Friday, January 27, 2012

Alice Unwrapped at The Edge - A Family in Distress Over Dad Being MIA in the Middle East

How one fifteen year-old tries to cope with a father missing in action, a mom who won’t come out of her bedroom and a little sister who just wants a normal life, is the story behind the musical drama Alice Unwrapped. The 35-minute single-actress show will be presented for two performances at The Edge Center in Bigfork on Wednesday February 1st. The performances will be at the Bigfork School Music Room for students at 2PM at no charge and the public at 7PM on The Edge Center stage. The price of admission for the 7PM performance is pay what you think it is worth after the show.

From the creator’s project description, "ALICE UNWRAPPED is a new on-site theatrical presentation featuring acclaimed singer-actor Anna Slate in an emotionally-expansive and spiritually-engaging demonstration of how integrated musical-theatrical performance can uniquely illuminate contemporary social situations and psychological challenges. This production was originally created for the Spirit in the House and Minnesota Fringe Festivals in 2009; it was also performed in classrooms at MacPhail Center, Saint Olaf College, and Lawrence University."

The Edge Center, in its mission to present a wide variety of performance experiences, offers this musical drama billed as a non-political view of the trials for the families of service men and women who are deployed to a war zone. One of the play’s creators, Laura Harrington, comes from a military family whose father fought in WWII and two brothers served in the 1960s. It is a play designed for non-theatrical settings primarily for educational institutions. The one-actress/one accompanist play includes a discussion period after the performance focusing on the musical-theatrical and other aesthetic issues and those relating to social science, psychology and family dynamics.

Monday, January 16, 2012

That’s a BIG FORK

Sure is, and it’s in the Bigfork gallery all winter. With winter finally here in Northern Minnesota, it is time for The Edge Center gallery in Bigfork to change into its winter show. The gallery’s permanent collection is on display from now until the spring and summer exhibits start. During the winter, the gallery is open during theater events and visitors are welcome during The Edge Center’s normal business hours Wednesday thorough Friday from 9AM to 1PM . Gallery visits for groups are also available by special appointment. It might be a nice stop for snowmobile groups. There might even be some hot coffee available for group visits. Call The Edge Center to make an appointment.

As far as the BIG FORK is concerned, it is one of two new additions to the gallery’s permanent collection. It was created by Darren Peterson and donated to the Gallery by Lonnie and Ashley Bommer. In case there is more interest in forks, they have been around since the Roman Empire or possibly earlier in Ancient Greece. They never caught on in the Far East where chopsticks are used for a similar purpose. Personal forks came into use in the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire. In the first millenium they spread to, what is now, the Middle East, then onto southern Europe in the second millenium, and finally to North America in the 19th century. When using the fork in these parts one usually keeps the tines pointed up, but, for the continental style, point the tines down. All this is good background, but the one at the Bigfork gallery is probably the largest one you will see.

The other new addition to the gallery is a beautiful blue painting that was purchased from Native American artist Gordon Coons, who had a very fantastic and successful exhibit in October of last year. His abilities in traditional American Indian art impressed visitors. He sold more paintings than any previous individual artist who exhibited at the Edge Gallery. Gordon Coons, because of his Ojibway and Ottawa heritage, has chosen to work in the Eastern Woodland and the Ledger styles. He is a self-taught artist, now living in Minneapolis, and is an enrolled member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe of northern Wisconsin. In addition to exhibiting, the artist taught five classes at the Bigfork School.

Pictured in the gallery set-up are Barry Nelson, Kathy Champoux and Karen Ferlaak

The forks pictured above were made in Iran in the 8th or 9th century and are not in the Bifgork gallery.

The following are a couple of gallery photos including the visitors at a Cello and Piano concert held on Sunday, January 15.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Zorro Photoplay Presented at The Edge

Photoplays, flicks, silent dramas or just movies were what audiences saw before “talkies” took away, what many believe, was the magic of live music accompaniments. And one of the most classy and classic of them all was “The Mark of Zorro”. It defined a genre and, many believe, it is still one of the best action adventures available today even if it is silent. The Edge Center in Bigfork won’t have live music to accompany it, but this very special silent movie will be presented free-of-charge on Thursday January 12 at 6:30PM in the center’s theater. It is part of the Park Theater Memorial Classic Movie Series and will include Jack Nachbar’s background discussions and treats appropriate for a Zorro movie.

