You are browsing an archived site for a previous Northern Spark event. To visit the current site click here.

You are browsing an archived site for a previous Northern Spark event. To visit the current site click here.

Archive for the ‘Performance’ Category

Where the Chill Came From

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Minnesota and the Midwest in general is a hotbed for paranormal activity.  From the Stillwater Bigfoot to the ghosts of the MIA, nearly every town in our state plays host to a supernatural guest.

Join us to hear local stories of the strange and unexplained, as well as share your own. Be careful though, once you find out what’s in your neighborhood you may not want to return home until morning! A paranormal investigator with the TCPS (Twin Cities Paranormal Society) for nearly half a decade, Nathan Lewis will be your guide through the legends of the region and share his personal investigation experiences.

Located in James Turrell Sky Pesher.

Busk until Dawn

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

A new participant in Northern Spark in 2012, Whittier Artists in Storefronts presents “Busk Till Dawn,” a European-styled fête featuring the best local acoustic, spoken word, and avant-garde street performances in the arms of the recently transformed Romanesque-revival remains of the Metropolitan Theatre (now Icehouse Court) at 2540 Nicollet Avenue. Performances begin at 9 pm and run through the night until the sun comes up.  Lightsaber guided walking tours of the Whittier Artists in Storefronts project throughout the evening!  Prepare yourself for a dimly lit vaudevillian carnival amid ruins filled with beautiful melodies and incredibly dazzling weirdos!

Set times are as follows:
9pm        Hillbilly Heroin
9:30        Danny Viper
10:00      Jaime Carrera’s “Tragicomico”
10:15      Jezebel Jones and Her Wicked Ways
11:00      Paul Dickinson and the Riot Act Literary Series
11:15      Mary Mack
12:00      Patches and Gretchen
12:45      Jaime Carrera’s “Tragicomico”
1:00       Upstate
2:00       Rana May of the Riot Act Literary Series
2:30       Busk Till Dawn!!!!

Performance Artists and Buskers will be staged throughout the park from 9pm-6 am.

Presented by Joan Vorderbruggen with support from Whittier Alliance, Eat Street Social, The Lost and Found, and Dunn Brothers!.


Late Night Improv

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

Visit our new downtown theater for a special free performance of our legendary late night improv. Inspired by audience suggestions and pure, unbridled imagination, the cast of the Brave New Workshop delivers an all-improvised 45–60 minute performance without a script. The “genius of improvisation” that has made the BNW famous since 1958 is a rite of passage for any fan of the performing arts in the Twin Cities.

Brave New Workshop’s sidewalk café patio bar is open from 6:30 pm Saturday until 12 midnight Sunday.

Midnight Padhandling

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Midnight Padhandling combines the shimmer and potentiality of a large-screen video display with the fluidity and independence of human movement. Twenty performers gather to tell an animated story through movement and visual transitions by manipulating Apple iPads. They are accompanied by an acoustic sound score.

Conceived by Scott Sayre in collaboration with Vanessa Voskuil
Movement Director – Vanessa Voskuil
Technical Director and Video Compilation and Design – Scott Sayre
Music Director and Soundscape Design- Peter O’Gorman
Diane Anderson, Margaret Bauman, Michaela Bram, Florence Brammer, Joshua J. Carter, Amelia Foster, Ania Grandbois, Andrea Gutierrez, Mary Hartnett, Wendy Jones. Carissa Logghe, Kimberly Long, Virginia McBride, Valerie Overby, Gregory Parks, Rose Sherman, Kirsten Stephens, Kris Wetterlund, Johanna Zollar, Nan Brownf

Sound and Music Performers
Maria Benson, Robert Borman, Mark Countryman, Beth Erickson, Lisa Goese, Paul Karlson, Eva Mohn, Peter O’Gorman, Shannon Thorson

Vanessa Voskuil

Vanessa Voskuil is an independent choreographer, director, performer, designer, community organizer, teaching artist, and creator of dances, interdisciplinary performances, and films. She has created more than twenty original works presented by theaters and universities throughout the Twin Cities.

