Friday, November 6, 2015

O’s Perspectives Provides Variety and Talent

What is Owen’s Perspectives? A small part of it is in the Edge Center Gallery as this November's art Exhibit. Color and variety is everywhere. The exhibit is called, “O’s Perspectives.” That is a very simple statement intended to describe a very elaborate view of the world from fire at a volcano to a “Vallkommen” Troll carving greeting gallery visitors. And what you see in between is incredible. This is the artist’s viewpoint of the world. That viewpoint is often original, unexpected, humorous or imaginative.

From Owen, “This interest in artistic expression has followed me throughout my entire life and although my choice to become a professional educator did not lead to art, it was always there.  At college I earned a minor in art, and at the Doctoral level, at Columbia University, I had the opportunity to take a course in Artistic Expression, which provided me with meaningful encouragement to incorporate art in my daily work and life.  Living in New York I had the opportunity to explore the art galleries in addition to my international experiences in Europe and Asia.”

Hagen is a photographer, wood sculptor, painter, and collage artist.   Because Hagen is attuned to the world around him, he is ready to capture fantastic sunsets, trees, water images, and other natural scenes, especially around his home on Turtle Lake.  However, he is just as likely to see figures in pieces of wood. What others would see as scraps of lumber, Hagen has assembled into striking wood collages.

He credits some of this imaginative expression to a course in Artistic Expression at Columbia University where he was encouraged “to incorporate art in my daily work and life.

From Owen, “I have learned over time that artistic expression and images come from a variety of sources and perceptions.  As a young boy I grew up in a small three room flat, living with my mother and sister.  They both worked, so I spent a lot of my time entertaining myself with the images of the outdoors, trees, birds, rocks, animals and sunsets…. Which provided me with the opportunity to use my box of crayons and scraps of paper to make pictures.”

From childhood in Fertile, Minnesota, Hagen entertained himself with drawing and exploring the outdoors. Both passions have continued, and expanded during his retirement from teaching Education at St Cloud University. He used living in New York City and travel in Europe and Asia to expand his awareness of art throughout history and cultures, applying this to his own work.

From Owen, “Art is an enthusiastically pleasing and meaningful arrangement of elements that exist in the mind and expressions of the beholder.  To me this is an exciting aspect of day-to-day appreciation of life and nature, which leads me to the creation of numerous artistic elements in my perceptual world of awareness.”

From Owen, “Art is the expression of creative skills and imagination in producing works to be appreciated for beauty and emotional power.  Today I see the potential for artistic creative expression everywhere.  I see it looking up in the sky…  I see it looking at the ground...I see it in trees, flowers, water, crushed objects on the is everywhere...and this imagination makes life more memorable and enjoyable.”

See how Owen Hagen perceives the world around him. This exhibit is how a very creative and talented artist can show you what he often sees in things most other take for granted. “O’s Perspectives is in the is in the Edge Center Gallery from November 5 until November 28.  You can meet Owen and get him to tell you his funny stories at the Free Opening Reception, November 6 from 5:00 to 7:00. 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 information and updates, see

Friday, October 30, 2015

"Cowboy Overture" and Much More by the ISO on Stage in Bigfork

The “Cowboy Overture” by John Williams is one of a wide range of selections planned by the Itasca Symphony Orchestra (ISO) during their November visit to the Edge Center. The ISO concert in Bigfork will be under the direction of Keith Swanson. Besides the “Cowboy Overture,” there will be Schumann’s Concerto for Four Horns, the Hindemith March from Symphonic Metamorphosis, and Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Violins. This music has been chosen to include something for frequent concert goers and provide an introduction to those “trying out” a different side of music. The performance will be November 15 at 3PM.  Ticket prices are $10 for adults $5 for children.

