Photographer Buckner Sutter has gone from taking images with toy cameras and old Polaroids to using software on his smartphone to create a similar, otherworldly feel.
"Dream Museum" by Buckner Sutter
Image courtesy of the artist
Sutter, a photographer with thirty years experience, is currently showing some of his recent work at VidTiger Studio and Gallery in the Solar Arts building in Northeast Minneapolis.
The show is titled "Between Worlds," a reference to the space Sutter is attempting to create with his images.
"I'm always going for this borderline place that looks familiar, yet has this dreamy aspect," says Sutter, sitting in the gallery surrounded by his work. "I'm striving to capture that childlike naive connection with the strange and the beautiful... that feeling you have the moment before you recognize something as a dream."
"The Aftermath" by Buckner Sutter
Image courtesy of the artist
Sutter says while he used to work with more expensive cameras, he found smartphones much more portable and easy to work with - albeit relatively crude when they first came out.
"The more I had my point-and-shoot with me, the more pictures I took," explains Sutter, "so I abandoned the more expensive cameras, and opted for a Blackberry, then the iPhone. Nowadays it comes with a nice camera - 5-8 megapixels - which is equivalent to some of my early digital cameras."
Now with multiple photo editing applications like Hipstamatic, Filterstorm and Photowizard, Sutter finds he's able to create layered images that evoke the primitive feel of the old film-based toy cameras - Dianas, Holgas - that he used to experiment with. But now he doesn't have to deal with the unpredictability of film.
"With the digital apps the learning curve is really fast compared to working with negatives," says Sutter. "You can change as you go to get different results.
I do it because I can get the work done; it's always with me. I'm immersed in the visual world and capturing it. I can do this on my break at work - I can walk and edit images at the same time!"
"Under a Silver Moon" by Buckner Sutter
Image courtesy of the artist
Sutter is known on Instagram and other image sites by his handle "Intao" - he says he currently has 1800 images up on Instagram, all created within the last two years. That level of productivity simply wouldn't have been possible for him using film.
Ironically, says VidTiger owner Chuck Olsen, images taken on smartphones never look better than when they're on the phone because of the high resolution it now offers. A 'retina display" - also known as liquid crystal display - means there's no visible pixelation; the images are actually finer than the eye can discern. That means the images don't often hold up to being transferred to another medium. But Olsen says in the case of Sutter's images, which are printed on porous aluminum to mimic the affect of seeing an image on an illuminated screen, the transfer works.
"Shaman Lake" by Buckner Sutter
Image courtesy of the artist
Sutter says that while he knows photography "purists" who swear off digital cameras, he increasingly sees them switching over, enchanted by what technology has to offer.
"Between Worlds" closes tomorrow night with a reception from 5-9 pm at the Solar Arts building, featuring live soundscapes by Chris Strouth and Paris 1919.
MN Original and Twin Cities Public Television are heralding the start of spring with a program that captures one of the glories of summer.
The program will include behind-the-scenes interviews with artists as well as their performances. Last year's line-up consisted of Howler, tUnE-yArDs, Doomtree, Trampled by Turtles and The Hold Steady.
My question: how do they plan to stuff all that goodness into one 30 minute episode?
The music special will air Sunday on tpt 2 at 6pm and again at 10pm.0 Comments)
Have you ever wanted to impress your friends or woo a lover by spontaneously reciting a beautiful piece of poetry?
So... how's that going?
If you haven't managed to store more than a stanza in your little gray cells, perhaps a new smartphone app from Penguin will help.
A screenshot from Penguin's "Poems by Heart" app for smartphones
Called "Poems by Heart," the app is essentially a memorization game featuring poems by Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman and other famous wordsmiths.
It feature 24 free poems, and you can also purchase additional "poetry packs." Competitive players can track their progress online, rack up achievements and brag about their high scores... all while flexing their memory muscles.
How... romantic?(0 Comments)
Coming away from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts' new show "More Real: Art in the Age of Truthiness," I was struck by what I had learned.
1. You will never know the truth.
2. Don't ever stop looking for the truth.
Curator Liz Armstrong has presented us with a series of conundrums and riddles, all pointing to the fragility of what we think of as reality. We see photos of the Eiffel Tower standing next to Korean apartment buildings, and learn the image has in no way been digitally altered. We stare at the backs of paintings that, according to their labels, are famous works - but we don't dare turn them over to reveal what's really there.
Seung Woo Back
RW001-001, 2004; from Real World I series
Courtesy of the artist and Gana Art Gallery, Seoul
Amid all this social and political upheaval, Armstrong says it's more critical than ever to remember that seeing is not necessarily believing.
"Because of this incredibly rampant technology, anybody can fake photographs, news, information," says Armstrong. "'Wiki-reality' is a tricky thing, and we live in it now. We are compelled to be more observant of what is real."
Curator's Office, 2013
Photo courtesy of Minneapolis Institute of Arts
As visitors encounter real art by imaginary people, false histories based on real events and lush landscapes from a digital world, the incriminating evidence builds. How do we truly know anything?
"We have to remember that we do construct our reality," stresses Armstrong. "We assume our lived experience to be true. But what are our perceptions of that experience based on? It's partly personal, it's partly cultural, it's where we were born, how we were educated... We forget this, and I think our forgetting is at the root of many problems, both political and social."
Absolute truths do not exist, says Armstrong. However, questioning one's own reality is a step toward understanding other people's perspectives.
200805262351, 2009; from The Metaverse is Beautiful series
archival inkjet on paper
Courtesy of the artist
One work in particular raises the specter of our own complicity. Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle's "Phantom Truck," only dimly visible in a darkened room, makes real what we now know to be fake. Using renderings from the U.S. State Department, former Secretary of State Colin Powell's own words and photographs used as evidence in Powell's presentation to the UN Security Council, Manglano-Ovalle built the supposed "weapons lab" that justified the United States' invasion of Iraq 10 years ago.
By putting us face to face with a lie that has cost the lives of more than 100,000 civilians, Manglano-Ovalle forces us to contemplate what would have happened if we had thoroughly questioned what was presented as fact.
Phantom Truck, 2007.
Installation View Documenta 12.
Photo: Barbara Sax/AFP/Getty Images
The show is by no means all dark. It's also whimsical and often tongue-in-cheek. An elevator is stuck mid-floor, evolutionists flock to a Darwin-shaped wall stain, and you get the sense Stephen Colbert might at any moment jump out from behind a curtain.
"The brain is this wonderful tool that can imagine all kinds of experiences and things," says Armstrong, smiling. "I think we all need to revel in that, especially at a time when there are big global worries. The human body and brain want to enjoy the world. So as human beings we still need to take pleasure in life, no matter what our circumstances."
As the world becomes filled with an overwhelming number of images and words, it's tempting to simply tune out. But for those who are willing to navigate the complex new terrain, "More Real" offers a look at both the perils and pleasures involved.
"More Real: Art in the Age of Truthiness" runs through June 9 at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
When Dyani White Hawk Polk asked a group of artists for work for her exhibition "Make it Pop," she was looking for contemporary pieces responding to issues of the day.
"We've had somber exhibits, politically driven, fine art," says White Hawk Polk, sitting at her desk in All My Relations Gallery. "I wanted this to feel more playful and cutting edge, something that really speaks to our youth and people interested in pop culture as well as fine art lovers."
White Hawk Polk got what she was looking for; the colorful show reflects and comments on popular culture in a number of ways. Interestingly, two artists - Frank Buffalo Hyde and Cannupa Hanska Luger - chose to focus on an issue that has many Native Americans upset: the appropriation of Native Regalia by popular culture - in particular, the headdress.
Shown on the left: "In-Appropriate 3," a painting by Frank Buffalo Hyde responding to the use of a Native American headdress and jewelry on a Victoria's Secret model at a fashion show held on November 7, 2012, shown on the right.
White Hawk Polk says she wasn't surprised.
"It's always been an issue," reflects White Hawk Polk. "It's always been there, but this past year, year and a half, it's just been prolific."
Native Americans belong to many different tribes spread across Native North America. But the headdress, or war bonnet, is a universal symbol of great spiritual importance worn only by highly respected individuals.
So imagine their reaction to images of a Victoria's Secret model dressed in little more than feathers, turquoise jewelry and a leopard skin bikini. Or a Gwen Stefani music video in which she wears a fake braid, is tied up by men and shown writhing against a wall. Or Drew Barrymore's profile picture on Facebook, showing her wearing a headdress along with a Budweiser apron and giving the peace sign.
"Stereotype: The Barrymore" by Cannupa Hanska Luger
The piece was inspired by a photo Barrymore used as her Facebook profile photo, seen left.
Cannupa Hanska Luger says Barrymore's high profile picture is indicative of mainstream culture's continuous obsession with Native American iconography, and it has dangerous repercussions.
"Appropriation of cultural Regalia, such as the war bonnet ...causes sacred objects to lose their power when they are represented out of context," wrote Luger in his artist statement. "Adopting a culture, without context or understanding, drags the stories and history of that culture through the mud and bastardizes a sacred history for the 'kitsch' aspect of an object. These products create a mentality of disrespect toward the culture they were derived from. They do not honor the aesthetic--they steal and consume an identity."
In Luger's piece "Stereotype: The Barrymore," the trappings of Barrymore's photo - colorful chicken feathers - adorn a boombox, literally a "type of stereo." Dreamcatchers are placed where the speakers would be, and the red and white and pale blue trim makes a subtle reference to the Budweiser apron.
"In-Appropriate 1" by Frank Buffalo Hyde, inspired by a still from a Gwen Stefani video, seen left.
Frank Buffalo Hyde explains his paintings this way:
"At no other time in history have we (Natives) been so well equipped and educated, and so willing to fight these derogatory attacks on our images. So No Doubt removed their video and Urban Outfitters is still in court. This conflict of idea versus ideals can only be won when we own our own image. So we are and we do."
Dyani White Hawk Polk says Luger and Hyde's pieces serve to raise awareness while also poking fun at the absurdity of it all.
"Those of us who are really involved in our communities and also very in touch with mass media - it's something all of us have been watching all year long," says White Hawk Polk. "So of course our artists are responding to it artistically - it's an expression of our lived experiences."
White Hawk Polk sees it as the job of All My Relations to break down stereotypes of Native art while promoting a more accurate depiction of Native American culture.
"People expect the old," she says, "they expect native arts to remain frozen in this 1800s era. That's what has been continuously pushed in the media. They expect bead work, headdresses and buffaloes - things like that.
"Because that isn't provided in our education system, because native cultures in their true forms aren't really taught very often in public academic media - there's a huge gap in exposure."
In "Make It Pop," perhaps the best representation of contemporary native culture is found in Jodi Webster's piece "Wabansi Lakeside Chicago-Beyond Swag." In it a young boy sports a Chicago Bulls jersey and a traditional sash.
"It's just so real," smiles White Hawk Polk. "Those are our kids - they've got both going on. Their everyday love of the Chicago Bulls and contemporary fashion, and then they've got their participation in cultural events. Often you'll see kids on break from a powwow, and they'll have half their Regalia on with a hoodie thrown over it - that's just how it is. It's not one thing or another."
"Make It Pop" runs through May 4 at All My Relations Gallery in Minneapolis.
For someone about to launch a film festival Mohannad Ghawanmeh seem remarkably calm. The curator of the 10th Mizna Twin Cities Arab Film Festival says the movies are all here, and everything seems set.
He is however brimming over with expectant excitement. The festival is marking its decade point tomorrow night with a gala opening screening of the Lebanese film "OK Enough Goodbye" at the Walker Art Center.
It's just one of the signs that the festival has arrived.
"The Walker Arts Center's willingness, I would like to say eagerness, to collaborate with us on delivering this opening with us at the Walker is indicative," said Ghawanmeh.
The rest of the festival (Thursday through Sunday) is presented at it's traditional home at the Heights Theater in Columbia Heights. On Saturday night Ghawanmeh will screen another of his prize catches this year.
"I am really excited about the indication of renown if you will, or heft, in our having secured the US premier of "Horses of God," It was easily the best reviewed Arab film in the most recent edition of Cannes," he said. "It is really heartening to know that a festival such as ours will be the first festival in the US to screen this film."
"I am also really enthusiastic about our screening of three films by local representatives," he continued. There is'Sirocco' by Hisham Bizri. There is also a short abstract film "Home, Not Home" which draws on the situation in Gaza by Andrea Shaker, who teaches at the College of St Benedict. Finally there is journalist Jacob Wheeler with the documentary "The People and the Olive." All three will be at the Walker opening and at the presentation of their films.
While Mohannad Ghawanmeh has not curated all of the Twin Cities Arab Film Festivals, he is known for his connection with it. He's been hearing from the local Arab community that they are looking forward to the event.
"The excitement is palpable," he said. "I have had people, young Arabs, while going about in the Twin Cities saying 'Oh, I can't wait for the film festival to arrive, I am so looking forward to it.' I think that many of them recognize that this isn't their parents Arab cultural event, that the Arab film festival is run by a progressive, artistically mindful, politically engaged and a rather hip organization that speaks to them as well as their parents generation."
There are only half a dozen similar festivals in North America and few have the scope of the Twin Cities event. Ghawanmeh puts the success down to hard work, and high standards. he thinks the event has a good reputation amongst film fans in the larger Twin Cities community. He says the festival has a reputation for being "really selective and that the films that get into our festival are not simply promotional vehicles for Arab Americans, but are veritable appreciable and notable works of art."
Ghawanmeh is particularly pleased about one more film, a surprise screening of a short as part of the last bill on Sunday night.
"We have wrapped it in that sort of paper," laughs Ghawanmeh, who says he cannot reveal what it is because of contractual restriction. However he says he agreed to show it because he believes it is so good.
"It may be my favorite Arab short of all time," he said. "It's a stunning piece of elegiac cinema, it really is. It's breathtakingly shot and subtly harrowing."
And when someone like Mohannad Ghawanmeh says that, you sit up and take notice.(0 Comments)
Management and locked out musicians of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra have been meeting all afternoon. It's the first face-to-face talks the two sides have had in some time. They are trying to hammer out an agreement which may get the musicians playing again, and ultimately lead to a settlement in the long-running contract dispute.
The musicians see this week as really important, as they are concerned management may be about to cancel more concerts, and effectively wipe out the rest of the SPCO season. During the dispute management has been canceling concerts about six weeks out.
In recent days management has been pitching an offer to play and talk, that is resume concerts while the final details of a contract are negotiated. However there are some details in that play and talk proposal which are hard for the musicians to swallow, and that is what they are negotiating today.
They have so much to discuss it's unlikely they will have a resolution today, but both sides seem eager to keep the talks alive. The musicians say they are prepared to meet every day until they reach an agreement. Before the meeting management said they hadn't heard the details of how that would work yet, but they want to get a deal too.
The three main sticking points are: pay, how to reduce the size of the SPCO from 34 to 28 positions, and the electronic media agreement, that is the use of SPCO performances online.
The pay issue is complex, because management has proposed not only to cut salaries, but wanted to impose a two-tier system where current musicians will be guaranteed an over-scale payment, essentially a bonus over the rate which any new musicians will get.
The musicians didn't like that because they said it builds in an inequality. So now management is offering two options: one with the base salary plus bonus for current musicians, and one with a higher base salary and no bonus for everyone. This would keep things equal, but in effect mean an even bigger pay cut for current musicians.
When it comes to the reduction of the size of the orchestra, the musicians have apparently said they are willing to consider it, as long as no-one is fired. Management is offering a retirement package for musicians 55 or older. An important question however is how the SPCO maintains its orchestration, that is making sure they have the right combination of players. Management has offered to create a committee of musicians and management representatives to oversee that mix. A big question here is whether there are sufficient people, and in the right combination, who are willing to retire to make this work.
