Twin Cities Film Fest 2014, Part II

Photo courtesy Time Lapse

The 2014 Twin Cities Film Festival is about at the halfway point, and it looks like things are moving along pretty well. Several sold out screenings and good buzz are making TCFF a serious calendar item in the local cinema scene. As I said in the first post, I can’t make specific comments about the films, but here’s a survey of the closing movies that I think are worth mentioning.

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THEATER REVIEW | Theatre Pro Rata's "1984": A vision of the future fit for Halloween

(Photo by Charles Gorrill) Winston Smith (Grant Henderson, foreground) under the watchful eye of The Interrogator (John Middleton) in Theatre Pro Rata's 1984

George Orwell’s 1984 is perfect entertainment for the Halloween season. There are few things scarier than this futuristic dystopia. Since 1984 was first published back in 1949 (back when 1984 was still over 30 years into the future), Orwell and 1984 and its surveillance state overlord Big Brother have become so ingrained in popular culture that they’re in danger of becoming their own well-worn cliches (after all, we’ve got a long-running reality TV show called Big Brother). It’s good to be reminded how frighteningly prescient the material still is today—three decades beyond that fateful year of 1984. Michael Gene Sullivan’s adaptation of Orwell’s novel boils it down to its essence, and Theatre Pro Rata gives the story a sharp and unsettling production.

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Creeps, crawls, candy and more: Halloween highlights in the Twin Cities

(Photo by Henry Hendricks)

Halloween is lurking around the corner, promising another year of spooky good times and monstrous spending.

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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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