Shown above at the Edge in 2012, the ISO was established in 1981 as the Itasca Orchestral Society by a group of teachers, musicians, and music lovers. It is presently part of the Itasca Orchestra and Strings Program (IOSP). Besides its symphony orchestra, IOSP enrolls students for lessons in violin, viola, cello and string bass. From the beginning, IOSP has staged three to four symphony concerts per year collaborating with guest and local artists. For the Edge Center concert the Itasca Symphony Orchestra will be comprised of musicians from Itasca County and others mostly from the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra.

Conductor Keith Swanson has stood on the podium of the Itasca Symphony Orchestra since 1992. He received his under graduate degree from the University of Minnesota and his Master’s Degree in Educational Instruction from the University of Wisconsin Superior. He is currently Director of Music at Hermantown High School.  He also has conducted the UMD Symphony Orchestra and orchestras for the Northland Opera Theater Experience and Colder by the Lake. As Music Director of Duluth’s Lyric Opera of the North (LOON), he has conducted many of their productions and, once each summer you may also catch him playing French Horn in the Coleraine City Band under the direction of ISO’s trombone player, Tom Patnaude.

Concertmaster Mary LaPlant has been with the Itasca Symphony Orchestra since 1988. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin with a major in forestry and minor in music, she has combined her classical training with a love of fiddling. She is the three-time state fiddle champion. She was last on the Edge stage this summer as part of the Pat Surface concert.


Some of the following will be in the program concert notes, some from internet sources. The order shown here is not necessarily the order of performance.

Schumann Concerto for four horns. By German composer Robert Schumann (above) is in three movements and often noted for its expressive, lyrical quality and harmonic innovation. The work is a rare showpiece for the French horn, which requires not one soloist but four skilled players, and for this reason, this is a rarely performed work. The first movement is lively and energetic and introduces the horn quartet. The oboe, cello and viola open the second movement with a breath taking theme which is taken up by the horns. The second and third movements are linked together without pause and the work closes with the vibrant energy of the first movement. References: concert notes and

The four featured horn players for the Schumann Concerto are: Michael Alexander, Alison Akins, Deb Rausch and Deena Skaja. Alexander currently performs with the Minnesota Opera and the Minnesota Orchestra; Akins performs with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (New York); Rausch teaches horn at the University of Wisconsin Superior; and Skaja has played as the featured soloist with the ISO many times since moving to Grand Rapids in 1995.

Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Violins. The virtuoso violinist composer (above) wrote this work early in his career and it contributed to his international reputation.  Of Vivaldi’s concertos there were relatively few for four violin soloists. This concerto captures the listener’s attention with the opening dialogue among the soloists. The piece has a rhythmic intensity with beautifully expressive lyrical moments. This music will showcase the ISO’s Strings Program instructors Sahara Kowitz and Debbie Losik, along with Mary LaPlant and Kristine Arntson. Sarah is the Director of String Instruction, and Debbie Losik is the Instructor who heads up the strings program in Bigfork, which has 10 students this year. Mary LaPlant is Concertmaster and Kristine Arntson has played in the ISO and not missed a concert since moving to Grand Rapids in 1998. Reference concert notes and

John Williams’ Cowboy Overture. This is light music for just the fun of listening by one of this century’s premiere composers. For a career that spanned five decades, it is a shame that John Williams (above) worked on only five westerns. It is remarkable how this music can make “seeing” huge sweeping plains with rolling hills, horses, cowboys, and a light-gentle-tenderness mixed with action...and everything else a John Wayne Western often includes. For this music, close your eyes and find out if the score indeed meets the challenge. Reference  http: //

Paul Hindemith (above) was a rare musician known not only for his talent as a composer, but for his work as a professional violinist and violist, a pianist, conductor, and teacher. He could play virtually every instrument in the orchestra; if he was unfamiliar with one, he would take a week or so to master it. Hindemith collaborated with choreographer Leonid Massine on a ballet utilizing music of Carl Maria von Weber. The project was eventually scrapped due to artistic differences between the parties. Hindemith felt he was just being used as an arranger, while Massine found the music too complex for a choreographed dance. The musical ideas were salvaged, three years later, when Hindemith completed the work to which you are listening this evening, his Symphonic Metamorphosis (1943).  Reference concert notes.

