Statewide Category Archive: Arts
When they weren't working in the mines, forests or on farms they were making music in countless Finn halls around the region.
This afternoon as part of All Things Considered you can hear a new Minnesota Sounds and Voices report about Kaivama (pronounced KYE vah mah), a Minnesota-based instrumental and vocal duo preserving and expanding the tradition.
In Jeff Thompson's photo, above, taken Dec. 19, 2012, in Minneapolis we see Kaivama founders Sara Pajunen and Jonathan Rundman rehearsing at Sara's Minneapolis home.
By the way, Jonathan is powering a suitcase-sized pump organ called a harmonium. He also plays guitar, among other instruments.
Kaivama begins what amounts to a mid-winter Upper Midwest tour with a performance in Duluth at 8 p.m. Jan. 11 at Beaner's Central Concert Coffeehouse. It may mark the first time the duo will sing in addition to performing the instrumentals that have been the mainstay of their performances over the past two years.(0 Comments)
Nirmala Rajasekar, pictured above in a photo captured at her home in Plymouth by MPR's Jeff Thompson, jokes that even as a toddler she was a performer, always grasping any object that looked like a microphone and singing.
Rajasekar is a master of the vina, the stringed instrument she's playing for her students. She's also a vocalist as she plays and sings music from the centuries old Carnatic tradition of southern India where she was born.
This afternoon on All Things Considered in a new episode of Minnesota Sounds and Voices, I'll report how Rajasekar is passing along her voluminous musical knowledge.
The recipients include her daughter, 16-year-old Shruthi Rajasekar, who besides listening to her mother's musical tradition from birth, is also studying voice and piano and Western classical music.
Rajasekar and her students perform tonight at the Plymouth public library. On Saturday she and others perform in Maple Grove at the Hindu Society of Minnesota in an event honoring Indian classical music composers.
Both events are a relatively rare opportunity to hear Rajasekar in our backyard because she hits the road soon to visit students around the country and then visit India as well, trips that take her out of state for awhile.
Making pottery? You'll need a kiln to fire and harden your pot.
A brief history of kilns reveals they range all the way from a fire pit dug in the ground to big industrial-sized kilns for firing rows and stacks of plates, cups, whatever.
Minnesota potter Donovan Palmquist builds kilns in between those sizes.
Here he is in an image captured by MPR's Jeff Thompson earlier this week in a work space on the 14 acre compound near Farmington south of the Twin Cities, where he and his kiln and pottery partner Colleen Riley live.
You can hear Palmquist talk about kilns in a Minnesota Sounds and Voices report I prepared for this afternoon's All Things Considered.
Working quietly over the years, ("not a lot of gold and glitter in the kiln building business. . . .") Palmquist has become famous in the somewhat rarefied world of kiln construction.
He estimates he's built 370 kilns in 40 states over nearly two decades. This year he built a kiln for Harvard and one for Red Wing Pottery.
Visitors to the Riley and Palmquist pottery compound are always welcome and especially so this weekend as part of the south central Minnesota studio ArTour and sale, an annual event.
There's a pile of old growth oak, ash and maple trees in the middle of the yard. Palmquist says the wood is needed to fuel his voracious wood kiln, a slumbering giant of brick the size of a small house.
The behemoth comes alive after helpers have stacked the pots inside, split four cords of wood to stoke the kiln for two days to reach the right firing temperature.
Palmquist's description of the event evokes a medieval scene of fire, food, and socializing as the team works around the clock to fire pots, one of humankind's oldest crafts.
Dick Kimmel is a friendly guy anyway, and that certainly comes through in the photo by Minnesota Public Radio News' Jennifer Simonson Oct. 12, 2012, near his New Ulm home.
Dick's joy is due in part to the fact that as a retired Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist he has more time to pursue bluegrass music.
He's also helping expand the population of bluegrass musicians by convincing New Ulm resident Jerilyn Kjellberg, a gifted vocalist, to join his band.
More recently, Dick's 16-year-old son, Ian, has formed his own bluegrass band.
You can learn more in my Minnesota Sounds and Voices radio report this afternoon on All Things Considered on the Minnesota Public Radio news stations.
It's possible there's an added bluegrass bounce in Dick's step based on recent news developments.
Those MacArthur genius grants? The ones where recipients receive half a million to do with what they wish? Well, one of the recipients is a bluegrass musician.
Also, one of the chart topping groups in Great Britain these days is a folk/bluegrass group.
What does it all mean?
Maybe it's time to buy a banjo, fiddle or mandolin and get on board.
Every year the First Peoples Fund hands out cash awards to Native American artists. There are two winners from Minnesota this year. One of them is 44-year-old Elizabeth Jaakola, a member of the Fond du Lac band of Ojibwe.
That's Jaakola, above, in a photo taken by MPR's Derek Montgomery, on Tuesday at the Fond du Lac Community College. She's smudging herself with sage, sweetgrass and copal or incense before a rehearsal.
She's being recognized for, among other things, organizing the Oshkii Giizhik Singers, a women's vocal and hand drum group on the Fond du Lac reservation. Jaakola created the ensemble six years ago.
There's a long tradition of Ojibwe women singing, but not for performance or in public.
Jaakola says white settlement pushed the public profile of Ojibwe women further into the background as a way of protecting them since they were viewed as tribal life givers, the bearers of children.
Jaakola has a foot in at least two cultures. She's a classically trained musican with musical tastes that range from opera to jazz and the blues.
However, she traces her values to the Ojibwe culture on the Fond du Lac reservation where she was born and raised.
Jaakola says keeping a lid on one's ego, or staying humble, is important among the Ojibwe. It's more important, she says, to put the interests of family and community ahead of one's own.
