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Pioneer Previews: Musical, comedy, melodrama all to open

A popular musical, an irreverent comedy and one very silly melodrama will open just in time for the Dragon Boat Festival.

Visitors to Bemidji will be able to catch all three, if they time it right, as the races are not scheduled for the evening.

"Gypsy," by Jules Styne and Stephen Sondheim, and book by Arthur Laurents, will open tonight, Aug. 4, at the Paul Bunyan Playhouse in the historic Chief Theater, 314 Beltrami Ave. N.W. The last show of the summer season at the playhouse, this production directed by Zach Curtis is tightly directed and performed by a troupe of actors from Bemidji and the Twin Cities with choreography by Shannon Roberg and musical direction by Jake Endres. Based on the autobiography of famed burlesque queen, Gypsy Rose Lee, it tells the story of Louise's early childhood with her mother, Rose, and sister, June (actress June Havoc) and their days on the vaudeville circuit from the 1920-1930s. Although the show is about Louise and her sister, June, the main character of the musical is, Rose, the quintessential stage mother who makes the show business career of her two young daughters the focus of her and their life. Pianist Abe Hunter and percussionist Andrew P. Clemenson sound more like a combo in strength and ability than a piano/percussion duo. Audiences will be familiar with the lead, Karen Wiese-Thompson, for her comedic roles in plays like "Harvey" and "The Music Man," but this production is really her tour de force. For this is her first time as a leading lady in a musical on the PBP stage as Mama Rose, a domineering, brassy mother we also have a love/hate relationship with during the performance. This production provides such familiar songs as, "Let Me Entertain You," "You'll Never Get Away From Me," "All I Need is A Girl," and "If Mama was Married." The show will be performed at 8 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday until Aug..14. There will be a half-price matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug 8. Tickets are $22 for adults, $10 for students and the group sale price for 10 or more is $18 per ticket. For more information or tickets: call 751-7270 or For more information about the play and a listing of the actors, please see or Our Voices on home page of

Comedy act

"The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)" will open at the Long Lake Theater today, Aug. 4, and continues until Aug. 27. The play is a parody of all 37 plays in 97 minutes by three Bemidji actors - Andy Browers, Eric Benson and Bob Boland - and is directed by incoming Bemidji High School theater teacher, Tracy Nicole Klefsas This cast will romp on the stage in tights and other appropriate props in this irreverent comedy. There will be a 3 p.m. matinee Aug 4, 11, 18, 25 and 26. Evening performances start at 7:30 p.m. Aug.5-7, 12-14,19-21 and 26-28 at Long Lake Theater. Tickets are $14 for adults, $7 for children 4-12 and group rate (15 or more) is $12.50. Go south on U.S. Highway 71 four miles past Park Rapids, turn left onto state Highway 87 and travel four miles east to Hubbard, turn right onto Hubbard County Road 6 and the theater is located about four blocks south on the left. Reservations recommended, call 218-732-0099 or

Park performance

"Fool's Gold," is a silly piece of work about the Fool Family and the discovery of gold on their property. Ima Fool (Amber Allen) is the heroine and Sam Lactose (DJ Arens) is the hero in this year's Bemidji Community Theater Melodrama at Lake Bemidji State Park. Directed by Vicki Stenerson with stage manager Carolyn Towler and Tammy Rogers as costumer, this family-friendly event will be played out at the amphitheater at the state park for campers and locals alike. Performances will be at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 6, and Saturday, Aug. 7, and Aug.13 and 14. Admission is free. A donation to help offset the costs of the production will be accepted by strategically placed basket holders. Always a big audience draw, take a folding chair just in case, some bug spray and a light wrap. For a complete listing of the actors, please see or Our Voices on home page of

Church musicians

Bemidji Area Church Musicians will welcome Wayne Hoff on the organ at noon today, Aug. 6, at Aardahl Lutheran Church, 2 miles east of Paul Bunyan Drive on Roosevelt Rd, 1 mile south on Van Buren (Beltrami County Road 403). A free will offering will be accepted in support of the music scholarships given each year. Lunch is available following each recital at a nominal cost. For a complete listing of the concerts, see Calendar Listing on or Our Voices on home page of Bemidji

Concert tour

The Bemidji Symphony Orchestra ensemble will perform the second concert of the tour, "When the Landscape is Quiet Again" at 7-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 5, at Zion Lutheran Church, Blackduck. The concerts on the tour will include the music of Aaron Copland, "Appalachian Spring," and "Quiet Landscape," by Minnesota composer Joseph Adams. The BSO in partnership with the Kitchigami Regional Library System will be presenting these free public concerts in cities throughout the Kitchi Region. For a complete listing of these concerts, please see or Our Voices on home page of Bemidji

Itasca festival

Lake Itasca Family Music Festival, Aug.6-8, will provide bluegrass and old time gospel music. For more information, see

Book signing

Don Houseman, artist and author, will celebrate the publication of his new children's book, "Great Fishing Adventure," from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 14, at the TIN PAN gALLErY located in the Blackduck History and Art Center, Main and Margaret Streets. The six animal characters from the first book along with Farmer Maynard go fishing. Original art illustrations and new barn paintings will be on display. Houseman will read from his book at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Take your camera for a picture with Harvey.

