Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Culturology Calendar 11-17

by Travis Ryder

Thursday, November 17
The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota is in Grand Rapids this morning to talk about their Minnesota Main Street program.  This is a framework for revitalizing traditional business districts with an eye on retaining unique local character.  The session is on the third floor of Old Central School and runs from 8 to 10 a.m., everybody’s invited.

Jaques Art Center Christmas Marketplace opens Thursday.  The Jaques Main Gallery in Aitkin is transformed into a holiday shop overflowing with one-of- a-kind gifts for all ages.  The Jaques is also looking for artists for their juried exhibition, “Heads or Tails.”  Make sure the works you submit include a head or a tail!  Submissions are due November 30.  Learn more at

Pecha Kucha Night is an evening of short presentations accompanied by images. Expect nearly anything from the presenters.  Once you know the format, maybe you’ll be a presenter!  It’s at the New City Ballroom, a.k.a. the Hungry Bear, in Bemidji, starting at 6:30.

Local poets Susan Hawkinson, Loree Miltich, Jane Barrick, Teresa Alto, and Stephanie Kessler will read selections from the book Migrations.  It’s edited by Duluth Poet Laureate Sheila Packa.  Cellist Kathy McTavish will also play, Thursday at 7 at MacRostie Art Center, Grand Rapids.
The Greater Minnesota Legacy Chorale celebrates its tenth season starting this weekend. Performances will be at Crosslake Lutheran Church on Thursday at 7:30, and at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Baxter on Sunday at 3.  Repertoire for the show consists entirely of choral and solo arrangements of African-American spirituals. The concert on Sunday will feature the Brainerd High School A Capella Choir.

Friday, November 18
Pequot Lakes Community Theatre turns back the clock with a 1940s Radio Hour, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 and Sunday at 2 at the high school auditorium.

20 of the best chefs in the Brainerd Lakes area will showcase their craft Friday night.  It’s the Taste of the Lakes event at Grand View Lodge in Nisswa, and the event benefits Kinship Partners, starting at 5:30.

The award winning play Proof will be staged this weekend at Bemidji State.  Shows are at 7:30 Friday and Sturday and 2 o’clock Sunday.

The Mesabi Community Orchestra and Virginia High School Varsity Choir present two concerts featuring Thanksgiving and Christmas selections.  See them Friday at 7 at the Chisholm High School auditorium or Sunday at 2:30 at the Lutheran church in Eveleth.

Saturday, November 19
Lake Bemidji State Park hosts a winter tree identification session.  Master Naturalist Russ Bennett will show you how to tell deciduous trees apart WITHOUT the aid of their leaves.  The session starts at 10 Saturday.

The BSU Jazz Band will be in concert Saturday at 3.  They’ll feature trumpeter Kiku Collins, who has played with Beyoncé and Michael Bolton.  The concert is in the Fine Arts Complex on the campus in Bemidji.

Monday, November 21
Bemidji State art major Eli Balbach will have an exhibition of abstract compositions entitled “Abformalities” with an opening reception Monday from 1 to 4.  The show will feature a personal assessment of nationality and civilization.  Balbach’s work will focus primarily on oil paintings and other 2D mediums.  Balbach is originally from Bemidji. The show is at the University’s Talley Gallery running through Dec. 14.

Minnesota History Datebook
November 14, 1860 An early milestone in Minnesota telecommunications: Telegraph service reaches Minneapolis.  Now, the telegraph seems ridiculously old-fashioned today, but imagine the quantum leap this represented: instead of waiting days to hear of important events, news could reach the city in just minutes!

This week in 1984, Jackpot Junction Casino opens for business as a bingo parlor.  the first Indian casino in Minnesota, By 1988 it had become a fully operational casino.

November 18, 1993 The Weisman Art Museum opens at the University of Minnesota. Sculptor and architect Frank Gehry won an award from Progressive Architecture magazine for his design of the building.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Welcome Signs at Red Lake by Artist Patrick Desjarlait

Four new signs welcome visitors to the Red Lake Nation.  The color pencil and ink artwork was created by Red Lake artist and High School art teacher, Patrick Desjarlait (right).  The artwork is entitled "The Council of Clans" and features the symbols of the Seven Clans at Red Lake:  Makwa (Bear), Mikinaak (Turtle), Awazisii (Bullhead), Waabizheshi (Marten), Migizi (Eagle), Ojiig (Fisher) and Ogiishkimanisii (Kingfisher).  You can here our interview with Patrick here. 

