Sunday, March 25, 2018


The opera “As One” follows the life of a tarnsgender woman who find her true self in Norway.  It was performed by Luke Williams of Kansas City and Bergen Baker at the North Garden Theater, St. Paul, and included a discussion after the opera.  The brick columns on the wall are original. 

Ryan and Tina North are the owners and artistic directors of the historic North Garden Theater in St. Paul which opened in 1915 and closed in the early 1960s.  It was remodeled in 1939.  
The interior of the theater is bare bones minimalist.  The brick columns on the walls are original from the theater which had a balcony and projection booth.  The owners invested in lighting and a sound system.  Acoustics at the N. Garden are acceptable.
Archival photos from  the University of Minnesota were helpful in restoring the exterior which includes a few marquee, but only blue prints were available for the interior design.  The couple bought the theater days before it was to be demolished.  The previous owner used it for storage.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Social Network, Communal Dining, Andrew Evans and More

It only lasts 40 days (of Lent) so you need to get to St. Albert’s soon for the Friday night fish fry.  Parkling is on the street and scarce in Minneapolis.  I went for the first and last time.  It was a real slice of life with enthusiastic volunteers.  This event draws a huge Friday night crowd.  The spaghetti was salty but the deserts were all home made by volunteers and worth the trip.  The pastor looks and talks like Percy Kilbride as the urges (over the mike) for attendees to buy raffle tickets.  Not to be missed!

Some came to the Mapping Prejudice program at Or Emet Humanist Jewish Congregation expecting that the focus would be on anti-semitism in Minneapolis but it wasn’t.  In fact, redlining and discriminatory racial covenants in deeds were directed against African Americans until federal legislation in 1968.  The damage that those business decisions caused haunt us today in the Twin Cities.
Kevin Erdman Sjoberg is a sure bet for an engrossing evening and his Mapping Prejudice presentation more than lived up to expectations.  In fact, when I left the Jewish Community Center in St. Louis Park he was still cornered in the sanctuary.  Hopefully he escaped the building.

MOVIE MAKING with Facebook
Disc 2 with the “Social Network” DVD is almost as good as the movie.  How did They Make a Movie of Facebook?  It weren’t easy.  The talented young actors had little opportunity for bonding but Jesse and Andrew did share a light moment at the vending machine.
Some loneliness was apparent for Jesse in Los Angeles when the rest of the cast spent time with their girl friends.  Jesse preferred the filiming in Boston’s winter with snow.
The VanWinkelman Twins played by Armie and Josh (who you don’t see) involving CGI is another intriguing piece of this movie.  Also, the rigors of crew rowing in Boston are revealed by Armie.

There’s a reference in trying to be objective about Zuckerberg.  “You try to be a jerk but you aren’t,” says one of the characters in the movie.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Gringo, Stop the World and more

Movie Soundtrack
This amazing sound track is from an Anthony Newley - Leslie Biscuse 60s musical that I saw as a play at Boise State College in about 1967.  Now I need to find the movie.

Amazon has moved from carefree tossing merchandise in the hallway here to making movies.  Their latest effort, “Gringo,” was shown at a free sneak preview at the West End Cinema Wednesday night. 
 A representative from a marketing firm was at the exit taking comments.  David Oyelowo is a reason to see this movie when it premieres at theaters here Friday.  He plays a hapless cog in the corporate wheel where evil, bumbling sex-addicted Big Pharma executives market marijuana and get involved with stereotypical Mexican bandits.  
The writers were no doubt influenced by the classic film noir “Out of the Past” and “A Touch of Evil” which are superior, but “Gringo” is worth a look when it’s on Amazon Prime. 

National Geographic writer Andrew Evans’ memoir “The Black Penguin” is an amazing read from a gifted writer.  He traces his spiritual journey from growing up in Ohio as a gay kid who was bullied by his peers to realizing his dream of being a NG reporter. 
His story is wrapped around his sense of adventure wherein he goes to the Antartica by bus from the east coast of the U.S.  Like Kerouac, he meets interesting people and gets to know the real America.

“Please tell me how to be an actor,” George Chakiris asked actor Melissa Hart years ago when they appeared together in a Florida production of “Stop the World I want to Get Off,” an Antony Newley musical.
That recollection was prompted Friday morning in our OLLI theater class when I suggested to the Atristry staff that they consider a production of the Newley musical.  Gary Briggle and Hart burst into laughter at this suggestion, remembering their experience with the play years ago.  Briggle admitted that the music is great but the characters are unlikeable.

Briggle and Hart appeared in Artistry’s recent “Candide” production which was a knockout and then shared their love of that project with our OLLI class.  You should have been there.