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Patt Rall Arts Column for August 6: Summer activities continue at brisk pace

There are many summer events to enjoy this weekend starting with First Friday events and the addition of Brigid's Cross Irish Pub and Glazed and Amused to the venues and some hard choices to be made between live theater, art receptions, flea market and folk coffeehouse with local musicians and eateries with special First Friday menus. All First Friday receptions are free and open to the public.

First Friday Art

- Beltrami County History Center continues its exhibit in conjunction with Gallery North, "Summer Breeze." From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday there will be refreshments and free admission to the center at the historic James J. Hill Great Northern Depot, 130 Minnesota Ave. SW. Center hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Saturday.

- At Gallery North, 502 Third St. N.W., wildlife artist Linda Walker is the Showcase Artist of the month. Gallery North featured artists are Erma Stelter, who works in oils, and Grace Garland, who works in acrylics and watercolor. All three artists will be on hand to meet and greet visitors. Former Bemidji resident Bill Kruger is the author of the month. His book of tales for children, "Mr. Euchre and other Northwood's Fables," a collection of stories about woodland animals, will be on display and for sale. Kari Miller, Kruger's daughter, will be at the open house to read from the book and visit with the public. The reception will be open from 2-5 p.m.

- Bad Cat Creations and Gifts, 315 Irvine Ave. N.W., features artist of the month, Pamela Lee Johnson, who will be on hand for the 4-6 p.m. reception to talk about her nature and wild life photography. Framed and matted prints will be on sale. The street is blocked off, so, follow the entrance signs to get to this venue.

- Glazed and Amused, a paint-your-own pottery studio, invites the public to view the window display of pieces painted by customers. Walk-in painters are always welcome. The studio is open Wednesday through Sunday and is located at 311 Third St. N.W.

- While downtown, use the time to view some of the sculptures on display on the streets and then walk north to Wild Hare Bistro and Coffee House, 523 Minnesota Ave. N.W., to meet August artist of the month Karen Bradley, opera singer, teacher and music director for area musical productions. Bradley's "Body Ornaments" are unique because they are made with re-usable items such as seeds, beads, shells, old jewelry, leather and sequins which are knitted or crocheted into wearable pieces. Join her during the 3-5 p.m. reception refreshments and conversation. The First Friday wine bar with a different menu each month will be open from 5-9 p.m.

- Walk back downtown to The Cabin Coffeehouse and Café, 214 Third St. N.W., for the opening reception from 5-7 p.m. for artist of the month Brooke Knisle's "Reflections in the Landscape." The exhibit is a collection of her photographs of landscapes, flowers and portraits. The Cabin is open seven days a week, and there is an ongoing display of Audrey Merschman's work for sale.

- Brigid's Cross Irish Pub, 317 Beltrami Ave. N.W., joins First Friday activities and welcomes Erja and Mike Wiltse and a showcase of their oil and watercolor paintings: "Erja + Mike = Art Show." Wiltse, owner of Your Mom's Tattoo Atelier, and his wife, Erja, will be on hand to greet and enjoy refreshments with the public from 5-7 p.m. at the opening reception. A cash bar will be available.

- Walk over to Fifth Street and 426 Bemidji Ave. to the Bemidji Community Art Center for the 5-7 p.m. opening reception of "Reveal," an exhibit of photography by John Bauer and audio by Heidi Holton of portraits and recordings of Itasca County individuals. The artist talk will begin at 6 p.m. Objets d'art for sale in Shop 426 benefit programming and the local artists. BCAC is free and open to the public daily except Sunday.

- Dunn Bros. Coffee, 501 Paul Bunyan Drive S., welcomes local artist, Terry Honstead and her exhibit, "Feminine Fancy" for the month of August. The opening reception is from 5-7 p.m. when Honstead will talk about her work of lace and flower paintings in watercolor, watercolor collage and acrylic collage. Also on display and available for purchase are Levandowski Pottery and fused and slumped glassware by MaryBeth Vaudrin and Beverlee Olson.