By the way, the other First Peoples Fund award winner from Minnesota is Bemidji sculptor Duane Goodwin.
You can hear the Oshkii Giizhik Singers perform this evening at the Cowles Center in Minneapolis, or you can listen to my story on the Ojibwe group today as part of All Things Considered.
Posted at 10:40 PM on June 16, 2012
by Michael Olson
Filed under: Arts
Edina Art Fair
This weekend as June emerges there is many opportunities to experience local art in various forms. On Friday, June 1st through Sunday, June 3rd there is an art fair that includes work from more than 300 different artists. Admission is free, and the event includes two food courts and acoustic performances. There is also a Kid's Art Zone, which includes puppet shows, paint facing, and many more fun activities for children. In 2009 the Edina Art Fair added "Green Artists" which consists of art made from recycled and reused items.
Artist directory [PDF]
Riverwalk Market Fair
Another Art Fair, located in Downtown Northfield, will take place every Saturday from Saturday, June 2nd through October 27th. This Saturday will feature Kathleen Johnson, a world-class hammered dulcimer player.
"The mission of Riverwalk Market Fair is to provide Northfield-area farmers and artists with a place to show and sell their products. In the first two years of operation, Riverwalk Market Fair generated $ 240,000 in vendor sales. In 2011 we counted over 20,000 visitors. Our all-volunteer team of artists and farmers who operate the Fair are dedicated to making the vendor experience the best it can be. In addition to the fees the Fair receive from vendors, the organization receives funding from a growing list of community partners. The combined efforts of our dedicated volunteers and support from our local community are what makes Riverwalk Market Fair possible."
"A Murder in Silk"
In Duluth at The Play Ground a performance called "A Murder in Silk" will take place on Friday, June 1st and Saturday, June 2nd. The performance will consist of a live silk painting and music by the guitarist Alan Sparhawk from the band Low and violinist Gaelynn Lea. It is a unique opportunity to attend this event, and the collaboration of music and art creates an enchanting way to spend the evening.
-- Elisabeth Pedersen, contributor, Minnesota Today
Posted at 2:41 PM on April 20, 2012
by Michael Olson
Filed under: Arts
Local painter Hazel Belvo's Artist-in-Resident exhibit opened on April 9th, and the this weekend marks the closing of her show on April 22nd at the Grand Marais Art Colony. Her final lecture will take place this evening.
April 20: The Critique: Community Response. Based on the language, techniques and the content that she has presented and on the opportunity to have seen the process unfold, Hazel will ask the audience to participate in a discussion of the outcome. How do you talk about art?"
MNArtist provides insight into Belvo's perspective about the connection between art and education: "Belvo states, 'I am convinced that an aesthetic education is critical to democracy and...within each individual there is a core connection to art whether in art making or appreciating art intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.'"
The open House will take place this weekend from 5-6p.m at the Grand Marais Art Colony,.
In Maple Grove, artist Mia Malone-Jennings will be exhibiting original art work that has been inspired by music. Her work is done with acrylics on canvas and the exhibit with many other artists from the community. The reception takes place April 22 2-4 p.m.at the Maple Grove Art Center. This special event will include appetizers, wine, and music by chuck Solberg that will support the atmosphere created by the artists.
(By: Mia Malone-Jennings)
Another exhibit to attend this weekend is "A Year on the Plains" which will present work by Therese Masters Jacobson. Her art as been about a year process, and will be on display at the Campbell Public Library in East Grand Forks, MN until May 25th. Her acrylic work is inspired by the natural landscape, and she uses her own interpretation of the world around her to project a beautiful landscape in her art. Her work reflects her experiences, and provides the viewing audience to catch a glimpse into the artist mind and visual encounters. A reception is going to be help on the opening date from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Jacobson's husband Dale Jacobson, a poet and author, will provide further entertainment by reading some of his works.
Posted at 1:02 PM on March 23, 2012
by Michael Olson
Filed under: Arts
-- Lis Pedersen, contributor, Minnesota Today
Lanesboro -- The Metal Children
This weekend the Commonweal Theater Company in Lanesboro, Minnesota will celebrate the opening of the play The Metal Children, written by the American playwright Adam Rapp. The cast includes Gary Danciu, Brandon Grayson, Carla Joseph, and Rachel Kuhnle, who are all a part of the 2012 Apprentice Company. The Metal Children presents a powerful story about the influence of literature, art, creation, and expression.
The protagonist of the play is a young writer who travels from New York to a small town where his book was banned by the local school board. As he attempts to stand up for his work, he finds the town in chaos due to the influence that the book had on the youth in the town. It explores what is required for a piece of work to truly be considered as art in terms of moral and aesthetic sensibility, and the way that literature can be viewed as a vehicle for character. The play also provides the opportunity to discover the importance of literature and education, and the implications that it can have within one community.
Duluth -- Dar Williams
Williams is a pop folk musician, and has toured with many renowned artists such as Patty Griffin, and Ani DiFranco. She attains her musical inspiration from personal experience, and her music reflects a quality that is easy to relate to due to the lyrical focus on human experiences that we all go through. William's last album, Promised Land, was released in 2009, and she will be releasing her latest album In The Time of Gods on April 17. She will be providing a special taste of some songs that will be featured on this album on Saturday at Sacred Heart. Sara Thomsen, a local singer/ songwriter/choir director will be opening the show.
