Minnesota Orchestra is not alone in its heated labor negotiations.
As Chris Roberts reports, American orchestras are going through a period of upheaval that may forever alter how they're run and their relationships to their communities.
Horrible economic conditions and menacing long term trends spawned an orchestral tempest which first reached landfall in Detroit and is now sweeping the rest of the country, according to arts and entertainment reporter for the Detroit Free Press, Mark Stryker.
"This hurricane of rising costs, and the recession, and long-range cultural forces that sort of pushed classical music to the sidelines of civic life, these forces created unsustainable models, economic models in many cities, he said.
The financial meltdown of 2008 and resulting 'Great Recession' has also given orchestras an opportunity, said Detroit Symphony Orchestra Music Director Leonard Slatkin, He said they are not only trying to restructure financially but are changing their operational model from arts to more of a business model.
"An arts model said, 'OK, we'll try not to lose so much money,'" Slatkin said. "A business model is 'we're gonna try to make some money.' And 2008 was a very good way to say, 'we can't afford this anymore.' "
Lockouts have become more prevalent in many industries in recent years. John Budd, a labor relations expert at the University of Minnesota, refers to the American Crystal Sugar and NHL lockouts as high profile examples. Budd was unsurprised by the Minnesota Orchestra musicians lockout, but with concerts canceled through Thanksgiving, he thinks this lockout could be a lengthy one.
"At this point I think it's just going to take time for one side or the other to see how serious the other side is in its resolve, and unfortunately have some economic pain imposed on both sides which will eventually bring them back to the bargaining table," Budd said.
You can read the rest of the story here.
The Guthrie Theater is celebrating its 50th anniversary with, among other things, a festival of Christopher Hampton's plays. The center of the festival is the Guthrie's production of Hampton's Appomattox, a look at civil rights in the United States from 1865 to 1965.
Critics' reviews of Appomattox range from 'breath-takingly ambitious' and 'intellectually stimulating' to 'lifeless' and 'meandering'.
Harry Groener (Abraham Lincoln), Sally Wingert (Mary Todd Lincoln) and Greta Oglesby (Elizabeth Keckley) in the Guthrie Theater's production of APPOMATTOX, by Christopher Hampton
Photo by Allen Brisson-Smith
Appomattox provides moment after moment of utter pleasure. Lincoln's nightmares are beautifully staged with effective projections and the vastly talented Sally Wingert's potent reading of Mary Todd Lincoln. Shawn Hamilton plays T. Morris Chester, a journalist ensconced in the Virginia Senate Room with verve and compelling energy (Hamilton also excels as MLK in Act Two). As Lincoln and later as LBJ Harry Groener is compulsively watchable. He captures LBJ's new-found passion perfectly; his rendering of the famous "we shall overcome" speech is spot-on, very moving. LBJ's belittling of the verminous George Wallace (Mark Boyett) is priceless. The newly freed slaves in Richmond crowding around "Father Abraham" thanking him for their emancipation has bittersweet power; we know what horrors of oppression shortly await them. The play is filled with such treasures. Hampton is a writer of great power.
Shawn Hamilton (Martin Luther King, Jr.) in the Guthrie Theater's production of Appomattox by Christopher Hampton, directed by David Esbjornson
Photo by Michael Brosilow
Shawn Hamilton intones the speeches of Martin Luther King Jr. with vigor and, in the character's less-public moments, shows the civil rights leader's humanity and his doubts.
Those moments of humanity lift "Appomattox," but there isn't enough of that humanity to allow the production to really take flight. In the end, then, this is an admirable, somewhat dense work of theater that is more of an intellectually stimulating experience than an aesthetically satisfying one.
Harry Groener as Lyndon B. Johnson in the Guthrie Theater's production of Appomattox by Christopher Hampton
Photo by Michael Brosilow
Take any five minutes of Hampton's ambitious deconstruction of American political and social change and race relations and you'll find intriguing, even compelling ideas. As a whole, however, Appomattox is a failure. A well-crafted and -acted one, to be sure, but a failure nonetheless.
The cast of Appomattox, written by Christopher Hampton, directed by David Esbjornson
Photo by Allen Brisson-Smith
Let us be charitable. "Appomattox," the new play by Christopher Hampton that had its world premiere at the Guthrie Theater, has not discovered its identity or purpose. A meandering pageant through two painful eras of American history, "Appomattox" gives every appearance that Hampton is critiquing U.S. race relations. It's tepid stuff, though, and Hampton rarely delivers an insight that transcends the voluminous public record on civil rights.
Sally Wingert as Lady Bird Johnson in the Guthrie Theater's production of Appomattox
Photo by Michael Brosilow
...after seeing the first two installations of Hampton's work, Tales from Hollywood, Hampton's portrayal of Hollywood from the eyes of German emigrants during World War II and into the 1950s, and Appomattox, which seeks to draw parallels between the final days of the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement in 1965, I'm sad to say that right now, neither the Guthrie nor Hampton are living up to their reputations of greatness.
