Friday, May 5, 2017

What Do Wet Chalk Dragons, South American Masks, and Gyotaku Fish Prints Have in Common?

Every year brings a new group of student artists presenting their work at the Edge Center Art Gallery in Bigfork. The shows are always full of color with plenty of variety. This year, however, there is something special about the art.  It is the last of the art done under the direction of retiring art teacher Roberta Steinhart. She is retiring after 22 years of art teaching at the Bigfork school and another 10 years at the Clinton-Grace school. So what DO wet chalk dragons, South American masks, and gyotaku fish prints have in common?  It is in the art...come and see for yourself. To see this exhibition, visit the Bigfork Art Gallery that is attached to the Bigfork School through May 20th during the regular hours of the gallery which are Thursdays through Saturdays 10AM to 4PM each day.  There is no charge to see the exhibits. 

With this group of student artists, the Edge Center Gallery again exhibits the innovation best made possible with youngster's early encounters creating art. The young student artists learn the basics of color, texture, shape, line, plus dark and light as used in compositions as they are stretching their creativity.

The exhibit will evolve throughout the month to showcase newly completed work by elementary, middle, and high school students.

Students’ skills are on display throughout the exhibit: a study of contour lines in a sketch of a bee’s wing, an exploration of positive/negative space in a drawing of birch trees, a playful use of color and texture in a wall mount of a Seussian creature.

The show also highlights the role of art in classroom learning. This year, Steinhart worked with teachers Aimee Rahier and Michelle Carnahan to integrate art projects into the curriculum. As third graders read Charlotte’s Web and learned about the role of spiders in nature, for example, they also created web paintings using a watercolor wash with salt. “We work as a team,” says Steinhart. “It's a very unique way to teach art [and] we are very fortunate!”

The Student Art Show will remain open to the public through May 20. Says Steinhart, “The students take so much pride in their work. It’s a thrill to have their art [displayed] in a real gallery.” 

Thank you Roberta for your years of introducing Spring to the Bigfork area in such a colorful way with wonderful student art. Your first-of-the-season color in the gallery has always been a favorite for many. Enjoy the lake and the next part of your journey.

Admission to the exhibit is free, and the gallery is open during Edge events and on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m..

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Piatigorsky Foundation Brings Violinist Linda Rosenthal and Pianist Maxim Pakhomov to Bigfork

Piatigorsky Foundation violinist Linda Rosenthal and pianist Maxim Pakhomov will perform at the Edge Center in Bigfork as part of the Foundation’s program to bring world class music to smaller communities throughout America. Linda is based in Juneau Alaska and has performed everywhere in that state from remote fishing villages above the Arctic Circle to logging camps in Southeast Alaska, plus throughout the rest of North America, Europe and Asia. Maxim is from the Far East region of Russia with a touring background that includes England, Scotland, Austria, and Estonia. The date is Thursday April 27, time 7PM, prices $10 adults, students free.

It would be hard to find a wider mix of experiences between these artists, but their music, mostly classical, brings this diversity together in the “essence of music…the melody.” The program will be selections from composers spanning a time frame from the 1700’s to modern day. Combine the wide experiences with the range of musical selections and you will have a very interesting concert.

Violinist Linda Rosenthal is both a soloist with orchestra and chamber musician. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of both the Juneau Jazz and Classics, an annual music festival that brings world-renowned jazz and classical artists to perform and teach in Juneau each May, and the Lake Placid Chamber Music Seminar in Lake Placid, New York. Linda also tours Strings and Stories, a show for young audiences that she created and premiered at the Kennedy Center in 1995.  Since its debut, Ms. Rosenthal and Los Angeles actor Bill Blush have toured Strings and Stories annually under the auspices of The Piatigorsky Foundation.  Their show has reached thousands of children in schools, museums, libraries and community centers throughout the United States

Over the past decade, Ms. Rosenthal has commissioned and premiered more than a dozen works, including pieces for solo violin, electric violin, violin and piano, and violin and narrator. Her most recent commission was Glacier Blue, a Concerto for Solo Violin and Jazz Big Band. Ms. Rosenthal plays on a violin made in Turin, Italy in 1772 by J. B. Guadagnini.

