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.

Twin Cities 'Idol' contestant Mark Andrew is a familiar 'Voice'

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider under Music, Minnesota musicians, Television Updated: January 21, 2015 - 2:08 PM

Mark Andrew was at a loss Tuesday afternoon when he realized -- while talking to an inquisitive journalist -- there isn’t a lot that could be asked of him right now. That’s because the one-time contestant on NBC’s “The Voice” back under the thumb of network TV land as a contestant on Fox’s “American Idol.” He’s on the show starting (and probably not ending) with tonight’s episode from this summer’s Minneapolis auditions. All details of his going-ons from here on out are under lock and key until they air on Fox.

“We can talk about… well, not a lot,” he finally admitted with a laugh.

The Eden Prairie-reared, Minneapolis-based rocker -- age 29 and  full name Mark Andrew Pudas -- had a brief run on “The Voice” in 2013 after landing on Team Shakira with his soulful version of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.” One thing he could talk about was how he believes he has an advantage this time around thanks to his prior experience on a TV sing-off.

“It’s still always nerve-racking to get up there [in front of judges], but I think it definitely helps having a little more confidence this time,” he said. “The cameras don’t make you as nervous, and you aren’t as intimidated by the famous people in the room.”

Mark was the second contestant on “The Voice” after Nicholas David who cut his teeth with the White Iron Band, the beloved Twin Cities country-rock group co-led by Mark’s older brother Matt Pudas. He played guitar with them and sang backup for a few years, often taking the lead to sing The Band’s “Up on Cripple Creek” at gigs. He has been performing on his own as Mark Andrew since his “Voice” stint. That’s in addition to working in his family’s construction business and raising his now 6-month-old son, Hank (all laid out in the profile video posted above). He thinks another TV gig can only further his momentum toward becoming a full-time musician.

“Being on ‘The Voice’ opened a lot of doors for me and got me into playing bigger venues, and I’m ready to keep growing that,” he said.

Mark got into the Minneapolis “Idol” auditions via the back-door using his industry connections and thus didn’t go into them with blind luck. He said he sang two songs for the judges, "both pretty classic." We’ll find out tonight how he fared (7 p.m., Fox, locally at Channel 9 KMSP).

Two days, twice over: Rock the Garden 2015 scheduled June 20-21

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider under Music, Concert news Updated: January 21, 2015 - 12:53 PM
Fans spread out over two days at last year's Rock the Garden concert outside Walker Art Center. / Monica Herndon, Star Tribune

Fans spread out over two days at last year's Rock the Garden concert outside Walker Art Center. / Monica Herndon, Star Tribune

Walker Art Center’s big, 89.3 the Current co-sponsored summer music fest Rock the Garden will be a two-day event for the second year in a row. The Walker just announced the dates for the 2015 installment, June 20-21, and promised to announce the lineup of performers on March 31. Tickets will go on sale April 2 for Walker and Minnesota Public Radio members, and to everyone else April 7.

Thanks in part to the addition of the second day, last year’s lineup with Spoon and De La Soul for headliners was the first time in several years the tickets didn’t sell out right away. Organizers were nonetheless happy with the results, since the additional day of music amounts to an additional day of revenue over the same set-up costs whether it’s a one-day or two-day event.

A majority of last year’s 11,000-per-day tickets were sold as single-day tickets rather than two-day passes, which also opens up more chances to bring in new members with the added ticket availability. Both the Walker and Current are non-profit organizations use the rock fest as both a fundraiser and a memberhip-generator. Get more info on becoming a Walker member here, or an MPR member here.

“The key word here is still ‘benefit,’ ” Doug Benidt, the Walker’s assistant curator of performing arts, said last year about making it a two-day event. “Doing it this way is for the greater benefit of both organizations.”

