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This year's Free Range Film Festival thinks big What does a fiberglass deer in the middle of Wrenshall have to do with the annual Free Range Film Festival? The organizers behind the two-day festival were just getting in on the fun of one of the f...

Old Knifey and the Cutthroats
Old Knifey and the Cutthroats (Submitted photo)

This year's Free Range Film Festival thinks big

What does a fiberglass deer in the middle of Wrenshall have to do with the annual Free Range Film Festival?

The organizers behind the two-day festival were just getting in on the fun of one of the feature-length films selected for this year's event: "World's Largest," directed by Amy C. Elliott and Elizabeth Donius. The duo traveled to 58 sites to visit the superlative statues in small towns around the country -- including some Minnesota hot spots. The film was shown at this year's South by Southwest.

With that in mind, the Free Range crew painted the deer last weekend, in the process making it the world's largest white stag.

This year's festival, held at a barn built in 1916 just south of Wrenshall, includes more than 30 films, including animation, local productions, music videos, short-shorts and 16mm films hand-picked by Tim Massett, the brains behind the local indie theater Zinema 2.


There is also live music during the breaks. Friday's musicians include accordion players, fiddlers and cloggers. On Saturday, the Minneapolis band Your Friends and Neighbors will play.

Some of the highlights from local filmmakers:

  • "The Old Clyde Road" and "My Amazing Kite" were both included in the Homegrown Music Video Festival in the spring, in which videos were created to go along with music by local musicians. The former is animated and comically bloody; the latter includes local stage regular Abe Curran in a tight one-piece superhero-like uniform with a kite attached to his back.
  • Speaking of local music, Steve Ash of PBS 8 has a five-minute film on local musician Tim Kaiser, who makes instruments in his basement out of rakes, snowmobile parts and blinking lights and performs internationally.
  • "Fondue Trois," 4 Track Films' entry in the 48 Hour Film Festival, which features three couples in the polyester clutches of a 1970s key party. It was written by Andy Bennett of Renegade Theater Company and includes many of the faces you see on local stages. Although maybe not acting like they act on the local stages ... GO SEE IT

    What: Free Range Film Festival

    When: 7:30 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday

    Where: The barn is at County Road 1 and County Road 4 one mile south of Wrenshall.

    Tix: Suggested donation of $10

    Complete schedule: Go to .

    The halls of Glensheen come alive with opera

    Last summer, Glensheen was the site of an opera in motion, a production of "The Marriage of Figaro" that used different rooms and the lawn of the historic mansion as the set. News Tribune reviewer Sam Black raved:

    "Using the grandness of Glensheen as setting, director Rachel Inselman wound Mozart's brilliance from room to room," Black said. "The characters sang, spoke and made eye contact within these very intimate walls. Inselman used the closets and large furniture to keep the suspense as high as Mozart did musically. ... The evening was exquisite and Glensheen as an operatic venue has been set in motion."

    This season's pick: "L'Elisir d'Amore (The Elixir of Love)," a comedic opera by Gaetano Donizetti, produced by Emily Hagen, is at 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 9-12 and Aug. 16-17. The director is David Walsh of the University of Minnesota, and the cast is composed of students from the University of Minnesota, University of Minnesota Duluth and singers from Turkey. It will be staged in the formal garden at Glensheen.

    The 1832 melodrama is about Nemorino, who is in love with a woman. He ingests what he thinks is a love potion to attract Adina's attention. It just makes her think he is a drunk, and she sets out to marry someone else. Then the accused lush joins the army, and Adina changes her mind about him.


    What: "L'Elisir d'Amore" by Gaetano Donizetti

    When: 8 p.m. Mon.-Tues.; Aug. 9-12, Aug. 16-17

    Where: Glensheen, 3300 London Road

    Tix: $67, available at .

