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Garrison Keillor has yet to receive a Kennedy Center Honor, but at least he got invited to this year's bash.
Keillor paid tribute to inductee Lily Tomlin Sunday night in Washington D.C., praising the actress who starred in his film adaptation of "A Prairie Home Companion."
"People who adore Lily Tomlin ask you if you know her, and if you do, they want to know if she really is who we imagine she is," Keillor said. "And she really is."
Following Keillor's remarks, the stage was taken by Jane Lynch, Kate McKinnon, Reba McEntire and Jane Fonda who performed a spoken-word performance piece dedicated to Tomlin.
Not bad company.
Backstage, Keillor shared a dressing room with David Letterman and Steven Spielberg.
In a phone interview Monday, Keillor said Letterman appeared to be under the weather and was very focused on his presentation while the Oscar-winning director was "very friendly and chatty." Spielberg asked Keillor if anyone had ever thought about doing a movie based in Lake Wobegon. Keillor replied that he had talked to Sydney Pollack about it, but it didn't go anywhere.
Just before the ceremonies, Keillor was among the guests invited to the White House for dinner.
"I sat in the East Room in a spot where I could see the president's teleprompter," Keiller said on Monday. "His ad-libs were beautiful. He's a funny, funny guy and I got a chance to tell him that."
Other honorees -- singer Al Green, actor Tom Hanks, ballerina Patricia McBride and rocker Sting -- were feted by Herbie Hancock, Bruce Springsteen, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Hudson, Usher and many others.
The event, hosted by Stephen Colbert, will air Tuesday, Dec. 30 on CBS. Let's hope next time around, Keillor will be among those joining the prestigious club.
In the Land of 10,000 Grooves, we have stand-out musicians in many different genres. Several of them were recognized Friday with Grammy nominations.
Veteran classical composer Stephen Paulus, who died in October of medical complications after suffering a stroke, is being recognized for best contemporary classical composition for Concerto for Two Trumpets and Band (which was recorded by Eric Berlin, Richard Kelley, James Patrick Miller & UMASS Wind Ensemble).
The Okee Dokee Brothers are vying for their second trophy for best children’s album, this time for “Through the Woods.” They nabbed a Grammy two years ago for their fourth album, “Can You Canoe?”
"We're happy the Grammys are noticing independently made family music as we like to call it," said Okee's Joe Melander. "This album did have great support, good press and good momentum. And what matters most to us that the kids are enjoying the tunes and learning the lyrics."
Melander keeps his Grammy in his basement office studio in Minneapolis. He is a bit uncertain about what to wear to the Grammy ceremonies in February.
"I just got married last month," he said, "And I'm trying to figure out if you can wear your own wedding suit or if I have to get my own Grammy suit."
A bunch of 1960s and ‘70s soul bands including 94 East and Mind & Matter featured on “Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound” will watch Jon Kirby of the Chicago-based Numero Group label compete for best liner notes.
St. Paul-based Red House Records received a nod for best folk album for Eliza Gilkyson’s “Nocturne Diaries.”
Lila Downs, who attended the University of Minnesota, is nominated for best Latin pop album for “Raiz.”
The 57th annual Grammy Awards will be presented Feb. 8 in Los Angeles.
Ojibwe artist Delina White who specializes in traditonal beadwork.
Four artist Midwestern American Indian artists have received fellowships worth up to $20,000 each from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF), a non-profit organization based in Vancouver, Washington.
Winners of the NACF Regional Artist Fellowships are: Kevin Pourier, a carver of buffalo horn ornaments that range from sculptures to eyeglass frames. A member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, he is a Lakota from Scenic, S.D. Jennifer Stevens, a painter, potter and vocalist from Green Bay, Wisconsin who is a member of the Oneida Tribe. Delina White, an expert in traditional beadwork who lives in Deer River, MN and is a member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. Star Wallowing Bull, an Ojibwe/Arapaho who is a member of the White Earth Band of Chippewa. He lives in Moorhead, MN and is known for his pop-style paintings and drawings of American Indian subjects and motifs. Wallowing Bull's work is regularly shown at Bockley Gallery in Minneapolis.
