Norm's Bait & Tackle to perform

Norm's Bait & Tackle Choir will perform for the fifth time in the bandstand at Gregory Park in Brainerd, with a concert 7 p.m. Thursday, June 21.

This Brainerd area group plays a wide variety of music and has performed to audiences throughout central Minnesota.

"Their unique style, zany antics and humorous song parodies are sure to capture your heart and tickle your funny bone," according to a news release. "They play the best hunting and fishing tunes of all time along with some good old boy cowboy songs. Their arrangements of classic rock 'n' roll and country favorites are sure to make you clap your hands and sing along."

All the members of this group have played in other bands for many years and have entertained audiences at convention centers, community centers, fairs and festivals throughout the Midwest.

Bandstand concerts are free and open to the public. People can bring a lawn chair, a blanket and be ready to enjoy the music. The rain-out site is at The Center, 803 Kingwood St., Brainerd.

If the concerts are moved indoors, signs will be posted on the bandstand and it will be announced on WJJY radio.

Concerts in the park are a collaboration between Brainerd Parks and Recreation Department and The Center. Concerts are made possible by funding from grants from the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation and the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Five Wings Arts Council and the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Brainerd grad plans book signing

NISSWA-Lissa (Waller) Carlino, a Brainerd native, published her debut novel, "Woman

Enough," and will host a book signing at 1 p.m. July 15 at Stonehouse Coffee in Nisswa.

"Woman Enough" is an adult contemporary novel about an exotic dancer named Becca who faces down social stigma and struggles with addiction as she fights for her right to dignity in a world that would prefer she stay silent.

Carlino is a 1998 graduate of Brainerd High School and former Central Lakes College student and community actor, now married and living in New Zealand with two young sons. She began her career as an addictions treatment counselor after earning a psychology degree from Johnson State College in Vermont. Carlino has been a writer for years, but only dreamed she would publish a novel.

"I began writing this book in 2015 and the timing just felt right to publish now," Carlino states in a news release. "I hope people can find strength within its pages."

Early reviews include several five-stars from the book-related website GoodReads, including, "One need not share Becca's every experience to find the story relatable. 'Woman Enough' is a quick read with a solid story line that kept my attention to the end."

As a companion piece with the book, on the website, the author produced 12 illustrated profiles of women she admires, many of whom are from the Brainerd lakes area. Others are from various locations in the United States. Her latest high-profile interview is with Emily Lindin, author and documentary filmmaker of "The Unslut Project."

The 280-page novel is available as an e-book at various online retailers and in soft cover from It is also available at select Minnesota locations.

Five books are for sale through WeARE The Clinic in Brainerd for its June 28 event at Madden's on Gull Lake, with all proceeds donated to them.

Mic event set

Lakes area community members are invited to a Youth on Stage Open Mic event from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday, June 25, and most every fourth Monday of the month.

This event is sponsored by Brainerd Elks Lodge No. 615 through an Elks National Foundation grant and by the Brainerd Eagles Club No. 215. This monthly youth-oriented event is geared for those age 25 and younger who have a "family friendly" talent to share on a year-round basis, a news release stated.

Talent may include singing, playing an instrument, storytelling, essay reading, poetry, tap dancing, comedy, magic, a band or ensemble to perform to live audiences. Eight 15-minute time slots are open on a first come basis. Those wishing to sign up should go to or do so at the venue, the Eagles Club, on the night of a performance.

Artist to offer watercolor workshop

Aitkin-based artist Duane Barnhart will offer a watercolor workshop 5:30-8:30 p.m. June 29 at The Crossing Arts Alliance in Brainerd.

Barnhart will lead students through a three-hour painting project using watercolor techniques to create a "Spring Birches" art piece. This is a perfect class for beginners and those who have never picked up a brush, but still fun for more experienced watercolorists, a news release stated.

All supplies to create a 9-by-12-inch painting are included in the workshop fee of $45 for Crossing Arts members, or $50 for non-members.

Barnhart is a member of the Northstar Watermedia Society and the Minnesota Watercolor Society. His paintings have appeared in juried exhibits, galleries and in private collections throughout the region.

