British Arrows: Surprises, Wit and Wondrous Animation

By Espeland, Pamela | MinnPost.com, December 5, 2014 | Go to article overview

British Arrows: Surprises, Wit and Wondrous Animation


Espeland, Pamela, MinnPost.com


Watching the British Arrows advertising awards is a wild ride. You laugh, you cry, you laugh some more, you're moved and sometimes mystified. (What's Marmite?) For 28 years, the Walker has aired the Arrows over the holidays, and they're always a big draw. Opening tonight, the 2014 reel offers the surprises, the hilarity and the gut punches we've come to expect, along with the short-form storytelling, high-end cinematography, wit and wondrous animation, all in quick succession. Only the British could make a weepy dog- food commercial, and no, the dog doesn't die.

Since much of the fun is in the twists, we won't give away too much, but here's a sampling of what this year's Arrows cover: a platypus who collects vinyl, tighty whiteys, hops growers, women's self-image, sports, travel, first aid, ex-offenders, end-of-life care, people with disabilities, roomy Volkswagens, cyberbullying, character, beans on toast, cancer survivors and domestic abuse. If you watched "The Killing" on television, you probably already know it was an American remake of a Danish series, which will help when you see the gritty ad about holiday jumpers (sweaters, in non-Brit English). There's even a local connection; you'll recognize a famous voice when you hear it. (Oh, OK, it's Garrison Keillor.) This year's most memorable tag line: "Nothing beats an astronaut."

Tonight is sold out, but plenty of screenings remain (in both the McGuire Theater and the Walker Cinema) between now and Jan. 4. Just don't wait until the last minute. FMI and tickets ($12/$10). Tickets include free gallery admission valid for one week after.

***

We're a state full of people who love to sing, and next spring we'll have a new monthlong, statewide, Fringe-like festival of singing. From April 10 to May 10, the Northern Voice Festival will feature some 120 to 180 events in eight different venues in Minneapolis and St. Paul, including the Ordway's new Concert Hall.

Nine headlining groups were announced last week: Bloomington's Angelica Cantanti Youth Choir, Minneapolis' Exultate Chamber Choir and Orchestra, Minneapolis' From Age to Age, Golden Valley's Great River Chorale, St. Paul's One Voice Mixed Chorus, the Saint Peter Choral Society, Minneapolis' Singers in Accord, the Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus, and St. Paul's VocalPoint.

Two days (Saturday, April 11, in Minneapolis and Saturday, April 25, in St. Paul) have been designated Festival Days and will feature up to 46 community-based singing ensembles in all styles. The festival has extended an open invitation to singing groups (two or more people, formal and informal, all styles) to propose programs that will be selected at a public lottery in January.

"Minnesota's singing culture extends well beyond the traditional choir," executive producer Randall Davidson said in a statement. "We are looking for barbershop quartets, jazz vocal ensembles, rock, a capella, music theater revues, folk singers, gospel choirs, community sing-alongs, doo wop ... the list is as long and wide as Minnesota."

Davidson was formerly administrative director of the National Lutheran Choir, one of the new music festival's five founding members. The others are The Singers, Minnesota Choral Artists, the Minnesota Chorale, the Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus and VocalEssence. All but VocalEssence have offices in the Cowles Center, and the idea for Northern Voice came out of informal conversations.

Festival Day proposals are due Dec. 22. Singers, go here to learn how to submit a proposal. Everyone else, stop by to find out more about the festival and skim the long list of choirs that have shown an interest in participating. This seems like an altogether fabulous idea and it will be fun to see it take shape.

***

Springboard for the Arts will receive $800,000 from the Kresge Foundation over three years for general operating and growth capital support, Springboard announced yesterday. The funding will support storytelling and resource-sharing among artists and communities, evaluation and research (in partnership with organizations like the Wilder Foundation), health programs and connecting artists' projects to local organizations and businesses. …

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