The latest episode of MNO included a profile of GRAMMY® Award-winning children’s band The Okee Dokee Brothers. During their interview, the duo reflected on the friendly competition that has helped propel their careers:
Joe: So our friendship is, musically, based on somewhat of a friendly competition. Wouldn’t you say?
Joe: Where we try – in high school, for instance, I would learn an F chord. And I’d say: “Hey, you know how to play F?”
Justin: And I’d say, “No.”
Joe: “Well, I know how to play F.” So then Justin would learn F. And then he would learn B Minor. I’d have to learn B Minor too. And the same goes with songwriting. We’ve always written songs together and if I write a song I bring it to Justin and he makes it better. And then he writes a song and brings it to me. And I make it better. By our additions. Right? That’s the way it’s always gone, we’ve always been raising the bar for each other and luckily it’s been in a somewhat friendly way. And so we’re still making music together. We haven’t quit.
Limited seats remain for our event with acclaimed educator, poet, storyteller, playwright and filmmaker Said Salah Ahmed!
Spend the evening of Thursday, November 14 with Ahmed as he illustrates the role of storytelling in non-formal and formal classroom settings, and demonstrates how to teach through the art of oral literature and performance. The evening will be geared toward K-12 educators, but is open to all!
Participants will leave with a DVD copy of MN Originalepisode 307 featuring Ahmed, the corresponding set of activity guides, a bilingual copy of Ahmed’s children’s book The Lion’s Share/Qayb Libaax, ideas to enliven their classrooms and smiles on their faces!
For more information and to register for this event, which past attendees have called “a joyful evening” with “new ideas for quality time with family and students,” click here.
When MN Original first started in 2009, our producers made a decision to not cast a host for the show. The thought behind this decision was that a host would only serve to distract focus from the art & artists in the Twin Cities’ creative community. As MN Original has grown, we’ve continued to keep the show 100% “locally-sourced” with a focus on local arts; all the music used to soundtrack our profiles is from Minnesota-based musicians, for example. We live in a truly unique community in the Twin Cities specifically, and the State of Minnesota, more broadly. The existence of the Legacy Amendment is proof of that, and the local artists we collaborate with underscore that originality and uniqueness every week on MN Original. We couldn’t help but reflect on this when MN Original received 5 awards at the Upper Midwest Regional Emmys®. Thank you to the Citizens of Minnesota, and to all the artists, organizations, and individuals who have helped make MN Original possible. Your creativity and spirit will always be the focus of what we do.
Below is a round-up of our Emmy® winning videos:
Category 22A: Historic/Cultural/Nostalgic – Single Story Capturing a Community: Xavier Tavera
Category 24: Informational/Instructional – Single Story The Nomadic Press – Kent Aldrich
Category 26: Magazine Program Minnesota Original: Episode #423
JoAnn Verburg, Marion McClinton + Cloud Cult
Category 28: Special Event Coverage Rock The Garden 2012
MN Original‘s Ryan Klabunde was also awarded an Emmy® in the category of Editor – Program (Non-News).
Stationwide, tptwas recognized with 11 Upper Midwest Regional Emmys®.
This week’s guest curator, Chair of the Cinema Department at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Hafed Bouassida, has extensive experience in the arts from all around the world. Bouassida was born in Iran, earned his Ph.D. in Prague, and has more than forty productions under his belt as a producer, writer, or director. So it of course makes sense to see gold spray-painted toy synthesizers, wooden figurines, and collaged recreations of classic architecture among the selections for his virtual episode of MNO. Enjoy this latest stroll through the MNO archives on behalf of this week’s guest curator, Hafed Bouassida!
Dean Lucker and Ann Wood from MN Original #103 (original air date: May 06, 2010)
What a magical world Dean and Ann are able to create right in front of our eyes! What a great combination of several arts in one amazing result that mixes painting, sculptures and drawing. The collaboration between both artists has the eerie quality of a seamless work created by two parts of the same brain. I am not sure they see themselves as complementary, more so as feeding from each other’s moves in order to bring out unknown and unexpected art works that fascinate us.
