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There were no lights on in the house and nary a soul walking up the steps. A handwritten note on the door confirmed our suspicions: the performance had been canceled because of "Unforeseen Circumstances." Oh well, I hadn't had the pleasure of driving on St. Paul's city streets this winter so the trip was well worth the disappointment.
Gremlin's artistic director, Peter Hansen, said Friday morning that Gremlin found out that the "occupancy and the legal status of the Blue house were not what we believed them to be when we rented the facility from St. Clement's."
Hansen said several days of negotiations with the city of St. Paul and St. Clement's failed to resolve the problem. Gremlin has suspended all ticket sales for the production, which is still targeted to bow at the Tennessee Williams Festival next fall in Provincetown, Mass. Jef Hall-Flavin directed the short late-career piece.
Gremlin is still mulling options for a Twin Cities production before that time. Hansen said in an email Friday morning that "I have never experienced anything like this." Gotta feel sorry Peter, one of the truly nice guys in Twin Cities theater. He's currently performing as C.S. Lewis in "Freud's Last Session" at the Guthrie studio. It might have been tough Thursday night keeping focused on that while Gremlin had to cancel its opening. Just to make absolutely clear, this event has no impact on the Guthrie production.
Heads up art fans. Walker Art Center will raise adult admission charges to $14, from $12, on March 14, coinciding with the opening of a show of Edward Hopper's drawings and paintings. Costs for seniors 65 and over will rise to $12, from $10, and for students with identification to $9, from $8. The previous charges were in effect since November 2012.
Admission to the Walker will still be free to everyone on Thursday evenings from 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. and on the first Saturday of each month.
"The adult admission of $14 is modest when compared to $20-$25 for other local museums and cultural institutions," said Ryan French, director of marketing and public relations in an email.
The Walker's general admission charge is the highest among metro area art museums. Admission to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts is free, although the museum frequently charges for special exhibitions like the current "Matisse" show for which tickets are $16 weekdays, $20 weekends. The Museum of Russian Art charges $9 admission. Both the Weisman Art Museum and the Minnesota Museum of American Art are free.
Between 60 and 65 percent of Walker visitors enter the galleries free, French said, because they come on free Thursdays or Saturdays or they use their ticket stubs for gallery access. Tickets purchased for films, performances or mini-golf games also admit visitors into the museum's exhibition galleries.
In the 2013 fiscal year, that free gallery admission would have amounted to about 160,000 people, or roughly 60 percent of the Walker's 264,244 visitors.
The museum's 6,400 members also get in free as do kids under age 18.
Admission charges at the Walker bring in between $350,000 and $450,000 annually, money that is used to help fund the institution's mission and programs, said French. The museum's finances are stable and there is no shortfall in the annual budget which was $19.2 million last year.
"The Walker is proud of its fiscal discipline having balanced its budget for 32 consecutive years," French stated. "Like other well-managed non-profits, we examine revenues and expenses regularly to make sure we're stewarding our resources responsibly."
Photo: Roy Lichtenstein sculpture returns to Walker Art Center in December, 2013. Star Tribune photo by Bruce Bisping.
The theaters at St. Anthony Main are celebrating two one-of-a-kind talents with special tributes over the next several weeks.
Through Feb. 20, the theater is honoring the memory of Philip Seymour Hoffman with two of his most impressive, most challenging performances, “Capote” and “The Master.”
Hoffman won a best actor Oscar for his shrewdly observed portrayal of Truman Capote in Bennett Miller’s biographical drama “Capote.” The film focuses on the six years the author devoted to researching and writing his revolutionary true-crime “novel” “In Cold Blood,” a book that changed the face of journalism. The film shows us a process that erodes the writer’s soul (he seductively exploits and manipulates everyone he encounters on this mammoth assignment) while gilding his reputation. Hoffman captured Capote’s mannerism to perfection, but his performance is beyond mimicry. It’s some form of eerie transformation.
In Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master,” Hoffman plays Lancaster Dodd, a man of aspiring intellect, the founder of a pseudo-scientific spiritual cult. He establishes a conflicted father-son dynamic with a man of irrepressible, primal passions (Joaquin Phoenix.) The film has been seen as a thinly veiled biopic of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, but there are strong, strange subterranean currents flowing through it. The protagonists’ dance of desire and disillusionment with one another is white-hot with emotion, with scenes so powerful they shadow you like a physical presence for days.
From Feb. 21 through March 3, the Film Society of Minneapolis and St. Paul will present a Wes Anderson retrospective at the St. Anthony Main and Parkway theaters. The St. Anthony Main titles are “Bottle Rocket,” Feb. 21-22; “Moonrise Kingdom,” Feb. 21 and 23; and “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” Feb. 22-23. At the Parkway, it’s “The Darjeeling Limited,” Feb. 27; “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” Feb. 28; and “The Royal Tenenbaums,” March 2-3.The final presentation will be a members-only free, advance screening of “The Grand Budapest Hotel” 7 p.m.Monday, March 10 back at St. Anthony Main. Information about RSVPing for the screening, as well as becoming a Film Society member can be found here.
Soprano Renee Fleming and Piotr Beczała in "Rusalka," which is broadcast live from the Metropolitan Opera House in HD on Saturday. Photo by Ken Howard for the Met.
More than 100 million saw her sing the National Anthem at the Superbowl recently. Now you can catch soprano Renee Fleming in Dvorak's "Rusalka," the opera that helped launch Fleming 25 years ago. That was when she won the Met's National Council Auditions singing the "Rusalka" aria "Song to the Moon."
The Met's HD livecast of "Rusalka" begins at 11:55 a.m. Sat., Feb. 8,at various Twin Cities movie theaters. Tickets and theater details are at the Fathom Events website.
The Met's revival of "Rusalka" with conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin received a mixed review in the New York Times. The story revolves around a water nymph who falls for a human. Uh-oh.
All doubt that the returning Minnesota Orchestra would generate much interest has been dashed. The organization's web site has been overwhelmed by demand for the Feb. 7-8 and Feb. 14-15 homecoming concerts.
Tickets can also be purchased by phone at 612-371-5656. Stanislaw Skrowaczewski will conduct Beethoven's Third on the 7th and 8th. Yan Pascal Tortelier will lead Holst's The Planets and the Elgar Cello Concerto the following weekend.
Spokeswoman Gwen Pappas said the greatest demand is for the Feb. 7 concert. There are still several hundred tickets available for that night. The remaining concerts are about half sold, Pappas said shortly before 11 a.m.
The orchestra is expected to announce its classical subscription season for the remainder of the year on Friday morning.
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