Sunday, February 26, 2012

Guido's Oscar Thoughts

This week on Between You and Me we talked Oscars with the Mom and Pop of Pop Culture, Julie Crabb & Jack Nachbar.  Here are Steve Downing's (Guido's) thoughts:


LIFE DURING WARTIME

            Watching the Academy Awards makes me squirm. Me, squirming, is not a pretty picture, so I tend to avoid those near occasions of sin. It’s not that I hate movies or the rich and famous people who make them, though I understand some of those folks are hateful. It has more to do with the unconditional, unmitigated, unabashed artifice of the whole ceremony. It’s a separate reality.
            For yours truly, Oscar night plays like a movie about the making of movies and the aftermath of the making of movies, while thumbing its nose at the three cardinal rules of the making of movies. 1) You need at least two stirring, eventually converging plotlines. 2) You need dynamic, three-dimensional sets-and-setting, preferably involving volcanoes and the deep blue sea. 3) And you need characters who’ll convince you they believe what they’re saying. How often does any of this happen at the Academy Awards?
            Or maybe it’s more (or less) complicated than that.  When I watch a movie, if I don’t care, really care---viscerally, emotionally---about anyone in the story, when there’s no moral difference between characters, or between means and ends, I’ll fall asleep. The narrative has to matter to me, ethically and aesthetically. Otherwise….
            Between you and me, Oscar night is a movie that, if tested against its own putative criteria, would wind up in its entirety on the cutting-room floor. I have to admit, though: after hearing Heidi and John’s conversation with Frank DeCaro on the Morning Show Friday, I’m thinking that a dinner party featuring the recipes of dead rich and famous people (The Dead Celebrity Cookbook) might be just the ticket for the likes of me. Barbecued Lamb ala Frank the Chairman of the Board Sinatra, anyone? Let’s watch the Awards with the sound off and Talking Heads/Popular Favorites as our soundtrack.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Culturology 2-23-12: Sled Dogs and "Rez Life"

by Travis Ryder
Mushing is such a part of North Shore culture that when the John Beargrease sled dog marathon was cancelled, racers banded together to offer an alternate course.  They pulled off the Mail Run race with only a couple weeks of advance notice.  Our producer Amy Clark was on the Gunflint Trail the last two days of January.  She talked with organizer and racer Frank Moe about this effort, and what mushing culture means to him.
Frank spoke to our new correspondent Amy Clark, who produced this piece.  Frank finished second of 12 finishers in the Gunflint Mail Run this January 31st.  He was first to the halfway point, but his neighbor Odin Jorgenson passed him in the second half to take first place.  Racers from up and down the North Shore, Chisholm, Outing, Togo, and the states of Washington and Alaska made up the field on the 120-mile course.

There’s more sled-dogging to be done around these parts: The Mid-Minnesota 150 around Outing and Remer is rescheduled to March 3. Back on the Gunflint Trail, March 9 and 10, it’s the Mush for a Cure fundraiser and noncompetitive sled dog/skijoring event.

David Treuer - courtesy USC
Son of a Holocaust survivor and an Ojibwe tribal judge, David Treuer grew up on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation.  He earned degrees from Princeton and Michigan State and now is an acclaimed author and professor of English at the University of Southern California.  Treuer's latest book, Rez Life, fearlessly delves into the complicated story of what it means to be an Indian today, and how it got that way.  KAXE's Charles Pulkrabek spoke at length with Treuer and filed this scintillating interview.


CULTUROLOGY CALENDAR
Thursday, Feb. 23
The Edge Center for the Arts in Bigfork presents the local production of Circle Mirror Transformation.  The play itself deals with an adult acting class.  Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 7 and Sunday at 2.

