Minneapolis’ annual film-and-music festival, Sound Unseen, has been showcasing some of the world’s best music documentaries and concert films for the past 18 years. The one-of-a-kind fest has grown from its humble beginnings with a handful of screenings to include more than 20 rock docs, music–infused feature-length films, short films, parties and other programming, primarily taking place at the newly expanded and renovated Trylon Cinema.
When: Nov. 8–12
“Every Everything: The Music, Life and Times of Grant Hart”: Without a doubt, a major highlight at this year’s festival is this 2013 documentary about the famed Hüsker Dü drummer/singer and St. Paul punk rock pioneer, who passed away this past September from liver cancer. It’s followed by a Q-and-A with producer Jan Radder and special guests.
When: Friday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m.
Where: Trylon Cinema, 2820 E. 33rd St.
Cost: $10 advance, $12 door
“The Decline of Western Civilization”: Penelope Spheeris’s groundbreaking documentary trilogy, which was released between 1981 and 1998, is the opening-night event of this year’s Sound Unseen festival. The series chronicles the L.A. punk scene of the early ’80s, the heavy metal scene of the late ’80s and the lifestyles of gutter-punk teens in the late ’90s. Screenings will be followed by Q-and-As with director Penelope Spheeris.
When: Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. (with Q&A) and 9:30 p.m. (with director intro); Thursday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. (with Q-and-A)
Where: Trylon Cinema
Cost: $12 advance, $15 door (each screening)
“Living on Soul”: This documentary-concert film hybrid features musicians from soul label Daptone Records headlining the Apollo Theater in 2014 for a three-night musical revue. Featured performers notably include the dynamic soul singers Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley, both of whom passed away earlier this year.
When: Sunday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m.
Where: Trylon Cinema
Cost: $10 advance, $12 door
Transmission: After a brief hiatus, Jake Rudh’s weekly dance party returns to help kick off Sound Unseen at its new home at VFW in Uptown, playing a mix of new wave, indie rock and classic punk. (21+)
When: Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 10 p.m.
Where: James Ballentine VFW, 2916 Lyndale Ave. S.
Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick” has been called the greatest American novel. In this new stage adaptation of the book, Minneapolis company Theatre Coup d’Etat highlights America’s values of diversity, inclusion and hard work. The play follows a racial- and gender-diverse crew of sailors working during the height of the whaling industry as they hunt the whale that took the leg and destroyed the mind of Captain Ahab. As told through the eyes of the inexperienced seafarer, Ishmael, the production offers a lens into a world of cultural unity, moral and ethical conflict, and what it means to depend on the person next to you in a dangerous world. Judging by a preview of the show — and the award-winning company’s critical acclaim — expect an immersive, highly stylized performance full of striking imagery, strong dramatic performances and impressive sound and stage design.
When: Nov. 3–20 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Fallout Urban Arts Center, 2601 2nd Ave. S.
In this two-person show of new work, Andrew Mazorol and Ryan Fontaine put their distinct yet complimentary styles on display at new contemporary art gallery, HAIRandNAILS. “The Reality of Repeatability” marks the sixth time the two artists have shown together and showcases the growth of each respective artist since their time as roommates and bandmates living and working in the now-defunct Minneapolis underground punk venue, Medusa. The newest works by Fontaine, who recently moved back to Minneapolis to co-found HAIRandNAILS, features a blend of abstract imagery and object representation in complex, two- and three-dimensional structures. Lacking a straightforward narrative, the works leave the viewer with a lingering sense of unease. Mazorol, now based in Brooklyn, returns to his hometown with a series of abstract scenes that feature an eye-popping explosion of colorful, collaged patterns. It’s a must-see show for contemporary art fans.
When: Nov. 3–Dec. 3; opening reception: Friday, Nov. 3 from 7 p.m.–10 p.m.
Where: HAIRandNAILS Contemporary Art Gallery, 222 1/2 E. 35th St.
The award-winning Zenon Dance Company celebrates its 35th anniversary with a show highlighting new works created by up-and-coming New York choreographers, as well as classic, beloved pieces spanning the celebrated contemporary dance company’s repertoire. New works include Michelle Boulé, a Bessie-winning, Brooklyn-based dance artist known for her unique movement choreography; Alex Springer and Xan Burley, a collaborative performance duo from Brooklyn whose work examines movement through mimicry and embodiment; and local choreographer Penelope Freeh, whose work explores and diverges from the ballet tradition. The company will also highlight a few audience and critic favorites, including the popular “Ezekiel’s Wheel,” an emotional journey through modern and jazz dance that explores race relations in America and the civil rights movement.
When: Nov. 10–19
Where: The Cowles Center, 528 Hennepin Ave.
“Cirque du Soleil Crystal”
Ice skating and acrobatic feats come together for “Cirque du Soleil Crystal,” the famed acrobatic troupe’s first-ever show on ice. The new show, which comes to Minneapolis for its sixth production, is the latest from the innovative, 35-year-old circus company as it continues to reinvent itself. “Crystal” follows its protagonist, Crystal, on a story of self-discovery as she explores a surreal world inside her imagination, transforming the Target Center arena into a wonderland on ice. The show promises the unexpected, innovative acrobatics for which Cirque du Soleil is known, as well as state-of-the-art production and world-class ice skating performances that explore the artistic possibilities on ice.
When: Nov. 9–12
Where: Target Center, 600 N. 1st Ave.
Considered the most significant exhibition of Cuban art shown in the U.S. in more than 70 years, “Adiós Utopia: Dreams and Deceptions in Cuban Art Since 1950” explores how Cuba’s revolutionary aspirations for social utopia, and subsequent disillusionment, has influenced 65 years of Cuban art. Initiated by collector Ella Fontanals-Cisneros through her foundations and organized by a team of independent Havana-based curators, the Walker Art Center and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the project brings together more than 100 of the most important painting, graphic design, photography, video, installation and performance works by more than 50 Cuban artists and designers. “Adiós Utopia” explores key events in Cuban history, particularly those surrounding Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution, and how these events have impacted Cuban artists’ attempts to find harmony in challenging circumstances. The exhibition kicks off with the Walker’s signature After Hours preview party on Friday night, which offers the first look at the show, live Cuban-infused music by Charanga Tropical, Malamanya and DJ Don Cuco, a silk-screen printing workshop, a photobooth, drinks and small bites.
When: Nov. 11, 2017–March 18, 2018. After Hours Preview Party: Friday, Nov. 10 from 9 p.m.–midnight
Where: Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Pl.
Cost: $9–$14 gallery admission; $15 for party