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.
Fresh into Berlin, an attractive young Spanish immigrant decides to spend her late night in a techno nightclub, dancing, drinking and looking to meet some handsome twentiesh locals. What can possibly go wrong? Hang on tight, here comes the answer.
The German action film “Victoria,” filmed in one continuous uncut shot across two dozen locales and 134 minutes, grabs viewers by the collar and pulls them along for a wild, antsy, bumpy ride. Spain's Laia Costa plays the clever, impulsive title character; German actors Frederick Lau, Franz Rogowski, Burak Yigit, and Max Mauff play her new mates who need her help to pull off a quick job for a large stash of money. Don’t expect subtitle overload; because she doesn’t speak their native language, everyone uses English. Digging deeper into the plot details would be like telling the route of a roller coaster.
Cinematographer Sturla Brandth Grøvlen and director Sebastian Schipper stunningly merge the chases from “Run Lola Run” and the magical realist feel of “Birdman.” Berlin Film Festival Jury president Darren Aronofsky (“The Wrestler,” “Black Swan,” “Noah”) made it a prize-winner declaring, "This film rocked my world." Don’t bother to look for an editing credit; this one shot marvel isn’t a bag of technical make believe, it’s a showpiece of dynamic choreography right down to the improvised dialog.
New York/Twin Cities art movie exhibitor Adopt Films has the film’s North American rights. After its debut at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival, it’s heading toward a late summer or early fall national release.
Grøvlen will attend tonight’s 6:45 presentation at St. Anthony Main,” Victoria’s” only screening at the festival. For ticketing and more information, visit the MSPIFF website at http://bit.ly/1DpUaOR
Pieter Ampe and Guilherme Garrido performed "Still Standing You," in week 2 of Out There/Photo by Phile Deprez
Was it the weather? Or has the Walker Art Center finally gotten it right after more than 25 years of running the Out There series. Whatever, the Walker announced that attendance for the four-weekend series of edgy performance art and theater hit a record last month.
The Walker sold 3,077 tickets to the 12 performances. That compares favorably to last year’s numbers, 1,805 and the previous record of 2,735 in 2012.
Philip Bither, the Walker’s senior curator for performing arts, was understandably pleased that, “So many found the works to be full of new ideas, worthy provocation and sometimes great fun.”
Garrison Keillor will stage two shows at the State Theatre in MInnepaolis. Photo by Ann Heisenfelt.
"A Prairie Home Companion" will finish out its local season across the river this year. Garrison Keillor's live-broadcast varietyshow will play the State Theatre in downtown Minneapolis on Feb. 28 and March 7.
While the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul is the show's home, it occasionally meanders west, most recently for one of Keillor's beloved Joke Shows last November at the Pantages. The usual suspects including Tim Russell, Sue Scott, Fred Newman and pianist Rich Dworsky will be on deck. Special musical guests will be smoky-voiced folkie Brandi Carlile on Feb. 28 and the Baltimore-based Girls Quartet ("GQ") on March 7.
Tickets go on sale at noon on Saturday.
James Franco and Seth Rogen in a scene from "The Interview."
At least 10 Minnesota movie houses, including St. Anthony Main in Minneapolis, joined others across the country Tuesday in announcing that they would show “The Interview’’ beginning Christmas Day.
Sony Pictures had withdrew the picture from release last week after threats of terrorism from computer hackers, but reversed its stance on Tuesday. The comedy stars James Franco and Seth Rogen as TV journalists recruited by the CIA to kill North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un.
“I guess we’re not concerned. We’re not close to North Korea,” said Debbie Zeise, co-owner of the GTI Cambridge and North Branch Theatres, which is showing the film in both venues. “We’re showing it because we believe in the freedom of press and that we shouldn’t bow down to terrorism.”
It’s a view shared by many patrons, she said.
“That I think really is the reason people will come out and watch it. Not because they think ‘Oh, I’ve got to watch this movie.’ ” The controversy may bring larger audiences than she first expected to her theaters’ top auditoriums, which seat 200 or fewer viewers.
“We were not anticipating this would be a huge movie. Now we are anticipating it being bigger than it would have been. More people are going to be saying, ‘I’m going to go see it to see what all the hubbub’s about.’
"Even my mother-in-law, who’s a woman in her 80s, said, ‘Well, I just want to see what it’s about.’ They aren’t going because they want to see the movie. They’re going because they want to make a statement about free speech and we’re not going to bow to terrorism.”
Susan Smoluchowski, executive director of the Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul, which will be showing the film at St. Anthony Main, had a similar take: “Although this film may not be typical of the films we generally screen, we made a decision to do so from a philosophical standpoint, that of artistic freedom, creative license and defense against censorship.”
Besides St. Anthony Main, the Minnesota theaters showing “The Interview’’ will be Cambridge Cinema 5 in Cambridge, North Branch Cinema Theater in North Branch, the Quarry Cinema in Cold Spring, Premiere Theatres in Cloquet, Fairmont Theatre in Fairmont, Cine 5 Theatre in International Falls, Grand Makwa Cinema in Onamia, Rochester Galaxy 14 Cine in Rochester and Main Street Theatre in Sauk Centre. Each theater will open the film Thursday for a run of at least a week.
