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Minnesota Marine Art Museum expands building and collection

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: September 16, 2014 - 6:11 PM

The Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona has added a 5,000 sq. ft. gallery and loans of eight new paintings to its already impressive collection of water-themed art. The new Richard and Jane Manoogian Gallery will officially open to the public Sunday, Sept. 28.

The new paintings include images by English landscape master John Constable (1776-1837), German Expressionist Max Beckmann (1884-1950), American Modernist Stuart Davis (1892-1964), and the romantic American naturalist Martin Johnson Heade (1819-1904) whose "View from Fern-Tree Walk," (1887), above, is a star addition. The pictures are on loan from the museum's founders Robert "Bob" Kierlin and his wife Mary Burrichter.

Detroit-native Richard Manoogian, a prominent collector of American art, is heir to a faucet-manufacturing fortune derived from Masco Corporation which was founded by his father. With support from a foundation established by the Manoogians, the Winona museum added a gallery that will primarily house paintings from its collection and long-term loans of Hudson River School, French and American Impressionist, and European and American modernist paintings.

(10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tues.-Sun., $7 adults. Minnesota Marine Art Museum, 800 Riverview Dr., Winona. 1-507-474-6626 or 1-866-940-6626 toll free; or www.mmaam.org)


 

Good vibrations in Toronto for Bill Pohlad's Beach Boy biopic

Posted by: Tim Campbell Updated: September 9, 2014 - 12:21 PM

Bill Pohlad, right, directing Paul Dano in "Love & Mercy," in a scene showing Brian Wilson producing the Beach Boys' landmark "Pet Sounds" album." (photo by François Duhamel)

Minneapolis filmmaker Bill Pohlad and pop visionary Brian Wilson got a standing ovation Monday night at the Toronto Film Festival premiere of “Love & Mercy,” the Wilson biopic that put Pohlad back in the director’s chair for the first time in decades.

Early reviews suggest a smash.

The highly influential trade magazine Variety called it a "finely crafted split portrait" -- Paul Dano plays Wilson in his hitmaking prime, while John Cusack represents his older, embattled self -- that is "miles removed from the cookie-cutter approach taken by so many other rock bios."John Cusack with Elizabeth Banks in "Love & Mercy."

"An unusual, moving portrait stuffed with the thrill of music-making," summed up the Hollywood Reporter, adding that Cusack (pictured at right with Elizabeth Banks) "gives one of the best performances of his career."

The Los Angeles Times report echoed a common thread in the reviews -- that while music biopics are typically tedious, "Love & Mercy" is a "refreshing surprise" that breaks the mold and invigorates the form. No doubt part of the credit belongs to screenwriter Oren Moverman, who also scripted "I'm Not There," the kaleidoscopic Bob Dylan portrait that featured six actors portraying different facets of the enigmatic singer/songwriter.

Pohlad told the L.A. writer that he dusted off an old screenplay about Wilson and enlisted Moverman for a rewrite. “If it was just telling young Brian’s story about the music, I don’t know that I would have done it,” he said. “But there were a lot of different levels besides that. On another level it’s about creative genius vs. madness. And it’s also a story of how [his future wife] pulled Brian Wilson out of a deep hole.”

After the disappointing reception of his feature debut, 1990's "Old Explorers," Pohlad kept close wraps on "Love & Mercy," showing it to virtually no one until its premiere Sunday, as he told the New York Times in a piece last weekend.

He also -- cannily, it appears now -- held off on striking a distribution deal for the film. Do we smell a bidding war?

As a side note, I want to mention that our own critic, Colin Covert, had planned to attend Monday's premiere. Regrettably, he suffered a bicycle accident last month but is now recovering at home and eagerly monitoring the news out of Toronto. I can't wait to read Colin's own take on this film.

There's no trailer for the film, so it seems fitting to give Wilson the last word:

 

James Sewell working on ballet with filmmaker Frederick Wiseman

Posted by: Claude Peck Updated: September 3, 2014 - 3:14 PM
James Sewell of Sewell Ballet / Star Tribune photo by Tom Wallace

In what may seem like an odd pairing, James Sewell of the Minneapolis-based Sewell Ballet is working with veteran documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman on a new ballet based on an old Wiseman movie.

Wiseman's 1967 "Titicut Follies" documented the residents and inmates at Bridgewater State Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Bridgewater, Mass.

This early Wiseman documentary ignited controversy when state authorities sought to prevent its release, saying it violated inmates' privacy. The legal case rolled through various jurisdictions, but the film was withheld from distribution for years. Wiseman went on to wide fame for his fly-on-the-wall documentaries on a variety of subjects, including high-school life, meat, public housing, boxing and, in two movies, the world of dance.

