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.

Acme Comedy Co. to test the Asian market

Posted by: Neal Justin under Clubs, Theaters Updated: August 5, 2014 - 4:17 PM

Louis Lee (center) surrounded by Acme club regulars. / Photo by Tom Wallace

Acme Comedy Co. is taking its show on the road in the biggest way possible.

Louis Lee, the owner of the Minneapolis club, is taking three comedians to Hong Kong, Singapore and Macau, the first time the Acme brand has traveled outside of North America.

Lee, who is from Hong Kong, thinks there's a lot of potential in an area that is just starting to get a taste of American comedy through movies and TV sitcoms.

"It's like the '80s were over here," Lee said."Beyond bars and restaurants and hotels, there really isn't a place for comedy yet. But I think it's in the early stages of it happening. The main reason I'm doing this is to see how feasible it is and how the media reacts."

Lee purposely picked three comics -- Pete Lee, Tom Segura and Chad Daniels -- who have never performed in the area.

"That part of Asia gets the same 10 or 15 guys all the time," he said. "I want to try to bring something new and generate some interest over there."

No word yet if the frequent flyer miles go to the comedians or Acme.

Minnesota teens tour with Gil Shaham

Posted by: Kristin Tillotson under Classical, Minnesota musicians Updated: August 5, 2014 - 4:28 PM

Four young Minnesota musicians just wrapped a thrilling couple of weeks touring with the National Youth Orchestra, featuring soloist Gil Shaham. Left to right in a photo shot following a concert at Chicago's Millennium Park: Emma Richman, Anna Humphrey, Shaham, Arjun Ganguly and Liam Smith.

Turns out star violinist Gil Shaham isn't just a phenomenal musician. He's also a real mensch, according to four Minnesota teens who just finished performing eight concerts coast to coast with him. Violinist Emma Richman of Minneapolis, violinist Anna Humphrey of Rogers, violist Arjun Ganguly of St, Cloud and percussionist Liam Smith of Minneapolis were among 120 teens chosen to play with the prestigious National Youth Orchestra, a Carnegie Hall-funded program in its second year that auditions youth all over the country and pays for everything but transportation to New York at the outset and back home at tour's end.

Shaham was "the nicest guy, such a joy to work with," Richman said.

"You never know if you're going to get a diva, but he had this amazing way of making eye contact and smiling at everyone in the orchestra while he was playing," said Ganguly, in his second summer with the NYO. "He seemed like he was enjoying every minute of it."

The orchestra’s program included the premiere of "Radial Play," a special Carnegie commission by composer Samuel Adams, Leonard Bernstein’s "Symphonic Dances" from "West Side Story;" Benjamin Britten’s Violin Concerto with Shaham; and Ravel’s arrangement of Mussorgsky’s "Pictures at an Exhibition." The final concert was performed Monday at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

Group seeks mini-movies of the Mississippi

Posted by: Claude Peck under Awards Updated: August 5, 2014 - 3:01 PM

Calling all moviemakers who also love the Mississippi in its urban setting. The Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership has issued a call for one-minute movies and DVDs about the urban river and its surroundings.

For the competition, the Mississippi River has been divided into four categories:

River Gorge: Ford Dam to Washington Ave Bridge
Downtown Riverfront: Washington Ave Bridge to Plymouth Bridge
River North: Plymouth Bridge to Lowry Bridge
Upper Harbor: Lowry Bridge to City Border

Submissions the Minneapolis Minute Film Festival are due by Sept. 4. Judges will view the films and issue awards in each of the above categories. Top movies will be shown at the Partnership's Minneapolis Riverfront Summit on October 20 at Mill City Museum.

Judges are Jesse Bishop, The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul; Ben Heywood, The Soap Factory; Brenda Langton, Spoonriver; Sarah McKenzie, Downtown Journal; Tom Meyer, Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, LTD.

Details about submitting are here. Or at facebook.com/MississippiMinute.

Lincoln Center gig a first for Ragamala

Posted by: Claude Peck under Music, Culture, Dance, Minnesota artists, People Updated: August 5, 2014 - 11:44 AM

Aparna Ramaswamy rehearsed "Song of the Jasmine" in Minneapolis in May, 2014. Star Tribune photo by Elizabeth Flores.

Ragamala Dance gives the New York premiere of its "Song of the Jasmine" at a Lincoln Center Out of Doors performance Thursday night.

The work, incorporaing Ragamala's south Indian dance vocabulary with music by jazz saxophonist and composer Rudresh Mahanthappa, was premiered in Minneapolis in May. It was a commission of Walker Art Center.

Showtime Thursday is 7:30 p.m., at the Damrosch Park bandshell. Admission is free. Ragmala Dance co-founders Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy give a free talk at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Asia Society.

Ranee Ramaswamy, Rudresh Mahanthappa and Aparna Ramaswamy. Star Tribune photo by Elizabeth Flores.

Sims of Doomtree drops first track from "Field Notes"

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider under Music, Minnesota musicians Updated: August 5, 2014 - 10:59 AM
Sims at Doomtree's Blowout VII. / Tom Wallace, Star Tribune

Sims at Doomtree's Blowout VII. / Tom Wallace, Star Tribune

And the hits just keep coming from the Doomtree clan. More than three years since the release of his last album, “Bad Time Zoo,” the crew’s best-haired rapper Sims will drop his latest effort, “Field Notes,” on Sept. 2. He debuted the first track today, “Uh Huh,” which fans will receive as a download for pre-ordering the album.

A rapid-tongued, tumultuous rabble-rouser, “Uh Huh” finds the often topical Twin Cities native railing against finger-wagging conservative Christian groups. Among the lyrics: “Honest to God, none of them are honest to God / They insist that it’s this, or that’s it.”

“Uh Huh” is one of six new tracks featured on “Field Notes,” alongside the previously (but not formally) released Astronautalis collaboration, “This Is the Place.” Distinctively not advertised as an EP – let’s call it a “mini-album” – the seven-track collection will drop in the middle of Sims’ tour with Australian hip-hop trio the Hilltop Hoods. Before that, he’s playing First Avenue once again with Astronautalis on Aug. 23.

"Field Notes" features tracks produced by resident Doomtree beatmakers Paper Tiger and Cecil Otter as well as newcomer ICETEP and a duo known as Plain Ole Arson (Plain Ole Bill + Ryan Olson).

“Field Notes” is the latest in a string of releases coming from the Doomtree crew in the second half of the year. Look for new Mike Mictlan and P.O.S. efforts by the end of the year. The mega-book “Doomtree: Every Single Day” also just arrived. It sounds like the new all-crew album will be out early next year, which we got a taste of last week.

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