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PATT RALL COLUMN: Fall is in the air and in the arts

The maple tree at the top of the driveway is a blazing yellow/orange -- sure sign of fall and the amazing colorama determined to overwhelm us.

At the conclusion of the professional theater scene at the Paul Bunyan Playhouse; Bemidji Community Theater has jumped-started the community productions. Opening on Sept. 8, a comedy/musical by Mary Lynn Dobson will grace the stage of the Paul Bunyan Playhouse in a situation we all can recognize. “In the end, ‘Two on the Aisle, Three in a Van’” continues to prove the old adage that somehow, some way, the show must go on. And it does … just not always as planned,” the BCT says in a release. A mature cast including Gary Rozman, Steve Saari, Mark Fulton and Kirk Karstens, with Bridget Westrum as Robin, is ready to prove to you the old adage of the show must go on. The situation is that the “old crew” has retired and then have self doubt that it was a good move. ­­­They spend their time out in the parking lot -- just in case. Dates of the shows are: 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 8-9, Sept. 15-16 and 2 p.m. on Sept. 10 and Sept. 17 at the Chief Theater in downtown Bemidji. Tickets available now at Iverson Drug and K.K. Thompson: $12 for adults and $6 for children.

BSO is hiring

The Bemidji Symphony Orchestra is seeking a part-time, executive director to work with the board of directors in administration, finances, planning, marketing and grant writing. Experience in nonprofit management and/or governance is preferred. This is a perfect opportunity for someone who wants a part-time, reasonably flexible work schedule with the opportunity to use a varied skill set. The current executive director would be happy to assist the successful candidate in any way requested to ensure a smooth transition. Please share this information with those you know who are looking for a fulfilling work experience. The position description can be found on the BSO’s website at For more information, contact the BSO at 218-444-7914 or see webpage

Fundraisers for you

Two different fundraisers are coming up soon. Back when I was on the board of the Bemidji Area Arts Endowment, representing BCT, one of the board members was Jeanette Halcrow.  The function of the BAAE is to raise funds and use the interest earned for scholarship awards. There are other non-profits under the Northwest Minnesota Foundation that are also component funds. The first event to garner money was “Ompah for the Arts” and that fundraiser lasted a few years. The BAAE board then thought of a different theme: “Ooh La La for the Arts,” and that event will be coming up Oct. 1 at Sparkling Waters in Bemidji. More information to come.

The other fundraiser is Dessert by Design, a spectacular array of chocolate three-dimensional scenes that will be held 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 24 in the Sanford Center Ballroom.  Invitations have been sent in the mail and more information to follow.

Walker, Young at Gallery North

Make sure to stop by Gallery North for their Open House on Friday, Sept. 8 to talk with Showcase Artist Greg Walker, who is a stuntman, actor and photographer. His art work will be for sale in Gallery North throughout September. Sarah Vaughan is the Showcase Author and will read from her books and explain the reason she started writing. Vaughan, a young, local author, writes in eclectic poetic forms inter-dimensional of both Medieval and Renaissance periods mirroring the present and the future. She wrote and illustrated both: “Where Is Reality? An Aspie Poet Asks” and “50th Century’s Prodigies A NOBLE CAPTAIN BOURN EPISODE (4).”

First City Poetry Reads

The next four poetry events sponsored by Watermark Art Center in the First City Poetry Reads program are:

  • Saturday, Sept. 16: CarolAnn Russell, 4 p.m. Cantabria Coffee Co., 211 Second St. NW. Theme is “around the world to downtown Bemidji.”
  • Saturday, Oct. 7: Julia Oxenreider, 4 p.m., at the Bee-loud Gale Party, home party with information to come. Contact Marsh Muirhead at (218) 556-6313 or or Watermark Art Center at (218) 444-7570. Theme is “home, hearth, slam and cheese.”
  • Saturday, Nov. 11: Anthony Swann, 4 p.m. at Beltrami County History Center, 130 Minnesota Ave. SW, theme of “our place in history.”
  • Wednesday, Dec. 13: Erin Lynn Marsh, 7 p.m. at Anytime Fitness, 2526 Hannah Ave. NW, with theme of “our physical selves.”

All events will start with a featured poet from our area, followed by an open mic opportunity for other area poets. Poets should limit their readings to 3-5 minutes. The designated theme is optional. Open mic poets should call to secure their slot for reading time. Each reading may be adjusted depending on the number of poets signing up. For sign-ups and other information, contact: Marsh Muirhead at (218) 556-6313 or or Watermark Art Center at (218) 444-7570

‘Readers of the Broken Wheel Recommend’

The Bemidji Public Library offers a monthly book discussion program. The next scheduled session is noon, Monday, Sept. 11. The program will run for approximately an hour. At the September program, the book for discussion will be “The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend” by Katarina Bivald. Stop by the library, 509 America Ave. NW, or call (218) 751-3963 to get your copy of the book.  All Bivald wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life, the library says. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town. Reminiscent of “The Guernsey Literary” and “Potato Peel Pie Society,” this is a warm, witty book about friendship, stories and love.

Patt Rall is a longtime arts supporter and journalist in Bemidji. She can be reached at