Reviews and ideas from the weekend

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Kevin Kling, Michael Sommers, Jacqueline Ultan, Michelle Kinney, and Simone Perrin present an evening of musical storytelling in “Flight”

What a weekend! Lots of great writing about local artists of all stripes, so read on to catch up on what you may have missed…

Graydon Royce gives a glowing review of Kevin Kling’s new show “Flight” at Open Eye Figure Theatre in Minneapolis. Royce writes:

Kling’s tales… provide the spine (and heart) of this show and we are reminded again of how to tell a story. It’s not about rhythms and cadences. It’s about details — bald eagles swooping upon a stringer of walleye, a tiny boy noticing his parents cry, a transient’s toothless grin. The real work of Kling’s stories was done years ago when his soul deeply understood how important it is to wonder why certain moments, regardless how mundane, have such meaning in our lives.

Nice writing, Graydon!

Dominic Papatola at the Pioneer Press gives his wrap-up of the 2009 Minnesota Fringe Festival here. For the most part Papatola seems really pleased with this year’s festival, giving kudos to Fringe artistic director Robin Gillett. His biggest complaint? Not being able to find food and drink during the 30 minute breaks between shows. He’d also like free shuttles between venues.

(Note: if you just can’t get enough of fringe festivals, check out this profile of the Berkshire Fringe in the New York Times. It’s tiny compared to the Minnesota Fringe, and very very earnest.)

Star Tribune film critic Colin Colvert was not that impressed with “Julie & Julia,” saying that while Meryl Streep is fantastic, the scenes with modern-day Julie are far less interesting, and weigh the movie down.

Meanwhile A.O. Scott at the New York Times thinks audiences are being spoon-fed formulaic movie pablum in a desperate retreat to sure successes during a recession.

From Wolverine and Mr. Spock in May through the Decepticons and wizards of July it has been a triumph of the tried and true, occasionally revitalized or decked out with novelty, but mostly just what we expected. No surprises.

Scott says the biggest success, both artistic and economic, of the summer has been “Up.” This season, he says, the film with the most mature treatment of the adult themes of loss and regret is a cartoon.

Poet Kathryn Kysar reviews Alia Yunis’ book “The Night Counter,” in which Scheherezade appears to an elderly Lebanese immigrant and demands to be told a story each night for the next thousand and one nights. Kysar writes:

Yunis masterfully adds not only classical literature references, most prominently “The Arabian Nights,” but she also delivers a searing yet humorous commentary about the difficulties confronting Arab-Americans living in the post-9/11 United States. She presents the reader with a catalog of clichés — such as faux-Middle Eastern belly dancers in Vegas and a hippie fortuneteller with a fake crystal ball — and challenges her readers to rethink these stereotypes as the characters’ personal crises mirror larger geo-political events.

Finally, Mary Abbe has a profile of stone sculptor Zoran Mojsilov (If you’ve ever been to the Greek restaurant Gardens of Salonica in Minneapolis, that’s his work inside and outside the building). Mojsilov is the subject of a retrospective at the North Dakota Museum of Art in Grand Forks.

So what did you do this weekend? Got any reviews for us? I’m all ears.

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