Laopocalypse Now: Fear, poetry, and the end of the world

This Wednesday, October 22nd will be the 170th anniversary of "The End of the World," as predicted by the adherents of Millerism in the 1830s. William Miller had predicted the Second Coming of Christ on October 22nd, 1844, That day came and went, and left a good number of people disillusioned. Some returned to their old congregations, others became Quakers or Shakers. In more recent years, the late Harold Camping predicted October 21st, 2011 was going to be the day to end all days.

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THEATER REVIEW | "33 Variations" crescendos at Park Square Theatre

Photo courtesy Park Square Theatre

There are few times when a play production achieves true theatricalism. But Park Square Theatre’s production of 33 Variations accomplishes this elusive target in its crescendo scene during the half-way point of the show. This scene, alone, renders this production worthy of both your attention and attendance.

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THEATER REVIEW | Gadfly Theatre's "Girl Gumshoe and Detective Dad": The case of the empty nester

Lauren Diesch and G. Zachariah White as the title characters in Girl Gumshoe and Detective Dad; photo courtesy of Gadfly Theatre Productions

I didn’t think this would happen again so soon (on the heels of Freshwater Theatre’s recent production of the new play The Man In Her Dreams), but with Gadfly Theatre’s production of Eli Effinger-Weintraub’s new comedy Girl Gumshoe and Detective Dad, I may have run across another piece of theater for which I’m too well acquainted with the subject matter and the artists to be entirely objective. But I’ll give it a go.

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This week in Saint Paul: Monday, October 20–Sunday, October 26, 2014

Polar vortex. El Niño. El Niña. Swirling weather concoctions made it nice to get out and enjoy our fair city. We will see what this week brings, as far as sun and warmth and cold and beautiful colors. Who knows how long before it gets cold and icy, but we will continue to have great reasons to get out and great things and people to see. I have a few ideas for this week. Maybe you have some, too.

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MUSIC REVIEW | Pearl Jam worth the wait at the Xcel Energy Center

Photos By: 
Chad Rieder

White stage lights streamed horizontally over a sea of heads, silhouettes stealthily moved and found their places, 18,000 voices exploded in greeting, and Eddie Vedder seemingly floated to the front and raised a bottle of wine to return that greeting. Without a word, the “Pendulum” started to swing with the tapping of a hi-hat and a soft haunting resonating from piano keys. Vedder’s voice, deep and melancholy, slowly pushed forth the words “Can't know what's high, 'Til you've been down so low” and space was taken up by the entrancing tone produced by his vocal chords.

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MUSIC PHOTOS | Bastille at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium

Photos by Patrick Dunn

Sunday night October 19th may have been family concert night at St. Paul’s River Center where parents could have been reliving their passion for 90s grunge rock at the Xcel Energy Center with Pearl Jam, while the kids where next door at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium going crazy for the new sound of their generation courtesy of British rocker’s Bastille. The band’s solid debut album Bad Blood has lit up the charts and earned them more than 2 million likes on Facebook including Late Night with Seth Meyers and Conan O’Brien.

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Kindness in chalk

You could still see the messages written three different languages chalked on the sidewalk in front of my daughter’s school earlier this week from the October 10th Kindness in Chalk event. The words were faded then, but they still have me hope.

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Flyway Film Festival lures Twin Citians across the river October 23-26

How is the Flyway Film Festival, happening this week in the Wisconsin river towns of Pepin, Stockholm, and Maiden Rock, different from other film festivals? A well-known producer visiting the Flyway once told me, off the record: “Nobody’s trying to suck up to anybody here. People say what they really think about the films and nobody acts pretentious, the way they do at most festivals.” (You can see why this person did not want to be quoted by name.)

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THEATER REVIEW | "33 Variations" explores Ludwig van Beethoven at Park Square Theatre

Dr. Katherine Brandt (Karen Landry) tries to determine Beethoven (Edwin Strout)'s intentions despite the composer's notoriously bad handwriting. Photo courtesy of Park Square Theatre.

One of the most memorable moments in the film Amadeus depicts Antonio Salieri seeing a score of Mozart’s music for the first time. As his eye passes over the page, the music sounds in his head and Salieri describes each musical entrance and change in the composition’s texture with wondrous amazement. It is an experience, to the film’s viewer, of hearing something familiar again as if for the first time, so great is the difference when the details and elegance are made apparent. This is a scene that has made many lovers of classical music out of proud plebians, and one for which viewers of the stage play on which the movie was based wait in vain, as it was added especially for the film. Such a scene is found, however, in Moisés Kaufman’s play 33 Variations, now playing at Park Square Theatre.

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THEATER REVIEW | "Nice Work If You Can Get It" Ordway Center for the Performing Arts: Old dog, new tricks

Jimmy Winter (Alex Enterline) has lots of problems, and being loved by the female ensemble of Nice Work If You Can Get It is most of them. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

They say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but by golly the team behind Nice Work If You Can Get It has given it the old gangster try. This Gershwin jukebox musical passes the time pleasantly, forgoing musical innovations for tried and true melodies and a farce of a plot that steadily amps up the ridiculous complications.

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