Back at the Bryant-Lake Bowl after a two-year absence from Minneapolis stages, critically lauded spoken-word artist Cynthia French could have reasonably opted for a solo show to announce her return. A prolific writer and performer on the slam-poetry circuit, the two-time recipient of the VERVE Grant for Spoken Word certainly could have galvanized the crowd with her own material. Rather than hogging the spotlight, however, French has taken a more communal route by assembling a diverse group of female artists for an engagingly eclectic variety show titled That's What She Said. Amongst those guests, poet/activist Lauren Zuniga is a standout name, thanks to the attention recently given to her achingly evocative work, To the Oklahoma Lawmakers. Zuniga's performance is sure to offer similarly stirring pieces drawn from her latest collection, The Smell of Good Mud. Fellow VERVE grant winners Aimee Renaud and Thadra Sheridan will present award-winning poetry as well. The festivities will also include the comic inclinations of Rockstar Storytellers founding member Amy Salloway. Opting for action in lieu of words, Jessica Bessette, creator of Harmony Hoops, will take the stage for a dazzling exhibition of hula hooping artistry. Though the show's title is frequently used to close bad jokes, the talent behind this event makes it clear That's What She Said is anything but a punchline.
Sat., July 7, 9:30 p.m., 2012