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New St. Paul art gallery focuses on in-person exhibitions and community connections

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New St. Paul art gallery focuses on in-person exhibitions and community connections

Inside Heather Friedli’s new West Seventh art gallery, there are hundreds of stories waiting to be told throughout the space. Stories of her six-and-a-half-month hike through the Appalachian Trail, stories of her solo treks up north to paint the natural world and stories of all of the other artists she’ll welcome into her gallery space.

This story begins, like many others do, in the midst of the pandemic — Friedli calls this period right before she got the idea to open her gallery her “spring crazies.”  Energized by the outdoors yet fatigued by the pandemic, the word “community” kept popping up in her head. How does she foster it during a period of social unrest? How can she interact with people at a distance?

“And one night, in the middle of the night, I woke up and I thought to myself, ‘You know that plan that you had that maybe you would open the art gallery in 10 years? Well, maybe that’s a right-now plan,’ ” Friedli explained. The idea for the gallery was to create a space for artists, as well as St. Paul community members, to organically interact with one another. Friedli Arts Gallery, which officially opens its doors Oct. 1 with a community showcase exhibition, will not only be a space for artists to display and sell their work; it will also serve the community through art classes, artist and author talks, art and wine events and more.

Her West Seventh art gallery, which belongs to St. Paul council member Dave Thune, will be a commission-based gallery for the artists’ work it presents. “I want to make sure that it’s my responsibility as the gallerist to actually get out there and sell their work, which is why I’m a commission-based gallery with exhibitions,” Friedli said. “I’m not running a boutique. I’m not charging for wall space.”

This approach to selling art makes space for in-person exhibitions and community connections, a benefit to both the artist displaying their work and the gallerist hosting the exhibition. “I always like to see spaces that are run by artists for artists and I think it’s unique because it’s a studio, gallery and learning space,” Maggie Thompson (Fond du Lac Ojibwe), a St.Paul-based textile artist, said. In winter of 2022, Thompson will teach a wool felting class in the gallery.

The Oct. 1 opening features work from 15 different artists, ranging from mostly local and some national artists, as well as a few pieces by Friedli herself.

Emily Urfer / Pioneer Press

Heather Friedli was inspired to become a professional artist after a 2010 hike on the Appalachian Trail. (Emily Urfer / Pioneer Press)

Friedli grew up in California with art and nature all around her. And in 2010, a few years after she had graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art, she decided to hike the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, one of the longest hiking-only footpaths in the world. Starting in Georgia and finishing in Maine, the trail took her six-and-a-half months to complete and spans 2,193 miles. Friedli began her journey in April as the seasons changed, “welcoming spring with every footstep” and concluded the trip at Mount Katahdin in October. This trip, she says, was the affirmation she had been looking for to pursue painting professionally.

“As I was hiking, the more and more I realized that I needed to go back home and be an artist now — like that was my transformation that I needed,” she said. “Before I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I remember just hiking every day at the steady pace of my feet on the trail, and suddenly getting these smells of oil paint in the air and I’m imagining myself painting.”

She returned from the trip with a newfound zeal for artwork. Not so long afterward, she moved and began working as an artist in Minnesota, winning a few state and national snow sculpting competitions along the way and going up north to paint the serene landscapes she sees.

As a contemporary impressionist, she paints scenes of nature with a vibrant and distinct palette — cerulean skies, sap green trees, cadmium orange sunsets. “Her artwork feels like stained glass come to life,” Jocelyn Mackenzie, a fellow artist and friend of Friedli’s said. “To me landscape paintings are a genre that at times feels a little bit safe, but Heather completely breaks all of the rules of what it means to paint landscapes — like they feel like they’re alive and breathing,” she said. Mackenzie will also have a few pieces of her own abstract paintings on display at Friedli Art Gallery’s opening exhibition.

“We’ve had a couple of years without being able to sell work to the public and there’s a lot of pessimism that we’re never going to be able to get back to the way things were,” ceramicist Brad Menninga said of the current visual arts climate in the midst of COVID-19. Menninga works at the Schmidt Artist Lofts, where Friedli used to work pre-pandemic, just across the street from the new gallery. “There wasn’t a whole lot of public help for artists. And so, Heather is taking on a huge challenge, but she also has the drive and the optimism to make it work.” Viewers can see Menninga’s ceramic vases on display at Friedli’s gallery.

“We can’t be isolationists,” Friedli said, “we’re not going to be like lone rogue cowboys out there, the only way is to work together.”