Pianist Maxim Pakhomov’s American credits include performances in Merkin Hall and Zankel Hall, where he premiered his own arrangement of Stravinsky’s Petrushka for piano duo. Currently, he maintains an active schedule as a chamber musician and a chamber music coach.  He has performed with The Westchester Chorale and is the principal pianist of the Bronx Opera Company.  As a faculty member of Chamber Music Institute in Orono, Maine, he performed with Japanese star – violinist Ryu Goto, who is a brother of world famous violinist Midori.  

His solo performances include piano concertos by Rachmaninoff, Tschaikovsky, Saint-SaĆ«ns, Brahms and Beethoven with the Orchestra of The Bronx; Beethoven’s Concerto No.4 with the Orchestra of the Barge Music Festival; the Triple concerto with the Bronx Symphony; Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Staten Island Philharmonia, Bach’s D Minor Concerto with The Bach Festival Small Orchestra of the Lautreamont Concert Series and The Beethoven Choral Fantasy with One World Symphony.  Mr. Pakhomov is a three-time winner of the Bronx Council on The Arts’ BRIO Award (Bronx Recognizes Its Own).  He is also an organist in the Congregational Church in Darien Connecticut – playing organ and learning organ repertoire have been his passions for the last five years.

The program will include selections from the following works and composers.

Sonata in G Major, Op. 30 No. 3                                   Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Allegro Assai
Tempo di Menuetto
Allegro vivace

Rumanian Folk Dances                                                 Bela Bartok (1881-1945)

Elegy and Habanera                                                      George Perlman (1897-2000)

Sonata No. 1 for Piano Solo                                          Rebecca Oswald (born 1958)

Ballad No. 1 for Solo Piano                                           Sharon Farber

Zigeunerweisen                                                             Pablo de Sarasate (1844-1908)

Meditation from “Thais”                                                           Jules Massenet (1842-1912)

Fantasy on Fiddler on the Roof                                     Jerry Bock (1928-2010)
arr. Manuel Compinsky (1901-89)

The non-profit Piatigorsky Foundation's mission is to make live classical music part of the fabric of everyday life for communities throughout the United States with concert tours bringing top-quality musicians to audiences who often would not have the opportunity to hear them. The Foundation was established in 1990 by cellist Evan Drachman, grandson of the great Russian cellist Gregor Piatigorsky (1903-1976), The Foundation carries on his legacy in the belief that, as Piatigorsky said, "Music makes life better. Music is neither a luxury nor a frill. It is a necessity! It is rich. It is imaginative. And it is for everyone."

In addition to the Piatigorsky Foundation, this program is made possible  with the help of the following:

Sunday, March 19, 2017

“Sisters of Swing Musical History of the Andrew Sisters" in Bigfork

The Andrews Sisters were a WWII era musical trio that brought close harmony music to stages in the U.S. and around the world entertaining armed forces throughout the war. Their story and music is brought back to “life” by the performance of three very talented singers in a show titled  “Sisters of Swing The Story of the Andrews Sisters.” The original sisters were from Mound Minnesota and are considered by many as the most successful female singing groups of the first half of the 20th century. This show includes their story,  and 20 plus hit songs like “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” At The Edge Center in Bigfork on Saturday April 22nd at 7PM. This musical is suitable for all audiences. Ticket prices are $10 adults and $5 children.

The “Sisters of Swing The Story of the Andrews Sisters” program features the Andrews Sister’s music of Laverne, Maxine, and Patty, played by Cat Brindsi, Kati Hahn and Jen Burleigh-Bentz (above). Also in the show is the very talented Jake Elders, who plays Lou Levy, Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby. The show is brought to the stage by The History Theatre on Tour a St. Paul based organization that is a three time IVEY award winning theater that produces new and existing works which explore Minnesota’s past and the diverse American experience.

In conjunction with the performance there will be an opportunity for visitors to share remembrances of the WWII veterans to whom the show is so closely connected (above period photo). There will be a Wall of Heroes display in the gallery which will consist of letters, photos, and memorabilia from WWII service men and women, brought in by Edge Center patrons.