Across the street from BCAC, the Wild Rose Theater, 501 Bemidji Ave., welcomes the Northwoods Folk Collective and Mask and Rose Women's Theater Collective First Friday Coffee House. Performer sign-up will begin at 6:30 p.m. and performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $2 for a single and $5 for a family.

- Bemidji Public Library, 509 America Ave. N.W., will feature the art work of students who participated in the summer reading programs for kindergartners through teens. For August, the display will be sketches, yarn art, "piano hinge" books and wind chimes.

- Neilson Place, 1000 Anne St. N.W., and the North Country Health Services Art Committee welcome an exhibit by Natalia Himmirska, "Embrace." Her work will be on display through August for the pleasure of the residents, families, staff and the community at large. The work is for sale, and a price list is provided at the reception desk.

Floor show

Josef Schlemper will wear his fedora and croon the old standards from 5-7 p.m. Sunday at Sparkling Waters Restaurant, 824 Paul Bunyan Drive S.

Musical theater

On stage now at the Paul Bunyan Playhouse is "The Who's Tommy," a rock opera which won five Tony Awards in 1993. The musical is based on the life of a boy who is deaf, dumb and blind but is a genius at playing pinball machines -"Pinball Wizard." Three actors play Tommy: Jamie Altier as the young Tommy, Shyanne Caml as the teen Tommy and Ryan Knox Parker as the adult Tommy. Other local young actors and dancers fill the support cast. Familiar tunes to be played by the five piece band's director Jake Endres include "Acid Queen" and "I'm Free." The Sunday matinee is at 2 p.m., and tickets are half-price at $11. Performance time is 8 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday until Augu. 15. Tickets are $22 and student tickets are $11 for anyone younger than 21 and may be purchased at the box office, 751-7270 or on line at The playhouse is located in the Historic Chief Theater, 312 Beltrami Ave. N.W. This play is suitable for mature audiences.

Music festival

The Fourth Annual Lake Itasca Family Music Festival opens Friday. Families will enjoy this gospel musical festival with musicians from across the country, workshops, old-time hymn sing, children's activities and food. Take a chair, your instruments and be ready to join in the struming and stomping with The Easter Brothers from North Carolina, the Link Family from Missouri, the Wissmann Family from Nebraska, the Alzen Family from Wisconsin and the Kingsley and Durocher Families from Minnesota. Other bands will also be featured on the three showcase stages. Rough camping will be available. The events will be held on the Pioneer Farmer's grounds adjacent to the north entrance of Itasca State Park. For a complete listing of all the activities, access

Depot Day Fest

If your taste is flea markets, antiques and collectibles, arts and crafts, children's activities, horse and wagon rides, square dancing, Middle Eastern dance, music and refreshments, be sure to attend the Eighth Annual Depot Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. This family-friendly event will be held at the Beltrami County Historical Center, historic James J. Hill Great Northern Depot, 130 Minnesota Ave. S.W.

Wilton Days

Wilton Days will be celebrated beginning at 10:59 a.. Saturday with a horse parade and 2 p.m. talent show and 1 p.m. Sunday with a motorcycle show and barbecue.

Concert series

Greg and Kiki Webb of Dancing Light will perform their cosmic acoustic guitar and vocal blend peppered with percussion at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in the Lake Bemidji State Park Amphitheater. Cars need a park sticker to enter. These events are made possible, in part, by a grant from the Region 2 Arts Council through funding from the Minnesota State Legislature as well as the collaborative effort of Lake Bemidji State Park and the Headwaters School of Music and the Arts.

Church Musicians

The Bemidji Area Church Musicians 2009 Summer Recital Series host concerts each Wednesday until the end of August. Wayne Hoff will play the organ at noon Aug. 12 at Aardahl Lutheran Church, Roosevelt Road Southeast and then south to the end of Van Buren (County Rd. 403). A free will offering will be accepted in support of music scholarships at the door. Always well attended, these half-hour concerts give the public an opportunity to hear area church musicians play and also enjoy a luncheon at the host church after the concert for a nominal cost.

Opera cancelled

The Lake Bemidji Summer Opera Festival regrets to announce that Mozart's "La Nozze di Figaro" will not be performed as expected because anticipated underwriting was not secured.

