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Entertainment Briefs - Nov. 2

Author Patrice Johnson of “Jul: Swedish American Holiday Traditions” will appear at noon Monday at the Brainerd Public Library, as part of the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library first Monday of every month events. Submitted1 / 6
Pierz native Frank Weber, author of “Murder Book,” will appear at an author talk from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Tuesday at Northern Lakes Senior Living Community Room in Baxter. Submitted2 / 6
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The Jaques Art Center in Aitkin is offering several upcoming holiday events. Submitted4 / 6
Artist Jan Lendobeja, who is a member of the Brainerd Area Art Club, created this art piece. Submitted 5 / 6
Stage North Theatre Company cast pose for the upcoming holiday drama, “Miracle on 34th Street.” Submitted6 / 6

Swedish American holiday traditions author to appear

Author Patrice Johnson of "Jul: Swedish American Holiday Traditions" will appear at noon Monday at the Brainerd Public Library, as part of the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library first Monday of every month events.

Johnson is an author, self-described Nordic food geek and a popular ASI Nordic Table instructor.

From smörgåsbord to St. Lucia processions, Swedish Americans are linked through the generations by a legacy of meatballs, lutfisk and other dishes often related to holiday traditions. Johnson explores the meanings and stories behind these various versions of celebrations and new approaches to traditional recipes. Featured recipes from the book include yellow pea soup (ärtsoppa), Swedish pancakes (Svenska plättar) and assorted Swedish cookies.

Beatrice Ojakangas, author of "The Great Scandinavian Baking Book" reviewed "Jul" as "A book that makes me want to go into the kitchen and plan a holiday party! Patrice updates the flavors and shapes of traditional Christmas classics like Swedish meatballs and Lucia buns, creating a fresh new approach to these old-world treats."

All presentations begin at noon at the Brainerd Public Library. Residents are welcome to bring a

packed lunch or can enjoy the light refreshments provided by the Sons of Norway.

These presentations are sponsored by the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library through their volunteer and fundraising efforts, and are free of charge to the public.

For more information on the events,visit the library's Facebook page at or contact the library at 218-829- 5574.

The next author event at the library is Dec. 4 with Eunice Wiebolt, author of "Cooking with More Confidence."

Snakes to be topic at upcoming concerts

DEERWOOD—The Great River Strings will welcome naturalist Lauren Betz, from the Long Lake Conservation Center in Palisade, who will speak about "Snakes on the Plains" as part of the upcoming concert titled, "A Symphonic Safari," scheduled at 7 p.m. Nov. 11 at Salem Lutheran Church, Deerwood and 2 p.m. Nov. 12 at First Lutheran Church, Aitkin.

LLCC is a Residential Environmental Learning Center on 760 acres in the northwoods in Aitkin County. It is one of five sites in the state used by the Minnesota Astronomical Society.

The center boasts some of the darkest skies in the state, it stated in a news release. Currently on display at LLCC are snakes indigenous to Minnesota. Betz will introduce snakes Leo and Simone and discuss what the LLCC is and its programs.

Holiday Art Show coming Nov. 11

The Brainerd Area Art Club will host a Holiday Art Show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 11 in Room 101 of the Franklin Arts Center in Brainerd. There will be original works, gift items, door prizes and refreshments.

Calling for Christmas in the Park volunteers

CROSBY—Volunteers are needed for Christmas in the Park scheduled from 4-7 p.m. Dec. 6 in Crosby Memorial Park.

Those interested in volunteering and sponsorship opportunities may sign up through to organize a volunteer shift.

Contact for more information.

Award winners announced

Laura Hansen Saturday presented Lina Belar of Perham with an award at the Brainerd Writer's Alliance Festival for winning first place in the poetry division.

Hansen, an award- winning poet herself, was the poetry judge for the competition. Belar's first book of poetry, "Rural Score" was published by Finishing Line Press in June of this year.

'Miracle on 34th Street' cast announced

The Stage North Theatre Company announces the cast of its upcoming holiday drama, "Miracle on 34th Street."

Based on the 1947 film, the stage version brings the characters to life. It's a holiday story of Kris Kringle, an old man in a retirement home, who gets a job working as Santa for Macy's. Kris unleashes waves of good will with Macy's customers by referring parents to other stores to find exactly the toy their child has asked for. His belief is that the real Santa Clause creates conflicts for Kris and those around him.

Playing the role of Kris Kringle is local, veteran actor Ed Eyestone. Sadie Wunder, an actress familiar to the Franklin stage, plays Doris, the woman who hires Kris. Up and coming actress Lillian Pringle plays Susan, Doris' daughter who does not believe in Santa. Kevin Yeager, a Stage North favorite, plays Fred, who lives next door to Doris and would like to be more than just neighbors.