Scott Sayre

Scott Sayre is a multimedia artist, producer, director, and graduate faculty member. He has worked for more than twenty years with a wide range of national and international cultural institutions in the development of rich multimedia experiences for teachers, students, and the public.

Peter O’Gorman

Peter O’Gorman is a composer, percussionist, and interdisciplinary artist. He has worked with Black Label Movement, Crash, Flying Foot Forum, Zenon and numerous other artists. He is a 2010 McKnight Composer Fellow, and a recipient of a 2011 Sage Award for outstanding design.

ICE-Cycles Bike Puppets

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

The ICE-Cycles Collective invites everybody to experience the joy of art, bicycles, winter weather, and fashionable personal expression in a completely new way. Many bikers are not four-season cyclists, and they may not be aware that bicycles are a rich medium for artistic expression. With expert guidance from cycling devotees, artists, and problem-solvers, art and cycling can be a tandem joy year-round. ICE-Cycles seeks to enhance visitors’ enjoyment of bike transportation and to educate participants on ways to safely take the fashionable fun home.

Light Up the Greenway

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Watch history being made as the first annual Greenway Glow lights up the Greenway! Cyclists will compete to see who can come up with the most creative lights and costumes. Watch the Big Glow soon after 9 pm, as cyclists start their route through Northern Spark, with stops at venues such as the Vine Arts Center and Intermedia Arts, as well as visits to art installations and performances along the Greenway.

The Midtown Greenway is a 5.5-mile former railroad corridor in south Minneapolis with bicycling and walking trails. The Midtown Greenway Coalition is a member-based organization of neighborhoods and individuals who love the Midtown Greenway. We’re the people who got the Greenway built by public agencies, and we work to protect and enhance it every day.

It’s free to watch the Greenway Glow. Cyclists will be raising funds for the Midtown Greenway Coalition’s programs and services, like the popular Trail Watch safety patrol, which bikes the Greenway every night to help keep it safe. Other programs include initiatives for more public art and native plants along the Greenway, as well as efforts to keep the corridor clean and the trail free of glass.

Presented by the Midtown Greenway Coalition and partners 

Warm up the Greenway

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Warm up the Greenway with a jazz concert, posters printed by bike, a 15-piece orchestra, and improvisational song, dance, and storytelling.

Dorothy Doring Sings Jazz on the Greenway!

Location: Sheraton Midtown patio near Chicago Ave
Hours: 6 pm – 7:15 pm

Dorothy Doring, a chanteuse specializing in jazz standards with a hint of gritty blues, is a longtime Twin Cities favorite. She will perform on June 9 from 6 pm until 7:15 pm on Midtown Greenway near the Midtown Bike Center. She is a versatile singer who brings her eclectic background into her live performance.

Treadprint Posters with ARTCRANK and LOCUS Architecture

Location: on the Greenway at Elliot Avenue, near the Midtown Bike Center
Hours: 6 pm – 9:30 pm

Bring your bike to make your own Treadprint poster to take home or hang in our outdoor gallery. Participants will create works of art with their bike tires through a special process involving crushed chalk. Each “treadprint” poster will be unique, depending on the bike tire and how the artist chooses to bike over the poster paper. Keep your work of art or hang it in our public gallery on the Greenway.

Semiconductor Orchestra

Location: on the Greenway near Chicago Avenue, near the Midtown Bike Center
Hours: 7 pm – 9 pm

This 15-piece orchestra will light up the Greenway with classical music. Enjoy an outdoor concert, courtesy of the Semiconductor Orchestra. The orchestra includes cello, viola, piano keys, guitar, banjo, brass, oboe, French horn, flute, Native American flute, clarinet, and percussion, and the musicians take turns conducting, so each piece is a new experience.