    Ballet students dance at the library plaza

    The School of the Minnesota Ballet will perform its annual Student Summer Showcase at noon Friday at the Duluth Public Library Plaza, 500 block of West Michigan Street, which will include students dancing to tunes from the musical "Hairspray."

    Upper-level students and summer intensive students from around North America will demonstrate ballet, jazz, modern, tap and character (European folk dance).

    Students from the choreography class will show their work-in-progress.

    The demo is free and open to the public.

    Pink Floyd tribune band does the Big Top

    The New York-based longtime Pink Floyd tribute band the Machine will perform at Big Top Chautauqua, a sort of sensory explosion that includes glowing lasers in neon colors and smoke machines.

    They run the gamut of Pink Floyd's most popular songs from the band's 16 albums, as well as the more obscure music. The Machine has performed all over the world, and sometimes is accompanied by symphonies. They've played festivals like Bonaroo and Germany's Rock of Ages.

    From an Examiner review of a show where the Machine played on a boat that cruised the Hudson:

    "As nightfall fully set in, the band's psychedelic lighting effects hit full swing, bathing the interior of the Temptress in a rainbow of colored lights and strobes highlighting clouds of mist and fog. The musicians gamely swung through most of Pink Floyd's classic albums, playing opening songs 'Breathe' and 'Time' from 'Dark Side of the Moon,' and even reaching back for 'Set the Controls' for the 'Heart of the Sun' from the 'Saucerful of Secrets' records, another song fitting as the ship cruised back up the Hudson River, bathed in the lights from skyscrapers on both sides of the water. The group particularly shone on 'Young Lust,' improvising into a jam which saw Pascarell and Ball swap instruments, and drummer Todd Cohen and keyboardist Scott Chasolen switch places as well."

    Young singers let loose their inner Pavarottis

    The students involved in the Sieur du Luth Opera Training Program have two more acts. The group that includes more than 30 young performers from around the country -- including a few from the University of Minnesota Duluth -- who have spent the last five weeks in the intensive courses will perform scenes and arias from favorite operas at 7:30 p.m. today at Weber Music Hall at UMD.

    The finale is the Sieur Du Luth Opera Gala, which includes a presentation of opera arias with orchestra accompaniment. This is at 2 p.m. Sunday at Weber Music Hall.

    Tickets are $10 and are available at .

    Festival of the Arts in Bayfield

    An arty weekend in Bayfield kicks off with the Chequamegon Bay Arts Council's "Being Green"-themed art auction. The silent auction and live auction preview starts at 5 p.m., and the live auction follows at 7 p.m. The artists have embraced green in their own way.

    Grace Hogan has used scrap metal to make necklaces; Kris Nelson recycled an old chair; Sandre Griffin has a 12-inch circular porcelain tile that depicts the Goddess of Growth with carved linework. There is also a woodblock print, an earthenware pot, and other recycled furniture.

    All things art continue on Saturday, when 95 artists from the Midwest show their juried arts, paintings, sculptures, glass works, wood carvings and more at the 48th annual Festival of the Arts in from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in downtown Bayfield.

    On Sunday, check out art-in-progress with the Festival of Arts Gallery Tour, when Bayfield artists welcome visitors into their studios for demos.

    Local bands face off at Pizza Luce

    Judging from the use of "versus" in this context, it would appear that local bands the Acceleratii and Old Knifey and the Cutthroats are competing at something. But what exactly?

    The event is being billed as: "Old Knifey and the Cutthroats vs. the Acceleratii."

    They'll be squaring off, seemingly in a musical version of a dance-off that is inspiring some smack talk on the Internet. According to Facebook, it's actually an "epic battle."

    In this corner is Old Knifey and the Cutthroats, the alt-country band that has a bit of an Avett Brothers sound; in this other corner is one of the rowdiest local bands, the good-time psychobilly group the Acceleratii. Also playing: Two Beat Band.

    The show starts at 10 p.m. Friday at Pizza Luce, 11 E. Superior St. There is a $5 cover charge.

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