Posted at 8:52 AM on August 8, 2011
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Film
If you could visit a parallel universe, and meet another version of you, what would you say?
Such is the premise behind the movie Another Earth, which opened this past weekend.
Euan Kerr recently met with Brit Marling and Mike Cahill, who co-wrote "Another Earth." Marling plays the lead role and Cahill directs.
Cahill and Marling are self-described space geeks who met in college at Georgetown. They collaborated on short films, but often spent time just shooting the breeze, making up stories they'd build around space factoids.
They became fascinated with the idea of another earth, Earth 2, and the implications of speaking with the person who would have the greatest empathy with you - yourself.
"From there we worked our way backwards into what is the human drama where meeting yourself with the possibility of confrontation would have the greatest emotional resonance?" Marling said. "And that seemed to be a story a girl who couldn't forgive herself for something she had done."
They wrote the story of Rhoda Williams, a young woman who on the eve of going to MIT to study astrophysics hears scientists have discovered Earth 2. That night she also makes a terrible mistake that not only wrecks her life, it destroys a stranger's family.
You can hear the rest of their conversation, including one 12-year-old's rave review, by clicking on the audio link below:
As the Merce Cunningham Dance Company approaches it's final days, questions arise as to what will happen to the choreography of its founder, who died two years ago.
This weekend on NPR, Miami Herald Dance Critic Jordan Levin looked at the challenges facing the company as it attempts to preserve Cunningham's legacy:
Though Cunningham focused on the here and now, he wanted his dances to live on. Making sure they don't disappear is an enormous challenge.
"You don't have this thing that you can hang on a wall or put on your desk. It's not a solid object. You don't have a script," says dance historian and Florida State University professor Sally Sommer. "You are passing on this ephemeral and fragile thing that is an idea that lives only at the moment that it is performed and then it's gone. It's like you're passing on air."
So how do you pass it on? Levin goes on to report:
Though Cunningham was very precise about how his pieces were done -- he would even use a stopwatch to time them -- in many ways his work was difficult to define, or to reproduce. "It doesn't have to do with exactitude," [longtime friend] Laura Kuhn says. "It doesn't have to do with replication, but rather with capturing a kind of spirit in the movement. A kind of precision, a kind of discipline, a kind of fullness."
Those qualities give life to a dance, and make it more than a collection of steps. You can't learn them from a video, or from notes; you have to learn them from someone who has actually done the dance.
"Ballet is body to body and mind to mind," says Miami City Ballet director Edward Villella, who is passing on to his dancers what the great choreographer George Balanchine taught him. "So it's a continuity. It goes on and on and on."
The Merce Cunningham Dance Company is travelling the world in what it's calling its "legacy tour" in an effort to raise money for preserving Cunningham's work through "comprehensive documentation and digitizing efforts."
The final performance will take place in New York City on New Year's Eve. In early November the MCDC will perform at the Walker Art Center, which has acquired more than 150 items - including sets, props, costumes, and selected documentation of MCDC - for its contemporary art collection.
Booklovers, the moment you've been waiting for has arrived. Kerri Miller's ever-popular Talking Volumes series will be back this fall for its 12th season, with a new line-up of edgy writers. Here are the details:
Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad
When: Wednesday, September 14 at 7:00 p.m.
A Visit from the Goon Squad won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction as well as the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction in 2010, and is being adapted into a series for HBO. The book has been praised for its playful structure. The Pulitzer judges called it "an inventive investigation of growing up and growing old in the digital age, displaying a big-hearted curiosity about cultural change at warp speed." Egan is a bestselling author and journalist who writes frequently for the New York Times Magazine.
Stacy Schiff, Cleopatra: A Life
When: Wednesday, October 5 at 7:00 p.m.
In Cleopatra: A Life, Stacy Schiff turns the legend of Cleopatra into a timeless tale of how one shrewd ruler used power, wealth and politics to change ancient history. Booklist called the biography a page-turner, and said "Ancient Egypt never goes out of style, and Cleopatra continues to captivate successive generations." Schiff has won many prizes for literary nonfictions including a Pulitzer for Véra (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov).
Colson Whitehead, Zone One
When: Wednesday, November 2 at 7:00 p.m.
Set in Manhattan after the apocalypse, Zone One is full of "dark humor one imagines actual survivors adopting in order to stave off madness," according to Publisher's Weekly's rave review. Colson Whitehead's work has been widely published in the New Yorker, Harper's and the New York Times. He has received many prizes for prior novels and a Macarthur "Genius" Grant.
Chuck Palahniuk, Damned
When: Thursday, November 17 at 7:00 p.m.
"Are you there, Satan? It's me, Madison," declares the whip-tongued eleven-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk's subversive new work of fiction. The author, who built a reputation on shocking his readers, doesn't disappoint in this vision of Hell full of demonic young sinners. His protagonist has to figure out how hell works, how she got there and what to do about it. Palahniuk's social media following is flourishing, but he may be best known for his first novel, Fight Club.
Season tickets go on sale August 9; seats for individual shows go on sale August 16 for $25. Tickets can be purchased through The Fitzgerald Theater Box Office at 651-290-1200