Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Marlon Brando Goes Wild

The Classic Movie Series this season in Bigfork starts with the iconic portal of an American outlaw biker: Marlon Brando in “The Wild One.”  Bad guy Johnny Stabler and his gang terrorize a small town, and Johnny finds romance. You might even think he is not that bad. This 1953 outlaw biker classic, with Lee Marvin adding his talents, was based on an actual 1947 Fourth of July street party in Hollister, California that did get a “little” out of hand, then blown out of proportion by the media to be dubbed the “Hollister Riot.”  Come and see what all the fuss was about…according to Hollywood anyway. This Classic Movie Series presentation will be shown by Jack Nachbar at The Edge Center in Bigfork on September 11th at 6:30PM free of charge.  Jack’s presentation will give you a better understanding of the film and the film industry at the time of the picture.

Marlon Brando, Jr. (1924 – 2004) brought a level of realism to film that changed the industry.  Many claim he was the most influential actor of all time. He won Oscars for his roles in two of his films, has a long list of outstanding films to his credit, tried directing, and was an out-spoken activist for Native American Indian and African American movements. He loved acting so much that when he died at 80, he was still planning another film. Brando had eight Academy Award nominations, won twice and had 16 other awards from BAFTA, Emmys, Golden Globes, and Cannes.  He is ranked by the American Film Institute as the 4th greatest screen legend among male movie stars whose screen debuts occurred in or before 1950. He is also number six and number ten in Top 10 Money Making Stars poll in 1972 and 1973 respectively.

Lee Marvin (1924 – 1987) actually had a relatively small role in “the Wild One”, but his performance as Chino, also as a biker outlaw, was memorable due to his trademark gravelly voice, and six-foot two stature.  In 1965, he won an Academy Award for best actor in “Cat Ballou.” He is also remembered for his TV role of Detective Lieutenant Frank Ballinger in the NBC hit crime series, “M Squad.” Marvin was a WWII wounded and decorated veteran. He was married twice and had four children. Even with his financial success in the business, Marvin had a strange view of the industry.  He said, "You spend the first forty years of your life trying to get in this business, and the next forty years trying to get out. And then when you're making the bread, who needs it?"

Mary Murphy (1931 – 2011) was an American film and television actress of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Her character, Kathie Bleeker, was Johnny Stabler’s love interest, and she tried to reform him. That role was the highlight of her career, and her performance was excellent. She was a Package Wrapper at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills, when she was “discovered” as a promising fresh face for the movies. She had small parts in films and in TV series, but “The Wild One” did not vault her into a movie career. That was OK with her because as she said, “I guess I am one of those rare exceptions, because I had not planned on becoming an actress and never desired to be in motion pictures.”

For a quick start to this season’s Classic Movie Series, come to Bigfork and enjoy Marlon Brando, Lee Marvin, and Mary Murphy in the “The Wild One.”  Lots of vintage bikes, 50’s style tough guys, a scared town, and a great explanation of the film and industry by Jack Nachbar.  This movie is presented free of charge, courtesy of Jack and his wife/projectionist, Lynn.  Place: The Edge Center for the Arts, Bigfork. Date and time: Thursday, September 11th at 6:30PM.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

“Story and song, music and poem…kissing cousins”

A celebration of the union between the two art forms will fill the Edge Center in Bigfork when it welcomes the Sutter Brothers of Duluth with their music, poetry, and stories. The performance is "North Country characters" with Ross Sutter who specializes in music with Scandinavian, Celtic, and American folk traditions while his brother Barton Sutter, a prolific award-winning writer and the first Poet Laureate of Duluth, adds the poetry. The Sutter Brothers provide a great mix of talent and variety celebrating the kissing cousins that will entertain you and provide a good perspective of the two art forms. Sunday, September 7th at 2PM $10 for adults and $5 for children.

Barton Sutter (above right) says about their performance that, “story and song, music and poem--these are kissing cousins, and they go way, way back: to the ancient Greeks, to Beowulf and beyond. On the deepest level, I suspect their relationship is rhythmic--both in the overall ‘plot’ of the story/song and in the line-by-line meter of the music/poem. Humans are rhythmic beings. The heart's a drum. The lungs breathe in and out like an accordion. We say that certain music ‘speaks’ to us. Poetry is drumming with words.”

