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Oh, Starkey night: celebrities coming to St. Paul

Posted by: Aimee Blanchette Updated: July 17, 2014 - 11:54 AM

Celebrities from near and far are expected to attend the Starkey Hearing Foundation's 14th Annual "So the World May Hear Gala" this Sunday at the St. Paul River Centre. A handful of A-listers usually come to town for the event, which raises money to provide hearing aids to people in need around the world.

Some of the confirmed stars who will be in St. Paul include: former first lady/Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Forest Whitaker, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Adrian Peterson, Paul Molitor, Dave Winfield, Greg Jennings, Shannon Elizabeth, Verne Troyer and Marlee Matlin among others.

John Legend,  Rob Thomas and Sammy Hagar are a few of the VIPs scheduled to perform throughout the evening. Comedian Norm Crosby is hosting the event.

Gala organizers usually keep the names of a few famous faces under wraps, so there's no telling if other stars plan to grace the red carpet. Want to catch of glimpse of the star-studded hoopla? The celebrities will be walking the red carpet outside the Kellogg Boulevard entrance from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

The Starkey Foundation is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. The annual fundraiser raised more than $8 million last year.

(Photo above by Jeff Wheeler: Actor Forest Whitaker arrived on the red carptet before the gala in 2013.)

Patrick Scully's Walt Whitman show premieres

Posted by: Claude Peck Updated: July 11, 2014 - 1:06 PM

Patrick Scully poses as poet Walt Whitman. Star Tribune photo by Jeff Wheeler.

POST BY CAROLINE PALMER, SPECIAL TO THE STAR TRIBUNE

Sometimes the best way to learn about an artist is through the perspective of another artist. With  “Leaves of Grass – Uncut” Patrick Scully summons  the radical spirit of 19th-century poet Walt Whitman. Over the course of the show, which had its first performance Thursday night as part of the Fresh Ink Series at the Illusion Theater, we learn that the two men have much in common when it comes to defying rules and embracing life.

Scully assumes the role of Whitman, talking through his life story, railing against the puritan morals of his day, lauding the love of other men, extolling his contemporaries (Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oscar Wilde) and reading excerpts from his works. Whitman, as portrayed by Scully, is a confident man who explains how he would code his language to escape the wrath of a rabidly homophobic society. Despite these efforts, Whitman’s works were banned and critics were quick to denounce him with their harshest words, which is hard to imagine today given the significant influence and great beauty of his writing.

But Whitman was undeterred by these obstacles, which explains why he is such a hero to Scully, a proud rabble-rouser himself. With “Leaves of Grass – Uncut” Scully creates an onstage world that Whitman would have appreciated. Seventeen men dance together in tender, sensual and playful moments. In the opening scene they strip down entirely to bathe, setting the tone for an evening about relationships between men and how society has sought to deny them.

The movement itself is based in contact improvisation, which emphasizes the intuitive give and take of dancing with another person. Scully’s company members take great care to support and inspire one another. Kevin Kortan makes an appearance as Whitman’s lover Peter Doyle and in one of the work’s more poignant moments they discuss the poet’s refusal to use the pronoun “he” (instead using “she”) in his writing to describe their passionate relationship. Scully shows us that Whitman wasn’t always so bold.

The Fresh Ink series provides opportunities for artists to try out new ideas. Scully still has some work to do with tightening up the production – there are a couple of false endings – but it is a heartfelt salute to Whitman. Without this daring poet’s soaring words and his willingness to take risks in a hostile era, we may never know what it means to “sing the body electric.” Scully is the perfect caretaker for Whitman’s legacy.

“Leaves of Grass – Uncut” continues through Sunday, July 13 (8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 7 p.m. Sun). Illusion Theatre, Cowles Center, eighth floor, 528 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls. $14-$19, 612-339-4944 or illusiontheater.org.