                               Above is the ISO at the Edge in 2012.

The music is selected so that it can be appreciated the first time you hear it. And with this selection the audience will have a different experience with each piece. Come and see what we mean at the Edge Center in Bigfork on Sunday, November 15th at 3PM.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Intruder in the Dust Movie

First amazing fact is that “Intruder in the Dust” would be made at all in the racial climate of the forties, second that a major film studio made it, and third that it was made in the Deep South. Not so amazing was that this film did not do well in the theaters, and only time has proven that it is a great film. The movie “Intruder in the Dust” is based on William Faulkner’s novel of the same name and is about a black man accused of murdering a white man in Mississippi. It was made in Faulkner’s hometown, which had no problem proclaiming it was the town of Jefferson named in the book, at least according to one reviewer. The movie involves a community planning to lynch the accused, and three brave white people trying to save him. “Intruder in the dust” will be Shown by Jack Nachbar at The Edge Center in Bigfork on November 12th at 6:30PM free of charge. The movie will be accompanied by Jack’s presentation providing a better understanding of the film at the time period of the picture.

Louis B. Mayer, head of MGM at that time, first refused to buy the movie rights of Faulkner’s book because he believed it would not be a success. Through lots of studio politics and arm twisting the movie did get made. The star is Juano Herandez playing Lucas Beauchamp, accused of murdering a white man.  Lucas will not even put up a defense because of his pride. Trying to prove him innocent falls on the shoulders of an unlikely band of “friends” who use some very unlikely ways to try and help. The author William Faulkner was part of the production team who made this film in Faulkner’s hometown of Oxford Mississippi. Reference http: //

Juano Hernández (1896-1970) received a Golden Globe nomination for "New Star of the Year" for his role. The New York Times listed the movie as one of the best for that year. According to Wiki, “Faulkner said of the film: ‘I'm not much of a moviegoer, but I did see that one. I thought it was a fine job. That Juano Hernández is a fine actor…” Fifty years later a film historian, Donald Bogle, wrote about the movie “breaking new ground” and of Hernández's performance being extraordinary. Juano Hernández was a pioneer in the African American film industry. Juano’s career, starting in the silent movie period, made his talking picture debut in the 1927movie titled “The Girl From Chicago.”  Reference:

David Brian (1914-1993) also got a Golden Globe Nomination for his portrayal of the lawyer trying to save Lucas, and is considered Brian’s best performance. He started his career as a song and dance man in vaudeville and in nightclubs, was in the coast guard during WWII and returned to the New York stage after the war. He has some 25 film credits, and was active in television portrayals in both comedy and dramatic roles. Reference:

Claude Jarman, Jr (Born 1934) is also in this movie as one of Lucas’ believers. Claude was in the movie “Yearling” in 1946 and did very well. He also was in a John Wayne movie “Rio Grande” 1950. His role in “Yearling” gained him great reviews and he was awarded with an Academy Juvenile Award. But the studio could not find him continuing work so MGM released him to Republic Studios who cast him in the John Ford “Rio Grande” classic. Claude was discouraged by the movie business and he moved back to Tennessee to finish high school. Following coursework in pre-law at Vanderbilt University, he appeared in Walt Disney's “The Great Locomotive Chase”, which was his final movie. Reference:,_Jr

Part of the review of the movie by Bosley Crowther a New York Time film critic of the period is shown below and gives a feeling of how much Bosely liked the movie. To read the whole review go to:

Intruder in the Dust (1949)
THE SCREEN IN REVIEW; ' Intruder in the Dust,' M-G-M's Drama of Lynching in the South, at the Mayfair

Published: November 23, 1949

“… Producer-Director Clarence Brown has made a brilliant stirring film. Under the title of the novel, it opened at the Mayfair yesterday. And without one moment's hesitation, this corner, still shaking, proclaims that it is probably this year's pre-eminent picture and one of the great cinema dramas of our times.

