Monday, September 17, 2018

“All the King’s Men” is the October Film Classic in Bigfork

The October film for this season “Classic” movies at the Edge is a 1949 Film Noir classic, “All the King’s Men.” The movie won three Oscars including Best Film.  The plot is about a small time political want-to-be politician who rises from a rural county seat to become governor of a state. It’s a thinly disguised story of Louisiana politician Huey Long who rose to power with a similar anything-goes approach to politics in the 1930’s. The movie’s success is not just the story in the movie, which is compelling by itself, but the incredible editing done on the first attempts to tell the story that ended up being much to long and complicated. This October Movie Classic will be shown at the Edge Theatre in Bigfork by Jack Nachbar. It will be accompanied by Jack’s presentation providing a better understanding of the time period of the movie.  Date: Thursday October 11th. Time: 6:30PM. Price: FREE of charge.

The movie ended up so long after the “normal” tinkering done by editing that it made some of the management panicky to say the least. Production team members Robert Parrish and Harry Cohn were instructed to take just the best part of each scene and cut the rest, music and all. Then they cut another 100 feet from the beginning and end regardless. What ended up is a 109 minute movie “diamond in the rough” with a “jagged urgency” that is “compelling and Oscar worthy”. You got to see it knowing the back story to appreciate what happened. Don’t know if it was ever done that way again, but it worked.

The stars in the movie were Broderick Crawford, who won the best actor Oscar and Mercedes McCambridge who won the best supporting actress Oscar. The acting talent does not stop there because John Ireland was also nominated for the Best Supporting Actor. That is some special talent on in one film.  In total the film was nominated for seven Oscars.  Great acting, great directing and a film “miracle” all combined to make this one well received by audiences and film critics then and now.

I think maybe this is one of those times where we should stop trying to restate what the critics said and let those reviews speak for themselves. Then you decide whether a trip to Bigfork is worth to see what the nice accolades were all about.  As a footnote to the reviews: in 2001 it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registery and to date it is the last Best Picture winner to be based on a Pulitzer Prize winning novel. 

Bosley Crowther who reviewed films for thr News York Times, who said, "Robert Rossen has written and directed, as well as personally produced, a rip-roaring film of the same title ... We have carefully used that descriptive as the tag for this new Columbia film because a quality of turbulence and vitality is the one that it most fully demonstrates ... In short, Mr. Rossen has assembled in this starkly unprettified film a piece of pictorial journalism that is remarkable for its brilliant parts. Critic William Brogdon, for Variety Magazine, said  “As the rural Abe Lincoln, springing up from the soil to make himself a great man by using the opinionless, follow-the-leader instinct of the more common voter, Broderick Crawford does a standout performance. Given a meaty part, his histrionic bent wraps it up for a great personal success adding much to the many worthwhile aspects of the drama’”.

Those strong opinions most likely mean there is something special on the big screen in October. Come and see a film that will make you think.  Place: The Edge Center for the Arts, Bigfork. Date and time: Thursday October 1tth at 6:30PM. It will be worth going to Bigfork, because Jack will provide you with background about the movie and a cartoon of the period. An appropriate snack will be served courtesy of Jack and his wife/projectionist, Lynn. The Classic Movie Series is part of the District 318 Adult Education Program.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Betsy Bowen Block Prints at the Edge Center Art Gallery

Betsy Bowen: Block Prints is this month's exhibit at the Bigfork Art Gallery. Betsy is an illustrator of the wildlife and domestic life around her longtime home near Grand Marais on Minnesota’s North Shore. The immediate lure of color and line in Betsy’s woodcuts invites viewers to discover the good-humored stories she tells with her images. Come and see Betsy’s block prints at the Edge Gallery from September 6th to the 29th.  The gallery is next to the Bigfork School and is open from 10 am to 4 pm on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Admission to the gallery and September 7th reception is free.

If you are a parent or grandparent, you're most likely familiar with Betsy's children's book Antler, Bear, Canoe, found in children's bedrooms throughout Northern Minnesota and beyond. The book carries young readers through the seasons of the year in an "ABC" format and is also one of the first books introduced to kindergartners at Bigfork Elementary School

Constructed with bold colors, Betsy's woodcuts delineate the essence of our northern lifestyle, history, and existence: they literally pulse with the feeling of Northern Minnesota

Of her work, Betsy says, “Poet Muriel Rukeyser wrote that ‘Scientists tell us that the world is made up of Atoms, but we know it is made up of Stories.’ Now here is a concept that shaped my view of the world.” Bowen's prints are from the stories “that hold the very form and energy of our existence.

Bowen will be showing her woodcuts at the Edge Center for the Arts September 6th through the 29th. An open house reception is on September 6th from five to seven P.M. at the gallery. This is an evening you don’t want to miss.