Finally there is the electronic media agreement, which has been contentious. Traditionally this part of the agreement has been negotiated by the national union, the American Federation of Musicians. However the SPCO management wants to have electronic media be part of the local contract. The AFM filed a grievance against the SPCO last year, and last week filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board accusing the SPCO leadership of unfair labor practices.
Meanwhile over at the Minnesota Orchestra the two sides are still exchanging suggestions about how to do the independent analysis of the the Orchestras finances requested by the musicians. The players say it is necessary before they can consider a possible counter-proposal to management's current offer.
(SPCO image courtesy SPCO)(3 Comments)
"Moon Goddess" by Marie Olofsdotter
Olofsdotter was born and raised in Sweden, and moved to the United States in 1981. Her artistic training includes sculpture, theatrical clowning and mask theater. She's also the author and illustrator of several picture books.
"I love the Minnesota State Fair," stated Olofsdotter in a press announcement. "I especially love how it reaches out to every community across the entire state. I am fortunate to have traveled all around Minnesota as a teaching artist, so like the fair, I feel a special connection to many different communities. My piece of commemorative art will be created for everyone in Minnesota and I can't wait to share it."
"Princess January" by Marie Olofsdotter
The commemorative artwork is typically unveiled in early June. The 2013 Minnesota State Fair will take place August 22 through September 2.(0 Comments)
But after this past weekend, Fred Armisen will be known amongst public radio fans for his dead-on imitation of Ira Glass, host of "This American Life."
Fred Armisen and Ira Glass in the 'This American Life' studio. Photo: Adrianne Mathiowetz
The theme of Episode 484 of TAL was "Doppelgangers," and in honor of the occasion, Fred Armisen was invited to co-host the show. Armisen had once impersonated Ira Glass for an SNL skit, but the show never aired because Glass 'wasn't famous enough.'
But within the realm of public radio, Glass IS famous, and so Armisen's impersonation finally found a home.
For listeners the experience was both comic and confusing. Is that Ira talking? Or is it Fred? At one point they both laugh, and Fred's 'imitation' laughter inspires Glass to laugh even harder... an upward spiral of dizzying mimicry.
You can listen to the entire episode here.
A warning: Act 1 deals primarily with pork rectum, and the possibility of passing it off as calamari. Blech!
Starting January 19, MPR News will sound a bit different on the weekends, as familiar shows are moved around, and new shows enter the schedule.
If you're near a radio on Saturday evenings, you'll be treated to three programs with a particular focus on arts and culture, starting at 8pm. They are:
Wits brings world-class comedians, actors and musicians to the stage of St. Paul's Fitzgerald Theater. Hosted by public radio veteran John Moe, Wits mixes improv, sketch comedy, conversation and music. Past guests include Chuck Klosterman, Neil Gaiman, Patton Oswalt, Sandra Bernhard and Roseanne Cash, among others.
The Peabody Award-winning Studio 360 is public radio's guide to what's happening in pop culture and the arts. Host Kurt Andersen interviews the people who are creating and shaping our culture. Formerly the show aired on MPR News Sundays at 6am.
The Strand looks at the arts from a British point of view, featuring discussions, reviews, big-name interviews and reports, as well as live studio performances and yes, even Hollywood gossip.
The Twitter Fiction Festival gets underway today. Would-be authors from around the world have been invited to share their stories and, possibly, give a new twist to the written word.
Today on The Daily Circuit, host Kerri Miller asked Egan if there's any real literary value writing, beyond pure experimentation, to "tweeting" a story.
"You would be a better judge of the literary value than I would, since I wrote it, but what I can say is that the particular story that I wrote could not have been written any other way except in these very small structural units that I wrote with Twitter in mind. Although I should mention that I wrote them by hand, because that's how I write fiction.
To the extent that I ended up being able to write a story that I am really proud of, I have to say - I think it may be better than anything else I've done - Twitter made that possible, so to that extent it had a real literary impact, at least on me."
Here are the first tweets of Egan's short story "Black Box," about a futuristic female spy and her mission as recorded in her mission log.
People rarely look the way you expect them to, even when you've seen pictures.
The first thirty seconds in a person's presence are the most important.
If you're having trouble perceiving and projecting, focus on projecting.
Necessary ingredients for a successful projection: giggles; bare legs; shyness.
The goal is to be both irresistible and invisible.
When you succeed, a certain sharpness will go out of his eyes.
What do you think? Is Twitter going to be the birthplace of great new works of literature?
Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in "The Silver Linings Playbook."
Author Matthew Quick has an easy description of his best-selling novel "The Silver Linings Playbook."
"My one line pitch is that it's about a man who thinks his life is a movie produced by God," he said during a recent visit to the Twin Cities.
The novel is the basis for the romantic comedy "Silver Linings Playbook" opening around the country this week, although Quick admits the part about deity as movie producer doesn't appear in the screen adaptation.
It's the story of Pat (Bradley Cooper) whose manic behavior has led to a brush with the law, a restraining order from his wife, and a few months of court-ordered treatment in a secure unit at the local mental health institution. On his release he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) who has just gone through her own brush with mental health issues after the death of her husband. Together Pat and Tiffany prove to be an explosive combination, and the film is a rollercoaster ride of humor and pathos.
"Their struggles in many ways mirror a lot of my struggles," Quick (left) says, then continuing that the issue of mental health is near and dear to his heart.
"I consider myself part of the mental health community," he says. "I deal with depressions and anxiety. I have worked in the mental health community, I counseled troubled teens for seven years when I was a high school English teacher."
"For me, you always want to be laughing at the absurdity of the situation, you mine the comedy from the absurdity of life. You don't want to be laughing at these people, because they are people, they have real struggles, and I think they are depicted that way in the novel and the film, but we can laugh at just how absurd these situations are, and how wild life often is."
Quick has just gone through the experience of having a celebrated director David O. Russell ("The Fighter") make a movie out of his novel without consulting him.
Quick told the audience at an advanced screening of the film in St Louis Park about how Hemingway described selling the movie rights to a novel as being like a bank robbery, where an author walks up to a wall and throws his book over the top. Someone on the other side then throws a bag of money back, which the author should grab and run away as fast as possible.
It wasn't quite that way for the Silver Linings Playbook. Matthew Quick is very pleased with how the movie has turned out.
Russell called Quick before the author saw the finished flick, and talked Quick through how he had written the screenplay. Quick says while Russell changed some things from the book were changed, at it's center the movie preserves the important things about the story.
Quick describes Pat as "a guy who is trying to reinvent himself, and he is trying to practice being kind rather than right, he is trying to get physically fit, he's trying to learn how to treat women well, and kind of atone for some of the past sins that he had."
Pat has to do this despite being surrounded by a family whose members have their own sets of foibles, not least his father, played by Robert de Niro. He's a bookie, whose love of the Philadelphia Eagles verges on the obsessive compulsive.
Quick says he was very pleased by how Russell and his actors filled out the characters.
"Jennifer Lawrence's Tiffany is probably the most authentic rendering of my character from book to screen. It was clear to me that she embraced that character."
"Pat in the movie is a little bit different than the Pat in the novel. I think Bradley Cooper did a phenomenal job," he said. In keeping with the novel's theme of reinvention, Quick says Russell wanted to re-introduce Bradley Cooper as a performer.
"And so David wanted the audience to see Bradley Cooper, not at 'People's Sexiest Man' but as this new character. That's why in the first scene when you see the movie come up, you are on Bradley Cooper's back, because David consciously wanted to evoke this question 'who is this guy?'"
And it really works. Cooper gives one of the best performances of his career so far.
Matthew Quick has been touring the country for previews of the film and has loved audience reactions. He says it's allowing people to speak openly about troubling issues - while also having a good time.
"The silver lining of that if you will is that I think we are really getting people to talk," he said. "When people are seeing something on the screen that they feel is authentic in some cases things that they are struggling with at home, be it bipolar disorder, or depression, and they say 'that was really authentic, that represents what I am going through, any yet I am leaving the theater with a smile on my face and feeling uplifted.'"
Quick says he believes romantic comedies have been demonized by some people, as incapable of being important or significant. He hopes that changes with "Silver Linings Playbook."
"I would like my readers and the viewers of this film to leave feeling maybe a little bit better than they came in. And there is nothing wrong with that. I think that's beautiful."
(All images courtesy the Weinstein Company, except for image of Matthew Quick which is an MPR photo/Euan Kerr)
This Thursday, public schools across the state also have a chance to get in on the action.
GiveMN Executive Director Dana Nelson says up until this year many schools (either charter schools with a non-profit status, or schools that have a nonprofit PTA) have been able to participate, but some public schools were left out.
"There's been this small island of schools that haven't been able to use GiveMN and our online fundraising. And online fundraising continues to grow as a great way to find new donors and efficiently raise money. So now finally we've been able to come up with a solution and add them to our website."
The solution involves some new software which downloads data from the Minnesota Department of Education, similar to how GiveMN accesses nonprofits' 990 tax forms to create their web pages.
"It's a slightly different process. Non-profits don't have to sign up, they have a process where they update their pages, but they're already on GiveMN. However public schools are not automatically on the site - they do have to register. They have to sign up and get a principal or superintendent to sign off."
Nelson says RAZOO, the technology company that powers GiveMN, is now looking at using the Minnesota model for schools nationwide.
"So Minnesota, once again a leader, out in front," cheers Nelson.
GiveMN is also doubling the number of "golden tickets" it issues throughout the day. Last year a donor was selected at random each hour and given $1,000 to pass on to the nonprofit of his or her choosing. In addition one person was given a ticket worth $10,000 to donate.
This year two tickets will be given out each hour, one to be given to a non-profit, the other to be given to a school. Similarly, two tickets will be issued for $10,000.
As in past years, there is a 2.9% processing fee taken out of donations to cover credit card and disbursement fees. And the Mall of America will be the headquarters for Give to the Max Day from 9am - 9pm.
Some school principals are volunteering to ride the mall's roller coaster for hours at a time to help inspire giving.
And artist Eyenga Bokamba will paint and assemble 24 canvases at the mall over the course of the day.
"It's the first time we've tried this," explains Nelson. "And why this is important to us is, I think it's challenging to express the magnitude of what happens on that day and how much is given and how many people give. It's a huge thing but people are doing it on computers and on their phones - and all around the world - making an impact in Minnesota. So what Eyenga is attempting to do is express that through this public art piece, with the 24 canvases representing the 24 hours."
Of the thousand of Minnesota nonprofits in existence, Nelson says only three have formally requested that GiveMN take their name off the fundraising site. Nelson attributes the organization's popular success with its focus on simplicity:
"Our strategy is to make it as easy as possible - Give to the Max Day is at the right time of year, we put out tools, and help nonprofits figure out how to promote it via social media while being strategic about it, too."
Nelson says Minnesota nonprofits have taken ownership of Give to the Max Day, turning it into a sort of nonprofit holiday.
Last year people gave a total of $13.4 million to close to 4,000 Minnesota nonprofits - the most ever given on a single day in an online giving event.
Will people be as generous this Thursday as they were last year? Nelson can't say.
"Our goal is very big and broad. Our hope is that we raise millions of dollars for thousands of nonprofits and schools in one day. We hope for big results like last year but we'll be pleased with really whatever happens. In all honesty if it's five million, ten million - it's all so good!"
This is the first time that Give to the Max Day has taken place on the heels of a presidential election, so it remains to be seen whether people's political donations of the last few months have an impact on their giving to schools and non-profits on Thursday.
Posted at 2:24 PM on November 5, 2012
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Media
Due to technical difficulties, parts of this past weekend's episode of This American Life (Episode 478: Red State Blue State) were replaced with an older episode. Here's what you missed.
And here's a summary of the show:
Prologue: Ira Glass rides around with a man in the man's hometown...a man who doesn't want us to say his name on the radio. Why? Because he's secretly a Democrat, in a small town dominated by Republicans.
Act One: I Know You Are, But What Am I?
We surveyed hundreds of people around the country, from every part of the of political spectrum, about the ways in which politics are interfering with their friendships and families. Producer Lisa Pollak reports.
We collaborated with American Public Media's Public Insight Network to find some of the interviewees for this story. Individual stories about how politics have affected personal relationships appear on their website.
Lisa also spoke with Phil Neisser and Jacob Hess, two political opposites and authors of You're Not as Crazy as I Thought (But You're Still Wrong), about their advice for how liberals and conservatives can have more productive conversations.
Act Two: Nothing in Moderation
A portrait of what it looks like when politics gets polarized, and how hard it is for people in the middle to hang on. Producer Sarah Koenig explains what happened when a wave of Republican politicians swept to power with a three-to-one majority in 2010. New Hampshire's a small state, and the shift to a more divisive in-your-face kind of politics happened very quickly, so it's possible to see exactly what's gained and lost when that happens.
While today's big classical news story is the Minnesota Orchestra's lockout, it's certainly not the only story out there.
And Matt Peiken has created a new website aimed at being a one-stop destination for all that's going on in the Twin Cities classical music scene.
MNuet.com is what Peiken calls "the community of classical music online."
It's a new online magazine that's created in partnership with the classical music institutions in the Twin Cities. They are paying members, and their content becomes the core of the site. Around that I create podcasts, I produce videos and I have a live performance showcase every month at Bryant Lake Bowl, all featuring MNuet members.
A video profile of One Voice, Mixed Chorus, produced by MNuet.com creator, Matt Peiken. Peiken was once the man behind "Three Minute Egg," a local video series covering the Twin Cities arts scene.
Peiken says while the Twin Cities has its big players - the Minnesota Orchestra, SPCO, Minnesota Opera - MNuet.com also features the lesser known community orchestras.
One of the things I like about MNuet is that the design is such that all the headlines are the same size, all the text is the same size, and all the photos are the same size, so there's no sense of heirarchy. Now because the SPCO has a full season, they're going to have more stories - just by virtue of the fact that their calendar is fuller - but no story has a higher placement on a page because of the size of the orchestra.
Peiken says not many classical groups have robust websites, nor have they figured out a way to effectively incorporate social media into their schedules. MNuet seeks to bring all of their content together into one place and do the social media work for them, and expand their audiences in the process.
Even Minnesota Orchestra, the Minnesota Opera and the SPCO... none of them has a destination website. They're not drawing fans to their website on a daily basis to see what's going on in the classical music community. So on MNuet, Minnesota Orchestra gets the eyes of the SPCO audience, the Minnesota Opera gets the eyes of the Minensota Orchestra audience, and so on.
Equally, Peiken hopes audiences will find in MNuet an easy means of exploring the riches of the local classical music scene.
Most people if they're plugged into anything it might be one institution that they support or two. They might have season tickets to the SPCO, but they don't know what's happening in the broader sense. It's really hard to find what's happening, to sift through the morass of what's happening in our gorgeous art scene here to find out what's going on in classical music. So for an audience I know that my site chiefly is going to serve as a calendar. That will be their entry point.
Peiken say he won't review concerts, but he will aggregate the coverage of online news organizations.
As for the timing of the launch of MNuet.com, Peiken admits he could not have picked a worse time, given the contract negotiations of the two major orchestras.
But by my estimate there are 65 - 70 classical music organizations in this town, if you include college level choirs and music groups. So it's not just about SPCO and the Minnesota Orchestra. There's Nautilus Music Theater, Mixed Precipitation, Minnesota Symphonia and Accordo, just to name a few. So MNuet will still thrive because there's still so much happening.
