Tag Archives: Q + A

Quick Q+A: Art Shanties Kick-Off

Before everyone got excited about our “New North” branding and embrace of wintery-fun lifestyles—like us—a bunch of artists trekked out on to a lake and build a bunch of funky, artsy ice house-style shanties and the MN Art Shanty Projects were born! And the Shanties have big news for 2018: They’re moving from White Bear Lake to Lake Harriet (Bde Unma), much closer to home.

To help celebrate the new season of Art Shanties, the organizing organization will be throwing a party at SooVAC on Saturday to celebrate shanties past and introduce the new crop of artists and performers to everyone. Ahead of the bingo, snacks, sparkling waters, films of past years, and Eastern European dancing, we checked in with Lacey Prpić Hedtke, Artistic Director for Art Shanties about the move, the themes, becoming a member, and more. 

Secrets of the City: Do you have any personal favorite shanties from years past? Or highlights in general you’ll be sharing? Ours are probably thinking every single year “Oh right, White Bear Lake is really quaint” and “Why aren’t there dance party shanties on every frozen lake?”

 Lacey Prpić Hedtke: I love each shanty equally. With that being said, I really loved last year’s Shanty National Park, with their thousands of felt and cardboard species, the Arcade Shanty—a 90s air hockey arcade that awarded medals to champions, the Sci-Fi Book Club shanty—a crashed space pod, and Body Cartography’s Action Movie, which was a one-on-one performance that had me running across the ice with my eyes closed, in the safe care of of one of their dancers. In general each time I visit Art Shanty Projects’ On Ice Program, I’m reminded why I live in Minnesota in the winter (and year-round)—our artists come up with the most original, unique, out-there shanties and performances, and I hope everyone is left with the same feeling of joy I do after being on that ice.

Since our winters are warming up thanks to climate change—and it seems like early thaw makes the shanties move in-land before the end of the month—has been how many years until Art Shanties just start out on the shore? Maybe transforming into Art Cabanas?

Ahhh knock on ice! Don’t jinx it! At least not for this year. First off, I need to say that the Art Shanty Projects On-Ice Program WILL BE OPEN RAIN, SNOW, ICE, NO ICE, SUNSHINE OR IF FROGS FALL FROM THE SKY. Hopefully we won’t have to move onto shore this year, but we’ll still be open if we do. Art Shanty Projects has always been about reacting and adapting to the environment, and will continue on in this way, no matter what weather we’re presented with. We’re called Art Shanty Projects, not Ice Shanty Projects, so we’ll see what the future brings. We have no immediate plans to change from being an on-ice program, but we’ll continue to adapt.

People maybe don’t realize that there’s a really great performance component to the Art Shanties—it’s not just static artsy ice house installations. How can people best plan to mix in things like Snowga or hearing a set from the Prairie Fire Lady Choir into their visit?

Check the performance schedule on our website to plan your trip! (www.artshantyprojects.org). This year we’re expecting bigger crowds than ever, due to being in MPLS for the first time and the Super Bowl, so we have more performances to engage audiences outside of the shanties. Visitors can rewatch the Tonya and Nancy drama unfold, ’90s opera style, experience what might be the first human-sized hamster wheel on ice, and the Art Cars will be back with small remote-controlled art cars.

We recommend people sign up for a membership to Art Shanties, is that something they can do at the kickoff event?

Thank you for recommending that! Yes, there will be a spot to become a member at the SooVAC kickoff event. There are two members only evening on-ice events this year that are offered if you become a member at a certain level. And at any level, members can feel good about helping to pay artists a fair wage. Plus members get a cool sticker and can say they have a part in making one of the only art events on a frozen lake happen. If someone can’t make it to the kickoff event, or just can’t wait another second to become a member, you can become a member on our website: artshantyprojects.org/membership

This thing is way bigger than just icehouses on the lake. What are we forgetting here?

