For the past three years, writer and musician Jim Walsh has worked tirelessly to cultivate an intensely personal, constantly evolving event known as the Mad Ripple Hootenanny. What started as a one-off gig in the basement of Java Jack's coffee shop in south Minneapolis turned into a weekly affair and hosted unamplified performances by a wide range of talent. Each week, up-and-coming local folk singers like Brianna Lane, Stook, and Chastity Brown would find themselves seated next to some of Walsh's better-known musical pals (Dan Wilson, Ike Reilly, and Billy Bragg have all made multiple appearances at the hoot). In addition to providing a safe haven for musicians of all experience levels, the Hootenanny has developed its own sense of community. Artists, writers, musicians, and photographers gather regularly to watch, listen, and document the event, and one photographer in particular, Tony Nelson, has spent the past couple of years photographing musicians live at the Hoot as well as at home, on the road, and in their practice spaces. Nelson's work will be on display starting this Friday in an exhibit he has titled "Hootenanny: A Community," and it's a recommended event for fans of local music and intimate portraiture alike. After years of shooting bands for print publications (including City Pages), Nelson is showing some of his most artistic and evocative work yet the Hootenanny exhibit.
June 19-July 24, 2009