Tad Simons

Tad Simons

Contributing editor Tad Simons is an award-winning journalist whose writing on the local arts scene has appeared in the Twin Cities Reader, City Pages, St. Paul Pioneer Press, American Theatre magazine, BackStage, Variety and the Washington Post. Over his 25 year career, Tad has covered theater, books, music, visual arts, dance, film, and performance art (including politics). Tad’s articles and essays on these and other subjects have won more than 30 local and national awards for editorial excellence.

5.6.08: Cabaret at Ordway Center

Taken on its own terms, Ordway Center’s production of Cabaret is dazzling. 

5.1.08: Ragamala’s "Sva (Vital Force)" at the Southern Theater

Ragamala’s Minneapolis concert marking the company’s fifteenth season opens with “Ardhanareeshwara Stotram,” a dance of the dual creation divinity, Shakti/Shiva.

4.25.08: Gem of the Ocean at The Guthrie

The last time I saw August Wilson alive was in the bathroom of the old Guthrie, minutes before the premiere of Fences, which until last night was the first and only production of Wilson’s work the Guthrie had ever done. 

6.3.08: Barack Obama at Xcel Energy Center

“Is your line moving yet?” It was after 7 p.m. and my buddy Mark was texting me from further back in the line—he was on Kellogg and Wabasha.

6.30.08: RZA as Bobby Digital at First Avenue

Trust me, white people wrote about black people before we wrote about Barack Obama.

7.07.08: George Michael @ Xcel Energy Center

Wow. I haven’t danced that long in years. If the first thing that comes to mind when you think of George Michael is Wham!, then please stop reading this. You’re not in the club. 

8.28.08: The Listening Project at the Walker Art Center

As Barack Obama delivered a rock star moment last night in Denver, a Minnesota-made documentary screened at the Walker that I suspect was also simulcast from Obama Command Central. David Axelrod, are you responsible for this?

8.1.08: Circus Juventas @ Highland Park in St. Paul

Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of the traditional circus. Sad clowns, stupid human tricks, animals in tutus—it’s the sort of entertainment I imagine would be effective at Guantanamo Bay.

10.20.08 TV on the Radio @ First Avenue

As the TV on the Radio show let out last night, and the First Avenue crowd spilled onto the corner of Seventh and First, a short fat dude with a beard held up a sticker of the Grateful Dead’s “Steal Your Face” skull, the red white and blue one with the electric bolt.

10.8.08: The Mattoid and Silver Jews @ The Triple Rock

Rock ’n’ roll has a humor problem. There have been funny videos, and funny rock-star presenters at award shows, and even funny reality television shows starring rock stars. But when it comes to rock stars actually making funny music, historically, there's been a deficit.

10.7.08: Joe Satriani @ the State Theatre

A Joe Satriani concert is a freak show of sorts. One can almost picture him as a guitar-playing geek being pitched by a circus barker: “Come one, come all—come see the amazing Satriani, a musician whose superhuman speed defies the laws of nature."

11.28.08: A Christmas Carol @ The Guthrie

We don't need Scrooge anymore, right? So why is he still around? 

12.6.08: Larry Coryell @ the Artists' Quarter

In the pantheon of living guitar legends, Larry Coryell ranks right up there with the best of them, even though his name has less marquee value than many of the musicians he has spent his career playing with.

12.10.08: Oasis @ Target Center

If you think Wall Street is awash in blood, you should've seen First Avenue last night. At 7 p.m, a healthy hour and a half before Oasis was set to go on, my buddy scalped a pair of tickets in the fourth row--$68 face value--for thirty bucks apiece.

12.30.08: Grease @ The Orpheum

I don’t know why Broadway has become a dumping ground for American Idol contenders. The show (which I love, by the way) is supposed to be a search for the next great American pop star.

1.06.09: Frost/Nixon @ The State Theatre

Richard Nixon’s admission, in the legendary 1977 television interview with David Frost, that he “let the American people down,” may be the last time a U.S. president has looked into a TV camera and told the unvarnished truth.

Expanding the Frame @ the Walker

Some of my best moviegoing experiences have been had in some of the most unhygienic theaters.

Slipknot @ Xcel Energy Center

The increasingly popular thrash-metal band Slipknot kicked off its 2009 All Hope is Gone Tour at the Xcel Energy Center on Friday night, with lead singer Corey Taylor promising to “lay waste to the entire United States of America” during the band’s thirty-four-city romp across the country over the next two months.

Spring Awakening @ The Orpheum and Hitchcock Blonde @ The Jungle

Last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine profiled post-feminist sexologists. 

Shepard Fairey's Art of Ingratitude

If you’ve been following the dust-up over artist Shepard Fairey, you know that: a) the Associated Press is upset that Fairey didn’t ask permission to use a photo of Barack Obama taken by an AP photographer to create his now iconic “Hope” poster; b) Fairey sued AP over the matter before AP had a chance to sue him, and c) Fairey is now the most famous artist in the country.

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