Thursday, August 9, 2018

"In the Heat of the Night" is the September Classic Movie Shown in Bigfork

The Classic Movie Series this year starts with a mystery drama from 1967, “In the Heat of the Night,” staring Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger. It is about a black Philadelphia police detective who becomes involved in a murder investigation in a small town in Mississippi. The film won five Oscars in 1967 including the year’s Best Picture award. It is so good that it was followed up by two sequels and a TV series with the same name. It is worth seeing, if for no other reason, to find out what all the excitement was about. Great stars, great time period and great drama: that’s makes a great combination. With lots of racist implications, a false arrest, and a good plot you will find out why the movie richly deserved those five Oscars. This September Movie Classic will be 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 September 13th. Time: 6:30PM. Price: FREE of charge.

The murder suspect is a black man found and arrested at the railway station. Probably sounded logical to the Sparta police, but they quickly discover he is a detective from Chicago.  Oops.  Not only that, the murder seemed to take place in the building site of a new, and, important to the town, factory being built by the murdered man. The widow is not happy about the local police and threatens to stop construction.  It is a good plot based on a 1965 novel of the same name. When you come to see it, keep in mind that Sidney’s line “They call me Mister Tibbs,” ended up being named #16  Most Memorable Movie Quote of all time by the American Film Institute.  

1967 was a bad time in America to be black, Sidney Poitier would not work in the south because he and Harry Belafonte were almost killed by the KKK during an earlier visit to Mississippi. That’s how Sparta Illinois got the work, not Mississippi. Just a few days of location shooting in Tennessee once again put Poitier under threat.
Sir Sidney Poitier (February 20, 1927) is Bahamian-American and an accomplished actor, film director and diplomat. It is hard to pick a “Best" of his Films from his list of 52 films. This movie is number 27 on his career list. He was the first Bahamian and first black actor to win an Oscar. He has some 19 awards.  I suspect receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama in 2009 ranks way up on his list with along being Knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1974.

Rod Steiger (1925-2002) made his mark on the film world by playing “off beat’ kind of crazy characters that were ready to fly off the handle.  He was associated with “Method Acting” to the point that it often caused verbal exchanges with directors and such during filming. That explains why his work is so often  realistic. But it was very good for “In the Heat of the Night."  In this case he was so so good that he won the best actor Oscar. That might be reason enough to see the movie all by it self. He was asked by the director to chew gum during his scenes, which Rod did not particularly like, but doing as directed, he learned to like it so much he went through 263 packs of gum during the shooting.  Now that’s dedication. Wonder what his dentist thought of the idea? Interestingly his co-star in this movie Sidney Poitier thought Steiger and  Spencer Tracy were the best actors he ever encountered.  
A great movie from an award winning book that spawned two film sequels and a TV series. That most likely means there is something special on the big screen in Bigfork in September.  The classic Movie Series is part of the District 318 Adult Education program.  Come and see a mystery thriller that will make you think.  Place: The Edge Center for the Arts, Bigfork. Date and time: Thursday September 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. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Baskets from the Edge: Antler, Ash, and Willow at the Bigfork Art Gallery

Art or craft, craft or art? Which came first? That question has vexed our conversations since the first stone implement was hacked out of a piece of rock. It seems that every item mankind has ever produced has sooner or later been embellished, enhanced or decorated, turned into a more sophisticated form, and called “art.” Utilitarian items take on an entirely new form and meaning and are celebrated for being “even better” for the addition of creative embellishments. Come and see what has developed from the early utilitarian baskets at August's art exhibit at the Edge Art Gallery. The gallery is next to the Bigfork School and is open from 10A.M. to 4 P.M on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Admission to the gallery and the reception is free.

Interestingly, while making baskets is one of the most widespread crafts in the history of any human civilization, it is very hard to accurately date when various techniques started. The reason is that most of the basket materials degraded and eventually disappeared entirely. Of the baskets found in and near present-day Egypt, carbon dating shows then to be between 10,000 and 20,000 years old. However, that is believed to be much later than when people first formed something that could be called a "basket" to gather food from the wild. That may have been as early as between two and three million years ago, but even those dates are pure speculation. While it is conceivable that early hunter-gatherers developed something to carry gathered foods, the Egyptian carbon dated vessels were more similar to pottery burial relics than to baskets.

That discussion is about the “tools” side of basket making; what you will see at the Edge Center is more on the "art" side of the topic. Basic materials used to transport just about anything have been altered in such ways as to completely transform their utility to into something completely that transcends their original intent.

Welcome to “Baskets from the Edge,” where three master artists will display and demonstrate their mastery of the art of basketry for your edification and enjoyment. Watch them blur the line between art and craft at our reception on August 3rd at 5 P.M. at the Edge Gallery in Bigfork.

Willow weaver Jacki Bedworth strides forth into the Red Willows every spring gathering the materials for her traditional basketry. Items of everyday usage are transformed into sublime pieces of ingenuity and art under the magic fingers of this delightful woman.

Fred Kogler takes logs of ash, strips them, polishes them, and weaves them into baskets artfully and individually designed for a variety of uses, from berries to bread. Fred has mastered the art of the Shakers and the “lightship weavers” who wiled away the days at sea weaving ash baskets. Fred’s display and collection of this sophisticated art form and his delight in sharing his passion art and history of baskets will delight and inform.

Cathryn Peters skillfully transforms basketry into decorative, award-winning designs, incorporating bold colors and shed antlers in ways that delight the eye and demonstrate the broad range of what basketry can become. Her recent entry into the gallery’s juried art show drew oohs and ahhs from the crowd and kudos from the juror. 

These three master weavers will be sharing their skills, answering your questions at an open house reception on Friday August 3rd at 5P.M. The gallery is delighted to present this exhibition of local master weavers for your edification and enjoyment. This is an evening you don’t want to miss.

On Friday August 3rd the Baskets from The Edge show opened with a reception that included the three artists providing demonstrations of their techniques. The opening was very well attended and the following photos shows some of the guests enjoying the show, demonstrations, and treats.