Youth Performance Company to Receive New Website

As someone who’s worked on MNO and other tpt related websites for two years, this past weekend’s Overnight Website Challenge hosted by the Nerdery was something I’ve wanted to participate in since first hearing about it. My name is Jessi and I keep MNO’s website online and updated. Coming from a non-profit that has a dedicated web department, it’s easy for me to take what we have at tpt for granted. This was a great way for me (and indirectly, tpt) to give back to non-profits who aren’t as fortunate to have dedicated web teams.

The challenge, now in its 5th year, brings together non-profits who have not-so-hot websites and web pros who donate 24 hours of their time, pro bono. At the end of the challenge web pros deliver shiny, new websites with features non-profits only dream about. One of the deserving non-profits was Youth Performance Company! MNO featured YPC back in April, 2011 and I, along with nine other teammates including another tpt-er, took their website to the next level.

Our team approached the challenge with clear goals for the site. First, we moved them off of their current content management system and initiated them into the world of WordPress. Then we gave them the ability to collect data from their site as well as an easy tool for event management. Something YPC needed since they offer numerous classes, auditions, rehearsal schedules, events and productions. And of course, we gave the site a new coat of paint. They asked for something bold, edgy and fun. I think our tpt web designer came through with a great concept for them!

The staff of YPC were the best to work with. They were organized and ready for a change. They also provided plenty of yummy snacks to keep our blood sugar and energy up and toys to relieve stress. 

I’d like to thank The Nerdery for hosting the event. With all the great non-profits and nerds in the Twin Cities, it only makes sense to put us together in a room for 24 hours all for the greater good. It was a fun, rewarding, and at times, challenging event. (They don’t call it a “Web Challenge” for nothing!)

Youth Performance Company’s new website will be online in the coming weeks.

Fantastic Merlins

Since its opening in 1998, Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar has helped the Lowertown neighborhood in downtown Saint Paul emerge as a Twin Cities hotspot for music and art. Occurring every other Friday evening, The Black Dog’s regular music series, Community Pool: Deep End, has been at the forefront of this effort.

Hosted and curated by Brian Roessler and Nathan Hanson of the Fantastic Merlins, Deep End features a diverse range of live and improvised music from local and national groups. Along with co-owner of the Black Dog Sara Remke, the Fantastic Merlins discuss what makes performing in this venue unique.

This Week at MNO

Producer Amy Melin was in the field at All My Relations art show, Mni Sota: Reflections of Time and Place at the Katherine E. Nash Gallery. You’ve got one more day to see the show (closing Saturday, March 17th) so spend a few hours with “the largest curatorial exhibit of contemporary Native American fine artists in Minnesota”!

The production team scouted the Varsity Theater for next Friday’s concert with Communist Daughter, Bethany Larson and the Bee’s Knees, and Joey Ryan & The Inks. We’ll have 6 cameras capturing the action.

Our editors are finishing up their work on a variety of pieces you’ll be seeing this spring, everything from sculptors to fine art painters to dancers. Who are you interested in seeing on MN Original? Send us an email!

Dan Huiting, our Director of Photography is at SXSW. We’re trying not to be too jealous.

We’re prepping around the office for new episodes to resume next week on Sunday, March 25th. Show #310 is a lively mix of vibrant colors and irresistible music, showcasing the visuals of Pamela Sukhum and Terrence Payne, the moves of Amy Sackett and the music of The Jayhawks and Malamanya. MNO is all new this spring with weekly premieres through May 27th!

Links we love today:

Le Petit Prince

Topography Murals in Brazil

The Ballerina Project

Pass On poem by Michael Lee (Local)


Practice Spaces: Orkestar Bez Ime

Introducing our new MNO On The Go series “Practice Spaces,” where you’ll get a sneak peek into the intimate environments where local musicians hone their craft. In each piece, we’ll offer insights into what gives each spot its unique character (in this case, don’t miss the “anatomically correct” salt and pepper shakers). Click the photo below to get a closer look at the musicians in their space. To hear the raw sound of that evening’s recording, click the play button on the audio bar below.

orkestar bez ime practicing

At first glance, you wouldn’t think Dee Langley’s dining room could accommodate six whole people, much less six people with multiple instruments, ranging in size from clarinet to upright bass. Yet each week, the members of Orkestar Bez Ime crowd happily into Dee’s dining room catch up on upcoming gigs, and more importantly, to fill the room with the Balkan dance music they’ve become known for throughout the Upper Midwest.

