Thursday, February 2, 2012

Two guys from St. Paul, singing dragons in Minneapolis, and a phoenix by the Cedar River

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Erik and Joe in Toronto
Apollo's Journey, the blogged story of Joe and Erik, two guys from St. Paul, Minnesota, began on June 7, 2011. Since then, the journey has taken them to the East Coast of the United States, north into Canada, west to the Pacific, and then south through Mexico and their present stop in Guatemala. You can subscribe here to follow their journey, stories, and photos through North and South America. 

It's the Year of the Dragon, and one of the most imaginative productions of the season is selling out 15 performances at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis. "The Dragons Are Singing Tonight," created by TigerLion Arts, is the story of an ordinary boy, a magical girl, and a nasty, nasty dragon. 

Selling out 15 performances
The work is based on the dragon poems of Jack Prelutsky, U.S. Children's Poet Laureate, and brought to life with an original score by composer Laurie MacGregor, who spent part of her childhood in Wayzata, Minnesota. 

The collaborative production, directed by Markell Kiefer, features actor Isabella Dawis and 30 singers from the Minnesota Boychoir, three aerialists from Circus Juventas, and puppets large and small from Puppet Farm Arts.  

The show runs through February 12. Call for tickets (if any can be had): 612.343.3390.

Following performances at the Southern, more than 1,000 students in the Minneapolis and Robbinsdale school districts will participate in residency activities related to the production.

When the Cedar River crested at its highest flood level in history on June 13, 2008, its soggy destruction impacted 14% of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Its victims included the Legion Arts/CSPS Hall, located near the river in the city's New Bohemia neighborhood. 

The Cedar River flooded 14% of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in June 2008
Built by Czech immigrants in 1891, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the CSPS Hall had been the nerve center of a lively arts scene since 1991. In fact, the building had always been a multidisciplinary and multicultural center of activity long before the terms were invented, and before Legion Arts, led by John Herbert and Mel Andringa, dedicated the space to the creation and presentation of contemporary art.

Following an $8 million re-build, the CSPS Hall was re-opened in August 2011, representing a robust resurgence against daunting odds. 

On February 2, 2012, more pieces of the comeback fell into place with the announcement of three new commercial tenants that will occupy the building's ground floor: StudioU Photography, the Brewed Awakenings Coffeehouse, and New Bo Books. Rent from these tenants will help support the building's overhead.

Herbert, Legion Arts' executive director, and a frequent visitor to Twin Cities performance venues, was quoted by the Cedar Rapids Gazette as saying "We've gone from being a pretty small arts organization and a tenants [sic] ourselves to a pretty small arts organization that owns the building, so we've gone to quite a bit more responsibility."

Stop by to say 'hello' and take in a show whenever you are in the neighborhood. Or, plan a special trip with Cedar Rapids and Legion Arts as your destination!

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