Sponsored by Friends of Walker Library

Yonic Arts Collective

Location: on the Greenway at the CEPRO plaza at Tenth Avenue, near the Midtown Bike Center
Hours: 7:30 pm – 8 pm

Join us for a night of improvisational song, dance, and storytelling on the Midtown Greenway. The performance will begin at 7:30 pm at the CEPRO green space, a new public plaza on the Greenway between Tenth and Eleventh avenues. Yonic Arts Collective is a group of multitalented creative women from numerous artistic backgrounds. Since our founding in September 2011, we have had the privilege to dance at Patrick’s Cabaret, perform spoken word and music for Nathan Blumenshine’s state legislative campaign, and dance at the Bryant–Lake Bowl. If you are interested in joining our weekly gatherings, contact  

A Small Greenway Spectacle

Location: under the Bryant Avenue bridge on the Greenway
Hours: 8 pm – 8:45 pm

See Retro Spectacle and Au NaturElle’s dazzling performance as the Greenway comes to life! These performance artists celebrate the diverse bicycling body (the individual bodies that transport us and the community of bicyclists that sustains us) and empower riders through inclusive, bicycle-inspired performance.

Star Spectacle on the Greenway

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Join In the Heart of the Beast Theatre for this interactive display of masks, dancing, and music. March to the beat of a different drummer and experience Star Spectacle!

Since 1973, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre has been using water, flour, newspaper, paint, and unlimited imagination to tell stories that explore the struggles and celebrations of human existence. Drawing inspiration from the world’s traditions of puppet and mask theater and its lively roots in transformative ritual and street theater, In the Heart of the Beast creates vital poetic theater for all ages and backgrounds.

Psychedelic Art Parade

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

This illuminated street-art parade will begin at 9:15 pm. The parade, which includes a forty-piece marching band complete with brass, strings, accordion, woodwinds, and a fifteen-piece drum corps, will draw inspiration from the after-dark parades of Mardi Gras. The band will play original compositions inspired by Afro Beat rhythms, Balkan brass phrasing, and Eastern European string arrangements. This parade will utilize the darkness of the night by illuminating performers and the parade space with glowing lights and light-reactive makeup and fabric. Audience members are encouraged to wear LED lights, glow in the dark fabrics, and fun makeup.

All participants will gather near the Mill City Museum at 9 pm for the beginning of the parade. Band members, dancers, stilters, floats, and audience will then progress across the Stone Arch Bridge. The parade will end near the Soap Factory at 9:45 pm. The entire marching band will be adorned with LEDs, glowsticks, and black light–activated body paint. Stilters and carriers of lanterns and black light will walk alongside the band to illuminate the parade. A team of J-setting majors will lead the band while performing choreographed dances to the music. Tuba players and other performing artists will ride glowing floats behind the band.

Jackie Beckey

Jackie Beckey has been creating community-engaged art for years. In 2010 she curated a street-art parade for a marching band on the West Bank of Minneapolis. Since then, she organized a Kickstarter funding campaign to present a parade with this same marching band on the Greenway bike path.

Psychedelic Marching Band

The forty-piece psychedelic marching band, comprised of brass, strings, accordion, woodwinds, and a fifteen-piece drum corps, performs original compositions for illuminated street-art parades.

Night Walk

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Beginning at sundown, I will travel through the night carrying a lantern on a harness, with my face concealed by a scarf to remain anonymous. I will begin in Powderhorn and attempt to pass all of the project sites in Northern Spark. After walking for several hours, I will arrive at the Mississippi River at St. Anthony Main, where my raft will be tethered. The raft is composed of found lumber and debris, and has a bed. I will climb onto the raft, hang my lantern above the bed, lie down, and close my eyes to go to sleep. As I rest, several friends will convey me down the river, past the busiest festival zone,through the locks, and beyond.

During my long walk, I will be able to connect with fellow participants of the night festival. Usually I will be relatively solitary, which may cause passersby to wonder about the masked person walking alone with a lamp mounted to her shoulders. They may not recognize I am a performance artist and will not know for certain if I am eccentric. This ambiguity allows viewers to react sincerely rather than with a conditioned response to art, as in a gallery. Unless I am obviously interacting with an art project, I am just a person walking at night.

