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.

Posts about Minnesota authors

R.D. Zimmerman novel going to big screen

Posted by: Kristin Tillotson Updated: January 13, 2014 - 12:48 PM

Minneapolis author R.D. Zimmerman, who writes under the pen name Robert Alexander, is thrilled that one of his novels, "The Kitchen Boy," is becoming a film with prestigious names attached -- Oscar-winning screenwriter Sir Ronald Harwood ("The Pianist," "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," "Quartet") has written the script, and Stefan Ruzowitzky, who won Best Foreign Language Oscar in 2008 for "The Counterfeiters," will direct. Kristin Scott Thomas will star as Tsarina Alexandra Romanov in the fictionalized tale of the tumultous final ruling days of Tsar Nicholas II before he and his family were banished to Siberia.

Zimmerman, who sold a business he co-owned in St. Petersburg two years ago, helped raise Russian money to finance the project so his book could go Hollywood.

"Or as they say in Russia, Gollyvood," he said.

The film will probably shoot for a month this summer in Lithuania, which offers a good film-production rebate, and a few days in Russia.

"Luckily there's a band of imperial Russian buildings in Lithuainia we can use" to stand in for the tsar's royal quarters, he said.

R.D. Zimmerman

Mayoral inaugural to feature local music, poetry, food

Posted by: Claude Peck Updated: January 7, 2014 - 11:11 AM

Chastity Brown,  performing at outgoing Mayor R.T. Rybak's "Un-auguration" at First Avenue, also will play at Mayor Betsy Hodges' inaugural party on Jan. 11. Photo by Ben Brewer, Special to the Star Tribune.

Saturday night's inaugural party for Betsy Hodges, the new mayor of Minneapolis, will feature music by Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus, Chastity Brown and her Band, Desdemona, Iron Boy Drum Circle, the Brass Messengers, and more. Theater of Public Policy is also on the entertainment lineup.

"One Minneapolis: A City in Verse" will be peformed by a small army of poets that includes: John Colburn & Sarah Fox, Juliet Patterson, Paula Cisewski, Ed Bok Lee, Kirk Washington Jr., Heid Erdrich, Andrea Jenkins, Bao Phi, Allison Broeren,Brian Beatty, Sun Yun Shin, Doug Wilhide and Nimo Farah.

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and her husband, Gary Cunningham, at a Jan. 4 swearing-in ceremony. Star Tribune photo by Bruce Bisping.

The bash, which suggests a dress code of "Minneapolis chic," also inaugurates new and returning members of the Minneapolis City Council.

The free party (registration required) takes place from 7 to 11 p.m. Jan. 11 at the Thorp Building, 1620 Central Av. NE.

Some beloved local eateries will be working the food court, including Afro Deli, Wise Acre Eatery, Birchwood Cafe, Barbette, Red Stag Supperclub, Kyatchi, Manny's Steakhouse, Gandhi Mahal, Manny's Torta's, Sen Yai Sen Lek, Scott's Ice Cream, Glam Doll Donuts.

Soth and Zellar tell Texas tales

Posted by: Kristin Tillotson Updated: December 27, 2013 - 5:47 PM

Photo of Hearne, Texas, street by Alec Soth.

The dreamy on-the-road partnership between photographer Alec Soth and writer Brad Zellar just wrapped another chapter. Chronicled in their self-styled newspaper, The LBM Dispatch, the two visit various parts of the country and attempt to capture that mix of geography, humanity and circumstance that creates regional character.

Though the results often seem serendipitous, they have an itinerary heading out, Zellar said. “We hate being in the van so we usually know where we’re going with some idea of why,” he said.

They’ve previously applied their particular documentary style to Ohio, Michigan, Colorado and upstate New York This time out the pair tackled the Texas Triangle, a more than 60,000-square mile swath that’s home to 70 percent of the state’s population. Among their stops were the site of JFK’s assassination on its 50th anniversary, the 16th execution of a Texas death-row prisoner in 2013, and a tatty shrine to the Virgin Mary erected by a farmer who claimed in a hand-lettered sign that she helped him get his tractor unstuck.

Throughout the trip, Zellar and Soth had looked in vain for that archetypal kind of town made immortal by “The Last Picture Show.” Toward the end, on the way back to Huntsville to cover the state’s 16th and last execution of the year, they stumbled onto tiny, desolate Hearne.

“It was at the exact epicenter of the Texas Triangle formed by San Antonio, Dallas and Houston,” Zellar said. “The light was perfect. There were no cars. Along six or seven blocks of this super-wide main street, everything was closed down but a drugstore.  It was spooky, it was so abandoned. When we got back to the motel we found out it was one of the first towns that WalMart moved into.”

Unusually unprofitable itself, that WalMart was closed in 1990 and turned into a high school.

Like the LBM’s five previous editions, a print version of the collected stories and photos may be previewed and purchased at lbmdispatch.tumblr.com.

The duo have been attracting interest from far-flung corners, including the New Yorker’s Photo Booth blog and the Russian version of Esquire magazine, which flew a stylist and three trunks of designer clothes from Moscow to Grand Junction, Colorado, for a fashion shoot photographed by Soth and featuring Zellar as the model. Brad was game for the job, despite momentary hesitation on how to pronounce “Givenchy.”

See below for one of the surreal images from that experience.



Brad Zellar channels Cary Grant in "North by Northwest" for a fashion shoot for Russian Esquire. Photo by Alec Soth.

Prairie Home Companion tickets for Jan.-March will go on sale Wednesday

Posted by: Jon Bream Updated: December 3, 2013 - 4:42 PM

Garrison Keillor/ Star Tribune photo by Tom Wallace

Garrison Keillor will bring his “A Prairie Home Companion” to his home base, the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, for seven shows in January, February and March.

Guests will include Rhonda Vincent, Paula Poundstone, Hilary Thavis and Mike Compton & Joe Newberry.

After being on tour in Texas, Tennessee and elsewhere, PHC will be broadcast live from the Fitzgerald on Jan. 17 and 25, Feb. 1 and March 8, 15, 22 and 29.

Tickets, priced from $32 to $48, will go on sale at noon Wednesday through Ticketmaster outlets (including 1-800-745-3000) and at the Fitzgerald box office. 

Who's bigger, Statham or Franco?

Posted by: Kristin Tillotson Updated: November 22, 2013 - 6:07 PM

Chuck Logan, far right, met the stars and director of "Homefront," based on his book at a premiere at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. They include, starting third from left: Kate Bosworth, Jason Statham, Izabela Vidovic, Winona Ryder, James Franco and director Gary Fleder. Photo by Eric Charbonneau.

At his first red carpet event for a major Hollywood release, the "Homefront" premiere at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas Wednesday, Stillwater author Chuck Logan described a chaotic scene. "Cameras everywhere, people moving you along -- I wound up lost in some storage area at one point." Logan spoke briefly with both top-billed stars, Jason Statham and James Franco,  and was struck by how much bigger Statham looks onscreen than in real life. 

"Actually Franco's almost bigger than him, I think," he said. "I don't know what they do, maybe have everyone else walk in specially dug trenches so they look shorter, like they used to do with Alan Ladd."

A feature on Logan and the movie runs Sunday, and a review of "Homefront" next Wednesday.


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