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, 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.
Minnesotans don't usually have a fighting chance to get cast in reality shows -- with one exception: The most popular one in the country.
It's just not this country. "Alt for Norge," Norway's top reality series, loves casting Midwesterners for its program that's a lot like "The Amazing Race," with Norwegian-Americans competing in challenges for cash prizes and a chance to meet relatives they didn't know existed.
Last season, three of the 12 contestants were from the Twin Cities and one-third of those who were callback finalists came out of the Minnesota open call.
Now comes the chance to audition for season five. There will be an open casting call at the Executive Center at Mall of America from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sautrday, Dec. 21. Anyone can aply as long as you are an American with Norwegian ancestry (even a little bit counts) You must also be over 18 and have never traveled to Norway.
You can get on the VIP list by emailing email@example.com. You can also apply online at oconnorcasting.tv/index.php/norway/.
Star Tribune photos by Renee Jones Schneider
Bravo for iHeartRadio, the much-hyped but little-listened entity of Clear Channel Media. That brand was responsible for the significant upgrade in the production quality of KDWB’s Jingle Ball 2013 on Tuesday at the X.
Giant video screens with live action, slick graphics, flamethrowers, indoor fireworks, confetti cannons and even a revolving stage platform, which made this the most efficient Jingle Ball ever (eight acts in 3 ½ hours, not the usual five-hours-plus).
There was one annoying aspect of the production, though – the playing of TV commercials (like teens care about furnace repairs) instead of music video clips between acts. Leave the commercials (KD DJ Big D’s daughter Hailey may be cute but seeing her seven or 10 times was too much) for the radio – when we can change the channel.
In my review in the paper, there wasn’t much space to discuss anyone beyond Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke, the main attractions.
So here are some thoughts on the other acts:
Fifth Harmony, the female vocal quintet from TV’s “X Factor,” displayed nice hair, four quality singers but no charisma. These young women seemed stiff and manufactured.
Austin Mahone, a 17-year-old YouTube sensation from Texas and Justin Bieber wanna-be, manifested more swag than genuine talent.
Accompanied by four dancers but no live musicians, Nickelodeon-launched Ariana Grande (below), wearing a short skirt featuring a holly pattern, came across like a pint-sized Mariah Carey, complete with the breathy,
affected vocal gymnastics but minus the va-voom personna. With her big voice, Grande has potential but, considering that she’s only seven months younger than Cyrus, well, everyone matures at her own pace.
Backed by an eight-person band, Jingle Ball returnee Enrique Iglesias unleashed his sex appeal for a fast-paced 17 minutes of invigorating, Latin-tinged dance-pop.
Fall Out Boy, those emo rockers from Chicago, thrilled the few guys in the arena with "Thanks for the Memories," "The Phoenix" and "Alone Together," though this band is starting to sound more professional than punky.
Flo Rida (below), the hard-working rapper from, of course, Florida, shifted the party into overdrive with such sing-along hits as "Good Feeling" and "Whistle," which featured a dancing, present-delivering Santa Claus, wearing a giant "HoHoHo" pendant. For his finale, Flo removed his shirt to show off his famous tattoos while three dozen Minnesota girls danced around him onstage as he implored them to "Turn Around."
Actor Danielle Wade, who plays Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz" at the Ordway Center, traded her ruby slippers for a ruby-colored hard hat Tuesday as she joined other members of the cast and crew on a Habitat for Humanity build. Actually, the cast split up into two crews, one working on a home in St. Paul, the other in Crystal.
Wade (pictured above, right) was with ensemble members Anthony MacPherson and Kelly Grainger worked on the house in Crystal, a three bedroom home that will be sold to a family with five children. The home-building is part of a national campaign called "There's No Place Like Home" that Habitat has launched in conjunction with Warner Bros. The campaign coincides with the 75th anniversary of "The Wizard of Oz," which was released in 1939.