Minneapolis Institute of Arts hires new curator of Native American art

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: June 30, 2014 - 5:04 PM

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts has hired Jill Ahlberg Yohe to be Assistant Curator of Native American Art in the department of Africa and the Americas. Ahlberg Yohe, who will start work in Minneapolis on August 4, comes from the Saint Louis Art Museum where she has been an assistant curator of Native American Art since 2013 and a Mellon Fellow since 2011. She replaces Joe Horse-Capture, former associate curator of Native American Art, who moved to Washington, D. C. in May 2013 for a post at the National Museum of the American Indian.

Ahlberg Yohe earned a doctorate in cultural anthropology at the University of New Mexico with a dissertation on "The Social Life of Weaving in Contemporary Navaho Life." Previously she was a visiting assistant professor of anthropology at Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA. She co-curated the exhibition "Mother Earth, Father Sky: Textiles from the Navajo World," which is currently on view at the St. Louis Art Museum.

Ambitious makeovers for local moviehouses

Posted by: Colin Covert Updated: June 24, 2014 - 2:20 PM
Photo: Science Museum of Minnesota.

Photo: Science Museum of Minnesota.

Local theaters are keeping up with the Joneses, and with the latest technology, in a round of significant renovations and upgrades.
 
The Science Museum of Minnesota is preparing to convert the William L. McKnight-3M Omnitheater from film to IMAX’s next-generation digital laser projection. The 370–seat St. Paul venue will be the first IMAX laser dome theater in the world, promising images with greater brightness and clarity, a wider color spectrum and inkier blacks.
The Omnitheater will close Sept. 2 – Oct. 3, reopening with “Flight of the Butterflies.” New carpeting and seats will be added next year, and the auditorium will begin testing the new laser projection system.
 
The St. Anthony Main Theater is in the midst of ongoing renovations. On Wednesday installation of its new rocker seats will be complete. With added aisle space, the five-plex’s capacity dropsfrom 1,000 to 790. As improvements continue through the fall, owner John Rimarcik promises refurbished “carpet, decor, and a new concession stand. It’s going to look like it did when it opened 35 years ago,” he said, including repairs to the existing marquee. After consulting with theater sign specialists in Los Angeles, he said, he opted to keep a consistent retro look from the lobby to the original marquee, “with the individual letters put up with sticks.” The theater’s digital projection and sound were upgraded in March and June of 2013.
 
The humongous Great Clips IMAX Theatre at the Minnesota Zoo Is upping its game as well. It recently added IMAX’s incandescent-bulb digital projection technology to complement the existing IMAX 70mm film projection system. The film setup will remain at least through November for the release of celluloid purist Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar.” The 550-seat Zoo boasts the largest screen in the state, 63 by 86 feet, with a projection surface equivalent to the side of a seven story building. 

Adopt Films scores U.S. distribution rights to Cannes Palme d'Or winner "Winter Sleep"

Posted by: Colin Covert Updated: June 23, 2014 - 5:58 PM

Adopt Films, the art house distributor founded in Minneapolis, has acquired all U.S. rights to the 2014 Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or winner, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “Winter Sleep.” 

Ceylan's strange and powerful films examine the dark side of human nature in a broad range of tones, from the bone dry comedy of early Jim Jarmusch to the spiritual angst of Ingmar Bergman. The Turkish writer/director is an unparalleled Cannes darling. His last five features have screened in competition at the festival, and each has scored big. In 2003 “Distant” won the Grand Jury Prize (Cannes’s second-place award) as well as Best Actor for its two stars. 2006’s “Climates” won the FIPRESCI Prize. In 2008 “Three Monkeys” won Best Director. 2011’s “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia” also won the Grand Jury Prize. 

Set in starkly beautiful rural Anatolia, “Winter Sleep” (whose title might be more strictly translated as “Hibernation”), is a Chekhov-inspired portrait of an ill-natured hotel owner (Haluk Bilginer) gradually dealing with the harm his hard-heartedness has caused to his family and world.

Adopt Films president Tim Grady said, “A film like this, so rich with ideas, dazzling dialogue, and intelligent characters, is one that is instantly unforgettable.” It’s slated for release during the year-end awards season.

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