Metro Transit is sponsoring free rides to Art Shanty Projects the first weekend of our On Ice Program, January 20-21! Go to our website to print out a pass—you won’t regret it. Come dressed to be out on a frozen lake, and if you have them, put on Yaktrax or cleats. And if people want a real piece of the action, we’re looking for volunteers to help build the shanties on the ice during load-in weekend on Jan. 13, and for volunteers during the program. More info here: artshantyprojects.org/volunteer

The kickoff party for MN Art Shanty Projects is at SooVAC on Saturday at 7 PM and they hit the ice starting Jan 20th. 


Quick Q+A: Su Na + Coral Angel Release Show

Su Na, the hazy electronic funk music project of Alec Ness, has flown under-the-radar locally for both how good his music is and how much attention he’s starting to receive nationally—including “new and notable” hype from Bandcamp. That’s soon likely to change, however, as Su Na releases the new Coral Angel, another step of his exciting musical evolution towards more experimental and techno sounds. 

All that music-making has kept Ness busy, but we were able to squeeze in a very quick Q+A ahead tonight’s (Thursday’s) vinyl release show at the Loring Pasta Bar’s Red Room with his good company, Falls, Devata Daun, and Yon (DJ). 

Secrets of the City: What genre(s) would you say your music is in? We’ve characterized it as electro-soul because of the chill digital vibe, would you say we’re close on that or no?

Su Na: I would say it sits somewhere in between uk-garage and experimental rnb.

Surface was one of our fav albums of 2016—still is in our heavy rotation. Your new Coral Angel (which has its release party at the Red Room) maintains that same soulful vibe as Surface, but seems you’re pushing out more with different sounds. Are you going in different music directions? Purer electronic? Growing your style?

Thanks! I certainly went in some new directions with Coral Angel. The biggest change is that I sang on the record singles instead of featuring several other vocalists like Surface. Thematically it’s more experimental and dynamic; dark at times and joyful at others. Overall I focused on making a more expressive record than Surface.

We’re constantly impressed with the company you keep when you perform—shows like The Soulstice party to Greenroom Sessions to collabs with Dizzy Fae to Red Light Special with Secrets fav Devata Daun and tha killa Dude It’s Rowsheen. How choosy are you for live sets? Do people seek you out these days?

There are some great people running events here, and most of the local shows or collaborations happen because I’m close with the people putting them together. People do seek me out for shows outside of my network, with those I feel like it’s important to be discerning about what’s a good fit stylistically.

How great is your text-only website? We’re going text-only hopefully soon.

That was the outcome of trying to edit the code of Squarespace themes unsuccessfully for hours!

What’s are the post-release plans? A bunch of local shows? A tour?

Likely both, working on some shows for 2018 that I can hopefully announce soon!

Su Na Coral Angel vinyl release show, Loring Pasta Bar Red Room, 8 PM. $8.


Quick Q+A: Darin Corbin + F1rst Wrestling LIVE!

Regular Readers know that we’re huge fans of the wrasslin’ action put on by F1rst Wrestling and this Thursday (TONIGHT!) the hometown promotion make their debut at the Uptown VFW a month before the giant Wrestlepalooza event. F1rst Wrestling: LIVE! is a perfect introduction to see local pro wrestling the way it’s always meant to be—up close and with a bunch of people cheering over their beers. The “Golden Circle” seating is already sold out, but there are a few GA tickets still remaining that we very strongly recommend grabbing.

Ahead of the Lyn Lake invasion, we quick checked in with one of the least popular personalities—and thereby most popular personalities—The Ginger Snap Darin Corbin about his evolving alliances, attack plans, and surprise appearances.

Secrets of the City: Don’t you miss the good times you had in The North Star Express with Ryan Cruz? Do you think you can ever share the same corner again?

The Ginger Snap Darin Corbin: If those were good times, I’ve been having awesome and amazing times since the split. And no, I don’t plan on reforming the NSE ever again.

What’s the strategy going into the ring for a Monster’s Ball Match against notable indie wrestler Abyss? Do you think the hometown crowd will be on your side for this one?

I don’t think the hometown crowd will be a factor; considering how much they all of sudden hate me. Bunch of ungrateful jerks. As far as Abyss goes, he’s a monster who doesn’t think before he acts. I’m already 10 steps ahead. So I’m not worried about Abyss being able to outsmart or catch me!

