art notes

Overly decent proposal

&#8220You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide. You have nothing to hide if you have nothing to fear. So fear nothing and you need not hide. Hide nothing and you need not fear.”

With that flourish of reassuring, unassailable logic, you're ushered into the doubleplusgood world of the &#8220Department of Homeland Decency: Decency Rules and Regulations Manual.”

Mrs. Sharon Flue, spokeswoman [&#8220spokesperson” is an indecent word connoting equality between the sexes] for the Department of Homeland Decency, will be giving a stern lecture on the manual and then taking thoughtful, patriotic questions (as well as names and addresses) from audience members at Barnes & Noble, 3216 W. Lake St., on Tuesday, August 15 at 7 p.m.

Mrs. Flue and the Department of Homeland Decency (motto: &#8220marching proudly backwards to our future”) have outlined in the manual how to live a good, decent life by way of proper nutrition (&#8220nutrition is Mommy's responsibility”), proper behavior in the workplace (Homeland Decency researchers have determined that bathroom break should take no more than 41.8 seconds) and during sporting events (prayer is now required &#8220before the ‘Star-Spangled Banner,' before extra innings or sudden death between commercials for those in the penalty box or on the injured list; when the fat lady sings”) and so on.

The Department outlines all sorts of fun, easy-to-follow rules about the tiniest details of life (how to watch television, for instance) that, if strictly adhered to, enable us to achieve American decency acceptable to the newly created federal agency charged with overseeing behavior.

When asked if it's OK for good, decent Americans to occasionally relax and enjoy a backyard barbeque without worrying about decency and indecency, Flue said it was theoretically possible to do so.

&#8220If we're certain that all of the neighbors around us, for instance the people who live next door to us or across the street, if we're certain that they're decent folks; if we're certain that they are supporting the homeland by buying meat from our large corporations instead of buying foods like hummus; if we're certain that our neighbors are taking care of their yards and displaying Christmas decorations as they should; if we're certain that their homes contain at least one copy of the Bible and one copy of the Department's Rules and Regulation's Manual; if we're certain their children are going to school and not learning about evolution; if we feel safe in our neighborhoods, then we'll feel safe enough and enjoy a barbeque and not look over to our neighbor's house and see that they're letting their lawn go to native grasses, that they're using a gas mower, in other words, we need to be surrounded by decent people in order to enjoy what we have. If we're not, the terrorists can just walk right into our barbeques and sit right down and eat our meat and take our women, our remotes and our gas mowers. We have to be vigilant.”

As you might have guessed, Mrs. Flue and the Department of Homeland Decency are fictitious. You might not have guessed they're the work of Susan Fuller and her husband, Frank Fuller.

The Twin Cities couple wrote the humor book in response to what they describe as an overzealous Bush administration eroding personal freedoms in the name of a war on terrorism.

Said Frank Fuller, &#8220Maybe 30 years ago, we were just kind of liberals. But the whole scene has shifted to the right. I suppose now we're considered kind of radical, but I think we're just kind of liberal people.”

Susan Fuller, who plays Sharon Flue at book signings such as the one at Barnes & Noble, is a former member of the Brave New Workshop.

She said her Flue character would be the first one to condemn the Fullers.

&#8220We support indecent causes,” she said with a laugh. &#8220We support gay marriage. We support stem cell research. We believe in evolution.”

Added Frank Fuller, &#8220We read books and go to movies.”

&#8220I might wear pants to work,” said Susan. &#8220I leave the house. I think daycare is a good thing. Mrs. Flue would find us to be the root of the evil.”

They published the book as a lark and hope it strikes a chord with others displeased with the administration.

If you'd like more information on the &#8220Decency Rules and Regulations Manual,” or the eye-opening discussion to be delivered by Mrs. Flue, go to

Cary, Kate and Low

The Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board continue their &#8220Summer Music & Movies” series at Loring Park on Monday, Aug. 21 with a performance by Duluth superstar minimalists Low. Their performance at 7 p.m. is followed at dusk with a screening of George Cukor's Cary Grant-Katherine Hepburn-Jimmy Stewart classic, &#8220The Philadelphia Story.”