For here, at last, is a picture that slashes right down to the core of the complex of racial resentments and social divisions in the South—which cosmically mocks the hollow pretense of "white supremacy"—and does it in terms of visual action and realistic drama at its best. As a matter of fact, the deeper meanings might be utterly missed by some who should still find this film a creeping "thriller" that will turn them, temporarily, to stone…”

You can see this movie free of charge and some appropriate snacks will be served courtesy of Jack and his wife/projectionist Lynn.  Place: The Edge Center for the Arts, Bigfork. Date and time: Thursday November 12th at 6:30PM. Come and see what the reviewer was talking about.  It will be worth it.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Native American Art: A Circle of Woodland Women

A collection of art from extraordinary Native American women artists is gathered in the "Anawe Mitigookweg Akiminan...A Circle of Woodland Women" exhibit during the month of October between the 1st and 31st at the Edge Gallery in Bigfork. The artwork is created by Anishinaabe women from all over Northern Minnesota. Plus there will be a special opening reception on October 2nd starting at 5PM to extend the "circle" to include a Native American fashion show, speakers, and live music. Imagine being encircled by exceptional bead-work, quill-work, paintings, photography, weaving, pottery, a star quilt, music and speakers. You can enjoy it all during the October 2nd opening reception. Also, keep in mind, that the art will remain on display in the Edge Art Gallery between October 1 and October 31 during normal gallery hours.

The October 2nd Opening Reception "art performance" will include a talk by Mary Lyons (above), native author and activist. The Opening Reception may start at 5:00PM but will continue encompassing the Mary Lyons talk, Leah Lampire, Lyz Jaakola and her singers providing music, Marcie Rendon, author of Powwow Summer, and Linda LaGarde Grover, author of The Road Back to Sweet Grass (below) reading from their books, and a Woodland Skirts fashion show on the stage of the Edge Center.

The on-stage presentation of Great Lakes Woodland Skirts Fashion Show is planned for 7PM, but that time is flexible with all of the other activities planned for the reception. The fashion show is a special project collaboration between Delina White and her daughters in highlighting the sewing and unique bead-work in the art style of their ancestral grandmothers. So, if you want to see it all get there by 5PM and be prepared for a very eventful evening.

The fashion show features bead-work and traditional materials available from the 17th to 19th centuries through trade with the first Voyageur contacts along the St. Lawrence River into the Great Lakes region. Delina, Lavender and Sage White will be sharing their mixed media expertise in fabrics, metals, shell, glass, precious- and semi-precious gemstone beads used in the forms of traditional skirts and accessories worn by Native Woodland women of the Great Lakes region.  This is the premier performance and will travel to four more venues throughout Minnesota. Delina White's fashion show work has support from a Minnesota State Arts Board Folk and Traditional Arts Grant and an Arrowhead Regional Arts Board Grant for this project. The performance is free to the public thanks to a grant to the Edge Center from the Blandin Foundation.

The art in the Gallery Exhibit is varied and complex. Some is in the traditional Woodland style, characterized by plant and animal motifs. Marcie McIntyre who works with beads, and ribbons, as well as the star quilter, Bagwjikwe Hallet, use traditional methods. Leah Yellowbird quill-work is traditional, but, although it looks like thousands of tiny beads, her “wall rug” is painted.  Other artists, such as painters Karen Savage, Wendy Savage and Moira Villiard have expressed their culture in more contemporary interpretations.  Maggie Thompson uses different types of weaving, screen printing and knitting to explore contemporary issues surrounding native heritage.  Art by Cynthia Holmes, Ivy Vainio, and Bambi Goodwin is also part of the exhibit. This is a gathering of some of the most important Native American artists in Minnesota.  You may purchase some of the work by these artists, as well as books and jewelry. Art sample on display are shown in the two images below:

