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Internationally known Minneapolis photographer Alec Soth has produced a limited edition of 100 prints (above) whose sale will go to support the Soap Factory, a non-profit Minneapolis arts organization that showcases experimental projects in a former factory warehouse. This summer Soth staged a "slide show" review there at which participants in his Summer Camp for Socially Awkward Photographers explained and exhibited their own work.
Soth's own work has garnered international attention for the past decade at the 2004 Whitney and Sao Paulo biennials, in 2008 shows at the Jeu de Paume in Paris and the Photomuseum Winterthur in Switzerland, and a 2010 retrospective at Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. While his gallery and museum career perks along, Soth uses the book format to tell stories in pictures. At regular intervals he turns out small editions of books and magazines that quickly become collector's items including "Sleeping by the Mississippi," (2004); "NIAGARA," (2006), "Fashion Magazine," (2007); "Dog Days, Bogota," (2007); "The Last Days of W," (2008); "Broken Manual," (2010). For the past five years he's been devoting a lot of attention to quirky publications issued through his publishing firm, Little Brown Mushroom.
The Soap Factory print is roughly 12 inches wide by 9 inches tall and will be issued in an edition of 100. Cost $400. Orders can be placed through the Soap Factory here.
Dan Wilson was a special guest for the New Standards holiday show Saturday at the State Theatre. His brother, Matt, is always a guest at the New Standards Christmas gigs, now in their eighth year. And, of course, John Munson is a member of the New Standards. You’ll recall that the Wilson brothers and Munson comprise three-fourths of Trip Shakespeare, a beloved late 1980s/early 90s Minneapolis band.
Well, the New Standards had an extra-special guest Saturday. And we’re not talking about St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman on bagpipes, though he was part of the mix. Standup drummer Elaine Harris returned to the Twin Cities for the first Trip Shakespeare live performance in 20 years.
It was only two songs – “Susannah” and “Snow Days,” which has been a part of the New Standards holiday show every year. But it was an extra-special moment.
Trip Shakespeare seemed a bit tentative on the first number but it was glorious to hear “Snow Days” by the ensemble that originated it – with the full blown New Standards orchestra pitching in at the end. What a treat to see New Standards’ Chan Poling, who in 2013 famously recorded the first Suburbs album in 27 years, sharing the piano with Dan Wilson, the now famous Grammy-winning songwriter who has worked with Adele, Pink and Taylor Swift, to name a few.
As Munson said, “that represents 20 years of begging” for a Trip Shakespeare reunion.
No one could have topped that trump card, but guests Dessa, the media darling doing her own rap/sung rewrite of “My Favorite Things,” came close, and Coleman’s kilt-clad bagpipe performance (as part of a quartet of pipers) added a new dimension to the Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York,” which the New Standards had done for Christmas before.
Sweet-voiced Dan Wilson sang two new songs – his current single “Disappearing” and a country-tinged holiday ditty, “Are You Lonely Tonight, Mrs. Claus?” Matt Wilson offered an oldie, “Don’t Worry Baby,” that had been made famous by some other Wilson brothers, the ones in the Beach Boys. Too bad Matt started this in such a high key.
Most other guests were familiar to folks who’ve been to previous New Standards holiday shows, which were always at the Fitzgerald in St. Paul. Jeremy Messersmith, Haley Bonar and Aby Wolf did solo vocal turns. Tim Frantzich recited a Robert Bly poem, and Timothy Young ,in what may have been his first New Standards holiday appearance, delivered an original poem, “He Has the Whole World in His Hands.” Veteran Minneapolis soul and jazz man Maurice Jacox, another New Standards newbie, also sparkled in his role as Marvin Gaye.
Rupert, a fixture at New Standards concerts year round, danced in a devil’s outfit – which was easily the highlight of his holiday dance career and the dance highlight of Saturday’s show (the dancers always seem forced and under-rehearsed).
As for New Standards themselves, they did their distinctive readings of tunes by the Replacements, Leonard Cohen and Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks with stand-out work by vibes ace Steve Roehm.,And, most importantly, the trio closed with Poling’s original “Christmastime Next Year,” which deserves to be the first contemporary holiday tune to become part of the seasonal songbook since Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” in 1994. Maybe Dan Wilson could pitch Poling’s piece to one of his superstar friends so the rest of the world can hear it.
The New Standards will take their holiday show to Rochester, St. Cloud and New York. But first the trio has another performance at the State Theatre on Sunday night. Wonder if we’ll get a Suburbs reunion?
The Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra have added a performance to their concert at Northrop Auditorium next May. Osmo Vanska previously had agreed to conduct the orchestra in a program marking the reopening of the auditorium, which was once the home of the Minneapolis Symphony.
That concert, on Friday, May 2, sold out within 48 hours so the musicians have added the second performance, on Sunday, May 4, at 2 p.m. Featuring Dvorak's New World Symphony, the 1812 Overture and Liszt's Concerto No. 1 for Piano, the program replicates the first Northrop concert of the old Symphony.
Tickets go on sale at noon, Dec. 16.
Taylor Swift/ Star Tribune photo by Kyndell Harkness
You will hear lots of familiar names when the Grammy nominations are announced Friday night during a primetime special -- the over-titled “The Grammy Nominations Concert Live – Countdown to Music’s Biggest Night” --- starting at 9 on Ch. 4. (Performers include Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Robin Thicke, Miguel, Keith Urban, T.I., Lorde and Earth, Wind & Fire.)