The Andrews Sisters and their close harmony music were a product of the “swing and boogie-woogie eras.  The sisters were, singing “contralto”, LaVerne Sophia (1911-1967), singing “soprano”, Maxine Angelyn (1916-1995), and, singing “mezzo-soprano”, Patricia Marie “Patty” (1918-2013).  The group throughout their career sold over 75 million records, which was the last official count by MCA Records in the mid-1970s.  Their harmonies and songs are still influential to the industry today.  The group was inducted into the female group hall of fame in 1998.  

Lead singer. Patty, was only seven when the group was formed and only 12 when they won their first prize at a talent contest at the local Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis. LaVerne played piano accompaniment for silent films at the Orpheum in exchange for free dancing lessons for herself and the rest of her sisters. They went on the road entertaining to support the family after her father’s restaurant failed.

At first they made their career by imitating an earlier 1930s group called the Boswell Sisters. They sung with dance bands and toured in vaudeville with various groups. As one might expect in the 1930s, the big break for the Andrews Sisters was radio. National attention was brought to the group via a major Decca record hit, “Bei Mir Bist Du Schon".  It was a Yiddish song that became popular with English lyrics but retained its Yiddish title (above).

It was songwriter Sammy Chan, who heard a performance of the song in Yiddish, had it “reworked” into a swing rhythm number, got rights to it and convinced the still unknown Andrews Sisters to perform it.  It was recorded in 1937 and became the sisters first major hit. This song has an interesting history by it self. If you want to read more go to:

After that there was no one to compare the group with and they became huge stars. The song earned them a gold record, the first ever to a female vocal group.  It became a world wide hit.

During the war they were everywhere with Allied Forces. America, Africa, and Italy saw a lot of the trio. They worked at the Hollywood Canteen and News York’s version Side Door Canteen.  They recorded a series of Victory Discs for distribution to allied forces, often treating random service men out to dinner and were dubbed the “Sweethearts of the Armed Forces Radio Service” for their many appearances on shows such as “Command Performance”, “Mail Call” and “G.I Journal”.  For more background:

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund, and a grant from the Blandin Foundation, and with operating support made possible from a grant through the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council.

The above is just the surface of the Andrews Sisters career.  To get a singing introduction to them and their work, come to the Edge Center and get more. Edge Center in Bigfork on Saturday April 22nd at 7PM. It is the “Sisters of Swing The Story of the Andrew Sisters.” This musical is suitable for all audiences. Ticket prices are $10 adults and $5 children.

Friday, March 17, 2017

“Adam’s Rib” is the April Film Classic in Bigfork

For the fan of the Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn duo in romantic comedies in films, the April movie classic, "Adam’s Rib” (1949), is a perfect one to see on the big screen of the Edge Center in Bigfork. It was written for the two playing opposite each other and was the sixth time they teamed up in movies of that era.  It’s about two married lawyers who represent opposite sides in an attempted murder trial because the accused wife shoots and wounds her cheating husband. Hepburn's character believes the wife was justified.  “Adam’s Rib” is the April Classic Movie 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 April 13th. Time: 6:30PM. Price: free of charge.

Since Tracy's character believes she did not have the right to try and kill him regardless of his infidelity the two lawyers end up opposing each other in court where we see all the sparks and action you might expect.  It’s a great movie and gives the two stars a wonderful opportunity to show their talents.   

It is not just the stars doing their regular great performances in a movie that makes this one stand out, but the story behind the concept remains current.  The “are the sexes equal?” question is taken head on by the attempted murder.  Not saying that anyone one’s mind will be changed by this film, but you certainly will be given a lot of things to think about by seeing it. That is kind of what many of the great classics have in common. Add to that, the film, written by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin, was inspired by a real life case.  The movie was nominated for an Oscar for best story and best screen play. In 1992, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, or aesthetically significant.  It is on AFI’s 100 years…100 Laughs list at number 22 and AFI’s top 10 best Romantic Comedy Films at number 7.