Friday, Feb. 24
Regional bluegrass group Monroe Crossing is at the Sawmill Inn in Grand Rapids at 7:30.  They’ll be at the Crossroads Music CafĂ© in Brainerd for a 7:30 show on Saturday.
Illusion Theater of Mpls brings their production of “My Antonia” to the Central Lakes College theater in Brainerd.  This is a new adaptation of Willa Cather’s novel.  One night only, 7:30 on Friday night.
It's A Taste of Opera Night at Bemidji State University's Thompson Recital Hall.
The 7:00 program will have 12 short scenes with music ranging from the popular operas of G. Verdi and G. Puccini to the lighter operatic music of Gilbert and Sullivan. Fifteen singers will participate in the performance with a reception immediately following.
Independent Film Night is Friday starting at 7 at the Wild Rose Theater.  Two filmmakers will be featured: Spencer Olson of Emily, MN, creates animated films utilizing Legos. The two films to be featured are "Patient 24" and "Bunnies: The Ancient Altercation."  Olson will be present that evening to give a short talk on his animation process. Nathan Fisher of Minneapolis, MN, is a documentary filmmaker who was an integral part of the "Navigating the Aftermath" tour that was hosted by the Fleur de Lis Gallery. His film, "The Unreturned," explores the condition of middle class citizens of Iraq.  Fisher spent many months in Iraq interviewing the subjects of this film. Audience members will have the opportunity to vote for the films they believe should progress to the 2nd Annual Fathom Film Festival scheduled for April 20 & 21 at the Wild Rose Theater.
 
Saturday, Feb. 25
The "Range of the Arts" series of events gets started this weekend in downtown Virginia.
Saturday from 10 to 2, the Arts International Bazaar is at Kaleva Hall.
Sunday, it's “Circle of Muses,” billed as "a play date for creative women," starting at 5:30 at the Lyric Center for the Arts on Chestnut Street.
Three original bands with Range-area ties are in concert at the Rainy Lake Saloon in downtown Virginia.  The Slamming Doors, Preston Gunderson, and Wuori Free Radio play starting at 8.

Sunday, Feb. 26
The BSU Wind Ensemble & Symphonic Band will perform Sunday at 3 at Thompson Recital Hall in Bemidji State’s Bangsberg Fine Arts Complex.  The concert will consist of several pieces for band, as well as chamber music by BSU Chamber Ensembles. The Symphonic Band’s program will include a Salute to Glenn Miller and “The Minnesota March” by John Philip Sousa. The Wind Ensemble’s program will include “El Salon Mexico” by Aaron Copland, “William Byrd Suite” by Gordon Jacob, and “Strange Humors” by John Mackey.
Tuesday, Feb. 28
Author William Kent Krueger appears at 1 p.m. at Bemidji Public Library, and at the Brainerd Library at 6 p.m.  Krueger writes a mystery series set in the north woods of Minnesota. His protagonist is Cork O’Connor, the former sheriff of Tamarack County and a man of mixed heritage—part Irish and part Ojibwe. The eleventh book in the Cork O’Conner series, “Northwest Angle”, was released on August 30, 2011.
Boreal Brewers Homebrew Class will be from 6 to 9 every other Tuesday starting February 28 at Harmony Food Co-op in Bemidji. March 13 and 27 are the following meetings. The students will learn about ingredients, methods of brewing, and styles of beers. We will brew an English ale and each student will take a share of the brew home at the third meeting.
 
Wednesday, Feb. 29
Find out how to use the new "Made On The Range" web site created by the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board to get the word out about your artwork.  The First Stage Gallery is the site of the workshop in downtown Virginia starting at 6:30.

