access+ENGAGE   the definitive alternative   Issue #15.2

In this Issue: Twisting the Lens

—Featuring a collection of avant garde photography assembled by a+E's guest curator Sean Smuda, photographer and founder of Minneapolis's Shoebox Gallery

For this issue, a+E celebrates photography that tricks the senses and captivates the imagination. For these innovative artists, the camera is rarely pointed dead ahead and the vision behind the lens is anything but ordinary. Photographer and Shoebox Gallery founder Sean Smuda has assembled an eclectic Mashup collection of avant garde pieces, offering his own singular curatorial tour through the work. Don’t miss this issue’s mnAccess discount for the new What Light poetry anthology (and you can mark the book launch party on your calendars, while you’re at it). As usual, You Are Here offers a cornucopia of arts happenings. And, by the way, if you’ve been hankering for some kid-friendly events, we’ve included a few can’t-miss options for your next outing.

Mashup: Guest curator photographer Sean Smuda

Fever Dream by Nathan


I approached this mashup in its true spirit and hyperlinked directly from my artist’s statement (in bold below) as this collection's organizing principle. And because the gravy ranneth over, make sure you see the whole collection on!

In my current work, dream and allegory inspired narratives take on politics, pop and art history. Playing off the factual nature of photography, it shows representation as a fantastic theater of moral ambiguity and contemplation. Topicalities are engaged Rest Hereand opened to change by showing them in new relationships and symbol systems. Characters either confront or stand in for the viewer, inviting one to re-view its themes and stories and see the deeper ritualistic and ceremonial manners inherent in culture.     Sean Smuda

Click here to browse through the full collection of innovative photography with a guided tour from Sean Smuda.

Editor's note: Sean has taken full advantage of's "make a collection" software capabilities, interjecting his stream-of-consciousness, often haiku-esque curatorial insights throughout the collection as it is assembled on The effect is that of having Sean personally guide you through this tricky, surreal, delicious collection of innovative photography one work at a time.

Sean Smuda, photo taken by Felicia Glidden

About the curator: Sean Smuda is a photographer and founder of Minneapolis' Shoebox Gallery. You can browse through a provocative suite of thirteen new photographs by Sean Smuda entitled Dreams and Allegories on display at Flanders Contemporary Art Gallery through April 28.


Photo credits (top to bottom): Fever Dream, photo by Nathan Lewis, silver gelatin fiber print, 20" x 16", 2006. Rest Here, photo by Leslie Ostrander. Photo of Sean Smuda by Felicia Glidden.

Homepage: Catch up on the latest features from’s 10,000th artist!

Photo of Matthew Mallette courtesy WAC

The Walker’s Off-Center blogger, Paul Schmelzer, has posted an entertaining little interview with Saint Louis Park resident and mixed-media artist/painter Matthew Mallette,’s 10,000th artist in honor of the occasion.

Welcome to MnArts Weekly!

Postboxes, photos by Aaron Lundstrom

Please let us know what you think of our new format. This week the articles range from Baudette to the 8th Ward in search of embedded artists: Aaron Lundstrom continues his Pragmatic Art series in Outland, and Shannon Gibney goes Behind the Scenes to report on arts researcher Ann Markusen’s meeting with artists to plan grass-roots-relevant civic art strategy. In the Galleries, we find writing on Sean Smuda (this issue’s Mashup curator); In Performance has Lightsey Darst thinking about how fire performance may be theater but almost certainly is religion. What Light presents a poet new to Minnesota, Amy Swing. Radio mnartists features venerable poet and performer J. Otis Powell!'s DIY Arts Calendar

Are you posting your events on the new calendar yet? Upload images, film clips, mp3 files, and post ticket info, gallery hours, exhibit details—whatever you want people to know. Then, go one step further and link to your pages to show the audience more examples of your work. Any other artists involved with your event? Now, you can link to their pages too, as well as any relevant websites or articles. And best of all, it’s a community-driven resource that will be as layered and interesting as you make it. It’s easy to get started: click here for a step-by-step guide to getting your event listed in the new calendar listings.


You Are Here


American Craft Show

Glass vase by Todd Cameron, an exhibitor at the craft show.

The American Craft Show in Saint Paul (formerly the Saint Paul Fine Craft Show) will present the work of 250 premiere contemporary craft artists from across the country. Artists will exhibit and sell their designer jewelry, clothing, furniture, home décor, and other fine handicrafts. More than 10,000 visitors are expected to attend the annual show, which attracts a variety of art and design enthusiasts from all over the state, from the savvy collector to the casual browser.

Where: Saint Paul RiverCentre, Saint Paul
When: Friday, April 13, 2007 10 am – 8pm; Saturday, April 14, 2007 10 am – 6pm; Sunday, April 15, 2007 10 am – 5pm
Tickets: $12 per person
($18 for a two-day pass, children 12 and under and American Craft Council members admitted for free)

Fine African Craft by Rabi Sanfo and Burkina Faso

Miscellaneous by Rabi Sanfo

Browse through a collection of Rabi Sanfo’s modern African furniture and decorative objects inspired by his native homeland, along with an array of distinctive African handicrafts from Burkina Faso.

