Downtown art

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March 7, 2005 // UPDATED 1:52 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Anna Pratt
Anna Pratt

Talking about her story

Sarcasm comes with grace, funny anecdotes with sober themes and personal accounts with sharp commentaries about global events in "Girl Talk," an event that gathers female poets and musicians to celebrate Women's History Month. They're loaded with plenty of silly anecdotes about cosmetic snafus and soured romances to which we can all relate, as well as erudite discussions about politics and current affairs. All of them play a vital role in fostering the local creative zone.

In music and poetry the energetic Amy Steinberg talks about female power, faith, sexuality, acceptance and love. Considering that she's getting ready to reprise her solo Fringe Festival act, "Me Me Me Me," maybe you'll get a sneak peek of the lyric monologue that's so painfully/gleefully self-aware.

Cynthia French, event-organizer, slam master and poet, said Steinberg added emergency comedy to high-pressure moments. Just before an intense spoken-word match she naturally injected a much-needed dose of comic relief that French really appreciated amid all of those poets (400, to be exact).

One of French's other favorite writers is local poet and columnist Carol Connolly, who is praised for spare, elegant writing that's a lot like the way she actually talks. Her poetry collection, "Payments Due," vividly describes women's roles. She shows the tensions between young and adult life, portraying her adolescent self as eager and trusting while her older self recognizes social inequities between men and women and begins to protest.

Another dynamic arts advocate is radio personality Jules Nyquist, a writer, producer and co-host for KFAI's "Write On Radio." Nyquist is also a frequent performer at the Acadia Cabaret and Caf, the Rogue Buddha Gallery and others. Her reviews appear in publications such as "Rain Taxi" and "Borealis." A Loft instructor, she says that poetry isn't superfluous but is an essential part of life.

French agrees, adding that "poetry isn't scary." She should know. The champion for and of spoken word/slam poetry dueled with poems for at least seven years for SlamMN! and other organizations.

W Mar. 9, 7 p.m., e.p. atelier, 609 S. 10th St., Donations accepted. 332-4000,

Found in translation

If I were to reconstruct my dreams in a dance, I'd have to first figure out how to translate my latest vivid dream(s). Here's what I've got to work with: a Twins game (I don't know anything about sports), a string of dead presidents (in sepia-toned detail and historic costume), travel to a Spanish-speaking place salted with some strange conversations, and the acquisition and subsequent modeling of bright pink tennis shoes. So shamelessly pink in fact, that in the dream I wondered if I was allowed to wear something so risqu. But when I did, things seemed to work out. Nobody was shocked to see my bright pink sneakers after all.

As absurd as these miscellaneous items are (especially mixed together), I bet choreographer and dancer Mathew Janczewski could find a way to portray my imaginings in a modern dance.

He went through the same kind of process for "Plastic Language," brainstorming elements from his own dreams and those from others. He drew inspiration for ARENA Dance's "Plastic Language" from paintings by surrealist Joan Miro; paintings also based, in part, on visions from dreams. Like Miro, Janczewski squeezes ordinary objects and actions into their purest 2-D forms.

From a distance, an ensemble of arms and legs bend and gather to look like flat or organic shapes. While they coil and turn, these expressive dancers compose a lively painting in brightly colored Cubist forms, with the contemplative music of Vivaldi, Colleen, Cinematic Orchestra, Mogwai, Autechre, Alva Noto, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Darron Flagg.

Th-Su Mar. 10-13; Th-Sa 8 p.m., Su 7 p.m., Southern Theater, 1420 Washington Ave. S., $20. 340-1725,