1632655571 353 New St Paul art gallery focuses on in person exhibitions and

Emily Urfer / Pioneer Press

Friedli Arts Gallery, which officially opens its doors Oct. 1 with a community showcase exhibition, will be a space for artists to display and sell their work; it will also serve the community through art classes, artist and author talks, art and wine events and more. (Emily Urfer / Pioneer Press

Friedli Arts Gallery opening

  • When: 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 1; exhibition runs Oct. 1-25
  • Where: 943 W. Seventh St., St. Paul
  • Info: friedliartsgallery.com or 248-660-3771
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‘I’m an American, I do what I want’: ‘Squid Game’ VIP actor once ranted, advocated dating Thai women

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Geoffrey Giuliano squid game vip 4

Geoffrey Giuliano, the actor who plays one of the controversial VIP characters in the latest hit drama “Squid Game,” was previously filmed going on a rant in a supermarket in Thailand. Users online are now calling him the “real life” version of his villainous character. 

The supermarket incident: A 2017 DailyMail story showed the actor, now 68, swearing at another customer while purchasing items at a Big-C supermarket in Pattaya. 

  • The customer, an unnamed French expat, claimed that Giuliano jumped in front of him in an express “10 items or less” checkout line and proceeded to throw roughly 25 items on the conveyor belt.  
  • As he began to film the incident, Giuliano said to him, “You’re not intimidating me by that camera, I’m an actor.”
  • In the video, the French customer can be heard replying, “I’m just waiting for the next round, because what you said about America was very interesting.”
  • Giuliano becomes visibly irate and swears at the customer: “Go f*** yourself, OK. Go f*** yourself, OK, let’s get it real straight. You can go f*** yourself, OK.”
  • He continues: “​​I’m an American, I do what I want, we’re the kings of the world, OK. We’re professional a*******. We have taken being a******* to the highest possible f****** level in this world.” 
  • The customer said that Giuliano was initially “aggressive” with how he threw his items down. He started to film once Giuliano spoke about “being American and being able to do what he wanted.”
  • Both Giuliano’s wife and child were present during the ordeal. His wife was described as “friendly” and that she “looked embarrassed by his behavior.” 
  • The story resurfaced on the controversial subreddit r/Aznidentity, with users pointing out the similarities between Giuliano and his character, identified on the show as VIP Four. 

More on Giuliano’s past: In 2016, one year before the grocery store incident, the actor made news when he was involved in an investigation for missing iconic photographs. That same year, he also promoted a website aimed toward men who want to date Thai women. 

  • A Mail on Sunday investigation of the missing photos of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s wedding led an undercover reporter to Giuliano, who reportedly claimed to have the photos’ negatives worth over $100,000 up for sale. Giuliano put the reporter in contact with a mysterious middle-man. ​
  • ​”Giuliano said he had been instructed to sell the negatives on behalf of a friend but the deal soured when Giuliano suspected the reporter was acting for Ono and refused to sell them before launching into a vile tirade against her,” the report said.
  • In the same year, the actor posted several videos on his YouTube channel promoting a website called “Date Thai Ladies.” Each of the videos show him expanding on several stereotypes of Thai women. 
  • In one video, he addresses the question, “Why Should a Beautiful Thai Lady Want Me?” His answer: “All you want is the love and respect you deserve, the same thing that Thai ladies want — which, quite frankly, they don’t often get from Thai men.” In another video titled “If I Date a Thai Girl I will be Ridiculed by My Friends?” he assures any potential clients that “Thai women are the most beautiful, sensual women in the world.” Finally in another video, he compares his experience of being with Thai women to his 30-year marriage with an American woman. “These Thai ladies are really quite sincere. They’re looking for a family, they’re family-oriented.” 
  • According to his IMDB page, the actor recently appeared in a small role in the Netflix movie “Kate.” He’s also coming out with a TV series titled “Last Tango In Thailand” which features the actor “homing in on the infamous Vietnam era sex-for-sale, seaside town of Pattaya, where he takes a wild ride through the mean streets of the global swinging capitol of the world.”
  • Early on in his career, the actor played McDonald’s mascot Ronald McDonald before he became a vegetarian and turned his back on the fast food company. He’s been featured in the 1997 documentary “McLibel” about the lawsuit by McDonald’s against environmentalists.

Featured Image via “Squid Game” (left), Daily Mail (right)

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Alec Baldwin was told gun was ‘cold’ before movie set shooting

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Alec Baldwin was told gun was ‘cold’ before movie set shooting

SANTA FE, N.M. — As a film crew and actors in Western garb prepared to rehearse a scene inside a wooden, chapel-like building on a desert movie ranch outside Santa Fe, assistant director Dave Halls stepped outside and grabbed a prop gun off a cart.

