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Posts about People

Ssssh! Quiet, we're filming

Posted by: Kristin Tillotson Updated: February 5, 2015 - 12:31 PM

The documentary "The Measure of All Things" features people, places and things that are world-record holders, including Christine "The Dutchess" Walton above for -- obviously -- longest nails.

Sam Green’s film “The Measure of All Things,” showing at Walker Art Center on Friday night, is a documentary about some of the quirkier world-record holders around.There's also a local connection: the anechoic chamber at Orfield Labs, used to test product noise levels. At less than minus-9 decibels, it holds the title for quietest place on Earth.

“People think it’s deep in a forest in Chile or something, but no, it’s in Minneapolis,” Green said. So don’t the sounds made by shooting a movie defeat the purpose of portraying the most silent place ever? “Yeah, that was the challenge,” he said. When he was in the chamber with lab owner Steve Orfield, he heard a clicking noise. “It was the artificial valve in his heart. I could hear my neck turning. That was kind of gross.”

The documentary, screening Friday at 7 and 9 p.m., has a "live" format featuring narration by Green and an original score performed live by former Minneapolis musicmaker T. Griffin, ex-Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty and violinist/vocalist Catherine McRae.

Minnesota Orchestra hires Kristen Bruya as principal bass

Posted by: Kristin Tillotson Updated: February 4, 2015 - 3:24 PM

Kristen Bruya has been named the Minnesota Orchestra's principal bass. Her first scheduled concerts are tomorrow and Friday, Feb, 5 and 6, when she will join the orchestra in a program featuring Dvorak's Symphony No. 9, "From the New World."

Bruya is the first principal musician the orchestra has appointed since the 15-month lockout ended in January 2014.Two other musicians have been hired since then, violinist Cecilia Belcher and bass trombonist Andrew Chappell.

Most recently the assistant principal bass with the Toronto Symphony, Bruya held that position since 2010. Before that, she was a member of the Nashville Symphony for four years. A native of Missoula, Montana, Bruya has also played with the Sante Fe Opera and various chamber groups.She also taught as an adjunct professor at the Unversity of Toronto.

"It's an honor to join the Minnesota Orchestra with its rich history," she said.

 
Bruya succeeds acting co-principals Matthew Frischman and Kathryn Nettleman, both still members of the bass section.
 
 

Locally shot 'Public Domain' film picked up by Landmark

Posted by: Kristin Tillotson Updated: February 4, 2015 - 2:22 PM

Why is this man smiling? Patrick Coyle's movie "Public Domain" has been picked up by Landmark and will premiere here March 27.

Filmmaker Patrick Coyle’s locally shot “The Public Domain” has been picked up by Landmark, and will get its premiere at the Lagoon on March 27, with more cities to follow based on how well it sells here.

The film is about four strangers whose lives are connected by the 35W bridge collapse in 2007. It has also been tapped to screen at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival in April and the Duluth Superior Film festival in June.

Actor Beau Bridges plans to attend the premiere to see his daughter, Emily Bridges, who plays one of the lead roles.

“The Public Domain” is the second movie to wrap production that has received legacy-amendment public money from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, through a reimbursement program administered by the Minnesota Film & TV board Independent Filmmaker Project Minnesota. In order to qualify for up to $175,000, films have to be set in the state and/or have a strong Minnesota focus.

The first project to receive legacy dollars, “The Jingle Dress,” written and directed by William Eigen, is about an Ojibwe family who moves from a northern reservation to Minneapolis. It opens this Friday at St. Anthony Main.

'American Sniper' widow to share her perspective at Beth El Synagogue

Posted by: Colin Covert Updated: January 20, 2015 - 2:55 PM
Bradley Cooper received an Academy Award nomination for his role as Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in "American Sniper." Keith Bernstein/AP

Bradley Cooper received an Academy Award nomination for his role as Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in "American Sniper." Keith Bernstein/AP

Both "American Sniper," coming off a near-record breaking $90.2 million opening for the three-day weekend, and "Selma," which earned $26.4 million since opening wide three weeks earlier, are history-based films that deal in myths.

"Selma" triggered criticism for portraying President Lyndon Johnson as a slow supporter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s campaign for black voter rights. Similarly, "American Sniper" has made substantial alterations from its source material, the best-selling memoir by the late Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle. The film shows Kyle fighting a former Olympic marksman in a sharpshooters' battle to the death, though the two never encountered each other in real life. It also created a fictional Iraqi terrorist who murders children with electric drills. Film star, screenwriter and director Seth Rogen on Twitter said it reminded him of a fictional Nazi propaganda film.