Minnesota History Datebook
Feb. 19, 1851 An act signed by Congress sets aside 48,080 acres to support a state university, and the University of Minnesota is first incorporated six days later. 
Feb. 22, 1855 The Mississippi, Pillager, and Lake Winnibigoshish bands of Ojibwe sign a treaty with the U.S. government.  It hands over a major portion of heavily wooded north-central Minnesota. Lumbering companies were keenly interested in the timber there. The treaty establishes the current Leech Lake and Mille Lacs reservations.
Feb. 19, 1902 The pink-and-white lady slipper (Cypripedium reginae) is named the state flower by the legislature (following the discovery that the previously chosen variety of lady slipper is not native to Minnesota). This wild orchid has a brilliantly colored bloom and thrives in damp woods, swamps, and bogs; it would be protected by a state law passed in 1925 that forbids picking the flower.
Feb. 23, 1983 Mark Pavelich becomes the first United States–born National Hockey League player to score five goals in a game when the Eveleth native and member of the gold medal–winning "Miracle on Ice" 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team leads the New York Rangers to an 11 to 3 victory over the Hartford Whalers in New York City.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Culturology Calendar 2-16-12

by Travis Ryder
Thursday, Feb. 16
Central Lakes College presents its production of “To Kill a Mockingbird” Thursday through Saturday at 7:30, and Sunday at 2.  The show will be presented in-the-round at CLC’s Dryden Theatre in Brainerd.

Friday, Feb. 17
The Nisswa Winter Jubilee and Walker Eelpout Festival are happening this weekend with events starting Friday.

Saturday, Feb. 18
There’s Old-Fashioned Winter Fun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Blackberry Farm & Antique Association, east of Grand Rapids on Highway 2.  There will be sleigh rides, activities for kids, and food for a nominal admission fee.
The Greenway Area Business Association presents the Trout Lake Plunge with activities running from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Individuals with at least $50 in pledges will take the plunge at Trout Lake Beach in Coleraine starting at 2.  On the ice before and after that, there will be food, beverages, a bonfire, hayrides, games, and family activities.
Author David Treuer presents his book, Rez Life, Saturday at 4 at the Bemidji Public Library.
The Itasca Symphony Orchestra performs with guest violinist Alex DePue.  The show is at 7:30 at the Reif  Center in Grand Rapids.
In Bemidji, The Minnesota Bluegrass Association brings The High 48s and The Cactus Blossoms to the Chief Theatre stage at 7:30 Saturday.
The Mask and Rose Women’s Theater presents “Ajax in Iraq” at the downtown Bemidji Masonic building.  Dinner theater starts at 5:30 Saturday and 12:30 Sunday.  The Monday show at 7 is strictly the performance.  Advance tickets are available at the Wild Hare bistro, which is catering the Middle Eastern meals.

Tuesday, Feb. 21
The Rhymesayers record label brings the Welcome to Minnesota hip-hop tour to Bemidji’s Sanford Center.  Atmosphere, Kill The Vultures, Mally, Big Quarters, and BK-One will perform starting at 7.  Listen for Charlie Pulkrabek’s interview with MC Slug of Atmosphere tonight at 6 on Centerstage Minnesota.

Thursday, Feb. 23
The Edge Center for the Arts in Bigfork presents the local production of Circle Mirror Transformation.  The play itself deals with an adult acting class.  Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 7 and Sunday at 2.

MINNESOTA HISTORY DATEBOOK
Feb. 16, 1864 The Waseca County Horse Thief Detectives are organized in Wilton. One of several such pioneer groups, it would continue to hold social meetings after 1880 and, when horse-thieving became a thing of the past, it would focus its energies on tracing stolen cars.

Feb. 15, 1870 A groundbreaking ceremony for the Northern Pacific Railroad line is held at Northern Pacific Junction, later called Carlton. The line to the Pacific Ocean, completed on September 8, 1883, with the same spike used to begin construction in Minnesota, is the first single-company transcontinental line.

Feb. 13, 1909 President Theodore Roosevelt establishes Superior National Forest. Six weeks later Ontario's government responds in kind by creating Quetico Provincial Forest Reserve. Exploitative practices are restricted in these areas, thereby preserving the beauty of lakes and trees for future generations.