Kudos to MNO for introducing us to another fascinating and very little known aspect of the visual arts in the Twin Cities! Despite the complexity of Mary Griep‘s process and the lack of display opportunities for her monumental art pieces, the result when exhibited is truly stunning. Cinematically, the combination of liturgical music with a remarkable montage of the different art pieces is definitely appealing. I have seen in real life all the structures presented in this episode (cathedrals, mosques, etc.,) but seeing Mary’s drawings made me discover aspects I have never appreciated in the real buildings.
Beatrix Jar (Bianca Pettis and Jacob Aaron Roske) from MN Original #207 (original air date: September 23, 2010)
What an original and inventive way to make art! I was excited by Bianca and Aaron, unique innovators fighting their way through the maze of established artists; I was overwhelmed by their fascinating trajectory, their original art and the unexpected sounds and music they were able to produce through the most surprising uses of traditional items around us. The child-like quality, the instantaneous live music they deliver and the dream-like feeling one gets when witnessing them perform, instantaneously transport us to our own childhood when we believed anything was possible because we dreamed it. If that’s not art, I don’t know what art is?
As Twin Cities Public Television enters its Summer Pledge period, pre-empting your regularly-scheduled Sunday evening broadcasts of MN Original, we asked Aditi Kapil – writer, actor, director, and MNO alum – to curate a virtual episode. We’re always delighted to see the selections of our guest curators, because while Kapil, as a local theater veteran, highlights some of the theater luminaries in our archives, she also emphasizes hip-hop, spoken word, and photography. As a woman of diverse backgrounds and interests, we expect nothing less from Kapil. Be sure to watch , and read (and watch!) on for her virtual episode of MN Original.
Aditi Kapil: Love Maria‘s work, and I love how she talks about her work. There’s a density to her artistic vision, a sense of place- past, present, future- she makes the collision of cultures and ideas work in her music, without diluting any part of herself. Love that.
Aditi Kapil: I love listening to Bao Phi‘s work, it always stretches my mind in some unexpected way. Taking a ride in his head, catching a glimpse of the world through his lens, always feels like an excellent use of my time, so here you go. You’re welcome.
Aditi Kapil: If there’s anyone in Minnesota who doesn’t already know about Sandy Spieler and In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, we should remedy that right now. And even if you know their work, this tour of Sandy’s world is pretty magical. Get hooked.
Aditi Kapil: One of my favorite things about MN Original is when I encounter artists I didn’t previously know, and this photographer is one of my favorite discoveries. Mohamud‘s work is stunning. I spend a fair amount of time on the U of M West Bank, but his work has shifted my lens on what I thought was familiar in that way that really beautiful photography can do.
Aditi Kapil: I love this piece, for its insight into this amazing theater artist’s rehearsal room, for its insight into a turning point in American Theatre. It’s thrilling and inspiring, hearing from these artists who nudged the world a bit off its axis, and haven’t stopped moving and creating since.
Every other month or so, we invite a small handful of music and performance groups to tpt‘s Studio A over the course of a week to record live performance videos for future MNO segments. Studio A is the largest broadcast TV studio in the state — essentially one big, open space for us to mold into different and unique treatments for each group we work with. These performances have resulted in visually creative and elaborate performance videos.
In contrast to the intricate and highly-crafted videos we produce in Studio A, MNO On The Go presents a new music web series, Skyway Sessions. The premise is simple: one camera, one mic, and one take to record a stripped-down, acoustic performance of some of the Twin Cities’ best music groups in the Saint Paul skyway. After performing in Studio A, the Greycoats were kind enough to volunteer as the first group for a Skyway Session. So without further ado, please enjoy Greycoats performing “Hideaway” during the lunch-hour rush just a few steps away from tpt headquarters, and right outside of the Union Depot.
Interested in seeing more from our most recent Music Week? Check out this behind-the-scenes photo gallery of Southside Desire and B-Boy dancer J-Sun performing in tpt‘s Studio A.
For the latest installment of artist-curated virtual episodes of MN Original, we enlisted the help of one of the busiest, most connected, and most stylish musicians in the Twin Cities. We’re of course talking about none other than John Munson, bass player for local iconic bands Trip Shakespeare and Semisonic, and a MN Original alumni from our profiles of The Twilight Hours and The New Standards. With such a thoroughly established musical background, Mr. Munson’s picks for his virtual episode of MNO — which highlight the visual arts, sculpture, and theater, but not a single musician — are delightfully unexpected. Then again, this diversity of interests further underscores Mr. Munson’s multifaceted role as a creative force, artist and arts supporter, a fact which should come as no surprise to those who also know Mr. Munson from his work with the radio variety show Wits. Read on for John Munson’s virtual episode of MN Original!
