Thursday, October 27, 2011

Culturology 10-27: The Pasty Edition

by Travis Ryder

Our food says a lot about our culture. Lutefisk, wild rice, venison and potica all reflect place as well as history.  The pasty, a meat-and-vegetable meal-in-your-hand, has been Iron Range lunchbucket fare since the 1880s, when expert miners from Cornwall, England brought the recipe to their new homes and jobs here. Heidi Holtan recently visited with folks on the pasty assembly line at Hibbing's Wesley United Methodist Church. For seventy-five years, they have been producing pasties as a fundraiser.  What food is part of the culture where you live?  Send us your stories:  

The Tweed Museum of Art at the University of Minnesota-Duluth has a new show up through the winter.  It’s the Art and Design Faculty Show.  KUMD’s Maija Jensen visits with printmaker Robert Repinski whose work is in the show.  The Art and Design Faculty Show is on display through March 4 at the Tweed Museum on the UMD campus in Duluth.

Martha Larson  
The gypsy-jazz outfit Clearwater Hot Club has a special pair of gigs this weekend: the group will be joined by a kindred spirit toting a cello.  Martha Larson has played in the scene in Chicago, as a member of the Northwestern Philharmonia and learning the gypsy style with Alfonso Ponticelli. Professionally, she's an engineer and is now back home in Minnesota as the sustainability manager for Carleton College in Northfield.  Clearwater Hot Club guitarist Sam Miltich joined us in studio, and Larson connected by phone for this chat.   The group plays at Brigid's Cross in Bemidji Friday night and the Grand Rapids VFW on Saturday; both gigs start at 7.

Culture Calendar 
Thursday, October 27
Ian Ethan performs on his double-neck acoustic guitar at Davies Theater on the Itasca Community College campus, tonight at 7:00.  Listen today in the 2:00 hour.  Ian talks and performs for us on “Currents”.
An evening of Irish music and mythology with Garry Jones and Laura MacKenzie.  This starts at 7:30 tonight at the Headwaters School in Bemidji.  They'll also appear at 2 p.m. at Bemidji Public Library.

Friday, October 28
The closing reception for the October show at the Edge Center Gallery in Bigfork is Friday night from 5 to 7. Gordon Coons’ drawings, prints, and carvings finish their engagement on Saturday.
A poetry reading at Itasca Community College this Friday, featuring Bart Sutter, who has won the Minnesota Book Award in three categories.  Sutter was Duluth’s first poet laureate and has a Bush Fellowship to his credit. Ryan Vine's poems have appeared in many literary journals including American Poetry Review and Ploughshares, and his book, Distant Engines, won the Weldon Kees Award.  Their performance will be followed by an open mike and readings by ICC faculty and writers published in the campus literary journal Spring Thaw.  The reading will start at 7 in Backes Student Center on the ICC campus.
Grand Rapids High School presents an original farce, “Bird Brains,” penned by local dramatist John Schroeder.  Friday and Saturday at 7:30.
Sam Miltich and Clearwater Hot Club featuring cellist Martha Larson at Brigid’s Cross, Bemidji. 7 p.m.

Saturday, October 29
‘Tis the season: Hear local ghost stories at the Beltrami County History Center from 1 to 2:30 on Saturday. Come in costume for half-off museum admission, refreshments included. Bring a story to share!
Hall of Fame bluegrass player Dick Kimmel will be on hand for a concert, workshop, and dinner at Deep Portage Learning Center in Hackensack.  Workshop starts at 5 with dinner at 6 and concert at 7.
Sam Miltich and Clearwater Hot Club featuring cellist Martha Larson at the VFW, Grand Rapids.  7 p.m.

Wednesday, November 2
It’s Only Clay, the ninth annual clay arts celebration, opens with a community lecture by juror Guillermo Cuellar at the Headwaters School in downtown Bemidji.  It starts at 7 p.m. 
Ashley Kolka leads a discussion on American art in Minnesota collections during a Brown Bag session Wednesday at noon.  It's at MacRostie Art Center in Grand Rapids.

What's on your calendar? Let us know: 

Minnesota History Datebook
Did you know Itasca County has existed for as long as there have been counties in Minnesota?  The territorial legislature created the original nine counties of Minnesota this week in 1849. Benton, Dakota, Itasca, Ramsey, Wabasha and Washington still exist in some form, and three no longer appear on a Minnesota map: Wahnahta County, near Lake Traverse; Pembina County included much of what would become North and South Dakota; and Mahkahta County was north of present-day Crow Wing County.

