The Twin Cities are teeming with artful events this autumn


Schoolgirls and Mobilesuits

photo by Nick Vlcek

If you understood the references in the title of this event, then maybe it's for you. Connoisseurs of Japanese anime and manga can be unusually devoted to their cartoons, and many of them will be showing up at MCAD's annual three-day workshop, where regular fanboys and -girls can hobnob with some of the genre's best-known artists and scholars. The animation and comics love fest includes drawing and animation demonstrations, guest lectures, anime screenings, and a costume fashion show in an informal setting. $100. Minneapolis College of Art and Design, 2501 Stevens Ave., Minneapolis; 612.874.3700. Fri.-Sun. Sept. 25-27. —Matthew Smith


Faith Healer

photo by T. Charles Erickson

In a recent conversation, Guthrie kingpin Joe Dowling was game to talk about his American acting debut in Faith Healer, if a little bemused that anyone would want to make a big deal about it. "It's been 20 years since I rehearsed and played a role," he noted, during which time his primary pursuits have been directing and theater building. "It's been something I wanted to do for a while," he added, citing his long association and affinity with playwright Brian Friel. In addition to faith healer Frank Hardy, Friel's script also portrays his wife and his talent manager. Guthrie vets Sally Wingert and Raye Birk round out the cast, and the story is told in a series of monologues from the characters as they come to grips with their shared associations and a single life-changing event. Dowling also directs, along with associate director Benjamin McGovern. Dowling clearly relishes the chance to be on the other side of the actor-director divide after two decades. "Ben has the unenviable task of directing me," Dowling said. "I told him I'll be appalling. I plan to take out on him what actors have taken out on me for 40 years." Dowling was joking, one assumes, but he acknowledges there's a certain fascination in seeing him take the stage. "I have a history with the play, this series of monologues," he said. "It seemed like a good one to get back into the fray with." And so, in his low-key way, Dowling seems relieved to have addressed the matter and ready to move on. "It's an Irish play of considerable power, and the opportunity is personally satisfying. In a way it brings me full circle." Dowling pauses, then adds, "As it gets closer, of course, I start to panic." $24-60. 7:30 p.m. Tue.-Sat., 7 p.m. Sun. Guthrie Theater, 818 S 2nd St., Minneapolis; 612.377.2224. Tue.-Sun. Oct. 17-Dec. 6. —Quinton Skinner


Twin Cities Book Festival

Gabrielle Bell, photo by Seth Kushner

The most enormous book event in our fair pair of cities returns! Meet local authors and publishers, drop the kids off at the Storytelling Circle, pick through an enormous used-book sale, and attend readings and signings by an astounding group of guest authors. Fiction writers in attendance this year include Nicholson Baker, a defender of paper in its physical form and a champion of things otherwise unsung; Robert Olen Butler, the prolific Pulitzer winner who once worked as a counterintelligence officer; and Lorrie Moore, who, in addition to dozens of domestic awards and fellowships, received the Irish Times International Fiction Prize—and the Irish know their short stories. Nonfiction authors include Gourmet magazine editor Ruth Reichl, poetic naturalist Diane Ackerman (the molecule dianeackerone, a sex pheromone in crocodilians, is named after her), and David Allen Sibley, who knows almost as much about birds as birds do. Legendary international poets Adam Zagajewski and Christian Bök will also attend. Zagajewski is Poland's most famous poet, and Bök wrote the bestselling Canadian poetry book of all time. He also worked as a xenolinguist for Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. Guests also include comics artist Gabrielle Bell, whose work was twice selected by the prestigious Best American Comics series, and the professional geek Ethan Gilsdorf, who studies and celebrates fantasy and role-playing culture—audience members are encouraged to attend Gilsdorf's event in costume. Miss out at your peril. Sponsored by the literary journal Rain Taxi. Free. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Minneapolis Community and Technical College, 1501 Hennepin Ave. S; Sat. Oct. 10. —Will Alexander