John Munson:Keri Pickett is a pal of mine. She shot my wedding. But I chose her because I really relate to her mission of representing family and community — different communities and families — but those differences illustrate commonalities. I love how clearly she thinks about her work. Plus her pictures are lovely!
Michael Sommers from MN Original #211 (original air date: October 21, 2010) John Munson: I saw Michael Sommers do a a performance in a friend’s yard a few summers back. Once again, I have an appreciation for not only his artistry, but also the way that he presents his work in the community, seeking to build new communities and to find new audiences. But Kevin Kling’s comment in the piece really says it all: “He’s a genius, just look at his work!”
John Munson:Michael Kareken is an instructor at MCAD in the painting department. We met at Children’s Home Society when we were both getting ready to adopt. At that time Michael was doing very emotional figures and nudes. It’s exciting to see how his work has changed. His current subject matter of detritus is so intensely complex! His craft and curiosity inspire me.
John Munson: I love love love Lisa Elias‘s work. I will never forget seeing her gates at Crema the first time, back when I lived in South Minneapolis. And then seeing her work along the entrance to Highway 94 thrilled me — the idea of the river grasses flowing was so harmonious with the flow of traffic. So beautiful. She is such an unassuming person and so creative. How does someone make metal feel so soft?
For the next three Sundays, MN Original will be taking a break while our Twin Cities Public Television cohorts take to the airwaves for the Spring Pledge Drive. So for a fresh perspective on some segments from the MNO collection, we let Gregory Euclide get behind the looking glass of the MNO On The Go Blog. Mr. Euclide was profiled in the third season of MN Original, and we asked him to curate a virtual episode of MNO. In four-plus seasons of MN Original, we’ve exposed Twin Cities arts fans to over fifteen-hundred local artists, all of whom inspire us through their art and creativity. We always love knowing what art and art-makers also inspire the artists we’ve featured. So without further ado, Gregory Euclide presents his MN Original.
Gregory Euclide: When I was in college I was in a band called Sheepometer (music to make sheep to). We opened at The Unicorn in Milwaukee for Low. Zak was in Low at that point. It was a pivotal moment for me in my life. I have always had an unhealthy obsession with music and this was a big moment for me. Years later, I faked being a journalist to get back stage to take photos of Sonic Boom and Low at the 7th Street Entry. I still have those photos of Zak, Alan and Mimi leaning against the walls of the entry.
When Zak left Low, he focused more on his visual art. I stopped playing music to pursue visual art as well. I see Zak at MCAD off and on. He has no idea who I am. I just remember being in awe of him and the music that they brought into the world. This MNO segment helped me catch up with a figure that I have long respected.
Gregory Euclide: Although Pitchfork reviewer David Raposa gave this album a 5.5 because it rocked too much, it is one of my favorite albums. Yes, they played faster and harsher on this album and they were a slow band to start with, but that is what made it so timely for me. It felt as if it was the right time in history for this to happen and the way they did it seemed logical to me. There is a lot of tension in this album. Listening to this segment from 2011 just reminds me what effect this album had on me when it came out. “When I Go Deaf” is the Low jackpot. You get the best of both worlds; the beautiful entry and the crush that follows. As a kid, hell, even now… I want to be playing that guitar – with that feedback coming out from behind me. It must feel so exhilarating to be able to perform and make something with such honesty , such emotion… such force.
Gregory Euclide: Kate is another artist who works across platforms. The work is a force that finds an outlet in whatever best fits the idea. It’s not, “How can I make a painting about this?” Or, “How can I make a sculpture about that?” It’s more like, “What is the best way to express this idea?”
Gregory Euclide: David and Ben do what they do really, really well. In the segment they talk about wanting their music to be a resting place from the modern world. I feel like I know what it is like to have the rural in your subconscious. When I listen to this music, it just feels like home to me. It feels like fireflies, cornfields and the quiet of rural summer nights.
MN Original: Suggestion for who you’d like to see profiled on MN Original?
Gregory Euclide: Sure… I’ve got one for you. A student of mine from way back: a musician, artist, teacher, David Andree.