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Walter Cronkite may be most closely tied to CBS, but that doesn't mean his name can't be associated with great journalism from other networks.
KARE, the Twin Cities' NBC affiliate, was named a winner of a Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Politcal Journalism. The station was honored for its coverage of the marriage equality debate, a project that also include members of Minnesota Public Radio.
"KARE's strength is in its storytelling," the judges said in their report. "Coverage was fair, balanced and deeply personal."
Other winners include ABC's Martha Raddatz for her work moderating the vice-presidential debate and ABC's Jonathan Karl for his analysis during the primaries.
The first annual Windham Campbell Prize winners were announced Monday by Yale University, and they include three playwrights familiar to dedicated Twin Cities theatergoers.
The prize awarded $150,000 to each of nine writers, three in fiction, three in nonfiction and three playwrights. The winners in drama -- Naomi Wallace, Stephen Adly Guirgis and Tarell Alvin McCraney -- all have been produced locally, with the strongest Twin Cities connection coming via Pillsbury House Theatre in south Minneapolis.
In the last two years, Pillsbury House produced or co-produced (with the Guthrie and Mount Curve Company) McCraney's "The Brothers Size" and "In the Red and Brown Water," each directed by Marion McClinton..
Above, Marion McClinton directed Tarell McCraney's play "In the Red and Brown Water," starring Christiana Clark, right, in 2011. / Star Tribune photo by Tom Wallace.
In 2003, Pillsbury House produced Guirgis' prison drama "Jesus Hopped the A Train," directed by Stephen DiMenna, and starring James A. Williams, who also appeared in "The Brothers Size."
Playwright Naomi Wallace was produced here in 2000, when Frank Theatre staged her play "The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek," directed by Wendy Knox and starring Andre Samples and Lisa Belfiori, pictured below.
The Windham Campbell Prize is named after late writer Donald Windham and his partner Sandy Campbell. The monetary prizes are reported to be the largest in the world for writers. The fiction winners are James Salter, Zoe Wicomb and Tom McCarthy. The nonfiction winners are Jonny Steinberg, Adina Hoffman and Jeremy Scahill.
Namir Smallwood and James A. Williams in "The Brothers Size" at the Guthrie Theater. / Photo by Michal Daniel
Abe Diaz, left, during rehearsals for Oscars ceremony. Photo by Richard Harbaugh/A.M.P.S.
Minnesotans didn't exactly clean up at the Academy Awards--unless you count Abe Diaz, a recent graduate of Duluth East High School, who graced the stage Sunday night at least three times, including the moment when First Lady Michelle Obama announced "Argo" was named best picture.
How did the 18-year-old end up standing next to Ben Affleck, George Clooney and Jack Nicholson in front of over a billion viewers?
He was one of six winners of the "Oscar Experience College Search," a new program that allows young, aspiring filmakers to replace those leggy models who traditionally helped usher out winners after their acceptance speeches.
In addition to being part of film's biggest night, Diaz spent a full week in Hollywood, visting the Disney animation studios and getting an invite to the Governor's Ball.
It was there that Affleck took time from all the backslapping to talk to Diaz.
"He gave us an inspirational pep talk about not giving up and not taking crap from anybody," said Diaz, who is currently studying at DePaul University in Chicago. "He told us we could tear Hollywood down."
During rehearsals and other events, Diaz got to meet John Travolta, Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep and Joshua Gordon-Levitt, who offered up his own brand of advice.
"I told him I was a chemistry major instead of a film major," Diaz said. "He suggested I watch this film, 'Primer' because it was directed by a science major."
Ralph Rapson Hall at the University of Minnesota
Five finalists will show their ideas for an art project to be installed this summer on the plaza of the Minneapolis Convention Center. The winner will be picked Wednesday, Feb. 27 by a professional jury during a public presentation at the University of MInnesota's Rapson Hall.
