Posted at 9:31 AM on May 4, 2011
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: News and reviews
Katha Dance honors Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore
A Bengali poet, writer, composer, musician, painter, and playwright, in 1913 Tagore became the first non-European to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
- Sheila Regan, TC Daily Planet
Sharon Jones reflects on past heartbreaks and successes
Jones and the Dap Kings coming to the State Theatre
- Natalie Gallagher, City Pages
No Bird Sing at the Cedar Cultural Center: A memorable CD release show with a tribute to Eyedea
What happened Saturday night at the Cedar Cultural Center was not your typical celebratory CD release.
- Kyle Matteson, TC Daily Planet
Paul Simon at First Avenue, 5/3/11
The historical significance of Paul Simon at First Avenue is beyond doubt, but the quality of the experience is in grave question.
- David Hansen, City Pages
Tim Mahoney pushes Adam Levine's button on NBC's "The Voice"
It took Minneapolis club veteran Tim Mahoney less than 30 seconds to make a strong impression on one of the judges on NBC's "The Voice" -- never mind that he completely made a wrong impression.
- Chris Riemenschneider, Star Tribune
Bill Mike discusses new projects, working with Micheal Larsen, and Rock Camp for Dads
The man, known to many as Bill Mike, has done so much it's hard to know where to begin. He's seen the music industry from nearly every angle, and has worked with practically every artist on the MinneWiki page.
- Pat Dougherty, City Pages
Fate of Southern Theater still an open question
Officials at the theater have pledged transparency and accountability and a new era for the company. Still, they have been unreachable since the fundraiser.
- Rohan Preston, Star Tribune
The Year of Magical Thinking
The work offers tremendous challenges for the performer, as the emotions in the hour-long piece are kept so close, but veteran Barbra Berlovitz masterfully takes the audience on Didion's journey.
- Ed Huyck, City Pages
SteppingStone has 'Princess' and 'Pinocchio'
SteppingStone Theatre has announced a 2011-12 season that includes two new adaptations of classic children's tales - one about a girl who believes she is a princess and the other about a puppet who wants to be a boy.
- Maja Beckstrom, Pioneer Press
Barbara Berlovitz stars in The Year of Magical Thinking at Nimbus Theatre in Minneapolis
Photo by Liz Neerland
Nimbus Theatre presents "The Year of Magical Thinking," starring Barbara Berlovitz, through May 21. The play is based in large part on Joan Didion's memoir of the same name, which deals with the death of her husband, while her daughter was in a coma. The play also includes the death of her daughter, which occurred while Didion was on the road promoting her memoir.
Are you considering seeing the show? Reviews of the play deem it everything from " a heartbreaking piece of theater that should not be missed" to "90 minutes of dispassion" and "a competent but flat production."
Check out these excerpts of reviews by local critics, or click on the links to read the complete reviews.
...Berlovitz finds the sense of balance in Didion's logic. Her phrasing has the precision of poetry; emotion -- when there is any -- comes in silent pauses. Berlovitz creates a Didion who seems initially thrown off her game by this shock, but recovers through detached reportage. Her husband "does not look like he needs to be dead," she says in the kind of sharp insight that anyone who has seen a dead body understands. She considers the time zones when calling friends on the West Coast. It's three hours earlier there, does that mean her husband hasn't died yet? She's almost a bit smug in her confidence, in her sense of control. She will not let this intrusion destroy her homeostasis.
...Berlovitz loses some of her rigor in the latter half of Nimbus' production, directed by Liz Neerland. Her eloquence is not quite as sure, but this could be an opening-night observation.
"The Year of Magical Thinking" will not satisfy those looking for raw, emotional grief. Didion is not a robot. Her feeling is as deep as any person's but her reaction is a spare, intriguing look at the intellect's endeavor to right itself after catastrophe.
...The work offers tremendous challenges for the performer, as the emotions in the hour-long piece are kept so close, but veteran Barbra Berlovitz masterfully takes the audience on Didion's journey. Don't expect any massive epiphany or rafter-rattling histrionics. Berlovitz's performance remains true to Didion's cool but devastating prose, whether it's describing the author's inability to give away her husband's shoes (what would he wear if he came back?) to riding cross-country on a medical transport to take her daughter from Los Angeles to New York, all the while hoping the worst had passed but being honest enough to know it hadn't. Berlovitz, along with director Liz Neerland, crafts a heartbreaking piece of theater that should not be missed.
Photo by Liz Neerland
The idea of losing your entire family, including the sudden death of your spouse of many years and your children, would evoke deep pain and grief for most. But somehow, in "The Year of Magical Thinking" at Nimbus Theatre, that emotion is lacking.
...It begins to feel long, even with Barbra Berlovitz's tuned performance, including a very thoughtful, matter-of-fact delivery that never attempts to hook us into the deeper grief that may be lurking far beneath the surface.
