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.
Who says news is dead? Not the folks at Fox corporate who announced Wednesday that it's adding 29.5 hours of local news a week in nine markets.
That includes KMSP, Fox 9, which will account for four hours of the increase. Starting July 13, the Twin Cities station will air news shows from 10-11 a.m. and 10:30-11 p.m. on Sundays.
The more significant change will occur in early September, when Fox 9 adds a 6-6:30 p.m. news program Monday through Friday.
Other markets adding programming include Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Phoenix, Charlotte, Memphis, Atlanta and Austin, Texas.
"Uninformed critics say big companies are cutting local news," said Jack Abernethy, CEO for Fox Television stations. "However, the opposite is true at Fox. We are expanding in a big way."
The game of musical chairs continues at "Twin Cities Live." Steve Patterson, a member of the KSTP newsroom since December 2013, has been named co-anchor with Elizabeth Ries. He starts July 21.
Patterson may be new to the area, but he's been a favorite of the station's owners for years. The Hubbard family previously used him on its Reelz Channel as a host and reporter.
Patterson replaces Chris Egert, who moved to the morning desk this past February.
There’s a new alternative to the alternative-rock-flavored FM radio stations in the Twin Cities, but it sounds a lot more mainstream than either the indie-centric 89.3 the Current or even the harder-rocking 93X.
Clear Channel Radio debuted its new outlet Alt 93.3 FM Friday morning with very little marketing fanfare and no on-air commercials. The station’s playlist seems geared toward 20- and 30-something male rock fans who don’t venture too far from the iTunes top 20 or strip-mall record stores, with such arena-level acts as Coldplay, the Black Keys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Imagine Dragons, Green Day, Foo Fighters, Muse, Kings of Leon and Mumford & Sons.
Some of the more truly “alternative” acts spun so far -- acts prone to hear on 89.3 the Current (89.3 FM) -- has included Modest Mouse, the Raconteurs, Arctic Monkeys and Beck. On the other hand, the station has also spun Fall Out Boy, Bastille, Young the Giant, Foster the People and Bleachers, acts that edge toward Clear Channel’s top 40 station KDWB (101.3 FM). Some of those same acts have also been heard more and more amid the more youth-oriented format shift on Clear Channel’s “adult alternative” station, Cities 97 (97.1 FM). And then there’s the similarity to competitor 93X with such metallic acts as Linkin Park, Bush and Alien Ant Farm.
Browsing the playlist on Twitter, it seriously looks like not a single female artist has been played on the station yet.
Calls to local Clear Channel staff for more insight have not been returned. Laden with layoffs in recent years, Clear Channel did not send out any notice to press on the debut and appears to have a skeletal on-air staff for Alt 93.3. The station’s website, which is barely up and running, also lists it as 93.3 “The Edge,” which was also the previous name of 93X during the ‘90s and is an oft-used radio format moniker slapped on FM stations from Dallas to Anchorage.
The local 93.3 FM frequency that Clear Channel took over was previously listed as belonging to the Educational Media Foundation, and it was used as a Christian music and Hmong station with only a .8 mile broadcasting radius out of Shoreview. Clear Channel upped the wattage, but reception of the new station was still spotty just a few miles south of downtown Minneapolis.
Stanley E. Hubbard, a radio pioneer who created one of the most successful broadcasting companies in history, will be inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.
Hubbard, who passed away in 1992, put the Twin Cities on the map when he launched WAMD, airing the popular dance show "Where All Minneapolis Dances." He later went on to create what many believe is the first regularly scheduled daily news broadcast.
Other inductees include Charlie & Hannigan, Barry Farber, Jon Miller, Agnes Moorehead, Dick Orkin and "This American Life" with Ira Glass.
Ceremonies will be held Nov. 9 in Los Angeles.
What has happened since progressive bluegrassers Nickel Creek took an indefinite hiatus seven years ago?
Creek frontman Chris Thile won a MacArthur genius grant and made major musical noise with the Punch Brothers, Yo-Yo Ma and others. Creek fiddler/singer Sara Watkins won lots of fans with regular appearances on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” and two solo albums. And guitarist/singer Sean Watkins built his resume by forming Fiction Family and the supergroup WPA with Glen Phillips, Benmont Tench and others.
When the reunited Nickel Creek hit the stage Sunday at the sold-out State Theatre, the fans reacted like they were witnessing the return of a beloved boy-band. Screams, whistles, shouts – nothing usually associated with bluegrass groups, even one celebrating its 25th anniversary (they started as tweens).
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that 89.3 the Current has been showing love for Nickel Creek’s reunion album, “A Dotted Line,” tunes from which were the focus of the nearly two-hour performance. Or maybe a new generation has simply gotten hooked on bluegrass/folk from Trampled by Turtles and the Punch Brothers. Sunday's crowd was a mix of 20-something hipsters, graying bluegrassers and plenty of people in between.
Supported by bassist Mark Schatz, Nickel Creek was in good spirits, good form and good humor. Thile playfully boasted about the group’s ability to create great titles for instrumental songs. He rated “Scotch and Chocolates” an A-plus, dissed “Smoothie Song” and bragged about “Ode to a Butterfly” and especially the brand new “The Elephant in the Corn.”
Concertgoers could have bragged about the band’s instrumental prowess, especially the versatility demanded with all the stylistic shifts during the musical maze that is “The Elephant in the Corn.”
Nickel Creek has always been about Thile’s expert mandolin work, Sara’s fine fiddling, the three-part vocal harmonies and musical creativity.
Sean’s “21st of May” was a witty reflection on the doomsday predictions for the Darkness that never transpired. Sister Sara’s “Anthony” was a witty ditty dripping in irony with humor that evoked Nellie McKay and harmonies that suggested the Roches.
A version of Mother Mother’s “Hayloft” was all bouncy indie-rock with a jagged fiddle solo and an intense Nirvana-evoking mandolin break. It was followed by “The Fox,” a traditional workout that might have prompted fans to promenade and dosey-do if there had been room to square dance. Instead, people just clapped in cadence.
The high point may have been the finale, Sara’s rendition of Sam Phillips’ “Where Is Love Now.” It’s a pretty, sad song, with so much loneliness in Sara’s slightly breathy voice with a hint of vibrato. The chorus was dark and Beatley. If Paul McCartney had been a woman writing a country plaint, it might have sounded like this truly special piece.
Opening the concert were the delightful Secret Sisters. In conversation, Laura Rogers came across like Melissa McCarthy only more self-deprecating and less loud but just as funny. In song, the sisterly harmonizing Laura and Lydia Rogers were similarly clever, packing emotional punch in such new numbers as "Bad Habit" and “Good Luck, Good Night, Goodbye.”
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