Patrick's dad, also named Patrick, was an acclaimed artist. Red Lake people and traditions were themes in much of his art like "Women and Blueberries" (above). 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Culturology 11-10: Bipolar Bears, Accidental Heroes

by Travis Ryder

This week, we visited with the members of the headlining band for Terrapin Fest.  Bipolar Bear includes Brian Laidlaw, Ashley Hanson, and Peter Frey.  They’ve been together since the spring of 2011, though all members have a deep musical résumé.  Their work is described as “electro-Americana” and they’re still working on their first recorded release while gigging in smaller cities in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  Listen: click here.

 On Veterans’ Day, the Reif Center presents The Accidental Hero, a tale of a Czech-American soldier’s deeds back in his homeland during World War II.  His grandson, Patrick Dewane, presents the true story.  Scott Hall spoke with Dewane last year, and we revisited the chat this week.

This Saturday’s Itasca Symphony Orchestra concert will carry forward the energy the group picked up from working with the conductor and musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra last month.  Maggie Anderson, 14, plays cello with the Itasca Orchestra.  She found it to be an inspiring experience.  Maggie and the rest of the Orchestra will be in action Saturday at the Reif Center in Grand Rapids.  We hear her comments in this week’s edition.

Thursday, November 10
Minnesota musician and writer Paul Metsa will play and read from his new book, Blue Guitar Highway.  This will be at Kaleva Hall, on the Finntown Flyway in Virginia, starting at 7:30.  On Friday, he'll sign books at Howard Street Books from 2 to 4, then play Zimmy’s at 7 p.m.  Saturday, he's at Comet Theater in Cook at 2.  Metsa will be in Grand Rapids on Tuesday night at the Library.
Saarens Productions presents the screwball comedy “Murder At The Howard Johnson’s” at the Masonic Building in downtown Bemidji.  There are shows Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday at 7:30 with a Sunday matinee at 2.

Friday, November 11
Artist Liz White works in acrylic, watercolor, and encaustic techniques.  She’ll have a studio open house Friday and Saturday from 1 to 5 at her studio, at 34383 Sipe Road, Grand Rapids.
Gifted guitarist Tim Sparks plays the Grassroots Concerts series at Journey Church in Nisswa.
Pequot Lakes Community Theatre brings old-time radio to life with a 1940’s Radio Hour.  This is at Pequot Lakes High School Friday and Saturday at 7:30, and Sunday at 2, and also next weekend.
The Bemidji State University Theatre presents David Auburn's Award-Winning "Proof" November 11th, 12th, 18th, 19th at 7:30pm, and November 20th at 2:00pm
On Veterans’ Day, the Reif Center presents The Accidental Hero, a tale of a Czech-American soldier’s deeds back in his homeland during World War II.  His grandson presents the true story.  Free admission for military vets.  The show starts at 7:30.

Saturday, November 12
Paintings, pottery, jewelry, stained glass, mobiles, sculpture, wood carvings, and leatherwork will all be available at an ART-filled Holiday Open House at Franklin Arts Center, from 10 to 4.  Kids can take part in printmaking with Jay Raymond in the cafeteria from 10am to noon. Cleo Kuelbs and Dennis Coryell will provide musical entertainment in the hall near the auditorium from 11 to 2. 
Brian Miller and Randy Gosa play songs of Celtic origin heard in turn-of-the-century logging camps in Northern Minnesota at Headwaters Unitarian Fellowship, Bemidji.  7 p.m.
Itasca Symphony Orchestra opens its season at 7:30, at the Reif Center in Grand Rapids, performing the Brahms Academic Festival Overture  and a work from American composer Howard Hanson.

Sunday, November 13
Bemidji Symphony Orchestra presents the second in their series of concerts this season.  They’ll feature Juilliard School flute instructor Carol Wincenc as a soloist on a new work from Christopher Rouse.  The program also includes works by Mozart and Elgar.
Stride jazz pianist Butch Thompson is at Centennial Auditorium in Staples for a 2:00 show.

Monday, November 14
Photographer Doug Ohman will share images and stories from his book Journey Down The River.  It’s a collection focusing on the people and places along the upper Mississippi.  He’ll speak at Brainerd Public Library at 6 o’clock Monday night.

Tuesday, November 15
Author Mark Seeley and photographer Don Breneman share their experiences found in their new book Voyageur Skies: Weather and Wilderness in MN's National Park.  6:30 at Central Lakes College Chalberg Theater in Brainerd.

