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Posts about Minnesota artists

Four Midwestern American Indian Artists Given National Fellowships

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: October 23, 2014 - 2:51 PM

Ojibwe artist Delina White who specializes in traditonal beadwork.

Four artist Midwestern American Indian artists have received fellowships worth up to $20,000 each from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF), a non-profit organization based in Vancouver, Washington.

Winners of the NACF Regional Artist Fellowships are: Kevin Pourier, a carver of buffalo horn ornaments that range from sculptures to eyeglass frames. A member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, he is a Lakota from Scenic, S.D. Jennifer Stevens, a painter, potter and vocalist from Green Bay, Wisconsin who is a member of the Oneida Tribe. Delina White, an expert in traditional beadwork who lives in Deer River, MN and is a member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. Star Wallowing Bull, an Ojibwe/Arapaho who is a member of the White Earth Band of Chippewa. He lives in Moorhead, MN and is known for his pop-style paintings and drawings of American Indian subjects and motifs. Wallowing Bull's work is regularly shown at Bockley Gallery in Minneapolis.

NACF is  a national nonprofit that supports the appreciation and perpetuation of American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian arts and cultures. With money from Native Nations, arts patrons and foundations, NACF has provided nearly $1.7 million in assistance to 89 native artists and organizations in 23 states.

The NACF Regional Artist Fellowship Program is an annual award open to artists in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota who are enrolled members of one of the 37 tribes located in the region and who work in visual or traditional art forms. The awards are made possible by support from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation.

In related news, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation also supported a new Native American Artist-in-Residence program at the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS). Three artists were picked in August, each of whom will be paid during a six month residency, to study collections at the MNHS and elsewhere that are related to their work. They will also develop programs to share their studies within their home communities. The artists are Jessica Gokey, a bead work artist who lives in Wisconsin's Lac Courte Oreilles community; Pat Kruse, a birch-bark artist from Mille Lacs, MN; and Gwen Westerman, a textile artist from Good Thunder, MN who is of Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate heritage.

Textile Center in Minneapolis hires new director from Capri Theater

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: October 16, 2014 - 4:00 PM
Karl Reichert, videographer,  with Russ King, aka Miss Richfield 1981, and Michael Robins, director, at work on a video for a 2003 Illusion Theater production. Star Tribune file photo by Mike Zerby.

The Textile Center in Minneapolis has hired Karl Reichert as its new executive director starting November 17. He has done no prior work with in textile arts, but brings substantial management experience to his new post.

Reichert is currently director of the Capri Theater, a 250 seat arts-event space owned and operated by the Plymouth Christian Youth Center in North Minneapolis. The theater, which was renovated in 2009, stages music, film and theater performances as well as community forums. It presents a popular jazz series and diverse programs ranging from hip hop performances to Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra concerts.

"Everything we learned about him made us think he will be a good new executive director" for the Textile Center, said Donna Peterson, president of the fiber organization.

Peterson cited Reichert's experience in financial management, fund raising, development, artistic programming and "motivation of young people and artists" as key qualifications for the new post.

"He's had a ton of experience in the arts community, and we think he can quickly learn the specifics of textiles," said Peterson. "We wanted a manager who can help us with raising money and reaching the public as we develop programs and go into the future."

Prior to the Capri, where he has worked for nearly eight years, Reichert was a marketing and public relations consultant. He was fund raising director for R.T. Rybak's 2001 mayoral campaign, and was director of public affairs at the Minnesota Orchestral Association from 1992 to 2000.

At the Textile Center, Reichert follows Tim Fleming who resigned in March after two years in the post.

Founded in 1994, the Textile Center at 3000 University Av. S.E., Minneapolis, is a nationally known center for fiber arts ranging from weaving and fabric-dying to knitting, lace-making and batik. Its $800,000 annual budget supports a staff of 14 full- and part-time employees, an exhibition gallery, classrooms, a library and a small shop selling artisanal textiles.

