Lone-ly at the End of the Road
Tuesday's sold-out Turf Club concert by the Lone Bellow could be an "I was there" bragging-right kind of gig, since the New York folk-rock group's dramatic live show and Mumford-meets-Civil-Wars vocal stylings pretty well guarantee a breakout year. However, the band members actually thought that their previous Twin Cities show at Mill City Nights in 2013 was more memorable. For one, a crosstown trek to Mickey's Diner the last time in town inspired their new song "Diners" ("Trailer broken diners found all along the highway / From here to St. Paul"). And then there was an across-the-street adventure to Cowboy Jack's in 2013, which inspired a goofy, improvised version of Boyz II Men's "End of the Road" during Tuesday's show — which the Bellowers apparently sang with the cover band playing that night at Jack's. "We sang every Boyz II Men song we know — which is many," frontman Zach Williams claimed.
The Kirkbride, as the behemoth of a former state mental hospital in Fergus Falls is familiarly known, has long stood empty. Now it's about to get some new tenants — sort of. Hinge Arts, a new artist-residency program, will ensconce 10 visiting artists (two at a time) in renovated apartments on the hospital campus that used to be a nurses' dorm. The idea isn't to create art about the Kirkbride, but to "reanimate" the vast, forlorn space with artistic activity of all sorts, from painting to filmmaking to theater — and involve the surrounding community as well. The first two artists will move in this month: Minneapolis photographer Ethan Smith and Atlanta-based filmmaker Nik Nerburn, a Bemidji native who describes his film "In the Shadow of Paul Bunyan" as a "counter-history of the Midwest's favorite lumberjack." Artists interested in applying for the second round can do so at imaginefergusfalls.tumblr.com.
Woman in red
The joy was so palpable at Saturday's opening of the new $42 million Concert Hall at the Ordway, you could almost taste it — like champagne. It was a night for high-rollers. Visitors at Sunday's open house reported a similar carbonated atmosphere, minus the real bubbly, of course. But there wasn't much overlap in attendance between the two events, except maybe St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Laysha Ward, executive vice president at Target. On Sunday, she came with her charisma, brilliant smile and in her company's color, red. Coleman, dressed in a dark sweater, could smile all he wants. Next to her, he didn't stand a chance.
Four young classical musicians from Minnesota will join a prestigious group in July for a concert at Carnegie Hall in New York followed by a seven-city tour of China. This will be the second summer of touring with the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America for violinist Emma Richman of Minneapolis, and the third for violist Arjun Ganguly of St. Cloud. Joining them this year are oboist Sarrah Bushara of Eden Prairie and violinist Brandon Duffy of Lino Lakes. The orchestra's concerts will be conducted by Charles Dutoit, artistic director of London's Royal Philharmonic. Best of all, the kids don't have to pay for the trip. This may be, as NPR put it, "the best music camp ever."
When news arrived Monday that Mumford & Sons is planning one of four two-day, small-town-U.S.A. "stopover" festivals June 19-20 in Waverly, Iowa, the main question was: "Why Waverly?" Mumford bassist Ted Dwane told I.W.: "We haven't done that many shows in Iowa before and certainly not in that part of the state. I know it's a 10,000-population kind of town, which is a nice size. People can walk around it. And there are [big] cities that aren't too ridiculously far away for people to travel from. That's part of the idea: Everyone has the same experience having to travel to get there." Tickets for the fest, featuring My Morning Jacket, the Flaming Lips, Jenny Lewis and others, go on sale Friday for $199.
Since it started in 2011, Adopt Films has marketed four best-foreign-feature Oscar nominees in the U.S. The New York/Twin Cities film distributor may soon be adopting a fifth: Berlin film fest prizewinner "Victoria." Jury president Darren Aronofsky (director of "The Wrestler" and "Black Swan") said: "This film rocked my world." Adopt founder Tim Grady calls "Victoria" a sort of updated "Run Lola Run" with a bravura technical breakthrough. A single shot by Norwegian cameraman Sturla Brandth Grovlen chases the cast across Berlin uninterrupted for two hours. Adopt has acquired more than 20 foreign language films since it began, including the 2014 Oscar nominee "Omar." The U.S. release of "Victoria" is planned for fall, the customary start of Oscar season.