Wine, women and paint defined artist Jules Pascin, whose Bohemian passion flamed out when he committed suicide in Paris in 1930, at age 45. Born in Bulgaria to a Spanish father and an Italian Serbian mother, Pascin traveled in the American South before settling in Paris, where his free-love, heavy-drinking lifestyle earned him the title "Prince of Montparnasse." Pascin's life, which seems to have included bedding many of his models, comes vividly alive in the graphic novel "Pascin," by French artist and film director Joann Sfar, who directed the 2010 biopic "Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life." Translated into English, "Pascin" is published by the tiny Minneapolis-based Uncivilized Books, which focuses on adult comics and graphic novels in translation. Break out some vin ordinaire and look for the book in October.
"Stillwater" runs deep
Could "Fargo" have triggered a sudden interest in Minnesota? Deadline.com reports that HBO is considering a series called "Stillwater," in which a New York City cop's life spirals out of control once he moves to small-town Minnesota. No stars have been announced, but the behind-the-scenes team has some local connections. Howard Deutch, who will direct and executive produce the pilot, directed 1995's "Grumpier Old Men," which was shot in the Twin Cities. (He's also married to Rochester-bred actress Lea Thompson.) Mark Steven Johnson, who is writing the first episode and penned the original "Grumpy Old Men," is from Hastings. And then there's co-executive producer Colin Farrell, who, um, may or may not have once had a drink at the MSP airport.
Sun Mee Chomet will spend her autumn in New York, acting off-Broadway in "Brownsville song (b-side for tray)." The Lincoln Center production runs Oct. 4 to Nov. 16. Chomet, a frequent Guthrie and Mu Performing Arts actor, was invited by playwright Kimber Lee to audition for the play, which was one of the big hits at this year's Humana Festival in Louisville. Lee and Chomet had workshopped a different play two years ago at Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis. "She remembered me," Chomet said. "This play really called to me. I guess it was meant to be."
My first drinkin' song
Other than Dwight Yoakam, the Minnesota Zoo concerts have never really featured a bona fide country star. Country fans had no problem warming up to the zoo and honky tonk hero Jamey Johnson on Monday. He offered a taste of Alabama, George Strait, Hank Williams and the Georgia Satellites as well as many top-notch originals that proved this ace singer-songwriter is a little bit Waylon, a little bit Willie and a whole lot of George Jones. The capacity crowd lapped it up, responding with sing-alongs and standing ovations. And, of course, there were a couple of yahoos who kept shouting out song requests at inopportune moments. Finally, the laconic Johnson spoke up: "I remember my first drink." Could be another country song in there, somewhere.
In his seven-year run as president of the American Alliance of Museums, Minnesota native Ford W. Bell has chalked up visits to more than 450 museums in 46 states. That should give him talking points en route to his retirement next May, which was announced this week. He also rebranded the 106-year-old organization as an "Alliance" rather than an "Association," beefed up finances and upped membership by 48 percent. After he gives up "the best job one could ever have," Bell and his wife, Amy, plan to leave Washington, D.C., for Minneapolis, where he was once a veterinarian and board chair at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
The Twin Cities' top-rated morning TV show is doing the ol' switcheroo. Meteorologist Matt Brickman and traffic reporter Kim Johnson will join current anchors Jason DeRusha and Jamie Yuccas at "WCCO 4 News This Morning" starting Sept. 1. Current traffic reporter Natalie Nyhus will become anchor of the Saturday morning show, Johnson's current gig. In a letter to staff, news director Mike Caputa said the changes were made at the requests of Nyhus and meteorologist Mike Augustyniak.
It's not every day choral singers get the rock-star treatment, but VocalEssence just had that experience — in Shanghai. The 32-voice Minneapolis ensemble did a quick tour in China following the World Symposium on Choral Music in Seoul last week. "The Shanghai concert was full to the brim and the audience was clapping in rhythm at the end, even though no one had heard of us before," said baritone Ryan French. Walking to the bus post-concert, the singers were blocked by new fans, asking for autographs and taking pictures. "It was an exciting and surreal experience," French told I.W. We'll watch for a bit of new swagger in the collective VocalEssence step.