The "Oz" cast and crew did similar volunteer work with Habitat in Los Angeles, where the tour started, and hopes to do similar work in other U.S. cities as the tour works its way across the country.
"The home in Crystal will probably be finished in the spring," said Habitat communications manager Matt Haugen. "The families are always excited to move into their homes, especially since they put sweat equity in this home. A partnership like this with the cast brings attention and more volunteers. The message of 'The Wizard of Oz' resonates with ours. It takes brain, courage and heart to make all of this happen."
"Oz" plays at the Ordway thru Dec. 29.
Here’s a quick roundup of some late-winter and spring concerts announced over the past couple days:
*St. Vincent will tackle her biggest local venue yet, the State Theatre, on April 3. Tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. for $25-$29.50 through Ticketmaster and the State box office. The experimental Dallas art-rocker's new self-titled album is set to arrive February 25. The first single from it, “Birth in Reverse,” is posted below.
*Ex-Minneapolitan Bob Mould will return March 4 to the Woman’s Club Theatre of Minneapolis on a short acoustic tour tied to the 25th anniversary reissue of “Workbook,” his first solo album and last recording as a Minnesotan. Tickets go on sale Friday at noon via First Ave outlets for $25. He’s expected to play "selections from the record" (not the whole thing) and other songs that fit the "Workbook," um, mold, with only bassist Jason Narducy for accompaniment.
*Christian rocker TobyMac is bringing his “Hits Deep” tour to Xcel Energy Center for Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, with guests Brandon Heath, Mandisa, Matthew West and Matt Maher. Tickets are $22-$42 and go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster and the X box office.
*We can’t seem to get their regular band to play anywhere close to town, but Phish bassist Mike Gordon will follow his bandmate Trey Anastasio’s lead and play a solo date here March 11 at the Varsity Theater. Tickets ($25) go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. via Ticketfly.com. Gordon's new album, "Overstep," is due Feb. 25 via ATO Records. Anastasio is already set to play First Ave on Feb. 4.
*Loungey jazz-pop favorites Pink Martini return to play the Fitzgerald Theater on March 5, with $40-$65 seats on sale Friday at noon via Ticketmaster or the Fitz box office.
*Underrated fuzz-pop darlings the Dum Dum Girls will play an April Fool’s gig on April 1 at the Triple Rock, on sale via First Ave outlets Friday at noon for $15. Their latest Sub Pop album, “too True,” arrives Jan. 28.
*Landing on quite a few year-end lists with their sophomore album “Hummingbird,” Los Angeles indie-rockers Local Natives will return to First Ave on April 6. Tickets ($22) go on sale Friday at noon.
The lineup is still coming together, and performers themselves will not be announced until April. Tickets will be sold at that time as both two-day and single-day passes. Prices have not yet been determined (last year’s were $49). As always, members of the Walker and Minnesota Public Radio will get first dibs. All 10,000 tickets have sold out in recent years faster than you can imitate Mark Wheat pronouncing “Messersmith.”
A membership drive first and foremost, RTG also brings in money to its co-producing nonprofit organizations. The 2012 party with the Hold Steady for headliners, for instance, profited about $32,000 after $690,000 in expenses. Since part of the annual costs is setting up the stage in front of the Walker’s grassy knoll and prepping the grounds – one-time expenses that are the same whether it’s a one-day or two-day event – the 2014 installment should thus be all the more profitable with a second day to make money.
Still, there are risks with this doubling-down bet. The first day of RTG 2014 will go up against the long-awaited return of 89.3 the Current favorite Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds at the State Theatre. First Avenue is also still considering the launch of its inaugural outdoor festival at Parade Athletic Fields in July, which could steal some of RTG’s thunder.
Working to RTG’s advantage this year, however: It will not go up against Bonnaroo in Tennessee this year like it did last year, which cut out 100-plus prospective acts for them to bring to the garden party. Bonnaroo is scheduled the weekend before, June 12-15.
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