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.
A winter Fringe Festival is one of 69 ideas floated toward the Knight challenge grant committee that passed muster as a finalist.
A few months back, the Miami-based Knight Foundation dropped a big windfall on the city of St. Paul, pledging $8 million toward arts organizations and arts-related projects over the next three years. More than half that amount was earmarked for "arts challenge grants" for which anyone could apply, as long as they kept the idea to 140 words or less and the idea somehow benefits St. Paul. Of the 850 concepts that rolled in for the first year, 69 have been chosen as finalists. Many are predictable extensions of what existing arts groups already do, but there are also some fresh and quirky notions:
--Erik Barsness wants to bring a new chill to Saint Paul Winter Carnival audiences through concerts performed on xylophones, marimbas and vibraphones made entirely out of ice by Swedish instrument builder Tim Linhart.
-- Stahl Construction Company wants to preserve the legacy of St. Paul’s architecture by restoring the historical company signs that distinguish Lowertown.
--The Baroque Room aims to showcase the city's classical-music scene during the Art Crawl through performances in art gallery spaces.
--City of Skate would be a skateable art plaza that brings out the creativity of skateboarders and the community with skateable sculptures, a video screen and performance stage.
Winners (the number of them depends on how much the judges are wowed by final proposals) will be announced in September.
Three "underplay" concerts -- shows in smaller-than-needed venues that will probably sell out right away -- were announced this morning:
*Smiley arena-level pop/rocker Jason Mraz will promote his new album of semi-acoustic, strings-accompanied tunes in the intimate State Theatre on Oct. 18. Tickets go on sale Saturday at noon for $25-$75 through Ticketmaster. The L.A. folk-pop quartet Raining Jane will back him at shows this fall.
*Gloom-rock greats Interpol will return to First Avenue on Nov. 14 following the Sept. 9 release of their first album in four years, “El Pintor.” The band’s site says tickets will go on sale Tuesday at 10 a.m. at prices TBA.
*Fresh off Saturday’s All-Star Game concert at TCF Bank Stadium, Atmosphere added an Aug. 22 gig at First Avenue with another hometown act who can easily sell the place out, Prof, as well as Rhymesayers newbie Dem Atlas and DJ Fundo. They’re all on tour together this summer. Tickets go on sale Friday at noon through eTix.com and First Ave outlets for $25. That will kick off quite a weekend of local hip-hop at the club, as Sims and Astronautalis are already down to play there together the following night.
The full review of Saturday's All-Star Game concert at TCF Bank Stadium is already up along with a photo gallery. Here are the set lists each of the bands delivered.
Fallen / Tiptoe / Hear Me / It's Time / Rocks / Battle Cry / Amsterdam / With or Without You (U2 cover) / 30 Lives / Who We Are / Nothing Left to Say / Demons / On Top of the World / Radioactive
January on Lake Street / Puppets / Kanye West / Sunshine / She’s Enough / Party for the Fight to Write / Shhh / Shoulda Known / Yesterday / Trying to Find a Balance
Patrick Scully poses as poet Walt Whitman. Star Tribune photo by Jeff Wheeler.
POST BY CAROLINE PALMER, SPECIAL TO THE STAR TRIBUNE
Sometimes the best way to learn about an artist is through the perspective of another artist. With “Leaves of Grass – Uncut” Patrick Scully summons the radical spirit of 19th-century poet Walt Whitman. Over the course of the show, which had its first performance Thursday night as part of the Fresh Ink Series at the Illusion Theater, we learn that the two men have much in common when it comes to defying rules and embracing life.
Scully assumes the role of Whitman, talking through his life story, railing against the puritan morals of his day, lauding the love of other men, extolling his contemporaries (Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oscar Wilde) and reading excerpts from his works. Whitman, as portrayed by Scully, is a confident man who explains how he would code his language to escape the wrath of a rabidly homophobic society. Despite these efforts, Whitman’s works were banned and critics were quick to denounce him with their harshest words, which is hard to imagine today given the significant influence and great beauty of his writing.
But Whitman was undeterred by these obstacles, which explains why he is such a hero to Scully, a proud rabble-rouser himself. With “Leaves of Grass – Uncut” Scully creates an onstage world that Whitman would have appreciated. Seventeen men dance together in tender, sensual and playful moments. In the opening scene they strip down entirely to bathe, setting the tone for an evening about relationships between men and how society has sought to deny them.
The movement itself is based in contact improvisation, which emphasizes the intuitive give and take of dancing with another person. Scully’s company members take great care to support and inspire one another. Kevin Kortan makes an appearance as Whitman’s lover Peter Doyle and in one of the work’s more poignant moments they discuss the poet’s refusal to use the pronoun “he” (instead using “she”) in his writing to describe their passionate relationship. Scully shows us that Whitman wasn’t always so bold.
The Fresh Ink series provides opportunities for artists to try out new ideas. Scully still has some work to do with tightening up the production – there are a couple of false endings – but it is a heartfelt salute to Whitman. Without this daring poet’s soaring words and his willingness to take risks in a hostile era, we may never know what it means to “sing the body electric.” Scully is the perfect caretaker for Whitman’s legacy.
“Leaves of Grass – Uncut” continues through Sunday, July 13 (8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 7 p.m. Sun). Illusion Theatre, Cowles Center, eighth floor, 528 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls. $14-$19, 612-339-4944 or illusiontheater.org.
They slowed things down again on their latest record, but Trampled by Turtles proved they can still perform with fast efficiency on Thursday night at the Cedar Cultural Center.
The bearded pickers played their new album, “Wild Animals,” front to back in a free concert for local fans who ordered it at the Electric Fetus. Since the show was also broadcast live via 89.3 the Current, the guys took the stage right at 8 p.m. sharp and walked off stage 47 minutes later.
Frontman Dave Simonett did a little talking between songs, including a moment of high praise for the Electric Fetus and Thursday’s record-buying crowd. “It’s great in 2014 to still be able to walk into a record store like that,” he said. However, he let the new material speak for itself. And did it ever.
The quintet unofficially turned into a sextet at Thursday’s gig with the addition of Eamonn McLain, the Field Trip (nee Lucy Michelle & the Velvet Lapelles) cellist who has performed with them here and there in the past – including their Letterman appearance in 2012. Word is McLain will be with them on Letterman again Tuesday and throughout their upcoming tour.
McLain’s presence added a somber tinge to some of the more slower-paced, ambient tunes, including the shimmering “Silver Light” and the folky, harmonious gem “Hollow.” He and violinist Ryan Young also played off each other with great flair in the dramatic burner “Repetition,” one of a few songs to also feature local MVP drummer JT Bates on tambourine (not exactly the most demanding use of Bates’ talent, but a nice little touch nonetheless). Banjoist Dave Carroll and mandolinist Erik Berry got to strut their stuff later in the hard-plucking, twangier ditties “Come Back Home” and “Western World,” the latter of which was one of a handful of tunes the band had yet to play live. You wouldn’t have known it.
After the mellow, truly grand finale “Winners” – a song laced with bittersweet Duluth references – the band only returned for one more tune, a cover of Loudon Wainwright III’s “Swimming Song” dutifully sung by bassist Tim Saxhaug. “This summer I did jackknives and swan dives for you,” Saxhaug sang, one of many lines that seemed fitting given how big a summer it’s becoming for the Trampled crew.
If you missed the broadcast, look for Thursday's concert in the 89.3 the Current archives.
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