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Taylor Swift/ Star Tribune photo by Kyndell Harkness
You will hear lots of familiar names when the Grammy nominations are announced Friday night during a primetime special -- the over-titled “The Grammy Nominations Concert Live – Countdown to Music’s Biggest Night” --- starting at 9 on Ch. 4. (Performers include Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Robin Thicke, Miguel, Keith Urban, T.I., Lorde and Earth, Wind & Fire.)
Swift, Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars had three of the biggest-selling albums of the eligibility period, Oct. 1, 2012-Sept. 30, 2013, and they will receive lots of nominations. But not all the key nominations will be as predictable as you think.
Why? Because the nominees in the Big Four categories are chosen by a blue-ribbon industry panel, not the Recording Academy members, who vote on nominees in all other categories. The blue-ribbon panel has had a habit of reflecting of critical and/or hip tastes every once in a while. Hence, names like Kendrick Lamar and Kacey Musgraves might show up as finalists, especially for best new artist.
Here are one person’s predictions for the nominees in the Big Four contests. Winners will be announced at the 56th annual Grammy Awards on Jan. 26.
BEST NEW ARTIST
Lorde, the New Zealand teen who told us we’d never be “Royals,” should make the finals along with Imagine Dragons, the drum-beating, hit-making rockers from Las Vegas, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, the Seattle crew that enjoyed some of the biggest mainstream rap hits in years. From country music, it’ll either be crossover “Cruise” hitmakers Florida Georgia Line or clever singer-songwriter Musgraves, who won the best new artist at last month’s CMA Awards. The other slot could go to either stand-out rapper Lamar or U.K. soul/pop songbird Emeli Sande – or both. Maybe there will be six finalists instead of the usual five.
Outside shots: Ariana Grand, Ed Sheeran, Phillip Phillips and Of Monsters and Men.
RECORD OF THE YEAR
Even though it was one of the year’s biggest records, Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” won’t make the cut because of the controversy and lawsuits that he allegedly cribbed parts of this tune from Marvin Gaye. The Grammys don’t need another tainted winner like Milli Vanilli, the lip-synchers who won best new artist in 1989 and then had the trophy taken away. So I’m going with Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” Lorde’s “Royals” and one of Macklemore’s big hits – either “Thrift Shop,” the popular choice, or “Same Love,” the artistic and politic choice (though it might have a better shot at song of the year). That leaves two more slots to fill, with Mars’ “When I Was Your Man” probably grabbing one and perhaps Pink’s “Just Give Me a Reason” or Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” snaring the other.
Outside shots: Timberlake’s “Mirrors,” Perry’s “Roar,”Aviici’s “Wake Me Up,” Kanye West’s “New Slaves” and Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble.”
SONG OF THE YEAR
Remember, this is a songwriter’s prize whereas record of the year honors a single. Got that? Oftentimes, this category mirrors record of the year but not always. “Same Love” will likely get a nod here. Same with “When I Was Your Man” and “Royals.” “Just Give Me a Reason” should make the cut, too. Look for Rihanna’s “Stay” – which doesn’t have a chance for record of the year – to receive recognition here.
Outside shots: The Band Perry’s “Better Dig Two,” Musgraves’ “Merry Go Round” and Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven.”
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Swift’s “Red” and Timberlake’s “20/20 Experience” were not only the two top sellers but they are artistically respected. Ditto for Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox,” the No. 4 seller. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Heist” is a likely finalist, which would give them nominations in all of the Big Four. But the panel might swing more toward West’s bold and controversial “Yeezus” as the year’s top hip-hop effort. The panel always seems to show some love for critically loved indie-rock acts, so Vampire Weekend’s “Modern Vampires of the City” could get a nod.
Outside shots: Drake’s “Nothing Was the Same,” Musgraves’ “Same Trailer Different Park,” Lamar’s “Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City” and Civil Wars’ “Civil Wars.”
It's time again for a commercial interruption. Walker Art center's annual presentation of the cream of Britain's TV advertising opens Friday and runs through Jan. 6. As always, the spots in the 75-minute showcase display extraordinary creativity, whether they're clipped, clever info-blips or ambitious entries dripping with cinematic production values.