Posted at 12:20 PM on March 16, 2012
by Michael Olson
Filed under: Arts
By Minnesota Today arts and culture contributor Lis Pederson
"To Kill a Mockingbird" has opened at Sheldon Theatre of Performing Arts in Red Wind, Minnesota. It is presented by Phoenix Theatre, which has brought professional theatre performances to the area since its debut in 1993. "To Kill a Mockingbird" is based off of the novel by Harper Lee, and was then rendered into a play by Christopher Sergel. It presents a classic bildungsroman story of Jem and Scout Finch as they witness the trial of Tom Robinson, an African-American man accused of a crime he did not commit. The story explores the complexities of justice and racism within one town, while also providing a lens into our nations past. It challenges the audience to witness the injustices that have taken place, and to reflect it on our present state to see in what ways we have grown, and in what ways we can continue to learn. Performances take place Thursday, March 15th , Friday, March 16th, and Saturday, March 17th at 7:00 pm, and Sunday, March 18th at 2:00 pm.
The annual winter fundraiser Respect Your Old Man poetry Slam will take place in Duluth Friday at Norway Hall. The local band Brothers Burn Mountain are playing, and 15 contestants performing in a three-round poetry contest will compete. The winner of the contest will be provided with a plaque and opportunity to recite their original poetry during the celebration of Respect Your Mother Earth that takes place at Leif Erickson Park in July. This event in unlike any other in Duluth because of the focus on literary work, and the benefits that go toward Respect Your Mother Earth. It is a celebration to say goodbye to Old Man winter, and hello to spring bliss.
By Elisabeth Pedersen
The much-anticipated opening of the Tony Award winning musical Spring Awakening opened on Thursday. The New York Times has called this musical "A groundbreaking jolt of genius." The Renegade Theater Company is holding it at Teatro Zuccone in Duluth. The concept of this musical developed from a controversial play written in the 1891 by Frank Wedekind, which portrays confusion and misunderstandings of adolescence. This play has recently been adapted into a rock n' roll musical that delves into the lives of teenagers who live in Germany during the late 19th century. It transports the audience to a time of tension and frustration that is not so distinct from our own era by exploring the ideas of desire, loss of innocence and idealism, and how to grow with strength in a world filled with harsh realities. The struggles with sexuality and morality that the adults and teenagers face in Spring Awakening brings perspective to the way we view ourselves, and the values within our own society.
Art Hounds also included Spring Awakening in their weekly arts review.
The annual Diorama-Rama always marks a motivating time of the year by inspiring anyone with a creative knack to try their hand in creating their very own diorama. This year it takes place tonight at Sacred Heart Music Center. It is an event that is stimulated solely on community support and efforts. Anyone can take place in it simply by making a diorama that includes anything their heart desires, and then bringing it to Sacred Heart Music Center. Whether your expertise is in lighting, carving, painting, or even coloring--the Diorama-Rama has a place for you. Entertainment will include musical guests The Black-Eyed Snakes, Cockfight, DJ 45, and Dan Anderson. Also, Bridget Riversmith, a local Duluth artist, will be displaying animations for the audiences viewing pleasure.
If you are unable to join the fun on Friday at sacred Heart Music Center, Keri Noble will be performing there Saturday.
Her music is brilliant, wonderfully touching, and would be the perfect way to spend time with friends.
Also Saturday: Martin Zellar's CD release show that will be taking place at Pizza Luce with special guest Charlie Parr. The show will begin at 10:00p.m. It will be a lively performance that will please all who enjoy folk acoustic jams.
Betty Fletcher Mast remembers she had a week to organize a handbell choir in an African village.
While traveling with her husband on business years ago, she looked for something to do. When someone suggested that she teach young people to ring bells, she latched on to it.
To make a long story short it worked, even though a local photographer documenting the event nearly derailed the final performance. He arranged the performers by height -- shortest to tallest -- disrupting Betty's placement of ringers.
It's a memorable but by no means singular challenge faced by Betty over more than 50 years of leading ringers.
Another came when she took a group of Minnesota boys whohad never seen the ocean to a national handbell convention in Maine.
Betty remembers the boys wanted to stop. One after another they ran into the water -- with their clothes on.
Betty Fletcher Mast has led boys, girls, men and women ringers. Here she is admiring her novelty bell collection from around the world.
She also founded a touring group called the Ding Dong Dollies, ringers who dress in ethnic costumes from around the world.
As a ringleader, you should pardon the expression, Betty has had quite an impact.
One of her early students, Cammy Carteng, now leads her own group, the Plymouth Church handbell choir in south Minneapolis.
The reason Cammy's ringers aren't looking at the camera is they're busy.
Counting. Then ringing.
Unlike piano players who can touch all the keys for the pieces they perform, ringers are assigned a note or two or three and wait their turn.
Ringers with the busiest parts are responsible for several notes so their hands fly as they place bells on padded tables and grasp the next one with gloved hands.
Gloves so as not to tarnish the polished copper and tin bells with nasty body oils.
The metal recipe for making the bronze bells is 80 percent copper and twenty percent tin, more or less.
That doesn't really do much to explain, though, the science and art of making the bells.
Statewide readers can take an affordable Web trip to the Whitechapel bell foundry, in London, England, the world's oldest handbell manufacturer, to get a feel for the process.
A trip to hear ringing is much closer, often a nearby church. Scads of houses of worship around Minnesota feature handbell choirs.
But not all. You not only need a dedicated director and corp of ringers willing to take on the peculiarities of the music.
You need some cash. It can cost upward of $50,000 to buy a five octave set of bells.
National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman visited Fargo Thursday to talk about a public art project he says the NEA will use as a model across the country.
Fargo received a $100,000 NEA grant to turn a large drainage basin into a public art space. The funding comes from the NEA Our Town program. The city will provide matching funds, mostly in staff time coordinating the project.
The city has been building these drainage basins for the past 10 years to catch runoff from heavy summer rains and prevent street flooding. The basins are empty most of the year, typically only holding water for a short time after a heavy rain.
