Monthly Archives: May 2013

Art-a-Whirl 2013: NE Minneapolis

Written by: Chrissi

This past weekend (May 17-19th) NEMAA hosted the 18th annual Art -a-Whirl in Northeast Minneapolis. While I can’t claim this much longer, I consider myself relatively new to the Twin Cities and thus this was my first time checking out Art-a-Whirl. It’s safe to say that this will not be my last. If you’ve ever been to NE Minneapolis you know that it is lovingly known as the Art District, full of old warehouses, great bars & breweries, and plenty of artists. Art-a-Whirl takes place throughout every nook & cranny of Northeast. Whether you’re the trendiest night spot or the creepiest underside of a bridge- you’ll find people united by one cause: Art-a-Whirl and a unified appreciation for art.

So, here is what to expect if you plan to make it next year:

Decide if you want to sacrifice comfort for fashion and dress accordingly. You will be outside walking from location to location, so although you don’t want to wear a jacket out in the middle of may, if it’s cold outside, you’ll get cold. (Not that I’m speaking from experience here.) Be willing to take your time and take a step or two outside of your comfort zone. Turns out that ‘Minnesota nice’ extends to Minnesotan artists! Each artist was uniquely talented and those that I spoke with were humble, gracious, and fun to chat with. Also, after all that walking you might get a little hungry or thirsty- never fear! Plenty of food truck favorites were parked throughout the area for your tasting pleasure. Not to mention, there are plenty of awesome NE food spots and watering holes.

If I haven’t sold you at this point, you probably don’t like art and should probably get back to finding your inspiration from the most recent Nicholas Sparks novel. (Don’t get me wrong, the Notebook makes me cry like anyone with a pulse, but I literally called out that one of the characters from his most recent book to movie adaptation was a ghost. A GHOST!?!?! Come on.)

I digress.

Well friends, until the next adventure!

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The Primrose Path: Guthrie Theater

image_4Written by: Chrissi

This past Friday I had an awesome opportunity to attend opening night of the world premiere of the Primrose Path at the Guthrie. The play was based on 19th century Russian author, Ivan Turgenev’s novel, Home of the Gentry, adapted by Crispin Whittell. Before I delve in too far, let me say that this is a great new work and you should give the Guthrie a call and snatch up some tickets ASAP.

Alright, here we go.

The Primrose Path reminded me of a mixture of Pride & Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and Anna Karenina (mostly because it took place in Russia). In other words, prepare yourself for a period love story that takes place in Russia with plenty of twists and turns along the way. Also before you bring your teenage daughter, please strongly consider the ‘brief nudity’ warning. (It was not so brief…)

The cast was absolutely wonderful. They say you’re only as strong as your weakest player, and in this case there really were no weak players. While the actors can certainly take credit for their abilities, I do think that much of the credit can be attributed to the direction of Roger Rees.  The additional layer of music within the play served as a tasteful and purposeful garnish- all executed with skill. In regard to the acting, it was great to see the control the actors had over their characters. The story had some very contrasting elements in that it was a love story between two rather serious characters, Laveretsky and Elizaveta, and yet just about every other character was primarily comedic. One of the greatest examples of this control was by Hugh Kennedy who played the role of Panshin. (If we compare this story to Pride & Prejudice, consider him Mr. Collins.) It is in this character’s nature to be utterly ridiculous, yet Kennedy was able to control this character enough to make him believably ridiculous. Thus, while we were able to laugh, we were also able to take the love story and the conflict within it seriously.

Truthfully, my only complaint is in regard to the ending. (No spoilers here.) Perhaps the contrast of comedic moments were too strong, making it difficult for me to completely invest in the more serious aspect of the story. I would love to hear any response in the comments.

I 100% suggest that you check out this new work- the Primrose Path. You have from now until June 15 to catch it at the Guthrie. Call the box office to get your tickets while you can!image

Side note: I was fortunate to meet many of the cast members after the show thanks to my friend who is also in the cast, Zach Garcia. In my brief interaction I could understand why this cast meshed so well together. Simply put- the people behind the characters are great people.

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