Other Stage North regulars include Elaina Tanner, Nathan Hilton, Katie Hilton, Jesse Brutscher, M. Hollis Ford, Tadina Ikola, Jana Johnson, Ellie Mills, Holly Brandt, Bianca Purdy, Autumn Paualus, Samina Crabtree, Parker and Peyton Freeman, Jaden Wendt, Lauren Yeager, Anja Storbakken and Sharon Hartley. New faces include Martha Rustad, Nitasha Sander, Grace Porter, Grace Loney, Caleb Pence, Ethan Johnson, Michelle Ingels, Nicole Hering, Reese and Michelle Glynn, Kelly Brown, Haddy Aker, Lainey Balliz, Jenna and Megan Hanson, Rachel Hilton, Maureen Paulus, Isabel Pence, Abby Pratt, Emerald Scearcy, and Abigail and Olivia Tanner.

Rehearsals has begun as a cast of 44 prepares the holiday classic.

Performance are Dec. 14-17 at the Franklin Arts Center auditorium in Brainerd. For tickets, go online at or call 218-232-6810.

Events set at Jaques

AITKIN—The Jaques Art Center in Aitkin will host the annual "First Dibs' Luncheon" which is a sneak peek to the Christmas Marketplace from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 7. Tickets are $10 and includes a gourmet box lunch.

The doors open to the public for Christmas Marketplace on Nov. 8 and it runs through Dec. 22. After the World-Famous Fish House Parade on Nov. 24 Jaques will offer free hot apple cider and donuts with music by "YoYo MaMas."

On Dec. 5 and 6 will be the traditional St. Nicholas Day Teas with appetizers and proper British tea. This year's guest speaker is Mary Wasche, a mystery/romantic suspense novelist and the event is being called "The Romance of Christmas." Tickets are $20.

An added event this year is the "Spirit of the Arts," a Christmas social from 5:50-8 p.m. Dec. 14. Appetizers, holiday punch and assortment of wines and desserts with specialty coffee and tea will be served. Tickets are $20.

Quartet to perform in NYM

NEW YORK MILLS—Minneapolis-St. Paul quartet, Zeitgeist, will perform 8 p.m. Nov. 9 at the New York Mills Public Schools.

The show, titled "Pine Eyes," was translated and adapted from Carlo Collodi's beloved "The Adventures of Pinocchio" by Martin Breznick in 2008 as a commission from the Walker Art Center.

Zeitgeist is a chamber ensemble comprised of four musicians: piano, woodwinds and two percussionists, which plays new musical compositions. One of the longest established such groups in the country, Zeitgeist commissions and presents a wide variety of new music for audiences across the U.S. The quartet collaborate with poets, choreographers, directors and artists of all types to create imaginative work which challenges the boundaries of traditional chamber music. The members of Zeitgeist are Heather Barringer and Patti Cudd on percussion, Pat O'Keefe on woodwinds and Nicola Melville on piano.

Joining Zeitgeist as the narrator for this performance is mezzo-soprano, KrisAnne Weiss. She has performed leading roles in many operas, including The Dangerous Liaisons, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Carmen and Madama Butterfly and has appeared with the Fargo Moorhead Opera, Minnesota Opera, the Bakken Trio, Mississippi Valley Orchestra, Bel Canto Chorus of Milwaukee, Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra and the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. Weiss completed her master of music and doctor of musical arts degrees at the University of Minnesota, where she received the University Fellowship and the Schuessler Graduate Prize in Voice.

"Pine Eyes" will first be performed for students in kindergarten through sixth grade earlier in the school day Nov. 9.

Tickets are $15 at the door or $12 in advance, with Cultural Center members receiving a $2 discount. Student tickets are $5; preschoolers are free. For this show only, get one free adult admission with each paid $5 student ticket, and a family maximum of $30.

To purchase tickets, call the Cultural Center at 218-385-3339, or visit for more information.

Exhibit on display at Northern Pacific Center

The Soap Factory presents "Rethinking Public Spaces project, Trestle Support Systems," by

Pete Driessen to be displayed through Saturday at the Northern Pacific Center site in Brainerd. Created with red pine wood and metal hardware, Trestle Support Systems is a solo public art project presenting two site specific installations, Trestle and Trestle Worker, reflecting the architectural spatiality of the former rail yard spaces, referencing empowerment of the past community worker and utilizing ideas of affective stimuli, physical embodiment and rural vacancy.

The duo installations include two sound works composed by Michael Masura Flora.

Driessen is a Minneapolis based multipractice visual artist, curator, and cultural producer who creates abstract and sociopolitical paintings, mixed media ship fleets, found object installations, conceptual art statements, interdisciplinary public art and performative participatory projects. Driessen received his master's of fine arts degree from Vermont College of Fine Arts,

Montpelier, VT, and a bachelor's of arts degree from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul. Driessen was named Minneapolis City Pages 2015 Artist of the Year, and has been awarded numerous regional grants and awards.