Local artists will work with Jackie Brookner, an ecological artist from New York, to develop a plan for making the drainage basins into a space that's pleasing aesthetically and can be used for recreation.
Landesman says he liked the Fargo idea of incorporating art into community infrastructure.
"We're going to do much more public art, community based, and this is a perfect example," he says. ""We're making the point the arts are part of the real economy of this country. There are five million arts related jobs in this country."
The project will be designed over the next several months.
Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker says the basins are now used only by ducks and geese.
He challenged local artists to come up with ideas to make the sites useful and beautiful.
Walaker called the project a great example of "thinking outside the box".
Here's an update to a story from this summer:
It appears the JEM Theater in Harmony, Minn. will remain open -- for now.
Owners Michelle and Paul Haugerud say they've been able to raise $7,200 in donations and secure a short-term loan to buy a used digital projector for $55,000.
That's about $20,000 less than the cost of a new projector. The Haugeruds say they'll continue to raise funds for another six months and put all the money toward paying off the loan. They want to have the projector completely paid for by the end of April 2012.
"I'm happy with the opportunity to keep it open," Michelle Haugerud said. "But We still need people to attend and keep the place in business."
The Haugeruds are among the Minnesota movie theater owners confronting a digital dilemma sweeping the industry nationwide: the movie industry plans to switch to all-digital technology by 2013, rendering traditional 35 millimeter film prints obsolete.
That leap to state-of-the-art projection may please audiences, but upgrading to digital projectors is expensive and the switch might force small movie theaters, including many in Minnesota, to close their doors for good.
Caught in the middle of the squeeze are places like the JEM, a theater that can seat one fifth of the residents of the sleepy little town near the Iowa border.
The online movie website Box Office Mojo estimates there are 219 theaters in Minnesota, comprising about 1,000 screens. Some are multiplex centers like AMC and Regal. But others are family-owned and have fewer than five screens.
The JEM will play its first digital film -- Dolphin Tale -- today, Saturday and Sunday.
Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" old-time variety radio show has helped make Lake Wobegon famous. A new public radio show debuting this Saturday hopes to bring the same kind of storytelling, humor and music home to the Iron Range.
The "Great Northern Radio Show" premiers on KAXE in Grand Rapids. It will be hosted and produced by Balsam Township author and well-known blogger Aaron Brown, who writes about Iron Range politics and culture. Brown says the show's format borrows from A Prairie Home Companion, with one very important geographic distinction.
"Everything we do is focused a little north of Lake Wobgeone," he explains. Think lumberjacks and miners rather than bachelor farmers.
Brown says the show will also incorporate "interviews and feature journalism" that will be woven in with music, comedic sketches and a radio drama -- "blended gently like vegetable shavings into a cake." Brown says that aspect of the show borrows from another one of public radio's flagship programs, "This American Life."
On the first show, titled "Hard Time Good Times," Brown will interview a Range meteorologoist and tornado chaser, philosophy students from Hibbing Community College, and a woman who swims the Iron Range's abandoned mining pits. Storyteller Ed Nelson from the Grand Rapids Forest History Center will spin a new yarn about the old Range.
Brown says in some ways Iron Range communities are similar to "Lake Wobegone" or other Midwestern small towns. There are no secrets, he explains, and your past always follows you around wherever you go. But on the Range, he says, there's "so much more open conflict and friction, that's produced a little bit edgier cultural element than you see in traditional Midwestern lore."
Fall is the season of the corn maze, and there's a pretty neat one near Park Rapids.
Creating corn mazes has become a tradition for the owners of Carter's Red Wagon Farm. This year, Tony Carter spent months planning the maze on a grand scale. An aerial view of the 4.5-acre maze shows the shapes of a loon, moose, a canoe and a large map of the state of Minnesota, among other things.
Those navigating the maze will run into state-specific factoids and trivia along the way.
The maze design was done on a computer, then marked out in the field as the corn was planted. The maze pathways were pulled by hand as the plants sprouted.
The maze is the main attraction for Carter's pumpkin parties, set for 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. each Saturday through October. The Red Wagon Farm is a few miles south of Park Rapids off Hubbard County Road 15.(1 Comments)
Fall is here and festivals are in full swing in southeastern Minnesota.
In the Lake Pepin area, three popular festivals are lined up in October, starting this weekend with the Fresh Art Fall Tour and the Red Wing Festival of the Arts. Later in the month, the towns of Pepin and Stockholm, Wisconsin will host the Flyway Film Festival.
Here's a look at the events:
Fresh Art Fall Tour
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Oct. 7, 8 & 9
The annual show takes place along the shores of Lake Pepin and through the scenic countryside of the Lake Pepin and Chippewa River valley. Visitors guide themselves along a tour of 17 artist studios and galleries--all while enjoying peak fall colors along the lake. Organizers expect thousands of visitors will wind through the roads that straddle Lake Pepin to visit artists and their studios. The tour is in its 14th year. For more information, visit Fresh Art Tour.
Red Wing Fall Festival
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 8
10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 9
More than 100 artisans and crafters will gather in historic Red Wing for the 45th annual fair. The weekend will feature music, entertainment, outdoor dining and children's activities. It's sponsored by the Red Wing Arts Association. Artists will feature work in a variety of mediums. The National Trust for Historic Preservation placed Red Wing in its distinctive destinations list. For more information, visit the Red Wing Arts Association.
Flyway Film Festival
October 20, 21, 22 and 23
In its fourth year, the Flyway Film Festival will showcase new local, regional American and international films. The festival takes places in Pepin and Stockholm, Wisconsin. The festival will feature more than 50 films, 30 visiting filmmakers, panel discussions and other workshops and events. For more information, visit the Flyway Film Festival.
