This week's hounds sniff out a cabaret where improvisation rules, an actor 'fully committed' to over 40-roles and a pair of vintage country crooners who harmonize like they came out of the same womb...and they did.
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As an arts-based psychotherapist and music lover, Nancy Ruppenthal has a keen interest in jazz and new music. For Nancy, the annual Fall New Music Cabaret at Studio Z in downtown St. Paul is an autumnal highlight. It's sponsored by the ensemble Zeitgeist, and features a gathering of some of the best improvisers in the Twin Cities. The cabaret runs Nov. 4 - 6 and features three hours of live, local music each night.
"Fully Committed," a one man show at the Jungle Theater where the lead actor plays more than 40 parts, has drawn the intense interest of Danette Olson. Danette, executive director of St. Croix Festival Theatre, once directed the play herself, and is really anxious to see how actor Nathaniel Keepers tackles his role(s). The Jungle first staged it in 2002. You can see it Nov. 5 - Dec. 19.
St. Paul musician Peter Karman isn't shy about heaping praise on his favorite group in the world right now, the Cactus Blossoms. Peter says the brotherly duo incorporates exquisite Louvin Brother-style harmonies in its original songs and resurrect the sound of 1950s AM radio. The Cactus Blossoms will hold down happy hour at the 331 Club in Minneapolis, Monday, Nov. 8th, 6-7pm.
And you can get an early sneak peek at the Art Hounds' picks every week by texting the word ART to 677-677.
Posted at 10:08 AM on November 4, 2010
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: News and reviews
Here's a look at what arts stories are making headlines...
Cloud Cult's Scott West paints with rhythm and story - Sheila Regan, City Pages
Scott West may be best known for the live paintings he creates during Cloud Cult concerts, but this weekend he has his own solo show at Tarnish & Gold Gallery featuring studio paintings he's been working on since the beginning of 2010.
Nathan Keepers is 'Fully Committed' at the Jungle - Ed Huyck, City Pages
Eight years ago, a 22-year-old Nathan Keepers auditioned for a play at the Jungle Theater that he'd never even heard of. The one-man tour de force turned it into a hit, and now he is back for another run of Fully Committed.
Telling "the big story": Native voices are strong in Minnesota literature and theater
- Sheila Regan, TC Daily Planet
There has been quite a bit of buzz recently about Native American writers, particularly with the landmark production of Native writer Louise Erdrich's Master Butchers Singing Club at the Guthrie Theater. In fact, the Native writing scene here in the Twin Cities has been going strong for quite some time due to a tight, supportive network of artists who encourage and support each other, combined with a number of institutions that have been fostering Native voices.
Peter Rowan's family inspires new album - Britt Robson, Star Tribune
Americana great Peter Rowan "comes home" to bluegrass with songs of innocence, experience.
Open Eye Figure Theatre's "The Cabinet of Wonders" is a typically strange little show
Sheila Regan, TC Daily Planet
Curious objects abound in the mysterious home of Christina (The Opener) and Leopold Carcass. Among the rats, wishbones, and contraptions--such as a chalk that's attached via retractable cord reel to Leopold's buttonhole, or a cupboard that is worn like an accordion--the two half crazy family members wander in a Beckett-like world of nonsense and secrets.
Mudshark Premieres This Week at Bryant-Lake Bowl
- Michelle Los, Minneapolis Live Music Examiner
True love means looking at the underbelly of someone (or something) and learning to love all the nitty-gritty, grimy, and occassionally scary (or at least perturbing) secrets you find there.
Walker Art Center spotlights Ousmane Sembene, "father of African film"
Sheila Regan, TC Daily Planet
The Walker Art Center is presenting all nine of his feature films in the series Ousmane Sembene: African Stories; they range from intimate character studies to unabashed satire
Hear Ruby Isle's take on 'Welcome to the Jungle'
- Chris Riemenschneider, Star Tribune
The track comes off the synth-pop trio's remake of the entire 'Appetite for Destruction' -- another daring stunt by frontman Mark Mallman.
Audition jitters - Matthew A. Everett, TC Daily Planet
Putting on his playwright's hat, blogger Matthew Everett considers the challenges of casting his play about gays in (and out of) the military.
Allen Ginsberg and the Quiet Librarian - Courtney Gerber, mnartists.org
Terrence Williams, a volunteer tour guide at the Walker Art Center, remembers his lifelong friendship with the legendary Beat poet.
Dar Williams at the Guthrie: Giving and taking
- Brenda Karunya Peters, TC Daily Planet
Guitar clutched close to her body, Dar Williams walked on stage Saturday night at the Guthrie Theater to a room full of cheers and excited applause.
Still standing - Paul Levy, Star Tribune
John Kriesel somehow survived a roadside bombing that claimed his legs and two buddies. Although his story has been often told in the media, it's still hard not to feel something as you read this all-too-real tale of tragedy and hope.
Sara Bareilles, in control at the Pantages
Kate Gallagher, TC Daily Planet
After the popular success of her 2007 single "Love Song," it was fitting for Sara Bareilles to take the stage at the Pantages to "You Make My Dreams" by Hall & Oates. Her second album, Kaleidoscope Heart, was released in September, and Bareilles is hoping to keep making her dreams come true.
Spider John Koerner documentary screens at the Trylon - John Ervin, City Pages
Whatever revolutions Minnesota has seen in rock and folk music for the last five decades, guitarist and blues shouter Spider John Koerner has witnessed them all and, more than likely, helped bring them about.