The winner must demonstrate artistic excellence and be temporary, interactive, site-specific and eco-focused. It will also have to be some sort of "portal," and evidence "creative-placemaking." The Art-in-the-Plaza project is sponsored by the Minneapolis Convention and Visitors Association in partnership with the Mayor's office, Minneapolis City Council and the city coordinaro's office.
The five finalists are:
"LakeForms" by Futures North. Described as a "digitally fabricated pavillion that emerges from the Convention Center plaza," LakeForms is a multi-sensory environment that will provide info about the city's lakes using audio and visual information gathered from "smart buoys" in the city's lakes.
"Mimmi," by INVIVIA in collaboration with Urbain_d/rc. Described as a "visiting organism," Mimmi sounds like a city-wide mood ring. According to its prospectus, the "organism" will "collect and reflect the aggregate mood of Minneapolis, changing in color, shape, and climatic behavior depending on residents' emotions."
"MPLS rope densCITY," by JeFe Design Collective. This one is a big swing made of discarded rock climbing rope from which visitors can, well, swing.
"You Are Here," by Krause + Sowinski. Dubbed a "meta-map," this project will "strengthen the downtown pedestrian experience," by using a "giant red arrow," to connect the Convention Center to downtown.
"RIPPLE" by Locus Architecture. Framed by 20 ft. tall steel "fronds" capped by LED lights, this outdoor "room," will somehow be activated by weather. It will be a "venue for serendipitous meetings betweeen residents and artists, vistors and aspiring gymnasts."
Check out the finalists and watch the judging:
Wednesday, February 27, 5:30 p.m. with reception to follow, free. Ralph Rapson Hall, University of Minnesota, 89 Church St. S.E., Minneapolis. Map: http://www1.umn.edu/twincities/maps/RapsonH/
Justin Lansing and Joe Mailander of the Okee Dokee Brothers were stylin; with their Grammy and bowties.
Associated Press photo/ Matt Sayles
Speeches, media opportunities and, of course, parties.
After Minneapolis’ own Okee Dokee Brothers returned to their L.A. hotel on Sunday night with a Grammy for best children’s album, Joe Mailander was in typically mellow mood., “Everything went smooth," he said with the comforting tone of a kid's music singer ."People were kind. It was a comfortable experience.”
As for winning the trophy for “Can You Canoe?” in the pre-telecast ceremonies, well, “we were pretty surprised,“ he admitted.
Then the Okees – Mailander and Justin Lansing, childhood buddies from Denver who moved to Minneapolis in 2007 – went through the media gauntlet that is the Grammys. In each tent, they held a new not-to-be-kept Grammy for about one minute as they posed for photos or answered question.
The most unusual question? “They asked us where we got our bowties,” Mailander said. “Most people wear black bowties to the Grammys. Apparently, ours stood out. They were flannel striped and plaid. So I gave a shout-out to St. Paul and Heimie’s Haberdashery.”
The Okees will receive their official Grammys, with their names engraved, at a later date.
During the telecast ceremonies at Staples Center, the Okees sat close to the stage, on the side. For Mailander, the musical highlight was the all-star tribute to the Band’s Levon Helm featuring Elton John, Mavis Staples, Alabama Shakes and Mumford & Sons.
At the big Recording Academy after-party, the Okees, who are in their mid-20s, retreated to the room featuring a jazz band because “it had a more laidback vibe.”
Did the Okee Dokee Brothers meet anyone famous during their whirlwind weekend in L.A.?
“We sat next to Noam Pikelny from the Punch Brothers,” Mailander said. “We’re big fans of the Punch Brothers. He’s no Beyonce. But to us, he’s the best banjo player there is.”
The Okee Dokee Brothers are scheduled to return to the Twin Cities on Monday because they will perform at 10 and 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Mall of America. On Thursday, the duo is at Edinborough Park in Edina and Saturday at the Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis’ Linden Hills area.
The Grammy isn’t going to change the Okee Dokees, Mailander said. “I don’t think there’s an arena anywhere in our future.”