The room is crowded cozily with antique wooden furniture, and eclectic trinkets from Dee’s world travels. Purple, green, and yellow Mardi Gras decorations dangle throughout, along with the occasional unidentifiable doo-dad created by Dee’s husband, a prototyper for the Science Museum of Minnesota. While the group plays, Dee’s cats, Loci and Mutt, wander in and out, unimpressed. To hear what what Orkestar Bez Ime sounds like in its natural environment, click play on the sound strip above. Stay tuned to MNO this Spring to see Orkestar Bez Ime perform in tpt‘s Studio A.

MNO Alumni Among State Arts Board Grant Recipients

The Minnesota State Arts Board recently announced their Artist Initiative Grant recipients and we’re thrilled to recognize a number of MNO Alumni on the list. These grants are awarded to “artists at all stages of their careers, to support artistic development, nurture artistic creativity, and recognize the contributions individual artists make to the creative environment of the state of Minnesota.” It was such a pleasure to shoot with each of these 15 artists and we look forward to seeing what they create with these funds.

Read on for links to each artist’s MNO piece as well as their intended project descriptions from the Arts Board website.

Congratulations to all the Artist Initiative Grant recipients!

Scott Lloyd Anderson
Anderson will create paintings of local, contemporary, urban, and suburban environments, many to be painted on location, culminating in an exhibition.

Bounxou Daoheuang
Daoheuang will design and create a traditional silk weaving of the White House in this ancient form of Laotian textile art.

Guillermo Cuellar (in production)
Cuellar will build a propane-fired soda glaze kiln with used brick, new burners, and kiln shelves. With the assistance of a pottery student, he will have an exhibition of new work in soda glaze.

Susana di Palma (in production)
Di Palma will attend the 17th Bienal de Flamenco de Sevilla, attend twenty concerts, take classes in singing for dance, and do research and prep work on “Con Vivir,” a theater/flamenco piece.

Kyle Fokken (in production)
Fokken will research and explore how to translate the style of his small indoor sculpture into large, durable, outdoor work and purchase equipment that will enable him to work safely.

Karen Gustafson (in production)
Gustafson will frame completed drawings and begin a new phase of work. She will participate in several open studios so visitors may see her finished work and view the new series as it develops. In addition, she will take a ten-session workshop to build her business skills at Springboard for the Arts.

Terry Gydesen
Gydesen will document the 2012 election cycle, focusing on issues unique to the state of Minnesota. She will also create an interactive Web site with words and images to encourage dialogue, debate, and education.

Ed Bok Lee
Lee will complete his first manuscript of short stories, while communally workshopping the pieces at established open microphone venues located in or near the Twin Cities neighborhoods in which each story is set.

Dean Lucker
Lucker will adapt and install one of his mechanical sculptures for temporary exhibition at several public institutions within Minnesota.

Tran Myhre will hire professional videographers to record a spoken word poetry performance and put together a professional electronic press kit (EPK) to be used in booking negotiations. He will organize and promote at least one spoken word event to complete this project.

Bao Phi
Phi will tour and promote his first collection of poetry, “Song I Sing,” in at least five major cities around the country. He will present at least one performance in the Twin Cities.

Aparna Ramaswamy
Ramaswamy will present solo performances in the United Kingdom, Italy, and Switzerland, as part of the internationally known Soorya Festival. Upon her return to Minnesota, Ramaswamy will present an informal performance and talk that will be free and open to the public.

Monica Reede
Reede will produce and document new work for an upcoming exhibition at the Bloomington Art Center in Bloomington, in January 2013.

Andréa Stanislav
Stanislav will bring concepts and imagery from her sculpture into her video work with the purchase of hardware and software. She will then exhibit the new work at a Twin Cities gallery.