The problem is that the story lists things that happen without conveying their emotional resonance. For instance, Didion finally gives in to the compulsion to drive down a street that she fears will resurrect memories of happier times and ends up spending hours there - but that's all we know of the event. We get no sense of her inner struggle or even what she thought about, although she obviously felt it was meaningful enough to mention. It feels as if we are on the outside looking in, barely scratching the surface of a deeper experience.
...Didion's story is at times interesting, but it is not as moving as one would expect from a litany of such loss. Her telling of the events is too reserved and her emotions too controlled to be satisfying onstage.
...Another challenging aspect of this script is that it's elliptical and non-linear, with the character going on tangents and making parenthetical observations, approaching its themes in a circumspect manner that belies the supreme craft that went into its writing. What's wanted here is a complete embodiment of this character, a performance that makes the audience believe they're listening in on Didion's spontaneous inner thoughts. Berlovitz, however, makes her stops, starts, and turns with a deliberation that never lets you forget this is a scripted monologue.
She's not helped by Josh Cragun's set, which is functional but unattractive and does little to evoke a sense of Didion's world. The gauzy greys might be intended to evoke a higher plane among the clouds, but put a couple of couches in there and it would work better as a set for No Exit. Jake Davis's sound design also pings in with intrusive, distracting, and unnecessary effects. More effective is Mitchell Frazier's warm lighting design, which subtly modulates the space's mood over the course of the 90-minute show.
Those many readers who were moved by Didion's book will be interested to see how this theatrical adaptation incorporates the author's second loss. Those who haven't read the book, though--me included--might do better to spend an evening with it than to meet this material under the aegis of this competent but flat production.
Have you seen Nimbus Theatre's production of "The Year of Magical Thinking?" If so, what did you think? Share your reviews in the comments section.
Posted at 2:41 PM on May 4, 2011
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Film
Riverview Theater, beloved destination in the Twin Cities for cheap movies after they've made their first run in the main houses, is considering hosting a Harry Potter marathon this summer, as the movie series wraps up with its final episode "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 2."
However, with seven films in the series, scheduling is going to be a bit of a challenge. And of course, Riverview wants to find the best schedule for its fans.
So, it's put up a poll on Facebook, and the staff are hoping you'll cast your vote.
Here are the choices:
Two Sundays, one week apart (all day)
One movie per night for a week (7pm showtime)
Saturday afternoon and all day on Sunday (3 films on Sat, 4 films on Sun)
Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons (2-3 shows per day)
Tuesday and Wednesday the week before the new film released (all day)
Can you imagine sitting through seven movies straight? Wouldn't you have a serious headache? Or would it be spellbinding?
Posted at 4:26 PM on May 4, 2011
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Music
Jackson Browne in concert, March 2008
Photo by Craig O'Neal, Wikimedia Commons
Jackson Browne fans looking forward to hearing perform an acoustic set tonight at the State Theatre in Minneapolis will have to wait a little bit longer. The longtime rockstar has called in sick, and so ticket-holders are being issued rainchecks for Sunday May 29.
Bowing to financial realities the Southern Theater today laid off five staff members and cut the hours of the remaining four.
Executive Director Gary Peterson says it's the responsible thing to do. The Southern launched an emergency fund drive almost three weeks ago to raise $400,000 by last Saturday. In a posting on the Southern's website today Board Chair Anne Baker says it's received $45,000 in donations plus a further $50,000 at the Southern Exposure fundraiser on Saturday.
Both Baker and Peterson say the $400,000 target is still attainable, but in the meantime the Southern needs to prepare for the tight financial situation by developing a new sustainable structure. Speaking by phone this evening Gary Peterson said the 15 member board is now working on that.
"People are asking, and rightfully curious, what we are asking them to invest in, and we are moving as quickly as we can," he continued. He says the board hopes to flesh out that structure in the next two weeks.
However the board also eliminated the Southern's dance and theater curator positions, the part-time communications manager, and two full-time production positions.
Peterson says those positions may not be restored even if the Southern makes its goal.
"No, some of those positions are gone for the foreseeable future, and others may come back in some fashion," he said.
Peterson, who is one of the people whose hours have been cut said he and others at the Southern are still working with various foundations in Minnesota and outside to see what might be possible. The Southern website also reports the possibility local artists may launch another fundraiser.
Still outstanding however is the repayment of $300,000 to the McKnight Foundation which were funds intended for dance grants which ended up in the Southern's general fund. Finding that money will be over and above the $400,000 requested in the appeal.
Peterson sounded sad as a result of the layoffs, but he is an optimist, and he remains ever hopeful. He says just looking back over the last few days he sees a remarkable effort, and change in an organization he hopes to lead back to strength.
"We have made more progress in the last three weeks than in the last three years," he said.