Black History Month art, cross country skiing and more

Credit: We Rock Long Distance

Let Freedom Ring

To honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., VocalEssence is hosting a musical event with Grammy-Award-winning musicians. Ensembles “Sounds of Blackness,” the South High School Varsity Choir and the VocalEssence Chorus will commemorate the civil rights legend by exploring the history of African American music through spirituals, gospel music and R&B. “Sounds of Blackness” director Gary Hines will take part in a pre-concert conversation at 3 p.m.


Where: Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall

When: Feb. 8 at 4 p.m.

Cost: $10 to $40



Fireside Chat: Eleanor Ostman

The Hennepin History Museum will host author of the long-running “Test Recipes” column and food journalist Eleanor Ostman as part of its Fireside Chat series. The conversation will be a rare chance to hear from Ostman about her time writing for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Twin Cities food scene and her books, such as her most recent cookbook “Always on Sundays Revisited.” Her column, “Tested Recipes,” appeared in the paper on Sundays for several decades.


Where: Hennepin History Museum, 2303 Third Ave. S.

When: Feb. 8 at 2 p.m.

Cost: $1 to $5



The Percussion Project

After their 2014 success with “Alice in Wonderland,” dance and theater company Flying Foot Forum will bring “The Percussion Project” to The Cowles Center, crossing percussion with percussive dance. The all-ages show builds to a percussive whirlwind of collaborators, not to mention their appendages, with some quirky scenes—crazy chefs, baseball umpires and madcap vaudevillians, included. The program also includes the highly physical “Maiden” from Karla Grotting, which features dance set to a driving Nordic folk-rock score.


Where: The Cowles Center, 528 Hennepin Ave.

When: Feb. 27 and Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $30

Info: the


Cross Pollination

Many Twin Cities residents have memories of Bloomington’s South Loop and the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. In order to make “Cross Pollination,” a dynamic, biographical theater production on the South Loop and the refuge, the City of Bloomington and other collaborators want to hear your stories during several workshops. Real stories will inform the script for a large-scale, site-specific theater production performed by and for the community. Collaborator PlaceBase Productions is hosting several workshops (Feb. 7 from 2 to 4 p.m., Feb. 24 from 10 a.m. to noon and Feb. 26 from 6 to 8 p.m.) to engage the public and hear their stories.


Where: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, 3815 American Blvd. E., Bloomington

When: Feb. 7, Feb. 24. and Feb. 26

Cost: Free



We Rock Long Distance

Intermedia Arts will host the world premiere of “We Rock Long Distance,” a project from Twin Cities-based filmmaker Justin Schell. The film features the stories of hip-hop artists M.anifest, Maria Isa and Tou SaiKo Lee as they go to Ghana, Puerto Rico and Thailand, respectively, to create cross-generational, border-crossing collaborations. At the filmmaker’s Feb. 6 screening, audiences will have a chance to meet two of the artists and see their live performances. Schell will engage in a post-show conversation at the final screening on Feb. 7.


Where: Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Ave. S.

When: Feb. 6 and Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $7 advance, $9 door



Home on the Mornin’ Train

Local playwright Kim Hines’ “Home on the Mornin’ Train” weaves the tales of two young women united in their desire for freedom. One, a Jewish girl in Nazi Germany, the other, a runaway slave, hope that an Underground Railroad will ultimately lead them to freedom. The show, produced by Youth Performance Company, is a perfect show to feature for Black History Month.


Where: Plymouth Congregational Church, 1900 Nicollet Ave.

When: Feb. 6 through Feb. 22

Cost: $5 to $15



The Party’s Over, Friction Fiction

“The Party’s Over” is the culmination of collaboration between Chicago Artists Coalitions and The Soap Factory’s resident artists. Inspired by cross residencies between artists in Chicago and the Twin Cities, the exhibition is a unique engagement of art and Midwestern artists. The exhibition runs in tandem with “Friction Fiction: Survey of Black Animation,” a collaboration with Obsidian Arts. This exhibition, curated by Minnesotans Roderic Southall and Ernest Bryant III, surveys contemporary black artists and animators who address their relationship with the urban landscape.


Where: The Soap Factory, 514 Second St. SE.

When: Feb. 7 through March 8

Cost: Free



City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival

The 12th annual City of Lakes Loppet Festival is the year’s biggest event for local skiers of all ages and skill levels. Even if you’re not one to ski, the urban cross country ski festival is a packed weekend for spectators to watch races and enjoy the festival. The festival opens from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 30 culminating with fireworks at Loppet Village at 8 p.m. A vendor village with plenty of outdoor wares on display is open each day, along with a beer garden from Surly Brewing. The Southwest Journal is also hosting a Snow Sculpture Contest on Saturday, Jan. 31 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mild weather and a lack of snow has prompted some venue changes. Go to for details.


Where: Theodore Wirth Park & Chain of Lakes area

When: Jan. 30 through Feb. 1

Cost: Free