Feb. 17, 1972 The U.S. Department of Justice files a pollution suit against Reserve Mining Company, which operated a taconite plant on Lake Superior and dumped tailings contaminated with asbestos-like fibers into the lake. Lasting five years, the proceedings would be the nation's longest and most expensive environmental legal battle to that date.

Feb. 12, 2000 Cartoonist Charles M. Schulz dies in California. That summer, in his childhood home of St. Paul, 101 individually decorated, five-foot-tall statues of Snoopy are displayed. Later in the year, Snoopy statues are auctioned with the proceeds to fund a bronze Peanuts sculpture for downtown St. Paul, and scholarships at area art schools.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Culturology Calendar 2-9-12

by Travis Ryder
Thursday, Feb. 9
The Edge Center in Bigfork presents the latest in their Classic Movie Series. It’s the 1976 retelling of the Robin Hood saga, “Robin and Marian,” starring Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn.  It’s a free show at 6:30.
Larry Yazzie and the Native Pride Dancers perform a free show at the Hobson Union Ballroom at Bemidji State University at 7 p.m. Thursday.  There’s also an interactive workshop on campus with the troupe starting at 9 a.m.

Friday, Feb. 10
Steve Kaul and The Brass Kings perform as part of the Grassroots Concerts series at the Live Well Nightclub in Nisswa.  The show starts at 6:30.
Jazz-fusion guitarist Todd Clouser and his outfit A Love Electric perform shows at the Blue Ox Bar in Brainerd Friday at 8, and Brewed Awakenings coffeehouse in Grand Rapids Saturday at 6.

Weizenegger image courtesy: Crossing Arts Alliance
Saturday, Feb. 11
There’s a reception Saturday for the Peter Weizenegger retrospective at the Franklin Arts Center in Brainerd.  It’s from 4 to 7 PM for the exhibition which runs through the end of the month.  Peter died in 2007, and worked primarily as a sculptor with precision, detail and humor as his trademarks. Peter also worked in preparation for the Tweed Museum at UMD.
Northwoods Friends of the Arts have a fundraiser at the Comet Theater in Cook starting at 5:30.  The movie “War Horse” will be shown as part of the fundraiser.
The Mesabi Community Orchestra presents two concerts this weekend featuring pianist Alexander Sandor.  Performances are Saturday at 7 at Virginia High School’s Goodman Auditorium, and Sunday at 2:30 at Washington Auditorium in Ely.  Works from Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninoff are on the program.
Central Lakes College presents its production of “To Kill a Mockingbird” starting this weekend.  Performances are Saturday at 7:30 and Sunday at 2, then next Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30, and another Sunday matinee at 2.  The show will be presented in-the-round at CLC’s Dryden Theatre in Brainerd.
Jason Petty performs a tribute to Hank Williams and other honky-tonk heroes at the Reif Center in Grand Rapids, starting at 7:30 Saturday.

Sunday, Feb. 12
Bemidji Symphony Orchestra presents the concert “History Meets Music.”  Historical re-enactor Clay Jenkinson portrays American physicist Robert Oppenheimer.  The Symphony plays chamber music connected to Oppenheimer’s times.  The show begins in the Bemidji High School auditorium at 3.  Jenkinson will be on hand at Book World for a signing at 2:00 Saturday, and a free lecture Saturday night at 7 in the Thompson Recital Hall on the BSU campus.

Monday, Feb. 13
A faculty and staff show at Bemidji State’s Ramsey Gallery opens Monday.  It’s called Midwinter Interlude, and the open house reception runs from 2 to 6.  The show is up until March 9.

Tuesday, Feb. 14
Author David Treuer appears at the Bemidji Public Library to talk about his new book “Rez Life.”  The chat starts at noon Tuesday.

Wednesday, Feb. 15
Your antique or collectible item can get a free verbal appraisal Wednesday at the Duluth Depot heritage and arts center.  The St. Louis County Historical Society has arranged for appraisers Dan Sershon and Denny Mager to be available from noon until 3 in the rotunda.