Posted at 4:01 PM on September 26, 2011
by Dan Gunderson
Filed under: Arts
A Center for the Arts in Fergus Falls just hired Michael Burgraff as the organizations new executive director.
Burgraff most recently worked for the Spearfish Arts Center in Spearfish, South Dakota.
Burgraff also has a Minnesota background, with past stints at the Fairmont Opera House in the southern Minnesota community of Fairmont and the Mayor Civic Center in Rochester.
Burgraff has a BFA and MA from the University of Wisconsin Superior.
He replaces long time Center for the Arts Director Rebecca Peterson, who recently took a job as executive directior of the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra.
(Photo courtesy Minnesota Children's Museum)
The Minnesota Children's Museum has announced it will open a satellite museum in Rochester in early 2012.
The opening will make the MCM one of the few children's museums in the country to open a second location, according to museum officials.
"Opening a second museum in Rochester will allow MCM to fuel imagination, creativity and love of learning in more of Minnesota's children," Dianne Krizan, president of Minnesota Children's Museum, said in a statement. "With a large number of young families and a growing demand for learning experiences for children, Rochester is the ideal location to expand our footprint. We're energized by the positive response and support we've received from the community."
In January 2010, the MCM signed a memorandum of understanding with the non-profit Children's Museum of Rochester (CMR) to explore the feasibility of developing and operating a children's museum in Rochester.
A Minneapolis consulting firm recently completed the operational feasibility study to evaluate the various partnership and operational models for the new museum. The study supported MCM's strategy to open a small, temporary site and move forward with a well-developed plan for funding and operating a larger site over the next two to five years.
As part of the acquisition, CMR has officially dissolved as an independent nonprofit.
A new Rochester Advisory Board reporting to MCM's Board of Directors has been formed. The current members of CMR's board have been elected as the first members of the Advisory Board. Currently, MCM is searching for a director and an approximately 5,000-square-foot location to open the museum.
In July, MCM received a $1,000,000 appropriation from the Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund of the Legacy Amendment. The appropriation includes support for the start-up and operations of an approximately 5,000-square-foot museum in Rochester.
Museum officials estimate the new museum will welcome approximately 30,000 visitors annually during its first few years of operation.
"CMR's collaboration with MCM is a win-win for everyone," Melissa Brinkman, former CMR president and current Advisory Board chair for Minnesota Children's Museum of Rochester, said in a statement. "MCM is the ideal partner to transform the concept of a children's museum in Rochester into reality."
Posted at 10:36 AM on September 9, 2011
by Dan Gunderson
Filed under: Arts
A Moorhead composer and conductor along with singers from the Fargo Moorhead area will perform at Lincoln Center in New York on Sunday as part of a 9/11 memorial concert.
After the Sept. 11 2001 terrorist attacks, Concordia College conductor Rene Clausen was commissioned to write a choral work. His piece, "Memorial," is featured in this report from 2003.
Clausen has been invited back to New York to participate in the Memorial Concert Sunday in Avery Fisher Hall, along with conductor Karl Jenkins, who wrote "The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace."
Distinguished Concerts International in New York is also asking choruses around the world to perform either of the pieces by Clausen or Jenkins during September. They're calling it a Global Sing for Peace.
The non-profit International Falls arts group Icebox Radio Theater continues its "Koochi-Koochi Tour" on Wednesday with the premiere of the romantic comedy "Love Lines.
Written by International Falls Icebox founder Jeffrey Adams, "Love Lines" is the story of three couples who find themselves stuck in an extremely long line to re-enter the United States after running errands in a neighboring Canadian community.
"Long line-ups at the border are a fact of life here in the summertime," said Adams, a playwright who moved from Oregon to International Falls in 2004. "'Love Lines' is about three local couples, people who cross back and forth all year to visit friends or shop. Usually folks like that try and avoid summer afternoons. U.S. and Canadian customs both do a great job, but sometimes the number of vehicles is just to great and the wait gets long."
Adams and his troupe of about 30 performers have produced original audio plays in the tradition of old-time radio theater. They often reflect the quirky side of life in International Falls. Wednesday's show will also feature original songs, skits and comedy.
It will be simulcast on the web on Sound Stages Radio.
The play will be performed at 7 p.m. in the bandshell in the Falls' Smokey Bear Park. Admission is free, and spectators are advised to bring their own seating.
With the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Dakota War approaching next year, an effort at musical reconciliation concerning the events of that year is about to get underway. The Dakota Music Tour begins this Sunday in Mankato, and will also include stops in Redwood Falls, Granite Falls and Winona. The tour includes traditional American Indian music and Western classical music.
The war lasted about six weeks in the late summer of 1862. In December of that year, 38 Dakota warriors were hanged at Mankato. Mankato Symphony Orchestra Music Director Kenneth Freed calls 1862 a 'dark year' in the city's history. He says along with the music, there will be 'community chats' after the concert is over. Freed says he hopes the tour will bring people "a deeper understanding of our shared living history".
The music for the tour was composed by Brent Michael Davids, a Native American from the Mohican Nation. After Mankato, the tour stops in Redwood Falls on May 28th, Granite Falls on the 29th and Winona on June 4th.
(Photo courtesy of connectedthefilm.com)
The Rochester International Film Festival kicks off its 16th season today.
Films include: Connected, an official selection at Sundance Film Festival and winner of the Women in Film Award from National Geographic. In it, award-winning filmmaker and founder of the Webby Awards Tiffany Shlain explores the visible and invisible connections linking the major environmental and technological concerns of our time.
Earlier this year, Shlain told the San Francisco Chronicle the film was originally meant to explore the connectedness from an intellectual space, but that changed as she worked on the film.