Assuming you win against Abyss, what kind of momentum does that give you going into the big time Wrestlepalooza at First Avenue in January?

Correction: When I win. And I’ve been riding momentum since the split. Things have been great and I make things happen. So January will be no different.

A bunch of txts were flying back and forth during the WWE TLC match at the Target Center when some of us noticed that the EMT who helped Kurt Angle looked just like our favorite local heel! How did that come about? Was it just crazy to be involved in a production like that?

After receiving my University of Phoenix Medical Degree after doing online night classes, it was only a matter of time before the job market came calling . . . and just happened to be WWE.
Good thing I was there for the gold medalist. And yes it was quite the production and a great event to be a part of. I look forward to working together more in the future . . . so keep watching when
they come around the Midwest.

F1rst Wrestling: LIVE! goes down Thursday, December 7th at 8 PM. GA tickets available, $12.


F1rst Wrestling Live! Wildcat

Regular Readers know that we’re huge fans of the wrasslin’ action put on by F1rst Wrestling and this Thursday the hometown promotion make their debut at the Uptown VFW a month before the giant Wrestlepalooza event. F1rst Wrestling: LIVE! is a perfect introduction to see local pro wrestling the way it’s always meant to be—up close and with a bunch of people cheering over their beers. The “Golden Circle” seating is already sold out, but there are a few GA tickets still remaining that we very strongly recommend grabbing.

Ahead of the Lyn Lake invasion, we quick checked in with one of the most popular personalities, Wildcat the Feline Super Hero, on his signature moves, territory, and more, ahead of the face-smashing fun. 

Secrets of the City: One of the best parts of any F1rst show is the Meow! Meow! Meow! chant you get going. How did that come about and did you think it would be such a hit?

Wildcat: Meowing is a cat’s way of communicating with humans. It seemed quite natural to greet the crowd with a round of MEOW! MEOW! MEOW! and I was happily surprised when they learned my language and joined in.

You’re not only a wrestler, you’re also a crime fighter. Does your watch include both MPLS + STPL or do you just stick to one city? Or do you even bust up bad guys in the burbs, too?

A vigilante crime fighter knows no boundaries. No villain can out range Wildcat and escape the claws of justice. So no matter your location if your actions are treacherous keep your eyes towards the shadows because that is where Wildcat prowls.

Have you had any luck figuring out what to do when your kryptonite—a ball of yarn!—makes its way into the ring?

I know exactly what to do in that situation: Get that yarn between my claws and scratch it to shreds! Meow for now.

F1rst Wrestling: LIVE! goes down Thursday, December 7th at 8 PM. GA tickets available, $12.


Quick Q+A: Charlie Crompton + The British Arrow Awards

As true a Twincy holiday tradition as anything, today marks the month-long run of The British Arrow Awards at The Walker Art Center. The highly entertaining ad spots—some selling products, some doing social messages, all truly well done—will likely be some of the most creative pieces anyone sees all year. Yes, it’s true—and that’s why a bunch of the early screenings are already sold out. 

Since many of our Regular Readers have been to The British Arrow Awards before, and will go again, we sent a Quick Q+A to  chairman of the British Arrows Board of Directors Charlie Crompton to get a little deeper look at ads vs. art, what makes the awards have to work with, Brexit, and why we love British humor so much.

Secrets of the City: Are British advertisements more popular with the Americans than the Brits? Will British audiences, say, buy every single ticket to a month of screenings like Twincy goer-outers will for The Walker?

Charlie Crompton: The British Arrows Awards celebrates excellence in advertising. But the Brits of course, being well, British, hate being sold to, so you have to make short films that trick people into watching, even though they’re free. No one would admit to actually liking them though, that would like admitting that you liked Ed Sheeran or something, which is unthinkable—although not as unthinkable as liking James Blunt, obviously. There are mini comedies, mini tragedies and mini adverts for Mini Coopers, ads with epic stories, and ads with enormous stars. You lot love it unreservedly—and so do we really but we’d never say that out loud. It takes a lot of skill to craft ads that the whole country loves and takes to their hearts—and then of course, tells everyone that they could have done it better themselves.