When I reach the raft, I will be close to the epicenter of Northern Spark, with the relative safety and solitude of my raft at the other side of the crowds. On my raft, I will escape the public sphere and enter a quiet, intimate place. I will travel over river locks on an exposed bed with hundreds of potential viewers, trusting in my companions to direct and guide me. The river ride is my presumed “safe place,” but I will actually be much more exposed on my raft; my walking portion will be my “exposed” time, though here I will enjoy more anonymity. I intend to address the guarded feelings we experience when exposed to the outside world contrasted with our far less guarded feelings when we are alone and sheltered. These feelings may overlap: solitude can be achieved in a crowd, and fear can occur when we are safe and alone.

Leslie Kelman

Leslie Kelman is an installation and performance artist who creates work about space, shelter, and labor. She works full time at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design as a shop technician and part time as an instructor.

Night Bikes

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Watch specially decorated art bikes as they travel over the Sabo Bridge. These “illuminated” bikes will help light up the Greenway with art. Night Bikes is a celebration of motion, light, and rideable art. Illuminated art bikes will gather for a parade and performance across Sabo Bridge, expanding the creative experience of the Midtown Greenway.

Jack Brass Band

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

March with the Jack Brass Band on the Greenway! The crack of the snare drum, the blat of the sousaphone, the blaring brass over all—the Jack Brass Band is an infectious machine, one that drives crowds to their feet and commands them to groove. Formed in 1999, this is the only New Orleans–style brass band in Minneapolis, true ambassadors of the Crescent City’s brass band tradition. The Jack Brass Band embraces the traditions of New Orleans jazz, while adding old-time blues, rock, hip-hop, pop, funk, and reggae. Following this recipe, it brings to the table an overflowing plate of greasy down-home music for your soul. “If you like your gumbo spicy and your music hot, check out the Jack Brass Band,” said Wynton Marsalis. The Jack Brass Band brings the party to any event with a rich tradition and a groove that will make you want to get up and dance to the New Orleans sound.

Fire Works

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Catalog Projects with Chris Larson, Bruce Tapola, Sarah Ann Burns, Aaron Dysart, John Fleischer and Jennifer Danos.

In conjunction with Northern Spark and the Walker Art Center’s Open Field, Catalog Projects presents Fire Works. For this one-night exhibition and performance, seven Minnesota artists will each sculpt a three-dimensional wooden object, which will be exhibited in the Cargill Lounge of the Walker Art Center. In the spirit of Allan Kaprow, the art objects will not be accumulated by the institution but rather liberated by a sacrificial act of burning on the Open Field campfire. The event provides the opportunity to investigate our cultural tendencies toward acquisition while emphasizing a visceral experience of the present moment.

Presented in partnership with and Catalog Projects

Dakota Combo Jazz Ensemble

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Dakota Combo is the premier student jazz combo of MacPhail Center for Music. Its musicians are selected through a live audition process. With generous support from the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education, this group performs regularly throughout the Twin Cities and was awarded the Mingus Spirit Award at the Charles Mingus High School Competition and Festival in New York City in February 2010.


Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

NOT TO SCALE is a performative large-scale installation that will happen during the course of the night.  We invite viewers to look up and marvel at our message to the night sky.

Art of This

Art of This is an artist-run, artist-centric organization dedicated to a direct and diverse dialogue with its audiences and community. We exhibit socially relevant, conceptual and experimental visual art, performance and music that is created by emerging and established artists. 

NOT TO SCALE is organized Jenny Bookler, Alyson Coward, and Katy Vonk

Acoustic Campfire & Bedtime Stories

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Acoustic Campfire
Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Avenue S, Open Field
8:58 pm – 1 am
Gather around the campfire for a series of intimate acoustic concerts by The Prairie Fire Lady Choir (9 pm), The White Whales (10 pm), Dear Data (11 pm), and closing with Brian Laidlaw and the Family Trade (12 midnight).

Presented by Walker Art Center

Bedtime Stories
Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Avenue S, Open Field Grove
2 am – 3 am
Wind down your Northern Spark experience with surprise readings by local authors within the intimate space of the James Turrell Sky Pesher. Dreamlike visions await!

Presented by Walker Art Center and Rain Taxi Review of Books


The Two Wheel Tour: A Parade of Oddities

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Two Wheel Tour, the city’s smallest theatre trails behind Open Eye’s tandem bike to present A Parade of Oddities and light up the night with miniature spectacle.