October 28, 1949: President Harry S. Truman appoints Eugenie Moore Anderson of Red Wing as ambassador to Denmark, making her the United States' first woman ambassador.

Two Twins wins:  In the seventh game of the World Series, October 25, 1987, the Twins beat the St. Louis Cardinals with a score of 4-2, winning the series 4-3.  On October 27, 1991, Jack Morris pitches a ten-inning shutout as the Minnesota Twins beat the Atlanta Braves 1-0 in the seventh game of the fall classic.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Culturology Calendar 10-21

by Travis Ryder

Here's a sampling of what's up in the region this weekend and into next week.

Friday, October 21
Bemidji First City of Arts Studio Cruise, 10 to 5 Friday and Saturday, 10 to 3 Sunday.
Lakes Area fall fine art show, 10 to 5 Friday and Saturday at the Nisswa Community Center.
James Keelaghan at the Live Well Nightclub in Nisswa, part of the Grassroots Concert Series.

Saturday, October 22
Tapestry weaving demonstration at Bemidji Community Art Center, 10 to 3.
Stomping bluegrass of Saint Anyway, at Brigid’s Cross, Bemidji.
Cab Calloway Orchestra, led by the famous bandleader’s grandson, 7:30 at the Reif Center, Grand Rapids.

Sunday, October 23
The Beltrami County Historical Society semi-annual meeting will include presentations and music, starting at 2 p.m. at the Saum School.

Tuesday, October 25
A national touring company presents “Of Mice and Men” at the Central Lakes College Theatre in Brainerd Tuesday, starting at 7:30.

Wednesday, October 26
The Art History brown bag series continues at MacRostie Art Center.  Ashley Kolka moves through the history of American art with a focus on works found in Minnesota collections.

Minnesota History Datebook
Oct. 20, 1818 The northern boundary of the United States is set at the forty-ninth parallel of latitude, extending from the Lake of the Woods to the Rocky Mountains.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Culturology Calendar 10-13

by Travis Ryder

The First Friday concept of synchronized art events and openings throughout a community is now firmly in place in Grand Rapids.  Our own cultural man-about-town, Guido, delivers this field report on the grand opening of this local First Friday last week.

Call for Artists
Deep Portage Learning Center is seeking black ink drawings of wild animals, fish, and birds that are native to the north-central Minnesota area.  The winning artist's drawing will be featured on Deep Portage's 2012 critter art mugs. The deadline for submissions is October 15, 2011.  Send your drawings to Deep Portage Learning Center, Attn: Linda Suvada, 2197 Nature Center Drive NW, Hackensack, MN  56452.

Thursday, October 13
The Minnesota Orchestra continues its residency in Grand Rapids.  Their string quartet will perform and visit with us here in the 8 o’clock hour.  They have Kinder Konzerts aimed at preschoolers at 10 today at the Reif and 2 at the Library.

The Classic Movie Series continues at the Edge Center in Bigfork: On Thursday, it’s It Happened One Night starring Clark Gable. The reel starts spinning at 6:30, and admission is free.
The Crossing Arts Alliance annual meeting will be at the Gull Lake Yacht Club on Thursday night.  This will be preceded by a fundraiser mixer for the Alliance featuring appetizers, wine tasting, music, and clay artist Haddie Hadachek.  The event gets started at 4:30 at the yacht club in Brainerd.

The acclaimed play that gets philosophical about dust: The Clean House, by Sarah Ruhl, at Wild Rose Theater, Bemidji.  Thursday through Saturday, and Monday at 7, and Sunday at 2.

It’s opening weekend for the vaudeville show with a cast that’s 100 percent eligible to join AARP.  The 55-and-better cast of the Geritol Frolics has performances at the newly-refurbished Franklin Arts Center auditorium Thursday and Saturday at 7 and Friday and Sunday at 2:30.

Friday, October 14
Friday brings another Kinder Konzert by elements of the Minnesota Orchestra, this time at the Grand Rapids YMCA.  The Orchestra’s conductors join us in the studio at 3 as they program an hour of music. The full Orchestra performs at the Reif Center in Grand Rapids at 7:30.

Saturday, October 15
A youth fiber art workshop will be held at the Bemidji Community Art Center, as part of their textile exhibit that runs through October 22.  Call the Center at (218) 444-7570 for more information.

Brainerd has a family Great Pumpkin Festival Saturday afternoon.  Activities include three-legged races, sack races, pumpkin rolling, and contests in the disciplines of pie eating, pie throwing, and screaming. It’s at Gregory Park in Brainerd from 1 to 4.