The next MNuet showcase is tomorrow night at 7pm at Bryant Lake Bowl. With a "back to school" theme, it features graduates of the U of M's School of Music (known as The Renegade Ensemble) along with musicians from the Minnesota Youth Symphonies and Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies.
Gotye, aka Wally (born Wouter) De Backer, has been getting massive attention for his song "Somebody That I used To Know."
In fact, people feel compelled to give this song their own special treatment, video record it, and put it up on the web. Here's one example:
As the tributes and remakes piled up, Gotye was inspired to go one step further:
Here's how he explains it:
Reluctant as I am to add to the mountain of interpretations of Somebody That I Used To Know seemingly taking over their own area of the internet, I couldn't resist the massive remixability that such a large, varied yet connected bundle of source material offered.
I was directly inspired here by Kutiman's Thru-You project:
Thankyou to everyone who has responded to Somebody That I Used To Know via YouTube. It's truly amazing!
All audio and video in Somebodies is from the YouTube user videos featured, each of them a cover or parody of Somebody That I Used To Know. No extra sounds were added to the mix, but I used some EQ, filtering, pitch-shifting and time-stretching to make the music.
I avoided using any existing remixes of the song, or any covers from tv talent shows.
As comprehensive and extensive as I tried to be with my downloading of source videos, I know there are many clips that I missed. Tay Zonday's cover for instance, no internet mashup should be without him.
I used KeepVid.com to download the YouTube videos, Ableton Live for audio stretching, pitch-shifting and the initial video editing, and Adobe's After Effects to put the final video together.
Big thanks to Travis Banko for assistance with downloading source videos, and to James Bryans for After Effects tutelage.
Thankyou to Barry for being Barry, and guiding us all.
Thanks to you for listening
A full list of links to the original videos is available here:
The board of the Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority has approved the selection of four public art commissions at Union Depot. They are as follows:
• Amy Baur and Brian Boldon of In Plain Sight Art Studio (Minneapolis, Minn.) have been selected to produce a work of art in the carriageway of Union Depot, which will serve as a primary drop off site for those arriving at Union Depot by auto, taxi or accessible transportation services. The artists will use multi-layered digital imagery on ceramic tile and glass to create a mural along the blank 170-foot long wall to welcome the public and engage them in history of the site. ($150,000 commission)
• Ray King (Philadelphia, Penn.) has been selected to create a suspended sculpture in the Great Hall Atrium, which will be visible from the depot's front plaza and from inside the Great Hall. King uses materials such as glass, metals and laminating films to create luminous sculptures that animate the architectural environment. ($200,000 commission)
• Tim Prentice (West Cornwall, Conn.) will create a suspended kinetic sculpture in the newly built Kellogg Entry, where transit riders will ascend from street level to the train deck and historic waiting room. ($200,000 commission)
• Steve Dietz of Northern Lights.mn (Minneapolis, Minn.) will work with a team of artists to create a series of multimedia installations throughout the Union Depot. Dietz is the founder of Northern Spark and previously the Walker Art Center's new media program. ($500,000 commission)
According to Josh Collins, Public Art Administrator for the Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority, the RCRRA is investing approximately $1.25 million towards public art at the renovated Union Depot, with 80 percent ($1 million) of those dollars coming from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
The four commissions make up about 85 percent of the overall public art program budget. The RCRRA plans to issue another Call to Artists in the coming months to engage additional artists in projects at Union Depot.
The winning projects were selected from 156 applications by a review panel of artists, art professionals, historic preservationists, project partners and community representatives.(2 Comments)
Friday night approximately 1 billion people tuned in or attended the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics. In the U.S., viewers were able to catch the four hour event on NBC.
All except for one rather important moment.
Photo: Associated Press
NBC chose to cut away from the opening ceremonies for a pre-taped interview with Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps just as choreographer Akram Khan was performing his tribute to the 52 victims of the July 2005 London bomb attacks. The attacks happened the day after London was awarded the Olympics.
"I feel disheartened and disappointed," Khan said in a subsequent press conference.
"I was really shocked and horrified and would like to know on what grounds the American media can make that decision."
"I am really sad that I couldn't show the work in America, and that really upsets me, because I don't think it's any less or more than any of the other pieces," Khan went on to say.
"Is it not accessible enough? Is it not commercial enough? It brings to mind a question that maybe it's too truthful, and I think that says it all really."
NBC issued a statement over the weekend in which it said that stated editing decisions such as this are routinely made for pre-recorded entertainment.(1 Comments)
Minnesota is a hotbed for choral music, but it doesn't always get the attention it deserves.
Now Classical MPR has announced a new project to raise the profile of choral music in Minnesota.
Classical MPR's new Choral Initiative seeks to celebrate the local choral music scene while also bringing world class choirs like the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir - shown above - to Minnesota audiences.
The Choral Initiative, as it's called, can be experienced online, on air and onstage.
Online: Starting now you can enjoy listening to choral music at any time of day or night on Classical MPR's new Choral Stream. You can also select from a number of free MP3 downloads.
On air: Classical MPR will broadcast live concerts from the national convention of Chorus America in Minneapolis this summer, and from the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota (ACDA-MN) 50th anniversary in November.
On stage: Classical MPR has announced the launch of a new annual outdoor choral festival. This year "Harmony in the Park" will take place on June 7th at Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis, and feature One Voice Mixed Chorus, the Minnesota Boychoir and VocalEssence... and it's free.
In addition, Classical MPR will invite some of the world's finest choirs to Minnesota to perform for local audiences in the coming year, including the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, King's College Choir and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir.
You can find out all the details here.
This is the time of year many Minnesota film fan anticipate as much as the coming of spring: the unveiling of the Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival schedule.
The festival runs April 12th through May 3rd this year, primarily at the St Anthony Main theaters in Minneapolis, but with some screenings at the historic Heights Theater in Columbia Heights.
Now to be completely candid, as of this moment the films and the time they are screened are listed on the MSPIFF website but the full schedule is not there yet. A downloadable schedule is promised soon.
However MSPIFF Executive Director Susan Smoluchowski, and Programming Director Jesse Bishop gave a rundown of some of the highlights the other day.
The festival will open with "The Intouchables" a controversial French comedy about a man paralyzed from the neck down and his unlikely friendship with a man recently released from prison. The movie is the second highest grossing film in France of all time.
The opening weekend also includes the latest from director Fred Schepisi (Last Orders, Six Degrees of Separation, Roxanne) called "Eye of the Storm." The director will introduce the film.
Also Saturday the 14th has been declared Milgrom Day to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the U Film Society by Al Milgrom, which in turn spawned the MSPIFF. In addition to a number of screenings there will be a party with special music guest Willie Murphy.
The festival includes a focus on the Middle East, including the closing film from Lebanon "Where do we go now?" the hit at the Toronto International Film Festival from the director of "Caramel" Nadine Labaki.
There will also be a focus on music, including "King for 2 days" which was shot in Minneapolis a couple of years ago during the Walker Art Center's celebration of drummer Dave King. He will play at the Astor Cafe after the film. The new Andrew Bird film is also on the docket, as is the world premier of a new documentary "The Entertainers" on the best ragtime piano players in the country. For that show several of the musicians will be present, as will a piano.
Susan Smoluchowski pointed out three panels during the weekends of the festival. First up will be a discussion on Sunday 15th at noon entitled "Muslims and the Media" featuring US Representative Keith Ellison and documentary director Daniel Tutt who's "Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World" will screen both at MSPIFF and on PBS this summer
During the second weekend directors Peter Raymont, and Steve Ascher will discuss "The Doc and the Artist" during a panel on directing documentaries and particularly about filming artists.
The final weekend will be a panel Conversations with Minnesota Feature directors.
There's lots, lots more in the schedule and it's well worth a scan.
What do you do when you love all things beer-related, but you don't have enough cash to start your own brewery?
You brew beer swag.
Maxwell Arndt, Brett Bartley and Colin McSteen are the three young men behind Swag Brewery, which is devoted to making t-shirts, jewelry and soap, all about beer.
One of Swag Brewery's popular t-shirts
Arndt (whose favorite beer of the moment is Fitger's Apricot Wheat) says he and his schoolmate Colin (current beer: Lucid Camo) knew they wanted to do something involving beer after graduating from the Carlson School of Management in the spring of 2011.
Last fall, we started meeting over beers to brainstorm ideas. We really wanted to take advantage of the explosive growth of the home-brewing and craft beer markets so we decided to test the concept of "outfitting" the industry with beer themed apparel and accessories. Since Colin is a graphic artist and I have experience with business, this seemed like a natural fit.
Arndt says at that point the guys started drinking more coffee than beer, and Swag Brewery began to take shape. Brett Bartley (current beer of choice: Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine) came on board as the resident web guru, and the team was complete.
Swag Brewery got its launch at the Cloud Craft Beer Expo in late January. Arndt says the business' main focus is to outfit consumers (often self-identified as "beer geeks") of the homebrewing and craft beer industries. But the guys have also started to dabble in supplying breweries with branded and private label products for their gift shops and online stores.
But with shopping considered a generally female pastime, and beer-drinking generally considered a primarily male pastime, will Swag Brewery find enough customers for its wares? Arndt thinks so.
We know that women are more likely to "accessorize" their passions. And there are a ton of women-only beer advocacy groups, including Barley's Angels, for example, which are actively working to involve women in the enjoyment of craft beer. So we do think there is a real market for beer swag for women.
While the guys behind Swag Brewery seem to have found a great niche for their creative energies, Arndt says they haven't ruled out opening a brewery some day down the road.(4 Comments)
At first I was thoroughly impressed to see that Minneapolis had been voted as having the second best music scene in the nation on a recent list posted by Livability.com.
Then I saw the full title of the list:
Top 10 Cities With the Best Music Scenes Outside of Nashville, NYC and LA
Okay, so make that the fifth best music scene in the nation. Still, not bad.
Check out The Local Current blog to find out more about the survey, and who else made the
top ten, I mean top thirteen.
Minnesota's office of tourism is hoping that local crooners will woo you into exploring more of the state.
Local musicians - including Dessa, Haley Bonar, Chris Koza and Lucy Michelle - all lent their voices to a series of radio ads for Explore Minnesota's "More to Explore" campaign.
According to a press release the radio spots are airing in greater Minnesota and some radio stations in the Twin Cities through a marketing agreement with the Minnesota Broadcasters Association.
Above is a 60-second Dylan-esque music video created to highlight the lyrics and credit the Minnesota singers.
You can listen to all of the radio ads - including one specific to arts and culture - here.
Handy fact: Tourism is an $11.3 billion industry in Minnesota, employing 235,000 people.
Perhaps the third time's the charm?
Lenny Russo, chef of Heartland Restaurant
This is the third time Russo has made the list of finalists. Fortunately for Twin Cities' diners, last year the award went to Isaac Becker of 112 Eatery. The year before that it went to chef Alexander Roberts of Restaurant Alma.
This year Russo is the only Minnesota chef to make the list of finalists. Can we hope to be so lucky again?
Two other Minnesotans are up for awards in other categories. MPR's own Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift are finalists in the "General Cooking" category for their cookbook The Splendid Table's How to Eat Weekends.
The full list of nominees can be found here.
Good luck to all the finalists!
Posted at 11:40 AM on March 6, 2012
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Media
Today Facebook is a-flutter with news that beloved Twin Cities food writer Dara Moskowitz-Grumdahl is leaving Minnesota Monthly magazine for a position with MSP Communications, publisher of MNMO's rival, Mpls.St.Paul magazine.
MinnPost's David Brauer has the most complete version of the story to date, quoting Grumdahl as saying "I feel like MSP is growing, thinking about growing, and that's sort of where I want to be, in a place going forward."
In addition, Grumdahl posted on her Facebook account:
I've loved a lot of people at MnMo, it was a hard decision, I feel a little like I've been uncovered as a Nazi when I had been entrusted to guard the British nursery school... but I think it will have been the right thing to do.
No word yet on whether or not Grumdahl's new job will have an impact on her appearances on Minnesota Public Radio stations (she's heard regularly in the Twin Cities on both KNOW and 89.3 The Current). Minnesota Monthly and Minnesota Public Radio share the same parent company (American Public Media Group), and Grumdahl's contract with MSP Communications includes a non-compete clause.
Q: How do you get people excited about urban design?
A: Hold a video competition.
At least that's the answer that came to Architecture Minnesota magazine.
Last year Architecture Minnesota held the first annual "Videotect" competition, asking for people to submit short films on the topic of Minnesota's most controversial urban design element - skyways.
Last year's Videotect Grand Prize Winning entry
The competition, culminating in a live screening at the Walker Art Center of the most popular candidates, was a hit according to Architecture Minnesota editor Chris Hudson:
We knew that with a public video competition we wouldn't necessarily get highly prescriptive commentary, but we guessed--and guessed right--that what the entries lacked in analysis they would more than make up for in entertainment value. Bringing entertainment to urban design discussions is a pretty cool thing, in our eyes.
Honorable Mention and Viewers' Choice Finalist for the 2011 competition
Videotect is back this year for round two. This time the topic is "sustainable transportation and its enhancement through quality design" and each video has to be two minutes or less in length.
39 videos were submitted to this year's competition, predominantly from Minnesota, but also Oregon, Illinois, and New York, and from as far away as China, Denmark, and the Netherlands. Hudson ultimately sees Videotect becoming a popular international competition.
You can watch the videos, and vote for your favorites here.
One of this year's entries in the Videotect competition
Voting for the people's choice award runs through Friday, however tomorrow afternoon I'll be sitting down with fellow panel judges to pick our favorites. And trust me, it's not going to be easy!
This year there will be a screening of finalists on March 1 at the Walker Art Center, culminating in a vote for the popular choice winner. The creators of the winning videos will be awarded $2000 (for Grand Prize and Popular Choice) and $500 (for Honorable Mention) respectively.
Another entry in this year's Videotect competition
The State of the Arts blog will be a little slow this week, but it's all for a good cause.
This week I'm filling in as host of Midday, and every day at 11am we're taking on a different arts-related topic. I'll also be joined by a different co-host for each hour.
Today we talked about what happens when classical music is performed outside the concert hall. My co-host was Minnesota Orchestra violist Sam Bergman, who hosts "Inside the Classics". Joining us as guests were cellists Matt Haimovitz and Laure Sewell. Matt Haimovitz is known for performing Bach in bars and clubs; Laura Sewell performs with the Twin Cities' based Artaria String Quartet, and this summer they started performing "flash concerts" in bookstores, wine shops, and even a gym!
If you missed it, not to worry - you can listen to the audio here:
Tomorrow we're going to talk design when look at "surplus space." How can we best take advantage of abandoned strip malls, empty parking lots, and even closed down overpasses in ways that benefit our community? This conversation is inspired by a New York Times piece by Michael Kimmelman
My co-host will be architectural historian Larry Millett, and our guests will be Thomas Fisher, Professor of Architecture and Dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota and Jay Walljasper, a writer and speaker focusing on urban and community issues and sustainability.
Wednesday we'll talk about songwriting - how do you write a song that stands the test of time? My co-host will be local songwriter Jeremy Messersmith. Guests: TBD.
And on Friday we look at the legacy of the Black Arts Movement, and how it's impact is still felt today. My co-host will be performer/arts educator T. Mychael Rambo. Joining us in studio will be Penumbra Theatre Artistic Director Lou Bellamy, who just launched a series of conversations on this very topic. Playwright and Scholar Paul Carter Harrison will join us by phone from New York.
So if you can, tune in to Midday this week at 11am, and join the conversation!