Spencer Tracy insisted on top billing for this film, and when the producer asked if he ever heard
of “ladies first”, Tracy responded, “This is a movie not a (blankiey-blank) life boat.” ,

Katharine Hepburn (1907 -2003) was known for her fierce independence and spirited personality. She was a successful leading lady in Hollywood for more than 60 years and played virtually every kind of character you can imagine. She won four Oscars for leading actress (which is a record) and in 1999 was named by the American Film Institute as the greatest female star of classic movies. Her outspoken personality and lifestyle set the norm for today's "modern" woman.  In her film career she did a total of nine films opposite Spencer Tracy and he was her companion for a quarter century until his death. During filming, Tracy and Hepburn always stayed in separate houses, as was their habit when traveling, thereby helping to keep their decades long relationship out of the press.

 Spencer Tracy (1900-1967) was a major star during Hollywood’s golden age.  Always knows for his versatility, he appeared in 75 films. He was nominated for nine Oscars and won twice. His first film with Hepburn was in “Woman of the Year” (1942), and his last film was “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”(1967), again with Hepburn which was finished just 17 days before his death. In 1999 the American Film Institute ranked Spencer as the ninth greatest male star of Classic Hollywood Cinema.

One film critic’s opinion of the movie is what Bosley Crowther of The New York "Times" who had to say about the movie on December 26th 1949 ."Our first thanks should go to the authors of the script, for they are the chief one responsible for the pleasures of ‘Adams Rib.” It is their delightful improvising on a nimble and fragile little tale of a violent courtroom rivalry between a lawyer-husband and his lawyer-wife that makes this current picture bounce and spin with thorough glee…”

Come and see this highly thought of romantic comedy at: The Edge Center for the Arts, Bigfork. Date and time: Thursday April 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.

Friday, February 17, 2017

“Seven Days In May” is the March Film Classic in Bigfork

This 1964 movie classic, "Seven Days in May," has all the suspense and mystery of the best.  Being set in relatively modern times it will bring you back to an era when nuclear war was not that far removed from the American public’s mind.  The Cuban missile crisis was only two years earlier in 1962. The book, from which the film is based, was done in 1961, and the then current president John Kennedy read it and felt a certain “connection” with its basic premise. “Seven Days In May” is the March Classic Movie shown on the big screen of 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 March 9th. Time: 6:30PM. Price: free of charge.

The list of stars in the movie is impressive with Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredrick March and Ava Gardner doing the acting of this Rod Sterling mystery-suspense story. The movie going public certainly got the big hitters of the 60s in this one story. An out of control military with a secret plot to take over the country played well to a public that went through WWII, the Korean Conflict, and during an ongoing Vietnam struggle. It received  positive critical reviews and audience response. With two Academy awards nominations, a Danish Bodl award for directing and Rod Sterling’s nomination for a Writer’s Guild of America award, the book and movie made a serious impact on the public and industry of its period.

Kirk Douglas had originally signed to play General James Mattoon Scott, but he realized that his friend Burt Lancaster would be perfect for Scott, so Kirk took the less flashy role of Col. Martin “Jiggs” Casey when Burt joined the cast.

Kirk Douglas was born Issur Danielvitch 1916 and is one of the last living actors of Hollywood’s Golden age. In his 64-year career he has appeared in more than 90 movies. Douglas was a box office star in the 1950s and 60s. known for his serious dramas, he was often seen in war movies and westerns. His first Oscar nomination was in 1949. Douglas has three nominations, an Oscar for lifetime achievement and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He also wrote ten novels and memoirs and is number 17 on the American Film Institute’s list of greatest male screen legends. He is the highest ranking person still alive on the list.  He co-stared with Burt Lancaster in seven movies. 

Burt Lancaster, born Stephen “Burt” Lancaster (1913-1994), was originally known for playing tough guys in films, but learned to play more complex characters as his career developed.  He was nominated four times for Oscars and won once for his acting in "Elmer Gantry".  He also won a Golden Globe for the same performance, and BAFTA Awards for the "Birdman of Alcatraz" along with "Atlantic City". The American Film Institute ranks Lancaster  number 19 on the list of the greatest male stars of classic Hollywood movies.  

Director and backer of this film, John Frankenheimer, almost quit when he heard Kirk Douglas’ friend Burt Lancaster was going to be in the movie because he had had a very bad experience with Burt in a previous movie, "Bird Man of Alcatraz". Burt, during an argument about where the camera should be for a particular scene, had physically picked up Frankenheimer, moved him to a different place, and set him back down telling him that IT was the spot for the camera…period.  Kirk promised to keep Burt under control, which he did.