Even though there will be lots of activity during the opening art performance on October 2nd, please remember the exhibit itself will be open for the whole month for you to enjoy. The exhibit continues in the Gallery October 1 until October 31.  The 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 information and updates, see

Friday, September 25, 2015

"I Married a Witch” Just in Time for Halloween

More twists and turns than a Halloween Trick-or-Treat bag of pretzels. That describes October’s Classic Movie in Bigfork, “I Married a Witch”. However Fredrick March’s character needing magic to fall for co-star’s Veronica Lake’s character, is really a tough twist.. But that’s what you might expect from a Romantic Fantasy film of the 1940’s. The witch did need magic and Fredrick did fall in for it. Of course there is the father-in-law witch, who spends time in the bottle, literally, and time in jail. But that’s all centuries after they were burned at the stake. And Fredrick plays a politician to boot. Sound interesting? Come and see the movie and maybe it will make you laugh out loud. It all might remind you of  “Topper”, “Bewitched” or possibly “Jeannie”. All is good fun and done to lighten your spirits. Shown by Jack Nachbar at The Edge Center in Bigfork on October 8th at 6:30PM free of charge. The movie will be accompanied by Jack’s presentation providing a better understanding of the film at the time period of the picture.

A couple of Pilgrim age witches get burned at the stake starts all the “fun” out with a curse that pretty much assures the hero of a sad blood line of browbeaten husbands and nasty wives. Does not sound like fun to start out with but this “black” beginning all gets changed in flash of lightning…literally. Out comes the spirits and so does the fun. You have politicians without a real clue, which is not surprising, a gorgeous blond looking for trouble, a dad trying to stay out of trouble and often lots of mass confusion.  The rest you will have to see in Bigfork. You also get to see all this on the big screen like the movie was intended to be seen. That makes a big difference with better sound and a live audience.

Veronica Lake did not like her co-star Fredrick March, but somehow they managed to make a great comedy with this movie. That is a good testament to their professional abilities.  She had just completed two successful crime movies with Alan Ladd and management felt that was her niche.  Director Rene Clair eventually relented and Veronica accepted an apology from management (that is according to “Veronica: The Autobiography of Veronica Lake.”)

Veronica Lake (1922 -1973), born Constance Frances Marie Ockelman, was an American film, stage, and television actress. Her most notable acclaim were in Sullivan's Travels and as the femme fatale roles in film noirs with Alan Ladd, during the 1940s. She was also well known for her peek-a-boo hairstyle.  Her movie career came after her family located to Beverly Hills and Veronica attended the Bliss-Hayden School of Acting (now the Beverly Hills Playhouse). Like so many other actresses her film career started as an extra working for RKO. She played a coed in a small role in the movie “Sorority House” in 1939. Director John Farrow first saw her in that role and similar small parts, but selected her as special because of the way her hair always covered an eye. That created mystery in the director’s opinion and enhanced her beauty. Her next career stop was with Paramount and Producer Arthur Homblow, Jr. He was responsible for her name Lake because he thought her eyes suited that surname.  Eventually she ended up with a long-term contract with Paramount.

If great acting can be measured by how well two stars that hate each other can perform a loving arrangement on film, Fredrick March and Veronica Lake certainly deserve awards for this movie. You will hear lots more about their “antics” from the host of the Classic Movie series, Jack Nackbar. But just to set the stage, the feud started before the movie was ever started when March supposedly said of Veronica, that she was..."a brainless little blonde sexpot, void of any acting ability." This comment made its way back to her and “set the stage” for the fireworks.