So my Wednesday post on @loftliterary's Twitter contest, asking for #6wordmemoirs, drew some great responses. Submissions continued to pour in on Twitter, as well as on the blog. Here's a look at some of your ultra-condensed lives:
On my own at age five
Started flying, once I dropped anchor
He never quite finished what he...
Need dirt on my hands, surprisingly.
Trying to have it both ways.
Finally grew into my parents' skins.
Aged faster than I had planned.
Alive 30 years, just getting started.
Wild party girl gets a job
Entrepreneurial gypsy now dog-loving homebody. (That's only five, but I'm downsizing.)
Worked/played with, for, about children.
She loved cupcakes and making out.
Lost the damn manual. Guessed right!
I am bad at math
Born, lived, wrote memoir, brutally murdered
Rich food performances. Repeats pro bono.
"Say it politely," they suggested. No.
Gypsy blood ran from my pen.
I just wanted to be useful.
He said, "never write anything down."
Fourteen homes, ten jobs, one family.
Vietnam born. Minnesota raised. World wanderer.
She teetered but did not fall.
Creative effervescence still mistaken as bubbly.
Always moving, losing money, laughing loudly
Love makes for strange bedfellows, too.
Flattened to death by a bookshelf.
Finally bored with her own story.
Can't find my glasses anywhere. Crunch.
The Loft Literary Center will close its contest at noon. A select winner will win participation in an online writing class.(3 Comments)
The Loft Literary Center has been having fun on Twitter today, getting people to sum up their lives in six words. A select winner will win participation in an online writing class. Here are some of the wittier responses:
I erred by caring too much.
Started scribbling at six, never stopped.
You would think I'd have learned.
Left too many books, friendships unfinished.
I came, I saw, I ate.
Never a bridesmaid, always a bride.
Theater major. Will work for food.
Wrote lesbian novel. Married a guy.
So much icecream, so little time.
I walked, fell, then grew wings.
Wait here, sweetheart. I'll come back.
Trust me, you'd rather not know.
My heart was right all along.
Stayed up all night writing this.
Tripping up the curb of love.
Failed, failed, failed. No matter. Learned.
Young, threw discus. Now, torn meniscus.
Crafty gal reporting on artsy world.
So which six words would you choose to summarize your life? Share your abbreviated memoir in the comments section, or on Twitter with #6wordmemoirs and @loftliterary in the tweet. Better yet, do both!(8 Comments)
The noise level is rising.
In public spaces everywhere people are talking on their cellphones, chatting on social media, or laughing at a movie they're watching on a portable viewer.
And in the workplace, offices are now designed to create spontaneous interaction, with the idea that open design will allow ideas to flow and grow freely.
In a world such as this, where can we go for silence?
Susan Cain writes an eloquent opinion piece in the New York Times that examines the supposed payoff of "groupthink" versus working in solitude. According to Cain, "research strongly suggests that people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption."
And the most spectacularly creative people in many fields are often introverted, according to studies by the psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Gregory Feist. They're extroverted enough to exchange and advance ideas, but see themselves as independent and individualistic. They're not joiners by nature.
...Solitude has long been associated with creativity and transcendence. "Without great solitude, no serious work is possible," Picasso said. A central narrative of many religions is the seeker -- Moses, Jesus, Buddha -- who goes off by himself and brings profound insights back to the community.
...And yet. The New Groupthink has overtaken our workplaces, our schools and our religious institutions. Anyone who has ever needed noise-canceling headphones in her own office or marked an online calendar with a fake meeting in order to escape yet another real one knows what I'm talking about. Virtually all American workers now spend time on teams and some 70 percent inhabit open-plan offices, in which no one has "a room of one's own." During the last decades, the average amount of space allotted to each employee shrank 300 square feet, from 500 square feet in the 1970s to 200 square feet in 2010.
...Studies show that open-plan offices make workers hostile, insecure and distracted. They're also more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, stress, the flu and exhaustion. And people whose work is interrupted make 50 percent more mistakes and take twice as long to finish it.
So what are the consequences of this new, hypersocial, crowded world we live in? How to retreat, for extended periods of time, without being labeled 'unwilling' or 'uncooperative?'
I was delighted to note, at a recent art crawl, one gallery was set aside, empty except for several chairs, for people to take a break from all the visual stimuli.
And it was also interesting to see how the new silent movie "The Artist" has been received with such welcome arms. Is it perhaps due in part to our nostalgia for a quieter time?
Your thoughts welcome, as always.
Posted at 1:52 PM on January 13, 2012
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Media
This morning MinnPost arts writer Max Sparber bid farewell to the Twin Cities. The playwright has been writing "Max About Town" for the online news organization for just over a year, but is leaving the Twin Cities for Hollywood.
According to MinnPost's Susan Albright, beginning Jan. 19, Pamela Espeland will broaden her writing for MinnPost, launching a "newsy, twice-weekly arts column that will focus on arts institutions, personalities, performances, money and arts politics."
In addition, 'man about town' Andy Sturdevant will begin writing for MinnPost on Wednesdays a column called "The Stroll." Albright describes the column this way:
In it he'll describe interesting, newsworthy or otherwise notable visual art-related objects or events around the Twin Cities, with each piece focused on one geographic area -- a part of town, a neighborhood, or even a few blocks within a neighborhood.
He'll draw readers' attention not only to traditional works of visual art contained within this geographic area, but also to craft, architecture, design, street art, public art, advertising, fashion, or furniture design -- anything a person could walk by and have a look at. Each column will include a hand-drawn map.
Sturdevant's column will launch January 25.
Last night Penumbra Theatre got some well-deserved major media coverage when Lou Bellamy and his team were the subject of an in-depth profile on NBC's "Rock Center" hosted by Brian Williams.
Favorite quote: when Hoda Kotb says "Lou Bellamy is proof that if you really work hard where you are, you can make something great of yourself, and I love love love that about him."
Miss the program? No worries - here it is:
Footage includes interviews with Lou Bellamy, Abdul Salaam El Razzac and Dennis Spears, and scenes of rehearsals for "I Wish You Love," "Two Old Black Guys Just Sitting Around Talking" and "Two Trains Running."
For a little more on how the story was put together, check out this clip from the producer:
Congrats to Lou Bellamy and Penumbra!
Penumbra Theater's Julie McGarvie says when she first got the call she had her doubts. The person on the other end of the line claimed to be a producer with NBC's new magazine show "Rock Center."
"This is really a producer?" she admits wondering at the time.
It turns out it really was. And on Monday night the country's largest African-American theater company will be profiled at length on the show.
Penumbra founder and artistic director Lou Bellamy says no-one at the company has seen the piece, but the NBC crew began gathering footage after reading about Penumbra's Kennedy Center performance of "I Wish You Love."
Bellamy says they flew to the Twin Cities a couple of times, and followed the company to other venues around the country.
"They came to Hartford and taped the show there. They taped some of "Two trains running" that we had up, and interviews with actors and me walking through the park in St Paul and up and down Marshall," he laughs. "Then they came out to my home, Hoda Kotb came out to my home and we walked around there and talked. And talked about the outdoors and that sort of stuff. It was really cool!"
Bellamy says he believes NBC's interest stems from a couple of things. First there is Penumbra's location.
"When I travel there are people who are surprised to know that there is ANY population of African-Americans in Minnesota. I mean they think we all live in igloos and so forth," he said. "So that is curious for them that a company, a black company in St Paul would have the kind of national footprint and reach that we have."
He says the producers were also intrigued by Bellamy himself.
"They seemed to be interested in the fact that I am an artist and my social activism through the art and so forth," he said. "But also that I am an outdoorsman, and that was curious to them that both those things can live in one body."
Bellamy says he doesn't know what will come of the TV exposure, but he hopes it will add momentum to an important element in US theater.
"It's another step in establishing our worth and contribution to the building of a diversified national theatrical tradition in the United States," he said. "One that includes everyone."
Bellamy also sees it as an opportunity to spread the word about the excellence of Penumbra's work to a new audience.
"I hope what it does is establish our artists and the theater as sort of the definitive source that one might look to to see how this work is done with sensitivity, and awareness and cultural nuance and history and all those sorts of things. All the things that our audiences that our audiences in the Twin Cities take for granted when they come to Penumbra."
It's been quite a month for Penumbra. On December 6th the company dropped two shows from the current season as it cut $600,000 from its budget. A new business model is in development and will be unveiled in the spring.
Bellamy describes it as a 'topsy-turvy' time. He says it's unfortunate, but the theater leadership said it was the responsible thing to do, and will help maintain a solid financial footing.
"You are always concerned about the future and placing yourself in a position where you can be nimble, take advantage of opportunity, but not step out so far that you fall through thin ice. So I always talk about it as being sort of looking, standing with your hand on top of your eyes, shielding your eyes from the sun, looking at the horizon, while your underwear is on fire."
Bellamy won't get to see the NBC piece as it airs. He'll be on a plane to Indiana for a Tuesday morning rehearsal for a new production for Cleveland Playhouse of August Wilson's "Radio Golf," at Indiana Repertory. It seems likely someone will record it though.
Last night news broke that the Minneapolis magazine Utne Reader will be moving its operations to Topeka, Kansas in March. The move is a consolidation on the part of its owner, Ogden Publishing, which bought the magazine six years ago.
Editor-in-Chief David Schimke and his staff will not be moving to Topeka with the magazine. But he did take the time to answer a few questions.
1. In the past six years the Utne Reader hasn't been able to make a profit. Why is that? Have automatic aggregaters like Google Reader replaced digests?
I think it's a little bit that. But the fact is, we've been winning awards; we even upped the price and didn't see a decrease in subscribership. But the advertising just isn't there. We have a small loyal audience, but it's a difficult audience to market to.
2. Is publishing a magazine still a viable business in the modern age?
I do - I think it has to be smaller, with high end production, driven by a niche readership. I think magazines that are niche driven have an opportunity to do really well. Similar to public radio - you have a dedicated audience that's willing to pay for quality. It could be a non-profit, working with a foundation. If you have a niche audience and a really beautiful magazine, I think that would attract more advertising. I still think there's room for print.
3. Have you and the rest of the Minneapolis staff talked about starting up a new magazine in the wake of the Utne's move?
Oh we've certainly bounced a few ideas around, but I think we're all going to just take a deep breath in March. I believe that - the Utne Reader notwithstanding - there is a need here for a really good publication that's driven by storytelling and really high quality features and news. And I think the talent is here.
4. Do you think the reputation of the Utne Reader has in some ways hurt you?
The Utne Reader brand can be both a blessing and a curse. On the positive side, people associate the name with Eric Utne's original template, which was truly revolutionary. The downside is that people assume the magazine hasn't changed with the times and is somehow outdated or quaint. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, given the current media climate, Utne's intellectual balance, eclecticism, and rigorous journalistic standards are even more unique and necessary than they were 10 or 15 years ago. The challenge is to get magazine lovers to stop and take a look, and that's expensive and time consuming.
5. What's the hardest part of seeing the magazine move to Kansas?
I think the hardest part for us is that it's just a labour of love; we weren't doing it for the money or the prestige, but because we really believe in these great articles and thinkers we've presented over the years.
It's so hard to compete with the internet - but I really think this magazine has been an important mouthpiece for the alternative press. We've helped a lot of smaller magazines thrive.
Utne Reader magazine is moving its offices from Minneapolis to Topeka, Kansas.
According to reports in the Pioneer Press and the Star Tribune, the magazine's owner - Ogden Publications - is consolidating its operations, and wants to trim the bimonthly's editorial budget in half (from $500,000 to $250,000).
is the only national magazine based in the Twin Cities; it was founded by Eric Utne in 1984 as a digest to the alternative press. It was purchased by Topeka-based Ogden Publications six years ago.
The Utne Reader will close its Minneapolis offices in March. None of the seven Minneapolis staffers is expected to move with the magazine.(2 Comments)
The new name reflects the fact that many of these ads are not found on television, but on laptops, smart phones and other devices, which allow them to run longer than a typical television spot.
This ad in particular caught my eye. Behold, the Yeo Valley Rappers:
Interesting fact: Some 20,000 Minnesotans will see the ads during their run at the Walker Art Center. While the show tours other major U.S. cities, the Minneapolis show has by far the longest run by an order of several magnitudes.
You can hear Euan Kerr's full story by clicking on the link below:
The Walker Art Center's website is sporting a new look.
Olga Viso stands before a projection of the new website design
Image courtesy Walker Art Center
The redesign is the first major overhaul of the museum's website since 2005.
It's being overseen former Adbuster journalist Paul Schmelzer and, according to Executive Director Olga Viso, walkerart.org will be more like a news site about the arts than a typical museum website.
Resembling an online art magazine in its design and format, this new site provides a multifaceted publishing platform--unique among museums worldwide. Here you will find news and feature content about contemporary art as well as the Walker's own programs and collections. As a pioneer in developing new platforms for scholarship, publishing, arts journalism, and creative exchange with our audiences, we believe we can play an important role in offering alternative media infrastructures as arts coverage in the mainstream media outlets everywhere have been dramatically reduced in recent years. Our cross-disciplinary focus as an institution also positions us well to survey larger trends in contemporary visual arts, performing arts, design, and media culture.
The site showcases news stories, interviews and essays written by Walker staff as well as aggregated content, covering issues not just limited to the museum itself but to art around the world.
As a reporter, I find this shift particularly interesting, because it marks a significant step forward in an ongoing trend. Namely arts organizations, faced with a lack of media coverage, are creating their own coverage, and taking the dialogue directly to their audiences. Will arts journalists eventually be employed by museums and theaters, rather than newspapers?
While the redesign has been applied to most major sections of the site, some additional sections will continue to be updated over the next year.
What do you think of the redesign? Your thoughts are always welcome.
A couple of weeks ago "Top Score" presenter Emily Reese presented MPR staff with a very compelling arguement on why many contemporary classical composers are now looking to video games as a source not only of income, but creative challenge.
Composing the the theme and incidental music for a major game allows a composer to explore and develop motifs while creating the atmosphere for an interactive experience. Reese led a lunchtime session for MPR staff to explore some of the new approaches being taken by composers and game creators, which gave many of us a new appreciation for the myriad creative aspects of the work.
This is the material Reese presents in every edition of the Top Score podcast.
To celebrate the upcoming second season of Top Score Reese has created a prize challenge for listeners to identify the composers behind seven musical selections. The winner gets a $60 giftcard to Gamestop.
You can find details here. Good luck!
The staff at Milkweed Editions in Minneapolis are celebrating a double Presidential boost with the help of the Boston Globe this week.
First of all the paper suggested that President Obama take Milkweed author David Gessner's book "My Green Manifesto:Down the Charles River in Search of the New Environmentalism'' as one of the five titles he should take on vacation.,
The other titles suggested were: "Caleb's Crossing'' by Geraldine Brooks, "The Submission'' by Amy Waldman, " Ethan Allen: His Life and Times'' by Willard Sterne Randall, and "The Magician King'' By Lev Grossman.
The Globe is now reporting that the Reader-in-Chief has a copy with him in Martha's Vineyard.
Well, actually it's reporting Globe reporters saw Presidential daughters Sasha and Malia carrying a bag of books including the Gessner title, and the accompanying picture shows the President piloting a golf cart rather than reading.
But hey, in the cutthroat world of book publicity, you take what you can get!
The Minnesota Historical Society is launching an on-line encyclopedia about the state.
The site, www.mnopedia.org, is designed to offer multimedia entries about significant people, places, events and things in Minnesota history.
The site will grow and evolve over time, but MNHS is inviting the public to kick the tires of this new internet resource. Users are encouraged to test the site, give feedback and help make MNopedia an invaluable A-to-Z resource about Minnesota.
