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June 28, 2004 // UPDATED 2:15 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Anna Pratt
Anna Pratt

'On the Road'

Painter Christopher Santer revises our idea of landscape paintings with industrial imagery that subtracts elements of the natural world, like grass, trees or even people. His stark paintings of roads snake into the horizon to form an asphalt jungle. Labyrinthine passages wind, twist and overlap like tangled branches.

These roads might be entrances, exits or both -- but for dashed lines and some enigmatic signage, these nonmaps are devoid of visual clues to our destination or direction. Santer blazes a trail through our modern environment.

Life seems to have been choked out, in cloudy white exhaust. There aren't any cars on these highways, just concrete paths. Viewers follow giant paintings -- titled, "Fresh and Lovely," "New, Lovely, Smooth and Speedy," "New and Dreamy," "Dawn Loves Dusk" and "New Dream Supreme" -- that seem to indicate numerous obsessions, for better or for worse, with the road.

The fact that none of these roads is country-bumpkin-like may or may not be the point, but Santer implies that we love to construct byways, not only for the places we'll go but for the speed with which we'll get there and how smooth the ride will be.

At the same time, according to Santer's artist statement, he presents a mode for human connection. This complex drive is the fiber between us -- as some routes are cracked by potholes and other traffic disasters, we continue to tear down and build more bridges and freeways.

Ongoing. Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Circa Gallery, 1637 Hennepin Ave. S., Free. 332-2386.

Writing Frank Caliendo's resume

Comic Frank Caliendo's resume is full of qualities like, "Can imitate paramecium with startling accuracy," "Led the Fox NFL to a victory with his inspiring pregame game," "Is a people-person, including the likes of John Madden, Robin Williams, Al Pacino, Seinfeld and George Bush [Jr. or Sr., your pick] . . . " and "Knows how to handle a fast-paced environment."

It's true: Caliendo has made a business of schizophrenia. Voices are his specialty. To highlight his amazing mock-abilities, his Web site features a button of downloadable Caliendo sound bytes for your computer.

His resume's "Objective:" probably reads something like "I'm looking for the opportunity to be funny, stretch my vocal chords and make people laugh." Under "Experience" how about: "Never been able to sit still, can't keep a straight face and lack tact." For "Education": "Have appeared in Comedy Central shows, animated movies, college campuses and late night talk shows." And under "References" there'd be a link to his FrankFanzz Fanly Forum at

Caliendo's is sure to impersonate many celebrities at his Acme show, but he's a star in his own right -- his shows sell out quickly.

Tuesday-Saturday, June 29-July 3, 8 and 10:30 p.m., Acme Comedy Company, 708 N. 1st St., $20. 338-6393.

Free First Saturday

Oddly enough, I can remember the moment I wanted to become a poet (never mind that I haven't written any poetry in years). It was an episode of "Little House on the Prairie" wherein Mary told her poet boyfriend that he had "a way with words." I was in second grade and I thought then: I want to be able to do that.

Perhaps if I'd had the direction of Loft Instructor Jacey Choy and her spoken word/poetry workshop-performance, I'd be a famous slam poet today, instead of a once-wannabe.

First, Choy will teach teens and adults alike to convey their thoughts with vitality and brevity. And then she ushers workshop participants onto the open mic stage. Join these future Slam Champions in a literary playground.

Saturday, July 3, 1 p.m., Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden, 725 Vineland Pl., Free. 375-7622.

Anna Pratt can be reached at