Welcome to Artcetera. Arts-and-entertainment writers and critics post movie news, concert updates, people items, video, photos and more. Share your views. Check it daily. Remain in the know. Contributors: Mary Abbe, Aimee Blanchette, Jon Bream, Tim Campbell, Colin Covert, Laurie Hertzel, Tom Horgen, Neal Justin, Claude Peck, Rohan Preston, Chris Riemenschneider, Graydon Royce, Randy Salas and Kristin Tillotson.

Ariana Grande coming March 1 to Xcel Center on her Honeymoon

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider under Music, Concert news Updated: September 10, 2014 - 12:37 PM
Ariana Grande at Xcel Energy Center last December during the KDWB Jingle Ball. / Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune

Ariana Grande at Xcel Energy Center last December during the KDWB Jingle Ball. / Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune

 

Ariana Grande certainly is thinking grandly for her first major North American headlining tour. The former Nickelodeon teen star -- who shot to Top 40 fame over the past year with her singles “Problem” and “Break Free” – will hit Xcel Energy Center on Sunday, March 1, as part of her so-called The Honeymoon Tour.

Tickets go on sale Sept. 20 at 10 a.m. at prices yet to be announced through Ticketmaster and the X’s box office. Prices in other cities on the tour are listed for a $40-$80 range.

Grande already played the St. Paul arena once as part of KDWB’s 2013 Jingle Ball lineup last December – where she was way down on the bill below Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke, Flo Rida and Fall Out Boy. There’s no word yet who will be opening for her this time around. It probably won’t be her “Problem” partner Iggy Azalea, who is similarly taking a big leap as a headliner and already slated to play TCF Bank Stadium on Oct. 17.

The 21-year-old Florida native first transitioned into the pop world with her 2013 debut album, “My Everything,” which was boosted by the Mac Miller-accompanied single “The Way.” Before that, she was best-known for her stints starring in the Nickelodeon series “Sam & Cat” and “Victorious.” Her latest record, “My Everything,” is sitting strong at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart two weeks after its release.

Replacements bring one good dose of thunder to 'Tonight Show'

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider under Music, Late-night TV, Minnesota musicians Updated: September 9, 2014 - 11:53 PM

They didn't get to jam with Keith Richards, but at least they got to raise the ghost of Alex Chilton on national TV.

The Replacements hit "The Tonight Show" on Tuesday night for their first TV gig since reforming with a new lineup a year ago August. Richards was also on the set earlier in the show plugging his new children's book but never mingled with the 'Mats on air.

Introduced by a genuinely excited-looking Jimmy Fallon as a "massively beloved and influential rock band in the midst of their first tour since 1991," the Minneapolis legends tore through their classic 1987 tribute to the late leader of Big Star, "Alex Chilton." Word is the band also played a second song that wasn't aired but will hopefully be posted on Fallon's site later Wednesday.

While bassist Tommy Stinson wore a slick pinstripe jacket and guitarist David Minehan stuck with the kind of plaid suit of Replacements lore, frontman Paul Westerberg looked like he was headed to school with his 16-year-old son Johnny the next day in a plain red T-shirt. He and Stinson exchanged several devilish smiles throughout the performance that suggested they were either having a blast or couldn't wait to be done (50-50 odds).

Having Richards on the set the same night added excitement and speculation among Replacements fans, especially those who remembered that the Minneapolis rockers opened for the British rock legend at his birthday bash with his side band the X-pensive Winos in 1988. Odds weren't good that Keith remembered, though. The musicians did at least get some hang time together backstage.

The build-up to the appearance was peppered with Instagram pics and tweets from the 30 Rock earlier in the day Tuesday, including an excited selfie from the Roots' drummer/bandleader Questlove with Tommy Stinson. It read: "Friggin Tommy Stinson! #TheReplacements return to NBC!!!!! #NewEra! #Legends"

The "Tonight Show's" music booker Jonathan Cohen -- who tweeted last week that he had been following around the 'Mats for a year trying to book them on the show -- sent out this photo of them with Richards. It read, "Keef and the Mats in the hallway after @fallontonight. I am a very happy and lucky fellow."

We're still looking for Westerberg to set up his Instagram account but can't hardly wait.

Beautiful day! U2 fans surprised with free new album Tuesday via iTunes

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider under Music Updated: September 9, 2014 - 3:16 PM
Apple CEO Tim Cook, left, thanked U2 for performing at his launch party and probably saving the world in Cupertino, Calif., earlier today. / AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Apple CEO Tim Cook, left, thanked U2 for performing at his launch party and probably saving the world in Cupertino, Calif., earlier today. / AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Even U2 is copying Beyoncé now. The Irish rock gods just took a page out of the Texan R&B goddess’ book and surprised about a half a billion iTunes customers with a free copy of their new album, “Songs of Innocence,” which won’t be formally released until Oct. 14.