Pub music

The Durty Nellys Irish Pub Band will be appearing at Brigid's Cross Irish Pub and Restaurant from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug 6 and 7. They are a high energy Celtic rock and pub song group. There is no charge to get in and the kitchen is open until 9 p.m. The pub is located at 317 Beltrami Ave. N.W.

First Friday

- First Friday of August events can begin at the Beltrami County Historical Society with "Patterns and People" by photographer and artist John Eggers. Stop by on First Friday for refreshments and free admission into the museum. The center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Saturday and is located in the historic James J. Hill Great Northern Depot at 130 Minnesota Ave. SW.

- Bemidji Public Library, 509 America Ave. N.W., has on display for August original watercolors from the children's book, "Thoughts from Pudge (A Philosophical Look at Life from a Dog's Point of View)" by local artist Marion Caroline Reil and author Mary Knox Johnson. The book is about the real life antics of a mixed-breed dog as he encounters various adventures. The opening reception will be held from 3-5 p.m. The library is open Monday through Saturday.

- Gallery North, 502 Third Street N.W., welcomes Showcase Artist of the month mixed media artist Carolyn Gobberg. The Gallery North Featured Artist for August is oil painter Erma Stelter, one of the founding members of Gallery North. The opening reception will be held from 2-5 p.m. Gallery North's website at features member artists, artwork and information on upcoming events.

- Bad Cat Creations Gallery and Gifts, 315 Irving Ave. N.W., welcomes new mixed media collage works by local artist Terry Garrett for August. "Fragments - Disparate Parts to Make a Whole" opening reception will be held from 4-6 p.m. Bad Cat Creations is a boutique featuring the work of more than 50 artists in fine art and craft,

- Cabin Coffeehouse and Café, 214 Third St. N.W., welcomes Jane Marks-Hastig, an up-cycling artist for August. The majority of the works are whimsical glass mosaics using salvaged broken tempered glass pieces, found and discarded items and natural elements. The reception will be held from 4-6 p.m. with coffee and desserts. Also on display and for sale are paintings and cards by Audrey Merschman. The Cabin is open seven days a week.

- Just across the street is Glazed and Amused, a Paint Your Own Pottery Studio, 311 Third St. N.W., where walk-in painters are always welcome. The display of ceramic pieces painted by customers is in the front window. They are open Wednesday-Sunday and hours are posted on the door. For more information, e-mail them at

- Wild Hare Coffee House and Bistro, 523 Minnesota Ave. N.W., welcomes Danielle Dressler and her brightly colored acrylic abstracts of animals, life cycles and dreamscapes. The opening reception will be held from 3-5 p.m. After the Art Walk, the Friday Wine Bar will feature the creations of Wild Hare's culinary artists with libations to complement from 5-9 p.m. Wild Hare is closed on Sunday.

- Dunn Bros. Coffee, 501 Paul Bunyan Drive S., welcomes Kathy Gustafson and her exhibit "Shared Virtues," the character and qualities of animals. Gustafson also has a beaver on display for this year's Bemidji Sculpture Walk. The opening reception will be held from 5-7 p.m. Also on display and for sale are ceramic pieces by Josh Boock. Dunn Bros, now serving featured wines of the month, is open seven days a week.

- Bemidji Community Art Center, 426 Bemidji Ave., and the Northern Clay Center will have on display for August, six McKnight Ceramic Artists. Gallery X2 will house the Headwaters Basketmarkers Guild with an exhibit of new work created in honor of the guild's 20th anniversary. The gallery and Shop 426 are open noon-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and noon-4 p.m. Saturday and closed Sunday and Monday.

- Brigid's Cross Irish Pub and Restaurant, 317 Beltrami Ave. N.W., invites the public to view the wood work of Jonathan Billing for August. Billing's work in oak is unique and crafted to showcase the character of the wood. All pieces will be available for purchase. The pub is open at 11 a.m. Monday-Saturday.