Ross is the “roving troubadour” and has played on “A Prairie Home Companion” and his music is featured on Walking on Air, Up the Raw, Crossing the Shannon, Hunger No More and his popular children’s CD, Mama Will You Buy Me A Banana. He will bring his guitar, dulcimer, button accordion, bagpipes, bodhran, and an Irish goatskin drum to accompany himself.

Barton Sutter’s poetry and essays are widely published. Besides being Duluth’s first Poet Laureate, his many awards include the George Morrison Artist Award for his many contributions to the arts in northeastern Minnesota.  He has been honored by the Academy of American Poets, the Bush Foundation, and the Jerome Foundation. Bart Sutter is the only author to win the Minnesota Book Award in three different categories.

The brothers early years were in rural Minnesota and Iowa.  "Without today’s technology there was a lot of visiting, storytelling, and singing," Barton says. “Our maternal grandmother was a compulsive storyteller, and our folks had a great appreciation of quirky characters. Ross and I both inherited these qualities, so I guess it's only natural that we would eventually wind up presenting a show called ‘North Country Characters’…we began to see how some of the songs Ross performed were a natural match for some of my poems.” A collaboration on stage resulted and is still fun for them 30 years later.

Each performance is customized for the audience but will most probably include: audience participation on "Go Tell Aunt Rhody," a Swedish Hymm"Jag Har en Vän," "Johan På Snippen," and "When the Smelt Buckets are Loaded, I'm Comin' Home to You".

Barton’s poems will make you laugh and tear up with ones like "Those Finnish Folk." It is a tease and tribute for the Finns, spoken in the voice of one of those old Swedes we grew up with.

Those Finnish Folk
Live out to Toivola, skinny woods and bog,
Sorry sort of country, overlooked by most,
Pioneered by people awful fond of failure.
They branch out to Twig, you know, down as far as Esko,
Askov, Bruno, over there to Togo, Effie, Emily,
Tenstrike, Shooks. Wherever you would never,
There you'll find a Finn.

They believe in Sauna, Nudity, and Coffee.
Their wallpaper is birch bark; their La-Z-Boy's a stump.
The women are good-lookers, the men-folk
Not so much. They specialize in blueberries,
Hayfields and alders, rocks and pickled pike.
They don't go in for paint much, like a weathered look:
Tarpaper buildings, wood piled high . . .
Go and introduce yourself. Coffee's always hot.

Barton says, "We're not aware of any performers doing just what we do, blending folk music with original poems, especially with a Scandinavian flavor. The connection between poetry and music is ancient, however, and we like to think we're doing our bit to restore that connection."

School District  318’s Community Education program "Children First" is going to sponsor a school workshops with the Sutter Brothers during their stay in Bigfork. Barton will have writing classes and Ross will teach some music skills. It will be a great opportunity for the Bigfork students to learn from these two wonderful artists.

Barton says, “Ross and I grew up in tiny, rural towns in Minnesota and Iowa with limited resources. Mostly, the arts seemed to be created elsewhere and largely in cities…and we think it's important that students in rural areas encounter living, breathing artists with backgrounds like theirs. We try to help the students realize that strong art can be created from subjects and forms in the world they know best…”

Again the show is Sunday, September 7th at 2PM and the brothers will try to, “to move our audience to tears and laughter both…we hope to remind people of the ‘characters’ in their own lives, to move audience members both to question and to value rural and small-town culture, to confirm that art rises out of the country and not just the city.”

