Posted at 12:17 PM on July 30, 2010
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Events
Performers from the Soap Factory's annual "Artery" festival.
If you've never been persuaded to check out an art gallery before, this is the weekend to overcome your inhibitions. There's a little something for just about everyone on offer at galleries all over the Twin Cities.
Now in its third consecutive year, Artery Twenty Ten offers performances by more than 22 artists over a series of four evenings at The Soap Factory in Minneapolis. The original premise of "Artery" was inspired by similarities between civic circulatory systems (roads, travel, city planning) and our own physical systems.
Fascinated by the Steampunk movement? Stevens Square Park presents "The New Antiquarians," an artistic ode to this imagined alternate fallout from the Industrial Age. The exhibition features a "Cabinet of Curiosities" of retro-futurist paintings; steampunk sculptures; a memory quilt and miniature catacombs made from cast-off, salvaged, and recycled materials.
Tarnish and Gold Gallery presents "The Art of Conflict: Identity in War and Displacement," featuring artwork by both Iraqis and Americans provoked/inspired by the war in Iraq. Organized by the Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project, with an opening reception tonight from 7-10pm.
Want to feel like an in-the-know hipster? Every few months Lisa Bergh and Andrew Nordin open their house in New London, to present a one day artist installation to the public. This Saturday they are hosting Karl Unnasch, who is transforming found/given objects into works of art.
Circus Juventas - our local version of Cirque de Soleil - presents "Sawdust," a salute to the origins of the modern-day circus, Featuring original music composed and performed by Peter Ostroushko.
The creators of "Chicago" and "Cabaret" give you the musical "The Scottsboro Boys."
It's based on the notorious "Scottsboro" case in the 1930s in which nine African-American men were unjustly accused of a heinous crime. Performances run at the Guthrie Theater through September 25.
Posted at 4:30 PM on July 30, 2010
by Euan Kerr
Filed under: Film
Paul Rudd and Steve Carell consider questions of taste and intelligence in "Dinner for Schmucks." (Image courtesy Paramount Pictures)
This is a week for musing on offensiveness. Here is a true story from the world of radio. I know it is true because I was there.
I was doing a piece for National Public Radio. To be honest I can't remember what it was about, but it did contain a snippet of someone speaking in German. As I worked through the piece with the editor, I felt I should in all good conscience, point out the phrase contained what we in Scotland call sweary words. It was a joke as I recall. Crude but funny
As a result, the editor, following his good conscience, made me take out the piece of tape and use something else. His reasoning is we shouldn't run the risk of offending someone. (This was in the pre-Bono dropping the F-bomb days, where life was a little simpler and less financially dangerous for broadcasters.) I made the change. It was not as fun, but definitely not crude.
So imagine my surprise a short time later when I heard a snippet in another story, this time done by a US reporter in Scotland, which contained some Scots dialect which was every bit as funny, and possibly more offensive than my German tape. "Ah, but almost no-one will have understood that," came the response when I pointed out the double standard.
So if a tree swears as it drops in the forest and nobody hears is it still offensive?
I don't know.
The reason I have been musing about this is because of the confluence of two news items this week. The first is the release of "Dinner for Schmucks" the new Steve Carell Paul Rudd vehicle. The second is the death (I think he would have hated the word 'passing,') of cartoonist John Callahan.
"Dinner for Schmucks" which is based on "The Dinner Game" a French movie from 1998, has Rudd playing Tim an ambitious young executive eager to find his way upwards in the cut-throat financial firm where he works. He learns to succeed he has to bring someone outlandish to a private dinner where the other execs, with their own misfits in tow, will get an evening's enjoyment out of ridiculing the luckless guests.
It's a creepy idea, about which Tim has qualms, particularly after his girlfriend informs him she finds it repugnant. However when Tim literally runs into Barry (he hits him with his Porsche whilst texting and talking on the phone at the same time) he can't resist. Barry (Carell) makes sentimental dioramas out of stuffed mice, posed to replicate great works of art, or people of significance in his life. Tim invites Barry to the dinner, launching a series of unfortunate encounters which allow Barry to burrow like a tick into Tim's life, threatening his relationship, his job, and (horrors!) his Porsche.
Unfortunately for the film it's clear Tim believes he deserves everything he gets. We feel sorry for him, when really we should be hating him. Yes, the dinner for idiots is an offensive premise, but if you are going to do it, go for the gusto.
This was something John Callahan understood. A quadriplegic as a result of a car crash he drew devilishly funny cartoons which set out to smash any and all ideas of political correctness. He would have had little time for this dinner.
A lot has been made of how much of "Dinner" was improvised. And there are moments of comedy. Jemaine Clement ("Flight of the Concords") and David Walliams ("Little Britain") bring some edge to their characters, as does Steve Carell on occasion. Yet much of the film seems to have become movie mush through comedy by committee.
The sad thing is the most offensive thing about the film may be its title, which people with a little yiddish will recognize as having a couple of meanings. But perhaps "almost no-one will have understood that."