Kyle's wife, Taya Kyle, who was interviewed extensively by screenwriter Jason Hall, will share her insights about her husband’s experiences in battle and on the home front, and about the film version of his life story, in an event Feb. 8 at Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park.

Jim DeFelice, co-author of "American Sniper," will appear as well at the 7 p.m. event, a part of the synagogue's Heroes Among Us series. Admission is $18 for members of the military, $36 for the general public, $100 for reserved seating and $360 for a VIP meeting with the special guests.

A portion of the proceeds will help underwrite the synagogue’s Minnesota National Guard unit support initiative, benefiting the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade, the 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter, and the 204th Area Support Medical Company.

Beth El Synagogue is located at 5225 Barry St. W., St. Louis Park.

Dianne Hill-Hines dies from cancer at age 67

Posted by: Graydon Royce Updated: January 14, 2015 - 2:21 PM

Dianne Hill-Hines as "Mother Goose" at Children's Theatre Company in 1995 (with Robbie Droddy and Cassie Fox). Photo by Rob Levine.

Dianne Hill-Hines “never thought of herself as God’s gift to the stage,” said Gary Gisselman, who directed Hill in many theatrical productions. “But she was. She could sing and act, she had great warmth and you could put her in any role and she’d be terrific.”

Hill-Hines, 67, was a longtime presence in the Twin Cities theater scene under the name Dianne Benjamin-Hill. She died Monday of cancer at N.C. Little Hospice in Edina.

“She was everything I wanted to be,” said Molly Sue McDonald, a veteran actor and singer who counted Hill as a close friend. “There was something about Dianne. She had that gift you can’t describe that made you want to watch her.”

Hill-Hines was born in Aberdeen, S.D., with an early love for theater. After receiving an MFA in Theatre at Wayne State University in Detroit, she moved with her then-husband to Los Angeles. After a divorce, she relocated to the Twin Cities.

She and actor Jim Cada dated for years while they were both working with Actor’s Theatre of St. Paul.

“She had a lot of trust from actors and directors,” Cada said. “She took it very seriously — a real pleasure to work with backstage and on stage.”

Actor Sally Wingert, who notably worked with Hill-Hines in “Blue Window” at Actor’s Theatre, considered her a mentor.

“I idolized her,” Wingert said. “She was really gorgeous and such a good actor — just a beautiful, wicked sense of comic timing but also very heartfelt.”

 She was one of the top performers at Chanhassen from 1977-85. Gisselman remembered her appearances in “Hello Dolly” (There has never been a better Irene Molloy,” he said), “Beyond Therapy” and “Blithe Spirit.” She also filled in for Susan Goeppinger in “I Do, I Do” for eight months and “Quilters,” which ran for 12 months in 1984-85.

Hill-Hines also acted at Old Log, Mixed Blood and other theaters locally.

For several years in the late 80s and 1990s, Hill-Hines stepped away from the stage to raise her son, Matt.

“She was definitely a hands-on mother,” said her husband, Paul Hines of Minnetonka. “We used to tell her that eventually she couldn’t accompany Matt wherever he went, especially to school. But she got a bus pass and got on the bus with him for the first day. True story.”

She returned to the stage at Children’s Theatre Company, where she developed a strong kinship with director/choreographer Matthew Howe. Hill-Hines played the Wicked Witch in two productions of “The Wizard of Oz” and also performed in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Pippi Longstocking” in 2001 under Howe’s direction.

“Dianne brought so much to the rehearsal room and the stage,” Howe wrote in an email from Vancouver, B.C., where he now teaches. “She had talent, a generous heart, and a deep love and appreciation for those she worked with.”

Paul Hines said that in recent years, Dianne worked in the Hopkins school district with special-needs children.  She also spent recent summers working for friends who owned Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre Company. She and Twin Cities actor Clyde Lund performed “On Golden Pond” there in 2013.

In addition to Paul and Matt Hines, Hill-Hines is survived by her mother, Doris Evenson, stepchildren Brad Hines and Lesli Launer Hines and four siblings. Her life will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday, at All Saints Lutheran Church, 15915 Excelsior Blvd., Mtka., with visitation one hour before the service.

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