He walked back in and handed it to the film’s star, Alec Baldwin, assuring him it was safe to use because it didn’t have live ammo.

“Cold gun,” Halls yelled.

It wasn’t, according to court records made public Friday. Instead, when Baldwin pulled the trigger Thursday, he killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza, who was standing behind her.

The tragedy came nearly three decades after Brandon Lee, the son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, died in a similar case, and it prompted horrified questions about how it could have happened again. The executive producer of ABC’s police drama “The Rookie” announced Friday the show would no longer use “live” weapons because the “safety of our cast and crew is too important.”

Details of the shooting at the ranch on Bonanza Creek Road were included in a search warrant application filed by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office. Investigators were seeking to examine Baldwin’s blood-stained costume for the film “Rust,” as well as the weapon that was fired, other prop guns and ammunition, and any footage that might exist.

The gun was one of three that the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez, had set on a cart outside the building where a scene was being acted, according to the records. Halls grabbed the gun from the cart and brought it inside to Baldwin, unaware that it was loaded with live rounds, a detective wrote in the search warrant application.

It was unclear how many rounds were fired. Gutierrez removed a shell casing from the gun after the shooting, and she turned the weapon over to police when they arrived, the court records say.

Halls did not immediately return phone and email messages seeking comment. The Associated Press was unable to contact Gutierrez, and several messages sent to production companies affiliated with the film were not immediately returned Friday.

The film’s script supervisor, Mamie Mitchell, said she was standing next to Hutchins when she was shot.

“I ran out and called 911 and said ‘Bring everybody, send everybody,’ ” Mitchell told The Associated Press. “This woman is gone at the beginning of her career. She was an extraordinary, rare, very rare woman.”

Mitchell said she and other crew members were attending a private memorial service Friday night in Santa Fe.

Baldwin described the killing as a “tragic accident.”

“There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours. I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation,” Baldwin wrote on Twitter. “My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”

No immediate charges were filed, and sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios said Baldwin was permitted to travel.

“He’s a free man,” Rios said.

Images of the 63-year-old actor — known for his roles in “30 Rock” and “The Hunt for Red October” and his impression of former President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live” — showed him distraught outside the sheriff’s office on Thursday.

A distraught Alec Baldwin lingers in the parking lot outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office in Santa Fe, N.M., after he was questioned about a shooting on the set of the film “Rust” on the outskirts of Santa Fe, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza, officials said. (Jim Weber/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP)

Guns used in making movies are sometimes real weapons that can fire either bullets or blanks, which are gunpowder charges that produce a flash and a bang but no deadly projectile. Even blanks can eject hot gases and paper or plastic wadding from the barrel that can be lethal at close range. That proved to be the case in the death of an actor in 1984.

In another on-set accident in 1993, Lee was killed after a bullet was left in a prop gun, and similar shootings have occurred involving stage weapons that were loaded with live rounds during historical re-enactments.

Gun-safety protocol on sets in the United States has improved since then, said Steven Hall, a veteran director of photography in Britain. But he said one of the riskiest positions to be in is behind the camera because that person is in the line of fire in scenes where an actor appears to point a gun at the audience.

Sheriff’s deputies responded about 2 p.m. to the movie set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch after 911 calls described a person being shot there, Rios said. The ranch has been used in dozens of films, including the recent Tom Hanks Western “News of the World.”

Hutchins, 42, worked as director of photography on the 2020 action film “Archenemy” starring Joe Manganiello. She was a 2015 graduate of the American Film Institute and was named a “rising star” by American Cinematographer in 2019.

“I’m so sad about losing Halyna. And so infuriated that this could happen on a set,” said “Archenemy” director Adam Egypt Mortimer on Twitter. “She was a brilliant talent who was absolutely committed to art and to film.”

Manganiello called Hutchins “an incredible talent” and “a great person” on his Instagram account. He said he was lucky to have worked with her.

After the shooting, production was halted on “Rust.” The movie is about a 13-year-old boy who is left to fend for himself and his younger brother following the death of their parents in 1880s Kansas, according to the Internet Movie Database website. The teen goes on the run with his long-estranged grandfather (played by Baldwin) after the boy is sentenced to hang for the accidental killing of a local rancher.

___

Associated Press writers Jake Coyle and Jocelyn Noveck in New York; Lizzie Knight in London; Yuras Karmanau in Kyiv, Ukraine; Ryan Pearson in Los Angeles; Walter Berry in Phoenix; and Gene Johnson in Seattle contributed to this report.

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Ammunition shortage drags on for second hunting season

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Ammunition shortage drags on for second hunting season

DULUTH — The American hunting ammunition shortage that started during the early months of pandemic in 2020 is showing no signs of letting up, and hunters who don’t have ammo for their favorite deer rifle by now may be out of luck for the upcoming season.

