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If you had hoped to see director Steve McQueen at his sold-out Walker Art Center filmmaker's interview Saturday evening, you have another chance.
In fact, you can meet with him even before the Walker crowd.
McQueen will appear Saturday afternoon at the Regal Brooklyn Center Stadium 20. He'll answer questions from the audience following 12:30 p.m. showing of "12 Years a Slave."
Local bloggers recently expressed concern that people of African descent would be underrepresented at the Walker event and said they hoped the museum would ask McQueen to schedule a second session in a "community space."
The theater is located at 6420 Camden Av. N., Minneapolis. Tickets, available online here, are the standard $8 for adults, $7.50 for senior and child admission.
One of the greatest British bands of all time and one of rock’s most baffling/botched career stories, the Stone Roses are the subject of a new documentary that – true to form – is making a bit of an odd go-around in movie theaters this week.
“The Stone Roses: Made of Stone” will be shown in Marcus Theaters around the country on Wednesday night, with encore presentations a week later (Nov. 13). In Minnesota, however, Marcus doesn’t have much of a foothold in the Twin Cities. The film was initially scheduled to screen in Elk River, Hermantown, Waite Park and Oakdale, but not in Minneapolis or St. Paul. Click here for info and tickets for those showings.
This is one rock doc that definitely deserves to be seen in a theater. Even for those of us who caught one of the Roses’ only two U.S. appearances at Coachella in April – personal fanboy note: I made the trip on my own dime almost exclusively to see them – watching “Made of Stone” still feels like a special occasion. And a funny coincidence: I watched it this past weekend after also seeing My Bloody Valentine live at Wilkins Auditorium on Friday, another band from across the pond that took a 20-year-hiatus.
Directed by British feature filmmaker Shane Meadows (“This Is England”), the Roses documentary weaves between the Manchester rockers’ initial 1983-1993 run and their first round of reunion gigs last year. Footage of the quartet’s early years is more amusing than it is eye-opening of their genius. In it, we see singer Ian Brown sporting Dick Butkis-like haircuts instead of his signature shaggy look, and the entire band looks just a few paying gigs away from becoming petty thieves.
The various explanations for what went wrong in the early-'90s give the movie a little extra purpose, but the story is still murky. A long court battle with their first record company is the primary culprit. Personalities also clearly played a role. Personal habits probably did, too, but that’s not really addressed in this “sanctioned” bio doc. One of the big surprises of the film is that the members actually seem to like each other and have fun together. But that only adds to the confusion.
“Made of Stone” goes to a whole other level once it gets to the reunion footage. The on-screen performances are gorgeously filmed and just as impressive musically. If anyone went looking for a guitar god from the '80s/'90s U.K. scene, here's vivid proof it'd have to be John Squire.
The reunion half of the movie starts with a surprise gig at a historic 2,000-capacity hall near Manchester, where the fans’ manic excitement is palatable. It ends with scenes from the band’s triumphant, three-night, festival-like run in Manchester’s Heaton Park. In between, the band rolls across Europe, and – spoiler alert – things did not turn out quite so rosy on that trek.
The film ends on something of an opaque cliff-hanger note, one that leaves you wondering if the Roses’ reunion will be short-lived and as tumultuous as before. That adds to the intrigue of “Made of Stone” in a storytelling sense -- but also in a this-might-be-as-close-as-you-get-to-seeing-them-live sort of way.
Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o and Chiwetel Ejiofor in "12 Years a Slave," which gets its area premiere at Walker Art Center Wednesday.
When a prominent arts organization presents events themed around an important era for a specific demographic group, how much responsibilty does it have to ensure that a fair number of that group has access? That's one of the questions being raised by several Twin Citians who posted an "open letter" to the Walker on the commentary blog opineseason.com.
The writers, including poet/ activist Chaun Webster and north-Minneapolis artist Jeremiah Bey Ellison, expressed concern that Walker Art Center has not done enough outreach to give African-American people equal access to its sold-out regional premiere of "12 Years a Slave" Wednesday, and a Nov. 9 discussion with its director Steve McQueen, also sold out.