Outdoing Guy Ritchie at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Asian Film Festival- Jim Brunzell III, TC Daily Planet
After its successful 27th annual Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival in April and Polish Film Festival in August, MN Film Arts is now unveiling another themed film festival--In Search of Asia: The Minneapolis/St. Paul Asian Film Festival.
Late-blooming Broderson - Laurie Hertzel, Star Tribune
It wasn't until she was in her 60s that Lucille Broderson began studying creative writing, when she signed up for a class at the University of Minnesota.
"From Here to There: Alec Soth's America" tracks the artist's roaming eye- Jay Gabler, TC Daily Planet
Paging through the catalog to Alec Soth's exhibit From Here to There, I wondered why more hasn't been said about the similarities between Soth and Bob Dylan. Both are native Minnesotans, both have a sharp eye for detail and a gift for fluid narrative, and both have a Teflon-like imperviousness to critical deconstruction.
(Note: this is actually a day old, but I missed it yesterday. )
The Boy Friend at Lakeshore Players Theatre
-Claudia Haas, Minneapolis Performing Arts Examiner
The Boy Friend by Sandy Wilson is a musical romp of wide-eyed love and silly flirtations.
Dandy Warhols easily please an easy-to-please crowd at the Fine Line
Natalie Gallagher, TC Daily Planet
For die-hard Dandy Warhols fans, Thursday night's show at the Fine Line was absolutely perfect. It was one of those beautiful occasions where the band knew exactly who they were playing to, the audience knew exactly what they were going to get, and all parties got to have a rollicking good time.
Chanhassen Dinner Theatres' new logo
It's been about eight months since the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres were bought by a group of investers led by longtime CDT artistic director Michael Brindisi and choreographer Tamara Kangas Erickson.
In that time they've made a few changes - most of which they're hoping people won't even notice.
According to a release, one of the first steps the new owners took was to hire a Director of Sales and Marketing. And along with the new director comes a new look in the form of a new logo.
Kangas Erickson stated, "There is a new feeling here, and it's a good one. Our intention as a new ownership group is to make this theatre strong and viable once again. It's a fresh, new beginning - with fresh, new energy. We want that to be reflected in our new logo."
In addition the CDT plans to launch a completely redesigned website in December.
That's a lot of newness for a theater founded in 1968.
Posted at 3:00 PM on November 4, 2010
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Culture
Two Minnesota artists, side by side: Deborah Foutch works in a studio in Minneapolis, and created the silk and cotton riverscape on the left. Karl Unnasch, who lives and works in Chatfield, Minnesota created the re-contextualized M&M dispenser/He-Man on the right.
Can you tell by looking at a work of art whether it was made by someone living in the city, or in the country? Is work done in the quiet of nature intrinsically different than work made in a highly urban environment?
A colleague posed me this question, and - while my gut instinct said "don't stereotype!" - I decided to at least put the question to artists living in both rural and urban settings, and see what they had say. The responses were intriguing.
Karl Unnasch works in Chatfield, home to about 2500 people:
Hmmmm...I don't think I could readily tell. It would take a clinical case study view to pursue this one. I can only say that the act of making art in a rural/country setting (from my comparative viewpoint) is the best way to exact focus without active and standard "urban" distractions. Moreso, I have no phone service and slow internet, so the most tempting distractions that exist for me are tending my acreage or stepping down the road to go fishing...
Megan Vossler, who teaches drawing at Macalester answered with a simple and resounding "Nope!"
Architect Jeffrey Scherer lives and works in Golden Valley. He suggests it has more to do isolation:
For me, it is more a matter of eliminating distractions in order to focus and reflect. While on the surface this may be easier in the country, I find it is not always the case. If one's power of focus is "intrinsically" sharper in the country setting, then I do believe the art work will reflect this state of mind. Generally I would venture to guess that there are "country" and "city" artists whose work could only be superficially compared.
St. Paul artist and teacher Felice Amato says it doesn't matter how much nature surrounds you if you're not paying attention to it:
I had to fight with my HS students when we drew outside a few weeks back to leave the ipods inside... I tried to explain that there was a sensory experience that would make their work different if they full experience including the sounds. I wonder if artists who grew up under the BIG SKY of the prairie express space differently than those who grew up in the shelter of woods.
Meanwhile, longtime photographer and art professor at Saint Cloud State University Ted Sherarts battles with his own perception of "craft" vs. "fine art:"
From here, it appears that the more craft-oriented artists, i.e. weavers, potters, metalsmiths, etc., tend to work in rural settings while painters, sculptors, and intermedia artist tend to be more comfortable in metropolitan surroundings. I'm suggesting a division between so-called crafts and fine arts, a division I don't like, but if one can accepts it just for discussion sake, craft artists tend to be more interested in carrying on traditions, with special attention to their materialls and tools, while fine artists prefer to carry on dialectical dialogues with history. I think my modernist leanings are showing!
And finally, Minneapolis sculptor has this to say about our own expectations:
I think there's a bias towards realism in the country vs in the city. In the city, there's an overly cerebral aspect of art that happens in the city. I think it's really all about mind set. What people think they should make compared to their relative culture vs not caring what their culture advocates.
So do you think there are differences between urban and rural art? Or urban and rural artists? Let us know!