There are not one but two film festivals going on in the Twin Cities this week. Check out the films at Sound Unseen and the Twin Cities Jewish Film Festival. Also, noted internationally celebrated tabla player Zakir Hussain heads to the Fitzgerald this week. Over at David Petersen Gallery, Nyeema Morgan and Mary Simpson share their work after corresponding over the course of the pandemic. There’s also JC Cutler’s tour de force in “Uncle Philip’s Coat,” and a discussion with essential workers at the East Side Freedom Library.
The art of music and the art of cinema come together for the Sound Unseen Festival, filled with documentary and narrative films, shorts, live music performances, parties, filmmaker talks and more. The festival is already underway and runs through the end of the weekend at various venues. ($13 tickets for screenings.) Check the website for the list of all the films and see three highlights here:
“Mixtape Trilogy: Stories of the Power of Music”
Documentary maker Kathleen Ermitage delves into the relationship between musicians and their fans in this documentary that highlights the Indigo Girls, composer and pianist Vijay Iyer, and rapper and activist Talib Kweli, with a focus on the healing power of music. Saturday, Nov. 12 at 2:30 p.m. at the Trylon.
“The Computer Accent”
Will artificial intelligence be making all the songs we hear on the radio in the future? Maybe, maybe not. In any case, this film explores what happened when pop group Yacht worked with AI researchers to put together a body of new music in this film by Sebastian Pardo and Riel Roch-Decter. Saturday, Nov. 12 at 5 p.m. at the Trylon.
Neko Case is the special guest for the closing of the festival, for a screening of “Quantum Cowboys,” a road movie circa the 1870s by director Geoff Marslett, featuring music by Case, John Doe, Howe Gelb and Xixa. Marslett and Case will participate in a post-screening talk after the show. Sunday, Nov. 12 at 5 p.m. at the Parkway Theater.
Twin Cities Jewish Film Festival
The Twin Cities Jewish Festival is also happening this week, with a mix of virtual and in-person events. For the latter, you may find the premise of “Karaoke” intriguing. It’s about an upper middle-class couple living in a Tel Aviv suburb, whose lives are upended when a new neighbor moves into their building. The two confront their desires, their relationship with each other, and their very identities in this film that explores self-discovery at any age. Q&A with director Moshe Rosenthal after the screening. Thursday, Nov. 8 at 6:30 p.m. at the Capp Center in St. Paul. The festival continues through Nov. 19 ($16.79 per ticket). More information here.
Nyeema Morgan and Mary Simpson
Over the course of the year, Nyeema Morgan and Mary Simpson corresponded with each other about losing their mothers, becoming mothers, and about making art in a time of a global pandemic and unrest. In that time, Morgan continued her series “Like It Is,” made of graphite drawings and collages that explores the relationship between image and text, and how language can be represented visually. Simpson, meanwhile, worked on her series “Purple Moon,” where she used a complex process that involved broken glass, an etching press, and collage. She also created a sculptural table that has legs blackened with an 1,800-degree torch. It runs through Dec. 17 at David Peterson Gallery, which is open from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (free, appointments encouraged). More information here.
Grammy award winning Indian tabla player and composer Zakir Hussain heads to the Fitzgerald Theater this week, where he’ll be playing with Sitar player Niladri Kumar. The son of Alla Rakha, a frequent collaborator of Ravi Shankar, Hussain has played with George Harrison, Van Morrison, and Earth Wind & Fire, and created an album with the Grateful Dead’s Mickey Heart. He’s made soundtracks for films, and has acted in movies when he’s not composing, producing or playing. It’s a night of music and also a celebration for the Indian Music Society of Minnesota, which turns 40 this year. Saturday, Nov. 12 at 8 p.m. at the Fitzgerald ($39-79). More information here.
Uncle Philip’s Coat
Actor JC Cutler plays three different characters in Matty Selman’s play, “Uncle Philip’s Coat,” which first premiered in New York in 1998. First, he plays Matty, a middle-aged struggling actor, who inherits an old coat after the death of his uncle, Philip Louis Zhivatovsky. He also plays Philip, and Matty’s father, Mickey. Through the play, he learns about the coat’s history, from Russian pogroms to Coney Island to the streets of New York City. Craig Johnson directs this piece, which closes at the end of the weekend. Thursday, Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 12 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 13 at 1 p.m. at Six Points Theater. More information here.
Essential Workers Panel Discussion
Carolyn Sue Olson’s portraits of plumbers, bus drivers, ambulance drivers and more come to live with curving lines and vibrant expressions. At heart, these are pastel works that use color and shape to bring the experiences of those on the front lines of COVID-19 to the forefront. Throughout the month of November, the East Side Freedom Library will be showing her work. The library will also host a panel discussion with who do essential workers, who will talk about their work. In person and on Zoom (you need to RSVP to visit in-person). Sunday, Nov. 13 at 1 p.m. (Free). More information here.