"We're all connected on every level, as a species on the planet, as parents of children, it's so intrinsic to who we are," Shalin told the newspaper. "I think that if we start looking at the links more and how we're interdependent, only good can come from it."
Also featured at the Rochester festival is Lutefisk Wars, a mock documentary depicting rural life in the Midwest after a home-delivery grocery driver comes across an ancient lutefisk recipe. The film is a tribute to small town America and Scandinavian culture, and an expected southeastern Minnesota crowd-pleaser.
International selections include films from France, Poland, Italy, Germany, Bolivia, South Korea and Greece, among others.
All the screenings for the festival will be held at Wehrenberg Rochester Galaxy 14 Cine, 4340 Maine Ave SE, Rochester, MN. The festival runs through May 5.
The Rochester festival coincides with the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, produced by The Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul
According to its website, the Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul (formerly Minnesota Film Arts) is one of the most diversified film-arts organizations in the country and is the largest exhibitor of artistic and international films in the Upper Midwest. The Twin Cites' festival features about 400 titles annually, and an audience of more than 100,000. That festival also runs through May 5.
A statue that's been sitting on the shore of Lake Bemidji since the 1950s is another step closer to being replaced.
The statue is known as "Chief Bemidji." It depicts a real Ojibwe person named Shaynowishkung, who lived in the Bemidji area in the 1880s and was said to be the first Native American to greet European immigrants when they arrived in 1888.
A statue honoring Shaynowishkung was carved by a Danish lumberjack in 1901. That one deteriorated and was replaced in 1952.
The problem with the "Chief Bemidji" statue, according to a committee working to replace it, is that it's mediocre folk art, at best, and not a dignified representation. Living descendants of Shaynowishkung agree. A movement to replace the statue began last year, and the effort got public support from the Bemidji community, as well as Ojibwe tribal members from the three surrounding reservations.
Now, the Chief Bemidji Statue Project committee has established a fund at Northwest Minnesota Foundation for the purpose of accepting contributions. The funds will be used to commission an artist to create a new, realistic sculpture of Shaynowishkung. The new statue will be located close to the same spot as the old one. The current statue will be moved to the local history museum.
The committee hopes to raise $116,500 through grants and donations. The George W. Neilson Foundation recently awarded the project a $25,000 grant, with a requirement of equal matching funds.
To make a tax-deductible donation, make checks payable to "Chief Bemidji Statue Project Fund" and mail to: Northwest Minnesota Foundation, 4225 Technology Drive NW, Bemidji, MN 56601.
Posted at 11:59 AM on April 15, 2011
by David Cazares
Filed under: Arts
We all love stories.
For centuries, we've turned to the storytellers among us, counting on them to recount history, share experiences and entertain.
In telling stories, writers remind of us our brief moment in this time and place, and tell us something about the shared human condition, in all its imperfections.
Today at noon, Minnesota Public Radio will air Writing Minnesota, a special program on how the state's writers approach their craft.
MPR News reporter Annie Baxter, who writes fiction, opens a window interviews several writers about their lives and creative works. The writers she interviews include Charles Baxter, Steve Healey, Robet Hedlin, Philip Bryant, Kao Kalia Yang, Nicole Helget, Katrina Vandenberg and Matt Rasmussen.
The show also will air at 6 p.m. Sunday.
Don't miss it.
Since it started in 2001 with 30 submissions, the festival has grown to average 150 film submissions a year from across the country and around the world. Some of this year's films come from Australia, France, Russia, Germany, Canada, and Ireland.
The festival runs five days, giving cinema buffs a chance to watch more than 70 films, from animation and experimental, to documentary and feature. There's also a two-minute movie contest. Anyone can enter a movie for free. The only rule is it can't be longer than two minutes.
One of the showcase films this year is "The Lutefisk Wars", a movie partially shot in North Dakota. Here's the official description of the movie. "A rural frozen food delivery man is mistaken for someone else and ends up in the middle of an ancient feud between two Norwegian Mafia Families."
Where else can you find not one, but two films with the word "lutefisk" in the title?
Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra music director Bernard Rubenstein says the upcoming season will be his last with the FMSO.
Rubenstein was hired in 2003 to lead the orchestra. He lives in New Mexico. He says his time with the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony has been rewarding, but he's ready for a change. "I feel that it is very healthy for an orchestra to have new leadership. I wish the orchestra well for its future, and will always cherish my time in the Fargo-Moorhead community."
Symphony Executive Director Linda Coates says Rubenstein, "brought the orchestra to a higher level of performance".
Rubenstein is the fifth director of the 79 year old Fargo-Moorhead Symphony.
The FMSO will start a national search for a new orchestra director. Plans call for four finalists to conduct the symphony during the 2012-2013 season with a new director hired by the end of 2013.
The Plains Art Museum in Fargo unveiled a major new work this week. Pop art icon James Rosenquist painted a 13 by 24 foot mural entitled North Dakota Mural.
An anonymous donor kicked in $600,000 for the work.
Unfortunately, the 76-year-old artist had to cancel his visit to Fargo because he came down with pneumonia. He plans to visit Fargo later in October to talk about his work.
Rosenquist was born in Grand Forks, and he went to school at the University of Minnesota and the Minneapolis School of Art before heading off to New York where he worked as a sign painter on his way to becoming an influential figure in the pop art movement.
An interesting note: It took two tries for Rosenquist to paint North Dakota Mural. The first was destroyed last year in a fire at his Florida studio. Rosenquist says the second effort turned out better. He called it "a zinger".
Rosenquist's larger than life works are in famous museums around the world, and now in Fargo.
The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe is a step closer to building a tribally owned radio station. The tribe has been awarded $238,000 from the Department of Commerce National Telecommunications Infrastructure Administration.
