Posted at 7:00 PM on March 26, 2012
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Events
The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts has announced the 2011 Sally Ordway Irvine Awards honoring special achievement by Minnesota artists. The Sally Awards recognize individuals or institutions for their contributions to the state's cultural life.
TU Dance - led by Toni-Pierce Sands and Uri Sands - was honored at the Sally Awards this evening
Image: Ingrid Werthmann
TU Dance, led by Toni-Pierce Sands and Uri Sands, was honored for Initiative. The company's work incorporates modern dance, classical ballet, African-based, and urban vernacular movements. In 2011 the organization opened TU Dance Center to establish a welcoming hub for dance education, training and practice in Saint Paul for dance students of all ages and levels of experience.
In the Vision category, artist Tacoumba Aiken was chosen for creating public murals in collaboration with schools and communities. Aiken identifies opportunities that exist in architectural, landscape and public works projects, and then works in a wide range of glass, metal, clay, wood, and landscaping materials. Some of his recent public art projects with painted glazes on large ceramic installations have given his mural work new permanence.
Kevin Smith was given the Commitment award for his years as President and CEO of the Minnesota Opera. He served from 1986 to 2011, a period in which the company expanded its season from three to five productions, doubled its attendance and grew its annual budget from $1.5 million to $9 million. During his tenure, Minnesota Opera was recognized for artistic excellence, a commitment to the development of new works, an innovative approach to production design, a highly successful Resident Artist Program, and progressive educational and community outreach programs.
The Education award went to folk musician Ross Sutter, who has brought the music of diverse cultures into schools for almost thirty years. Sutter plays an array of folk instruments--guitar, bodhran, button accordion, dulcimer, bones--but is perhaps best known for his singular baritone voice, performing renditions of Irish, Scottish, Scandinavian, and American traditional and popular songs.
Rick Jacobson was presented the award for Arts Access, for audio describing more than 850 shows to visually impaired theater patrons. In addition he helped establish nationally recognized audio description practices for television. He has also described arena concerts for Neil Diamond, Tina Turner and Bette Midler.
Nestled into the lake shore in Grand Marais, North House Folk School is a hotbed of learning. But the skills you'll acquire here might seem other-worldly compared to modern life. For example, would you like to learn how to build a yurt?" Or maybe you'd like to sew your own anorak?
Tim Schwiebert of Osceola and Brian Belanger of Edina work on a timber frame at North House Folk School Grand Marais
Photo: Derek Montgomery for MPR
According to reporter Dan Kraker, in the age of iPads and Twitter, this center of low-tech handcraft has never been more popular:
The chance to work with their hands, learn from peers and create something lasting draws a growing number of people like Belanger to North House, and to other folk schools sprouting up around the region: from the Driftless Folk School in southwestern Wisconsin, to the Milan Village Arts School in southwestern Minnesota.
North House started with 14 students taking a single kayak-building class 15 years ago. Last year the school hosted 13,000 participants from 36 states.
Mark Hansen, a founder of the school who taught its first class, said the reason for the school's growth is simple: people are born to create.
"People like to do for themselves," Hansen said. "We live in such a high-tech world that I think people are really looking for low-tech and high-touch."
You can hear the rest of Dan Kraker's story by clicking on the link below:
With the media build-up to the opening of the movie "The Hunger Games," it was no surprise that the dystopian film adaptation of Suzanne Collins' book did exceedingly well on its opening weekend.
But is it any good?
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in "The Hunger Games"
Photo credit: Murray Close
Reviews are generally positive; certainly that's the case with reviews by local critics Colin Covert and Chris Hewitt (look at that - they agreed on something!).
But some noteworthy national critics found the movie lacking depth; read on to see a range of opinions, and be sure to leave your own in the comments section.
I don't think there has been a studio sci-fi film this idea-rich since "The Matrix." Viewers who like a side order of political allegory with their science fiction will find much to savor here. So will romantics, fans of feminist heroines and action enthusiasts. "The Hunger Games" is that rare creation, an event movie of real significance.
"Hunger Games" pulls off the rare trick (filmmaker Francois Truffaut said it was impossible, in fact) of depicting violence without celebrating it. There's a reason it takes more than an hour for the movie to get to the event that gives it its title. Without stinting on the action, Ross' film shows us a sick, brutal society and then introduces us to a few characters who might be ready to start doing something about it.
What invests Katniss with such exciting promise and keeps you rapt even when the film proves less than equally thrilling is that she also doesn't need saving, even if she's at an age when, most movies still insist, women go weak at the knees and whimper and weep while waiting to be saved. Again and again Katniss rescues herself with resourcefulness, guts and true aim, a combination that makes her insistently watchable, despite Mr. Ross's soft touch and Ms. Lawrence's bland performance. One look at District 12, which Mr. Ross conceives as a picturesque old-timey town -- filled with withered Dorothea Lange types in what was once Appalachia -- and it's clear that someone here was enthralled with the actress's breakout turn in "Winter's Bone" as a willful, resilient child of the Ozarks.
"The Hunger Games" is an effective entertainment, and Jennifer Lawrence is strong and convincing in the central role. But the film leapfrogs obvious questions in its path, and avoids the opportunities sci-fi provides for social criticism; compare its world with the dystopias in "Gattaca" or "The Truman Show." Director Gary Ross and his writers (including the series' author, Suzanne Collins) obviously think their audience wants to see lots of hunting-and-survival scenes, and has no interest in people talking about how a cruel class system is using them. Well, maybe they're right. But I found the movie too long and deliberate as it negotiated the outskirts of its moral issues.