This past Tuesday and Wednesday, I was fortunate to be involved in the creation of a short promotional film, sponsored by the Minnesota Film & TV Board, for the purpose of attracting film makers to create feature films in Duluth. In 48 hours we hit around a dozen locations from the decrepit halls of Nopeming Sanatorium, to the picturesque end of Park Point, with the weather cooperating with us at every turn.
Miles Hanon and Tom Livingston headed up the project, supported by Riki McManus, as well as Erik Stolhanske and Troy Parkinson of the Minnesota Film & TV Board. We were also aided by a couple of other occasional crew members, not to mention the many accommodating individuals and organizations throughout the city that gave us access to these wonderful locations. Thanks to all who were involved in this project, and I can’t wait to see the finished piece. Film Duluth!
On the corner of Lake and Superior.
I’m not sure if Chester would approve.
Could you be enticed by the largest fresh water lake in the world?
“We have become better artists together.” ~Dorothy Danner
Les Misérables at the DECC
Last week we brought the Duluth Playhouse’s production of Les Misérables to the DECC stage in Duluth, MN, after a truly beautiful, intense, absorbing, collaborative, exhausting, and joyous rehearsal process, led by our generous, sweet and brilliantly talented director, Dorothy Danner. With the great Topaz Cooks at her side, and aided by Kate Kulas Beth Gucinski, Robert Gardner, Dirk Meyer, and many other talented designers, crew, musicians, volunteers, too numerous to name, Dottie helped to bring out the best in each and every one of us, in a manner and style that crept up on you with an understated, profound effectiveness.
I am deeply grateful for this experience, and while I would love to keep performing the role of Valjean for months to come, and indeed hope to have the opportunity to do so someday, I’m thankful to have been privileged to perform this show with such a devoted group of performers who poured their all into this story each day and night with such artistry, enthusiasm, and unbridled passion. As Dottie once said, “We have become better artists together.”
To those who saw the show, supporting our endeavor, thank you! You made our short run of 4 nights feel much larger, filling Symphony Hall with your applause, laughter and tears.
I hope this type of collaboration continues in Duluth, as it’s easy for patrons and participants to become so focused on one or two arts organizations, that they miss out on the wealth of creativity happening in town in different circles than they’re used to exploring. We need more of this! When we raise each other up, the heavy lifting is easier.
Last night I found an open area
Carved from rock, defined by loss and movement.
Piercing the veil, I climbed the spiral stair;
From the high land of promise heard the song
Of an unexpected angel with eyes
Like the sea, smiling in the freckled sun.
I came again to where I had begun,
Moving gently on strings of light and sound
To where the wet ground met the precious feet
Of a messenger seated in silence.
In life and in breath I circled above,
Lost in a song and gazing down upon
An open space, carved as a stage in time
By a raven’s wing and a word of love.
We found ourselves walking, our feet like stone
Corridors of light breaking through onto
Tables of justice and paths of a hand
Reaching out into the twilight ahead;
Holding fast to the thread of a question.
The land was soft and bare naked relief
To a sore minded something which could be
Wise to continue with bones breathing life
Into places where we had been seated.
Sighs and thanksgiving repeated throughout
Echoed footsteps on rocks of a hillside
We spoke, asking dreams if they’d been fulfilled.
Replies were few under still water-ways
Where many gathered to sing certitude
Into their hearts, not knowing which key to
Use on doors so wide and high, knocking hard
Like the gavel the nightmare before last
The day so long side in that storm of war.
Taking time, moving quickly away from
Much more than continuing can tell to
Do service, and speak to their souls about
Dreams that will last until something is right.