An informal Duluth News Tribune survey of both brick-and-mortar and online sporting goods stores found almost no popular loads in 12-gauge shotgun shells or .30-caliber rifle cartridges, either for birds or big game.

A recent online check of Cabelas found only 1 of 10 calibers of Winchester Super-X deer rifle ammunition in stock (.350 Legend) and no calibers available in Federal Power Shok; “out of stock’’ was listed next to every load.

L&M Fleet Supply in Cloquet had some .223 cartridges available, but no other rifle or shotgun loads on hand. Fleet Farm in Duluth had some turkey hunting loads, but little else.

Some stores report that it’s been nearly two years since they’ve seen any .30-30 ammo at all.

THE COVID IMPACT

Pat Kukull, owner of Superior Shooters Supply in Superior, said the ammunition shortage hit with COVID-19, as plants initially slowed or shut down due to the pandemic’s impact on their employees and as supplies from overseas stopped coming into the country. Then the political and social unrest of 2020 sent gun sales soaring, she said.

In 2020, there were a record 39.7 million federal background checks conducted for firearms sales, up 44 percent from the previous record of 27.5 million in 2016. Of the new guns sold in 2020, 8.4 million were to first-time gun buyers, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade group for the U.S. firearms industry. (Not every check is a sale, but not all sales require checks, either. Sales between private parties or at gun shows don’t require background checks.)

“We have 8 million new gun owners now that we didn’t have before the pandemic and they all need ammunition. There’s just been this huge increase in demand while the supply has been really slow to catch up because of the pandemic,” Kukull said.

Another problem was the bankruptcy and shutdown of Remington Arms, a major ammunition manufacturer, in mid-2020. Minnesota-based Vista Outdoor Inc. eventually purchased the Remington ammunition factories in September 2020, and now has them running again, but the delay helped widen the gap between ammo supply and demand.

CALLING AHEAD

This fall, instead of getting hundreds of cases of shotgun and rifle cartridges as hunting seasons approached, stores like Superior Shooters Supply have been getting a few here, a few there. Kukull says it’s best to call ahead to see if a specific caliber or gauge shell is available. But even if it is, don’t plan on stocking up. Most stores have signs posted limiting sales to two boxes.

“I’m the ammo Nazi right now. No one is getting more than one box, maybe two,” Kukull said.

Kukull said hunters should call in often to see if the caliber they need is available. Both wholesalers and manufacturers are shipping product to her store erratically.

In the Duluth area, Federal Cartridge ammunition, made in Anoka, has always been popular. Owned by Vista, Federal has been unable to keep up with demand, in part because the great pandemic supply problem kept them from getting all the components they need — much like the U.S. auto industry can’t get enough computer chips to build new cars.

“We continue to produce and ship hunting ammunition for deer, waterfowl and upland game birds every day,’’ Jason Nash, Federal’s vice president of marketing, told the News Tribune. “Like many other companies during the pandemic we face some supply chain hurdles but have increased our production overall and are committed to providing ammo to our customers for the hunting season.”

DISPELLING RUMORS

Jason Vanderbrink — president of the Federal, CCI, Speer and Remington divisions of Vista — even went as far as posting a video on YouTube to defend his company, trying to squash rumors that Vista is stockpiling ammunition in “secret warehouses,” or has shut down plants to drive prices up. He said all of the company’s ammunition factories are running at full capacity.

“I am tired of all the hate mail … about us not trying to service the demand that we are experiencing,” Vanderbrink said in the video. “We’re making more hunting ammo, more than we ever have.”

In addition to being hard to get, prices for what shells are available have gone up 25-40 percent on average, industry experts say, when just two seasons ago manufacturers were offering sale prices and rebates to move their products.

Even people who reload their own shells can’t get components. Gunpowder, primer, brass and copper all are in short supply.

“We used to be able to order 1,000 pounds of powder. Now we’re lucky to get an order for 30 pounds,” Kukull said.

HOPE FOR NEXT YEAR

Kukull said industry insiders predicted in 2020 that it would take two years for the ammunition shortage to end.

“At first I thought that was crazy. But now I’m thinking that’s right. … Maybe by next hunting season,” she said.

Background checks for new gun purchases slowed some over summer, down 5 percent in July from 2020. But Kukull said her customers are still gobbling up guns as fast as she gets them in. The hardest part, she said, is keeping a box of shells around for each new gun sold.

“My gun sales haven’t dropped off at all,” she said. “People are still buying more guns, and new people are buying guns. And they all need ammunition.”

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