Thursday, August 21, 2014

"everyday extraordinary" in the Bigfork Gallery

To some there is no “ordinary” to see around us. These are fortunate people because everything can be special. Some of this “special” is what the current exhibit at the Edge Center Gallery in Bigfork has on display. The exhibit is titled “everyday extraordinary” and artist is Minneapolis-based Terra Rathai who says, “my work is rooted in the act of seeing – finding and revealing transcendence in everyday stuff…”. As shown here, her work is special, colorful, interesting and unique. A good exhibit to see to help you start looking at “everyday stuff” with a different outlook. Meet Terra Rathai and see her work at the free Opening Reception on Friday, August 22 from 5:00 to 7:00.  The exhibit continues through September 20.  Edge Center Gallery is next to the Bigfork School and is open from 10:00 to 4:00 on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

Artist Terra Rathai is living in Minneapolis, MN and her web site says “Her work is a meditation on the extraordinary beauty and interest of the everyday.” She describes herself and work, “I am a self-taught photographer working with everyday subject matter. I see my academic background in Art History as a major influence on my aesthetic. This training instilled the practice of looking closely and supplied a vast mental catalog of visual images to draw from. I am particularly drawn to color, abstraction and painterly texture.” Self portrait above at: http://www.terrarathai.com/

As stated earlier, Terra says, "my work is rooted in the act of seeing - finding and revealing transcendence in the everyday stuff of the world. It is based in contemplative observation and an open-minded exploration of the visual. This process is simultaneously driven by an interest in formalism and an egalitarian worldview in which everything is worthy of contemplation.”

The mundane is what Terra Rathai consciously notices. Terra’s exhibit is grouped in multiple series including “city/seen”, “winter prairie”, “water”, “lived in” and “landscapes”.


winter prairie


lived in


The focus is in the detail often with multiple layers to heighten awareness and beauty. Tera explains, “I see my academic background in Art History as a major influence on my aesthetic. This training instilled the practice of looking closely and supplied a vast mental catalog of visual images to draw from. I am particularly drawn to color, abstraction and painterly texture.”

Meet Terra Rathai and see her work at the free Opening Reception on Friday, August 22 from 5:00 to 7:00. The exhibit continues through September 20.  Jump in because the water is fine and you might enjoy the mundane like never before. Edge Center Gallery is next to the Bigfork School and is open from 10:00 to 4:00 on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.  For more Gallery information and updates, see www.the-edge-center.org.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Where will John Perkins’ Music be This Year and What About the Dancing Minnow Bucket?

If you have been to a John Perkins concert at the Edge Center in Bigfork, this question might make more senseHe will have his sixth concert at the Edge in August with all proceeds going to the benefit of the Edge Center.  With each show John changes the stage into another part of his life.  The last two years he has been at a campsite and on the front porch of a cabin. This year we will see him at home.  Nice touch to match his home style music. John’s “Amerciana/folk” style music is all his own. He has an easy-to-listen style that celebrates life in the north woods along with exploring personal feelings and life’s challenges.  With his wife and friends also “at home” it will be a real community of songs and sounds.  The show will be on stage at The Edge Center in Bigfork Saturday August 23 7PM. $10 adults. $5 children.

You have to show up to find out about the minnow bucket, but about music John says, “Everyone has a song. For some it’s literally music and for others it’s, kindness, caring, mentoring, or other special gifts. This year is going to be spectacular. I am inviting you to visit with my family and friends in our home. Come and enjoy it with us”

He adds that, “Every singer songwriter approaches the craft a little differently, but it all comes down to ‘write what you know’. Every person can tell the story of their life. Turning life’s experiences into song is a little more challenging. It helps if one can carry a tune and/or play an instrument”.

There will be a mix of some new songs and ones you might have heard from past performances.  For the Edge Center performance, John again will be joined for part of it by Effie’s own Jerry Hagen on bass, along with other friends. The list of possible “instruments” played is considerable. John’s selection to choose from, includes six, eight and twelve string guitars, a Resonator Steel Slide and even a six-string banjo. There will also be tambourine, jug, washboard and cajone played.  John’s wife, Sandy, will play the spoons and may do a bit of clogging.  Sandy is shown below with John. There will be a lot different sounds for the special acoustically designed Edge Theatre to handle.

John Perkins lives in Northern Minnesota’s Chippewa National Forest part of the year and south of Asheville, North Carolina for the other seasons. He spends a lot of time getting ready for his yearly concert at the Edge, and he always comes up with something fresh and different. This year there will be several new unreleased songs.