At the Reif Center, the Minnesota Orchestra has a Family Concert at 2:00, and the Classical Concert at 7:30, closing their residency in Grand Rapids.

KAXE presents the Great Northern Radio Show: Hard Time Good Times, live from Hibbing Community College Theatre.  Free admission; be in your seat by 4:30.  Or, listen to KAXE from 5 to 7.

Deer Camp: The Musical, featuring the original cast, at the Edge Center in Bigfork Saturday at 7 and Sunday at 2.

I think harpsichords are underexposed in general.  It’s not often that you hear one harpsichord.  On Saturday, there will be four of them expertly playing a newly-commissioned piece, along with a string quartet.  This spectacle starts at 7:30 at Thompson Recital Hall on the Bemidji State campus.

The Roe Family Singers are at the Chief Theater in Bemidji Saturday night at 7:30.  They do originals and contemporary takes on old-time songs.  They’ve won a jug band championship as well as the McKnight Fellowship for Performing Artists.

Wednesday, October 19
A high-flying combination of new-music and verbal artistry, For the Birds is a musical journey through dreams and fantasies depicting portraits of our feathered friends. It is a brand-new chamber work, which highlights the poetry of humorist, Kevin Kling and new-music champions, Zeitgeist, a group composed of percussion, piano and woodwinds based out of St. Paul.  Wednesday, 7:30, at the Reif Center, GR.

Minnesota History Datebook
Oct. 14, 1853: St. Paul begins the slow process of numbering buildings with 20 Robert Street, which was home to a dry-goods store called Cathcart, Kern & Co.'s Crystal Palace.  Ever try to find a street number in St. Paul?  Do you notice how the numbers just keep going and don’t have anything to do with the intervening cross streets?  I’m guessing they never changed the numbering scheme, started this week 158 years ago.

Oct. 12, 1892: The first car of iron ore travels from Mountain Iron to Duluth. Shoveled straight out of the ground, it assays at 65 percent iron.  Today’s taconite pellets are about 65 percent iron, too, but require a labyrinthine process to get to that same purity level of the original ore.

Oct. 15, 1971: the Minnesota Supreme Court rules that the state's prohibition of same-sex marriages is constitutional. It’s the first such case in the United States, involving two men who sued when the Hennepin County clerk denied them a marriage license. This prohibition still stands and next November, voters will decide if it should also be included as a Constitutional amendment.

Maggie Anderson's first thoughts on the MN Orchestra residency

by Maggie Anderson

I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect going into the Itasca Symphony rehearsal last night with the MN Orchestra.   The experience was electrifying!

Almost every section of the orchestra had a musician from the MN Orchestra helping us out and giving guidance as we tackled the Academic Festival Overture by Johannes Brahms. Conductor Sarah Hicks helped us to envision how certain parts of the piece should be expressed and told us what the composer was trying to convey in these different sections. Whenever there was a “lull in the action” or when Sarah would work with one or two of the sections, the other professional musicians would “huddle” with their sections and give great tips.  Our IOS first violinist, Mary LaPlant, came up to me later and said that she looked over at the cellos and thought, “their bows are moving together!”.  She’s really into bowing.  After an amazing practice and a short break, we performed the Overture together. It was awesome to hear how much the piece had progressed in such a short time.
Afterwards, the MN Orchestra musicians took time to answer some of our questions. The responses really made me realize the huge amount time and effort it takes to become a professional musician and how much they love what they do. One person asked a question regarding hearing loss in a professional orchestra to which one of the MN Orch. violinists answered, “What was that?” We all had a laugh. The last question was about the MN Orchestra’s recent New York concert in Carnegie Hall. We were told the performance made the critics rave and the audience go absolutely nuts. “It was just the right repertoire in the right place at the right time,” said one of the orchestra members. They said that they had completely nailed it and it seemed that everyone in the place knew it. I could tell that the experience had meant a lot to them.
I was left with this really cool energy. My brain was filled with the music, the tips I had gotten, and about my own future in cello. I was also left thinking about the story of one musician who said that his mom made him stop practicing at 9 hours one day. Cool.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Life Is A Circus

Have you ever wanted to turn off the alarm clock and go back to bed instead of going to work?  Not Katie Cox!  She's an acrobat, trick rider and entertainer for Cavalia, the amazing spectacle between human and horse going on in the Twin Cities.

Katie spoke to Bobbie Kleffman about her true passion for horses and her profession on All Things Equine this week.  

