Hard man and hard rock

The Walker presents a Steve McQueen film series along with a number of local and national music acts

Keri Carlson

With the toughness of John Wayne, the savoir-faire of Cary Grant and chiseled good looks that were uniquely his own, Steve McQueen was a Hollywood original.

This year’s theme for the Walker Art Center’s annual Music & Movies is Steve McQueen films. One of Hollywood’s greatest leading men, McQueen can steal a scene just standing in the background. He masters coolness as well as James Dean or Humphrey Bogart with a gruff, cowboy attitude. It makes men want to be him and women want to sleep with him, the true test of Hollywood superstardom.

That’s why McQueen always gets the best (and hottest) leading ladies, from Faye Dunaway to Ali MacGraw.

Har Mar Superstar and “The Thomas Crown Affair”

July 19

Har Mar Superstar is the perfect choice for kicking off the six weeks of McQueen. Har Mar proves it’s all in the attitude, baby.

Despite looks which will never get him into Tiger Beat (short, chubby and hairy), Har Mar acts as though he has as many female admirers as Justin Timberlake. But whereas hot Justin tries hard to convince teenage girls he’s not a player with lots of gooey tender ballads on his records, Har Mar convinces us he indeed is a player and is more than willing to prove it.

Songs like “Power Lunch” go into detail about a co-worker who can’t wait until the end of the day to take off Har Mar’s pants. With velvet croons in the vein of Stevie Wonder and booty-shaking soul bass lines on top of electro clash beats, the grooves are good enough to make you believe Har Mar is in fact a sex God. But only for a second.

What sets Steve McQueen apart from laughable action stars (Sly and Arnold) is his ability to seem tough but show hints of emotional turmoil.

Har Mar is funny because it’s an act. On stage, he takes the rock star persona so over the top, the joke is obvious.

Offstage, Har Mar is not the guy yelling “I’m the mother-fucking best!” Rather, he responds with lots of shy “yeahs” followed by giggles.

The former St. Paulite, now based in Los Angeles, returns to the Twin Cities with plenty of new jams from his new album “The Handler” (which comes out in September) and a band, instead of a DJ. Har Mar described the new album as “the most rockin’ R&B record.”

Hopefully on Monday he’ll be able to rock Loring Park all the way – right down to his trademark tightie whities.

Traditional Methods and “Baby, the Rain Must Fall”

July 26

Just because Atmosphere is busy with the Warped Tour doesn’t mean the local hip-hop scene is dead for the summer. Actually, Traditional Methods is one of the most exciting groups not only the hip-hop scene but the local music scene in general, as it proves with the release of its new album “Falling Forward.” Featuring members of Heiruspecs and Kanser, the Methods’ MCs smoothly rhyme over a funky live band.

Afterwards, watch McQueen as a troubled country singer who can’t stay out of knife fights!

The Owls and “Love with the Proper Stranger”

August 2

The Owls’ harmonies are as wide-eyed and lovely as Natalie Wood. And whaddya know, the late Wood co-stars in “Love with the Proper Stranger” in a break-out role from her usual innocent teenager character. Don’t mistake the Owls as simply cute. Their music is soft-and-sweet pop but their lyrics are full of intrigue and bite.

Trailer Trash and “Bullitt”

August 9

The name pretty much gives away what this band is about. Trailer Trash is hillbilly country after seven beers.

McQueen plays a detective in “Bullitt” who has to break the rules to get his man. Sounds standard but McQueen does it better than anyone.

Redstart and “The Getaway”

August 16

Redstart mixes grungy guitars and hollowed vocals with odd electronics and freaky jazz, like Velocity Girl and Happy Apple had a fight in the recording studio (Michael Lewis from Happy Apple actually plays in the band).

The original 1972 version of “The Getaway,” based on the work by pulp novelist Jim Thompson, features a Texas bank heist and Ali MacGraw.

djTRIO and “The Magnificent Seven”

August 23

DJ Christian Marclay improvises a collage of found-sound with haunting beats.

“The Magnificent Seven” helped put McQueen on the map. Based on Akira Kurosawa’s “The Seven Samurai,” it is widely regarded as one of the best Hollywood westerns of all time.