Friday, June 8, 2012

St. Cloud, Minnesota

Originally we had no plans to visit St. Cloud,  but we found out while touring the Sinclair Lewis Interpretive Center that St.Cloud was having a Sinclair Lewis Film Festival on Thursday. Our plan then was to tour around St.Cloud during the day and then attend the showing of Arrowsmith in the evening. There is a Lewis Family connection with St.Cloud.  Dr. Claude Lewis, an older brother of Sinclair, lived there with his family for about fifty years. Their home is now the alumni house of St. Cloud State University. The movie Arrowsmith was one of the first sound movies- produced in 1930. It starred Helen Hayes and Robert Coleman (a British actor). The most wonderful feature of this movie is the role Hayes plays as a young doctor's wife- it is easy to see how she became known as the "First lady of the American Theater". It was also fascinating to see such an old film, the production of movies have changed immensely for the better over the past 80 years!  After the movie a discussion was held led by a scholar of old movies, he was assisted also by Dr. Sally Perry (Professor and Associate Dean, Illinois State University) who is well versed in the literary work of Sinclair Lewis. It was a small crowd attending this event,  but everyone seemed to have a common interest in Lewis and the discussion was quite interesting. The theater, where the showing was held,  is an older theater from the early 1900s, which has been renovated and restored to its original beauty.
Earlier in the day we stopped at St.John University on our way into St.Cloud. We had heard that the Abbey/University chapel is quite contemporary with a 112-foot bell banner.
The surface of the front wall is honey-combed with inserts of colored glass. It creates a beautiful decorative effect inside. The altar also is quite stunning and seems to glow because of yellow glass set above it.

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