Where: Q.arma Building, Minneapolis

When: April 6, from 6 pm to 9 pm. African drumming and dance will start at 7:30 pm.

Tickets: FREE and open to the public


Barn Dance

Photo courtesy GREAT Theatre

Bring the kids and have some good, honest fun at this old-fashioned potluck and barn dance, where you can watch and learn folk dances from around the world. There will be live music performed by Cristina Seaborn's Orchestra.

Where: GREAT Theatre, Saint Cloud, MN
When: Sunday, April 1, from 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Tickets: Suggested donations of $5 per person, $15 per family

James Sewell Ballet’s

First Chance Dance

Photo courtesy James Sewell Ballet

First Chance Dance is a 50-minute performance, shown without intermission, for young or first-time viewers of any age. The house lights will be partially illuminated and it’s perfectly acceptable to come and go as you need to. The program includes excerpts from Opera Moves (1991/2007), with choreography by James Sewell, and from Tarantella (1964) with choreography by George Balanchine.


Where: The Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis

When: April 14, and the performance starts at 11 am.

Tickets: $10 (kids three years old and younger may attend free)


Voltage: Fashion Amplified



In a match made in heaven, musicians and designers are uniting for an incredible runway rock show. Come join the fun and rub elbows and hemlines with local media, retailers, revelers, rock stars and starlets. And it’s not just one evening of rock and fashion: other related happenings include a listening party in honor of the Voltage compilation CD (featuring tracks from participating bands), and the Voltage Fashion Weekend that will be held at local boutiques the weekend following the show. And all of this is for a proper cause: proceeds from the show will go to support both the “Artist’s Access to Healthcare” program from Springboard for the Arts and the emerging non-profit MNfashion, through which Voltage is expanding its base of influence and its ability to serve the local music and fashion communities.


Where: First Avenue, Minneapolis

When: April 11, 7 pm

Tickets: $11 (through Ticketmaster or around town)

Literary Events

Beauty, Lilacs and Cruelty: Four Women Poets Stage a Reading

Photo courtesy the poets

Four poets—Margaret Hasse, Patricia Kirkpatrick, Angela Shannon and Wang Ping—are staging a reading of their poems called Beauty, Lilacs, and Cruelty, to celebrate April as National Poetry Month. Jesse Katzman will provide the music. The theme is inspired by poet T.S. Eliot who wrote: “April is the cruelest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land…”

Where: Patrick’s Cabaret, Minneapolis

When: April 13 and 14, the reading begins at 8 pm both nights

Tickets: $8

What Light Book Launch

and Reading

Cover art for What Light by

James Michael Lawrence

In conjunction with the April release of's poetry anthology What Light, we’re having a book launch and reading where What Light contributing poets will read from their work. Edited by poet and critic Lightsey Darst and showcasing the work of 27 Minnesota poets (many of whom were drawn from winning poetry featured the weekly series), the book features such esteemed poets as Anna George Meek, Ryan Vine, Jen March, Robert Buchko, Joyce Sutphen, Cass Dalglish, and Thom Swiss.

Where: Lucia’s Bakery and Wine Bar, Minneapolis

When: April 15, from 5 pm to 7 pm

Tickets: FREE and open to the public


Bluegrass Festival

Photo of Pert' Near Sandstone courtesy the artists

If you’re a fan of bluegrass and roots tunes, you won’t want to miss this lineup of amazing music, featuring both open jams and performances from The Roe Family Singers, Pert’ Near Sandstone, The San Souci Quartet, the High 48s and many more.


Where: The Suburban World Theatre, Minneapolis

When: March 30-31. Friday night the open jam starts at 4 pm and the bands begin playing at 8 pm; Saturday the open jam begins at 2 pm and the bands start performing at 8 pm.

Tickets: $10 for one night, $15 to attend both nights

Richard Griffith: Renaissance Lute

Photo of Richard Griffith courtesy the artist

In the “Who knew?” category of cool events, here’s an evening of authentic Renaissance lute music performed by one of the area's favorite local lutenists. Like what you hear? You can find out more about Griffith’s upcoming performances by visiting his website.


Where: Tillie’s Bean Coffeehouse, Minneapolis

When: April 13, the performance begins at 7:30 pm.

Tickets: Admission is FREE, tips for the performer are encouraged

Parties and Galas

Gallery Grooves at Frame-Ups

Waiting for Rain, by Laura Drabant, smoke-fired raku clay, 17" x 4.5" x 11.5", 2003.

Come see and be seen among pieces of fantastic work by a number of Minnesota artists, drink a little wine, and listen to some live jazz performed by the Envy Jazz Collective. Gallery Grooves, sponsored by The Rake and KBEM Jazz 88.5, is being held in support of children’s art programs at Free Arts Minnesota (10% of all proceeds will benefit the cause).


