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Soap Factory in Minneapolis to celebrate 25th anniversary

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: November 12, 2014 - 1:22 PM

Alexa Horochowski's 2014 installation at The Soap Factory. Star Tribune photo by Tom Sweeney

A lot has changed in the 25 years since The Soap Factory art complex started life as No Name Exhibitions.The popoular outpost for Halloween fun and experimental art is celebrating its quarter century anniversary with a benefit  party from 6 p.m. to midnight, Saturday, Nov. 15 in its cavernous, brick-and-timber warehouse, a former soap factory,  at 514 S.E. Second St., Minneapolis.

The Factory's presence there has been a spur to development in what is now a fast-gentrifying neighborhood near the Mississippi River. Back in 1989, what is now a rough-hew home to avant garde art was still a functioning factory.

"There have been a lot of changes in this building," said Ben Heywood, executive director of The Soap Factory. "Back then they were literally melting down animals and turning them into fat and then throwing lye into it and turning it into soap."

Back then a group of local artists banded together and started No Name Exhibitions in another quasi derelict building known as the Skunk House. On the opposite side of the Mississippi and just west of Hennepin Av., the Skunk House was subsequently acquired by the Federal Reserve bank to house its air conditioning plant, Heywood said. No Name then moved into the bottling house of the former Grain Belt Brewery and from there to the Soap Factory in 1995.

"Our exhibition space went from 600 square feet to 50,000 square feet when we moved here, so that's a big change," Heywood said.

The Factory building is still pretty raw, but it too has changed over the years. Now, for example, it has bathrooms. And in January it will add heating and air conditioning for the basement and first floor. Previously the place closed in winter months when there was no heat.

Other improvements include the addition of a permanent staff, rather than volunteers who ran the place until 2002. With staff came a year-round exhibition and performance program. And the ever-popular Haunted Basement Halloween shindig. And now the 25th anniversary party. 

Billed as a "day of citywide fun," the anniversary committee may have overpromised a bit. There won't be hot air balloons or marching bands on Nicollet Mall, much as Heywood would love such stuff. By "city-wide" they mean art impressario and cultural gadabout Andy Sturdevant leading a Soap Factory History tour starting at 3 p.m. Saturday in a vintage bus that will roll past previous Factory locales.

"Andy is a city-wide celebration in himself," Heywood explained. Indeed.

The Factory invited 9,000 people to the shindig and expects a good turn out.

"We can hold 700 people on the first floor and we should have a full house," Heywood said.

Party goers can expect Beatrix* JAR and Solid Gold to kick off the event with DJs Diarrhea (Jackie Beckey) and Christopher Saint Christopher (Christopher Allen) commanding the dance floor and emcee Ian Rans running the show.

There will be complimentary cocktails by Bittercube, gourmet nibbles from Fabulous Catering and Common Roots catering, small plates from Tilia, Heyday, Haute Dish, Third Bird, and the University of MN College of Design. Plus art by Aaron Dysart and Andy DuCett. Performances by artist Jaime Carrera and theater company Live Action Set. Plus an auction, of course.

(Party 6 p.m. to midnight, Nov, 15, tickets $50 to $2,000. The Soap Factory, 514 Second St. S.E., Mpls. For tickets: www.soapfactory.org)


 

Garth Brooks adds Minneapolis concerts, 10 in all now

Posted by: Claude Peck Updated: October 3, 2014 - 4:11 PM

Garth Brooks kicked off his Garth Brooks World Tour at the Allstate Arena on Sept. 4, 2014, in Rosemont, Ill. (Photo by Barry Breche isen/Invision/AP)  

Country star Garth Brooks has added more dates to his previously announced four November concerts at Target Center in Minneapolis. The current tally has Brooks doing 10 concerts in all. Five added shows will happen Nov. 6-8. The other shows will take place a bit later, Nov. 13-15.

Tickets went on sale Friday, Oct. 3 at 10 a.m. for $70.50 (that’s including fees) through AXS.com, the arena box office or by calling 1-855-411-4849. Brooks' opening act will be his wife, Trisha Yearwood.

Brooks last performed in Minneapolis in 1998, when he did nine concerts at Target Center.

As of Friday, tickets are available for all shows. No tickets sold at Target Center on Oct. 3. There is an eight-ticket limit. The full rundown of dates and times is as follows:

Thursday, November 6th, 7:30PM

Friday, November 7th, 6:30PM and10:30PM

Saturday, November 8th, 6:30PM and10:30PM

Thursday, November 13th, 7:30PM

Friday, November 14th, 6:30PM and 10:30PM

Saturday, November 15th, 6:30PM and 10:30PM

Beer and a movie on the bikeway

Posted by: Claude Peck Updated: August 21, 2014 - 5:16 PM

Weather looks iffy, but the Bike-In Movie is on for Thursday night (Aug. 21) on the Midtown Greenway. The 4th annual event features food by Taco Cat, beer by Indeed Brewing Co. and a screening, about 9 p.m. or a bit earlier, of "Elemental," a documentary about three committed eco-activists in different parts of the world. In case of rain, the event will take place inside Freewheel Bike Shop.