'American Sniper' widow to share her perspective at Beth El Synagogue

Posted by: Colin Covert under Culture wars, Funding and grants, Movies, People, Red hot, Seen elsewhere: Neat stuff, Tickets Updated: January 20, 2015 - 2:55 PM
Bradley Cooper received an Academy Award nomination for his role as Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in "American Sniper." Keith Bernstein/AP

Bradley Cooper received an Academy Award nomination for his role as Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in "American Sniper." Keith Bernstein/AP

Both "American Sniper," coming off a near-record breaking $90.2 million opening for the three-day weekend, and "Selma," which earned $26.4 million since opening wide three weeks earlier, are history-based films that deal in myths.

"Selma" triggered criticism for portraying President Lyndon Johnson as a slow supporter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s campaign for black voter rights. Similarly, "American Sniper" has made substantial alterations from its source material, the best-selling memoir by the late Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle. The film shows Kyle fighting a former Olympic marksman in a sharpshooters' battle to the death, though the two never encountered each other in real life. It also created a fictional Iraqi terrorist who murders children with electric drills. Film star, screenwriter and director Seth Rogen on Twitter said it reminded him of a fictional Nazi propaganda film.

Kyle's wife, Taya Kyle, who was interviewed extensively by screenwriter Jason Hall, will share her insights about her husband’s experiences in battle and on the home front, and about the film version of his life story, in an event Feb. 8 at Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park.

Jim DeFelice, co-author of "American Sniper," will appear as well at the 7 p.m. event, a part of the synagogue's Heroes Among Us series. Admission is $18 for members of the military, $36 for the general public, $100 for reserved seating and $360 for a VIP meeting with the special guests.

A portion of the proceeds will help underwrite the synagogue’s Minnesota National Guard unit support initiative, benefiting the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade, the 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter, and the 204th Area Support Medical Company.

Beth El Synagogue is located at 5225 Barry St. W., St. Louis Park.

New Kids on the Block, old dogs Mötley Crüe returning to Xcel Center in 2015

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider under Music, Concert news Updated: January 20, 2015 - 11:54 AM
New Kids on the Block announced their latest tour this morning in New York. / Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

New Kids on the Block announced their latest tour this morning in New York. / Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Two concerts for nostalgia-seeking Generation X-ers were announced by Xcel Energy Center this morning.

MÖTLEY CRÜE (Aug. 5): They really mean it this time. The Crüe will return to Xcel Energy Center on Aug. 5 on what it’s calling the “last leg” of its final tour. Tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster and the arena box office for $20-$125, same price range as the band’s other final show there in November. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Alice Cooper will once again be the opener.

Vince Neil lit up for a change when the Crue played Xcel Center in November. / Aaron Lavinsky, Star Tribune

Vince Neil lit up for a change when the Crue played Xcel Center in November. / Aaron Lavinsky, Star Tribune

That November show (reviewed here) made up for a decade of mostly lackluster Crüe shows in the Twin Cities with an inordinate amount of fire, musically and literally speaking. The band kicked off its final tour last spring and will keep going through 2015, with their final final show scheduled on New Year’s Eve at Staples Center in their native Los Angeles.

A big show for Twin Cities metal fans of a more modern, less hairspray-covered ilk, Atlanta’s thrashing prog-rock favorites Mastodon also just announced another date at Myth in Maplewood on April 16 with ‘90s crunch-rock vets Clutch as a co-headliner. Those tickets also go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. through AXS.com for $29.50. The Myth gig is the first date on the so-called Missing Link Tour, which will also feature Seattle’s Big Business for an opening band.

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK (May 20): The '80s boy band is still hanging tough after rebounded to arena status with a 2008 comeback tour and will once again play the X on May 20, this time with a pair of classic R&B/hip-hop acts for openers, Nelly and the two surviving members of TLC. Dubbed the Main Event Tour, the shows will have a couple different pre-sale ticket offers starting Friday. Tickets for the St. Paul date go on sale Jan. 31 at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster and the arena box office for $29.50-$91.50.

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