The event is free. Call 375-7600 for more information or go to

Michael Metzger can be reached at [email protected] and 436-4369.

art notes

You are not alone

Even though American troops have occupied Iraq for more than three years, it's hard for people stateside to get a good idea of how things are going over there. A lot of folks are leery of the news coming from giant media corporations and our government. If you'd like to a look inside war and occupation in Iraq, Israel and the Palestinian territories, Bryant Lake Bowl, 810 W. Lake St., is showing &#8220I Know I'm Not Alone,” a documentary by singer-songwriter-activist Michael Franti (Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy) on Tuesday, July 18 at 7 p.m.

Variety magazine wrote of the film, &#8220Armed with his guitar and a one-word Arabic song of his own devising, Franti apprehensively ventures into unsecured Iraqi neighborhoods where he is warmly welcomed into homes and local jam sessions. Breaking down barriers with music, Franti encourages taxi drivers, shop owners and families to talk about their experiences before and after the occupation.”

Franti engages American GIs, often wary of the guitar-toting, dreadlock-adorned peacenik, with his soulful music and message of harmony.

Admission is $4-$10 (pay what you can). Call 825-8949 or go to for more information.

&#8220Music for Life”

Uptown's Calhoun Square hosts &#8220Music for Life” from Friday, July 21 to Sunday, July 23. The free event at the corner of Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue features performances on Saturday by Dan Israel at 12:30 p.m., House of Mercy Band at 2:15 p.m., and Ellis at 4 p.m.

&#8220Music for Life” will raise money this year for Clare Housing, Partners in AIDS Care. Clare Housing is a Twin Cities nonprofit organization providing affordable housing and services to people living with HIV/AIDS.

The event serves as a store for music lovers, too: it's three days of shopping for music equipment, CDs, LPs, movies, used gear and more.

For more information on Clare Housing, go to

Look for the Arise! label

Arise! Bookstore continues its series of Thursday night free events with a night of Minneapolis labor history, with a labor song sing-along with Andy Gifford. A documentary on the 1934 Minneapolis Teamsters' strike, &#8220Labor's Turning Point,” will be shown as well.

The strike effectively shut down commercial transportation here (grocers were allowed to receive food, however) and was marked by fierce fighting among union members, scabs, cops, the National Guard and others.

On Friday, July 20, 1934, police opened fire on unarmed picketers, killing two and wounding 50 or more (some of whom were shot in the back). That day became known as &#8220Bloody Friday.”

The film is at 8 p.m. (small donations will be accepted from those who watch). The collectively run Arise! can be found at 2441 Lyndale Ave. S. Call 871-7110, or go to for more information.

Don't cry for military rule

&#8220Crimes and Whispers: A Tango of Despair and Defiance” is a dance drama telling the true story of murder, abduction and deceit that was a part of the civic fabric of Argentina under the rule of the military junta in the late 1970s.

This dance and theater collaboration fuses the acrobatic modern dance choreography of Gerry Girouard with the masterful tango of Argentine native Florencia Taccetti, and the theatrical minds of Off-Leash Area's Jennifer Ilse and Paul Herwig.

Girouard, principal choreographer and project leader, spent several weeks in Buenos Aires this summer on a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant to experience firsthand Argentine culture and its tango.

Girouard said, &#8220It was startling to see that the horror of that period is still so near the surface - there are still people searching for justice, to find their loved ones who disappeared, and others who are still in complete denial of the crimes committed during the 1970s.”

&#8220Crimes and Whispers: A Tango of Despair and Defiance” runs Fridays through Sundays, beginning Friday, July 14 at 8 p.m. through July 30. All shows begin at 8 p.m. at Jawaahir Dance Theater, 1940 Hennepin Ave. S.

Tickets are $17 for Friday and Saturday performances; $10 for Sunday performances. More information available at 724-7372.

Outsider looking out

Teenage backyard wrestling. Halloween spook houses. Eating contests. Mythical beasts. All of these things and more are explored in the underground ritualized social theatrics documented by Cameron Jamie, whose first solo museum exhibit is at the Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave. S., from Saturday, July 15 through Oct. 14.

Four of the artist's films will be screened in the gallery along with photographic studies, sculpture, and early and recent drawings.

Go to or call 375-7600 for more information on the eponymous Cameron Jamie exhibit.

Michael Metzger can be reached at [email protected] and 436-4369.

art notes

Eyes wide open

Said to be the most complete presentation of the artist's work ever, &#8220Diane Arbus Revelations” contains nearly 200 photographs from the legendary documenter of our times, faces and places.