There was also an Author Event at the Bigfork school where Bowen had an opportunity to speak to the K-3 students (See below).  She Read from her book, Antler, Bear and Canoe plus explained the art of block printing. The Bigfork Art Gallery Committee also donated 100 of Bowen's books to the school. 

Thursday, August 9, 2018

"In the Heat of the Night" is the September Classic Movie Shown in Bigfork

The Classic Movie Series this year starts with a mystery drama from 1967, “In the Heat of the Night,” staring Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger. It is about a black Philadelphia police detective who becomes involved in a murder investigation in a small town in Mississippi. The film won five Oscars in 1967 including the year’s Best Picture award. It is so good that it was followed up by two sequels and a TV series with the same name. It is worth seeing, if for no other reason, to find out what all the excitement was about. Great stars, great time period and great drama: that’s makes a great combination. With lots of racist implications, a false arrest, and a good plot you will find out why the movie richly deserved those five Oscars. This September Movie Classic will be shown at the Edge Theatre in Bigfork by Jack Nachbar. It will be accompanied by Jack’s presentation providing a better understanding of the time period of the movie.  Date: Thursday September 13th. Time: 6:30PM. Price: FREE of charge.

The murder suspect is a black man found and arrested at the railway station. Probably sounded logical to the Sparta police, but they quickly discover he is a detective from Chicago.  Oops.  Not only that, the murder seemed to take place in the building site of a new, and, important to the town, factory being built by the murdered man. The widow is not happy about the local police and threatens to stop construction.  It is a good plot based on a 1965 novel of the same name. When you come to see it, keep in mind that Sidney’s line “They call me Mister Tibbs,” ended up being named #16  Most Memorable Movie Quote of all time by the American Film Institute.  

1967 was a bad time in America to be black, Sidney Poitier would not work in the south because he and Harry Belafonte were almost killed by the KKK during an earlier visit to Mississippi. That’s how Sparta Illinois got the work, not Mississippi. Just a few days of location shooting in Tennessee once again put Poitier under threat.
Sir Sidney Poitier (February 20, 1927) is Bahamian-American and an accomplished actor, film director and diplomat. It is hard to pick a “Best" of his Films from his list of 52 films. This movie is number 27 on his career list. He was the first Bahamian and first black actor to win an Oscar. He has some 19 awards.  I suspect receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama in 2009 ranks way up on his list with along being Knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1974.

Rod Steiger (1925-2002) made his mark on the film world by playing “off beat’ kind of crazy characters that were ready to fly off the handle.  He was associated with “Method Acting” to the point that it often caused verbal exchanges with directors and such during filming. That explains why his work is so often  realistic. But it was very good for “In the Heat of the Night."  In this case he was so so good that he won the best actor Oscar. That might be reason enough to see the movie all by it self. He was asked by the director to chew gum during his scenes, which Rod did not particularly like, but doing as directed, he learned to like it so much he went through 263 packs of gum during the shooting.  Now that’s dedication. Wonder what his dentist thought of the idea? Interestingly his co-star in this movie Sidney Poitier thought Steiger and  Spencer Tracy were the best actors he ever encountered.  
A great movie from an award winning book that spawned two film sequels and a TV series. That most likely means there is something special on the big screen in Bigfork in September.  The classic Movie Series is part of the District 318 Adult Education program.  Come and see a mystery thriller that will make you think.  Place: The Edge Center for the Arts, Bigfork. Date and time: Thursday September 13th at 6:30PM. It will be worth going to Bigfork, because Jack will provide you with background about the movie and a cartoon of the period. An appropriate snack will be served courtesy of Jack and his wife/projectionist, Lynn. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Baskets from the Edge: Antler, Ash, and Willow at the Bigfork Art Gallery

Art or craft, craft or art? Which came first? That question has vexed our conversations since the first stone implement was hacked out of a piece of rock. It seems that every item mankind has ever produced has sooner or later been embellished, enhanced or decorated, turned into a more sophisticated form, and called “art.” Utilitarian items take on an entirely new form and meaning and are celebrated for being “even better” for the addition of creative embellishments. Come and see what has developed from the early utilitarian baskets at August's art exhibit at the Edge Art Gallery. The gallery is next to the Bigfork School and is open from 10A.M. to 4 P.M on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Admission to the gallery and the reception is free.

Interestingly, while making baskets is one of the most widespread crafts in the history of any human civilization, it is very hard to accurately date when various techniques started. The reason is that most of the basket materials degraded and eventually disappeared entirely. Of the baskets found in and near present-day Egypt, carbon dating shows then to be between 10,000 and 20,000 years old. However, that is believed to be much later than when people first formed something that could be called a "basket" to gather food from the wild. That may have been as early as between two and three million years ago, but even those dates are pure speculation. While it is conceivable that early hunter-gatherers developed something to carry gathered foods, the Egyptian carbon dated vessels were more similar to pottery burial relics than to baskets.