The letter calls the movie, based on the true story of a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery, "one of the most highly recognized, fully Black cinematic collaborations in the history of film.
"We are concerned...that peoples of African descent, whose ancestors’ lives and histories were disrupted by the slaveocracy, will be largely underrepresented in the audience. Our position is that equity is not just about the diversity in the art being shown but the material work of creating greater access to exhibitions to ensure that audiences are representative of the subject matter."
The letter goes on to suggest that promotional efforts by the Walker, whose audiences tend to be mostly white, could do better at ensuring "that audiences are representative of the subject matter."
"Over the years we have become acutely aware of the way that art institutions are guided by an exceptionalism that will welcome works of art by select artists of African descent and other historically marginalized groups but will largely have little to no relationship with members of those communities. This in no small way contributes to the issue of representative audience," the letter continues.
"When white-dominated spaces, often of a homogenous class, bring work like McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave in, they in many ways manage the narrative and the way that it gets interpreted."
The entire letter and posted responses may be read here.
“We don’t question the intentions of the Walker, we just think they haven’t made the necessary effort,” Ellison said in an interview. “They have some pretty cool relationships with arts organizations that work with people of color and they could have maybe done a better job of using that.”
A lack of inclusion can become a form of exclusion, he said, citing his experience working as a political organizer on the campaign of his father, Rep. Keith Ellison. “You learn that if you don’t actively engage a marginalized community, you can’t blame them if they don’t show up at the polls to vote for you.”
Asked by the Star Tribune for a response, the Walker sent this statement:
"The Walker’s retrospective of the film works of Steve McQueen launches October 30 with the first regional screening of 12 Years a Slave. This viewing will be followed by additional screenings of McQueen’s previous films Shame and Hunger and will culminate with a dialogue between McQueen and Stuart Comer, curator at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, on November 9 addressing McQueen’s renowned visual arts practice and his more recent feature films.
"These programs were announced broadly, and after a short presale to Walker members, the dialogue and 12 Years a Slave sold out to the general public in a matter of days. Tickets to Hunger and Shame are still available. Unfortunately the Walker’s agreement with the film distributor prohibits additional screenings of 12 Years a Slave since it will be released in commercial theaters in the Twin Cities two days later, on November 1.
"The Walker appreciates and respects the voices of concern expressed by members of our community regarding questions of access to and representation of diverse audiences. We agree that this is a worthy and important topic for broader discussion within our arts community and we welcome this dialogue."
Ellison said he and his fellow letter writers hope that the Walker will consider asking director McQueen to schedule "another conversation in a community space, or invite more of the community into their space."
Poet Robert Bly is the subject of one of four documentaries that got finishing funds from MNFilmTV through legacy money. Photo by Renee Jones Schneider.
The only kind of funding harder for indie filmmakers to get than start-up money is finishing money -- for that least sexy but oh-so-necessary step, post-production. That's why local moviemakers are encouraged by the Minnesota Film and TV Board's reimbursement grants,made possible through the Legacy Amendment.
The four 2013 winners are Dominic Howes, Al Milgrom, Mike Scholtz and Norah Shapiro. Each project -- they're all documnetaries -- will be reimbursed for 50% of post-production costs, up to a limit of $80,000.
Howes' " Robert Bly: A Thousand Years of Joy," is a portrait of the prominent Minnesota poet and social critic. Milgrom's "The Dinkytown Uprising" chronicles the two-month occupation of the social-change hotbed of a neighborhood in 1970.
Shapiro looks at what happens to a Tibetan-American teen who goes to the Himalayas to compete in a beauty pageant in "Miss Tibet: Beauty in Exile." Scholz's "Wicker Kittens" tells the story of the country's largest jigsaw puzzle competition, held each January at the St. Paul Winter Carnival.