The money will be used to purchase studio equipment and a transmitter for radio station KOJB-FM. This will be the first time Leech Lake will have a radio station that will cover the entire reservation.
"We have been working for five years to make this station a reality," said Brad Walhof, who spearheaded the project for the tribe.
Walhof says the goal is to turn the station into an important tool for preserving the Ojibwe language. There are very few people who speak the language, and most of them are elders.
"We will broadcast programming to preserve the Ojibwe language and culture, as well as programming that will strengthen our ties and friendships with surrounding communities," he said.
Another northern Minnesota radio station received big money from the NTIA. Northern Community Radio, which operates KAXE-FM in Grand Rapids, was awarded $450,000 from the agency.
Organizers plan to use the money to build radio station KBXE-FM, which will be licensed in Bagley, and serve a large area of northwest Minnesota. The station's studios and offices will be in downtown Bemidji.
Northern Community Radio will provide local news, weather, sports, music and community and cultural information to the Bemidji and Bagley region.(1 Comments)
Calling all pickers. Some of the fastest fingers in Minnesota are in Fergus Falls for the first West Central Area Guitar Summit.
The three day event features guitar stars Tim Sparks, Joan Griffith, Phil Heywood, Sam Miltich, Dakota Dave Hull, Claudia Schmidt and David Stoddard. There will be workshops, performances and jam sessions. Organizers say guitar lovers of all abilities are welcome.
The Guitar Summit is hosted by a Center for the Arts in Fergus Falls.
Here's a preview of Tim Sparks in action:
Minneapolis composer, producer and sound artist Mike Olson brings his unique multimedia show to far northern Minnesota beginning this week.
The artist will debut his original composition, called Noopiming, at the Backus Community Center in International Falls Sept. 2.
Noopiming is an Ojibwe word meaning "in the north, inland, in the woods." Olson says the title was chosen as a direct reference to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, where he's had a lifetime of outdoor experiences.
Olson says creating the recorded choral piece started with eight singers (four male and four female) who gathered to record a large number of musical gestures under Olson's guidance.
For the end result, Olson layered and combined the individual sound clips into one complete work. Click here to listen to a sample of the piece.
The presentation includes stunning photos of the BWCA, created by photographer Dale Robert Klous.
Olson brings Noopiming to northern Minnesota with financial help from the Minnesota State Arts Board, using funding from the state's arts and culture heritage fund.
Following tonight's 7:30 p.m. debut in International Falls, the show will continue in Ely on Sept. 4; Grand Marais on Sept. 8; and Duluth on Sept. 10.
Posted at 10:18 AM on August 6, 2010
by Bob Ingrassia
Filed under: Arts
The Minnesota Scenes feature on the Minnesota Today site highlights the work of amateur and professional photographers across the state.
Here are some great vertical shots that don't work very well in the Minnesota Today slideshow. You can see a previous collection of vertical pictures here.
Anyone can submit photos to Minnesota Today. Just route your images into the MPR Photos group on Flickr.
Stone Arch Evening by Alex Noriega
Sadly, I haven't had much time lately for photos or Flickr. In the short time I did have today, I was able to get down to the Stone Arch Bridge while there was still light. This was taken right as the church bells were ringing at 9:00pm, and the Wells Fargo tower was still in the process of lighting up. I've never quite been 100% happy with my previous night or blue hour shots here. I think this is more like what I was looking for each time I attempted before.
Tender Morning by Alex Noriega
Taken at Lake Calhoun.
Beauty in the Grasses by Marlene Sternberger
This little gal was down in a small stream bed when she was spotted.
Barred Owl by Marlene Sternberger
Bee by Marlene Sternberger
Bee checking out a Lupine
3/4 Moon and Four Stacks by Kevin Hamilton
Power plant near end of Stone Arch Bridge
Twin Cities Cedar Avenue Bridge by Dan Anderson
Looking up under the double twin span Cedar Avenue Bridge that takes MN Highway 77 across the Minnesota River Valley between the Twin Cities suburbs of Bloomington and Eagan. I've had a few questions if this was a flipped or mirrored in Photoshop and no, it really looks like this underneath.
Foshay by Tim Dewey
I came downtown to shoot from the open-air observation deck on the 38th floor (just above the letters), but was too late. The deck closes at 9:00pm.
Coming in Low by John Pihaly
4th of July fireworks sail into the Mississippi River in Saint Paul, MN. Still-burning fireworks hitting the ground is one of the most exciting parts. I'm amazed at the skills of the pyrotechnicians, and think about how just one small mistake could become a major disaster. Fortunately, spectators were kept back a safe distance and it was an amazing show.
I'll Be Your Safe Harbor by Jeana Marie Photography
Sometimes it's not a person who can be your source of refuge but more so a place. A place where life goes on, but in a different way. As if the Earth has spun to the perfect moment in time and you are the lucky one who happens to be at that magical place; a place where nothing and no one can touch you. A place where you can rest your weary head. A safe place. A harbor. I completely ignored the rule of thirds here and I couldn't be happier that I did. This happens to be my favorite picture from that magical day in Grand Marais and when I look at it I can almost feel the sun on my face.
Posted at 10:14 AM on July 28, 2010
by Bob Ingrassia
Filed under: Arts
Here's an excellent example of a time-lapse road trip, which has become a growing genre in internet video. (Hat tip to Boing Boing.)
The videos are by Dave Lucius and he explains on his Vimeo page how he put these together.
Posted at 1:10 PM on July 14, 2010
by Bob Ingrassia
Filed under: Arts
One day in May, Long set up a makeshift studio on the sidelines of a rugby game. He had makeup artists make the tough guys look even tougher. And then he snapped away. Long ended up with portraits that capture rugby in all its glory -- blood, sweat, mud and missing teeth.