Currently, the prototype provides content in more than a dozen categories, including agriculture, women, architecture, sports and the environment.
In a release sent out this afternoon, Erica Hartmann, MNopedia Editor and Project Manager with the Minnesota Historical Society Press, said "MNopedia is a Legacy project, paid for by Minnesotans, so we want to give the public a real role in shaping it. We want users to tell us what's working and what's not, so we can refine and expand MNopedia in the coming year."
The MNopedia is designed to be a resource not just for history buffs, but teachers, students, journalists and the general public.
Most of the entries will be written by experts; Hartmann says historical society is continuing to recruit new parters and contributors to reflect the states diversity.
Photo credit: Curtis Johnson
In this Sunday's New York Times, James Oestreich reviewed Twin Cities vocal ensemble Cantus' latest CD, "That Eternal Day." Oestreich compares and contrasts the album with two other releases by Ensemble Phoenix Munich and Apollo's Fire.
While Oestreich had some positive things to say about "That Eternal Day," overall he found it lacking. Here's what he had to say:
When the male chorus Cantus of Minnesota takes up "Simple Gifts" on its new CD, "That Eternal Day" (Cantus Recordings CTS-1210), in an arrangement by Stephen Caracciolo, tenors alternate lines, distending each sentimentally and pausing distractedly, over a backdrop of drones. Then in the chorus ("When true simplicity is gained") things get really complicated, with soupy harmonies that occasionally curdle; busy counterpoint; more stops and starts; more drones; repeated changes of direction. It's exhausting.
...Cantus fares better in William Walker's foursquare hymn "Wondrous Love," from "The Southern Harmony," with a vigorous, mostly straightforward a cappella.
...Individual comparisons aside, the Cantus recording offers many satisfactions, none greater than a touching, ineffably simple performance of "The 23rd Psalm (Dedicated to My Mother)" by Bobby McFerrin. But this is also the most problematic disc over all. From its opening -- the spiritual "There's a Meeting Here Tonight," in an arrangement full of finger snapping, hand clapping and humming -- the group is prone to a certain peppy slickness. The vocalization is typically polished, but there are lapses in the discipline essential to a cappella performance, notably in enunciation (on one occasion, "true zimplizity").
You can read the full review here.
Well, as you might imagine, some folks over at MPR Classical (where the members of Cantus have been "artists in residence" for the past year) were not in agreement with Oestreich's review. Check back later today for a rebuttal from MPR's Brian Newhouse.
In an economy where brick and mortar big box book behemoths keep failing, the Red Balloon Bookstore in St Paul has sailed along.
Not that there haven't been bumps in the road admits Michele Cromer-Poiré. She and Carol Erdahl founded and opened the store in 1984, and they have remained at the helm ever since, weathering the storms of the book business against all odds.
The Grand Avenue store has become a St Paul institution, with a reputation for being well stocked with both classics and new releases, and as a great place for author readings.
Now Cromer-Poiré and Erdahl are retiring. Cromer-Poiré says they've been thinking about it for a while.
"Our husbands have been retired for, actually, decades," she laughs.
But she says they didn't want to just walk away
"We wanted to keep it going, and we think of it kind of as our legacy," Cromer-Poiré said. "We found these fabulous women and we think the Red Balloon has a fabulous future with them."
On August 1st Holly Weinkauf of St. Paul and Amy Sullivan of Minneapolis will become the Red Balloon's new owners. Cromer-Poiré is delighted by what she sees as the similarities between Weinkauf's and Sullivan's experiences and how she and Erdahl felt as they launched the store.
Cromer-Poiré says she thinks the Red Balloon has survived because she and Erdahl were, as she puts it "intrepid." They forged ahead, no matter the challenges, while keeping a close eye on finances to keep the store viable.
She says she never thought they wouldn't make it.
"No, I don't think that ever crossed our minds," she said. "One of the smartest things that we ever did was that we managed to own our own space, so we are not beholding to a landlord, and because of that we can control our occupancy costs."
But it's taken more than good financial management to make the Red Balloon the success it is. Cromer-Poiré says its a combination of good customer service, by staff with decades of experience, all working towards an important goal.
"We have really been focused on connecting kids with literature, with books, with authors with illustrators, and through that been promoting literacy and fun with reading."
The Red Balloon has been around for 27 years. When asked to predict how things will be in the book industry in 27 more, Cromer-Poiré doesn't miss a beat.
"I see the Red Balloon still surviving, I don't know that childrens books and quality childrens booksstores will go away ever. There's something special about the relationship between a parent and a child when the child is sitting on the lap and the parent is reading to the child."
She recalls how people predicted the introduction of audiobooks would spell the end of the paper books. That didn't happen, and while the Red Balloon does sell ebooks, she says they will never replace a good picturebook."
She won't be there behind the counter but Michele Cromer-Poiré says she'll still be there regularly.
"We wrote into the purchase agreement that Carol and I will get an employee discount," she said with a laugh. "I'm always going to buy my books from the Red Balloon!"
In a rather low energy talk, software developer Mike Matas demos the first full-length interactive book for the iPad -- featuring video, audio, and even a windmill that responds to your breath. The book is "Our Choice," Al Gore's sequel to "An Inconvenient Truth."
One commenter on the TED website said "It's an interesting way to present information, but I don't think it's a book." What do you think?
So every year City Pages puts out its annual "Best of the Twin Cities" guide, and every year I immediately flip to the Arts and Entertainment section to see who made the list. There are a few names that regularly show up, and there always a few surprises, too. Here are some of the highlights:
This year, Theater Latte Da, and its director Peter Rothstein both received accolades, earning "Best of" rankings for theater company, musical ("Violet") and director.
Ten Thousand Things won for its production of "Life's A Dream."
Minnesota Orchestra won in the category of "Best Non-Movie Theater Place to See a Movie" for performing scores to movies like "Psycho" live while the film is screened onstage.
Uri Sands came away with "Best Choreographer" for his company TU Dance, and the male vocal ensemble Cantus (MPR Classical's musical group in residence) was awarded with "Best Classical Musician."
And of course, hats off to 89.3 The Current for taking the "Best Radio Station" award, and to Steve Seel garnering the "Best FM Radio Personality" (his colleague Mark Wheat won the Readers' Choice award in the same category).
Congrats to all the winners!
Doug Block's daughter Lucy is no stranger to cameras. With a documentary maker for a dad that's not surprising.
"She always loved being on camera, and we always enjoyed shooting each other over the years," he told me from New York the other day. Block (left with Lucy as a girl) says video was just part of their lives. "I really liked interviewing Lucy periodically, and she really liked to interview me."
While he wondered over the years about whether these chats could turn into something more, he always dismissed the idea because he didn't think anyone else would want to watch it.
However the idea never totally disappeared. He says while he has seen many movies about parenting, in fact he'd even made one himself called "51 Birch Street," he'd never seen a film about the subject actually from a parent's perspective.
Then when he woke up one morning and realized it was just about a year till Lucy was likely to head to college. The idea of doing a sweet little film about his child evaporated as he realized how much he worried about what was going to happen. Another movie idea began to form.
"It was probably a bit more bittersweet film about bringing a child up, only to let her go" he said. He decided that could work and he swung into action.
Block will introduce the 7.15 screening of the resulting film "The Kids Grow Up" at the Film Society at St Anthony Main tomorrow night. .
The movie tells the tale of that last year, mixing the narrative with the material Block has gathered throughout Lucy's girlhood. In some ways she has changed a great deal, in other ways the same personality shines through.
Lucy then and now Images courtesy Shadow Distribution
That final year wasn't a simple shoot. As Block's anxiety mounted Lucy began to chafe. With the time of her departure drawing near, she suddenly announced the filming was weighing down on her, and tore into her father as his camera rolled.
"Suddenly I was confronted with that nightmare of the documentary film maker which is what do you do?" Block said. "I am a parent first and a film maker second. Yet we are right at the end of the shooting and the film has become my baby, and you are protective of the film as well. It just caught me totally off guard."
It's tough to watch, but Block says she never explicitly told him to turn off the camera. He went with his gut and kept rolling, knowing he was on dangerous ground..
"You are trying to live your life and at the same time film it and be objective: stand at a distance and see yourself as a character in a film and yet really the top priority is that you are living your own life, and you are really there for your own family. I don't recommend it," he said.
It's then the film takes on a subplot of whether it will ever get finished.
There are other tough moments in the film, including some scenes where his wife Marjorie deals with a depressive episode which confines her to bed.
Block admits many people might feel the scenes of Lucy's meltdown and Marjorie's illness are to use his words "wildly inappropriate." However he says neither of them stopped him from including them in the film. In fact he says Marjorie is proud that what happened to her is shown.
This isn't the first film Doug Block has using his own family as subject matter. "51 Birch Street" began as an exploration of his parent's long marriage. However it developed a twist after his father married his former secretary very shortly after he mother died.
Block says he doesn't film his family continuously, just five minutes here and there, before he quickly puts the camera away. However he now has a huge archive of material on which to draw as he considers his personal history.
He believes the film making has actually brought his family closer together. He says Marjorie told him he never listens more carefully to her than when he interviews her.
"And so we have these very honest conversations on camera. It gave me the chance to watch and observe my family," he said.
In "The Kids Grow Up" the conversations between husband and wife are brief but intense, as they navigate what turns out to be a tumultuous year.
Block says Lucy was shown the first cuts, including the toughest scenes, and she was given the chance to nix the film if she didn't want it to go forward. She gave the project her blessing.
The film premiered last year, and Block says he's now taken it to about 20 different cities. It will air on HBO in June around Father's Day. He says people really like it when they see it in a theater.
"Now and again we run into someone, usually when they have seen it on DVD, not in a theater, who gets a little taken aback at my seemingly excessive recording of my daughter and probably thinks I am the worlds worst parent and should be locked away forever," he laughed.
The critics have loved it too. Block says the reviews are the best he's received in his career.
He's now working on the DVD of "The Kids Grow Up," which includes the only interview he's done with Lucy since the day they dropped her off at college. It answers the question he is always asked at screenings about what she thinks of the film. Block admits Lucy's reactions are mixed.
"On the one hand she thinks its a really good film, and she's happy that audiences really respond to it," he said. "On the other hand there's one or two scenes that embarrass her."
While he's now making a film about long term marriages, drawing on wedding videos he's shot over the years to supplement his other work, Block also says the Lucy project is truly over.
At the end of "The Kids Grow Up" he talks about how he looks forward to having wonderful conversations with his daughter without the camera rolling.
"And," he said, "That's exactly what we've had for the last three and a half years."
Downbeat Magazine, the must-read publication for jazz fans just published its list of the 150 best jazz rooms in the world, and named three in Minnesota: The Artists Quarter in St Paul, the Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant in Minneapolis, and, perhaps most unexpectedly, the Walker Art Center.
The Walker's Performing Arts Curator Phillip Bither says the listing came completely out of the blue, but he knows it carries weight. He says it's a recognition of the growing reputation of the Maguire Theater.
"The world is taking notice of what an exquisite concert venue and performing arts space it is, and I think musicians are spreading the word that it is a fantastic place to play music and to be heard" Bither said this afternoon.
"They cover dozens of countries and the Midwest only had a handful of sites so it's an acknowledgement that Minneapolis is a great center for great music and great jazz," he continued. "I think the correspondents for Downbeat really know what's going on in jazz all over the country and I'm sure they feed in what their favorite spots are."
The article points out the key aspects of each of the three venues: the intimacy of the Artists Quarter, the upscale nature of the Dakota, and the Walker's "original and daring live programming."
Bither believes it will make a difference because it "puts the word out to people who regularly travel that if you are going to be in Minneapolis, here are the places that you need to check out."
He believes not only will it build international recognition, it will build tourist traffic.
Last March, chef and filmmaker Daniel Klein launched his web-based series "The Perennial Plate" to inspire Minnesotans to look beyond the local farmers' market for sourcing their food close to home.
Over the past year The Perennial Plate has showcased everything from community gardens to road kill, with a heavy emphasis on the carnivorous diet. Klein's harvested wild rice and morel mushrooms, tapped maple syrup tried his hand at spear fishing, and even learned how to kill a squirrel and eat it.
Well all his hard work and adventure has paid off. The web-based news site Huffington Post has agreed to syndicate the series, and officially welcomed it to the site yesterday, stating "there will be knives, there will be blood, there will be guts, and it will be fascinating and captivating."
If you've done a Google search this morning, you may have noticed the home page is promoting something called "Art Project." Well that's too tempting a title for me to resist, so I did a little exploring, and am pretty thrilled with what I found.
"Art Project" is basically a collaboration between museums around the world to upload their artworks online in extraordinary detail, as well as offer virtual tours of their galleries. Users can create their own collections of favorite artworks from the participating museums.
In short, it's an art lover's dream come true.
Currently there are 17 museums participating in the project, including the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, the Tate Britain in London, the Uffizi gallery in Florence and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The website promises more information soon on how other museums can join the project (the Walker and MIA, perhaps?).
According to the Art Project website, Google approached the museum partners with the idea, and each museum was able to chose the number of galleries, artwork and information they wanted to include.
As you might imagine, the images on the site are copyright protected, and Google owns the "Stree View" imagery used for creating the virtual museum tours.
Here's the current list of museum partners:
Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin - Germany
Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian, Washington DC - USA
The Frick Collection, NYC - USA
Gemäldegalerie, Berlin - Germany
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC - USA
MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art, NYC - USA
Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid - Spain
Museo Thyssen - Bornemisza, Madrid - Spain
Museum Kampa, Prague - Czech Republic
National Gallery, London - UK
Palace of Versailles - France
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam - The Netherlands
The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg - Russia
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow - Russia
Tate Britain, London - UK
Uffizi Gallery, Florence - Italy
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam - The Netherlands
It doesn't take much digging to find that an increasing number of stories about the arts these days are being written by artists themselves. For some, the "arts reporter" gig is a necessary second source of income with compatible hours... for others, the motivation comes from a desire to fill the increasing void created by cutbacks at papers.
Max Sparber, a regular columnist for MinnPost.com and the temporary fill-in editor of Minnesota Playlist, is also a playwright. Earlier this week he wrote about the pitfalls and benefits of being both artist and journalist:
This sort of critic/artist cross pollination can lead to overwhelming conflicts of interests. It does not serve the needs of an artist or an audience to have a critic who is primarily a cheerleader for the local arts community. One of the traditional roles of the critic is to act as an entirely impartial respondent to a piece of art. We may not agree with their opinion, but we know them to be thoroughly scrupulous in expressing that opinion. And, without an impartial response, there is a risk of criticism just becoming a wing of the promotions department of an arts organization. And even the appearance of a conflict-of-interests has historically led to charges of impartiality, which is why some critics will not see their subjects on a social basis.
I've wrestled with this. It's especially poignant now, as I tend to prefer only to write about subjects that interest me, and so it will be pretty rare that I produce a really scabrous review. As I figure it, audiences have no trouble steering clear of bad art, and there is so much interesting art out there that I prefer to point them in that direction. And my relationship with the local performance art community is so thoroughly muddied that I must includes extended full-disclosures in every piece I write. I have been fortunate to land a gig where this isn't a problem, as my column for MinnPost is built around a conversational, insider's look at the arts. But, as Mencken once said, in order to maintain credibility as a critic, sometimes you have to raise the black flag and start slitting throats. This can be very, very difficult to do when you're writing about people you care about.