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Culturology Calendar 10-6

by Travis Ryder

Thursday, October 6
This is the opening week of North Street, an exhibition of street art forms at the Lyric Center for the Arts in downtown Virginia.
The Edge Center Gallery has a new show starting Thursday: Gordon Coons: Language of Color From My Inner Voice.  Coons is a member of the Lac Courte Oreillles band of Ojibwe.  He lives in Minneapolis and works in linocut prints, acrylic paint, pen and ink, and wood and stone carving.  His works will be on display until the 29th, with a closing reception on the evening of Friday, the 28th.

Acoustic CafĂ© begins another season at Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm. 

It’s not every day that Brainerd hosts an acoustic folk concert by somebody who acted in the movie Robocop.  Today is special.  Ronny Cox plays at the CLC theatre tonight at 7:30.

Country singer Kathy Mattea will be at the Reif Center in Grand Rapids.

Friday, October 7
Galleries are planning a big First Friday walkabout tomorrow night in Grand Rapids.  MacRostie Art Center has their October opening reception with work by five artists who have received McKnight fellowships and residencies.  Also, an exhibition of ceramics by local and regional artists.  John Zasada is featured at Whispering Woods Gallery, Liz White is featured at Something Original, Reid Peterson has work at Brewed Awakenings, and work from Tom Page is at Frame Up.  There will be live music performances in the venues, too.  And the Sam Miltich trio will play jazz at the VFW from 7 to 9.  First Friday runs from 4 to 8 p.m., downtown Grand Rapids.

Bemidji’s First Friday events span twelve venues, with new visual and performing arts events starting around noon and running into the evening.  Writer Susan Carol Hauser will read from her latest work at 6 at the Bemidji Community Art Center.  Rail River Folk School has their open mic starting at 7:30.

A big night too at Franklin Arts Center in Brainerd. Brainerd High School alumnus Seth Doud is in concert, and the new Community Exhibition has its opening reception in the Q Gallery.

The play “The Miracle Worker” tells the story of Annie Sullivan, teacher to the blind, deaf and mute Helen Keller.  It opens at Central Lakes College Chalberg Theater Friday and Saturday at 7:30.  More performances follow next Thursday through Sunday.

Saturday, October 8
Native American fancy dancer Larry Yazzie and the Native Pride Dancers are at the Reif Center in Grand Rapids, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, October 9
The Carl Thompson Memorial Concert is at Bemidji State’s Thompson Recital Hall.  It will feature the Wind Ensemble, Jazz I, the Chamber Singers, and Bemidji Choir.  It starts at 3 Sunday in the Bangsberg Fine Arts Complex.

The Heartland Symphony Orchestra performs at 2 at Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd.

Monday, October 10
Guerrilla orchestra: The Common Chords Project brings the Minnesota Orchestra to Grand Rapids all next week. Personnel from the Orchestra will appear all over town, doing the predictable gigs like school workshops, but also playing at the MDI postal tote factory, crashing a City Council meeting, and sitting in with Sam Miltich at the VFW Wednesday night.  Members of the group will play on KAXE Thursday morning at 8, and the Orchestra’s two conductors will be guest DJs during the 3 o’clock hour Friday.  Public concerts will be held on Friday and Saturday, October 14 & 15. This outreach effort is not a brand-new concept: the fledgling Minnesota Orchestra embarked on its first state-wide journey in 1907, taking the train to Moorhead, Grand Forks and Duluth.  Since then, the ensemble has played 680 concerts in nearly 60 Minnesota cities.

Tuesday, October 11
By The Light of a Wintery Moon:  An Evening of Northwoods Logging Camp Stories with singer/songwriter Brian Miller, happening 6 to 8 p.m. at the Forest History Center in Grand Rapids. Adults and kids are invited to walk the trails and take part in an evening of music & storytelling. Information & registration is at

Wednesday, October 12
MacRostie Art Center teams up with a brass quintet from the Minnesota Orchestra.  They’ll play selections from West Side Story.  MacRostie’s gallery coordinator, Ashley Kolka, will lead a talk about star-crossed lovers in art history.  5 p.m., in the gallery in downtown Grand Rapids.

Minnesota History Datebook
Oct. 5, 1898  It may have been the last armed battle between Native Americans and the US military: the Battle of Sugar Point takes place near the shores of Leech Lake.  Eighty soldiers from the Third Infantry had come at the request of the U.S. Marshal to arrest Bugonaygeshig, but his friends repelled them. Six soldiers are killed in the ensuing battle, while Bugonaygeshig escapes and is never arrested.

Oct. 3, 1997  International passenger ship traffic returns to Minnesota when the Columbus, carrying a load of German passengers, visits the Duluth-Superior harbor.  It had been almost two decades since the last international passengers came to Minnesota by boat.