You can browse the full series in large-size format on Long's web site.
Long produced the images as a personal art project to build his portfolio. He lives in Minnesota, but his business, Robb Long Imaging, is based in New York City.
Long said he first encountered the Faribault rugby team about five years ago while shooting an assignment.
"It struck me as fascinating to watch these guy basically go out and beat themselves to death," Long said.
He explains the photo shoot in a recent blog post.
When they were done playing they came to my makeshift studio - sweaty, bloody, dirty and - best of all - their facial expressions and eyes really held what they were carrying with them during combat just a few moments before I clicked the shutter.
It's amazing what happens to a photographer when in a room with these players. I found that I too became more aggressive with them to incite in them the emotion I knew was characteristic of the game ... and it worked!
A video shows some the behind-the-scenes action at the photo shoot.
We've been getting some wonderful submissions to the Minnesota Scenes feature on the Minnesota Today site.
The best, most timely images get featured on the Minnesota Today home page and in a slideshow.
Our slideshow works best with horizontal images, so you won't see many tall pictures on the Scenes page.
But of course there are plenty of great vertical photos coming in from across the state. Here are some of the best.
Anyone can submit photos to Minnesota Today. Just route your images into the MPR Photos group on Flickr.
The S.S. William A. Irvin is a retired iron ore freighter that is now a floating museum anchored in the Duluth, Minnesota harbor on Lake Superior. She was active for the U.S. Steel company between 1938-1978 hauling taconite and passengers throughout the Great Lakes. (Photo by Dan Anderson)
Another shot from my recent Lake Calhoun series. I just can't get enough of these mast reflections on the glassy water! (Photo by Alex Noriega).
(Photo by Marlene Sternberger)
Joe Lovano at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, 2010, Mears Park in St. Paul. (Photo by Tony Ernst)
The Cathedral of St. Paul (Photo by John Pie)
Lola. (Photo by Greg Benz)
A lone oarsman from the Minneapolis Rowing Club, sculls up the muddy Mississippi River - taken from the Lake Street Bridge. (Photo by Dan Anderson)
A calm Lake Superior about a mile offshore near a fishing buoy. (Photo by Bryan Hansel)
This empty silo looks kind of lonely. (Photo by Tricia777)
Remember, you can submit your own photos!
Children's book author and illustrator Debra Frasier hit the big time in 1991 with "On the Day You Were Born," which has sold more than a million copies.
Her new work mines the sights and sounds of the Minnesota State Fair. "A Fabulous Fair Alphabet" marches through the ABCs with flair and plenty of bold colors.
Frasier, a Florida native who moved to Minnesota in 1984, has become a glutton for the State Fair. She's actually the Minnesota State Fair Foundation's "author-in-residence."
Her alphabet book has garnered some national attention. The New York Times and the Washington Post did blurbs.
The way Frasier brings to life a jaunty Ferris wheel, a sunburst-yellow pitcher of lemonade and a swirling roller coaster will nevertheless whet appetites for summer.
And the Post:
The author is something of a side-show aficionado, as well as a photo junkie. Having taken thousands of pictures of midway signs, she chose a few hundred to assemble into this alphabet-photo collage, a tribute to that most American of institutions: the country fair.
As a companion to the book, Frasier created sheets to encourage kids to write down words they see at the fair. Parents who want to turn the fair into the dreaded "learning experience" for their kids can download the game on Frasier's nifty web site.
This year's State Fair runs from Aug. 26 through Sept. 6.(1 Comments)
Posted at 11:59 AM on June 11, 2010
by Bob Ingrassia
Filed under: Arts
Measured in Internet time, it was eons ago. In reality, the video that featured a Minnesota couple and their wedding party dancing up the church aisle hit YouTube less than a year ago.
'Jill & Kevin's Big Day' has racked up more than 51 million views.
It might be years, maybe a decade or two, before Minnesota's start-up online video channels match that crazy number.
Viral popularity is one thing. If it's consistent quality you crave, then you'd be well-served to give Minnesota's budding online video channels a good look.
One new channel is Minnesota Original, or mnoriginal. It's a Twin Cities Public Television production that posts weekly episodes profiling artists, musicians and other creative types in their lairs.
This is a high-quality material, technically and creatively. If your computer has the chops, you can watch in high-definition. The production values are superb. This is not the shaky amateur video you're used to seeing on YouTube.
Disclosure No. 1: mnoriginal is funded by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment's Arts and Cultural Heritage fund, which also helps pay for Minnesota Today.
Disclosure No. 2: The first mnoriginal episode included a segment on The Twilight Hours, a Twin Cities band I really like.
Here's mnoriginal's eighth episode, featuring the TU Dance company, a group of Northeast Minneapolis jewelry makers and musician Peter Ostroushko. (One smart move mnoriginal made was to break episodes up into bits, so visit the site if you want to stream shorter segments.)
Another channel worth your time is MPLS.TV, a collective of video producers who describe themselves as "broke 20-somethings."
Like many start-ups, they're making it up as they go along ... and evolving on the fly. They used to post 30-minute episodes every week, but have since moved to offering shorter daily episodes along various themes.
Some of the segments are musicians in action. Others are comedy bits. And they've recently added Dude Weather, the surly weatherman who smokes and drinks while (sort of) telling us about the forecast.
Former Pioneer Press reporter Matt Peiken has been tirelessly working on his baby, 3-Minute Egg. He posts short profiles of artists, dancers, musicians, painters ... you name it, as long as they're creative. Peiken's a one-man band and he's crafted an impressive body of work.
The latest Egg episode highlights an interesting collaboration between a chamber orchestra and a poet.