This “Mark of Zorro” is a 1920 silent drama starring Douglas Fairbanks and Noah Berry. It was the first “Mark of Zorro” movie. It was based on 1919 story that introduced the intrepid hero. For a more extensive history of the movie come and hear Jack’s discussion. To find out what kind of reaction the movie had in 1920 here is part of the original New York Times review of the movie published on November 29, 1920 in THE SCREEN column of the paper. The photos were not part of the review.

“Movie Review
November 29, 1920
Published: November 29, 1920

“Douglas Fairbanks's latest motion picture, "The Mark of Zorro," is at the Capitol this week. The program says that it is "from" a story by Johnston McCulley, called "The Curse of Capistrano," but one who has not read Mr. McCulley's story imagines that it is pretty far from it. There's too much Fairbanks in it for any one to have written it without the athletic comedian definitely in mind. What is on the screen is probably "The Curse of Capistrano" spiced and speeded up to suit the taste of Douglas Fairbanks and the many who enjoy his gay and lively style of playing. This means that whatever plausibility there was in the original has been sacrificed for headlong action, that whatever consistency there was has given place to intermittent fun and thrills, that whatever of sentiment there was has become romantic nonsense. All of which may mean that "The Mark of Zorro" is more enjoyable than "The Curse of Capistrano" could ever hope to be.”

“Certainly there are moments in the motion picture which must delight anyone, no matter how preposterous they are. There is a duel scene, for example, which is something distinctly original in the history of mortal combat on the stage or screen, and there are spirited races and pursuits, sudden appearances, quick changes, and flashes of tempestuous love-making that are typically, and entertainingly, Fairbanksian….”

United Artists Produced Zorro. Here are studio founders Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin and DW Griffth.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Cello for Your Thoughts in Bigfork

On January 15th at 2:30 PM. cellist Josh Aerie and Pianist Samuel Black will be at The Edge Center in Bigfork for a speical concert. They are active in the Arrowhead area music activities including chamber music performances tailored to take the chill out of a January Sunday afternoon. The prices of the concert are $10 for adults and $5 for students.

Josh Aerie conducts the Heartland Symphony Orchestra, the Red Cedar Symphony Orchestra, the Duluth Community Orchestra, and the Mesabi Community Orchestra, in addition to teaching cello at the University of Wisconsin-Superior and The College of St. Scholastica. He also teaches music courses at Mesabi Community College and UWS, and directs the Woodland Chamber Music Workshop for adult amateur musicians. He plays the cello at every opportunity and especially enjoys chamber music collaborations with his friends. Josh is a founding member of the Gichigami Trio and is working with Sam to make the premier recording of the
Sowash Cello Sonata.

Samuel Black has been involved musically with the Duluth Playhouse, Arrowhead Chorale, Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra, and a wide variety of recitals as pianist, organist, vocalist, & conductor. He organized the Northshore Chamber Society in Lake County and as Music Director at Duluth Congregational Church, he hosts year-round weekly concerts on Thursday afternoons, and monthly concerts throughout the school year. For the past ten years he has also written music reviews for the Duluth News Tribune. Sam is a founding member of the Gichigami Trio and is the Assistant Director of the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council.

The Program

The Cliffs Above the Clear Fork, Rick Sowash (b. 1951), 1980/rev.

Clear Fork is a bluff somewhere around Bellville, Ohio, between Columbus and Akron on I-71.

“The latter work is a musical landscape; the Clear Fork is a branch of the Mohican River, and Bellville, Ohio, the composer's former home, overlooks it. Here, Sowash has written music that is pastoral in a manner reminiscent of Vaughan Williams, and also has shown his affinity for French Impressionism.”

Cello Sonata, Op. 78 (1913, but only published in 1976) Arthur Foote

I. Allegro appassionato
II. Andantino con moto
III. Vivace assai

Chamber music with energy on both sides of an incredibly beautiful center. Foote was an accomplished pianist/organist, which is why he didn't write as much as I might wish: he enjoyed performing chamber music, apparently more than writing

The Water is Wide, Stephen Paulus (b. 1949) 1988

This is from American Vignettes for Cello and Piano, a collection of six popular melodies arranged for cello/piano combination. This in # 3 in the collection, and only one that is of British origin, rather than purely American. Delightful way has of interpreting this poignant melody and story.

Sonata for Cello and Piano, Rick Sowash, 1990

I. Moderato
II. Largo religioso
III. Allegro energico

Rick is our personal friend in Cincinnati, and we are in the process of recording this sonata for him. This is good repertoire that will gain more players in the coming generation. We have had a lot of fun with Rick's humor, as well as his wonderful sense of melody.