Film Podcast: Oscar Season Opens with Birdman and Listen Up Philip

Categories: Film and TV

Alison Rosa
Michael Keaton and Edward Norton put up their dukes in Birdman.
It's awards season and the hyped movies are starting to land in theaters. On this week's Voice Film Club podcast, we talk about Alejandro González Iñárritu's Birdman, starring Michael Keaton, and Alex Ross Perry's Listen Up Philip, and carve out some time to recommend Nothing Bad Can Happen and Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me. All four of those films have received high praise and some have been hit with some pretty damning criticism, including the description that Iñárritu is a "pretentious fraud," leveled by film critic Scott Tobias of The Dissolve. Amy Nicholson of the LA Weekly, along with Alan Scherstuhl and Stephanie Zacharek of the Village Voice, dive into what stirs critics use loaded words like those when reviewing a movie. Ahh, must be Oscar season.

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Scares Abound at the Third Twin Cities Horror Festival

Categories: Theater

Images courtesy Twin Cities Horror Festival
Doll Collection.
There will be blood... and guts, and tension, and frights aplenty over the 11 days of the Twin Cities Horror Festival. Nine different shows will be part of the third version of this event at the Southern Theater.

Think of it as a mini Minnesota Fringe Festival, except it all takes place at one location, and the acts have been selected to participate instead of chosen by lottery. (No, not the Shirley Jackson type.)

Oh, and they are all shows about things that "go bump in the night."

See also:
Scares and Laughs Aplenty at Horror Showcase

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Charlie Quimby on Fiction and Social Consciousness

Photo by Susan Cushman
Charlie Quimby 
Charlie Quimby, author of Monument Road, will be discussing the relationship between fiction writing and social justice at a talk this Saturday at Homewood Studios. Moderated by educator and writer Julie Landsman, the evening will focus on Quimby's work, but will also open up into a broader discussion. Quimby, whose first novel took on the issue of suicide, is currently writing a novel on homelessness. He hopes that the discussion will inform his current project, which will most likely be published in about a year.

We chatted with Quimby about the talk, and about how he grapples with issues in his fiction. 

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Theatre Pro Rata Captures the Spirit of 1984

Categories: Theater
Since it was published 65 years ago, George Orwell's 1984 has been the model for oppressive, dystopian states in fiction.

Through the decades, 1984 has stubbornly resisted strong translations into other media. (Think Big Brother, the wretched reality TV show.) But Michael Gene Sullivan's stage adaptation comes close to the original. The playwright keeps the core of the novel while still creating something absolutely theatrical.

Theatre Pro Rata captures much of that spirit -- along with some baggage that slows the action down -- in an often frightening production.

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The Secret Lives of Coats Offers Charming Absurdities at Red Eye

Categories: Theater

Photo courtesy Red Eye Theater
Cast members of The Secret Lives of Coats.
The experimental Red Eye Theater and a tradition-bound musical wouldn't seem to go together, but The Secret Lives of Coats binds the two like peanut butter and, if not chocolate, then at least apple slices.

The show, created by Stephanie Fleischmann and Christina Campanella, takes us to the coat check of a swank New York restaurant, where a trio of women spend their evenings taking the coats of the rich, famous, eccentric, and everything else under the sun.

See also:
Rosa Simas Presents Haunting Work at the Red Eye

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Rob Little on the Secret World of Cruise Ships

Categories: Comedy
"I've performed on 63 cruises in the past two years," says comedian Rob Little. His seafaring work ethic has paid off, as he was recently named Carnival Cruise Lines' Comedian of the Year. "That was pretty cool. I've been doing a lot of clubs and corporate shows, too."

Actually, the cruise gigs are similar to comedy clubs in that they run for several days. "They kind of book us on two cruises at a time," he explains. "So you'll go on the last half of one cruise then stay on the ship for the first half of the next cruise. It can be anywhere from three to five days."

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SuicideGirls' Sunny Suicide Talks Blackheart Burlesque Tour

Categories: Burlesque
Since 2001, SuicideGirls has been offering sexy, alternative female entertainment. Over the years, what started out more or less as a website for folks to check out punk-rock girls with plenty of tattoos and piercings has evolved into a celebration of the "suicide" of social norms. 

This week, the SuicideGirls roll into town with the Blackheart Burlesque Tour, an onslaught of music, dance, performance art, pop culture, and sex all rolled into one. Before they take the stage, we chatted with show's host, Sunny Suicide, to talk about the tour, Harry Potter, and how 10 women can coexist on one bus.

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Maz Jobrani at Varsity Theater: Win Tickets!

Categories: Comedy, Free Stuff
Paul Mobley
Iranian-American comedian Maz Jobrani has performed his standup around the world, including a set with the King of Jordan in the audience. Jobrani's standup explores race and cultural misunderstandings, as well as family dynamics. He is the founder of the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, and his other television specials include Brown and Friendly and I Come in Peace.

We've got a pair of tickets to Jobrani's Thursday-night performance at the Varsity Theater. Here's how to enter to win:

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33 Variations: Mediocre From Beginning to End

Categories: Theater

Photo courtesy Park Square Theatre
Karen Landry and Edwin Strout.
A lot of the talk in 33 Variations (and there really is a lot of talk here) is about why the great composer Ludwig Van Beethoven spent so much time pulling apart a simple and mediocre-sounding waltz.

Mediocre is the watch word for this Park Square Theatre production. We have a mediocre script from Moises Kaufman, a group of actors giving mediocre performances, and mediocre directing from James Rocco.

See also:
Park Square's Latest Offers Less Than Meets the Eye

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Get Weird at Twin Cities Film Fest: The Odd Films Out

Categories: Film and TV
With multiple sold-out screenings on its opening weekend, the fifth annual Twin Cities Film Fest is looking to be the most successful one yet. While other festivals spend years carving out a niche, TCFF has already hit its mark: independent films, mainstream appeal. They're proud to say they program for the casual moviegoer. So what does the casual moviegoer like? Big names (Reese Witherspoon, Adam Sandler, Benedict Cumberbatch), big causes (Hunger in America, The Syndrome), and big feelings (Big Significant Things, To Say Goodbye).

And then there are the weird films. The outliers that, against all odds, made it into the TCFF lineup. So instead of a rundown of the movies everyone's already talking about, here are five films you may have had no idea were playing at the festival. Make it a point to hit up one of these screenings, and get a taste of something not coming to an AMC anytime soon.

See also:
What To See at Twin Cities Film Fest: Other Film Fests Weigh In

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