Where: The Gallery at Frame Ups, Minneapolis

When: April 19, 7 pm

Tickets: Admission is FREE and open to the public


Improbable Theatre:

The ANIMO Project

Photo appears courtesy WAC and the Improbable Theatre Company

A bristle brush becomes a swamp creature, a newspaper morphs into a swan, and a slew of characters are born before your very eyes during this evening of improvised “chaos magic.” The UK-based Improbable Theatre excels in transforming the everyday into the sublime. Founders Phelim McDermott, Lee Simpson, and Julian Crouch are bringing Improbable Theatre company members together with local puppeteers, musicians, and performers to create a special Minneapolis version of their ever inventive, object-theater experiment ANIMO.


Where: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

When: April 19-21. Most shows begin at 8 pm, but there’s a matinee performance at 2 pm on Saturday, April 21.

Tickets: $18 ($14 for WAC members)

Messy Utopia

This unique, five-playwright, tag-team play is by, for, about and featuring biracial people. Written by Aditi Kapil, Naomi Iizuka, Velina Hasu Houston, Janet Allard, and Seema Sueko, the performance is staged in all corners of Mixed Blood's Alan Page Auditorium. This world premiere show begins with the question asked of all people of blended racial heritage: "What are you?"


Where: Mixed Blood Theatre, Minneapolis

When: The play runs from April 20 through May 13

Tickets: Prices vary.

Adventures of Don Quixote

What child isn’t drawn to stories about knights and squires, witches, and quests? Introduce kids to Cervantes’ classic hero and his windmills through performance artist Paulino Brener’s highly interactive, bilingual, and smartly funny stage adaptation of the adventures of Don Quixote. Recommended for children six years old and up and their families.


Where: Dreamland Arts, Saint Paul

When: Saturday, April 7 at 2 pm

Tickets: $7 ($5 for kids)


The Dérive, a Situationist stroll, acts as a metaphor for an artistic endeavor with a known starting point, but no fixed destination. Asked to draw inspiration from a short piece of literature without context, six artists or groups have been asked to disrupt their usual creative processes to create short performance works that share a point of origin, and then diverge. The artists performing in Dérive claim a place in Minneapolis's “secret mainstream” as individuals and institutions that, though generally small in size, are influential, innovative figures in the cultural landscape of the Twin Cities.


Where: Northwestern Casket Company Building, Minneapolis

When: April 5-14

Tickets: $14 (See for performance schedules and ticket information.)

Visual Arts

John Grider: Big Little Victories

Billy Goat House by John Grider

Minneapolis-based artist John Grider transforms the white walls of the gallery with an installation of stencil painting, creating a toxic landscape of post-apocalyptic imagery with only a razorblade and spray paint. See more work on his website or on


Where: Art of This Gallery, Minneapolis

When: April 7-29. Opening Saturday, April 7 at 8 pm.

Tickets: FREE and open to the public

Art Crank 07

The bicycle is one of the most democratic, accessible inventions in history. In form and function, it ranges from simple to complex, cheap to spendy, sexy to scary. Pedaling a bike isn’t just transportation, exercise or thrillseeking – it’s pure self-expression. Which is why a poster show celebrating bike culture in all of its (per)mutations makes such perfect sense. Thirty-five artists take on one simple, beautiful machine. Hijinks ensue.


Where: One on One Bikes+Coffee+Stuff, Minneapolis

When: The exhibit runs from April 7 through April 28. The opening reception (with food, beer, and live music by Keston and Westdal) will be Saturday, April 7 at 7 pm.

Tickets: FREE and open to the public

Browse through more up-to-the-minute events listings or post a show of your own on's community-driven, DIY arts events calendar.

Need another compelling reason to use this great new resource? a+E's You Are Here event listings are drawn almost entirely from the new calendar, so if you want to improve the odds you'll see your event mentioned here, better start posting your events!

We've made it super easy to begin: here's a step-by-step guide that'll show you how to promote your own events on the new arts calendar.


The What Light poetry anthology is

hot off the presses and we want you to have it!

Get $4 off the book if you order directly from from 3/29 through 4/12

Milkweed, drawing by Lisa M. Bergh, the artist responsible for the lovely line-drawings throughout the interior of the What Light poetry anthology.

To order the What Light anthology, email your book order to and put "What Light" in the subject line.

You can also pick up a copy of the What Light anthology at independent bookstores in the Twin Cities, but this special offer is only available if the book is ordered online through With the online discount, the What Light anthology will cost a+E readers $8, four dollars off of the retail price of $12.

One for the Road

Pillow by Troy Williams, from the series Poem Black Paper, 2004.

You can see much more of Williams's moody, haunting photography on his website.

Gun by Troy Williams


Project Director,  Kathleen Kvern

access+ENGAGE Editor:  Susannah Schouweiler

Original e-journal design: Brand & Butter

Featured Contributors and Artists

Banner image (cropped and reprinted here with artists' permission): Gatorbaby, a photo by Rebecca Graham. Graham is one of the photographers highlighted in this issue's Mashup collection by guest curator Sean Smuda. You can see more of her fine art photography on her website and while you're at it, check out her ongoing photo-documentary work on the local music scene, too.

access+ENGAGE is a twice monthly e-journal offering indispensable,

fuss-free coverage of the arts in Minnesota and beyond

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