Have you seen Appomattox at the Guthrie? What's your review?(1 Comments)
Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra have announced the program for their concert on October 18, but they will not be honoring tickets for the season opener cancelled by orchestra management.
The musicians will perform Dvorak's Cello Concerto in B Minor, Opus 104 (with Tony Ross on cello) and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 in D Minor, Opus 47. The concert will take place at the Minneapolis Convention Center Auditorium at 7:30pm.
Conductor Laureate of the Minnesota Orchestra, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski will conduct the performance. He turned 89 last week.
Orchestra musicians had originally stated they hoped to honor tickets for the season opener that was cancelled by Minnesota Orchestra management as part of the lockout. But according to the musicians' media representative Blois Olson, getting a refund for the tickets from management turned out to be "too complicated."
Tickets to the October 18 concert can be purchased here; they range in price from $15-40 per seat.(3 Comments)
Posted at 1:31 PM on October 10, 2012
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Books
The nominees for this year's National Book Awards have been announced, and they include two Minnesota authors, as well as a poet who grew up here.
The Round House by Louise Erdrich
Published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers
In the category of Fiction, Louise Erdrich is nominated for her book The Round House, which was just published this month. Erdrich's latest work was selected along with works by Junot Díaz, Dave Eggers, Ben Fountain and Kevin Powers.
About The Round House: One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and thirteen-year-old son, Joe. Increasingly alone, Joe finds himself thrust prematurely into an adult world for which he is ill prepared. While his father, who is a tribal judge, endeavors to wrest justice from a situation that defies his efforts, Joe becomes frustrated with the official investigation and sets out with his trusted friends, Cappy, Zack, and Angus, to get some answers of his own. Their quest takes them first to the Round House, a sacred space and place of worship for the Ojibwe.
Goblin Secrets by William Alexander
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
William Alexander's first book, Goblin Secrets, has shot straight to the final round for Young People's Literature. Alexander teaches at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and is a frequent contributor to Rain Taxi Review of Books.
About Goblin Secrets: Rownie, the youngest in Graba the witchworker's household of stray children, escapes and goes looking for his missing brother. Along the way he falls in with a troupe of theatrical goblins and learns the secret origins of masks. Now Graba's birds are hunting him in the Southside of Zombay, the Lord Mayor's guards are searching for him in Northside, and the River between them is getting angry. The city needs saving--and only the goblins know how.
Meme by Susan Wheeler
Published by University of Iowa Press
Susan Wheeler grew up in Minnesota and New England, and has lived in the New York area for twenty years.
About Meme: In her collection of poetry Susan Wheeler reconstructs her mother's voice--down to its cynicism and its mid-twentieth-century Midwestern vernacular--in "The Maud Poems," a voice that takes a more aggressive, vituperative turn in "The Devil--or --The Introjects." In the book's third long sequence, a generational inheritance feeds cultural transmission in "The Split."
Congrats to the nominees!
Imagine you're at the theater enjoying a civilized evening of culture, featuring a classic play by Tennessee Williams.
Suddenly you hear pounding and screaming in the distance. Murmurs turn to disturbed whispers in the audience as even the actors are distracted by the growing noise.
Suddenly the lobby doors break open and you are confronted by a horde of zombies, dripping blood and crying out for fresh brains!
This, my friend, is all too real a concern for Theatre in the Round director Steven Antenucci.
"The last time it happened during a performance was in 2006 when we were performing, fittingly, A Plague of Angels - about Typhoid Mary. We had to lock the doors because zombies were trying to come into the lobby, " remembers Antenucci.
A participant from a past edition of Minneapolis' annual Zombie Pub Crawl
Image courtesy Zombie Pub Crawl
Since then, the Zombie Pub Crawl has always occurred on the first weekend in October, happily when TRP was in between shows. Still the theater, located at Seven Corners, suffers damage each year: smears of fake blood on the billboards, on the building, and the overwhelming smell of urine in the alley behind the theater.
"We have to hose down everything," says Antenucci.
This year the Zombie Pub Crawl moved to the second weekend in October, right on opening weekend of TRP's production of Summer and Smoke.
Meanwhile, the crawl has grown from 150 zombies in 2005 to what some claim was 15,000 flesh eaters in 2011.
That's simply too many for Antenucci.
"If we were doing a big loud musical, that might be one thing," chuckled Antenucci. "But screams for brains and pounding on car hoods doesn't quite go with Tennessee Williams."
Summer and Smoke opens Friday, will go dark Saturday for the Zombie Pub Crawl, and will resume on Sunday.(4 Comments)