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, 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.
There were no lights on in the house and nary a soul walking up the steps. A handwritten note on the door confirmed our suspicions: the performance had been canceled because of "Unforeseen Circumstances." Oh well, I hadn't had the pleasure of driving on St. Paul's city streets this winter so the trip was well worth the disappointment.
Gremlin's artistic director, Peter Hansen, said Friday morning that Gremlin found out that the "occupancy and the legal status of the Blue house were not what we believed them to be when we rented the facility from St. Clement's."
Hansen said several days of negotiations with the city of St. Paul and St. Clement's failed to resolve the problem. Gremlin has suspended all ticket sales for the production, which is still targeted to bow at the Tennessee Williams Festival next fall in Provincetown, Mass. Jef Hall-Flavin directed the short late-career piece.
Gremlin is still mulling options for a Twin Cities production before that time. Hansen said in an email Friday morning that "I have never experienced anything like this." Gotta feel sorry Peter, one of the truly nice guys in Twin Cities theater. He's currently performing as C.S. Lewis in "Freud's Last Session" at the Guthrie studio. It might have been tough Thursday night keeping focused on that while Gremlin had to cancel its opening. Just to make absolutely clear, this event has no impact on the Guthrie production.
The Independent Filmmaker Project Minnesota, a fixture on St. Paul’s western border since 2005, will soon be packing up for a move.
Seeking a new headquarters with lower rent than its current location, the media arts center will soon announce a new address. The current leased space at 2446 University Av. W. in St. Paul, a 7,500-square-foot site filled with spacious offices, “is no longer meeting our needs,” IFP Minnesota Executive Director Andrew Peterson announced Thursday. While he emphasized that “IFP MN is on strong financial footing,” a less costly home base “is crucial to future stability and success.”
IFP was founded in 1987 when a group of Minnesota filmmakers got together to create a Sundance-bound feature, “Patti Rocks,” and to encourage local filmmakers to create projects outside the studio system.
Economizing on rent will help the organization, which administers several McKnight grants, direct its resources to its core mission. “All non-profits need to be responsible with their budgets and weight spending toward programming, rather than rent,” Peterson said. In recent years, IFP Minnesota has tightened its belt with staff salary cuts.
IFP Minnesota's current space, which includes gallery space, administrative offices and photo darkrooms, opened a decade ago the help of many community leaders and funders to serve the independent film and video community. The new location will allow space and reallocated resources for expanded youth workshops, new film and video courses, additional professional development, and more media artist fellowships, as well as other events and exhibitions.
Want to sell out a classical-music concert? Just add the words "Downton Abbey" to the program. The Oratorio Society of Minnesota's Saturday performance of "The Music of Downton Abbey" at St. Mark's Cathedral has sold out, leaving artistic director Matthew Mehaffey concerned about the usual "150 to 200" walk-up ticket buyers who will have to be turned away.
A second St. Marks concert has been added at 7:30 p.m. on March 15.
The program features some compositions by John Lunn, an Emmy winner for the soundtrack of the popular drama about the high- and low-born residents of an estate in post-Edwardian England, as well as other pieces of the time that have been woven into a sort of musical narrative feauturing a long-lost relative of the Granthams. Some selections are intended to evoke memorable scenes from the series, such as Elgar's "The Snow" (the title of which any self-respecting Downton fan will instantly tie to the moment Matthew proposed to Lady Mary). The audience is invited to sing along on three well-known hymns, including -- of course -- Arne's "Rule, Britannia!."
For tickets to the added concert and more info, go to oratorio.org or call 612-432-7398.
Kentucky indie-rock gods My Morning Jacket have a rather spectacular new tune floating around the internet, and the stream behind it started here in Minnesota. The cover song, “Farewell Transmission,” is the title track of a new tribute album to late Ohio indie tunesmith Jason Molina -- the latest endeavor of St. Paul’s charitable nonprofit label/promoter Rock the Cause.
“We’re very excited and proud of this one,” said RTC founder Scott Herold, who is taking his cause to the South by Southwest Music Conference to promote “Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina” with a day party next week.
The 27-track Molina tribute will raise money for both MusiCares and the singer/songwriter's estate. Known as the driving force behind Magnolia Electric Co. and Songs: Ohia, Molina died in 2011 after a long battle with alcoholism.
Within weeks of the sad news, Herold was contacted by a couple of music bloggers on opposite ends of the country about trying to put the record together. The idea was spawned off another fine tribute collection, 2011’s “Minnesota Remembers Vic Chesnutt,” honoring the Georgia song legend who hadkilled himself a year earlier.
“Everything we’re able to do with this record points back to the Vic Chesnutt collection,” Herold said, explaining that the earlier disc gave them “a foot in the door on a national scale” and led to a distribution and overall financial structuring that helps RTC get a better return for its causes. This also helped with the success last year of Zach Sobiech's “Clouds” single, which hit the Billboard and iTunes charts just as the teenage Stillwater songwriter died of a rare form of cancer.
“Farewell Transmission” will arrive April 22, and Herold hopes to build the buzz in the meantime. Besides the My Morning Jacket cut (posted below), the album also features two dozen other recordings from the likes of Murder by Death, Cory Branan, Sarah Jaffe, Centromatic’s Will Johnson, Squares and a Minnesota cast that includes Communist Daughter, Farewell Milwaukee, Gabriel Douglas, Luke Redfield, Enemy Planes and Fathom Lane. Pitchfork.com originally posted the whole list and a report on the album here.
RTC’s SXSW party takes place next Friday, March 14, at the Liberty Bar in Austin, Texas, with a handful of the album’s participants and more RTC supporters, including Nicholas David. Some of Sobiech’s family and bandmates will also be on hand to pay tribute to him there. A local “Farewell Transmission” release party is set for April 19 at First Ave with Farewell Milwaukee and Fathom Lane. More details on the record and pre-order info are at IRocktheCause.org.
Rock the Cause also has its fifth annual Glitter Ball fundraiser coming up on March 29 at the Grain Belt Bottling House with one of the best party-starting rockers in the country, Austin's Black Joe Lewis.
Hatcher wrote the play about a school project when he was 11 years in Steubenville, Ohio. He adapted, directed and performed Shakespeare’s drama for his fifth-grade class – and it turned out to be his first hit. He attempts to recapture the heady and naïve optimism of youth in the show.
Hatcher has had a few other successes since. Winner of the 2013 Ivey Lifetime Achievement Award, he has contributed dozens of plays to the Twin Cities theater community (well, not contributed as in “gave;” he got paid for the work). He’s also written a few screenplays, including “Casanova” and “The Duchess.”
The one-man show is Hatcher retelling the memories of the event that launched him on his career.
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