U2 performed the lead-off track and first single, “The Miracle of Joey Ramone,” in front of a bunch of tech geeks at Apple’s big product launch event in Cupertino, Calif., where the iPhone 6 was also birthed with U2-worthy showmanship. Apple announced that the album would be available for download to iTunes customers through Oct. 13, billing it as the biggest simultaneous album release of all time. Check your iTunes queue; it’s probably already there.

To entice fans into still buying a physical copy of the album starting Oct. 14, U2 will also release a deluxe edition of “Songs of Innocence” with four bonus songs plus some acoustic versions of songs on the main album. It’s unclear if the plain white album sleeve being used for art work will be the actual cover of the record. Their last album was 2009's critically lauded but commercially disappointing "No Line on the Horizon."

Rolling Stone got the first chat with Bono about the new disc, which you can read here.

Good vibrations in Toronto for Bill Pohlad's Beach Boy biopic

Posted by: Tim Campbell under Music, Celebrities, Minnesota authors, Movies, People Updated: September 9, 2014 - 12:21 PM

Bill Pohlad, right, directing Paul Dano in "Love & Mercy," in a scene showing Brian Wilson producing the Beach Boys' landmark "Pet Sounds" album." (photo by François Duhamel)

Minneapolis filmmaker Bill Pohlad and pop visionary Brian Wilson got a standing ovation Monday night at the Toronto Film Festival premiere of “Love & Mercy,” the Wilson biopic that put Pohlad back in the director’s chair for the first time in decades.

Early reviews suggest a smash.

The highly influential trade magazine Variety called it a "finely crafted split portrait" -- Paul Dano plays Wilson in his hitmaking prime, while John Cusack represents his older, embattled self -- that is "miles removed from the cookie-cutter approach taken by so many other rock bios."John Cusack with Elizabeth Banks in "Love & Mercy."

"An unusual, moving portrait stuffed with the thrill of music-making," summed up the Hollywood Reporter, adding that Cusack (pictured at right with Elizabeth Banks) "gives one of the best performances of his career."

The Los Angeles Times report echoed a common thread in the reviews -- that while music biopics are typically tedious, "Love & Mercy" is a "refreshing surprise" that breaks the mold and invigorates the form. No doubt part of the credit belongs to screenwriter Oren Moverman, who also scripted "I'm Not There," the kaleidoscopic Bob Dylan portrait that featured six actors portraying different facets of the enigmatic singer/songwriter.

Pohlad told the L.A. writer that he dusted off an old screenplay about Wilson and enlisted Moverman for a rewrite. “If it was just telling young Brian’s story about the music, I don’t know that I would have done it,” he said. “But there were a lot of different levels besides that. On another level it’s about creative genius vs. madness. And it’s also a story of how [his future wife] pulled Brian Wilson out of a deep hole.”

After the disappointing reception of his feature debut, 1990's "Old Explorers," Pohlad kept close wraps on "Love & Mercy," showing it to virtually no one until its premiere Sunday, as he told the New York Times in a piece last weekend.

He also -- cannily, it appears now -- held off on striking a distribution deal for the film. Do we smell a bidding war?

As a side note, I want to mention that our own critic, Colin Covert, had planned to attend Monday's premiere. Regrettably, he suffered a bicycle accident last month but is now recovering at home and eagerly monitoring the news out of Toronto. I can't wait to read Colin's own take on this film.

There's no trailer for the film, so it seems fitting to give Wilson the last word:

 

SPCO names new principal cellist

Posted by: Graydon Royce under Music, Classical, Minnesota musicians, Orchestras Updated: September 9, 2014 - 11:06 AM

Julie Albers has been named Principal Cellist with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Albers officially takes the position next season (2015-16) but will play eight weeks of the season that starts this weekend. Beethoven’s Seventh and Eighth Symphonies are on the program.

Albers will not be unfamiliar to SPCO audiences. She has performed as guest principal many times recently. She is the sister of Rebecca Albers, a violist with the Minnesota Orchestra. With their sister Laura, they perform as the Albers Trio.

Julie Albers was the unanimous choice of the musician’s audition committee. She replaces Ronald Thomas, who left the SPCO in June 2012.

“She is an extraordinary artist and a seasoned professional who will be able to hit the ground running as one of the key musicial leaders of the SPCO,” said Kyu-Young Kim, the orchestra’s Principal Second Violinist and Senior Director of Artistic Planning.

Albers lives in Atlanta with her husband. In a statement, she called the SPCO “a unique and inspiring ensemble.”

The orchestra also has appointed seven guest musicians who will play the 2014-15 season. The SPCO currently has 18 permanent musicians on the roster (including Albers) and an authorized complement of 28. The guests, who are committed to the full season, may or may not become permanent members of the orchestra.

They are: Zachary Cohen, bass, on leave from Milwaukee Symphony; Barbara Bishop, oboe, on leave from Kansas City; violist Shuangshuang Liu and violinist Luosha Fang, both graduates of Curtis Institute; violinist Kayla Moffett from the New World Symphony; Jonathan Cohen, clarinet, a graduate of Juilliard and Sycil Mathai, trumpet with the Knights Chamber Orchestra (New York).

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