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PATT RALL COLUMN: Make a call on the First Call Art Studio Tour

Sixteen artists are opening their studios in the summer to give visitors a chance to view their work.

During a phone interview, Wanda Odegard, sculptor, and one of the artists, mused on the circumstances and time of the Studio Cruise in late October that leaves many without the experience of visiting working studios. Odegard is noted for her large pieces; Niimii down at the Bemidji waterfront is a marvel because the Indian brave appears to be dancing to a drum beat. Don't let the summer go by without a visit to these artists, whose work is varied and professional. That's the drive behind the First Call Art Studio Tour in and around Bemidji.

"There is a brochure available at the visitor's center and Watermark, we are hoping that people will pick it up and make an appointment to engage in an self-directed tour based on individual interest" Odegard said.

Tom Daley will show his aquatic ceramics for tropical fish enthusiasts. It is easy to do, "just call the artist and arrange a tour that suits your and their time," said Odegard, who has spearheaded this attempt to get more people interested in visiting working artists, many of whom enjoy a national reputation such as Marley Kaul, (egg tempera) and Al Belleveau (sculpture and plasma), who are always fun to visit with as there are many pieces of interest scattered around the site. Terry Honstead has moved to Gull Lake and has a studio for her mixed media pieces, as well. For more information on the self-guided tours, there's a Facebook page "First Call Art Studio Tour," which can show you how to arrange for a tour.

Much to do today

• Today at 2 p.m. is the matinee performance of the Paul Bunyan Playhouse final production of the summer season, "Legally Blonde," a musical with music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin. The story is based on the novel "Legally Blonde" by Amanda Brown and it tells the story of Elle Woods, a sorority girl who enrolls at Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend Warner. She discovers how her knowledge of the law can help others, and successfully defends exercise queen Brooke Wyndham in a murder trial. Throughout the show, no one has faith in Woods, but she manages to surprise them when she defies expectations while staying true to herself. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students and can be purchased at the door starting at 1 p.m. today.

• After 5 is set to perform at the latest Farm By The Lake Concert Series at 4 p.m. today rain or shine near Bagley. After 5, also known as Mitch's Hooley-gans, is a group comprised of: Bemidji resident Tom Kusler (lead guitar, vocals), Linda Barber, from Walker, (flute, sax, bass, and vocals). Tom and Linda started the band when they both taught music at Bemidji Middle School. Their spouses, Kim Kusler (keyboard, banjitar, vocals) and Ken Barber (bass, fiddle, harmonica, mandolin, vocals), joined the band a few years later. Their music includes country, country rock, Irish, and old-time rock with tight vocal harmonies.

• The Bemidji Area Community Band will present its final summer concert today at 7 p.m. on the south lawn of Bangsberg Hall, sponsored by Buffalo Wild Wings.The concert program will feature classic Americana band pieces, including a Sousa March, a Cole Porter tune, a James Horner Movie soundtrack compilation, a few Cajun themed pieces, all combined with the "Valdres" Norwegian March, a Greek Folk Song Suite and more. The band will be under the direction of Scott Guidry, assistant professor and director of bands at BSU.

Upcoming events

• The Bemidji Area Church Musicians Summer Recital Series will continue at noon Wednesday, Aug. 9, at New Salem Lutheran Church in Turtle River. The 30-minute recital will feature Melanie Hanson (violin) and Michael Hanson (saxophone). Melanie is the concertmaster for the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra. A free-will offering will be received at the door to fund music scholarships. A luncheon will follow the concert with a price to be announced.

• The Long Lake Theater of Hubbard presents, in collaboration with the Mask and Rose Women's Theater of Puposky, the comic and poignant story highlighting the career of Florence Foster Jenkins and her famously off sense of pitch and key but deep love for opera. 'Souvenir' features the talents of Linda Wagner and Kari Norheim of Bemidji and Steven Mayer of Fosston.

• The show is directed by Cate Belleveau with assistance with music from Dan Will. The play runs at the Long Lake Theater in Hubbard from Aug. 2 to Aug. 26 with 3 p.m. Wednesday matinees and 7:30 p.m. evening performances. For tickets call (218) 732-0099 or visit or Beagle and Wolf Books in Park Rapids.

• Kent Dudley & Bended Knee with Ben Hylden will be at Farm By The Lake from 4 to 7p.m. on Sunday, Aug 13, rain or shine. The Dudleys, Kent and Shantel, and their band, Kent Dudley & Bended Knee, travel and minister all over Minnesota as well as many other states on a free-will basis. Kent's music is rooted in country style, he sings about his faith, family and country, Kent has written all of his songs on the albums. Ben Dwayne Hylden is author of "Finding Faith in the Field" will tell his story about how a near-death car accident changed his life forever.

• Sod House Theater will present a new, bluegrass infused adaptation of "An Enemy of the People," written by Henrik Ibsen, and adapted by Darcey Engen, Luverne Seifert, Brian Laidlaw and Ashley Hanson. The show will tour four cities of Greater Minnesota. Known for their fantastically fun productions, Sod House will join forces with local actors/musicians from the Bemidji area "to celebrate summer and community through the experience of live, site-specific theater." The production will play in Bemidji on Aug. 11-13 at Rail River Folk School. Tickets for "An Enemy of the People" are $15 for adults; $10 for Children, Students and Seniors. Free grilled hot dogs available while supplies last. Tickets are available at and at Iverson's Corner Drug in downtown Bemidji. For show information call, (612) 414-2032. More to come on this production.

• Auditions for BCT's fully staged fall musical, "The Sound of Music" will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Aug. 23-24 on the main stage of BSU's Bangsberg Fine Arts Complex. Director Mary Knox-Johnson is asking for a short monologue and 16 measures of music. Production dates are Nov. 10-11 and Nov. 17-19.