NACF is a national nonprofit that supports the appreciation and perpetuation of American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian arts and cultures. With money from Native Nations, arts patrons and foundations, NACF has provided nearly $1.7 million in assistance to 89 native artists and organizations in 23 states.
The NACF Regional Artist Fellowship Program is an annual award open to artists in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota who are enrolled members of one of the 37 tribes located in the region and who work in visual or traditional art forms. The awards are made possible by support from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation.
In related news, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation also supported a new Native American Artist-in-Residence program at the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS). Three artists were picked in August, each of whom will be paid during a six month residency, to study collections at the MNHS and elsewhere that are related to their work. They will also develop programs to share their studies within their home communities. The artists are Jessica Gokey, a bead work artist who lives in Wisconsin's Lac Courte Oreilles community; Pat Kruse, a birch-bark artist from Mille Lacs, MN; and Gwen Westerman, a textile artist from Good Thunder, MN who is of Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate heritage.
Graywolf Press poets Claudia Rankine (above, photo by John Lucas) and Fanny Howe, below, photo by Lynn Christoffers) were named two of five finalists for the National Book Award on Wednesday.
Two poetry collections published by Minneapolis-based Graywolf Press have been named 2014 National Book Award finalists."Second Childhood" by Fanny Howe and "Citizen: An American Lyric" by Claudia Rankine are two of the five short-listed titles announced Wednesday, with the winner to be announced in November.
Executive editor Jeff Shotts of Graywolf, who edited both collections, said the book by Howe, who spends every summer at an Irish monastery, "comes out of a strong sense of Catholic faith, its role in the faimly and what it means to be a part of that community."
The themes of Rankine's collection, a multi-genre mix of poetry, essays and visual artwork, is particularly timely, Shotts said: "It's about race in this country, the sort of racially motivated micro-aggression that can become macro, like what happened in Ferguson," he said referring to the prolonged unrest in the St. Louis suburb following the shooitng of an unarmed black youth by a white police officer.
Authors published by Graywolf have been tallying up an impressive list of awards over the past few years. Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2011, and Pultizer prizes for poetry were issued to Tracy K. Smith in 2012 and Vijay Seshadri in 2014. Last year's National Book Award winner for poetry was Mary Szybist's "Incarnadine," also a Graywolf title.
Architect Julie Snow. Photo provided by AIA Minnesota
Modernist architect Julie Snow has won the 2014 Gold Medal from AIA Minnesota, a professional association. The award is for "a lifetime of distinguished achievement" and significant contributions to the field.
Snow and colleague Matt Kreilich run the Minneapolis-based firm Snow Kreilich Architects. She is equally adept at transforming and updating outmoded structures for new uses, and start-from-scratch designs for homes, offices and government buildings. Typically she details her sleek geometric structures with glass walls and warm wood surfaces defined by narrow bands of metal.
Recent projects range from converting a shabby 1960s food distribution center in Minneapolis into a stylish headquarters for KNOCK, Inc., a design and marketing firm, to designing a handsome U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility in Warroad, MN. One of her most high profile Minneapolis projects was the 2004 conversion of a Spanish Revival Congregational Church into the Museum of Russian Art, a transformation that created a spacious two story gallery from the former nave and intimate galleries in the basement. She has also designed houses in the Twin Cities and vacation homes in Northern Minnesota.
"Her graceful modernism -- from elegant cantilevered spaces in oceanfront houses to the elegant rooflines of U.S. border stations -- achieves simplicity that only comes from the highest rigor in design and attention to detail," said Tom Hysell, AIA Minnesota president, in a statement.
A graduate of the University of Colorado, Snow worked for various Minneapolis firms including HGA before starting her own practice while teaching at the College of Architecture at the University of Minnesota.
Previously her firm also won, among others, the AIA Honor Award, Progressive Architecture Design Award, and the Chicago Athenaeum's American and International Architecture Award,
"Within a rigorous underpinning, she and her studio make the marvelous happen," said the Amercan Academy of Arts and Letters in presenting her with its prestigious architecture award. "She is a ballerina who can dance in work boots."
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