Joel And Ethan Coen: Raising Cain

photo by Wilson Webb

Yes, you heard right, the Coen Brothers are breaking with tradition and actually appearing at an event in their honor. But the night they conduct their Q & A, a Regis Dialogue on September 25, is for Walker members only. The rest of the 13-film retrospective, in honor of the October 2 release of their second Minnesota production, A Serious Man, is open to the public. So is the opening night reception on September 18 and the Coen-esque View of the Walker Art Center, a tour that precedes the screening of Barton Fink on September 30. Those of us who aren't VIPs, then, shouldn't be discouraged from enjoying the brothers' Raymond Chandler-meets-Mad magazine views of crime, honor, and betrayal on the big screen, where they truly belong. It's also easy to forget that they also helped to launch the careers of Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, Gabriel Byrne, and Joel's wife, Frances MacDormand—not to mention Men in Black director Barry Sonnenfeld, their cinematographer on three films. The look back includes audience favorites like Fargo, No Country for Old Men, and Raising Arizona, as well as less heralded but intriguing oddities such as Miller's Crossing, The Man Who Wasn't There, and their Southern-fried update of The Ladykillers. Of course, no celebration of the siblings would be complete without The Big Lebowski, screening five weeks after the Minneapolis debut of Lebowski Fest. Will Joel and Ethan reveal that they rolled at Memory Lanes disguised as the Dude and Walter? $8. Call for dates and times of each screening. Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.375.7600. Wed.-Sun. Sept. 18-Oct. 17. —John Ervin


Ragamala Dance/Çudamani: Dhvee (Duality)

photo by Jorge Vismara

A dovetailing of two vibrant cultures in one sizzling spectacle, Dhvee (Duality) brings together Minneapolis-based Ragamala Dance, which performs the classic South Indian dance form Bharatanatyam, and the Balinese ensemble Çudamani. Using the Hindu sacred text the Ramayana as a baseline, performers riff on the differences in characters between their two cultures' versions of the epic by allowing them to converse through dance. Take Hanuman, the monkey king, portrayed as a funny, gibbering fellow in Bali and as a seriously loyal retainer to Lord Rama in India. Twenty-five performers, a gamelan, and an Indian orchestra mingle music and dance from both cultures as dancers sing, singers dance, and traditions infiltrate one another with buoyant élan. If you saw these two groups perform Sethu (Bridge) in the Walker sculpture garden in 2004, you experienced the synergy that incited Walker's performing arts curator Philip Bither to commission this new work. Whereas Sethu explored stories from the entire Ramayana, Dhvee will focus on the pungent tale of the abduction of Sita, Rama's wife, by the demon god Ravana. Prepare for divine sensory overload—but also for a foray into the duality of man's nature, the age-old tussle between his (or her) animal and spiritual selves. $15-$25. Thu.-Sat. 8 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m. Walker Art Center McGuire Theater, 1750 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.375.7600. Thu.-Sat. Oct. 1-4. —Linda Shapiro


Global Roots Festival


After a decade of nyckelharpas, hardangers, and the ethereal effects of northern lights on Scandinavian traditional music, the Cedar's Nordic Roots Festival exponentially expands its scope this year, not only going global, but with serious attitude. As with its Nordic predecessor, the nascent Global Roots Festival goes well beyond a simple presentation of folk traditions, fusing traditional and contemporary, mingling genres, reveling in clashes and synergies, and crisscrossing rhythms—it's ancient music on the cutting edge of the avant-garde. Kicking things off will be BLK JKS, an incendiary South African quartet that mixes up blistering rock energy, township jazz, a pan-African array of rhythms, dub, swirling experimental sound collages, and searing electric guitar solos. Next up is a pair of bands creating dramatically fresh variations on two distinct South American dance genres: Bajofondo takes its initial inspiration from tango and earlier roots forms like milonga and African-inspired candombe, while Forró in the Dark, a New York-based quartet of expatriate Brazilians, take myriad liberties with forró (pronounced fa-ha), the accordion-driven, traditional party music of northeastern Brazil's sertão. Another Brazilian band, the legendary Os Mutantes (the Mutants), will reign Saturday; a key appendage of the tropicália movement of the 1960s, Os Mutantes were on the virulently psychedelic edge, blending Brazilian roots with contemporary rock and pop like Caetano and Gilberto, but tending even more experimental and anarchic. Closing things out Sunday are French quartet Watcha Clan and Tuva's Huun Huur Tu with Carmen Rizzo. With Speaking in Tongues, the Brass Kings, Nirmala Rajasekar, Soukousize, and more. All ages. $79 for a festival pass (individual tickets also available for each performance). The Cedar, 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. Sept. 24-27. —Rick Mason