Having a performance in a near empty Casket Company warehouse seems like some kind of crazy joke. But given the lively nature of the dance/performance community in the Twin Cities and the fact that said Casket Company is getting a new life very quickly, it's not so crazy. Last night I attended a performance put on by Flaneur Productions called Dérive that included five performances from local artists. I selfishly enjoyed seeing the rebirth of the Northwestern Casket Company, which is in my neighborhood, almost as much as I enjoyed the performances.
Dérive presented new work from Venessa Voskull performed by Robert Harmon, Charles Campbell of Skewed Visions, HIJACK, Christian Gaylord of Flaneur Productions, and John Bueche with Bedlam Theater crew. (Elliott Durko Lynch was also to perform but could not due to an injury.) The overall idea for the performance, as noted in the program notes, has seeds in the Situationists' notion of dérive or reacting to the psychogeographical effects on a journey or a stroll. Unless you are interested in Guy Debord and Situationist theory, this probably doesn't really matter. The performances were as varied as the performers, and needn't have a theme. The raw space was open and seating arrangements changed with performances from sitting in chairs on one side of the room to sitting on three sides of the performance space to sitting on the floor. The HIJACK piece was the same as the one I had seen at Rogue Buddah, although here it is entitled Prick and Cellulite. Dérive continues next weekend, April 12-14 7:00pm. Tickets are $14.
I had heard last year at a neighborhood meeting that the Northwestern Casket Company had been bought by John Kremer and Jennifer Young who own the California Building and had similar plans for the newly named Casket Arts Building. On the corner of Jefferson and 17th in Northeast Minneapolis, this is nothing but good news. Northeast is carrying the torch for artist space in a town where everything else is being gentrified into condos. Although I hadn't seen much activity around the building, lots of work has been done. The interior is just fantastic. The building has been around since the late 1800s and made caskets up until a couple years ago. The Casket Arts Building will be open for Art-a-Whirl May 18-20. Go check it out.