Minnesota History Datebook
Nov. 8-10, 1913: The three-day Great Storm of 1913 kills 251 people on the Great Lakes (forty-four on Lake Superior) and sinks seventeen boats.

This week in 1919: Minneapolis is the site for the first convention of the newly-formed veterans’ organization, The American Legion.

Nov. 8, 1932: Minnesota citizens are allowed to vote for all nine of the state's congressional seats because the legislature had failed to reapportion the districts following the census of 1930.

Nov. 11, 1940: The Armistice Day Blizzard strikes, trapping hunters at lakes and drivers on roads. Forty-nine people die when temperatures suddenly drop from the sixties to below zero. Pilot Max Conrad of Winona earns hero honors for taking his Piper Cub up into fifty-mile-per-hour winds to drop supplies and lead rescuers to trapped hunters.

Nov. 10, 1975: The ore boat Edmund Fitzgerald sinks in Lake Superior, amidst 71-mile-per-hour gales and 12- to 15-foot waves. and twenty-nine crewmembers drown.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Movies to Watch this Winter from KAXE

Last Saturday on Between You and Me Jack Nachbar and Julie Crabb joined Heidi Holtan to talk movies.  Jack is a retired professor of Pop Culture who hosts movies at the Edge Center for the Arts in Bigfork.  This Thursday evening at 6:30 pm he's showing "On the Town" and will lead a conversation afterwards. 

Here's the list of movies that Julie, Jack & KAXE listeners compiled:

Holiday movies:
Pieces of April
Home for the Holiday
It's a Wonderful Life
A Christmas Story
Holiday Inn
White Christmas
Jeremiah Johnson
The Santa Clause
Love Actually
Miracle on 34th Street
Meet Me in St. Louis
Bad Santa

Frozen River
The Station Agent
Sweet And Lowdown

Strong Heroines:
Erin Brockovich
North Country
Norma Rae

John Hughes movies:
Planes, Trains & Automobiles
Home Alone
National Lampoon's Vacation

Burt Lancaster movies:
Elmer Gantry
Come Back Little Sheba
Field of Dreams
The Swimmer
Crimson Pirate
The Killers
Local Hero
The Rose Tattoo
From Here to Eternity
Seven Days in May

other favorites listeners suggested:
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
The Way We Were
Dr. Zhivago
Imitation of Life
Little Miss Sunshine
Groundhog Day
Out of Africa
Day of the Outlaw
Man from Snowy River
North to Alaska
Brassed Off
Winter's Bone
Romeo & Juliet
Moulin Rouge
Strictly Ballroom
Black Swan
The Family Stone
Danny Deckchair
The Ref
The Jerk
Man With Two Brains
Mostly Martha
Reversal of Fortune
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Annie Hall
The Big Chill
Fiddler on the Roof
Manchurian Candidate
Mystery, Alaska
African Queen
The Princess & the Cobbler
Singing in the Rain
Court Jester
The Man I Love
Zero Kelvin
The Last Place on Earth
Corner Gas
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
500 Days of Summer
I Love You Phillip Morris
Raining Stones
Wind that Shakes the Barley
Land & Freedom
The Committments
Rebel Without a Cause
On Dangerous Ground
The Shining
The Departed
The Sting
Shop Around the Corner
Culpepper Cattle Company
Outlaw of Josey Wales
The Greatest
Moonlight Mile
Rabbit Hole
The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid
High Noon
Our Vines Have Tender Grapes
Asphalt Jungle
Lawrence of Arabia
25 Hours
Don't Look Now

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Goodbye Week?

by Scott Hall

During the professional football season each team plays 16 games over a 17 week period.  So each team has  a week off sometime during the season.  It's called "the bye week", and this was the Vikings' week off.   In the jargon of the sports media, the Vikings are "idle" today.

It's probably coincidence that this week may have been the beginning of a long good-bye to the Vikings.  The Governor and legislators didn't come up with a way to raise public funding to pay for a portion of a new stadium for the Vikings.  The Vikings' lease at the Metrodome may expire after this season.  If so, they are free to move.  It was a little over 50 years ago that the Minneapolis Lakers moved to the desert town of Los Angeles and kept the "Lakers" name.  After 51 years as the Minnesota Vikings, it seems the possibility of the Vikings following the Lakers to LA is more likely than ever.