However, Sparber goes on to argue that artists make for some of the best qualified arts writers:
...Arts writing is at its best when written by somebody who actually knows about the arts. There's a long and sullied history in the press of sports writers and beat reporters being pressed into arts writing because nobody else will do it. They've never participated in the making of a performance, and so don't know what goes into it. And they often don't have much of an education on what they're reviewing. Notoriously, an Omaha critic once left "Waiting for Godot" during intermission, not knowing there was a second act. He wrote a piece about how Beckett's play has nothing to say to modern audiences. And, who knows, maybe he was right. I like Beckett, but I also like "Auntie Mame," and that's a play that genuinely has nothing to offer modern audiences. But his case would have been more credible had he stuck it out for the second act...
For this sort of critic, all sorts of things are important beyond what occurs between the rise and fall of a curtain. The process that goes into making a piece of art becomes very interesting. The social world of the artist becomes quite important. A larger knowledge of genre, or arts philosophy, of artistic movements, becomes vital. And this is a very hard thing for a former sportswriter to just jump into. If you want this "tour-guide" sort of critic, it helps to find somebody whose background is in the arts. They generally can communicate pretty well in writing, as we at MinnesotaPlaylist have repeatedly demonstrated. After all, artists are often well-educated, and, especially in the performing arts, communicating clearly and well is an essential skill.
I suspect we're going to see a lot more critic/artists down the road as print newspapers keep tightening their budgets and less-traditional online news sources start to come into their own. My suspicion is that the end result of this will be a better-educated and more adventurous audience. I hope this will be the case, anyway. There is, of course, a risk that criticism will become a form of advertising, with critics writing only to promote their own work or their friend's work. God knows this is a real possibility: If there is one thing the Internet has proven, it is that it is quite good making spam.
That would be a pity. Because we are filling the ranks of arts critics with people who know about the arts, love them, and are skilled at communicating their nuances. This should lead to a golden age of arts writing, instead of a golden age of self-promotion.
You can read Sparber's full article here. As a reader of arts stories, do you care whether or not the person writing the story is a trained artist, or friends with the subject of the story? How much does the background or training of the reporter matter to you? Trust me, I'm all ears.
"You've got scripts here and everything," Garrison Keillor said to Sara Watkins during a pre-broadcast warm-up just moments before A Prairie Home Companion hit the air this evening.
"They never put these out for me," he continued drawing a laugh from the capacity crowd in the Fitzgerald Theater.
There was a lot of curiosity about what Keillor had described as an experiment, having Watkins, a bluegrass fiddler with a soulful voice be the first guest host on APHC in decades.
Prairie Home staff said when the arrangement was announced that it was just a one-off effort to try something new, and to allow Keillor the chance to actually watch the broadcast live.
When it was all done, and the enthusiastic applause had died down, Keillor described the experiment as a success.
She did great. She got everything in," he said after the show. "It's such a huge asset to have a musician host it."
""I think she'll do even better the next time," he said. "I hope so. Why wouldn't she?"
With those words Garrison Keillor may well have revealed the future of A Prairie Home Companion.
"I may be let free from this prison," he continued. "These prison bars may be about to open."
Keillor has been talking about the future of A Prairie Home Companion for some time. At 68 he says there are other things he'd like to do, but he feels a responsibility to the show.
"It was the result of the hard work of a lot of people and I don't think I should let it go into dry dock just because the captain gets old. There are other captains," he said.
He said no decisions have been made, but this is the first time he has talked about having a number of people step into the host role. He said show staff is beginning to book the 2011-2012 season, and that might be a good place to start with some guest hosts.
He says what's important is to maintain what he sees as the three essential elements of APHC: live music, comedy, and a midwestern identity.
"The midwest, that's the tough part," he said.
However with those three elements he can see the show going in any number of directions.
However it also rules out Watkins as a possible longterm host as she is a Californian.
He said if they do decide to try more guest hosts in the future, it would likely mean more shows at the Fitzgerald, and fewer on the road.
"We could do it in a couple, two, three, years, maybe less," Keillor said. "And I could retreat to a comfortable position backstage. I could become a radio actor."
Or an executive producer someone suggested
Keillor's eyes popped open. "I like the sound of that," he said, continuing that he had never been an executive of any kind before.
From a listening point of view the show that precipitated all this was actually a pretty typical program, with the exception of the guest host.
Watkins sang the opening song, and personalized it a little to explain how being from San Diego she was trying to get used to St Paul snow. Backstage Keillor was the first to applaud as the song drew to a close.
She introduced the guests, sang the Powdermilk Biscuit song, and vamped along with sound effects wizard Tom Keith as they described a snowmobile trip along the frozen Mississippi which involved a man-eating fish and snow monkeys.
Keillor appeared as a guest performer, acting, and delivering the news from Lake Wobegon, where perhaps as a nod to the media interest in his own story, he mentioned Clint Bunsen's belief that "nothing in this town gores unnoticed."
Keillor also appeared in a skit where he hinted that Watkins might be back.
"You're not going to take the show off in some other direction?" he asked her.
"Not this week," she replied.
A few moments later backstage Keillor told watching journalists "This is very easy work," not mentioning he had written the scripts. A few moments later came back to tell them careers were changing before their very eyes.
The only two minor mishaps were when Watkins announced that the news from Lake Wobegon would be coming up in the second half of the show, just moments after Keillor had done the segment.
"Kid had a defective script," Keillor said later, "My fault."
Then as the show entered its final half hour, producers realized they were ahead of schedule. Watkins quickly told her brother Sean they were going to do two extra songs together, even though he had not actually played one of them in several years. The extra songs went off perfectly.
When he was not on stage, Keillor generally kept a low profile, and actually listened more to the show than watched it. When the show wrapped up he did not come onstage until after the broadcast was off the air. He walked to the middle of the stage and led the audience in applauding Watkins.
"It was an interesting experiment, and we had to do it to prove it can be done," he said.
"I just enjoyed it," he said. "And I didn't even have a good seat."
Thursday evenings can be hectic, especially around the holidays, so the chances are good you missed last night's episode of MN Original. That would be a shame, since it featured the likes of poet Bao Phi and musician Jeremy Messersmith. Here's the full rundown:
Terry Gydesen is a documentary photographer whose images tell the personal stories of some of Minnesota's political figures and celebrities.
He is a two-time champion of the Minnesota Grand Poetry Slam. Vietnamese-American spoken word artist Bao Phi performs.
The masters of old blues inspired legendary folk guitarist and songwriter, Spider John Koerner.
Plus: "Mural of the Americas" - a public art profile. And, Jeremy Messersmith performs "Organ Donor" at the Cedar Cultural Center
Give yourself a half-hour to get to know the Minnesota arts scene. Enjoy!
Last month Lucinda Naylor was let go from her position as artist-in-residence at the Basilica of St. Mary when she announced she was collecting DVDs distributed by the Catholic Church of Minnesota calling for the "preservation of marriage."
In the days and weeks following, Naylor collected as many DVDs as she could, and transformed them into an art project which she displayed in an empty storefront.
After taking down the DVD sculpture (called "The Wave") Naylor reports she then transformed it into many smaller scultures, some of which she donated to the GLBT on-line high school for fundraising purposes.
In addition Naylor will be joining, Return The DVD at the Chancery at 10 am tomorrow morning to return more than three thousand DVDs they've collected. They will also be delivering a letter to the Archbishop, with whom they were unable to schedule a meeting.
Here's an excerpt from the letter:
In an outpouring of inclusion and love, and honestly much anger, more than three thousand Catholic households returned their DVDs to us. These Catholics feel the Church hierarchy's priorities are misguided and that the DVD mailing was an extreme measure targeting a group of people who deserve the same love, compassion, and acceptance that Christ shows each of us. Many asked us to pass along their DVDs to the artist Lucinda Naylor, to be included in her DVD to ART project. Thousands of other Catholics had already destroyed or thrown away their DVD before they knew of our efforts. The rest, we are returning to you.
Further, our Return the DVD group, and hundreds of other concerned individuals, donated over $10,000 to fight poverty and homelessness. This reflects our commitment to being a Church that attends to the needs of the less fortunate and doesn't waste resources seeking to deny anyone's civil rights.
Posted at 2:00 PM on December 6, 2010
by Euan Kerr
Filed under: Media
MinnPost today launched a new daily arts column Max About Town written by critic/playwright/performer/arts-guy-on-the-go Max Sparber. It replaces ArtsArena which has featured pieces from a number of specialists writers such as Britt Robson on jazz, Camille LeFevre on dance, and Michael Anthony on classical music.
Publisher Joel Kramer announced the new feature, and an expansion of the Daily Glean news round-up this morning. The aim he said is to produce , "a wide-ranging daily column covering the arts, nightlife and other goings-on around the Twin Cities as MinnPost refocuses its arts coverage."
The first column today launched off a recent Facebook post by our own Marianne Combs about the state of arts reporting in Minnesota, and then segues into coverage of the Walker's annual presentation of the British Television Advertising Awards.
Former ArtsArena writers will continue to occasionally write for MinnPost to augment the "Max About Town" column.
Starting today, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design has a new look on the web.
The website redesign features a new logo and a new banner. The logo is pretty simple - it's an "X." MCAD President Jay Coogan explains the new logo this way:
The new logo mark shows two arrows that have come together to form an intersection. The Intersection is illustrative of the new MCAD vision statement, "transforming the world through creativity and purpose." MCAD is the place where creativity meets purpose, and increasingly where the student experience will take place at the intersection of the campus and the world at large.
The website banner, which used to feature silhouettes of the Minneapolis skyline, now shows students and their work. Visitors to the website can click on the images and be taken to a virtual gallery of student work.
The new look on the website is the first stage in a three part overhaul; the next two phases will be geared at adding services for students/alumnae and faculty/staff, respectively.
The website and logo were both created by MCAD alums. The redesigned logo was created by MCAD DesignWorks Director J. Zachary Keenan '05; Little & Company, the Minneapolis-based consultancy founded by Monica Little '78, designed the new website.
In the last month I've added a new feature to State of the Arts - the daily "news and reviews" post which attempts to bring together all the Twin Cities arts reporting in one easy-to-find location. I figured this would be a useful service to readers, and simultaneously would get me in the habit of reading everybody else's work out there (which ideally, I should always do, but hey, nobody's perfect).
After a few weeks of posting the daily news, I have to say I was impressed. There are actually far more stories out there than I realized about Minnesota artists, theaters, musicians - you name it. Even dance, known for being the orphan child of the arts journalism world, is getting pretty regular coverage.
So why is it that I constantly hear predictions of the death of arts journalism, and artists tell me that coverage of their work in the Twin Cities is lacking?
That's the question I posed on Facebook... and by doing so, sparked a conversation far more nuanced and wide-ranging than I had anticipated. Participants included both artists and journalists, and even people who play both roles.
Many agreed that while there may be a number of stories out there, the style of journalism isn't to their liking. Either they're glorified calendar listings, booster-ish features or shallow reviews geared towards "should I go or not" decision-making.
Amy Rice, Art Director with Spectrum Community Mental Health and artist/Walker Art Center project director Scott Stulen both cited instances in which someone reviewed a show either without seeing it fully installed, or not even stepping foot in the gallery. Stulen went on to write the following:
There is a need for more critical, smart and unbiased coverage. Far too many press releases turned into promo articles or the "description review"...Competition and more writing, both online and in print creates a healthy art community. There is a vibrant art community in Minnesota, but it can also be complacent and afraid of critical dialog. For artists to grow, we need to be pushed on occasion...even when it isn't what you want to hear.
Journalists spoke to the combined pressures of both fewer colleagues and a thriving arts community, which makes the notion of "covering" the Twin Cities arts scene seem almost insurmountable. Sheila Regan with TC Daily Planet urged people to pick up their pens and join the fight. Fellow MPR colleague Ali Lozoff (with The Current) asked why give a bad review, when instead you can draw an audiences attention to something worth seeing?
For the most part, there are fantastic emerging artists that need every piece of good press they can get; things that aren't good are best left ignored where they wither on the vine, since all publicity is ultimately good publicity.
Theater director Charles Campbell says he doesn't want just a review, but a broader public dialogue about the ideas in an artist or theater company's work.
Still others, like Cantus' Executive Director Mary Lee, and MinnesotaPlaylist.com co-founder Alan Berks say really good arts writing should be more like restaurant reviews, with a real passion for detail. Berks points out that when sports writers may say a game was "good" or "bad" but that never implies you shouldn't go see it.
Really good sports writers make a double play seem somehow geopolitically significant. Are there art writers with the same sense of joy and obsessive passion combined with the same intelligence, arrogance, and style? If so, would that writing even get published in the forms that currently exist?
Berks went on to state that he does believe those writers are out there, but in the current media climate, they're restricted by either format or time. He says he believes there's more arts coverage out there now than there was two years ago, thanks to new outlets online.
Susannah Schouweiler with mnartists.org say if she sees a lack in local arts coverage,
it's in the more enduring, critical essays and think-pieces on a relevant theme.
I think we in the local arts press do both artists and audiences a service by focusing on the big picture - tying together threads and themes, looking at work repeatedly and over time. Frankly, that's a harder story to pitch to a commercial media entity whose interests tend to be pretty immediate and geared toward getting people to the site/newsstands today -- driven by what's hot *this weekend* -- but it's a really valuable part of a thriving, informed art conversation, I think. And we need to be able/willing to pay writers for that kind of effort. But as a reader, I'd love to see more of it.
So why/how is it that a place like the Twin Cities can have such a thriving arts scene, but the writing about that scene fails to be as dynamic or inspiring? Poet Paul Dickinson posited the most controversial theory - that there are simply "too many artists." Many disagreed that there could be such a thing, but the comment resonated with something Duluth painter and arts writer Ann Klefstad mentioned - the role funding plays in fueling - or stifling - critical discourse.
Because arts here is funded to a greater degree by foundation and governmental grants than by passionate purchasers, there is less role for critics and discussion in general. The decisions on grants are made by committees, often from outside Minnesota; their choices will be little influenced by popular discourse. Purchasers, however. like reviews, in fact need reviews. Think of how many people would go to movies if there were no movie reviews, only polite previews that said, "this is nice." Of course consumption of arts of any kind is driven by quality, understood not necessarily as "high esthetic value" but "things people love and find intensely interesting", but the talk that accrues around such things spreads the word.
So where does this leave us? Artists want criticism, because it helps them to grow and develop their work. But they don't want simple thumbs-up, thumbs-down reviews. Nor do they want boring academic treatises. Instead they want a lively, interested dialogue that takes the same care and attention with their work as a food writer does with a fine meal or a sports writer with a double play.
Meanwhile arts reporters like myself, due to the dramatic changes going on within the news industry, face tighter deadlines and fewer colleagues with which to share the work load.
It feels as though local arts journalism is caught up in one great catch-22. That is, in order for journalists to have time to nourish a meaningful critical dialogue, they need a dramatic increase in funding and institutional support. But it's that same longstanding local tradition of cultural philanthropy that may have dulled the conversation in the first place.
It's been a bad week for the Smithsonian.
Last Tuesday the museum pulled a video by artist David Wojnarowicz from its exhibition "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture," after taking heat for the video's controversial subject matter (the video depicts a christ figure on the cross, covered with ants). Critics of the video claimed they felt it was anti-Christian.
Since the video was removed, many in the art world have protested the Smithsonian's actions, including the Minneapolis Institute of Art's own Kaywin Feldman, who heads the Association of Art Museum Directors. The AAMD released the following statement on the incident:
It is extremely regrettable that the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery, a major American art museum with a long history of public service in the arts, has been pressured into removing a work of art from its exhibition "Hide/Seek."
More disturbing than the Smithsonian's decision to remove this work of art is the cause: unwarranted and uninformed censorship from politicians and other public figures, many of whom, by their own admission, have seen neither the exhibition as a whole or this specific work.
