Welcome to Artcetera. Arts-and-entertainment writers and critics post movie news, concert updates, people items, video, photos and more. Share your views. Check it daily. Remain in the know. Contributors: Mary Abbe, Aimee Blanchette, Jon Bream, Tim Campbell, Colin Covert, Laurie Hertzel, Tom Horgen, Neal Justin, Claude Peck, Rohan Preston, Chris Riemenschneider, Graydon Royce, Randy Salas and Kristin Tillotson.
A couple weeks in advance of the happy chaos that the opening of the Green Line will create, Bedlam Theatre opens the door on its new digs in Lowertown St. Paul (213 4th St. E.) on Saturday with a day-long party from noon till after midnight. The festivities begin with kid-friendly puppet activities, followed by cabaret performances, live bands and wee-hours dancing to vinyl spun by KFAI music director Miguel Vargas.
In keeping with Bedlam's philosophy of putting the community in community-based theater, the space will serve food and drink daily from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to encourage residents and visitors to stop in, share ideas and be part of whatever creative process might be going down at the moment. The same concept was behind their popular happy hour at the former West Bank location in Minneapolis, but they're opting for midday this time around because the lunch hour is more of a peak activity time in downtown St. Paul, said director John Bueche.
Bedlam's first Lowertown show opens June 13, the night before the new Green Line brings thousands of Minneapolitans who hate driving on 94 pouring into St. Paul's streets. Titled "The Beast," the play written by Ryan Underbakke follows events leading up to a fictional massacre of an immigrant family in northern Minnesota.
For now, the theater's website is calling for deep-pocketed beer drinkers to fork over $1,000 to help them stock up for tomorrow's party, with the payback being free beer through 2020. Good luck with that, guys -- we're guessing there might be a few takers. See more info here.
A still from the documentary "Afternoon of a Faun," about New York City Ballet great Tanaquil le Clercq.
Star Tribune writers and freelance contributors have been scanning advance copies of movies that are part of the Minneapolis-St.Paul International Film Festival. Their reviews are online now. The festival opens April 3 and runs through April 19, with more than 200 movies in all.
In reviews of 55 MSPIFF titles, our critics were, in general, enthusiastic. While they gave 4-star ratings (the highest) to just four movies, they handed out the coveted 3.5-star ratings to 13 films.
The movies that won four stars are: "Afternoon of a Faun," a documentary about legendary New York City Ballet dancer Tanaquil le Clercq; "Boyhood," a 12-year project of director Richard Linklater; "Flashback Memories," a music documentary in 3D about a Japanese didgeridoo player who suffered a brain injury; and the two-part crime saga from India, "Gangs of Wasseypur."
Here are the titles that won 3.5 stars:
Bicycling with Moliere
Just a Sigh
The Trip to Italy
Gremlin Theatre has turned lemons into lemonade for a production of "A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur." The small company had to shut down its run of the Tennessee Williams play last week at a St. Paul house rented from St. Clement's Episcopal church. Turns out the occupancy status of the house did not allow a theatrical production and negotiations with the city proved futile.
However, the show will go on, at Open Eye Figure Theatre in Minneapolis. Susan Haas, Open Eye's producing artistic director, offered Peter Hansen's company the use of an apartment space that is in the same building as Open Eye's theater. Hansen said the room, which Haas and Michael Sommers use as a workshop studio, will work perfectly. There's even a working kitchen in the back.
Jef Hall-Flavin directed the show, with a cast of Suzanne Warmanen, Sara Richardson, Jane Froiland and Noe Tallen. "Creve Coeur" is a late work from Williams that re-explores many of the themes of earlier plays. It's a one-act set in 1930's St. Louis.Hall-Flavin's production will move to the Williams festival in Provincetown, Mass., in September.
Gremlin's production opens at 7:30 Thursday and runs through the weekend (4 p.m. Sunday). The second week's performances run Wednesday through Sunday, with the same curtain times.
Go to gremlin-theatre.org for more information.
Last summer, a group of young actors/singers/musicians cobbled together their enthusiasm and put on a great production of "Hair" that captured the spirit of togetherness, community, comity so much intended by that show.
"The Last Five Years" is about as far from "Hair" as you can get, but the youngsters at Flip Theatre fill me with the same sense of hope and admiration. The poignant musical by Jason Robert Brown concludes this weekend at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage and it is worth seeing. Britta Ollmann and Bobby Gardner play Cathy and Jamie, who relate the ups and downs of their relationship from different angles. Jamie starts his story on the first day she shows up at Cathy's house with a bouquet of flowers. She starts by sitting on moving boxes as they are splitting up. Their paths only cross once, on the day of their wedding.
Flip's production rides on the shoulders of Jason Hansen's five-piece band and the big expressive voices of Ollmann and Gardner. John Lynn directs with a very clear eye toward the state of the relationship, the position of each character and how they intersect (or don't). Gardner and Ollman really express the youth and joy of these young lovers -- an innocence that we hope never sours. Of course, it does and that is aching point of Brown's lovely little two-hander. I have seen this musical before, but it really landed here with young singers and a larger band.
I wish I would have seen this production earlier. It closes Sunday, but you can still get tickets. Go to http://www.fliptheatre.org
Internationally known Minnesota wildlife artists Joe, Bob and Jim Hautman have proved so popular that the Minnetonka Center for the Arts is extending its show of their work through Tuesday, October 29. This adds three days to the exhibit which was originally scheduled to close October 26.
The brothers will also sign reproductions of their artwork at a public reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, October 24. Prints of their images will be available for purchase that evening.
Organized by architect Jim Dayton, the exhibit is the first in which the guys have shown their work together. It features about 100 paintings of birds, game animals (deer, bear, lions) and even pets plus sketches and photos of work in progress. Fans of their meticulously observed nature studies have an unprecedented opportunity to see original paintings that have been reproduced on thousands of popular duck stamps over more than 20 years. Read a Star Tribune review of the show here.
Together the three brothers have won an unprecedented 10 Federal Duck Stamp competitions. Sales of duck stamps, which are essentially federal hunting licenses for migratory waterfowl, raise about $25 million annually for the preservation of marshes and watersheds for migratory birds and human enjoyment.
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