Asia Ward (in production)
Ward will research requirements and develop a sculpture that represents a section of the Saint Croix River for installation in a public space.

Ed Bok Lee at Dusty’s Bar on March 8

Kick your Thursday up a notch and take in the monthly Bosso Poetry Company showcase of poets and musicians at Dusty’s Bar tonight, March 8, 8:30pm to close, with special guests rock band Unguided (Kurt Allis, Ben Durrant and JG Everest) and poet and author Ed Bok Lee.

MNO had the pleasure of spending a beautiful day in a dank, dirty basement with Lee back in October. We combined 3 modern dancers, 4 martial artists and 2 break dancers with Lee’s poem “Ode to Bruce Lee” for a very dynamic and unusual staged reading.

Lee had these additional thoughts to share after the shoot:

What inspires you?
The passage of time.

What does art mean to you?
Be, not mean.

What was your childhood ambition?
Taxi driver to the moon and back (for the longest time, that’s what I thought “moonlighting” meant).

What’s your soundtrack?
A train going by in the night.

What is your essential tool?
Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.

Where do you write? Set the scene.
Lately, in my car. Depending on the scene I’m working on or mood.

Skill you wish you had:
Inter-dimensional lexicographer.

Visit the Bosso Poetry Company’s Facebook page for more information about tonight’s event.

Minneapolis Media Institute

When the famed Flyte Tyme recording studios of music producers Jimmy Jam Harris and Terry Lewis relocated to California, the Edina building was left vacant. Now, it’s been transformed into the Minneapolis Media Institute, a technical college that teaches skills from music engineering to video game production.

According to former students Shannon Brunet and Liz Bushaw, the facility’s history-which includes recordings of albums by Michael Jackson and Mariah Carey-makes the student experience extra special.

Harriet Bart From the Field Flickr Gallery

Everyday objects become works of art in the hands of renowned installation artist Harriet Bart. Focusing on memory as a theme, Bart transforms words and things into works of art that draw attention to a past event, place or feeling. A leader among female artists in the Twin Cities, Bart has been a member of Minnesota’s arts community for more than three decades, creating works both large and small, which have been seen around the world.


Artist web site: Harriet Bart

From the Field: Oleg Vassiliev

Russian painter and illustrator Oleg Vassiliev is considered one of the most important figures in contemporary Russian art. Having received a variety of different international accolades which includes a prize from the Russian Ministry of Culture, Vassiliev moved to Minnesota in the 1990’s. The Museum of Russian Art is currently doing a retrospective of his work which happens to correspond with his 80th birthday.

Artist web site:

From the Field: A Duet for Wreck

Husband and wife movers Carl Flink and Emilie Plauché Flink, of Black Label Movement, recently performed A Duet for Wreck, an intimate, bittersweet dance piece, for MN Original’s cameras at The Soap Factory. The spare location underscored the context of the piece, which examines the effect of a prolonged separation on a relationship and the struggle to exist in the same space again once united. Enjoy these photos from the field while you await the Spring MN Original premiere of the performance piece with music composed by Mary Ellen Childs.

MNO on the Go: Art Shanty Projects

In the deepest chill of winter a group of eager artists heaves their homemade shelters onto the ice of Medicine Lake in Plymouth, Minnesota. Soon, a veritable “Shanty Town” emerges— a colorful and eclectic vision that’s one part Norman Rockwell and two parts Beetlejuice: inhabitable monster tails, plywood nap shelters, and spinning platforms are all part of the architectural array.

Started by Peter Haakon Thompson and David Pitman in 2004, Art Shanty Projects aspires to be “part sculpture park, part artist residency, and part social experiment.” With 20 shanties created by artists from up-and-coming fashion designers to robot enthusiasts, and events that include fashion shows and an Art Car parade, the art shantytown has something for everyone. This weekend is your last chance to experience the Shanties until a new batch is erected in January 2014.

Minnesota Music in this Segment:
Gypsy Mania

From the Field: Mason Jennings at the Hollywood Theater

Behind the scenes photos from MN Original‘s shoot with Mason Jennings at the Hollywood Theater in Northeast Minneapolis.