Inside the Daily Planet, 10/23/08

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NEWS YOU CAN USE | Composting in your own backyard
TC Daily Planet
Last week’s article about curbside composting generated lots of interest. (Watch for another article on a pilot program in Linden Hills next week.) The comment below, posted by Diana Kennedy of Eureka Recycling, describes composting opportunities already in place in the Twin Cities, and offers help in setting up your own backyard composting.

Views and Reviews

Theater note: Amazons and Their Men dramatizes the life of Leni Riefenstahl
by Rebecca Collins, TC Daily Planet
Amazons and Their Men, a play by Jordan Harrison, is a richly-layered piece that involves bits and pieces of an imaginary screenplay, production notes, history, and a great deal of speculation. What’s being speculated about is the life and work of director Leni Riefenstahl (Triumph of the Will, Olympia), although the playwright notes that it is not a historical play.

Deynn Hampton, Tadji Akhavan, and Steph Devine: Going from backup to first-string
by Dwight Hobbes, TC Daily Planet
Backup vocalists don’t get much glory. Fact is, though, they can make a big difference. Imagine the Rolling Stones’ classic “Gimme Shelter” without Claudia Linear belting her lungs out behind Mick Jagger. Or Jackson Browne’s Running On Empty sans Rosemary Butler and David Lindley, especially on the smokin’ title cut and that incredible rendition of “Stay.” It’s folk in the background bringing serious firepower. Accordingly, dig three Twin Cities singers who back some serious names: Deynn Hampton, Tadji Akhavan, and Steph Devine.

Music note: Jennifer O’Connor at the Entry, achin’ to be
by Jay Gabler, TC Daily Planet
A rowdy, enthusiastic crowd occupied the 7th Street Entry during Jennifer O’Connor’s Tuesday night performance. They weren’t there for her, though—they were there for the bar, having filed out of the First Ave mainroom after the TV on the Radio show ended. As the several of us who were actually there to see the Brooklyn singer-songwriter huddled at the tables near the stage, the talking and laughing from the bar threatened to drown out O’Connor’s quieter numbers. Most performers pay their dues before being written up in The New Yorker—but sometimes it works the other way around.

Too much information? Music criticism in the digital age
by Megan Wiley, mnartists.org
The Twin Cities have a well-established, thriving music scene, and accordingly—one could argue fortunately—we have a large number of music critics. These scribes write for both traditional media outlets such as the Pioneer Press, Star Tribune, The Onion and City Pages, and nontraditional media sources—webzines, blogs, and other online publishers—such as Reveille, More Cowbell, and HowWasTheShow. With the migration of their writing from print to Web, are critics altering how they cover music? Perhaps more important: is the trend toward digital content working in favor of music criticism and the craft thereof?

Music note: Nightinghales and Black Audience rock for Nader
by Jon Behm, TC Daily Planet
Minneapolis’s 7th Street Entry hosted an Independence Party Get Out the Vote show on Thursday, October 16, plastering the club’s walls with Nader/Gonzales paraphernalia (which curiously included “Let Nader debate” signs, even though the presidential debates are all finished). While the Entry was nearly empty, and the evening’s politicizing a little heavy-handed, the fact is that there was some great music played.

Special bonus section: Sound Unseen 2008
Reviews of five documentaries screening this weekend as part of the Sound Unseen film festival.

Movie note: Heavy metal (the musical kind) in Iraq
by Cyn Collins, TC Daily Planet
“If you wanna know the attraction, look around. We’re living in a heavy metal world,” Iraqi heavy metal band Acrassicauda band members told the directors of Heavy Metal in Baghdad. Some people may think being a heavy metal band in Iraq is “really fucking stupid, but you know…heavy metal rules!”

Movie note: Garrison Keillor, our beloved prodigal son
by Jay Gabler, TC Daily Planet
Peter Rosen’s modest documentary Garrison Keillor: The Man on the Radio in the Red Shoes gives us the latter-day Keillor, basking in his comfortable position as the cultural lion of public radio, selling Middle Western integrity to the less landlocked corners of the world. They’re still buying, by the millions.

Movie note: Sigur Rós at home in Iceland
by Cyn Collins, TC Daily Planet
The ethereal beauty of Sigur Rós’s music is intensified via a gorgeous depiction of Iceland in their 2006 film Heima. Heima (Icelandic for “at home” or “homebound”) provides rare insight into one of the world’s most enigmatic bands.

Movie note: No-go Largo
by Melissa Slachetka, TC Daily Planet
Largo is a Los Angeles music and comedy club. Largo is a film about this popular venue, created by Mark Flanagan and Andrew van Baal. The film is choppy and artsy, with the performers sometimes being way off to the side of the screen and some inessential object, like bar glasses, at the center. I think the directors wanted to convey a sense of timelessness, but it comes off feeling like an old country-western crossed with a circus flick.

Movie note: Sonic Youth bring the noise, even in their sleep
by Cyn Collins, TC Daily Planet
As part of Project Moonshine, a youth film education project, seven teenagers filmed Sonic Youth: Sleeping Nights Awake at a concert in Reno, Nevada one summer night in 2006. Let loose with cameras, the teens filmed the concert and interviewed members of Sonic Youth, their crew, and their fans.

NEW IN BLOGS

KEEPING THE FAITH | Mayhem and the mainstream media
by Mary Turck
The media’s job is to report the news, and that includes reporting inconvenient facts that contradict the “official stories” about the RNC.

ARTS ORBIT | Heiruspecs rock the election in new video
by Jay Gabler
One thing Obama can’t do: breakdance.

FACTS AND FICTIONS | 700 Billion Dollars
by Eleanor Arnason
A billion dollars spent on infrastructure creates 47,000 jobs, according to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

ARTS ORBIT | Press release of the day: The Rake Angel
by Jay Gabler
A Chaska Catholic school rakes in the cash with viral marketing.