Best bets: Purple power, concerts and movies

This week's top picks in local arts and entertainment

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Get Purple

Since Prince's death, The Current has rightfully become the "Purple Hub" — a place for all things Prince, whether it's an entire streaming channel dedicated to his work, providing expert views and memories, or this: the creation of the podcast "Prince: The Story of 'Sign O' The Times.'" Episodes go up weekly, starting this past week, and lead up to the Sept. 25 release of a remastered edition of the album.

The podcast, hosted by Andrea Swensson, considers the critically acclaimed album and includes the voices of collaborators Lisa Coleman and Wendy Melvoin, among others. The series has the support of the Prince estate and Warner Records.

Sound engineer Susan Rogers says in the first few minutes of Episode 1 : "'It's Gonna be a Beautiful Night: Sign 'O' the Times,' we could hear that the flame of youth had dimmed and then we can see and hear him a little bit better. And you hear he's more of a genius than you even thought."

Episode 2 will tell the story of setting up Paisley Park.

"Prince: The Story of 'Sign O' The Times'" is available on podcast streaming platforms.


Burn, brother, burn

During this time of limited contact, The Brothers Burn Mountain have been coming atcha from Sax-Zim Bog — Facebook live performances from sometimes beneath a tarp and aptly referred to as "Bog Sessions." These sets have featured old and new, the latter being songs from "The Dark Exchange," which will be released Sept. 7.

Ryan and Jesse Dermody collaborated with Alan Sparhawk of Low on this lush and layered rock 'n' roll album, recorded at their own deep woods, off-the-grid studio.

"The Dark Exchange" sounds like messy beards and sepia tones, birth of psychedelic rock documentaries. It's eclectic, with a consistent meditative hum. Try it with large headphones and glow-in-the-dark paint graffiti.

Bad Bad Hats, at your computer

Bad Bad Hats, a Twin Cities band that tends to wind its way to Duluth stages occasionally, will offer a live-stream concert at 8 p.m. Sept. 3. The indie band has been playing weekly themed sessions. A recent one featured singer-guitar player Kerry Alexander and bass player Chris Hoge and a road trip-themed soundtrack ranging from Gary Numan's "Cars," to Roger Miller's "King of the Road," to "Super America," a new ode to friendship and gas stations.

Plus: antics like dressing tourist-chic and keeping a pine air freshener in the frame.

Bad Bad Hats plays its "Live from Lincoln Hall" concert at 8 p.m. Sept. 3. Tickets available at .

'Coup 53' offers 'aesthetic exercise'

This past week, Zinema 2 added "Coup 53" to its movies available for streaming at home. It's the story of the coup in 1953 that overthrew Iran's Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in favor of the Shah. There is archival footage and witness accounts of the CIA/MI6 mission in the documentary.

Reviewer Ann Hornaday said in the Washington Post: "As enlightening as 'Coup 53' is as a secret history, it's even more satisfying as an aesthetic exercise, treating viewers to one of cleverest workarounds in cinematic problem-solving in recent memory."


Zinema 2 gets a portion of the proceeds from streaming vids from its website.

"Coup 53" is available for rent from Zinema 2.

Dance for Pride

Duluth Superior Pride events like the day o' music at Bayfront Festival Park, the mayor's annual launch and more are canceled for COVID-19, but at least one group has taken the festivities online.

Ignite Studio is offering a 45-minute Pride-themed online cardio class, with this note: "We may not be able to celebrate Duluth Superior Pride in person, but we can still reach out to each other and find joy and acceptance in this virtual world."

Virtual Happy Duluth Superior Pride Dance Cardio Class is at 3 p.m. Sept. 5. To sign up, go to .

Christa Lawler is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.
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