The AAMD believes that freedom of expression is essential to the health and welfare of our communities and our nation. In this case, that takes the form of the rights and opportunities of art museums to present works of art that express different points of view.
Discouraging the exchange of ideas undermines the principles of freedom of expression, plurality and tolerance on which our nation was founded. This includes the forcible withdrawal of a work of art from within an exhibition--and the threatening of an institution's funding sources.
The Smithsonian Institution is one of the nation's largest organizations dedicated to the dissemination and diffusion of knowledge--an essential element of democracy in America. We urge members of Congress and the public to continue to sustain and support the Smithsonian's activities, without the political pressure that curtails freedom of speech.
Other protests have included a man standing in front of the exhibition, playing the video clip on his iPod. Here's the controversial video in its entirety - easily found on YouTube:(3 Comments)
Miwa Matreyek creates performances where real shapes and virtual images trade places, amid layers of animation, video and live bodies. Using animation, projections and her own moving shadow, Miwa Matreyek performs a gorgeous, meditative piece about inner and outer discovery. The piece Matreyek performed at TEDGlobal 2010 is an abridgement of the work "Myth and Infrastructure." Take a quiet 10 minutes and dive in. With music from Anna Oxygen, Mirah, Caroline Lufkin and Mileece.
If you missed last night's edition of MN Original on TPT, here it is:
Photographer Wing Young Huie celebrates a University Avenue neighborhood with hundreds of images in his public art installation.
Tom Nechville's custom banjos are designed to improve tone and projection using fewer parts than traditional models.
Plus, dancer Carl Flink and jazz singer Christine Rosholt performs.
Using his own political cartoons as punchlines, Patrick Chappatte argues that while technology is changing how we get the news, political cartoons still have an important role to play. Chappatte has brought together cartoonists in places like Lebanon, West Africa and Gaza to show how, in the right hands, the pencil can illuminate serious issues and bring the most unlikely people together.
A portrait of Minnesota Playlist (based on what it said this past year) in the form of a word cloud
Tonight MinnesotaPlaylist.com, the website devoted to "information and inspiration for Minnesota's performing arts" is celebrating its 2nd birthday with a party at Joe's Garage in Minneapolis.
The website, which is the brainchild of husband-and-wife-team Leah Cooper (freelance director, head of Minnesota Theater Alliance) and Alan Berks (playwright, show promoter), was concieved as a trade magazine for theater professionals, i.e. a place to put your resume, post auditions, etc. The site has quickly become a hub for discussions around theater and the performing arts in general.
In honor of the birthday, I sent Minnesota Playlist a few questions - here's what Alan Berks had to say in response:
1. How has MN Playlist changed since you first went live? Have any of the changes surprised you?
The look has changed three times, and we've experimented with different "content types" like blogs and twitter and columns and video over time. Though we didn't anticipate any of it, I don't think we were surprised that these changes were necessary. What does surprise us about the website is that conventional wisdom about web content doesn't seem to apply to this particular publication. If we post SHORT videos, people don't really watch them. They're much more likely to watch the LONG interviews (re: Dominique and Joel Sass and Bain and Ali Salim and Rob Perez). They read the "articles," i.e. the longer, more thoughtful pieces, more than they read the blogs. Also, some general audience members have told me they enjoy the "process" articles we publish when, as a freelance writer, I was always told by editors that general audiences hated that stuff.
2. When you started out, how confident were you that you'd make it to celebrate a 2nd birthday?
Leah and I both have such a fear of commitment that I don't think we ever plan to be doing the same thing two years from now that we're doing right now. So, I think we really didn't think about it. We thought it was a "great idea, what the hell, let's do it!" So, considering that, I know I'm pretty darn surprised that we're still going strong.
3. How does MN Playlist differ from other arts/news websites?
We consider ourselves a trade publication, so we're focused on our niche--which is performing artists, people who want to be performing artists. . . and the people that love them. Many of our articles are practical, like "how to write a press release," or trade specific issues like board management, etc. Beyond that, we also solicit articles from many different kinds of artists to talk about the art in the way that they care about it-- so we'll have articles about what new plays should be about or what's the best rehearsal process or why we do what we do. Yes, I've discovered that general audience members who read our site do seem to enjoy these insights into the creative mind, but, unlike you and the Strib and City Pages, we don't have to pitch our articles to these general people. So, we can avoid consumer reports-like reviews or advance features on artists in upcoming shows and focus instead on what makes us love art and artists and creativity, what inspires creativity, why its worth it, what pisses us off, what people should do next, etc. . . As you can tell, this makes me very happy.
4. What's your favorite story from the website's first two years?
Do you mean story ABOUT the site or story ON the site?
If you mean story on the site, then it depends on the day because almost anything Marya Hornbacher and John Middleton write for us is great. Tom Poole, who wrote one article about new play development and a series of blog posts about Minnesota Style, is hysterical and brilliant. The entire issue on Minnesota Style (Jan 2010) and the ones on Audience and Process (Dec. and Nov, 2008) and the one on the Press (Feb 2009), taken as as a whole, I think are pretty well done. There are other issues I like too. I was able to write some 3-part essays, with research on the rehearsal process in Nov 2008 and outstate theater in May 2009, that are the kinds of articles I wish I could publish more of. For a while we were publishing specific rants that we called "The Vom" that I always enjoyed too.
But today, my favorite article is Dominic Orlando's "Forgetting Taboos" -- I like what it says. I like how he says it. I think its the type of article you really could not find anywhere else, and it sparked at least two conversations "offline," that I remember enjoying, with artists I didn't know that well until after we talked.
If you mean story about the site, then I guess, briefly, when people started to talk to us about the website--and email us strange, angry letters--as though MinnesotaPlaylist.com were an cultural institution in town who we worked for rather than a website Leah Cooper, Alan Berks, and [former colleague and web designer] Matthew Foster created after a lot of all-nighters simply because we had an idea we thought would be cool to try.
5. What does success look like for you?
People use the website. We provide resources that help them like classifieds and talent profiles and performance listings (with links to reviews) that they find useful and return to. And the website continues to grow. Also, they read the articles and those articles spark discussion. Finally, after all this happens, we make enough money from it to keep providing this service and to justify the work that we've put in. . . I think the biggest surprise to me after two years is that by our own defition of success, we've been stunningly successful. How often does that happen?
In a world where we can watch movies from the comfort of our own homes for pennies and assemble personalized soundtracks in a tool the size of our thumb, how likely is it people will continue to attend live theater and music? Not only must one contend with the price of tickets, but then there's parking, babysitting, fighting traffic and the fact that the show might not be as great as hoped. With such odds stacked against them, it seems only inevitable that the performing arts will fade as instant entertainment continues to become more readily available.
Not so, says Ben Cameron, Arts Program Director at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation in New York. In this empassioned speech, Cameron points to the performing arts role in helping technology to succeed, and economies to thrive.
The performing arts are going to be more important to the economy as we move forward, especially in industries we can't even imagine yet, just as they have been central to the ipod and the computer game industry, which few if any of us could have foreseen 10 to 15 years ago. Business leadership will depend more and more on emotional intelligence, the ability to listen deeply, to have empathy, to articulate change, to motivate others - the very capacities that the arts cultivate with every encounter.(2 Comments)
Especially now, as we all must confront the fallacy of a market-only orientation uninformed by social conscience we must sieze and celebrate the power of the arts to shape our individual and national characters. ...The arts, whatever they do, whenever they call us together, invite us to look at our fellow human being with generosity and curiosity. God knows if we have every needed that capacity in human history, we need it now.
Need a little break from your afternoon slump? Check out this charming short film by a Munich design student (on Vimeo the student simply lists himself as "yo man"). The combination of music, stop animation, and tag art shows an impressive attention to detail, and works together to create a compelling scene. Enjoy!
Gaiman argued that three of the characters in artist Todd McFarlane's series were derivative of characters Gaiman had previously created for McFarlane, and therefore he was owed royalties.
McFarlane, who created the Spawn series back in the early 1990s, denied in court that the characters were derivative, but U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb ruled against McFarlane, saying the characters Dark Ages Spawn, Domina and Tiffany were indeed derivative of Gaiman's creations Angela and Medieval Spawn.
In her ruling Crabb noted that, like Angela, Domina and Tiffany were "warrior angels with voluptuous physiques, long hair and mask-like eye makeup. all three wear battle uniforms consisting of thong bikinis, garters, wide weapon belts, elbow-length gloves and ill-fitting armor bras."
This is not the first time Gaiman has taken McFarlane to court. After McFarlane hired Gaiman to write an issue of Spawn, McFarlane continued to use the characters Gaiman had created (Angela and Medieval Spawn) without making any royalties payment to Gaiman. In 2002, a Wisconsin court awarded Gaiman joint ownership of the characters, but eight years later neither side has agreed how much Gaiman is owed.
Posted at 10:40 AM on July 21, 2010
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Media
Can comic books create religious tolerance, even respect? Naif Al-Mutawa thinks so. He's the man behind "THE 99," a new generation of comic book heroes, named after the 99 attributes of Allah. Al-Mutawa say they fight more than crime; they smash stereotypes and battle extremism. In this TED Talk, Al-Mutawa talks about how his characters reinforce positive messages of Islam, confront evil and even team up with the Justice League of America.
Ursula Hargens, Wallflower, 2010, earthenware, gold luster, 62" x 26" x 1". Photo by Peter Lee.
If you've been paying attention to local arts calendars in the past few weeks, you may have noticed a certain name popping up time and time again: "McKnight."
As most artists will tell you, the McKnight Foundation is one of the pillars in Minnesota for funding the arts, and each year it offers over a million dollars to Minnesota artists in fellowships that cover a wide range of disciplines: theater, dance, choreography, photography, visual arts, ceramics.
Right now, McKnight's partner institutions are displaying the results of the past years fellowships. A few weeks back I looked at the work of McKnight's photography fellows, on display at Frankling Art Works, and last weekend McKnight dancers performed new solo works they commissioned at the Southern Theater.
Today I'm looking at two different McKnight funded exhibitions , starting with ceramic artists at Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis(check back later for a profile of visual artists on display at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design).
Maren Kloppmann, Stacked Pillows III/09 (8 Elements), 2009
Northern Clay Center's fellowship program differs a bit from other McKnight programs. In addition to providing fellowships to two Minnesota ceramicists, the center also brings in four artists from outside Minnesota for three month residencies. The idea is to provide artists around the country with time and professional studio space in which to develop their work, while also giving local artists the opportunity to learn new techniques in workshops with these visiting fellows.
Exhibitions Director and Curator Jamie Lang says what always surprises him is how, although their styles are techniques are quite different, these artists' create bodies of work which actually pair together quite well.
What always surprises me is that there is a cohesiveness to the exhibition even though when they're here you don't think they'll work together, or you even worry that they'll compete with one another.
This year's Minnesota fellows are Ursula Hargens and Maren Kloppman (first and second images, respectively). While Hargen's is richly decorated and colored, Kloppman's is sparse and minimalist. Yet both show an expertise with architectural lines and spiritual overtones.
Yoko Sekino-Bové, Noblesse Oblige, 2005
Photo by Jamie Lang
While Kloppman and Hargens created more contemplative bodies of work, the pots and tiles of Yoko Sekino-Bove and Ilena Finocchi reach out and grab you with their biting commentary. Sekino-Bove riffs on the typically precious vases of China and Japan -depicting pandas munching on bamboo and flying cranes - and inserts modern, disillusioned dialogue that burns away at the zen-like veneer.
For her part, Ilena Finocchi casts her eye on modern politics, and finds it lacking. She created tiles that resemble posters for freak shows depicting such familiar faces as Sarah Palin and George Bush. She also sculpted a couple of three dimensional pieces which reveal, quite plainly, her disenchantment with the U.S. government as a whole
Ilena Finocchi, National Frivolity, 2009
Photo by artist.
Finally ceramic artists Elizabeth Smith and Cary Esser are dealing more purely with pattern. Esser creates two dimensional piece with geometric shapes which feel as they could have been removed from a garden wall. Smith used her fellowship to create one very large installation piece called "The Garden;" its four panels reflect the season, affixing ceramic structures to a wall that's been painted with repeating patterns of stencils.
Elizabeth Smith, The Garden (detail), 2009-2010
Photo by Jamie Lang
Lang says the show reflects some of the latest trends in ceramic art.
Decorated surface is a hot trend now. You can see even more of it in our sales gallery. There's more decoration or imagery on the ceramic pieces, such as Yoko's animals and text, more of an exploration within decorations and graphics. I don't think that's unique to ceramics - I'm seeing it on the street with stenciled graffiti, and in graphic novels, too.
Lang says this particular group of fellows stands out for two reasons; they're all women (a first in the fellowship's 13 year history), and almost all of them created work designed to be hung on walls, not just set on tables. Lang notes how both Kloppman and Smith incorporated the walls into their artwork, using paint and shellac to extend the artwork beyond the clay and porcelain objects.
"Northern Clay Center: Six McKnight Artists" runs through August 23 in Minneapolis.
The contestants of "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist"
Image by Andrew Eccles, Andrew Eccles/bravo
Last night Bravo debuted its new reality show "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist," which pits fourteen aspiring artists against one another to compete for both a solo show at the Brooklyn Museum and $100,000.
One of those fourteen artists is Minneapolis resident Miles Mendenhall, and in the first hour of the series Miles emerged triumphant from the initial challenge - to create a portrait of one of the other contestants in less than thirteen hours. Mendenhall created a death portrait of colleague "Nao" (the contestants go by first names only) assembling a make-shift light studio in the process.
The fact that Mendenhall won the first round means that he can't be eliminated in the second round.
Want to see the show? You can find it here.(1 Comments)
Just two days after the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra announced it was making its recordings available online for streaming, the Minnesota Orchestra sent an email out to its subscribers announcing a very similar program.
Minnesota Orchestra Music on Demand allows users to download certain performances. The catch here is that while the first two works now available can be downloaded for free, beginning in November 2010, Minnesota Orchestra will charge a download fee. Big orchestra fans will be able to pay a one-time fee in advance to gain access to the full season of recordings. As with the SPCO program, the Music on Demand program is being done in partnership with MPR's classical service.
So is this the beginning of a classical download war in the Twin Cities? I checked in with classical host Brian Newhouse, who reports back that the two projects came about completely independent of each other, and coincidentally at nearly the same time.
So which do you think you'll use? Do you prefer streaming for free, or downloading for a price?(2 Comments)
While you listen, you can check out related videos, listening guides, composer interviews, feature articles, and web links. The site is billed as an experiment; the SPCO is asking folks to try it out and submit their feedback.
And of course, you can still check out the most recent broadcast performances here.
Richfield artist Molly Spilane sells unique earrings, bracelets and pendants - like this anatomically correct heart - on Etsy.com under the name "Unique Art Pendants."
Model: Chesty Von Ellem - Photographer: Daniel Stigefelt
Etsy.com has fast become the destination of choice for artists of all stripes looking to sell their wares to a wide audience.
The site allows people to sell their own handmade goods, vintage items, or art and craft supplies. It costs only 20 cents to list an item for four months. When an item sells, the seller pays a 3.5% transaction fee.
In the month of April alone, Etsy.com hosted $22.4 million in sales, an increase of 78% over the same month in 2009. This past month almost a quarter-million people joined the site, which now serves buyers and sellers in over 150 countries.
Richfield artist Molly Spilane in her home studio, wearing one of her pendants.
