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Posts about Behind the scenes

Textile Center in Minneapolis seeking new director

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: March 21, 2014 - 5:04 PM

The Textile Center in Minneapolis is seeking a new executive director following the resignation of Tim Fleming after 18 months in the post. Fleming succeeded founding director Margaret Miller who retired in June 2012.

"Our plan right now is to hire an interim director, and we're hoping to name someone within the next couple of weeks," said board chair Donna Peterson, a retired University of Minnesota associate vice president for government and community relations. "We really have not had time to decide what we want in an executive director, so we want to take our time and be sure to do it right."

The organization's programs and $831,000 annual budget are stable, Peterson said. Fleming simply resigned "to pursue other opportunities" she said.

"We just had a benefit fund raiser to celebrate our 20th birthday fund raiser and exceeded our goal," said Peterson. The organization hoped to raise $20,000 with the gala, but brought in $22,000. 

The Center at 3000 University Av. S.E., runs an exhibition gallery and a shop selling hand-made clothing and textile crafts, and offers lectures, classes and other programs in the textile arts ranging from weaving, crocheting and basketry to fabric design and dying. It's classrooms and facilities serve members of 40 craft guilds throughout the state. 

Workshop to offer advice on how to get a gig at MN music venues

Posted by: Jon Bream Updated: March 18, 2014 - 3:48 PM

St. Paul musician Martin Devaney/ Star Tribune photo by Richard Sennott

Didn’t make it to South By Southwest to find out how to navigate through the music business?

Well if you’re a musician looking to land a gig at the 7th Street Entry, Aster Cafe or some other music venue in the Twin Cities, then check out the Minnesota Music Coalition Wednesday workshop on “The Do’s and Don’ts of DIY Booking.”

Panelists include Nate Kranz (general manager of First Avenue & 7th Street Entry), Sage Dahlen (booker for Cedar Cultural Center), Michael McGregor (agent Hello! Booking), Dana Thompson (booker for Aster Cafe) and touring songwriter Martin Devaney.

The workshop begins at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Landmark Center in St. Paul.

The event is pay what you can.

For information, go to www.mnmusiccoalition.org.

Principal clarinetist Burt Hara resigns from Minnesota Orchestra

Posted by: Graydon Royce Updated: March 14, 2014 - 12:16 PM

Burt Hara, the principal clarinetist, has resigned from the Minnesota Orchestra. Hara had led the clarinet section in Minnesota since 1987 until he took a position as associate principal with the Los Angeles Philharmonic last May. He grew up in California.

Orchestra musicians apply for a year's leave of absence when they go to another ensemble, in case they wish to return. For example, Hara took a position as principal with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1996 and returned to Minnesota after a year.

Hara, 51, had requested, and was granted, a one-year extension from Minnesota in February. He told the orchestra at the time that he expected to make a decision sooner than 2015. He notified the orchestra this week and the players were informed on Thursday.

When he took the L.A. position last May, Hara said he was looking forward to working with conductor Gustavo Dudamel, the charismatic leader of the Philharmonic. "It's time to look to the next chapter," he said at the time.

In a letter to musicians, Hara said he decided not to return because he believes "the current leadership does not have the vision to restore the Orchestra to its place among the great orchestras of the world."

In a statement, the orchestra said: "Burt Hara is an outstanding clarinetist and we thank him for his many years of service and contributions in Minnesota. He will be greatly missed. We wish him and his family the very best on their new lives in southern California."

Orchestra spokesperson Gwen Pappas said that of eight musicians who requested leaves of absence in 2012-13, four have elected to return to the orchestra -- Ken Freed, David Pharris, Robert Dorer and Tim Zavadil. Three still have time left on their leaves -- Tom Turner, Michael Gast and Peter McGuire. Gina diBello resigned to take a position with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Stephanie Arado left outright for a teaching position at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan.

Gremlin gets its groove back

Posted by: Graydon Royce Updated: March 10, 2014 - 1:18 PM

Suzanne Warmanen, left, and Sara Richardson in "A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur."


Gremlin Theatre has turned lemons into lemonade for a production of "A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur." The small company had to shut down its run of the Tennessee Williams play last week at a St. Paul house rented from St. Clement's Episcopal church. Turns out the occupancy status of the house did not allow a theatrical production and negotiations with the city proved futile.

However, the show will go on, at Open Eye Figure Theatre in Minneapolis. Susan Haas, Open Eye's producing artistic director, offered Peter Hansen's company the use of an apartment space that is in the same building as Open Eye's theater. Hansen said the room, which Haas and Michael Sommers use as a workshop studio, will work perfectly. There's even a working kitchen in the back.

Jef Hall-Flavin directed the show, with a cast of Suzanne Warmanen, Sara Richardson, Jane Froiland and Noe Tallen. "Creve Coeur" is a late work from Williams that re-explores many of the themes of earlier plays. It's a one-act set in 1930's St. Louis.Hall-Flavin's production will move to the Williams festival in Provincetown, Mass., in September.

Gremlin's production opens at 7:30 Thursday and runs through the weekend (4 p.m. Sunday). The second week's performances run Wednesday through Sunday, with the same curtain times.

Go to gremlin-theatre.org for more information.

Gremlin's production of "Creve Coeur" derailed

Posted by: Graydon Royce Updated: March 7, 2014 - 1:12 PM

Something seemed amiss Thursday night as we approached the "Blue House" next to St. Clement's Episcopal Church for the opening of Gremlin Theatre's production of "A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur."

There were no lights on in the house and nary a soul walking up the steps. A handwritten note on the door confirmed our suspicions: the performance had been canceled because of "Unforeseen Circumstances." Oh well, I hadn't had the pleasure of driving on St. Paul's city streets this winter so the trip was well worth the disappointment.

Gremlin's artistic director, Peter Hansen, said Friday morning that Gremlin found out that the "occupancy and the legal status of the Blue house were not what we believed them to be when we rented the facility from St. Clement's."

Hansen said several days of negotiations with the city of St. Paul and St. Clement's failed to resolve the problem. Gremlin has suspended all ticket sales for the production, which is still targeted to bow at the Tennessee Williams Festival next fall in Provincetown, Mass. Jef Hall-Flavin directed the short late-career piece.

Gremlin is still mulling options for a Twin Cities production before that time. Hansen said in an email Friday morning that "I have never experienced anything like this." Gotta feel sorry Peter, one of the truly nice guys in Twin Cities theater. He's currently performing as C.S. Lewis in "Freud's Last Session" at the Guthrie studio. It might have been tough Thursday night keeping focused on that while Gremlin had to cancel its opening. Just to make absolutely clear, this event has no impact on the Guthrie production.



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