A pre-movie mixer is scheduled for 6:30 to 8 p.m. More Info: facebook.com/events/440636552743931
On Twitter: @aigamn #bikeinmovie

Game of Thrones, Spacey Style

Posted by: Colin Covert Updated: April 29, 2014 - 11:06 AM

"Sin, death, and hell have set their marks on him." Kevin Spacey as Richard III.     Illustration: Jonathan Yeo.

Kevin Spacey thinks that this is the ideal time for modern audiences to catch up with Shakespeare’s 400-year-old villain, Richard III. In fact, he believes it so passionately that he self-financed “Now: In the Wings on a World Stage,” a film about his globe-trotting production of the classic tragedy.

“Now” is more than a recording of Spacey’s performance as the mad monarch with the crooked gait and twisted mind. It’s a backstage look at his first collaboration with director Sam Mendes since both won Academy Awards for their work on “American Beauty.”  The film screens for one night only, on Tuesday, April 29 at 7:00pm at the Lagoon Cinema in Minneapolis. It’s also available as video on demand beginning May 2 at https://www.kevinspacey.com/nowthefilm/ .

“People are fascinated by characters that cross the line,” the “House of Cards” star said by phone from Los Angeles.  “Think of the way television was for a very long time. All the characters had to be likable and really good at their jobs and good family men. Suddenly in the last 15 years we’ve seen such remarkable antiheroes created. It’s been proved by the popularity of these shows that audiences dig complex characters and dark storylines.”

 Spacey hopes that “NOW,” with its intimate scenes of actors’ camaraderie and live performance, communicates to movie audiences some of the thrill he feels onstage.

“I’m a theater rat. If anyone has liked anything I’ve ever done in film, I learned it in the theater.  That is my craft,” said Spacey, who in 2003 left Hollywood to become artistic director of England’s Old Vic theater.  “People ask me, ‘Why did you move to London 10 years ago for this theater company? Why aren’t you making movies?’ Because people put too much value on fame and money.  Theater is the actor’s medium. That’s where we do what we do best.”

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival announces a 198-film lineup

Posted by: Colin Covert Updated: March 7, 2014 - 4:36 PM

 

Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader in "The Skeleton Twins." Photo: Reed Morano.

Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader in "The Skeleton Twins." Photo: Reed Morano.

The upcoming Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival is putting the finishing touches on its schedule. While the opening night feature hasn’t been locked down yet, not have the individual run dates. Still, the program’s just-released rundown of – gulp – 198 features should sate the most gluttonous cinephile.
The newly announced lineup includes:
Spanish iconoclast Alex de la Iglesia’s endlessly entertaining caper-horror-comedy “Witching and Bitching.” One part Quentin Tarantino, one part Guillermo del Toro and five parts nitroglycerine, the film is exciting, dark and wicked fun. 
“For No Good Reason,” a tour through the delirious career of Ralph Steadman, the English artist best known for his splattery collaborations with gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. Johnny Depp, Terry Gilliam, Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner and the late William S. Burroughs all chip in.
"The Overnighters," which examines the downside of North Dakota's oil boom through the perspective of a Lutheran pastor who welcomes homeless job seekers to take shelter in his church. The artfully crafted documentary features revelatory eleventh-hour bombshells that compel viewers to completely rethink the characters' actions and motivations.
A literal one man show from Tom Hardy, recently seen as Batman's hulking nemesis Bane. He is the star of "Locke." In fact he's the only actor seen throughout the film. Hardy plays a man zipping down an English highway while juggling crucial car phone calls that jeopardize his career and marriage. Hardy is riveting in a sustained closeup performance, creating a riveting portrait of a flawed, admirable man trying to do the decent thing in all but impossible circumstances.
"R 100," A Japanese head-spinner of surreal suspense, bizarre sex play and demented hilarity. Hitoshi Matsumoto's film follows a wage slave who enlivens his humdrum existence by signing a year-long contract with a strange escort agency. The firm dispatches dominatrixes to dish out comically harsh thrashings without warning, in public, at work, even at home. As the hapless client, Nao Ohmori underplays deliciously even as the film opens up outrageous new subplots that further multiply the lunacy.
"The Skeleton Twins," a serious minded film starring Saturday Night Live alumni Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader as warring siblings. The duo are affecting and poignant as long-estranged siblings still scarred by their father's suicide. There are abundant laughs, but the movie's themes of abuse, infidelity and death are played straight. Wiig is compelling as a sexually compulsive woman who feels stifled in her marriage to a plain-vanilla regular Joe (Luke Wilson), and Hader reveals unexpected depth as her witty but depressive gay brother. 
The Festival runs April 3-19 on all five screens of the St. Anthony Main Theatre, 115 Main St. SE, Minneapolis.

 

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