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Osmo in Chicago: A good review and a plea from the musicians

Posted by: Claude Peck Updated: October 30, 2012 - 10:41 AM


It was supposed to be opening night of the 2012-13 concert season of the Minnesota Orchestra, but the lockout over a labor dispute resulted in cancellation of six weeks of musicmaking in Minneapolis. 

That allowed music director Osmo Vanska to be in Chicago on Oct. 18, leading the famed Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the Symphony No. 1 and the Double Concerto of Brahms.

That same night, the locked-out musicians of Minnesota Orchestra played a sold-out concert at the Convention Center, led by Stanislaw Skrowaczewski and reviewed here.

Vanska was retained by the CSO following the sudden cancellation of a guest appearance by conductor Bernard Haitink.

Reviewing the concert for the Chicago Tribune, critic John von Rhein said Vanska "kept the audience on the edge of their seats." He noted the Finnish conductor's "excitable and somewhat unorthodox podium manner," and credited Vanska for improving the artistic fortunes of the MO. Read his complete review here.

The musicians off the CSO handed out a flyer at their concerts that urged Vanska "to use his influence to persuade the Board and Management to negotiate in a spirit of compromise and respect. The musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra support their Minnesota colleagues in their efforts to achieve a contract that will preserve The Minnesota Orchestra."


No talks are currently scheduled between management and musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra. An announcement is expected in mid-November regarding concerts in December that remain on the schedule.



Minnesota Orchestra violinist Peter McGuire and contrabassoonist Norbert Nielubowski, who were substitute musicians with the CSO for the concerts with Osmo Vänskä, helped distribute leaflets to CSO audiences.

'Tales from Hollywood' post-show party pics

Posted by: Claude Peck Updated: September 24, 2012 - 5:01 PM


"Tales from Hollywood" stars, from left, Lee Sellars, Allison Daugherty and Keir Dullea. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.


The Guthrie Theater opened its 50th season -- and its festival of works by British writer Christopher Hampton -- Friday night in Minneapolis. Post-play festivities were chock-a-block with local actors. We spotted Tracey Maloney, Sarah Agnew, Mo Perry, Barbara Bryne, Richard Ooms, and many more. Also present were "Tales" stars, both local and out-of-town. 

Go here for Rohan Preston's play review.


Immediately following the show, Guthrie director Joe Dowling brought St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak on stage with the show's cast to proclaim it Christopher Hampton day in both cities.



From left at the post-show party were "Tales from Hollywood" director Ethan McSweeny, Lee Sellars (Odon von Horvath) and playwright Christopher Hampton.





Pohlad to film ‘Fordlandia’

Posted by: Claude Peck Updated: August 24, 2012 - 4:36 PM



File art of car bogged down in mud in the proposed Fordlandia in Brazil. 

Producer Bill Pohlad’s company is taking on a spectacular failure -- the story of one, that is. 

River Road Entertainment has acquired rights to the book “Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City.” The 2009 Pulitzer finalist by Greg Grandin is the story of Ford’s 1927 attempt to create his own rubber supply by building a plantation and industrial town in the Amazon jungle. His rigid edicts -- and raging ego -- proved no match for Mother Nature and rebellious workers.

The film version’s point-of-view will be that of the men hired to carry out Ford’s misguided vision. No word on director yet, but sounds like a job for Werner Herzog.


Dog whose photo touched millions dies after 20th birthday

Posted by: Claude Peck Updated: August 7, 2012 - 2:44 PM


This photo of John Unger, of Bayfield, Wis., swimming in Lake Superior with his dog, Schoep, has been seen around the world. Photo by Hannah Stonehouse Hudson.

A SAD UPDATE from the Duluth News Tribune: Schoep, the Bayfield dog tenderly photographed with his owner, died Wednesday at age 20. Schoep and John Unger became Internet celebrities last year as the photograph of the pair in the waters of Lake Superior went viral. The news was announced Thursday on the Facebook page for Schoep and Unger. There was no immediate word on the circumstances of Schoep's death. The News Tribune also had reported that for his birthday last month, the shepherd mix received more than 1,000 cards wishing him well.


Original post: Anyone who has swum in the chilly water of Lake Superior knows that it could wake Rip Van Winkle. Maybe that's why a photo of a Bayfield, Wisc., man swimming with his dog, who appears to be asleep in the man's arms, has charmed so many people.

The photo shows John Unger and his 19-year-old shepherd mix, Schoep. And sure enough, cold water or not, Schoep appears to be asleep. Turns out, according to a story in the Duluth News Tribune, that Schoep, who suffers from arthritis, finds the buoyancy of the water so relaxing and therapeutic that it often lulls him to sleep.

The moment was captured on July 31 by wedding photographer Hannah Stonehouse Hudson. She posted it to her Facebook page, where it so far has been "liked" by more than 192,000 people. It has drawn more than 22,000 comments. A news story said it had been viewed more than 1.8 million times. And, says Julie McGarvie, of Penumbra Theater in St. Paul, who is married to Unger's brother, Stonehouse and Unger have received thousands of emails.

Unger and his ex-wife adopted Schoep as a puppy 18 years ago from an Ozaukee County human society. Adding poignancy to the story is that Unger recently took Schoep to the vet for various ailments. Unger told the Duluth paper he was uncertain how many more times he would be able to take his dog for a swim. 

ARTnews magazine announces top 200 art collectors

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: June 26, 2012 - 6:22 PM



ARTnews' annual list of the world's top 200 art collectors is shamelessly self-promotional, assuring a few thousand extra magazine sales as the chosen few splash copies around the guest rooms and pools of their many houses. Still, it is always a must read.

It's a very international bunch with more than half of the crowd hailing from somewhere other than the United States. Nevertheless, "experts say that Americans are still driving the market in a huge way," said Milton Esterow, the magazine's editor and publisher.

A quick scan shows NO Minnesotans this year. Come on collectors, ante up. The closest big buyers hereabouts are Mary and John Pappajohn of Des Moines, Iowa and New York who collect modern and contemporary art. Their fortune derives from "venture capital." 

Other names of note include artist Damien Hirst of pickled shark fame, entertainment mogul Andrew Lloyd Webber, Walmart heiress Alice Walton and fashionista Miuccia Prada.

A special nod goes to the Doha-based philanthropist Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who appears to have the longest name. And another to Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder who seem to have the most homes, that would be five, in New York and Wainscott, New York; Washington, D. C., Palm Beach, Florida, and Paris.



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