Monday, January 16th, 2012

SHIFT is a sound and interactive movement environment located in the lobby of the Barbara Barker Center for Dance at the University of Minnesota. SHIFT asks which communicative qualities contribute to a sustainable, evolving society, best serve the conversation, and lay the groundwork for growth.  In between performance events, spectators will be invited to explore the interactive environment freely.

Performance times:

10:00 PM and 11:15 PM (20min)
(Q & A after first performance)
The environment will be available for audience participation between 10:20 pm and 12:30 am

Conceived and directed by Vanessa Voskuil
Sonic environment and technology by Manjunan Gnanaratnam
Design installation by David Mehrer

Performing Collaborators
Jeffrey Berger
Hilda De Roover
Andrea Ñ Gutierrez
Alexandre Spinelli Ferreira
Pierre-Gilles Henry
Ifrah Mansour
Emma Rainwater
Sammy Samejima

Vanessa Voskuil

Vanessa Voskuil is an independent choreographer, director, performer, designer, community organizer, teaching artist, and creator of dances, interdisciplinary performances and films. She has created more than twenty original works presented by theaters and universities throughout the Twin Cities.

Manjunan Gnanaratnam

Composer Manjunan Gnanaratnam has worked extensively as an interdisciplinary artist within the context of Modern and Postmodern Dance for almost thirty years. His research in physical computing methodologies and multidisciplinary identities originated at the Computer Music Labs at the Department of Dance at SUNY Brockport, New York, in the early 1990s.

David Mehrer

David Mehrer holds a B.F.A. in sculpture from Minnesota State University Moorhead. His work with Vanessa Voskuil in En Masse won a Minnesota SAGE award for outstanding design. David is active in the Minneapolis theater and performing arts community as a set designer and stage manager, as well as designing and fabricating retail displays.


In Habit: Living Patterns

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

“Ultimately we choose which habits to repeat. It is in this choice that we become and are always becoming, always crafting our social skin.”—Pramila Vasudevan

For the 2012 Northern Spark Festival, Aniccha Arts premieres a nine-hour overnight outdoor performance at the Central Avenue Bridge underpass. In Habit: Living Patterns explores the collectively learned habits and practices that emerge from the everyday, critiquing the acts of power that are reinforced by these patterns. This dance performance is composed of sixteen vignettes featuring performers who are dancing and interacting within an immersive electronic music and video environment in the landscape of patterns of movement in the audience.

The Aniccha Arts ensemble for In Habit: Living Patterns includes Pramila Vasudevan (artistic director, choreographer, and dance collaborator); Piotr Szyhalski (director); Jasmine Kar Tang (dramaturg and dance collaborator); Caleb Coppock (visual media designer); John Keston (musician); Benjamin Reed (installation designer); David Steinman (technology designer); Clare Brauch (costume designer); Cornelius Coons  (graphic designer); Sarah Hoover Beck-Esmay (dance collaborator); Dustin Maxwell (dance collaborator); and Chitra Vairavan (dance collaborator).

Pre-Festival Performances
Thursday, June 7th, 9 pm (60 minutes)
Friday, June 8th, 9 pm (60 minutes)

Northern Spark Festival Performance
Saturday, June 9th, 9 pm – 6 am (Join or leave anytime.)

Aniccha Arts

Aniccha Arts is a performing arts company that uses dance and electronic media to interrupt public space and invoke mass response. This sense of interruption, which involves an immersive atmosphere and interaction between audience and performers, is conveyed through kinetic presence, a mode of artistic intergration that simultaneously centers visual art, sound, and a movement aesthetic rooted in contemporary Indian dance and multiple dance forms. Trained in Indian dance and visual media, Pramila Vasudevan is the founder and artistic director of Aniccha Arts. The company’s repertoire includes Dousing the Mirage (2007), presented by Center for Independent Artists; an excerpt of The Wet Bug Hush (2008), featured in the Choreographers’ Evening at the Walker Art Center; The Weather Vein Project (2009), part of the Artists on the Verge fellowship at the Weisman Art Museum; and Words to Dead Lips (2010) of the Catalyst Series at Intermedia Arts.