A few even boast movie stars, peppering the spots with the kind of smartly targeted celebrity appeal not often seen in U.S. advertising. There's Hugh Jackman getting slapped silly for Lipton Tea, Kiefer Sutherland longing for a high school crush for Axe Body Wash, and Kevin Bacon, Michael Fassbender, Godzilla and He-Man making cameo appearances.
Some of the commercials are riotous (a small girl's fantasy of playing house with imaginary friends on Ikea furniture), some shocking (the ambulance service advert comparing cancer and accident fatalities) and some solemnly breathtaking. The Commercial of the Year winner, "Meet the Superhumans," a tribute to the extraordinary commitment of athletes in the Channel 4 Paralympics, will make any viewer reconsider his definitions of "handicapped" and "disabled." Tickets ($12 for the public, $10 for Walker members) sell out fast. Call (612) 375-7569.
Olga Viso of Walker Art Center.
Two of three new appointees to the National Council on the Arts are from Minneapolis. Olga Viso, executive director of Walker Art Center, and Ranee Ramaswamy, founder and co-artistic director of the Ragamala Dance Company were recently named by President Obama to the council, which is the governing body of the National Endowment for the Arts.
The council, which meets three times a year, wields considerable influence. It votes on grant funding and rejections, advises on the NEA's budget and policies and gives the President recommendations on who to nominate for the National Medal of the Arts.
Viso, who as led the Walker since 2008 after a 12-year stint at the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., called the appointment, which also had to be approved by the Senate, "a huge honor. It will be a privilege to be a part of this group, to bring a new generation of thinkers to the table as well as a Minnesota presence to conversation."
Ramaswamy has been a master choreographer, performer, and teacher of the South Indian classical dance form of Bharatanatyam dance since 1978, founding Ragamala in 1992. Among her many awards and honors are 14 McKnight fellowships, a Bush fellowship and being named the Star Tribune's Artist of the Year (with co-director Aparna Ramaswamy, her daughter) in 2011.
The third appointee to the 17-member council is Rick Lowe, an artist and founder of a nonprofit that revitalizes neighborhoods in Houston. Six ex-officio legislator members on the council include two members of Congress from the Upper Midwest: Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).
Ranee Ramaswamy (right) with her daughter and co-artistic director, Aparna Ramaswamy. Photos by Tom Wallace.
Nine Minnesota-based architecture firms won Honor Awards in the 2013 competition sposored by AIA Minnesota. Three firms won two awards each: Julie Snow Architects, HGA, and MSR. Chosen from 66 entrants, the winners were picked by a team of national jurors including Ben Gilmartin of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, New York; E.B. Min of Min l Day, San Francisco, and George Z. Nikolajevich of Cannon Design, St. Louis. The winners are:
HGA Architects and Engineers for the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center at Macalester College, St. Paul. Photo: Paul Crosby.
MSR (Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd. for the Drexel University College of Media Arts and Design URBN Center in Philadelphia, PA. Photo: Lara Swimmer.
MSR (Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, LTD.) for the Weitz Center for Creativity at Carleton College, Northfield, MN. Phooto: Brandon Stengel.
Julie Snow Architects Inc., with Ryan A+E, Inc for Target Plaza Commons in Minneapolis. Photo: Paul Crosby.
HGA Architects and Engineers for the Union Depot Multi-Modal Transit and Transportation Hub in the Lowertown neighborhood of St. Paul. Photo: Paul Crosby.
Leo A. Daly for the Minnesota Fallen Firefighters Memorial at the State Capitol Mall in St. Paul. Photo: Bill Baxley, AIA.
Salmela Architect for Hall House in Duluth, MN. Photo: Paul Crosby.
Variable Projects for the Centennial Chromagraph sculpture at the School of Architecture at the University of Minnesota College of Design. Photo: Adam Marcus.
George Costanza wasn't exactly known for paying tributes to anyone but himself. The actor who played him is another story. Jason Alexander, who won six Emmys for his work on "Seinfeld," will be at the Temple of Aaron Congregation in St. Paul as part of Honoring Our Fathers, a fundraiser created to honor the memories of the late Edward Paster and Richard "DIck" Shaller, who were both leaders in the local Jewish community.
Doors open at 6 p.m. with a keynote presentation at 7 p.m. Alexander is expected to take questions from the audience.
Student tickets are $18, general admission is $50 and reserved seats go for $100. We assume the limited $2,500 VIP packages include Festivus gifts. To obtain tickets contact firstname.lastname@example.org.