Fast forward to 2014, when a new Center for Ballet and the Arts is set to open at New York University. Wiseman is among the center's first group of fellows. He announced this week that as part of that fellowship he is planning a ballet based on the film, to be created by choreographer Sewell.

Sewell said Wednesday that he and Wiseman have been talking by phone about the project this summer, and that Wiseman is due in Minneapolis later in September for meetings and in-studio improvisation. Wiseman is a "visionary," Sewell said, "and it extends beyond his medium. We've synthesized how our worlds can connect."

Sewell said the ballet, which may retain the movie's title, is likely to require 10 male dancers, as well as other characters to potray the state hospital's doctors and nurses. Likely to premiere in Minneapolis about two years from now, the ballet will include music and possibly video from the original film, Sewell said.

"When I first saw the film -- so intense, so strange -- I thought, 'how could you make a ballet of this?' But the elements are all there -- humorous, poetic, horrifying, sad," Sewell said.

The movie's title comes from an annual variety show that Bridgewater officials and inmates staged at the hospital. "These violent criminals and mentally ill inmates would put on a show, singing Gershwin with pom-poms in their hands," Sewell said.

While funding and other details remain to be worked out, Sewell said he "could not be happier" about this collaboration, which "dropped in my lap." He hopes to find a way, in dance, to portray "the inner landscape" of the often abused, catatonic or disruptive Bridgewater population.

Wiseman, 84, just won the Golden Lion Career Award at the Venice Film Festival.

Charles Keating had a long association with the Guthrie

Posted by: Graydon Royce Updated: August 12, 2014 - 1:50 PM

Veteran actor Charles Keating, whose roots extended to the early years of the Guthrie Theater, has died at 72. He had been diagnosed with lung cancer three year ago.

Keating is best known to the wider universe as a soap opera star, particularly for his superbly oily lothario Carl Hutchins on “Another World.” He was nominated for an Emmy in 1996 for his work as Carl. He also performed on “All My Children” and “As the Word Turns.”

But long before he was a daytime villain, Keating trained with Sir Tyrone Guthrie in Minneapolis. He appeared in “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui” and “The House of Atreus.” He returned to Minneapolis in the past 15 years as Malvolio in “Twelfth Night” and as Scrooge (at right in Michal Daniel's photo) in the 2004 production of “A Christmas Carol.” His performance in that role was considered the best in Twin Cities theater that year by Star Tribune critics – an estimable achievement given how familiar the character is.

He also played a key role when Joe Dowling staged Brian Friel’s “The Home Place” on the Guthrie proscenium. In 2007, he brought a solo show, “I and I, about aging and the self, to the Guthrie studio.

“Charles Keating was a quintessential actor’s actor,” said Dowling, the Guthrie director. “Mercurial, flamboyant, highly intuitive and with a deep and rich voice. He was a joy to work with and brought his great intelligence and his inquiring mind to every role he played.”

His film credits included "The Thomas Crown Affair," and "The Bodyguard." In addition to the soaps, he did TV with "Alias," "Xena: Warrior Princess" and "Hercules." And on stage, he was Tony nominated for a revival of “Loot” in 1986.

Keating, London born, was married 50 years and died at his home in Connecticut. His wife, Mary, and two sons survive.

Workhaus Collective will stage three new plays

Posted by: Claude Peck Updated: August 7, 2014 - 11:32 AM

"Lake Untersee," a new play by Joe Waechter about a disaffected teen who travels to Antarctica, will open the 8th season of Workhaus Collective in Minneapolis. It will be directed by Jeremy Cohen of the Playwrights' Center, and will be staged at Illusion Theater in downtown Minneapolis.

The Workhaus season continues with "Skin Deep Sea," by Stanton Wood. It is described as "an unusual love story about a two-headed witch, a pirate airship captain cursed with bad luck, a Cuban war hero in search of a meaningful cause, and the two feuding daughters of robber baron Penelope Cooke, the fifth richest person in America." It opens in February at Playwrights' Center. 

The third play is "The Reagan Years," by Dominic Orlando. The play follows four friends as they graduate from college. Their attempt to "keep the party going" runs spectacularly off the rails. It will open in April at Playwrights' Center.

The Minneapolis-based Workhaus Playwrights Collective includes Trista Baldwin, Alan Berks, Jeannine Coulombe, Christina Ham, Carson Kreitzer, Dominic Orlando, Joe Waechter, and Stanton Wood.

Tickets for "Lake Untersee" are available not via Illusion's box office at 612-339-4944. Or click on the Workhaus website.

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