Friday, October 31, 2014

The Swiss Gave us the Cuckoo Clock?

"The Swiss gave us the Cuckoo Clock" is a line from the movie "The Third Man" that was delivered with such bravado moviegoers missed the big mistake. "The Third Man" is November's selection for the CLASSIC MOVIE SERIES shown at the Edge Center in Bigfork. Produced in 1949, the movie is Carol Reed's mystery-thriller-romance brought to the big screen about a man-hunt in Allied-occupied Vienna. It is one of the greatest film-noir movies ever and is accompanied by very unique music that may stay with you long after leaving the theater. Shown by Jack Nachbar at The Edge Center in Bigfork on November 13th at 6:30PM free of charge it is accompanied by  Jack’s presentation providing a better understanding of the film and the film industry at the time period of the picture.  Of course there will be a cartoon of the same period to lighten you up a bit at first.

Produced in 1949, the lead character, Holly Martins, is seeking his childhood friend, Harry Lime who has offered him a job. Upon arrival he discovers that Lime was killed just days earlier by a speeding car while crossing the street. Martins attends Lime's funeral, where he meets two British Army Police who say Lime was a criminal and suggests Martins leave town. The plot thickens when Martins stays in Vienna to clear his friend's good name, meets Lime’s beautiful lady and gets on a twisted, suspenseful trail to the truth.

 The "Swiss Cuckoo Clock" Speech is in a famous scene where Lime meets with Martins on the Wiener Riesenrad, the large Ferris Wheel in the Prater amusement park. Looking down on the people below from his vantage-point, Lime compares them to dots, and says that it would be insignificant if one of them or a few of them "stopped moving, forever".

Back on the ground Lime says,  "You know what the fellow said--in Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had… five hundred years of democracy and peace and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock." Later it was said, "When the picture came out, the Swiss very nicely pointed out...they've never made any cuckoo clocks," as the clocks are native to the German Black Forest.  Reference:

Joseph Cotten's early work as a theater critic in Virginia inspired him to eventually work on theatre productions and by the time he was 25, he was on Broadway. Four years later he would meet the person who would be his dear friend and work partner many times in the years to come: fellow actor Orson Welles. They met on the CBS Radio production of The American School of the Air and went on to work in Welle's Mercury Theater Company in New York for years. They collaborated time and time again, most famously in Citizen Kane and The Third Man. In addition to Welles, Cotten worked with Alfred Hitchcock in film and his Alfred Hitchcock Presents features. Cotten starred alongside many of Hollywood's leading ladies including Betty Davis, Marilyn Monroe, Ingrid Bergman, Rita Hayworth, and Marlene Dietrich. In The Third Man, Cotten is paired with glamorous actress Alida Valli.

Christened the Baroness Alida Maria Laura Altenburger von Marckenstein u. Frauenberg, the Italian actress was better known as Alida Valli or sometimes just "Valli" to bring in the mystique of “Garbo”. She appeared in more than 100 films. In The Third Man, she plays the love interest of Lime. By her early 20's she was regarded as one of "the most beautiful women in the world" and had made her debut in English speaking films after a great deal of success in Europe. Touted as the next Ingrid Bergman, she had trouble with English and never achieved the same success as Bergman in America but went on to star in European movies and stage productions into her 80's. Reference

Orson Welles was an actor, director, writer and producer who worked in theater, radio and film. He is best remembered for his innovative work in all three media; in theatre, most notably Caesar (1937), a groundbreaking Broadway adaptation of Julius Caesar; in radio the 1938 broadcast The War of the Worlds, one of the most famous in the history of radio; and in film, Citizen Kane (1941), consistently ranked as one of the all-time greatest films. When accepted to Harvard, he declined and opted to travel. While in Dublin, he falsely claimed to be a Broadway Star and had his first acting role. The rest is history. In 2002, Welles was voted the greatest film director of all time in two British Film Institute polls among directors and critics, and a wide survey of critical consensus, best-of lists, and historical retrospectives calls him the most acclaimed director of all time.

The Zither Tops the Music Charts? Well, yes and it too is a star of this movie. The title score was called "The Third Man Theme" and it topped the international music charts in 1950. The then-unknown performer, Anton Karas wrote and performed the score which used only the zither, a traditional German string instrument. Zithers are played by strumming or plucking the strings, either with the fingers (sometimes using a tool called a plectrum), or sounding the strings with a bow.  The number of strings varies, from one to more than fifty.  It was a unique choice by the director and made film music history.

So come see or hear, the Zitter, and all the rest of the stars in “The Third Man”.  They will help you appreciate film noir with its dark landscapes, sharp angles and brooding atmosphere.  All of which could not be done as well in color and is best seen on the big screen where it really belongs. This movie is presented free of charge and some appropriate snacks courtesy of Jack and his wife/projectionist Lynn.  Place: The Edge Center for the Arts, Bigfork. Date and time: Thursday November 13th at 6:30PM. Price of admission: free.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Fishing, Painting and Nature: A Beautiful Combination in Bigfork

The newest artist on display at the Edge Center Gallery won the Minnesota fish stamp competition four times. Stuart Nelson’s “Something Fishy” exhibit is so life-like that you may either feel like you are swimming with the fish or on the other end of the line trying to catch them.  Maybe both.  They are beautiful and colorful examples of why fishermen from around the country keep coming back to our lakes for the fresh water challenge of a trophy catch. From October 30 until November 29, original paintings and limited edition prints by Stuart Nelson will be exhibited in the Edge Center Gallery in Bigfork.  You will be able talk to Stuart about paintings or fishing at the Opening Reception on Friday, October 31 from 5PM to 7PM. The Edge Center Gallery is next to the Bigfork School and is open from 10AM to 4PM on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. There is no charge for the gallery or reception.

This is a good time for the exhibit because 2014 was a big year for this nature painter.  His paintings won both the Minnesota Trout & Salmon Stamp Award and the Walleye Stamp Award.  It was the second time for each award.  In 1999 he won first place for the Trout & Salmon Stamp and in 2011 for the Walleye Stamp.

Stuart grew up on Big Lake, just west of Cloquet, Minnesota.  He says, ”When you live near the water all your life like I have, fish and fishing naturally become a large influence on your life.”  He graduated from the School of Associated Arts where he studied graphic design and illustration.

With this background, the Minnesota Fish Stamp Competitions were a natural fit.  However, it took 10 to 15 years after he first entered in the late 1970s before he got a second or third place award.  After all these years he understands what makes a winning design.

 “The fish has to be accurate.  The color has to be accurate,” he told Sam Cook for the Duluth News Tribune.  “But you need something to separate you from the rest of them.  So, it has to be a pretty picture, too.”    The stunning work showing in the Edge Center Gallery has it all, realistic detail, lots of action, beautiful settings and superb composition.  Stuart’s ability to portray the mood of the fish and its environment is what really makes his work so captivating.  You’ll see why his work has been featured in numerous wildlife magazines.

The Stuart Nelson exhibit “Something Fishy” is on display at the Edge Center Gallery from October 30 until November 29 with the Opening Reception from 5PM to 7PM on Friday October 31. And don't worry about the "Tricks" may even get some "Treats" from some of the members of our volunteer gallery committee. The Edge Center Gallery, next to the Bigfork School, is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10AM to 4PM until November 29. The prints and mugs with the winning designs will be for sale and make great holiday gifts for fishing fans.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Culture of India Through Dance and Music at the Edge in Bigfork

Internationally-acclaimed Ragamala Dance will present the culture of India through music interpreted by traditional dance on Sunday October 19th at 2 p.m., at the Edge Center in Bigfork. This Minneapolis-based professional company has recently performed in venues including the American Dance Festival, the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the National Centre for Performing Arts in Mumbai, India. The program, titled Scared Earth, brings an artistic look at a country on the other side of the earth with incredible color, music and dancing celebrating the life and history of a very different environment from Northern Minnesota. Date: Sunday, October 19; time 2PM; price $10 adults, $5 children.

Ragamala Dance was founded by Ranee Ramaswamy in 1992.  Currently, Ranee and her daughter Aparna serve as choreographers and co-artistic directors of the company. From the co-directors, “We draw from the myth and spirituality of our South Indian heritage to make dance landscapes that dwell in opposition—secular and spiritual life, inner and outer worlds, human and natural concerns, rhythm and stillness—to find the transcendence that lies in between. Together we craft every moment to create intricate and complex worlds that convey a sense of reverence, of unfolding mystery, of universal celebration”.  Above Photo Credit Jonathan Chapman.

In “Sacred Earth” Ranee and Aparna present the myth and philosophy of Indian tradition to shape incredible landscapes of color and dance with music showing the relationship of people and the environment around them. The program, accompanied by music, brings internal (akam) and external (puram) vistas to life through the creative use of kolam floor designs and Warli wall paintings. Kolams are rice flour designs made each morning by women in southern India as offerings to Mother Earth. Above photo credit Hub WIlson.

The Warli people from western India are known for their reverence of the land and live in perfect coexistence with nature. Warli paintings are inspired by everyday existence creating inspiration and beauty.  This dance discipline includes very colorful dress and sets along with the beauty and grace of Indian music and dance. Above photo credit Hub Wilson.

Starting from a very subdued meditative state and building towards the program’s crescendo, we (the audience) are meant to feel the environment’s relationship to us and our need to protect and serve it for future generations. Colorful, graceful, and musical are all good descriptions of the program, but being there is the best way to appreciate how special this mix can create the frame of mind intended by the directors. Above photo credit Sally Cohn.

“Ragamala Dance’s artistic directors Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy bring their culture’s unique sensibility of mysticism, myth and sanctity to the contemporary stage. The mother-daughter duo was named the 2011 ‘Artist of the Year’ by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, where they currently make their home. Above photo credit Ed Bock.

Ranee Ramaswamy has been a master teacher and performer of the Indian dance form Bharatanatyam since 1978. Since 1984, she has been a disciple of Alarmél Valli, one of India’s greatest living masters. Aparna Ramaswamy is also a protégé of Alarmél Valli. Described as ‘a marvel of buoyant agility and sculptural clarity’ (Dance Magazine), ‘thrillingly three-dimensional,’ and “an enchantingly beautiful dancer,” (The New York Times)”. From:  Above photo credit Grant Halverson.

“Ragamala Dance unfolds the beauty, elegance, poetry, and driving rhythmic complexities of Bharatanatyam, the 2,000 year-old classical dance of Southern India. With each new project…(they)… push the boundaries of Bharatanatyam and convey what it means to be 21st century choreographers working within a classical, culturally-based tradition. Their work brings to audiences the infinite scope of Bharatanatyam by showcasing its complexity and range, from the grace and power of the traditional solo form to the beauty and vitality of the company's ensemble.” Above photo credit Grant Halverson.

This activity is made possible by: the voters of Minnesota through a legislative appropriation through a grant for the Minnesota State Arts Board, and the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, and through generous funding by the Blandin Foundation. Above photo credit Ed Bock.

This program promises to be a special experience for the audience.  It certainly is a first for the Edge. Come and enjoy the songs, dance and color of this extraordinary group of performers. Date: Sunday, October 19; time 2PM; price $10 adults, $5 children. Above photo credit Hub Wilson, below Ed Bock.