Swift, Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars had three of the biggest-selling albums of the eligibility period, Oct. 1, 2012-Sept. 30, 2013, and they will receive lots of nominations. But not all the key nominations will be as predictable as you think.
Why? Because the nominees in the Big Four categories are chosen by a blue-ribbon industry panel, not the Recording Academy members, who vote on nominees in all other categories. The blue-ribbon panel has had a habit of reflecting of critical and/or hip tastes every once in a while. Hence, names like Kendrick Lamar and Kacey Musgraves might show up as finalists, especially for best new artist.
Here are one person’s predictions for the nominees in the Big Four contests. Winners will be announced at the 56th annual Grammy Awards on Jan. 26.
BEST NEW ARTIST
Lorde, the New Zealand teen who told us we’d never be “Royals,” should make the finals along with Imagine Dragons, the drum-beating, hit-making rockers from Las Vegas, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, the Seattle crew that enjoyed some of the biggest mainstream rap hits in years. From country music, it’ll either be crossover “Cruise” hitmakers Florida Georgia Line or clever singer-songwriter Musgraves, who won the best new artist at last month’s CMA Awards. The other slot could go to either stand-out rapper Lamar or U.K. soul/pop songbird Emeli Sande – or both. Maybe there will be six finalists instead of the usual five.
Outside shots: Ariana Grand, Ed Sheeran, Phillip Phillips and Of Monsters and Men.
RECORD OF THE YEAR
Even though it was one of the year’s biggest records, Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” won’t make the cut because of the controversy and lawsuits that he allegedly cribbed parts of this tune from Marvin Gaye. The Grammys don’t need another tainted winner like Milli Vanilli, the lip-synchers who won best new artist in 1989 and then had the trophy taken away. So I’m going with Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” Lorde’s “Royals” and one of Macklemore’s big hits – either “Thrift Shop,” the popular choice, or “Same Love,” the artistic and politic choice (though it might have a better shot at song of the year). That leaves two more slots to fill, with Mars’ “When I Was Your Man” probably grabbing one and perhaps Pink’s “Just Give Me a Reason” or Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” snaring the other.
Outside shots: Timberlake’s “Mirrors,” Perry’s “Roar,”Aviici’s “Wake Me Up,” Kanye West’s “New Slaves” and Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble.”
SONG OF THE YEAR
Remember, this is a songwriter’s prize whereas record of the year honors a single. Got that? Oftentimes, this category mirrors record of the year but not always. “Same Love” will likely get a nod here. Same with “When I Was Your Man” and “Royals.” “Just Give Me a Reason” should make the cut, too. Look for Rihanna’s “Stay” – which doesn’t have a chance for record of the year – to receive recognition here.
Outside shots: The Band Perry’s “Better Dig Two,” Musgraves’ “Merry Go Round” and Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven.”
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Swift’s “Red” and Timberlake’s “20/20 Experience” were not only the two top sellers but they are artistically respected. Ditto for Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox,” the No. 4 seller. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Heist” is a likely finalist, which would give them nominations in all of the Big Four. But the panel might swing more toward West’s bold and controversial “Yeezus” as the year’s top hip-hop effort. The panel always seems to show some love for critically loved indie-rock acts, so Vampire Weekend’s “Modern Vampires of the City” could get a nod.
Outside shots: Drake’s “Nothing Was the Same,” Musgraves’ “Same Trailer Different Park,” Lamar’s “Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City” and Civil Wars’ “Civil Wars.”
A scene from "Dear White People," a movie shot in the Twin Cities that will screen at Sundance in early 2014.
Two indie films shot in Minnesota have been accepted by the 2014 Sundance Film Festival for screening in the U.S. Dramatic Competition, the prestigious fest's most prominent category.
The social satire "Dear White People," about a group of black students at an Ivy League school, and "Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter," based on the true story of a Japanese woman who came to search for the money buried in snow by Steve Buscemi's character in the Coen Brothers' fictional "Fargo," will both be shown at the fest held each January in Park City, Utah.
"Kumiko," which one of its producers, Edina native Jim Burke, characterized as "a teeny-weeny little movie" before shooting began in late 2012, is already being buzzed about on film websites. It stars Rinko Kikuchi ("Pacific Rim," "Babel") and was made by another pair of writing/directing brothers, David and Nathan Zellner.
"Dear White People," directed by first-timer Justin Simien and starring Tessa Thompson and Tyler Williams, was shot just a few months ago at locations including the University of MInnesota, the Woman's Club of Minneapolis and Summit Ave. in St. Paul. It is the first film to have been certifed by the latest version of the Snowbate incentive intended to attract more moviemaking to the state. The Minnesota Film & TV Board got $10 million in Legacy funds for Snowbate earlier this year.
The two Minnesota-made movies will be keeping some lofty company. Stars featured in the 14 other films in the U.S. Dramatic category include Philip Seymour Hoffman, Anne Hathaway, Kristen Stewart, Lena Dunham and Mark Ruffalo.
Out of more than 4,000 films submitted, 67 will be shown in Sundance's four competition categories, part of 117 to be screened overall. Sundance is drawing out the announcements of the rest of the films through Dec. 10, so there may be more with Minnesota connections to come.
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