Blogs Field Guide Last Night at the Walker

Radiohole, Whatever Heaven Allows (WHA?!)

Walking out from the Radiohole performance “Whatever, Heaven Allows”, I overheard a gentleman say to his friend, “This was the right time for them to do this piece; they wouldn’t have gotten away with it a few years ago. The audience might not completely know what’s going on, but they’re open to the experience.” The […]

Walking out from the Radiohole performance “Whatever, Heaven Allows”, I overheard a gentleman say to his friend, “This was the right time for them to do this piece; they wouldn’t have gotten away with it a few years ago. The audience might not completely know what’s going on, but they’re open to the experience.”

The show was, as my WACTAC companions to the performance put it, “absurd and wonderful.” It could be the New York Times article, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/10/weekinreview/10stone.html , that I recently read, but upon looking at the set of flat screen monitors, video projections, elaborately decorated microphone stands, projections, record players, and touch sensitive arm band transmitters, I couldn’t help but think about how profoundly connected we are to technology as a form of communication and how much more dependent we will become.

I said to myself, “What are the effects of being so connected and efficient?” Perhaps it’s a world that condenses all experience into short snippets, where only the necessary is transmitted and stays on the surface, far removed from intellectual examination. Take the exchanges between the two female actresses, basic and common repeating of words and exchanges are streamlined and shortened to demonstrate only the integral moments of life stages, resulting in a lot of random, inept, and asinine behavior.

Social gathering scene 1:
“Shall we have a martini?”
The five person casts says in unison, “Chug, chug, chug.”
“Hot Sake!”

Isn’t that essentially what a party is? Maybe, take away the unidentifiable dark liquid splashed on their faces and clothes, but sure; why not?

It’s fun, and regardless of the deeper meaning woven within the script and performance, music, unexpected unison dancing, beer, projections, and solid acting make for a good time.

Mural making and community building with artist Seexeng Lee

The weather outside was frightful last night (tornado hits Minneapolis!), but inside the Walker, the art and food were delightful as the Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans, artist Seexeng Lee, and the Walker co-presented an art workshop and dinner to celebrate community, family, and cultural exchange. Asian American and Pacific Islander families along with members of […]

The weather outside was frightful last night (tornado hits Minneapolis!), but inside the Walker, the art and food were delightful as the Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans, artist Seexeng Lee, and the Walker co-presented an art workshop and dinner to celebrate community, family, and cultural exchange. Asian American and Pacific Islander families along with members of the Walker’s Parent Advisory Group and their families came together to create a tiled mural filled with symbols and words inspired by Hmong culture, the Walker Art Center, and each individual’s creativity. The result: a powerful, colorful sum of parts.

Seexeng, who’s a practicing artist and teacher at South H.S., developed the overarching design on a series of 50 small square canvas tiles and asked participants to select a tile that spoke to them, and fill it with their own symbols. Once the paintings were complete the families helped themselves to a delicious buffet of food from Mango Thai, while Seexeng speedily dried and assembled the paintings onto a large plywood frame behind closed doors so that the unveiling was, to quote Johnny Depp in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, “the best prize of all, a SURPRISE!”

Tiles
Tiles designed by Seexeng Lee
Seexeng Lee explaining the project
Seexeng Lee explaining the project
Families hard at play

Families hard at play

Calvin Her, PaYong Xiong, Missy Her, Mysister Her

Calvin Her, PaYong Xiong, Missy Her, Mysister Her

The spread, courtesy Mango Thai Restaurant in St. Paul

The spread, courtesy Mango Thai Restaurant in St. Paul

Voila! The culminating masterpiece

Voila! The culminating masterpiece

Detail of mural

Detail of mural

What images and symbols can you find?

What images and symbols can you find?

Sleep On It: 24 Hours of Recovery

This post was written by Emmanuel Mauleon, Teen Programs Intern. After working for over 50 hours in the last four days I have to say that as I walked away from Don’t Sleep On It I was extremely tired. But I found myself wishing about an hour after it finished that I was still in […]

This post was written by Emmanuel Mauleon, Teen Programs Intern.

After working for over 50 hours in the last four days I have to say that as I walked away from Don’t Sleep On It I was extremely tired. But I found myself wishing about an hour after it finished that I was still in that small room in the California Building creating another three hour installation.

Don’t Sleep On It was a huge success. Aside from the issue of the time-lapse video going out for 12 hours, everything went off without a hitch. This was due in large part to all of the artists, and their commitment to keep all of our participants motivated through their sleep-walking/arting.