The sellers on Etsy range from amateur knitters who want to make a few extra bucks to buy more yarn, to people like Richfield artist Molly Spilane. Spilane has been on Etsy for two years now selling custom made earrings, pendants and bracelets, and in that time she's made 5,380 sales on her Etsy site, "Unique Art Pendants." For Spilane, Etsy has enabled her to make a living out of her home studio.
My fiancé has his own career, but absolutely I could support myself on this if need be. For the first year I tried to balance this business with being a stay-at-home mom, but that didn't work. Now my daughter's in daycare, and I have business hours from 8 - 5pm; my friends know not to come over.
Brass cuff decorated with vintage bird and finished with a metal sealer
Photo by Molly Spilane
Etsy.com allows interested buyers a means to find Spilane, without Spilane doing a lot of legwork. And it's not just connected her with individual shoppers:
There are a ton of boutiques worldwide that are scouring Etsy to find artists to put in their boutiques, galleries and even museums. I've received a lot of queries from boutiques asking if I do wholesale. I now have work at boutiques in France, Germany Australia and locally at the Walker Art Center. The Walker found me through Etsy, and that's just exploded my business.
Spilane says she thought long and hard before she agreed to sell her work wholesale to galleries, rather than limit herself to direct sales with clients:
I want to be an artist in business, and not just in name only. I feel I've been able to come full circle from art school to now say that the Walker is selling my work. If somebody can sell something I made for more money and make a profit - more power to them, that's kind of my outlook.
Vintage plate series
Photo by Molly Spilane
Unlike many professional artists, Spilane does not run a separate website aside from the site hosted by Etsy. She thinks of Etsy.com as an inexpensive tool which has the power to really work for an artist. But, she warns, it does take a great deal of effort:
Find your target market; don't just throw things out there. Brand yourself, find your niche, focus on the quality of your photos and packaging. Really treat it for what it is - a business. Being your own boss is hard, so you really need to manage your time so you don't end up doing a half-assed job.
Spilane says many independent artists starting their own business have a hard time with self-promotion. But her mother, also an artist, always said "don't be afraid to toot your own horn."
Vintage science fauna seashell art print on gilded vintage dictionary page
Photo by Molly Spilane
Spilane works out of her home all day, but she says through Etsy she's also found a community of friends:
Last fall the Etsy CEO at the time came and did a meet and greet in Minneapolis and there were about 200 area artists who sell on Etsy who came to hang out and meet each other. I made some friends there, and I like to purchase from local artists, so I now buy things from them.
While Etsy has provided Spilane with a cheap and easy means of selling her work and reaching her target audience, she says there is still some room for improvement:
Etsy is relatively still kind of a new site and their members are shooting up almost every month. So for them just handling the sheer numbers is a challenge. As a seller, I think it would be cool if you could go one step further in connecting with your audience - for instance allowing shops to have their own blogs on the site to update clients about what they're working on.
Spilane has created a Facebook page and a Twitter account to further spread the word about her business, which is growing fast. She says her only real concern is that it's getting to the point that there's almost too much business for her to manage. She now has a studio assistant who helps five hours a week, and Spilane says she's researching how best to take her business to "the next level."
Todd Alcott's poem "Television" inspired this video by Beth Fulton on what your flat screen is really telling you.
Poetry set to video is not an original concept, but here it's done delightfully well, and helps to underscore the message of the poem without distracting you (at least not anymore than you should be, given the subject matter).
So, are you going to watch your television tonight?
Posted at 2:58 PM on April 13, 2010
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Media
In response to this morning's blog post about tweeting #arts for National Arts Advocacy Day, I have had both a great conversation, and the website TweetArtsDay.org has actually gone under a bit of a makeover.
It turns out "Tweet Arts Day" was conceived right here in Minnesota by some well-meaning folk at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. They were looking to give local artists and art lovers a way to support the arts without having to make the trek to D.C.
I spoke with MCAD's Rob Davis, who said while many people support the arts in theory, they don't know that there's an actual day at Capitol Hill devoted to lobbying for the arts, and the goal of tweeting "#arts" is to raise awareness about the day itself.
However, he agreed, as long as you have someone cutting and pasting a "tweet," why not get them to spend just two minutes more to send an e-mail or call a senator?
The site now has links in place to help folks who are interested to take the next step.
Posted at 9:02 AM on April 13, 2010
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Media
Today is the 23rd annual Arts Advocacy Day. Typically it's a day for arts advocates to petition their political representatives for increased funding for arts and arts education. Some people show up in person at their senators' offices, others send e-mails and letters, and some people pick up the phone. Still others will journey to Capitol Hill to attend a conference on the arts to hear talks by actors Jeff Daniels and Kyle MacLachlan.
And this year, many people will simply "tweet."
Arts advocates are hoping so many people will post the word "#arts" in their twitter feed, that it will show up as a "trending topic" (i.e. something that has drawn significant attention). The idea is that by making the trending topic list on Twitter, the "#arts" will gain even wider exposure. Arts advocates have even scripted it for you: "Tweet for the #arts today! It's National Arts Advocacy Day. http://www.TweetArtsDay.org"
But, I have to wonder, will it really make a difference?
For me, a twitter post is a lot like a lawn sign or a bumper sticker for a certain political candidate or party. It's a way of declaring your affiliation, but it isn't going to have a lot of influence over my vote unless it comes accompanied with a reasoned argument. And while I have been amazed at what people can communicate in 140 characters or less, I don't know if that's enough room for a nuanced debate.
Still more worrisome, I wonder if having the option to "tweet" will give some people a sense of satisfaction for having "done something" when they really haven't done much of anything at all. "I don't need to contact my Senator - I've already tweeted my support!"
I have no doubt that "#arts" will make the trending topic list on Twitter today. Those people who came up with the idea and created the TweetArtsDay.org website will be able to claim success. But just what will they have accomplished? I can't say I'm sure.
Last night I got a sneak peek of the first two episodes of "mn Original," the new public television show dedicated to profiling Minnesota artists of all stripes.
First reaction? AWESOME.
After witnessing coverage of the arts dwindle over the past few years in local papers and on television, it's a real delight to see something added ("mn Original" is funded by the recently enacted Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund).
Each 30-minute episode highlights approximately five different artists, whether they are dancers, photographers, sculptors or musicians. There is no host or narration - simply artists talking about their work, performing, and giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the process of making art. The show also uses music by Minnesotans in the final production mix.
In addition to the television show, "mn Original" features an extensive website, including extra video, links to more information about artists, an events calendar and an RSS feed of Minnesota arts blogs (including yours truly).
The site is scheduled to go live on Friday, April 16 The site is live as of today; "mn Original" will premiere on tpt Channel 2 on Thursday, April 22 at 7:30pm.
Jane McGonigal's goal for the next decade is to make it as easy to save the world in real life as it is to save the world in a computer game. According to McGonigal, people spend on average 3 billion hours a week playing video games. These games are intensely engaging, satisfying, and demand great concentration on the part of the player. So what if were able to get all those people playing games that dealt with poverty, obesity, and other world crises? Could we have an "epic win" for the world?
"Logorama" (Image courtesy Shorts TV UK)
The nominees for the Short Animation Oscar are delightful (if a little on the dark side.) They will be screened starting this weekend at the Lagoon Theater in Minneapolis and the Zinema 2 in Duluth.
There's always a danger of spoilers in a post like this, so I will attempt to step lightly:
French entry "Logorama" hurls us into a bizarro world Los Angeles where trademarks and company logos have come to life. The cops are Michelin Men, the buildings are all corporate signs, and even cars take some corporate shape. When a well-known fastfood figure goes rogue, things get even crazier (and foul mouthed.) Just to add to the wackiness, the film is in English with French subtitles.
"Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty" from Ireland retells the fairy tale in a peculiarly wondrous way
Likewise "The Lady and the Reaper" from Spain presents a very modern take on what some people daintily call 'end of life issues.'
"French Roast" is another French entry, although curiously the director Fabrice Joubert worked with Nick Parks of Wallace and Gromit fame. Joubert casts a curious eye on the goings-on in a small Paris cafe.
And finally Parks, Wallace, and Gromit return in "A Matter of Loaf and Death," a half hour wild adventure involving yeast, windmills, and crocodiles.
Watching these movies allow us to see how animation has changed in recent years, and how it has attained incredible heights. It also shows how fierce the competition has become in this category. It's a win-win for animation lovers.
(You can get a taste of each film here)
The Oscar ceremonies are a few weeks away yet, but later this week Twin Cities and Twin Ports audiences will get their fleeting chance to check out the contenders for the short live action and short animation prizes.
The live action nominees form a lively, if dark, selection, featuring entries set in India, Australia, Russia, Sweden, and the USA, although several of them have international production teams. The stories range from a social commentary piece on child labor practices ("Kiva,") to a twisted tale of apartment living adapted by, and starring, David Rakoff called "The New Tenants." There is the story of a lonely grade schooler in an Australian school "Miracle Fish" and a tragic tale of a family caught in an environmental disaster ("The Door.") A tale of a wannabe magician trying to survive his parents demands he get a real job, "Instead of Abracadabra," rounds out the pack.
Once a staple of the silver screen, the short film is not so well known to many filmgoers nowadays, which is a real shame. Like a great short story, a great short film delivers a slice of life with at least one twist to give viewers a small glimpse of a greater truth or absurdity. All five of the live action short nominees deliver.
The films open this weekend at the Lagoon Theater in Minneapolis and the Zinema 2 in Duluth. Also after a couple of weeks in the theaters the movies will be available for download through iTunes on March 2nd.
I'll write up the animation (which includes a new Wallace and Gromit episode from Nick Parks) tomorrow.
In December we ran a feature on a long ignored group of musicians in Sri Lanka.
The Kaffirs are descendents of Africans brought over by Portuguese colonists hundreds of years before. Producer Jesse Hardman who told us the story, also left a pile of CD's of the show he arranged for the group in Colombo for us to give away.
All but five have now gone. If you would like one please email me. First come, first served.
Many of us have Christmas viewing traditions. My sister and one of her best pals always watch "It's a Wonderful Life," a tradition that is now decades old. Some people have the "Ronia, the Robber's Daughter" at the Oak Street, and there's of course "A Christmas Story" or even the viewing of the Lord of the Rings trilogy at the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis which happened last Sunday.
Some people flock to the end of year lists, or in this case, end of decade lists to pick something they missed.
My family tries to sit down together with something we have all loved in the past, or that one of us feels everyone will really enjoy. We were going to watch "Clueless" in memory of Brittany Murphy, but decided that was too sad, and so we somehow settled on "Death at a Funeral" which perhaps says something about how we think.
But what about you? What movie traditions do you share with your family at this time of year?
And while you are thinking about that, have a listen to Tay "Cherry Chocolate Rain" Zonday sing a seasonal favorite. Happy Holidays.(1 Comments)
This time I caught him eating breakfast in a hotel in Milwaukee, where he spoiled the rhapsodic description of his steal-cut oatmeal and fruit by admitting a 3 am chicken strip eating contest had taken the edge of his appetite.
This is just all part of life when you are trying to re-calibrate the movie distribution system in America.
Sklar is on his way to the Trylon Cinema in Minneapolis tonight where he and his pals on the Range Life Entertainment bus will end their 2009 national tour by showing two movies: the comedy noir "Assassination of a High School President" (with Mischa Barton and Bruce Willis) and the air-drumming comedy "Adventures of Power" (with Michael McKean and Jane Lynch.)
They are two of the 14 films which Sklar has had on the road since early September. (This is the second visit to Minnesota on the tour.)
The movie theater isn't big but the idea is to build buzz. When Sklar went on the road last year he took movies that didn't have distribution deals. This year that's still true of about half his stable, but the other half do have deals, and as in the case of both "Assassination" and "Adventures" got a lot of festival love before falling foul of the economy.
"While we were kind of honing in and figuring out how to make this little road apparatus work as a distribution method," Sklar says, "I think the rest of the distribution landscape continued to fall apart. I think they thought that everything bottomed out and levelled out last year, but the sky was still falling apparently because at this point it's interesting that a lot of the larger films, and even the films that we are working with partners on, are even more excited and more aggressive on what they are doing with us than some of the smaller ones."
Sklar admits that sometimes he's not as convinced as the folks he's working with that what they are doing is working.
"I don't know that I necessarily feel that it's working, but everybody else feels like it is," he laughed. "I know we all feel like there's a lot more to improve."
Sklar says some of the films had offers from companies which then went bankrupt. He says films which might seem like naturals for the movieplexes have ended up sitting on the shelves for months. He calls them "PoW's of this whole thing."
Sklar claims that there are now so many gatekeepers in the distribution business that it makes it hard for some worthy movies to get into theaters. So that's where Sklar comes in with his quick hit shows at colleges and art houses.
"It's easier for us to do that than for a distributor to open for a week in 40 cities," he says. He points to "Assassination" as a case in point. After several attempts to get it into theaters failed, the distributor asked Range Life to take it on the road.
"We have no business being a part of a movie like that," Sklar says. "But at the same time it's very indicative of the current state of the film industry." He immediately agreed to the deal.
Sklar says Range Life offers a low-cost, high efficiency way of generating interest in a movie before it comes out on DVD.
Meanwhile he is still promoting his original mission, promoting low-budget movies that don't have a distributor, but he thinks deserves an audience.
Another less publicized part of this tour is Sklar and his associates have been creating a network of people in each city they visit which they hope they can use to promote some of the movies when the Range Life van isn't on the road. He hopes they can be showing films, or even making films which can come together through this network.
"A little 'Range Life' army around the country," Sklar says. He hopes it could lead to what he calls a whole new generation of content. He says he couldn't have made his own first feature without help and this could provide a framework for future film makers.
As for his own film work it has been on hold because of the touring, but he hopes to have a couple of pieces in play soon. He just produced a film with writer/director Dean Peterson called "Incredibly Small" which he hopes will be out in the spring. He is also writing a film with one of the stars of "Box Elder" which they will shoot in the summer. "It's taken a lot longer than it probably should have," he says.
He promises a Minneapolis show.
"The Twin Cities is the core of what we do," Sklar says. "You've got to bring it back home.
Sklar and his pals will be at the Trylon tonight at 7 for "Adventures of Power" and 9 for "Assassination of a High School President."
I have to say, I debated a while over posting this talk. Ad man Rory Sutherland talks about the value of "spin," that is to say, what advertising can offer reality.
Sutherland supports the idea of "intangible value." If you want to live in a sustainable economy, you will have to learn to live with less. He says that creates two choices for society: to either be poorer according to current standards, or to develop into a world in which more value is placed on "intangibles," i.e. non-material goods.
If I follow the logic correctly, the idea is not to be so focused on the next big thing, but instead work on appreciating what's already here. Creating "intangible value" is not about reducing hunger, or increasing jobs, but simply making everyday experiences richer.
Sutherland delivers his earnest message with a lot of humor, and some delightful examples. It's a hilarious talk, well worth the watch, but is it about art?
Here's the thing... Sutherland is keenly aware of the importance of perception, and to my mind art is all about perception. Some art work challenges how we perceive reality, while others (say, a beautiful landscape painting) help us to appreciate what is right in front of us.
Sutherland ends with two quotes:
"Poetry is when you make new things familiar, and familiar things new." (unattributed)
"We are perishing not for want of wonders, but for want of wonder." - G. K. Chesterton
My guess (and I'd love to debate this one with you), is that in a society more conscious of the wonders that abound, art would attain a much higher status.
But would it? What role would the television play? Or a book? In a world of "intangible value" are we more or less likely to daydream? In what way does art help us to get in touch with the hear and now, and in what ways does it help us to escape?
Lots of questions - and I welcome your answers.