Ernest Frederick McIntyre Bickel (1897-1975) eventually became Fredrick March and was both a distinguished stage actor plus one of the film industry’s most celebrated stars of the 30s and 40s. According to Wiki, “He won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1932 for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and in 1947 for The Best Years of Our Lives. March is the only actor to have won both the Academy Award and the Tony Award twice.” Born in Racine, Wisconsin he started out his working life as a banker, but an emergency appendectomy made him reevaluate his life and in 1920 he started working in the New York film industry. He appeared on Broadway in 1926, and by the end of the decade signed a film contract with Paramount Pictures. That is a really short version of his career, but it is just too long to do it justice here. For more go to

Just to add a little spice to the feud between the stars, I am sure the New York Times Review of the period did not help things out. In opening it says… “The strange and beautiful illusion that Veronica Lake is completely unreal is being quite charmingly nourished in Rene Clair's new film, "I Married A Witch." You recall that Miss Lake was first manifest on the screen as an ambulating hank of hair, from behind which emerged dulcet noises and a calorific glow. Well, in this one, which breezed into the Capitol on a figurative broomstick yesterday, the little lady first appears as a smoke cloud and then as a sly sorceress who tosses around an astral body and necromances with Fredric March.”   I bet that got Fredrick’s ego twitching.  He is supposed to be a big star and here the blond gets better ink with his name last in the first and most important paragraph, Read it for your self at:

Better yet come and see the movie and make up your own opinion. This movie is presented free of charge and some appropriate snacks will be served courtesy of Jack and his wife/projectionist Lynn.  Place: The Edge Center for the Arts, Bigfork. Date and time: Thursday October 9th at 6:30PM.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

From Oppression to Freedom Exhibit at the Edge Gallery

Artist Georgi Tsenov spent his youth in Bulgaria experiencing Soviet Union oppression first hand where “artistic freedom” was only a dream of what might be experienced in places like America.  “My life in this nation has been the culmination of a lifelong journey, and the fulfillment of my youthful dreams.”  This is reflected in the current exhibit at the Edge Center gallery in Bigfork. Titled “The Long Journey: paintings by Georgi Tsenov”, this show runs from September 3rd through 26th with a free opening reception and a chance to meet the artist on September 4th.  

Often major life changes influence an artist and his or her art. In the case of artist Georgi Tsenov, these were sweeping changes that took place over time and distance and had three stages in terms of his relationship with America

The first was his youth in Bulgaria under Soviet Union oppression where only rare glimpses of American culture gave people a hope of freedom.  This ended with the 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall that signified the end of the Soviet Union, and end of the Cold War.

In the second stage, there was the new freedom during the years he studied at the National School of Fine Arts and Sofia University in Bulgaria.  As Tsenov explains,  “Democracy brought us the possibility to explore and discover the art, literature, and culture of the western world. The movement of abstract expressionism was for us a great triumph of the spirit, and the liveliest opposition to the stiff artistic patterns of totalitarianism.”  His painting style developed as a mixture of realistic and abstract representation.

In 2009, Tsenov and his family moved to Houghton on the Keweenaw Peninsula of Northern Michigan.  He describes the impact of this third major life change, “As an artist, the move from the Sofia, a city of more than a million people, to the quiet, town of 13,000 was extremely difficult. My new setting was interspersed with tall solemn trees reflected in the crystalline waters of Lake Superior. In the beginning, the nostalgia for my homeland and the bustle of the city took hold of my demeanor. Slowly, in harmony with the beauty of the surrounding area, I began to let go of my attachment to the traditional European styles, and to explore the art of this new home.”

Tsenov generally starts his oil paintings outdoors and transforms them in the studio.  There is a sense of movement, maybe wind, in many of them. His style is colorful, and expressive.  You can identify most of the scenes, but the paintings are more emotional than realistic.  Tsenov has participated in over 70 juried exhibitions and biennales in Bulgaria, the European Union and the United States.

See how an artist’s journey from oppression to freedom changed his work in The Long Journey: paintings by Georgi Tsenov.  Meet Tsenov and see the paintings at the free Opening Reception on September 4.  The exhibit continues until September 26.  Edge Center Gallery is next to the Bigfork School and is open from 10:00 to 4:00 on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.