There’s been a mix of clever, funny, technically impressive spots, but also some darker commercials—from a year or two ago, the plea to keep the women’s shelter open where the young homeless woman is invited home by two guys and then threateningly chased still haunts me. Do the Arrows aim for a certain mix or are you at the mercy of what came out that year?

We’re absolutely at the mercy of what’s come out that year—and that’s a great thing. The selection of ads that you’ll see at the show are the winners—the best ads of the year—and as such are a perfect time-capsule or snapshot of what our country is like in 2017. This is our 41st year—the Walker’s 31st year of taking the show . . . If you looked at any year, you’d get a better idea of the mood of the country, than watching a news reel. This year, we’ve been reeling from the uncertainty of Brexit, a government just hanging on by their fingertips and the Syrian refugee crisis . . . Great Britain hasn’t been feeling so great—so we do what the Brits do best: We celebrate what we are good at—We laugh at ourselves, we laugh at James Blunt, we make beautifully poignant PSA’s, we blew the doors off The Paralympics, we get out there and celebrate being fit—whatever shape or age we’re in; at this time of the year, we remind ourselves why it’s important to come home for Christmas . . . These are the things that make us feel safe in this world—and if we can make others less fortunate feel that we’re looking out for them too—it shows that these ads, in their own way can actually make a difference to people’s lives.

How much does an agency gain from winning an Arrow award? Is it something that goes front and center on their websites and sales pitches?

Definitely, they have a huge legacy in British advertising. The British Arrows is the most significant of the British awards to win . . . And after 40 years they’re not easy to win either . . . If you get a bronze—or a silver, it’s a major accomplishment . . . A gold is something that gets nailed straight away on your wall – even if your other half doesn’t think it looks as great in prime position above the fireplace, as you do. There are around 1000 entries every year which our juries, made up of the most talented advertisers, ad agency creatives, production companies and film crafts spend days locked in a dark room to choose the best from. And that’s what’s being shown here at the Walker.

To put you on the spot, what’s your all-time favorite British commercial?

I love this ad from 2000 for Marmite. Every time I watch it, it makes me laugh out loud. Marmite is so British . . . If you weren’t born there, you can’t understand how on earth we could thrive on something that is so disgusting. Our whole civilization is built on the stuff. They only do one ad a year, so each one has to punch way above its weight and this says so much about British advertising . . . The ad agency, Adam&EveDDB have never dropped a ball yet with this brand and their ads could only be made for British audiences. Half of the population love Marmite, the other half hate it, so they celebrate that. It’s even spawned its own parlance back home: If someone is regarded as a ‘Marmite character’, it means that you’ll either love them or hate them—there’s no middle ground. I’m thinking of getting Donald Trump a pot—that might sort him out.

What do you as Arrows Chairman think it says about contemporary art that some of the most daring and creative things an art-going audience will see all year are commercials peddling products?

Well, in Britain at least, ads are so much part of the zeitgeist, that I think they can be the most contemporary of contemporary art. So much craft goes into making these ads as good as they are . . . When you look at Waitrose’s – ‘Robin’ or ‘Buster the Boxer’ for John Lewis, the work that’s gone into bringing these to the screen is extraordinary, not only in the conception and shooting but in the weeks of seamless post production. And ‘Superhumans’, which was voted the best ad of the year, took a superhuman effort from so many people at the top of their game to bring to the screen, not least the actors themselves. The irony of course of showing them in Minneapolis, is that you can’t buy most of the products being sold here even if you wanted to—so you can just enjoy them for what they are—brilliantly produced bite-sized contemporary moving art. And if you don’t like one, as one of the audience said to me last year, “another one will be along in a minute” and there’s something here for everyone. Including that aunt who came to stay with you for Christmas, two weeks early, and looks like she might never leave. Better get the Marmite in then.

The British Arrow Awards run December 1st-30th at the Walker Art Center’s Cinema and McGuire Theater, various showtimes. $14 general, $11.20 Walker members.