Thanks to Erin and Brett Smith for the convenience store, Chris Pennington for the cardboard city, Hardland/Heartland for the black hole (with help from M-Deathsquads), Burlesque for the BRLSQOTHEQUE (and the wall of bass), Kristina Mooney for the misty mountain landscape, Liz Miller for the felt and burlap oasis, Scott Stulen and Andy Ducett for the couch-fort/pastel-polygon, and lastly Broken Crow for the porcupine and spray paint free-for-all. Each of these installations were amazing and surprisingly different.

I’d also personally like to thank WACTAC for their commitment to staying awake and helping remove trash and debris while everyone else was making art. Nick & Shannon, word up.

Thanks to all of our participants, sponsors and funders. There will be a slew of photos in the upcoming days, so be on the look-out for that, but for now here’s the time lapse video.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MB7jVGSoDIg[/youtube]

I’m going back to bed now.

Admin edit: Added the corrected, longer version of the time-lapse video.

The Violin – Nuevo Cine Mexicano

This post was written by Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council (WACTAC) member Bre Blaesing. I went with a group of people to see The Violin last night, directed by Francisco Vargas. The Violin: “In the 1970s, a seemingly harmless violin player named Don Plutarco (Don ngel Tavira, winner of the Un Certain Regard best […]

This post was written by Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council (WACTAC) member Bre Blaesing.

thumbnail.jpg

I went with a group of people to see The Violin last night, directed by Francisco Vargas.

The Violin:

“In the 1970s, a seemingly harmless violin player named Don Plutarco (Don ngel Tavira, winner of the Un Certain Regard best actor award at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival) supports the peasant movement’s armed revolt along with his son and grandson. After their village is attacked by the military in the harrowing first minutes of the film, Plutarco wins over the army captain with his music, which gets him closer to information and supplies that can help the guerrillas counterattack.”

The Violin is the best film I have seen all year, for three reasons:

  1. It is apart of a new and exciting film movement. Personally I am very excited for the Nuevo Cine Mexicano movement that is going on in Mexico and other Latin Countries, I am excited that it is beginning to receive some of the attention that it deserves. The film The Violin is a strong example of the anthem of emerging filmmakers from Mexico, the anthem is reflecting on misguided policy structure, economic crisis, rejection of institutions and rights for the people (not only in Mexico). In a time were consumerism and weakened policy structure is common among many countries the artist response to the abuse of power and the corruptions that come along with is a direct response to oppression all over the world.
  2. The filmmaking and use of close ups is stunning. Francisco Vargas ability to capture human emotion through high contrast close ups is stunning. The main character Plutarco is the hero of The Violin, throughout the film we are stunned by his wisdom and courage, often we see him reflecting on life, playing music with his grandson and passing on crucial information to the revolutionaries, we see him in high contrast at night in front of a fire the glow of the embers on his face are stunning.
  3. The director has positive things to say to youth filmmakers. Francisco Vargas was at the screening of the film, after the film was shown I was able to ask him if he has any words of wisdom for young filmmakers, he described the process of creating The Violin, he discussed how many people did not want him to make the film, people believed that the issues that are discussed, the political edge of it was unimportant,and that no one would care . He searched for 6 months to find the character Plutarco numerous times people told him that the character they wanted did not exist. It took them five years to make this film, and they only had 4 weeks to shot it on a very modest budget. The film has since become a blockbuster and the lead actor Plutarco, who had never acted before, won the Best Actor Award from the Cannes Film Festival. Overall he said that if you have passion no matter what people say to follow your dreams!!!

If you ever have the opportunity to see The Violin or future Francisco Vargas films make a point of doing so you will not be disappointed.

I am Youtube-ing a trailer of the film, there are not English Subtitles, however this can serve as an example of the filmmaking and to get you excited for the Nuevo Cine Mexicano.

Enjoy..

[youtube]http://youtube.com/watch?v=51lFasmxMMk[/youtube]

If you are interested in reading more WACTAC reviews check out teens.walkerart.org

The Violin – Nuevo Cine Mexicano

This post was written by Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council (WACTAC) member Bre Blaesing. I went with a group of people to see The Violin last night, directed by Francisco Vargas. The Violin: “In the 1970s, a seemingly harmless violin player named Don Plutarco (Don ngel Tavira, winner of the Un Certain Regard best […]

This post was written by Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council (WACTAC) member Bre Blaesing.

thumbnail.jpg

I went with a group of people to see The Violin last night, directed by Francisco Vargas.

The Violin:

“In the 1970s, a seemingly harmless violin player named Don Plutarco (Don ngel Tavira, winner of the Un Certain Regard best actor award at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival) supports the peasant movement’s armed revolt along with his son and grandson. After their village is attacked by the military in the harrowing first minutes of the film, Plutarco wins over the army captain with his music, which gets him closer to information and supplies that can help the guerrillas counterattack.”

