Downtown Art

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October 10, 2005 // UPDATED 1:58 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Anna Pratt
Anna Pratt

A new world order of fries

Would you like a missile with your fries? Do you know what you’d like yet? How about if I give you the meal half off (because part of it just blew up)? We guarantee to get you a burger well before the next explosion. That’s our company guarantee, or your money back.

Also, did I tell you about our burger? It’s the bomb.

This absurd comedy, “Please Don’t Blow Up, Mr. Boban,” satirizes the prospect of a fast food joint in Baghdad. Inspired by an English newspaper clipping that directed readers where to dine in Baghdad, it illustrates the struggle of a restaurateur to keep his eatery open amidst war.

As if running a restaurant wasn’t difficult enough anyway, restaurant owner Mr. Boban has the added problem of combating bombs and raids on top of it all.

Presented from the Live Action Set, there are physical comedy elements reminiscent of The Three Stooges. This is remounted from the Fringe Festival, where it sold out its seven performances.

• Th-Su thru Oct. 22; Th-F 8:30 p.m., Sa-Su 6 p.m. & 8:30 p.m. (no performance Sa Oct. 15) Loring Playhouse, 1633 Hennepin Ave. S. $20. 486-5757,

Like caffeine, but better

The Twin Cities Book Festival is like caffeine, but better. I mean, you might get hooked on the words of these authors, but you probably won’t get shaky (and struggle to keep composure at your computer while co-workers wonder if whether you’re actually typing anything or just spastic).

The inspiration that authors such as Harvey Pekar, Rick Moody and Siri Hustvedt (among an impressive list of others) impart is also longer lasting than 20 ounces of coffee.

Stories about their stories provide wisdom to writers of all levels. First, Harvey Pekar, author of the autobiographical comic series “American Splendor” talks about his new graphic tale, “The Quitter.”

Detailing his teen years, he illustrates his insatiable appetite for acceptance, showing how if he didn’t get an immediate and shining endorsement, then his motivation automatically bottomed out.

Sound familiar? For those of us who always felt alienated, his experiences epitomize the human condition. Ultimately, he proves that despite the anxiety-ridden picture he paints of himself, he’s definitely not a quitter.

Second, Rick Moody comments on the American obsession to fixate on the next hot topic. In this case, the next big thing in Hollywood is a miniseries about diviners or miracle workers bearing water for the thirsty.

The irony is that the miracle profit that producers expect out of the series comes from a no no-name couple that offers just a taste from the well. The diviners haven’t even written a script, just an attention-getting summary. So, how divine are the diviners now?

Novelist Siri Hustvedt is a fluent speaker about art. “Mysteries of the Rectangle” dissects Goya’s “Self Self-portrait with Dr. Arrieta” (which adorns one wall of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts).

Bill Lofy talks about late Senator Paul Wellstone. Audrey Niffenegger imagines a Chinese tapestry come to life. Warren Hanson introduces the single-parent guidebook “Raising You Alone” with a cameo appearance from PEEF the Christmas Bear at his side.

That’s not all. There’ll be plenty of time to browse books, get acquainted with Minnesota Center for Book Art, or listen in on a panel discussion and purchase literature.

• Sa Oct. 15, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Minneapolis Community & Technical College, 1415 Hennepin Ave. S. Free.