That discussion is about the “tools” side of basket making; what you will see at the Edge Center is more on the "art" side of the topic. Basic materials used to transport just about anything have been altered in such ways as to completely transform their utility to into something completely that transcends their original intent.

Welcome to “Baskets from the Edge,” where three master artists will display and demonstrate their mastery of the art of basketry for your edification and enjoyment. Watch them blur the line between art and craft at our reception on August 3rd at 5 P.M. at the Edge Gallery in Bigfork.

Willow weaver Jacki Bedworth strides forth into the Red Willows every spring gathering the materials for her traditional basketry. Items of everyday usage are transformed into sublime pieces of ingenuity and art under the magic fingers of this delightful woman.

Fred Kogler takes logs of ash, strips them, polishes them, and weaves them into baskets artfully and individually designed for a variety of uses, from berries to bread. Fred has mastered the art of the Shakers and the “lightship weavers” who wiled away the days at sea weaving ash baskets. Fred’s display and collection of this sophisticated art form and his delight in sharing his passion art and history of baskets will delight and inform.

Cathryn Peters skillfully transforms basketry into decorative, award-winning designs, incorporating bold colors and shed antlers in ways that delight the eye and demonstrate the broad range of what basketry can become. Her recent entry into the gallery’s juried art show drew oohs and ahhs from the crowd and kudos from the juror. 

These three master weavers will be sharing their skills, answering your questions at an open house reception on Friday August 3rd at 5P.M. The gallery is delighted to present this exhibition of local master weavers for your edification and enjoyment. This is an evening you don’t want to miss.

On Friday August 3rd the Baskets from The Edge show opened with a reception that included the three artists providing demonstrations of their techniques. The opening was very well attended and the following photos shows some of the guests enjoying the show, demonstrations, and treats. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

14th Annual Juried Exhibit at the Edge Center Gallery in Bigfork

This will be the fourteenth time that the Edge Center Gallery in Bigfork has invited visual artists to submit their work for judging by a juror. Peter Spooner, this year's juror, is an independent educator, art appraiser, and curator. Living in Duluth, he teaches studio art, art history, and first-year seminar courses at The College of St. Scholastica, Lake Superior College, and the University of Minnesota-Duluth. This year’s juried show will be on display in the Edge Gallery from July 5th to July 28th. The awards reception will take place on July 6th from 5 to 7 pm and will allow visitors to meet some of the artists and to vote on the People's Choice Award, which will be awarded later on during the reception. Admission to the gallery and reception is free. The Edge Center Gallery is next to the Bigfork School and is open from 10 am to 4 pm on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.


Spooner has served as a grant review panelist for numerous institutions, lectured at universities and museums in the U.S.Japan and Canada, and has juried many exhibitions locally and regionally. His current and past community involvement includes volunteer service for the Duluth Public Arts Commission, Duluth Public Library, Duluth DFL, The Artists Fund, Chester Bowl Improvement Club, and Arrowhead Regional Arts Council.

Samples of Exhibits

This year’s show includes a wonderful selection of artistic offerings in many different media and styles from 19 artists. This blog will not provide a photo of each artwork but will show a selection of them to give an overall sense of the exhibit. The artists selected this year are: Sarita Alami (photo), Thomas Anderson (colored pencil),  Rein Boyd (collage), Susan Clandon (acrylic), Doug DeWitt (multimedia), David Dobbs (oil on canvas),  Will Dinski (book), Reid Harer (photo),  Ashley Hise (ceramic), Mary Jasper (photo), Jon Offutt (blown glass), Cathryn Peters (fiber/basketry), David Richter (colored pencil), Scott Rollenhagen (photo), Stephanie Stevens (watercolor), Christine Tierney (pastel), Yuta Uchida (oil on canvas),  Michael Weatherly (multi-plate linoleum cut), and Coralyn Worth (charcoal).

Reception Details and Award Sponsors

The awards ceremony on the evening of the opening reception starts at 6:15 pm. A special thanks to the sponsors of the awards: Kocian's Family Market has sponsored the Best of Show award, Arvig Communications and First State Bank of Bigfork have sponsored two Awards of Excellence, and Bigfork Valley Hospital has sponsored the audience-selected People’s Choice Award. This is always a treat for the visitors. It gives them a chance to see how their opinions compare to the juror's opinion. And a general thank you to all who have supported and continue to support The Edge Center here in Bigfork without which we would simply not exist.

    Kocians Family Market

   arvig Communications

   First State Bank of Bigfork

   Bigfork Valley Hospital