Posted at 9:37 AM on November 3, 2010
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: News and reviews
Here's a look at the arts and culture stories making headlines...
Brainerd woman in court over music sharing -- again
- Mark Stodghill, Duluth News Tribune
...For the third time in three years, Thomas-Rasset [took] a seat in a federal courtroom to hear the Recording Industry Association of America tell a jury that the Brainerd mother of four willfully committed copyright infringement by distributing 24 songs on the KaZaA peer-to-peer file sharing network.
Sandbox Theatre's Heather Stone talks collaboration - Sheila Regan, City Pages
This weekend Sandbox Theatre will open their latest collaborative production, unspeakable things: the Wandrei brothers project, about Donald and Howard Wandrei, two St. Paul brothers who wrote science fiction books together.
Asian film festival hits close to home - Colin Covert, Star Tribune
Documentary about the 2004 killings of six Wisconsin hunters is part of a diverse lineup for the Twin Cities' first Asian Film Festival.
A satisfying "Cinderella" from the Minnesota Opera - Jay Gabler, TC Daily Planet
My apologies, everyone--I misled you just a titch. In last week's Arts Orbit Radar, I wrote that the Minnesota Opera's new production of Gioachino Rossini's Cinderella "is bound to be pure luxury." That's not precisely true. "Pure luxury" would be like a cupcake from Cake Eater Bakery, piled high with sugary frosting. This Cinderella is more like a good cranberry muffin: filling and consistently tasty, with occasional bites of fruitiness dispersed evenly throughout.
What's up with the Minnesota Museum of American Art? - Erica Tasto , Pioneer Press
When Kristin Makholm became executive director of the Minnesota Museum of American Art in June 2009, she was faced with a program that had no building, virtually no staff and little money. A year and a half later, after seeing success with different outreach programs and exhibitions, including "Museum Without Walls," in which the museum partners with other local institutions to show its art collections, Makholm is looking at fall 2015 as the museum's reopening date.
Eiko and Koma at Walker Art Center - Caroline Palmer, Star Tribune
Throughout November, Gallery Two of the Walker Art Center is a second home to the New York-based choreographic team of Eiko & Koma. The artists, who are usually seen on stage, have transformed the museum space into a mysterious sanctuary they fully inhabit in a "living installation" called "Naked."
"Words to Dead Lips": Multimedia dance performance looks at ecology of fear
- Sheila Regan, TC Daily Planet
This weekend, Aniccha Arts, a company that merges media and dance, presents a performance that takes on what the artists call "an ecology of fear" in our society. Predicated on the idea of crowd control and the politics of sound, Words to Dead Lips explores the dimensions of how a climate of fear can shape and form a crowd, and how individuals, or groups of individuals can fight against that force.
"Ghosts of the Orpheum" spooks guests and reminds them of what once was
- Barb Teed, TC Daily Planet
What made Ghosts of the Orpheum particularly creepy was that it was based on true Orpheum Theatre ghost stories. Or maybe it was the timing: the day before Halloween.
On ghosts, vampires, and your own death - By Rob Hubbard, Pioneer PressIt bears remembering that all of those ghosts and vampires who rang your doorbell Sunday night were there to remind you of the inevitability of your own death.
Andrew Wilkowske as Dandini, Daniel Mobbs as Alidoro, Roxana Constantinescu as La Cenerentola (Angelina) and John Tessier as Don Ramiro in The Minnesota Opera production of "Cinderella (La Cenerentola)."
Photo by Michal Daniel
Thinking about seeing Minnesota Opera's production of "Cinderella?" See what the reviews are saying. I've included excerpts from five reviews here - to read the full reviews, just click on the author's name.
Brad Richason of the Twin Cities Performance Art Examiner writes:
For those whose familiarity with the Cinderella tale extends no further than the animated Disney version, the absence of manifest fantasy in Gioachino Rossini's operatic adaption will come as a surprise. In Rossini's revered variation, there's no fairy godmother casting transformative spells, no gilded carriage reverting to a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight. Far from being bereft of magic, however, the Minnesota Opera's spellbinding new production of Rossini's Cinderella, now running at the Ordway Center, exudes its own enthralling sense of enchantment.
Michael Anthony writes for MinnPost...
The characters on opening night seemed to be visual embodiments of Rossini's sparkling score. And where most directors can't resist infusing "Cenerentola" with low-down slapstick, Varone's staging was full of surprises and witty, light-as-air touches that managed to take the familiar story seriously while allowing ample opportunity for laughs.
This is not a definitive Cinderella, but it's certainly an enjoyable one, offering pleasures for opera fans from novices to experts. When the show ended, my friend Nicky exclaimed, "That was the best opera I've ever seen!" It also happened to be the first opera she'd ever seen, but I suspect that thanks to this entertaining production, it won't be her last.
Meanwhile, Rob Hubbard at Pioneer Press has this criticism:
There is plenty of patter "Cinderella," the composer's comic take on the fairy tale, and the Minnesota Opera seemed to have the right man to bring out those Rossini rhythms in director/choreographer Doug Varone. While he does so intermittently in the company's new production, there's a surprising paucity of movement, resulting in a relatively low-energy staging that's often splendidly sung but not nearly as much fun as it has the potential to be.
