“Your Crew vs. My Crew” creates community amidst competition at Rondo Days [Photos]

The second annual “Your Crew vs. My Crew” dance competition finished out this year’s Rondo Days, which celebrates the black community that once thrived where I-94 now cuts through St. Paul.

“Every year we celebrate Rondo Days and the people and community who once stood there,” Leviticus Martin, the host of the event, proclaimed to a cheering audience during intermission of the competition. “So keep that in your minds and in your hearts when you come to Rondo Days, to the festival, to the parade, to the competition, that’s what it’s about. It’s about the community, it’s about love.”

The competition took place at Gangelhoff Arena on the Concordia University campus on Saturday, July 18th and lasted almost three hours. The competition and dance exhibition included nine crews from Minnesota, Indiana, and Nebraska. Continue Reading

MOVIE REVIEW: “Dark Star” leaves much unseen

Swiss artist H.R. Giger has always had an air of performance about him. The man who created the titular Alien produced images so terrifying, beautiful and inexplicable that it was easy to imagine he might be otherworldly himself. Or at least tapped into something supernatural. For a time there were rumours that he was a genuine devil-worshipper, the scary kind, not the sexy California variety. In time that image faded and was replaced by the man who would sue Hollywood and win, eventually. Continue Reading

2015 Somali Independence Day Festival in Photos

The Minnesotan Somali community celebrated the 55th anniversary of Somalia’s independence from Britain and Italy this weekend at a festival that spanned three blocks of West Lake Street. According to the 2010 American Community Survey data, there are around 25,000 Somali-Americans in Minnesota, a third of the Somali population of the United States. Although Somali Independence Day is technically July 1, the Minneapolis festival was held on Saturday, June 13 because it will be Ramadan from mid-June until mid-July. Somali flags and balloons with the logo of Progressive Insurance, one of many sponsors of the event, were prominent features around the festival. Friends and families came together to celebrate on Lake Street, between Blaisdell and Grand. Continue Reading

Silent Mary Pickford Classic Brings Thrills to Heights Theater

In the mood for some good old-fashioned melodrama, with snapping alligators, quicksand, and the kind of villains you can’t help but boo and hiss? Then be sure to head to the Heights Theater on Sunday, June 14, at 7:30 pm, when the theater will screen Mary Pickford’s 1926 silent classic Sparrows from a Library of Congress 35mm print. The film tells the story of a young girl named Molly trapped at a backwoods Louisiana “baby farm,” where orphans are held captive by the merciless Mr. and Mrs. Grimes, played by Gustav von Seyffertitz and Charlotte Mineau. After Molly stands up to Mr. Grimes and threatens to run him through with a pitchfork, he drives her and the other children into the swamp, assuming they’ll die there. But led by Molly, the orphans embark on a harrowing quest for survival and maybe, if they ever make it out of the swamp, a better life. Continue Reading

Support an end to forced organ harvesting in China

I was born and raised in the People’s Republic of China, a country without the basic freedoms allowed here in the United States. Though China’s constitution guarantees the freedoms of speech and belief, in reality, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) willfully disregards the written law. Over the past fifteen years, the CCP’s deceitful nature has been thoroughly exposed through the persecution of Falun Gong. Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a Chinese spiritual discipline for the mind and body. It combines five physical exercises, meditation, and a moral philosophy centered on the tenets of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance. Continue Reading

Women Leading Change: Profile of Barbara Arnwine

Barbara Arnwine has played a key role in advancing justice in the arena of civil rights. Arnwine has served as the President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law for over 26 years. Within this leadership role, her stance has been strong and her commitment has been unwavering to secure through rule of law, equal justice under the law. One such example is her determination to protect one of our most fundamental rights— voting. She has waged war against the direct assault of democracy as evidenced by laws and policies which restrict access to the ballot box. Continue Reading

Humans of May Day

Minneapolis celebrated another May Day on Sunday, May 3, with  a parade and celebration at Powerderhorn Park by The Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater.  I interviewed people along the way in the style of Humans of New York, asking the question, “What does May Day mean to you?” Continue Reading

“Jersey Boys” by the numbers

Jersey Boys has 33 songs in its score, drawing off a song catalog that sold 175 million records worldwide and several cover songs from the Four Seasons’s early years. Many of the show’s other numbers are quite impressive. Number of People in the Company: 52

Actors: 19
Musicians: 10
Crew: 14

Largest Number of Roles Played by an Actor: 18 (Leslie Rochette)
Number of Distinct Costumes and Looks: 196

Pairs of Shoes Worn per Performance: 87
Most costume changes for a lead character: 15 (for Frankie Valli)

Valli’s quick changes: 12
Valli’s shortest quick change: 15 seconds

Fastest costume change overall: 9 seconds (“My Eyes Adored You”


609 lighting cues
401 fixed lights + 96 PAR lamps for concert lighting
77 moving lights

©2015 Basil Considine Continue Reading