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May 17, 2004 // UPDATED 1:36 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Anna Pratt
Anna Pratt

A conversation with Mikhail Baryshnikov

Although Guthrie Artistic Director Joe Dowling will be "interviewing" dancer-guru Mikhail Baryshnikov for the theater's 2004 Global Voices program, I have a few important questions for him as well (also about art and life).

First, what does Baryshnikov eat for breakfast? After all, he's tiptoed tirelessly across the globe, from Russia to Broadway, performing both as principal dancer and artistic director. This winter, the Baryshnikov Arts Center opens in New York. At the danger of sounding like a cereal spy soliciting celebrity endorsement, I really want to know: how does this man start his day?

Second, can he suggest a regimen for the perpetually awkward? What should I do to look more graceful as I break my little toe when I walk into doors (benches, walls, etc.)?

Finally, as a man known for his gentility, what pisses him off?

I'm not sure if he'll answer these all-important questions, but he will be joining an impressive canon of Global Voices speakers (including playwright Arthur Miller, composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim and author Isabel Allende, to name a few).

Baryshnikov was commissioned by the Guthrie for the lab's "Forbidden Christmas or the Doctor and the Patient," an absurdist-drama/ fantasy-allegory about a couple's turbulent Christmas Eve set in the 1950s Soviet Union.

Baryshnikov interview: Monday, May 17, 7:30 p.m.

Guthrie Theater, 725 Vineland Pl.

$25. 377-2224.

'Forbidden Christmas': Through Sunday, May 23, various times,

Guthrie Lab, 700 N. 1st St.

$45. 377-2224.

Mentor Series 25th Anniversary

This reading from writers David Haynes, John Jodzio and Holly Smart marks the Loft Literary Center's 25th Anniversary of the Mentor Series. This inspiring trio features a wide breadth of material -- with something for every kind of novel tingling -- but also have something in common: they're all teachers.

Novelist David Haynes is a teacher at Southern Methodist University; he attributes much of his wisdom to his classroom experience, from working with college students to 5th-graders. In his fourth, most recent novel, "The Full Matilda," readers enter the conflicted internal monologue of the African-American Matilda, a Washington, D.C. caterer who's examining what's really on her menu as she serves senators and high-class officials.

St. Paul assistant teacher John Jodzio has been featured in magazines like "The Quarterly," and the Web zine "In Posse." Jodzio is in-progress on a novel: "Six Foot Four with a Pompadour."

Also joining the fray is Holly Smart, who'll discuss Art Therapy, which she teaches at Metro State University (which has campuses in St. Paul and Downtown Minneapolis). Smart also practices psychotherapy at Chrysalis: A Center for Women and privately in St. Paul.

Saturday, May 22, 7:30 p.m.

Loft Literary Center, 1011 Washington Ave. S.

$5. 215-2575.