Over at the Star Tribune, Larry Fuchsberg concludes:
In a cast without weaknesses, bass Donato DiStefano's Don Magnifico (Angelina's stepfather) stands out. DiStefano is a great Italian singing actor, commanding every trick in the comedian's arsenal, and manages to be spectacularly stylish without concealing Magnifico's abusiveness. Andrew Wilkowske's hammy, swaggering Dandini and John Tessier's ardent, agile Ramiro are also noteworthy.
Deployed in ways Rossini never dreamed, the all-male chorus (spiffy in white tie) sounds marvelous. So, for the most part, does the orchestra, which meets the challenge of Christopher Franklin's uncompromising tempos. And all hands seem to relish the opera's most delicious number: the "sextet of stupefaction," a paean to the Italian rolled r.
Have you seen Cinderella? If so, give us your review!
Miwa Matreyek creates performances where real shapes and virtual images trade places, amid layers of animation, video and live bodies. Using animation, projections and her own moving shadow, Miwa Matreyek performs a gorgeous, meditative piece about inner and outer discovery. The piece Matreyek performed at TEDGlobal 2010 is an abridgement of the work "Myth and Infrastructure." Take a quiet 10 minutes and dive in. With music from Anna Oxygen, Mirah, Caroline Lufkin and Mileece.
Posted at 12:15 PM on November 3, 2010
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Music
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra a $200,000 grant to fund preservation of historically-important recordings. Those recordings will be archived at Minnesota Public Radio.
The three-year grant will fund the digital preservation of 400 of the most vulnerable and rare of the 1,000 plus recordings of live concerts of the SPCO made by Minnesota Public Radio since 1969. Recordings from certain periods of time are particularly vulnerable because of the instability of the materials used for audio recordings at the time.
Some of those recordings include appearances by Aaron Copland, John Cage, Neville Marriner, Isaac Stern, Michael Tilson Thomas and Pinchas Zukerman. Others include world premieres of works commissioned by the SPCO, not to be found elsewhere.
This is the second time this year the Mellon Foundation has given a major grant to the SPCO. In July, the SPCO announced it had received a separate $1 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for artistic and digital media initiatives.
As a high school student in California, I loved listening to broadcasts of LA Theatre Works on the local public radio station. Each week LATW presented dramatic readings of notable play by famous actors, and my imagination got to create the staging.
So it's with a bit of nostalgia I read the news that Penumbra Theatre's Artistic Director Lou Bellamy will be heading to Los Angeles this month to directo LATW's production of "A Raising in the Sun" by Lorraine Hansberry. The show runs November 17-21 at the Skirball Cultural Center in the hills of Santa Monica, and then will be broadcast at a later date on MPR's sister station KPCC in Southern California, as well as on public radio stations in Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Seattle, and San Francisco (but alas, not in the Twin Cities).
The LATW show stars Judyann Elder, James Gleason, Noah Gray-Cabey (Heroes), Deidrie Henry, Terrell Tilford, Rutina Wesley (HBO's True Blood) and Mirron Willis.
Lou Bellamy directed a fully staged performance of A Raisin in the Sun at the Guthrie Theater in March and April of 2009.
Posted at 2:00 PM on November 3, 2010
by Euan Kerr
Filed under: Poetry
"Poetry is a way of telling huge stories in very small spaces," Patricia Smith says.
She's a four time National Poetry Slam Champion, in Minneapolis to speak this evening as part of the Nommo African American Writers series.
Like many people though she's thinking about the election.
"For me, any time I am excited about something, or saddened by something, or angered by something, my first instinct is to run for paper and pen, " she says.
She uses these tools to write her way out of confusion she is feeling, or to better understand her emotions at some news.
She thinks there's a lot of people doing that today around the USA.
"And that is on both sides of the spectrum," she says. "It could be if you are happy about the election or if you are sad. You need to figure out what does this mean to my root in the world? Does it weaken my root in the world? Does it strengthen it?"
Smith, a former Boston Globe columnist who resigned in a cloud of controversy in the late 1990's entered into the poetry open-mike world in Chicago and built a second career.
"I am sure there's a lot of people scribbling furiously right now so they can get up on stage tonight, and tell how they feel about everything," she says. "I was just looking on Facebook and some people have posted poems that they wrote yesterday."
Smith says poetry is at it's best a creative conversation, and sometimes, like now, it can be a raw and imperfect.
"If we can get over the fact that every time you go to the page it's got to be this perfectly well-crafted thing, and realize that sometimes poetry is a rant, or it is you bellowing in the face of your adversary. And I think, yeah, it's a day for poetry because it's a day of extreme emotion in both directions."
Patricia Smith will speak this evening at the Cowles Auditorium at the Hubert H Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota.
You can listen to her performing her work here.
You can hear our conversation on the election here:
This is our conversation on the place of poetry in her life now:
And here we talk about the difference between being a poet and a columnist: