April 2, 2008

Walk This Way

Known around the globe as a progressive leader in multidisciplinary arts, the Walker Art Center is becoming a regular destination for Twin Cities moviegoers this spring. Just having wrapped its 15th Annual Women With Vision International Film Festival, the Walker this month presents: Miloš Forman: Cinema of Resistance, a several week-long mini festival featuring an appearance by Forman and the screening of almost all of his films, including classics Amadeus and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Also, in two weeks I'll be seeing the upcoming documentary Standard Operating Procedure, followed by a Q & A with director Errol Morris.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Film/Video Curator Sheryl Mousley has also developed the annual "Expanding the Frame" series (which included a very early screening of 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) and Cinemateca, which features a monthly screening of films from Latin America. Not that it's all artsy and post-modern programming, either - "local" celebrity Diablo Cody was on hand for a preview screening of Juno last December as well. Keep up the good work, Sheryl.

I'll be the first to admit that I don't "get" modern art, and there's plenty in the permanent exhibitions at the Walker that drives me crazy (literally, a white piece of paper on the wall - "Untitled"). Interestingly, the Walker didn't screen last year's My Kid Could Paint That...but it would have been shockingly bold - in a good way - if they had.

Movies aside, the Walker is also boasting exclusive collections (including Kara Walker and Frida Kahlo last year) and taking full advantage of the 20th birthday of its Sculpture Garden. "Rock the Garden" doesn't feature my kind of bands, but the idea is cool. Also, sometime this summer they're going to feature a mini-golf course in the garden.

But the movies are my main focus, and the Walker has stepped up big time in 2008. The tickets are only as much as you'd pay at a theater (sometimes even less), and the best part is, even unhipsters like me are allowed in.


  1. I haven't done a movie at the Walker yet. I'll have to add that to my to-do list. Incidentally, do you know about the UA Film Festival at the Edina?

  2. They have a pretty nice theater, Nayana, but the movies really aren't for the mainstream crowd. Just nice to have another option in town.

    I'm looking forward to the UA series. I think it starts on 4/16 with The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly and continues every Wednesday, but I might have that mixed up. They're not doing very well promoting it, though, are they? Based on what other cities are getting, I think the other films may include: West Side Story, Judgement At Nuremburg, Annie Hall, The Manchurian Candidate, Midnight Cowboy, Network, The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven, The Raging Bull, Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, and In The Heat Of The Night. They could probably do pretty well with attendance if they got the word out.

  3. It always makes me happy when movies are treated like the fine art they are.

  4. I'm happy to report Nicole got me tickets to Rock the Garden. Not your type of bands?! Both Andrew Bird's Armchair Apocrypha and The NP's Challengers are getting heavy rotation on my ipod. I guess I don't know much about your musical taste now that I think about. I've heard good thing about Cloud Cult and Bon Iver but haven't given them a proper listen. Anyways, I should probably save this stuff for my "never going to happen" music blog.

  5. Yeah, they do a pretty good job of that here, Craig, even if it can be a little too abstract for me sometimes. If they really wanted to feature Minnesotan film as art last year, I would have voted for a screening of No Country for Old Men over Juno.

    Did that already sell out, Tom? They had a pretty good early marketing push for it. I've heard of 3 of those 4 bands, but I couldn't tell you even a word about them. My tastes range somewhere between mainstream and underground-lite. You might have already seen this sampling of what I listened to last year.

    In 2008, I've so far enjoyed new albums by Jack Johnson, Mary J. Blige, Lenny Kravitz, Counting Crows, Gnarls Barkley, and Erykah Badu. I know, all radio-friendly mainstreamers, but I'm still keeping ears open to new discoveries. CéU was one of my favorites from last year.

  6. I like it when museums show movies. Here in Boston, the Museum Of Fine Arts shows quite a lot of films, albeit mostly obscure and/or international ones.They do a lot of their own festivals, too. French, African, Turkish, Gay/Lesbian, they show a lot of good stuff.

  7. As a bonus, the place looks pretty damn cool, too.

    I can't think of a nearby (Phoenix) museum that regularly shows first-run flicks - I see things about older films being screened occasionally, but that's not enough to get me interested.

  8. Wow, Milos Forman. I'd almost come up there to see him. I love his films.

  9. True, Justin. I didn't see too many museum movies when I lived in Boston aside from Omni shows at the Museum of Science, but the MFA was really starting to pick up on the film front when I moved. Sadly, it's not often that you hear either music or movies legitimately considered art.

    You should see the inside, Fletch. They doubled the space in 2005 and have some really great gallery and performance space. It's a little hard to find your way around, but it's a striking building to say the least. Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron also designed the Beijing Olympic Stadium (The Bird's Nest) we'll see this summer, and the Tate Modern in London.

    He'll be here on April 12, Pat. I'm actually not planning on going to that "Dialogue," as it's called (check out the other ones), but I'm happy that such events are happening around here.

  10. Ahhhh....MUSIC.

    You know there's always new talent coming up that's interesting. But I'm not really jazzed about digging for new gems consistently. I love classic R&B but I've never been a hip hop or a rap fan. So a lot of the current stuff leaves me cold.

    Honestly, I could listen to Barbra Streisand, Dusty Springfield, Petula Clark, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Beethoven (or even Fleetwood Mac, The Doors, Blondie and Duran Duran) ALL DAY LONG in preference to the stuff that's been popular in the new millennium.

    Aside from soundtrack compilations and film scores, this is practically all the new music I've purchased the past few years: Amy Winehouse, Fiona Apple, Norah Jones, The White Stripes, Wilco, Damien Rice and Fergie. There's also an awesome girl on the horizon that should be a very big star eventually: Melissa McClelland. She has a CD out called Thumbelina's One Night Stand - with a couple of killer tracks, Passenger 24 and Go Down Matthew. The latter is just like a 40s noir film unfolding in your imagination. You can almost smell the shrimp simmering at the roadhouse close to the bayou. Great voice.

    I'm buying a lot of classic 70s groundbreakers now: Patti Smith (Easter), Boz Scaggs (Silk Degrees) and Don McLean (American Pie).

    In terms of shows, I've seen Sheryl Crow, Beck (twice in a six month period) and a trifecta of ZZ Top/The Pretenders/The Stray Cats.

    I was going to see Bruce Springsteen on his current tour but the only tickets we could get were absolute trash. He's coming to a big hall here and we knew where we would end up sitting. So we sold them. I am DEFINITELY going to see Diana Ross later on in the spring, though. Massively looking forward to that.

    They don't make them like they used to. They surely don't.

  11. Yeah, Miranda, I find myself either following older artists and bands to the end of their careers or just listening to older stuff altogether. I haven't really listened to the radio in years, though I'll watch the Grammys and see who's doing what. I think people latch on to musicians at some point in their lives, grow with them, and then don't know so much what to do when they don't make music anymore. I guess that's why we have oldies and classic rock stations. Anyway, I'll give a listen to your suggestions (the one's I'm not already a fan of) and see if I can't find a new option to my playlist.

  12. Cool. Be sure to let me know what you think of my particular tastes. Positive or not.


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