The dead of a Minnesota winter can take its toll on the human spirit. Yet these long, frigid nights can also spark fertile periods of intense inspiration for the creatively inclined. It is in this spirit that McNally Smith College of Music announces its second annual Deepwinter Bonfire — a free, five-and-a-half hour conflagration of improvised live music, spoken word, dance and visual art that promises a much-welcomed thaw for the Twin Cities arts community.
Co-sponsored by the St. Paul Winter Carnival and the St. Paul College of Visual Arts, the Deepwinter Bonfire takes place at McNally Smith’s Atrium and Auditorium in downtown St. Paul (adjacent to the History Theatre at the intersection of West 10th and Cedar streets) on Saturday, January 19 from 6:00pm–11:30pm. All ages are welcome to attend, and guests can enjoy full bar service for the duration of the evening (cash only). For a full schedule and more, please check out deepwinterbonfire.tumblr.com.
Much like last year’s highly successful event, variety, spontaneity and collaboration promise to be in abundance. Heading up the festivities once again is Minneapolis-based supergroup Coloring Time. With a fluid line-up that has included the likes of Dosh, Chastity Brown and Aby Wolf in its brief history, Coloring Time’s core has honed its hip-hop-meets-jazz improv chops substantially over the past year via residencies at local hot-spots Icehouse and Honey.
“We look forward to the unknowable aspects of these shows,” says Joe Horton, founding member of Coloring Time (and local hip-hop masters No Bird Sing). “The audience, just by being there, is as much a performer as the musicians. Each show is unique not only by our improvisation, but by the audience’s presence and involvement — that’s often the most powerful part of the show.”
Also on board for Deepwinter Bonfire 2013:
- Improvestra — a 20-piece multigenerational improv orchestra based at McNally Smith
- Motion Crew — an award-winning, all-Hmong breakdance troupe featuring four University of Minnesota students
- Time Squid (former McNally Smith student Hal Lovemelt) — a mind-bending multimedia artist/improviser and founder of Playatta design company, specializing in video and electronic music.
“Collaborative improvisation is an incredibly important art form for this day and age,” says Chris Cunningham, Creative Partnerships Liaison at McNally Smith and artistic director of Improvestra. “It goes against the way we interact with media today — digitally and alone. The spirit of Deepwinter Bonfire is one of being in the moment, connecting with others on an artistic level, and creating improvised music, words, video, paintings, songs, and dance, together in that moment.”
The McNally Smith Bonfire Freestyle Team (featuring some of the area’s best up-and-coming freestyle poets), live mural painting teams (from The St. Paul College of Visual Arts) and prodigy student DJs (from McNally Smith and The St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists) round out a deliciously diverse Deepwinter Bonfire line-up that truly has something to offer for music and visual art fans of all ages.
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