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.

Burning the midnight oil

Posted by: Graydon Royce under Theater, Behind the scenes, Minnesota artists, Minnesota authors Updated: September 11, 2014 - 10:45 AM
Photo by Ann Heisenfeldt

As host of “A Prairie Home Companion,” writer Garrison Keillor works up to the Saturday performance deadline, tinkering with his script. Playwright Garrison Keillor knows that will not work in the theater – although he’s pushing things as far as he can with “Radio Man,” at the History Theatre in St. Paul.

Keillor delivered a significant rewrite on Wednesday. An aide delivered the copy to director Ron Peluso, who leafed through a few pages and muttered something about “having a heart attack.” But he put on his best smiling face when the playwright arrived at rehearsal for the show, which opens Sept. 27.

"You've been busy," Peluso joked when Keillor arrived at rehearsal a little later. In an interview, Keillor said he felt he owed it to the actors to be finished with the script by Saturday – which coincidentally is the opening show of the 40th annniversary season of “A Prairie Home Companion.”

Keillor mentioned this Saturday deadline to Peluso as they walked into the rehearsal hall after a break. “Saturday? I was thinking maybe tomorrow,” the director said. They agreed on Friday and then got back to work.

David Bowie exhibit and documentary gracing the Midwest

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider under Music, Museums, Openings + closings Updated: September 11, 2014 - 9:04 AM

It’s been 10 years since Minnesotans last saw David Bowie in person at his breathtaking Target Center concert, and who knows if and how long we’ll ever see him again. A couple upcoming to-do’s could give local fans a nice little fix in the meantime.

Lagoon Cinema in Uptown will screen the new documentary, “David Bowie Is,” on Sept. 23 (info and tickets here). Check out the movie trailer below. The new film is timed to the opening – also Sept. 23 -- of a new exhibit of the same name a half-day’s ride away from the Twin Cities at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Fans will have until January to make the trek to see it there.

Both the movie and the exhibit are centered on the British rock legend’s fashion and imagery, and they originated last year at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. The Guardian said of the exhibit at the V&A, “[It] transforms the human being into a mutant, the pop star into a poet, the pin-up into a culture vulture who prepared for his career, according to an early Decca press release, by 'reading through The Oxford Companion of [sic] Music, memorising much of it.' "

More Bowie news: Two new songs will be packaged into a new career-spanning anthology, “Nothing Has Changed,” which drops Nov. 18.

Playwrights' Center announces line-up of new play festival

Posted by: Rohan Preston under Theater Updated: September 10, 2014 - 5:34 PM

The Playwrights’ Center has announced the line-up of its 31st annual PlayLabs festival, which runs Oct. 20-26 at its facility in Minneapolis.

The series, in which plays get staged readings and other developmental work, kicks off with Sarah Gubbins’ “Cocked,” about conflicts and gun ownership. “Cocked” is directed by Playwrights’ Center head Jeremy Cohen.

The PlayLabs roster also includes Ken Urban’s “The Absence of Weather,” which limns defense secretary James Forrestal’s fall from the pinnacle of power during World War II to being hospitalized for mental issues a few years later. Lee Sunday Evans directs.

PlayLabs includes Philip Dawkins’ “Le Switch,” about issues that swirl in the life of a commitment-averse gay man in the age of marriage equality.

The festival concludes with a showcase of works by winners of fellowships from the Jerome and McKnight foundations.

The center also has announced five plays in its Ruth Easton new play series. For the first time, each work will have two readings.

The Ruth Easton line-up kicks off with “Forget Me Not When Far Away,” by Kira Obolensky (pictured). The play revolves around a presumed-dead veteran who returns to his hometown after a decade away. He is stuck in his Don Juan ways even as folks in the town have moved on (Dec. 8-9).

Qui Nguyen’s “Dust” also will get a staged reading. “Dust” is about the 16-year-old daughter of an American G.I. and Vietnamese mother who comes to live with her paternal family in Arkansas (Jan. 12-13, 2015).

George Brant’s “Marie and Rosetta” revolves around Sister Rosetta Tharpe, a pioneering guitarist and gospel music songwriter who influenced many notable music stars, including Ray Charles, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley (Feb. 2-3, 2015).

The Ruth Easton series also includes Idris Goodwin’s “The REALNESS: the second break beat play,” which tackles issues of authenticity in love and art. It revolves around a suburban young man who has come to the inner city to immerse himself in hip hop (March 2-3, 2015).

Kathryn Walat’s “Romeo & Naomi Ramirez,” which concludes the series, orbits a rookie cop and an honors English student in Florida (Aprl 6-7, 2015).

All events are free but reservations are encouraged. 612-332-7481 or online.

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.


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