He currently directs and curates a hybridic, experimental garage-based gallery known as TuckUnder Projects that specializes in emerging and midcareer artists focusing on conceptual visual arts practice, curatorial projects and institutional critique.

The Soap Factory, a nonprofit organization in Minneapolis, is a laboratory for artistic experimentation and innovation, dedicated to supporting artists and engaging audiences through the production and presentation of contemporary art in a unique and historic environment.

Author Frank Weber to appear

BAXTER—Pierz native Frank Weber, author of "Murder Book," published by North Star Press in May will present an author talk from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Tuesday at Northern Lakes Senior Living Community Room in Baxter.

The event is free and open to the public.

Weber's adult fiction novel captures much of his real-life professional experiences interwoven with personal details of his childhood growing up in a family of 12 in the small rural town of Pierz. "Murder Book," a law enforcement term for homicide case, is packed with authentic investigative details based on his own work and his own life experiences.

Weber is a forensic psychologist who has completed assessments for homicide, sexual assault, and domestic abuse cases. His work has ranged from assessing murderers chained to the cement floor in the basement of a prison and assessing psychopaths to providing therapy for wealthy professionals who've engaged in multiple affairs. He has testified as an expert witness in numerous sexual assault and homicide cases, written seven different treatment workbooks, and in 2015 published a training series for psychologists which has been accredited by the Minnesota Board of Psychology. He has received the President's Award from the Minnesota Correctional Association for his forensic work, and recently received an award for excellence in his clinical work.

The book follows Jon Frederick, who spent his adolescence protecting his mentally ill brother and worrying about his parents' farm as it headed toward bankruptcy. So when Mandy Baker, the alluring new girl in town, pursued him, he was easily enamored. But on the day he ended their tryst, Mandy vanished. There is no doubt in the small Minnesota town of Pierz that the flirtatious girl is dead, and there is little doubt that Jon got away with murder.

A decade later, Jon is made an investigator with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. While investigating a case near his hometown, Jon quietly reopens the murder book on Mandy Baker and begins to see commonalities between Mandy's disappearance and his new case. Digging up the past raises intriguing possibilities with an old friend, Serena Bell—but also forces them to work through old betrayals. As the investigation intensifies, Jon realizes he has crossed paths with the killer before.

'Greater Tuna' to hit Little Falls stage

LITTLE FALLS—Great River Arts will presents the fall dinner theater production of "Greater Tuna" written by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard Nov. 9-11 and Nov. 16-18.

"Greater Tuna" is directed by Jason Schommer with assistance from Kimberly Perry and Melissa Peterson and produced in part by a grant from the Five Wings Arts Council.

Doors open at 5 p.m. for cocktail hour, dinner at 6 p.m. with the show beginning at 7 p.m. Dinner will be catered by A.T. the Black & White Restaurant.

The description of the play is: "It's 1981 and just another day in Tuna, the third smallest town in Texas where the Lion's Club is too liberal and Patsy Cline will never die. With radio hosts Thurston Wheelis and Arles Struvie bringing the not-so-breaking news to the greater Tuna area on Radio Station OKKK the expected is surprisingly unexpected. The lively radio show consists of special appearances by an incredibly dedicated although horribly inaccurate weatherman, an overzealous animal rights activist who strives to find homes for every last stray dog, a used gun salesmen who guarantees the deadliness of their goods, a drunken yet adamant witness of an otherworldly craft in the sky, a hilariously opinionated talk show host, among many others. With news specials this obscure, it is amazing the radio station even stays on the air."

"Greater Tuna" is a fast paced comedy that highlights the exaggerated stereotypes of the citizens of a little town that time and the world forgot.This fall's production spotlights 10 actors who play 20 larger than life characters in this comedy.

"While Tuna is a community fraught with foolishness, willing ignorance, and values straight from the Confederate south, the characters are portrayed in an endearing fashion that will leave the audience in stitches," a news release stated. "Their outrageous and absurd antics are illustrated by regular petitions for censorship of dictionaries for words that might be offensive or misunderstandable to pre-college students and a murder mystery revolving around a man's body found dressed in a women's bathing suit. Characters careen through the radio program sharing their irreverent views on life, politic, and the world outside their beloved Tuna, Texas. "The comedic tone of this play is exponentially increased due to the fact that the characters are completely ignorant of their own ignorance."

Tickets are $35 for adults or $280 for a reserved table of eight. Tickets can be purchased online at or in person at Great River Arts or by phone at 320-632-0960. Tickets will not be sold at the door.