Other events

- The Lake Bemidji Summer Concert Series welcomes Bemidji Community Theater and their annual, really silly, musical melodrama "Riders of the Golden Sphinx" by Norman Bert in the amphitheater at the state park. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. A free will offering will be accepted to offset production costs. Cars need a park sticker to enter. These events are made possible, in part, by a grant from the Region 2 Arts Council through funding from the Minnesota State Legislature as well as the collaborative effort of Lake Bemidji State Park and the Headwaters School of Music and the Arts.

- Don't miss the final three performances of Northern Light Opera Company's "Fiddler on the Roof," the musical story of a Jewish family struggling to survive in a village in the Ukraine. Based upon a story by Sholem Aleichem, "Tevye and his Daughters," the audience is transported to a Jewish ghetto where Tevye the Milkman struggles to maintain "Tradition," dreams of what he would do "If I Were a Rich Man," asks his wife, Golda, "Do You Love Me?" As he prepares to take his wife and younger daughters from their ancestral village Anatevka to America, the fiddler on the roof plays on. Performances will be at 7 p.m. tonight and Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday at Park Rapids Area High School, 401 Huntsinger Ave. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors 65 and older and $10 for children younger than 12 with a 10 percent discount if purchased in advance. There are also group rates. Go online at Tickets will be sold at the door if available. This event is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Region 2 Arts Council through funding from the Minnesota State Legislature

- Paul Bunyan Playhouse and Bemidji Community Theater announce they will present a collaborative effort, "Pirates of Penzance," a Gilbert and Sullivan musical comedy. Male and female actors ages 15 and older are encouraged to audition and prepare 16 bars of music. An accompanist will be provided. Director Mary Knox Johnson and musical director Karen Bradley will hold auditions from 9-11 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. Saturday and 7-9 p.m. Aug. 24 at The Cabin Coffee House, 214 Third St. N.W. or by appointment. For more information, contact Kelly Kirk, technical director at 760-1066 or Mary Johnson at 333-8740.

- Bemidji Sculpture Walk received a grant from the G.W. Nielson Foundation to fabricate and display fiberglass images that will be decorated by artists for the 2010 season. Members of the general public are being asked to vote for an image: fish, beaver, turtle, deer, small canoe, Paul Bunyan or anther choice. Votes will be compiled until the end of August, at which time the winner will be announced. To cast your vote, email Two-dimensional artists may also access this website for further information and apply to participate by decorating the winning image.

- Wet-on-Wet Floral Watercolor class where students will create a loose style watercolor painting of birch trees will be held at 1 p.m. on Aug. 13 at Gallery North. All materials will be provided and students will complete a matted 16-by-20-inch painting. For information call 751-7741 or register at Gallery North. The fee is $40 if pre-registered or $45 on the day of the class. Call Gallery North at 444-9813 or email

- Tutto Bene, 300 Beltrami Ave. N.W., has an ongoing display of new art work by Beverlee Olson, Jane Freeman, Judy Selby, Pat Shough and MaryBeth Vaudrin for viewing pleasure and sale. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and is closed on Sunday

- Stop at the Tourist Information Center, 300 Bemidji Ave. by the statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe, for a map and information on the pieces included in the Bemidji Sculpture Walk.

Mark your calendars now with these upcoming events:

- "Pirates, The Musical," by Mrs. Yam's Children's Theatre, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 20-22 and 2:30, Aug. 22.

- Oompah for the Arts, the annual fundraiser for Bemidji Area Arts Endowment, Sept.18, tickets on sale now. Information: Chamber of Commerce Website or 444-8310.

- A Night of Chamber Music with Minnesota Orchestra musicians, 7:30 p.m., Sept.27.

- Street musicians 5-8 p.m. every Thursday night, downtown Bemidji.

- Pelican Railroad 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. every Wednesday at the Backyard BBQ in downtown Bemidji.

Announcements of arts and entertainment events may be sent to the Bemidji Pioneer, P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56619-0455 or e-mailed to