The Violin is the best film I have seen all year, for three reasons:

  1. It is apart of a new and exciting film movement. Personally I am very excited for the Nuevo Cine Mexicano movement that is going on in Mexico and other Latin Countries, I am excited that it is beginning to receive some of the attention that it deserves. The film The Violin is a strong example of the anthem of emerging filmmakers from Mexico, the anthem is reflecting on misguided policy structure, economic crisis, rejection of institutions and rights for the people (not only in Mexico). In a time were consumerism and weakened policy structure is common among many countries the artist response to the abuse of power and the corruptions that come along with is a direct response to oppression all over the world.
  2. The filmmaking and use of close ups is stunning. Francisco Vargas ability to capture human emotion through high contrast close ups is stunning. The main character Plutarco is the hero of The Violin, throughout the film we are stunned by his wisdom and courage, often we see him reflecting on life, playing music with his grandson and passing on crucial information to the revolutionaries, we see him in high contrast at night in front of a fire the glow of the embers on his face are stunning.
  3. The director has positive things to say to youth filmmakers. Francisco Vargas was at the screening of the film, after the film was shown I was able to ask him if he has any words of wisdom for young filmmakers, he described the process of creating The Violin, he discussed how many people did not want him to make the film, people believed that the issues that are discussed, the political edge of it was unimportant,and that no one would care . He searched for 6 months to find the character Plutarco numerous times people told him that the character they wanted did not exist. It took them five years to make this film, and they only had 4 weeks to shot it on a very modest budget. The film has since become a blockbuster and the lead actor Plutarco, who had never acted before, won the Best Actor Award from the Cannes Film Festival. Overall he said that if you have passion no matter what people say to follow your dreams!!!

If you ever have the opportunity to see The Violin or future Francisco Vargas films make a point of doing so you will not be disappointed.

I am Youtube-ing a trailer of the film, there are not English Subtitles, however this can serve as an example of the filmmaking and to get you excited for the Nuevo Cine Mexicano.

Enjoy..

[youtube]http://youtube.com/watch?v=51lFasmxMMk[/youtube]

If you are interested in reading more WACTAC reviews check out teens.walkerart.org

Finding Picasso

Last night was the last Target Free Thursday Night before the Picasso and American Art exhibition closes on Sept 9th and people were coming in droves to see the work of the master. We had decided not to give Picasso tours that night because the galleries were too crowded, but it was clear that the […]

picasso-tours.jpgLast night was the last Target Free Thursday Night before the Picasso and American Art exhibition closes on Sept 9th and people were coming in droves to see the work of the master. We had decided not to give Picasso tours that night because the galleries were too crowded, but it was clear that the people in the lobby were there to see Picasso, and so we came up with a quick Plan B (or “ Plan P” as it were…). So we gave the 40 or so gathered folks a choice: Go on a tour of contemporary paintings in the permanent collection as a prelude for seeing the Picasso exhibition (about 10 chose that option), or stay for a brief overview of the Picasso show before heading up to the special exhibition galleries.

What to say in five minutes or less to help people make sense of the exhibition, which is really about a handful of avant garde American artists who felt compelled to react to the inventive styles of Picasso? We came up with “ Find the Picasso.” As you enter each section of the galleries, look first for the embedded work by Picasso. Then compare and contrast that work with the works by American artists surrounding it. You remember “ compare and contrast” from your art history 101 course, right? Look for how American artists pulled strategies for abstraction, riffed on subject matter, paid homage to Picasso, and took it to the next level. You will impress those around you with your insights and pithy observations. And who knows? You might wind up being an ad hoc Picasso tour guide on your own.

Cubism and multi-voiced narrative: Who knew?

We began last night’s book club discussion of Louise Erdrich’s The Painted Drum by focusing on the drum itself: its metaphysical qualities, its unique history, its cultural significance, and its power as a literary symbol. We then talked about the author’s conscious decision to employ a multi-voiced narrative technique, and generally agreed that this strategy […]

9780060515119.jpgWe began last night’s book club discussion of Louise Erdrich’s The Painted Drum by focusing on the drum itself: its metaphysical qualities, its unique history, its cultural significance, and its power as a literary symbol.

We then talked about the author’s conscious decision to employ a multi-voiced narrative technique, and generally agreed that this strategy served the novel well.

One member of the group then made an interesting connection to the exhibition Picasso and American Art, which we had toured earlier under the guidance of the amazingly enthusiastic Gary White (his passion for the art is surpassed only by his encyclopedic knowledge).

Our fellow reader likened Erdrich’s use of multiple narrative perspectives to Picasso’s cubist approach to multiple visual planes.

I’d never thought of that, and was once again humbled by the wide range of insights provided by the participants of our group. I realized that’s part of what makes viewing art and discussing literature as a group such an incredible social experience: you just never know what’s going to pop up next.

Speaking of popping up next, during August’s edition of The Artist’s Bookshelf we will read and discuss Kiran Desai’s Booker Prize-winning novel, The Inheritance of Loss.

I can hardly wait.

…is this the funny part?

At last night’s meeting of The Artist’s Bookshelf, we tackled what many fans of Mr. Vonnegut consider to be his masterwork, Slaughterhouse-Five. We approached the novel as a contemporary “mythology” and focused most of our discussion on the author’s fragmented narrative technique, which seemed to parallel the subconscious journeys of the loveable but “alienated” protagonist […]

At last night’s meeting of The Artist’s Bookshelf, we tackled what many fans of Mr. Vonnegut consider to be his masterwork, Slaughterhouse-Five. We approached the novel as a contemporary “mythology” and focused most of our discussion on the author’s fragmented narrative technique, which seemed to parallel the subconscious journeys of the loveable but “alienated” protagonist Billy Pilgrim.

As always, the diversity of our group led to a wide range of opinions and observations. We encompassed at least three “war generations” (WWII, Vietnam, and Iraq), ranged in age from 18-85, and broke down into two distinct groups: those who had actually experienced encounters with UFO’s and the 4th dimension, and those who had not.

(For personal reasons, I will refrain from revealing my category.)

Some of us appreciated the dark humor and found portions of the book hilarious, others, not so much. We reached some consensus on the potency of Mr. Vonnegut’s anti-war message, and generally agreed that it had not diminished over time.

And in the end, we took some degree of comfort in the author’s cynical hopefulness, expressed so poignantly in the final chapter:

“If what Billy Pilgrim learned from the Tralfamadorians is true, that we all live forever, no matter how dead we may sometimes seem to be, I am not overjoyed. Still– if I am going to spend eternity visiting this moment and that, I’m grateful that so many of those moments are nice.”

– p.186, Slaughterhouse-Five

Attention Britney: I Found You Some Back-Up Dancers

May Free First Saturday went above and beyond this time around, featuring dancers from the Emio Greco | PC troupe that were at the Walker presenting their newest work Hell. While the dancers didn’t bring the Inferno to the Walker galleries and the wee ones wandering about, they were very enthusiastic to select art works […]

May Free First Saturday went above and beyond this time around, featuring dancers from the Emio Greco | PC troupe that were at the Walker presenting their newest work Hell. While the dancers didn’t bring the Inferno to the Walker galleries and the wee ones wandering about, they were very enthusiastic to select art works in the galleries and perform impromptu dance responses. So cool.

I was at FFS to help with the story readings, but I managed to catch a few bits and pieces:

Emio Greco | PC interprets Thomas Schutte

Dancer Marta Lopes (Portugal) dances next to a piece in the Thomas Schutte gallery as part of the Quartet exhibition.

Emio Greco | PC interprets Kara Walker

Dancer Ty Boomershine (USA) dances next to a Kara Walker work as part of the exhibition, Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love.

Ty’s performance was very striking, and my favorite by far. He looked like a character out of one of my very best, Neil Gaiman-inspired day dreams.

Britney, I think Emio Greco | PC has the kind of dynamic kick that could drag even your (allegedly) drug- and booze-addled career out of the gutter. Just something to think about, s’all I’m sayin’.

Bands on the Run photos

I’m at a loss for words trying to describe yesterday’s scavenger hunt. Fun and awesome are two words I could use. Certainly, Michael Gaughan’s scavenger hunts have been some of the most unique in the Twin Cities, and yesterday was no different. As a participant, I took quite a few photos. And so did a […]

SYNCHROCYCLOTRON

I’m at a loss for words trying to describe yesterday’s scavenger hunt. Fun and awesome are two words I could use. Certainly, Michael Gaughan’s scavenger hunts have been some of the most unique in the Twin Cities, and yesterday was no different.

As a participant, I took quite a few photos. And so did a lot of other people. So I uploaded my photos to my Flickr account and created a group with the Walker’s Flickr account. If you took photos and are a Flickr user, add yourself to WACTAC group, then add your photos to the pool. Rather than just creating a group specifically for this event, I’m making it a bit more extensible down the road.

If you’re not a Flickr user, just drop a note in the comments here and I’ll link your photos in this post.

Edit: Now with youtube goodness:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PhPuCyOVDc[/youtube]

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