- The North Country Health Services Art Committee presents work by local artist Pamela Nelson and her exhibit, "The Language of Flowers." Nelson's work will be on display now through October for the pleasure of residents, families, staff and the community at large. Also featured through August is pottery by Butch Holden in the new coffee and gift shop, The Bistro at WoodsEdge. The pottery, which is both hand-thrown and hand-built, includes both high-fired stoneware and porcelain and is for sale on site. The Bistro at WoodsEdge is located just inside the front entryway to Neilson Place at WoodsEdge, on the North Country Health Services Senior Living Campus, 1000 Anne St. NW. For more information, email

Book festival

The Bemidji Public Library Book Festival, "Water Your Mind-READ," will begin Monday, Aug. 9, and continue until the Aug. 14 with local authors at selected locations. For a complete listing of the authors and a short bio, see or Our Voices on home page of

- BCAC's Spoken Word Series and the Bemidji Library Book Festival present writer and poet Sean Hill for a reading from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 11, at the center, 426 Bemidji Ave. N. The reading will begin at 7 p.m. A writer's workshop will be held by Hill from 9 a.m.-noon, Saturday, Aug. 14. Space is limited so call to reserve a spot, 444-7570.

- Bemidji Book Festival is offering an Area Author Fair by the statues of Paul and Babe on the Bemidji Lakefront. Area authors are invited to display and sell their books and publications. This event is free for the authors as well as the public. All authors will be asked to donate one of their publications to the Bemidji Public Library on the day of the event. Two sessions are available: 1-3 p.m. and 3-5 p.m. A tent, table and chair will be provided. This is being offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information or to register, contact Barb Treat at 556-0393.

Other events

- Northern Light Opera Company's summer production is "Godspell," by Tebelak and Schwartz, a rock musical, loosely based on the gospel of Matthew. Performance dates and times are 7:30 Aug. 5, 6 and 7 in the Century School Cafetorium, 501 Helton Ave., Park Rapids. Advance tickets are $13 and $5 for children 10 and under. Call 218-237-0400 for information and tickets. Northern Light Opera Company has a website.

- "The Producers," a politically incorrect comedy by Mel Brooks by the Crimson Creek Players will run through Saturday, Aug. 14, in the Burtness Theater on the campus of the University of North Dakota. For tickets, call 701-777-4090. See arts or Our Voices on home page of Bemidji for more information about this play.

- Depot Days Fund Raiser at the Beltrami County Historical Society, 130 Minnesota Ave. S.W., will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 14, at the History Center. The fundraising event will feature music, vendors, children's activities, horse and wagon rides, square dancing, Middle Eastern Dance and fun for the entire family. For more information, call 444-3376.

- "Doctor, doctor, give me the news," is the new exhibit at the History Center at the Beltrami County Historical Society. The exhibit follows the path of early healthcare in Beltrami County.

- Tickets are on sale now for "An Evening with Billy Collins," former Poet Laureate of the United States, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 25, in the Bemidji High School Auditorium. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students and may be purchased now at Lueken's Village Foods North and the Headwaters School of Music and the Arts. Ticket requests by mail may be sent to HSMA, PO Box 542, Bemidji MN 56601.

- "Desserts by Design," a fundraiser for the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra, is seeking volunteers to design a table and/or donate desserts. The event will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 24, at First Lutheran Church, Bemidji. For more information or to volunteer, contact Judy Porter at 751-0343 or Jo Hanko at 444-5572.

- Headwaters School of Music and the Arts has on display works of watercolor artist Judy Selby.

- Tutto Bene, 300 Beltrami Ave. N.W., a restaurant and art gallery, has an ongoing display of new art work by Michael De Witt, Beverlee Olson, Jane Freeman, Terry Honstead, Mary Therese Peterson, Judy Selby, Pat Shough (Sillimandi) Michael Thomas Sunnarborg and MaryBeth Vaudrin for viewing pleasure and sale. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and is closed on Sunday.

- Stop by the Tourist Information Center, 300 Bemidji Ave., for a map and information on the pieces included in the Bemidji Sculpture Walk.


- Paint a Feather with a bird or birch tree at Gallery North at 1 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 28. All materials will be provided. Students will complete and frame their art work to take home. Pre-paid registration is $40 or $45 on the day of the classl Call 759-2952 or 751-774 to register.

- A Workshop by writer Sean Hill titled "Containing your Obsessions" Writing the Villanelle" will be offered from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, Aug. 14, as part of the Bemidji Community Art Center Spoken Word Event. The participants will learn strategies for creating poetry within the constraints of the villanelle - a repetitive rhyming poetic form. The group will be limited to 14 people and the cost is $35 for adults and $20 for students and the workshop will be held downstairs in the Historic Carnegie Library, 426 Bemidji Ave. N. For more information call 444-7570 or go to the web at for more information.

Mark your calendars now with these upcoming events:

- Aug. 28, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Northern Exposure to Lifelong Learning ethnic concerts and food, The Gathering Place, Clearbrook. More information to follow.

- Aug. 18, 7-8 p.m., BSO ensemble final concert of the tour, location TBA.

- Brigid's Cross Irish Pub hosts Open Stage 9 p.m. every Thursday. Call 444-0567 for more information.

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

- Northern Artist Association meets at 12:30 p.m. the third Monday of the month at the Eagles Club. The public is invited to attend. For information call 759-2952.

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