Whitney Museum, doing interesting, prickly thinking about what an individual might be in relation to larger structures like the technosphere, or the media world, or political ideologies, or political struggles, or even weather.

Lightsey Darst reviews “here it is / here it is” by Melissa Birch, at the Bryant-Lake Bowl through September 23: an unclassifiable performance that thinks about women, power, and the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into, but does it to entertaining and seamless effect.

Plus we reprise our review of Catherine Sullivan’s performance/installation at the Walker: the one that presents the history of the Western world and some thoughts on colonialism and economics.

Do you get the feeling that artists are getting serious about being part of the world again?

Even the usually ebullient Terri Ford is grave, albeit with wit, in the first poem of the new What Light series, “Poem with Toxic Amphibian.” We also present some information on the judges that picked the new poems; Ford’s poem was Eric Lorberer’s choice.

In our podcast Some Assembly Required, samplefan Jon Nelson presents some favorites from the past: the 2002 Staalplaat release Minneapolis Summit, featuring Escape Mechanism, Steev Hise, The Tape-beatles and Wobbly, along with a few additional tracks by the artists involved with that recording. Our other podcast, Radio mnartists, features Larry Yazzie, a Navajo dancer who has a fascinating show coming up with Ananya Chatterjea at St Catherine’s this month.

As we are going back to school, see, from the great a&E, our email newsletter edited by Susannah Schouweiler, Dara Moskowitz's essay about art and her kid. Looking ahead to the Ivey Awards later this month (Monday, September 24), we reprint an essay commissioned for the first Ivey season, 2005: Jaime Kleiman thinks about avant-garde theater in ”Beyond Beginning, Middle, and End.” It’s good advice for anyone trying to get his or her head around the new.