Downtown Music

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March 22, 2004 // UPDATED 10:19 am - April 25, 2007
By: Holly Day
Holly Day

Look! Up in the sky!

Taking their name from Dostoevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov," the internationally famous Flying Karamazov Brothers juggle, sing and lecture about metaphysics, physics, history and God with equal dexterity. Since forming in 1976, they've shared the stage with Robin Williams, The Blues Brothers and The Grateful Dead, and they've appeared on numerous television shows, including "Seinfeld" and "Ellen."

Founding member Paul Magid, a.k.a. Dostoevsky's "Dmitri" -- "because I'm the dark, passionate one" -- co-founded the troupe when he was 18. He managed to continue performing through college, marriage and the birth of his two children. "I don't think I've had any job longer than two weeks, other than this," he said on the phone from his Seattle home. "This is really all I've ever done."

There are definitely more tedious ways to spend one's life. In their crowd-pleasing act, "The Gamble," Dmitri accepts the challenge to juggle any three items supplied by the audience. In the past this has included a cake, a computer and a Slinky.

Besides juggling, which they do tremendously well, FKB builds their performances around intense themes. In "L'Universe" the Brothers cover physics -- from Galileo to Einstein; in "Life: a Guide for the Perplexed" all acts revolve around the 12th-century Aristotelian rabbi Maimonide's book of the same name.

So what'll they be doing while they're here in town?

"This is going to be very different than our regular theatre show," Magid said. "We'll start out with a Gilbert and Sullivan number, during which we juggle and sing while the Minnesota Orchestra plays the music, and we'll be doing a Cole Porter number while playing musical clubs, and we'll be rolling a bunch of balls over and under a table and bounce them in sort of a cool rhythm."

And that's just the beginning.

Will they bring their famous "Gamble" number to the world-famous Orchestra Hall? "Oh, no," Magid said emphatically. "This is the symphony. No watermelons. We don't want a sloppy, messy floor -- it wouldn't fit the whole concept of playing with an orchestra. Anything you bring along with you to the performance, you'll have to eat or sit with the whole time."

Friday-Saturday, March 26-27, 8 p.m. Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall, $22-$44. 371-5656.

Bad to the bone

Oh, I'm taking my dad to this show, just for the pure pleasure of watching his jaw drop in astonishment at the sight of The Bad Plus perform. See, my dad is a huge "jazz" aficionado ("jazz" with a long-drawn-out whispered "zz" at the end with gentle, accompanying hand gestures) and these guys are going to blow his and every other "jazz" fans' socks off.

The trio of percussionist Dave King, bassist Reid Anderson and pianist Ethan Iverson have turned "jazz" into a language that just transcends, man -- channeling their energy and pleasant sarcasm into two albums' worth of tunes that include a wicked cover of Blondie's "Heart of Glass."

Monday, March 22, 7:30 p.m. Guthrie Theater, 725 Vineland Place, $25. 347-1200.

Forever Sweet 16

Who could forget Tiffany, that omnipresent '80s figure who spread sunshine and happiness with her squeaky-clean bubblegum pop? It was all about teenybopper love and finding all the good things in the world.

Twenty years ago, it would've cost big bucks to catch her at a Target Center-sized venue. This time, you get to see her all grown up and up-close (but not as close as in her 2002 "Playboy" centerfold) on the Fine Line stage.

Wednesday, March 24, 8 p.m. Fine Line Music Cafe, 318 1st Ave. N. $15 in advance, $17 at the door. 338-8100.

Holly Day can be reached at