In a public announcement Michael Lynton, chairman of Sony Entertainment said, "We have never given up on releasing ‘The Interview’ and we're excited our movie will be in a number of theaters on Christmas Day," while continuing its effort to secure more theaters and possibly a digital release.
POST BY CAROLINE PALMER, Special to the Star Tribune
Steve Paxton (pictured below) is a world-famous dancer and choreographer with a career spanning some five decades but he lives under the radar.
The José Limón and Merce Cunningham company member during the 1960’s, key instigator within the transformative Judson Dance Theater and Grand Union postmodern movement groups, inventor of contact improvisation in 1972 and much sought-after teacher doesn’t have a manager or booking agent. Now 75 and a self-described “old guy,” Paxton lives at Mad Brook Farm in northeastern Vermont, a place he calls home with artists, artisans and other folks seeking alternative communities. But for the next two weeks he is the central figure of the Walker Art Center’s mini-festival “Composing Forward: The Art of Steve Paxton.”
“I started dancing professionally in the 1960s, and over 50-odd years you develop your instrument, your body and your mind,” Paxton said from Vermont during a recent phone conversation. And while aging has exacted a toll, he said that “the feeling is still in my nerves and muscle memory continues even as the muscles stop functioning.” He noted that Cunningham choreographed into his nineties.
According to Philip Bither, the Walker’s Senior Curator of Performing Arts, Paxton “is under-recognized and deserves a much broader public understanding of his influence.” William Forsythe, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Jérôme Bel, to name a few major artists presented by the Walker have all drawn inspiration from Paxton and his innovative peers (including Trisha Brown, David Gordon, Lucinda Childs, Deborah Hay and Yvonne Rainer).
Yet while Paxton may be relatively unknown to a broader audience he is very much a “guru” within the dance world, said Bither, and “people from all over the country are coming for the classes.”
Kristin Van Loon, co-founder of local choreographic duo HIJACK with Arwen Wilder, cleared her schedule for Paxton’s visit. She has attended four of his two-week intensives, likening the experience to a “martial arts dojo” in which the participants dance, eat and even take naps together while learning to delve deeper into their movement potential. Paxton also lectures and recounts stories from Cunningham tours. “It’s exactly how I want to study dance,” she said. Van Loon will be performing Paxton’s 1967 work “Smiling” with his longtime collaborator Lisa Nelson on Thursday, November 13 during the Walker’s “Talking Dance” program (7 p.m.).
Aside from teaching and lecturing Paxton will also take the stage while in Minneapolis, a rare treat. He and Nelson will dance their 2004 duet “Night Stand” on November 21-22 at 8 p.m., which also features lighting design from Carol Mullins. “We have been performing together since the 1970s,” Paxton said of Nelson, referring to their ongoing partnership as a “dance adventure.” The residency also includes a performance of Paxton’s 1982 solo “Bound,” performed by Slovenian dancer Jurij Konjar on November 14 at 8 p.m. “He is a really incredible technician with great physical energy,” said Paxton.
“Night Stand” and “Bound” are unique choices in that they are not contact improvisation works, although they are built on elements of improvisation intertwined with specific set events. The Walker’s intent is to show different facets of Paxton’s artistry – from improvisation to choreography – during “Composing Forward.” But contact improvisation is still a big part of the conversation. “It is a global phenomenon,” said Bither. “It opened up the idea of movement as a form of participation.”
Contact improvisation transformed the act of partnering. Dancers support one another, exchanging weight, melting into the curves of bodies. Paxton explained that he drew upon research by Dr. Daniel Stern at Columbia University during the early 1970’s that focused on the movement interactions between mothers and babies built upon intimacy, emotional nourishment and reliance on intuition. This movement foundation draws upon innate and common human experiences, which may explain why contact improvisation concepts are so readily embraced by dancers from different cultures.
An egalitarian form, contact improvisation is available to movers of any ability, and adherents hail from a variety of backgrounds, including ballet (local dancer Sally Rousse has been known to do it while wearing a toe shoes and tutu). Asked whether he anticipated contact improvisation’s popularity, Paxton, who witnessed other the blossoming of other movements like Pop Art, said, “I did have a sort of inkling that it was probably going to grow. It grew very quickly by word of mouth. I’ve always conducted my career by word of mouth.”
Paxton, however, is not possessive of his creation. “As long as I’m alive I maintain a position that lets contact just be in the hands of the people doing it. I’m not overseeing it. I feel like that’s a moral position. If you are interested find it and explore it.”
Contact improvisation can be either virtuosic or contemplative but it is always individualistic. According to Paxton, “We’re trained to see dance validated as dance and to see physical exploits. We demand precision and in performance we want to see something spectacular. We want to see the training potential of the body exposed.”
But ironically, he added, this desire can limit movement opportunity. What contact improvisation does is provide an outlet for interaction that can range from the exquisite to the mundane – but is still altogether different from the norm. “We behave in certain ways in public with people,” he said. “We don’t roll around, we aren’t upside down, we aren’t supporting each other[‘s bodies] while we’re having a cocktail or a chat over coffee.”
For a full schedule of Paxton-related events visit www.walkerart.org.
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