There will be lots to see, hear and learn at this year’s John Perkins concert for the Edge Center for the Arts. Just finding out about the dancing minnow bucket might be worth a visit.  But you will also see where he is playing from, hear some great music, meet some of his friends on stage and visit the art gallery. There will be an exhibit of photography by Terra Rathai.  Its called Avant Garden Photography and is colorful, different and very pleasing. Remember the John Perkins concert on stage at The Edge Center in Bigfork Saturday August 23 7PM. $10 adults. $5 children. Suitable for all audiences.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Tribute Concert Headlining “Spider” John Koerner at the Edge

The “traditional American folk and country blues musician, rhythmic guitarist, song-crafter, singer, and humorist” Spider John Koerner will bring his talents to the Edge Center in Bigfork this month for a tribute concert to Marshall Oelmann who passed away last year. Marshall acted, sang, and helped direct at the Edge as only part of a career that included managing at KAXE, the stage managing at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, and hosting many a Jug Band Boogie here in MN.  John was a friend of Marshall’s for decades.  The concert will also include many of Marshall’s other musician friends.  Saturday August 16 at 7PM. Price $10 adults, $5 children.

John Koerner has a musical style based on the old blues masters and traditional songs.  He was born in 1938 and became part of the folk history in 1958. He helped shape American country blues and folk music throughout his career. Much of his music is still available on CD, some of which dates back to the 1960s. With a career that brought John to stages around the US and Europe and influenced a generation of performers, his is a wonderful talent to pay tribute to Marshall.  In his career, he has appeared as a guest on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion, NPR, and this summer opened for Bonnie Raitt.

From Bob Dylan's autobiography, Chronicles, Volume One:
"With my newly learned repertoire, I then went further up the street and dropped into the Ten O'Clock Scholar, a Beat coffeehouse. I was looking for players with kindred spirits. The first guy I met in Minneapolis like me was sitting around in there. It was John Koerner and he also had an acoustic guitar with him. Koerner was tall and thin with a look of perpetual amusement on his face. We hit it off right away. ... When he spoke he was soft spoken, but when he sang he became a field holler shouter. Koerner was an exciting singer, and we began playing a lot together."

"Alone among the young blues revivalists, Koerner had a sound that was completely idiosyncratic and personal. From the first guitar riff, there was never any doubt about who was playing. Today the material has changed but the sound is intact...spare and funky, with lots of open spaces between oddly placed notes, all of it held together with his impeccable timing."—Blueswire

Above two quotes from John’s web site.  Read more at: http://www.mwt.net/~koerner/

Marshall’s decades in entertaining included both program director and on-air talent as M. M. Buck at KAXE following his work at the folk festivals. His deep voice and large presence made him a natural for being on stage at the Edge Center.

He performed many roles and sang a large variety of music.  Throughout his work at the Edge he wanted to play the role of Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof”.  He got his chance for this physically demanding role and went into training for six months. To many visitors to the Edge theatre, he will be always remembered in that role.  Many will also remember Marshall as the owner/operator of The Neighborhood Tavern in Effie.

For a live look at Marshall doing “his Fiddler thing” at the Edge click this link:

Scott Hall from KAXE calls Marshall a “Renaissance Radio Guy, which is to say he was very versatile. He could host any format with intelligence, humor and a common touch…”

Michael Goldberg also from KAXE saysl, "Marshall was a volunteer at KAXE. In 1985, when the interim manager walked off the job. He became a full time volunteer, devoting himself to keeping the station on the air thru rough times. In July 85 he became Program Director, and led the stations broadcast service in that capacity till 1993. He was the 'anchor' man in more ways than one. On the air he made every listener feel welcome and confident. Off the air, he brought out the talents of KAXE listeners and helped them bring those talents to the listeners by teaching them to become radio producers and hosts. After he left the stations staff, he continued to volunteer for any years, sharing his knowledge of music and the people of the region".

This tribute show coming to the Edge will be unique. With the talents of Spider John Koerner plus some other musical friends, there is sure to be a very wide variety of sounds to enjoy.  The grand finale of the show will get all the musicians back on stage and encourage audience participation.