Insight News

Mar 27th

Despicable Me a delightful animated adventure

Despicable Me a delightful animated adventureDon’t let the superficial similarities to Shrek discourage you from catching this equally-delightful animated adventure. Yes, at first blush, its ugly antihero is reminiscent of the much-beloved ogre, but it doesn’t take long for this variation on the theme to develop its own thoroughly-original persona.

Gru (Steve Carrell) is a hook-nosed hunchback with a vaguely Transylvanian accent who has singlehandedly ruined the otherwise idyllic slice of suburbia where he resides. Everyone on the block has learned to give the gruesome-looking misanthrope a wide berth; after all, his house is not only painted black but surrounded by a dead lawn.

Gospel artist launches project to aid homeless women

Gospel artist launches project to aid homeless womenContemporary gospel artist Tonia Hughes closed out a year of performances on a different note – serving the homeless.  She has launched Adopt-a-Home, an effort to rally the collective resources of the community together to furnish a new home for Pressing Toward the Mark, Inc. The non-profit organization provides shelter and transitional housing to women across the Twin Cities who are homeless due to unemployment, chemical abuse, mental illness, domestic violence and exiting the criminal justice system. 

Hughes’ team is collecting new or used furniture, as well as appliances, kitchen, bath, bedding and other household items. In addition, supporters are welcome to make a secure financial contribution by visiting

Black Faces in White Places

Black Faces in White Places“What do we mean by Black Faces in White Places? It is more than just a numbers game and being the only person of color in a predominantly white environment. It is more than being subjected to racism and discrimination based on the color of your skin.

“It is even more than being a ‘Black first.’ It is, in fact, about pursuing greatness in ways that leverage your culture and ethnicity as assets, not as liabilities.“—(Black Faces in White Places: Introduction. p. 9)

In his pathbreaking book, The Rage of a Privileged Class: Why Do Prosperous Blacks Still Have the Blues? (1993), Newsweek columnist and contributing editor, Ellis Cose illustrated how the American Dream has remained a dream deferred for many black college grads—for even those with advanced degrees.

Jilted bride-to-be schemes to get groom back in wacky romantic comedy

Jilted bride-to-be schemes to get groom back in wacky romantic comedy     Sophie's Revenge - (Fei chang wan mei)

Sophie (Ziyi Zhang) is eagerly anticipating tying the knot with the man of her dreams, Dr. Jeff Li (Ji-sub So), a handsome surgeon with a flourishing medical practice. After all, in settling on this eligible bachelor, the dutiful daughter had merely heeded the sage advice of her domineering mother (Ji Wang) that “Men must choose the right career and women must marry the right guy.”

So, with an engagement ring already on her finger, Sophie has been carefully planning the perfect wedding with the help of her intermeddling mom. And with the big day a couple of months away, they’ve already completed most of the arrangements by now, including purchasing a wedding gown and sending out the invites

Penumbra Theatre’s James Craven honored

Penumbra Theatre’s James Craven honoredTwin cities actor James Craven has been selected as a 2011 Lunt-Fontanne Fellow. Nominated by Penumbra Theatre Company, Craven is one of only ten actors in the entire country who will participate in the 2011 Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program, a widely acclaimed national program to serve the future of American theatre. Next summer (July 24-31, 2011), Craven and the other selected Lunt-Fontanne Fellows will join Academy Award-winning actress Olympia Dukakis for an intensive weeklong master class and immersion experience at Ten Chimneys, the National Historic Landmark estate of Broadway legends Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, in Genesee Depot, Wisconsin (just outside of Milwaukee).

This will be the third year of the groundbreaking Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship program. During the first two years, the top regional theatre actors in the U.S. spent the artistic portion of their Ten Chimneys immersion delving into Shakespeare—with the late actress Lynn Redgrave in 2009, and renowned Shakespearean Barry Edelstein in 2010. In 2011, the ten selected Lunt-Fontanne Fellows will explore Chekhov, led by revered actress and Chekhov expert, Olympia Dukakis.

Prodigal Panther returns to the ‘hood in search of second chance

Prodigal Panther returns to the ‘hood in search of second chanceNight Catches Us

Anyone familiar with the history of the Black Panther Party knows that it self-destructed during the Seventies after the FBI strategically created dissension in its ranks via a combination of infiltration, disinformation and assassinations. In fact, by the time of the informant-riddled organization’s collapse, its members were so mistrustful of each other that its leaders were reduced to accusing each other of being government agents.

That feeling of paranoia permeates the air in Night Catches Us, a period piece about the Panthers set in Philadelphia in ‘76. The story revolves around the return to town of one Marcus Washington (Anthony Mackie) to attend the funeral of his father following four years spent in a self-imposed exile.

Black Nativity reveals real meaning of Christmas

Black Nativity reveals real meaning of ChristmasThe snowy season comes but once a year. Along with this season comes a pause in the arctic takeover; a kiss of kindling for the soul that delivers warmth and pleasantries like the spirit of Christmas. This welcomed break is known as Black Nativity: Now’s The Time, a seasonal production presented by the renowned Penumbra Theater Company, which opened on November 26 to audiences in the Twin Cities.

For those unfamiliar with the story, it’s a gospel tradition, centered on The Walker Family and their journey of growth and discovery that the real meaning of Christmas is better expressed through the spirit of love, rather than material offerings. As they luck upon this understanding, they open their home to a “wanderer,” as well as a couple and their baby- a pair symbolic of Mary, Joseph and Christ, that through dance, gracefully illustrate the story of the Black Nativity.
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