If you need more incentive to come to Bigfork and see this powerful movie for yourself, you can read what one review of the period by Bosley Crowther published in February 12 1964 in the New York Times. Bosley wrote, “As a matter of fact, there is a great deal about the ‘Seven Day In May’ that is rousing and encouraging to a feeling of confidence and pride – and this in addition to the feelings of tension and excitement it stirs…” For the whole review go to:

So come and see this thriller of a movie. Place: The Edge Centre for the Arts, Bigfork. Date and time: Thursday March 9th 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. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

“A Place in the Sun” is the February Film Classic in Bigfork

The February Classic movie, “A Place in the Sun” is a Hollywood blockbuster by any standard you wish to use.  It has major stars with Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Clift and Shelly Winters.  It was critically acclaimed and a financial success.  Plus it won six Oscars and the first ever Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama.  It also was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” To find out what 1951 movie goers and critics liked so much come to Bigfork.  “A Place in the Sun” is the February Classic Movie shown on the big screen of 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 February 9th. Time: 6:30PM. Price: free of charge.

This American drama film is based on a 1925 novel titled “An American Tragedy” and is about a working class young man entangled with two women. It has all the elements you’d expect in a real American tragedy, the basic love triangle, people caught in a web of deceit, power hungry people and more. Come and see this extraordinary film, which seems to have a very simple plot on the surface, but yet ends up being very complicated. This movie is recommended for mature audiences due to its content.

In her fainting scene for the movie, Elizabeth is said to have executed the “best” fainting scene ever in films. She was so unconcerned about her health and body that the force of her ribs and face hitting the pavement made audiences of the day wince when it happened. 

You can’t write an in-depth paragraph about this Elizabeth Taylor; you can only scratch the surface.  Starting as a child actress in the 1940s, she was the most popular in the 50s with her acting success carrying over into the 60s.  Then she remained a well-known public figure for the rest of her life. In 1999, the American Film Institute named her the seventh greatest female screen legend of all time.

Montgomery Clift prepared himself for an important scene in the film by spending a night locked in the San Quentin Penitentiary.  He so intimidated Taylor with his acting background that she felt like “…the inadequate teenage puppet that had pretty clothes and hadn’t really acted except with horses and dogs.”

Edward Montgomery Clift (1920- 1966) was one of the original “Method” actors. He often portrayed, according to the NY TIMES, “…moody, sensitive young men…” He started his career at 15 on Broadway, and by 25 was in Hollywood starring opposite John Wayne in the movie “Red River.” About Clift Taylor said, “Monty could have been the biggest star in the world if he did more movies.”  But the ones he picked were special. His role in “A Place in the Sun" is considered one of his signature method acting performances, for which he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor.  Even with his limited roles in movies, he managed four Oscar nominations for his work and has a star in Hollywod’s Walk of Fame.

Shelley Winters had mixed feeling about her role in this movie because she was made to look so unglamorous for the part of Alice next to the stunning Elizabeth Taylor.  She developed such an inferiority complex  that it is said she drove strictly white Cadillacs for years to compensate.

Shelley Winters (born Shirley Schrift 1920-2006) appeared in dozens of films as well on stage and television.  With a career spanning over 50 years, she won two Oscars and was nominated for two others. Her appearance in “A Place in the Sun” was a departure from the sexpot image Universal was grooming her for at the time. She did very well with the part earning a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actress.

The New York Times movie review from the period said that George Stevens, the director of this movie “…can point with pride to A Place in the Sun…(it) is a work of beauty, tenderness, power and insight…(that) emerges as a credit to both the motion picture craft and, we feel reasonably certain, the author’s major intentions.”

So come and see the great stars in a Hollywood magic film on the big screen for yourself free of charge. An appropriate snack will be served courtesy of Jack and his wife/projectionist, Lynn. Place: The Edge Center for the Arts, Bigfork. Date and time: Thursday February 9th 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 to lighten your spirits and warm you up a little bit.