For more information or to enroll, contact TCAA at 218-833-0416 or

Lakes area artist's work on display

Brainerd lakes area artist John Wgeishofski's paintings are on display in a new exhibit

at Brainerd Public Library. The exhibit includes 25 paintings in oil and watercolor on subjects such as animals, still life and landscape scenery.

Wgeishofski began painting at age 70 when a fellow artist, Vickie Reph, introduced him to

local artist and teacher Donna Maves. In 2016, one of his encaustic watercolor paintings received third place in the juried art show at the Jaques Center in Aitkin.

Wgeishofski, a member of The Crossing Arts Alliance, is a Brainerd High School graduate and he attended St. Cloud State University and St. Cloud Beauty College. He has been a hairstylist for 59 years and served in offices in local, state and national hairdresser associations. He also is a member of the Nisswa Garden Club.

His work will be on display at the library through July 30. The exhibit is free of charge. Exhibits of work by local artists are coordinated by the Brainerd Area Art Club and the Brainerd Public Library. For more information, contact the library at 218-829-5574.

Rock the Park returns to Little Falls

LITTLE FALLS-The ninth annual Rock the Park concert will be June 28 at Maple Island Park in Little Falls.

The event starts with Chalk the Walk, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., where contestants will create and compete with original chalk designs in front of Little Falls businesses with the winner announced at the beginning of Rock the Park. Kids Art in the Park, 4-6 p.m., will feature free art projects, a collaborative community art project, theater games and library-hosted storytelling.

Rock the Park, a free outdoor concert, will feature LaVerne and the StarLites at 6 p.m. and headliners Brothers Tone and The Big Groove 7-10 p.m. on the banks of the Mississippi River. The event is organized by Great River Arts and sponsored by many local businesses, including this year's primary business sponsor, The Rustic Saloon. Great River Arts will accept donations to help support Rock the Park and other GRA programming in the Little Falls area.

LaVerne and the StarLites will feature polka and classic country favorites. Band musicians are Dean Dirkes, Daryl Dirkes, Ross Scalice, Tom Pattock, Gene Retka, Dwight Nelson and LaVerne Bzdok.

Bzdok, the group's leader and namesake, has been playing polka music for 53 years. She got her start at age 13 as a stand-in on guitar for the Jolly Fisherman polka band.

Brothers Tone and The Big Groove will perform a set list of classic rock, funk, rhythm and blues and country.

Field of Dreams set at St. Mathias

This summer, Foxfire Festivals will host two concerts at The Farm On St. Mathias, south of Brainerd.

Them Coulee Boys with Hans Blix and the Weapons Inspectors will perform July 7. Them Coulee Boys played at the Farm on St. Mathias during the 2016 Field of Dreams concert series. The band is a four-man banjo stop band. Hans Blix is the lakes area's homegrown bluegrass band.

Dead Larry with Jill and Tony and Zachary Strong will perform Aug 11. Dead Larry plays a blend of high-energy rock, dance and funk music. Opening the show is Brainerd's own Zachary Strong. Following Strong is Jill and Tony. Tony is known as the banjo player for the band Social Animals.

Doors open at 5 p.m. with music beginning at 7 p.m. There is a $10 suggested donation at the gate.

For more information, visit

Five Wings seeks board members

Five Wings Arts Council is seeking representatives from Cass, Crow Wing and Morrison counties to serve a three-year term on its board of directors.

Council members are charged with setting policy, as well as approving funding programs and services designed to improve the lives of the people in Region Five through arts and culture projects. They also review and make funding award decisions about grant applications submitted to the council. In addition, Five Wings Arts Council members represent the council at various arts events in the region and state.

The volunteer board of directors meets 10 times per year and is compensated for mileage to

board meetings.

Council member candidates should have experience participating in, advocating for,

and/or supporting the arts. For a full description of the responsibilities and expectations of

board members contact Vicki at vick.fwacFive Wings Arts

Council, PO Box 118, Staples, MN 56479 or email

The Five Wings Arts Council is one of 11 designated regional arts councils which distribute

both legislative and private funds to artists and arts organizations throughout the counties of

Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd, and Wadena.

For more information regarding Five Wings Arts Council, call 877-654-2166 or email: