June 15, 2007
Art in the American Outback: News RoundupBridgette Redman
Sicko starts small
All right, so movies aren't the usual fare for Flyover, but this news item was so fitting our theme of the American Outback that it just had to be mentioned. Michael Moore's latest film is having its North American premiere not in New York or L.A., but in a small northern Michigan town of Bellaire. Tickets are $40 a piece and being sold in this town of fewer than 1,000 people.
(Thanks to Kevin Wright of the Traverse City Record-Eagle)
Promoting Wisconsin works
Three groups have joined forces to help encourage Wisconsin playwrights. They're hosting a Wisconsin Wrights New Play Project that will perform three premieres. " After weeks of intensive workshops, Normal Human Beings by Bruce Murphy, The Queen of Janesville by Greg Lawless and Recovering the Real Me by Kurt McGinnis Brown will receive staged readings in UW Vilas Hall's Hemsley Theatre from June 7 to 9, with 7:30 p.m. performances each night. Selected from a pool of more than 40 entries, these three finalists were scored by a team of expert readers, evaluated by a panel of judges, and finally ranked by lead judge and Madison native Bradley Whitford, the Emmy-winning actor of West Wing fame.
"Besides a public reading, Wisconsin Wrights finalists are awarded a week's stay at Madison's Edenfred Mansion and provided with professional dramaturges and directors to assist in their works' development. Once scripts are finalized, one of the three plays will be selected for inclusion in the Madison Repertory Theatre's 2007 New Play Festival."
(Thanks to Jacqueline West of Isthmus)
The troubled legacy of Rufus Thomas at Stax
"It's late February, and things are buzzing inside the Stax Museum of American Soul Music.
On the floor of Studio A, two dozen or so familiar figures are greeting each other with hugs and handshakes. Among them are Stax artists Isaac Hayes, Eddie Floyd and Steve Cropper, songwriters Mack Rice and Bettye Crutcher, and label executive Al Bell. They've assembled for a press conference for European journalists who've flown in on a junket to cover the 50th anniversary of Stax."
(Thanks to Bob Mehr of the Memphis Commercial Appeal)
Atlanta's breakdancing scene attracts attention, but at what cost?
"Breakdancing surged into the mainstream the first time in 1983 when Jennifer Beals' artful exotic dancer (and welder) in Flashdance gave her Julliard audition some street cred. Her moves were ripped from the Rock Steady Crew, whose members appeared in the movie, breakdancing in alleyways and on sidewalks. ... But by 1985, breakdancing had all but become a joke. Witness Don Ameche backspinning at a nightclub in the 'Seniors Gone Wild' antics of 1985's 'Cocoon.' By then, the pop music audience had decided that headbanging was more dignified, and I started stealing David Lee Roth moves from 'Just a Gigolo.'"
(Thanks to Thomas Bell of Atlanta Creative Loafing)
Mysteries of patronage: The gift that keeps on taking
"If corroboration were necessary for F. Scott Fitzgerald's assured cliché that 'the very rich are different from you and me,' it is conspicuously available in the current exhibit at the Yale Center for British Art. The philanthropist and notable Yale benefactor Paul Mellon financed the Center's Louis Kahn building, and then he filled it. 'A Passion for British Art' constitutes a recreation of the opening of the museum thirty years ago, with almost everything on view acquired by him, or guided by the standards he applied."
(Thanks to Stephen Vincent Kobasa of the New Haven Advocate, New Haven, Conn.)
Talkin' Tags: An (Ex) Graffitti Artist Goes Public
"Compared with other small American cities, Burlington has a reputation for being hip and artsy. But when it comes to public perceptions of graffiti, that hip-hop-inflected, spray-paint-intensive artistic subculture -- fuhgeddaboudit. At least, that's the word from a former 'tagger.' He reports that average Burlingtonians don't have a clue about all the graffiti in their midst -- where it's done and who's doing it, let alone what those bubble letters mean. Then again, he doesn't really want them to find out."
(Thanks to Mike Ives of Seven Days, Burlington, Vermont)
Posted by Bridgette Redman at June 15, 2007 6:00 AM