Arbus was best known for capturing New York City, but she also captured celebrities, couples, children, carnival performers, street people, ladies at automats and many memorable others.

&#8220I want to photograph the considerable ceremonies of our present because we tend while living here and now to perceive only what is random and barren and formless about it,” Arbus wrote. &#8220While we regret that the present is not like the past and despair of its ever becoming the future, its innumerable, inscrutable habits lie in wait for their meaning these are our symptoms and our monuments. I want simply to save them, for what is ceremonious and curious and commonplace will be legendary.”

Arbus made her statement true with amazing work that turned small events and ordinary people into icons of her time.

On Thursday, July 6, there will be a discussion of &#8220Dracula,” by Bram Stoker, one of the books that's part of the three Arbus &#8220libraries” illuminating the artist's intellectual influences.

You'll be taken on a free tour of the Arbus exhibit at 6 p.m. prior to the start of the discussion of the 1897 vampire classic at 7 p.m.

On Thursday, July 13, at 7 p.m., Vince Leo, photographer and professor of the History of Photography at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design will discuss Arbus' influence on contemporary photographers.

The free event will be held in the Bazinet Garden Lobby.

The &#8220Diane Arbus Revelations” exhibit is at the Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave., through Sept. 10. You can get more information at or by calling


The color of ink

More than 30 Twin Cities artists are on display as part of &#8220Hot Off the Press!”, the ninth exhibit by members of the Printshop Cooperative at Highpoint Center for Printmaking.

The show is open through Aug. 26.

Dozens of original prints will be on display, including lithographs, screenprints, etchings and woodcuts.

Highpoint is at 2638 Lyndale Ave. S., and is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. You can call 871-1326 or go to for more information.

Highpoint is also seeking artists to apply for a 2006-2007 Emerging Printmakers' Residency. The residency is made possible by a grant to the center by the Jerome Foundation.

The residency is open to artists from Minnesota. Beginning in September 2006, three artists-in-residence will receive access to Highpoint's fully equipped printshop, plus technical support and critiques by professional artists. The nine-month residency culminates in a May 2007 group exhibit in which the Jerome Residents will share their new work with the community.

Minnesota residents with past printmaking experience, who will not be enrolled in a degree-seeking program as of September, are eligible to apply. A public forum will be held at the Center on Monday, July 10 from 6 p.m.-7 p.m. to answer questions and allow applicants to tour the facilities.

Submissions must be received at Highpoint no later than Aug. 7.


The Walker Art Centers Teen Arts Council (WACTAC) presents its fourth &#8220Hot Art Injection” at the Soap Factory, 518 SE 2nd St., beginning Saturday, July 1 and running through Aug. 13. You'll be injected with paintings, sculptures, photo illustrations, spoken word and music.

Minneapolis contributors include Juxtaposition Arts, Kate McDonald, Malyse McKinnon, Elissa Meyers, Basanti Miller, Jamie Mosel, Yoko Okumura, Jennifer Peters and James Wold.

&#8220Hot Art” kicks off with music performances by high school students, including the prog rock of Formulated Response, Doctor Delusion (hip hop), electro-rock by The Battle Royale and singer Mosunmola Ogunlana.

The event is free.

No heroine

If you're looking to take someone out on a cheap date highlighted by a cinematic account of shrieking, drug-addled, violent punk rockers, look no further. Arise! Bookstore, 2441 Lyndale Ave. S., hosts a showing of the classic &#8220Sid and Nancy” on Thursday, July 13 at sundown.

Gary Oldman stars as Sex Pistols' head case and bassist Sid Vicious, with Chloe Webb as his girlfriend and fellow junkie, Nancy Spurgeon.

You can get more information on Arise! by calling 871-7110 or by going to

Nice threads

Thread and yarn become art at the Susan Hensel Gallery, 3441 Cedar Ave S. Twenty artists from across the country changed what were once grandma's tools into imaginative, three-dimensional flights of fancy sewing and imagination.

Minneapolis College of Art and Design student Laura Lewis will have her work there and is scheduled to deliver performance art as well on Saturday, July 8 at 7:30 p.m., as part of the show's opening.

You can go to or call the gallery at 722-2324 for more information.

Michael Metzger can be reached at [email protected] and 436-4369.