MN HISTORY DATEBOOK
February 10, 1763 Minnesota east of the Mississippi becomes British territory as France transfers the land.  It was part of the treaty ending the French and Indian War.
February 7, 1867 Laura Ingalls (Wilder) is born near Pepin, Wisconsin. Her family would settle in Walnut Grove, Redwood County, from 1874 to 1880 (living briefly in Iowa for the year 1876–77). She is remembered for writing the Little House on the Prairie books, which chronicle her family's experiences as pioneers.
February 9, 1895 The University of Minnesota's School of Agriculture defeats Hamline University 9 to 3 in the world's first intercollegiate basketball game, played on the Hamline campus by nine-man teams, who shot the ball into peach baskets without backboards.
February, 1996 Extreme wind chills on the 6th cause Governor Arne Carlson to order all schools closed.  The kids go outside and play anyway.  On the 10th, a blizzard occurs over the entire state. 15 inches of snow fall on Duluth.  Governor Arne Carlson again closes all schools. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Culturology Calendar 2-2-12

by Travis Ryder
Thursday through Monday
Crosslake Winterfest offers a big list of activities through Saturday.
Ruby Lips Above The Water is an original play showing at the Wild Rose Theater in downtown Bemidji, 7:30 Thursday through Saturday and Monday, and 2:00 Sunday.

Friday, Feb. 3
First Friday art and performance events run rampant in Grand Rapids and Bemidji.
The percussive dance and theater company Joe Chvala & the Flying Foot Forum will perform at the Reif Center in Grand Rapids Friday night.
Vocal trio Bluebird will perform starting at 7 at the Cabin Coffeehouse in Bemidji.

Saturday, Feb. 4
The Laskiainen sledding and Finnish heritage celebration happens at the Loon Lake Community Center south of Aurora.
Logging day at the Buena Vista ski area, in Bemidji. Starting at 8:30, it’s horse-drawn sleigh rides, live music, all-you-can-eat flapjack meals, lumberjack history & horse-assisted logging demonstrations.
Scorpion Snowmobile homecoming event in Crosby, starting at noon on the ice.  These machines were built on the Cuyuna Range in the '60s and '70s.
The One-Lunger 100 vintage snowmobile race is happening at Craguns Resort in Brainerd.

The art work of nine Hibbing Community College students who are completing the Fine Arts Program will be presented at the First Stage Gallery in Virginia.  The show will open with an Artist's Reception on Saturday, February 4th from noon until 2:30.  The show will run throughout the month of February.  Participants are: Becca Arnold-Sauer, Kelle Nenadich, Kourtney Kruger, Russel James, Lynn Johnson, Kathleen Rumler, Sandra Koch, Brianna Shober, and Gina Wheatman.  Students have completed studio art classes in painting, sculpture, ceramics, drawing, art history and design and the show will be representative of works created in these classes.  
Classic Cuban music from the Nachito Herrera Trio will flow at the Reif Center in Grand Rapids starting at 7:30.

Wednesday, Feb. 8
A national touring company will present Shakespeare's Julius Caesar at CLC-Brainerd, 7:30 p..m.

Minnesota History Datebook
Feb. 4, 1803 The Reverend William Boutwell is born in New Hampshire. In 1832 he went with Henry Schoolcraft on the trip that confirmed Lake Itasca as the source of the Mississippi River. Boutwell supplied the Latin words from which Schoolcraft named the lake (veritas, true, and caput, head).
Jan. 30, 1867 Ralph Waldo Emerson lectures in Winona at the courthouse. Sponsored by local library associations, Emerson's tour of the Midwest also includes stops in Faribault, St. Paul, and Minneapolis.
Feb. 2, 1996 Minnesota's coldest temperature is recorded at Tower, a minimum extreme of 60 degrees below zero (Fahrenheit) that bests by one degree the previous scientifically measured low established in 1899.