Insight News

Wednesday
Aug 20th

Zany Sample Night offers smorgasbord of area artistry

Zany Sample Night offers smorgasbord of area artistrySample Night Live presents its next monthly show Wednesday, June 2, 2010, at History Theatre in downtown St. Paul. A dozen arts organizations will offer ten-minute previews of upcoming or ongoing works. The first act, at 7 pm, is G-rated and family friendly. The second act, at 8:15 pm, is unrated and uncensored. Tickets to the show range from $5-$20, and can be purchased online at www.SampleNightLive.com or by calling the box office at (651) 788-5992. All performances are ASL interpreted.

Now in its third season, Sample Night Live connects high-quality local arts organizations to new audiences with a fun rock-and-roll-style show the first Wednesday of every month. Since its inception in 2008, Sample Night Live has connected more than 300 high-quality arts organizations with more than 4,000 new fans.

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Reverential documentary pays homage to Black pioneers of comedy

Reverential documentary pays homage to Black pioneers of comedyWhy We Laugh - DVD Review

This alternately hilarious and enlightening documentary is designed to pay homage to the trailblazing pioneers of Black comedians while simultaneously recounting the evolution of the art form in light of the prevailing African-American political and cultural experience. The film was directed by Robert Townsend who compiled a most impressive cast to contribute to the project via a combination of present-day interviews and archival footage, including the posthumous performances and reflections of such late great entertainers as Redd Foxx, Moms Mabley, Richard Pryor, Flip Wilson, Mantan Moreland, Stepin’ Fetchit, Bernie Mac and Robin Harris.

The film winds its way to the present in chronological fashion, so it opens with a discussion of minstrel performers like Bert Williams, a Black man who darkened his face with cork to work in blackface. Former Congressman Walter Fauntroy says that during the ugly days of Jim Crow segregation, humor was relied upon as “tools of the spirit through which we cut a path through the wilderness of our despair.”
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Grieving widow reluctantly dates ardent admirer in cross-cultural romance drama

Grieving widow reluctantly dates ardent admirer in cross-cultural romance dramaShanghai Red Film Review

Meili Zhu (Vivian Wu) was inconsolable in the wake of the murder of her husband, Lian Wei (Kenny Bee), because she had not only suddenly lost her life partner, but would now have to raise their 7 year-old son, Bebe (Lu Yao), alone. Obviously, we all mourn differently and, in the case of this grief-stricken widow, the loss triggered a passionate reaction that rose to the level of a lust for revenge.

And, as she matter-of-factly states at the outset of Shanghai Red, “Sometimes you must do the honorable thing by dishonoring yourself.” So, ordinarily-modest Meili uncharacteristically donned a clingy, crimson dress to pose as a call girl for an escort agency. But this is all a part of her plan for vengeance, as her very first client is her late hubby’s business partner (Roger Yuan), whom she suspects was behind the slaying. Upon entering the hotel room, Meili removes her oversize sunglasses to reveal her true identity to her prey right before pumping him full of bullets.
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Just “La”

Just “La” Queen Latifah - The “Just Wright" Interview

Dana Elaine Owens was born in Newark, New Jersey on March 18, 1970, the second child of Lance and Rita Owens, a police officer and a schoolteacher, respectively. The versatile entertainer first found fame in the world of hip-hop upon the release of her debut album “All Hail the Queen” while still in her teens. As Queen Latifah, she has since enjoyed an enviable recording and concert career featuring seven solo CDs plus countless collaborations with colleagues across a spectrum of musical genres.

“La” added acting to her repertoire in 1991, when Spike Lee cast her in Jungle Fever. Next, she made House Party 2, following that up with critically-acclaimed appearances in The Bone Collector and Brown Sugar. But it was for her breakout role as Matron Mama Morton in Chicago that she became the first rapper to land an Oscar nomination.
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Prodigal daughter drama starring LeToya Luckett out on DVD

Prodigal daughter drama starring LeToya Luckett out on DVD Preacher's Kid

As the only child of an overprotective, widowed father, Angie King (Letoya Luckett) almost couldn’t help but feel smothered. But when you factor in her dad’s being both a preacher and a pillar of the community in their tight-knit Augusta, Georgia neighborhood, you’ve got a serious recipe for rebellion. Thus far, the 23 year-old virgin has devoted herself to the needs of her asthmatic father, between singing in the choir and ministering to the needy.

However, everything changes the day Angie decides to run away not to join the circus but a Tyler Perry type travelling troupe passing through town, a supposedly spiritually-oriented outfit putting on a faith-based fable featuring Aunt Bebe, a trash-talking character played by a big dude (Carlos Davis) in a dress. For she develops an instant crush on the show’s suave star, Devlin (Durrell Tank Babbs), a Romeo well versed in the art of seduction.
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Oprah: A Biography

Oprah: A Biography“I’ve tried to … penetrate the myth in order to answer the eternal question: What’s she really like? In the process, I found a remarkable woman, hugely complicated and contradictory. Sometimes generous, magnanimous, and deeply caring. Sometimes petty, small-minded, and self-centered.

She has done an extraordinary amount of good and also backed products and ideas that are not only controversial but considered by many to be harmful. There is a warm side to Oprah and a side that can only be called as cold as ice.” -Excerpted from the Foreword (pg. xiv)

It was recently suggested that I was anti-Semitic by a highly-respected, Jewish intellectual who disagreed with my review of a documentary about the Arab-Israeli conflict. Since the allegations were totally unfounded, I contacted my accuser who nonetheless refused to retract his remarks. Both embarrassed and hurt, I ended up frustrated by the fact that I had nowhere to turn to get my reputation back.
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Remake of classic splatterflick repeatedly relies on eroticized violence as entertainment

Remake of classic splatterflick repeatedly relies on eroticized violence as entertainmentI must have missed something, because I don’t exactly remember the Eighties being the Golden Age of Entertainment.? Nonetheless, in lieu of coming up with some original ideas, Hollywood has decided to revisit a number of mostly underwhelming offerings from the decade as a source of cinematic inspiration.

Consequently, 2010 is likely to be remembered as the year of the Eighties remakes, with Clash of the Titans already in theaters and new versions of The A-Team, The Karate Kid, Red Dawn, Tron and Wall Street all to follow.

Back in 1984, Wes Craven’s introduced the world to Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street, the grisly slasher flick which would spawn seven sequels before ostensibly petering out in 2003. Now, award-wining, music video director Samuel Bayer has revived the franchise, making a most-inauspicious feature film debut with this dreadful remake loosely based on the initial installment in the series.
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