Garrison Keillor: Out of surgery and on to orange Jell-O

Posted by: Tim Campbell Updated: September 26, 2014 - 3:44 PM
Photo by Ann Heisenfelt, Associated Press

Garrison Keillor reports he is "feeling good" after surgery Thursday at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

"The IV went in and night fell and a couple hours later I woke in Recovery, no fuss, with a very pleasant nurse who gave me some ice to chew on and we chatted like old pals and at noon I got wheeled up to my room for a lovely lunch of vegetable broth, coffee, cranberry juice, and orange Jell-O," he posted on Facebook.

The Minnesota writer and "Prairie Home Companion" host has not disclosed the precise nature of the procedure, but earlier this month when he announced he was canceling Saturday's "PHC," he wrote: "If you've noticed my upstairs bathroom light go on at 10 p.m., 10:10, 10:25, 10:40, etc., you know all you need to know."

No word on when he'll leave the hospital. In his Facebook post he joked, "The Scot in me says, 'you will pay for this someday' and maybe so but meanwhile I am having a very good day, made all the better by a funny phone call from my daughter. Who reminded me that long ago in this hospital coming out of a tonsillectomy she stuck her tongue out at me. Despite anesthesia she remembered that I was the Judas who took her into the OR."

Keillor, 72, is scheduled to return to the Fitzgerald Theater stage Oct. 4 for a "Prairie Home" show featuring bluegrassers the Gibson Brothers and local singer/songwriter Ellis.

But don't be surprised if he makes an appearance this weekend at the History Theater in St. Paul, where his playwriting debut, "Radio Man," opens Saturday night.

(In the photo at right, Keillor clowned with actor Pearce Bunting, who plays his alter ego in "Radio Man," during a rehearsal earlier this month. The play has a preview staging Friday night.)

P.S. After this was posted, a friend shared a letter to the Anoka County Union that Keillor wrote two weeks ago after an outing to his old high school. It's quite sweet:

To the Editor:

Last Friday, I drove up to Anoka for the Anoka-Coon Rapids football game and sat in the bleachers about 10 feet below the pressbox where, as a 14-year-old kid, I sat and wrote up the games for the Anoka Herald.

Goodrich Field looks so much the same as it did back then and off to my right was a student cheering section, about 300 strong, distinguished by wearing odds and ends of white, white shirts, headbands, caps, one boy in a white off-the-shoulder toga, tossing white streamers, setting off white smoke bombs – a solid block of high spirited goofiness and tumult and swaying and dancing in the stands – in their whiteness, the opposite of goth, more like moths fluttering at a porch light, and so utterly different from the self-conscious solemnity of the Fifties teenager. I know alcohol and this was not alcohol: this was joy and humor and hormones. The band got to play the Fight Song a couple times and I joined the throng in the end zone and the game ended, Anoka up 14-6, and the kids in white bolted for the field and a huge mash-up of bodies at midfield, arms in the air, chanting the Fight Song, and then headed for the exits, a river of youth with a happy alumnus of 72 in their midst. If these folks represent what it’s like to be young now, I am all in favor of it.

A joyful September night in my old town and the downtown cafes crowded and my old stately junior high standing big and proud on Second Avenue, where my dad graduated in 1931. Go, Tornadoes.

Garrison Keillor, St. Paul

Burning the midnight oil

Posted by: Graydon Royce Updated: September 11, 2014 - 10:45 AM
Photo by Ann Heisenfeldt

As host of “A Prairie Home Companion,” writer Garrison Keillor works up to the Saturday performance deadline, tinkering with his script. Playwright Garrison Keillor knows that will not work in the theater – although he’s pushing things as far as he can with “Radio Man,” at the History Theatre in St. Paul.

Keillor delivered a significant rewrite on Wednesday. An aide delivered the copy to director Ron Peluso, who leafed through a few pages and muttered something about “having a heart attack.” But he put on his best smiling face when the playwright arrived at rehearsal for the show, which opens Sept. 27.

"You've been busy," Peluso joked when Keillor arrived at rehearsal a little later. In an interview, Keillor said he felt he owed it to the actors to be finished with the script by Saturday – which coincidentally is the opening show of the 40th annniversary season of “A Prairie Home Companion.”

Keillor mentioned this Saturday deadline to Peluso as they walked into the rehearsal hall after a break. “Saturday? I was thinking maybe tomorrow,” the director said. They agreed on Friday and then got back to work.

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.

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