The value of professional sports teams is hard to quantify.  I'm sure those who say "let 'em go" way underestimate the economic value of pro sports.  But as far as other values go, that is more subjective, and I am weary of the overhyped importance attached to the games themselves.  The hype and phony melodrama are most necessary to those who want to direct our attention to the messages of their advertisers.  By Monday, most of the games will mean less to us than the fortunes of the local high school teams.

So now, at least one Sunday during the pro football season, we have three more hours to take a nap, bake a pie, go hunting, play touch football, ride a bike, read a book.  In another year or two, will every Sunday be so full of promise?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Culturology Calendar 11-3

by Travis Ryder

Thursday, November 3
Range musician Cheryl Niemi will perform Thursday, November 3, from 6-8 p.m. at Minnesota Discovery Center’s Acoustic Café. Admission is free Thursdays after 5 p.m. Acoustic Café features regional musicians along with homemade soups, appetizers, desserts and drinks.

Vox Lumiere brings a new take on Phantom of the Opera, blending rock opera with silent film.  It’s at the Reif Center in Grand Rapids tonight.

Two sessions at the Lyric Center for the Arts will help artists advance their careers. Staff from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council will guide a session on how to apply for the Council’s individual grants.  This session is tonight at 6 p.m.  Tuesday, there’s a workshop that explains how to get your work into shops!  It’s called How to Sell Your Artwork through Art Galleries & Gift Shops.  Contact us to learn more. 

(NFA: Thu session free; Mon session $10; scholarships available.  Register: or 741-5577. location: The First Stage Gallery, Lyric Center for the Arts, 514 Chestnut St., downtown Virginia, MN)

Friday, November 4
First Friday events in Grand Rapids: painters Sarah Wieben and Rick Love have work at MacRostie Art Center this month.  An opening reception for these artists is Friday from 5 to 7 in Grand Rapids.

First Friday in Bemidji includes the opening reception for the 9th annual It’s Only Clay Juried Exhibit.  The details of this and all the other events are at

The Holiday Gift Show and Sale opens Friday night from 5 to 7 at the Edge Center Gallery in Bigfork.

Friday night in Brainerd: The play "Deer Camp the Musical" will be at the Franklin Auditorium for one show at 7:30 p.m. on the eve of the firearms deer opener. 
The vocal group The Rose Ensemble performs on the Central Lakes College campus in Brainerd.  Their show Songs of Temperance and Temptation: 100 Years of Restraint and Revelry in Minnesota is a musical exploration of the humor and history behind Prohibition and Minnesota's long-standing love/hate relationship with the pub. The show starts at 7 on Friday night.  The Rose Ensemble also has a presentation at the Brainerd Library at 11 Saturday morning.

Saturday, November 5
Holy cats, are there a lot of craft shows on Saturday!  I suppose there’s an assumption that a lot of women are free this Saturday, with their men off chasing whitetails.  Mary Augustyn and Joan Beech will show their pottery and other work from 9 to 5 at Dr. Lynda Griffith’s  office across from L & M in Grand Rapids.
The Reif Center brings Paula Poundstone to the stage in Grand Rapids for standup comedy.  It’s a 7:30 show.

Zorongo Flamenco Dance Ensemble is at CLC in Brainerd Saturday night at 7:30.

Monday, Nov. 7
Duluth poet laureate Sheila Packa has edited a compilation of poetry from the Lake Superior area.  It’s called Migrations.  Packa hosts a reading from several of the contributors at the Words and Lyrics event, 6:30 Monday night at the Lyric Center in downtown Virginia.

Tuesday, Nov. 8
Central Lakes College has a band concert Tuesday at 8:01 p.m.  Why 8:01?  As a public institution, the College can’t hold a public event until polls close on an election day.

Wednesday, Nov. 9
Hibbing Community college art instructor Daryn Lowman leads another art lecture and demonstration related to the new exhibition at MacRostie Art Center, 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday.

It’s Jazz night at the VFW in Grand Rapids with Sam Miltich and friends, 7 to 9 p.m.

Minnesota History Datebook
Nov. 2, 1948: Hubert H. Humphrey wins Minnesota's race for U.S. Senate. During three consecutive terms he supports a medicare bill, a nuclear test ban treaty, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Oct. 31, 1991: The "Halloween Blizzard" begins. A record snowfall blankets the area from Duluth to the Twin Cities, the state's largest recorded snowfall in a single storm.  On the three days following the “Storm of the Century,” Duluth receives 36.9 inches of snow, the largest single-storm total in state history at the time. Another “Storm of the Century” record happens in Cook, where 29 inches of snow accumulate in 24 hours, the largest such total in state history.