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Green Dreams, Well-Designed

Nothing like an ice storm to make you dream green.  It’s hard to fathom the audacity of this amaryllis on our kitchen counter right now:

Fathoming, though, is a big part of sustainability – that’s why we love it at the IMA.  Green thinking demands an experimental spirit, and usually reflects a nod to smart design.  The status quo (pollution, wastefulness, inefficiency) has got to go.

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Sweet Sounds from Iceland

Sometimes manna drops from the sky.  As when I get an e-mail from an agent in Chicago seeking concert venues for 23-year-old Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds.  This fair fellow composes delicate pieces for chamber ensembles, tinted with a hint of electronica.  I tell the agent: you had me at Iceland.

Angelic sounds from the mystical country that produced Bjork, in the month of January, in The Toby, made by a musician headed for Istanbul and London once his US tour is done?  A poetic no-brainer.  So it stands to reason: you must join us at the IMA for Ólafur Arnalds this Saturday evening.

Here’s a sample from Arnalds’ new record, …And They Have Escaped The Weight Of Darkness:

I find these sounds delicate as a paper-thin sheet of ice on a lake.  Resplendent as white fondant on a winter wedding cake.  Patterned like lace, or bird tracks in the snow.  At the concert, there will be long-haired ladies playing cellos.  And moody sweetness with the lights low.  A little peace; a fairy-tale feel.

Read what one concert-goer had to say about the show in Detroit on Wednesday night.

Oh, I’m supposed to also tell you that you can enter a sweepstakes to win a trip to Iceland, courtesy of Iceland Naturally.

So, tomorrow, our crack IMA public programs team will fire up the lights and sound in The Toby, tune up the Bösendorfer, provide plenty of smoothies and beer (as requested in the rider), tear the tickets, and then let Arnalds’ sonic sheen wash over us all.


The Perfect Film Noir

Eddie Muller, founder and president of the Film Noir Foundation, writes about the seminal film noir Criss Cross, screening this Friday night at the TOBY as a part of the Winter Nights series:

When people ask me to cite the definitive film noir, I usually say Double Indemnity. That’s the one most people have likely heard of. But these days, I’m more inclined to call Criss Cross the perfect film noir. I’ve seen it several more times in recent years and it improves with each viewing. Its mood of thwarted passion and desperate melancholy only deepens with the passing years.

Criss Cross
was essentially the culmination of the film noir era (roughly 1944-1952), made at the movement’s peak in 1949. It reunited the brain trust from The Killers (1946), one of the films that ignited Hollywood’s fascination with dark, cynical crime stories. The one collaborator missing, unfortunately, was producer Mark Hellinger who died of a heart attack at age 44, just as the project came together. A one-time Broadway newspaper columnist, the brash and ballsy Hellinger had recently scored his biggest success with the groundbreaking police procedural Naked City (1948). He seemed destined for a long career as film noir’s dominant storyteller.

Hellinger was inspired by Don Tracy’s 1934 novel about a daring racetrack robbery, complicated by sexual passions. It was essentially The Killers redux, only better: this time there was no dispassionate protagonist (Edmond O’Brien) to distance the audience from the tale’s maelstrom of lust and longing. Daniel Fuchs fashioned a screenplay that greatly improved upon Tracy’s novel. Michel (Michael) Kraike stepped into the producer’s role and smartly let director Robert Siodmak have free rein. (Although theirs was a successful collaboration, Siodmak and Hellinger often butted heads while making The Killers.)

Steve Thompson (Burt Lancaster) is an armored car guard who still has it bad for his ex-wife, Anna (Yvonne De Carlo). He’s drawn back to Slims, a nightclub where their passion burned brightest. He discovers that she’s hooking up with Slim Dundee (Dan Duryea), a slick and shady operator. Anna, in fine femme fatale fettle, ignites a fire fight between the two men. When Dundee catches him with Anna, Steve blurts out a cover story: he’s willing to act as the inside man so Dundee can knock over one of his company’s armored cars. Both men stage a cagey mating dance, while setting each other up. Steve plans on swindling Slim, grabbing his cut, and running off with Anna. Slim plans to kill Steve in the heat of the heist.

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The Embodied Power of Punk-i-fied Barbies

“If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry,” wrote Emily Dickinson.  Emily’s wham-bang factor applies to the documentary film Marwencol, showing in The Toby on Thursday, December 9.  Here’s a peek:

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Onion Noise

And carrots and bell peppers and pumpkins and….

I’m here at the Indianapolis International Airport waiting for the 11 members of the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra to arrive.  They perform at The Toby this Saturday night, 7 pm.

Since seeing their picture in a cooking magazine five years ago, I’ve been obsessed with bringing them to perform at IMA.  I love that they take an everyday object like an eggplant and mine it for its expressive sonic properties.  I love that they wear all black and let the colorful veggies create a visual pop.  I love that they treat vegetables as sculptural objects.  I love that their music is experimental.

Here’s a listen to their latest CD, Onionoise. I especially like Brazil.

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About Anne

Job Title: Assistant Director of Public Programs

Interests: Poetry, cinema, environmental activism, the Chicago Bears, hoboism

Favorite Movies: GoodFellas, The Big Lebowski, Touch of Evil, Killer of Sheep (newest favorite)

Favorite Music: Throaty female singers from the 70s (Joplin, Nicks, Ronstadt, Raitt)

Favorite Food: Homemade ravioli

Pets: Byron, a fat gray cat that my mom now houses since I got married and my husband's allergic

Something you should know about me: I'm more rebellious than I appear

Anne has written 39 articles for us.