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Entertainment Briefs - Sept. 13

“Jason VS Nature! A Night of Comedy!” starring Jason Schommer and Friends will hit the stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Great River Arts Center in downtown Little Falls. Submitted Photo 1 / 4
This mural was recently completed at The Crossing Arts Alliance in downtown Brainerd. Submitted Photo 2 / 4
Big Ben, the nickname for the Great Bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace Westminster in London, is one of many attractions people will see if they go on a travel study tour with Central Lakes College. The theater travel study course to London is planned in March 2019. Submitted Photo 3 / 4
The Crossing Arts Alliance will offer a flower arrangement workshop from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 15, with instructor Mary Schaefbauer of Sonnenblume Flowers. Submitted Photo 4 / 4

Crossing Arts seeks artists for '8x8' fundraiser

The Crossing Arts Alliance in Brainerd is seeking artists to make artwork for the nonprofit's upcoming 8x8 Art Auction and Gala fundraiser scheduled Oct. 4.

Artists are invited to stop at TCAA, 711 Laurel St., Brainerd, to pick up a canvas. All mediums are welcome, but finished work must be 8-by-8 inches in size. Completed work must be returned by Sept. 28. Participating artists will receive a reduced entry fee to the gala.

The time of the gala is 5-7 p.m. and hors d'oeuvres will be served. A wine tasting will be provided by CashWise Liquors and Roundhouse Brewery will offer craft beer. Michelle Sakry-Winkelman will provide live musical entertainment.

Cost is $20 at the door, or $10 for participating artists. All funds raised will go toward expanding and enhancing the arts programming offered by TCAA.

Visit or call 218-833-0416 for more details.

TCAA offers floral arrangement workshop

The Crossing Arts Alliance will offer a flower arrangement workshop from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 15, with instructor Mary Schaefbauer of Sonnenblume Flowers.

People will learn the skills and design techniques to create a floral arrangement with Brainerd-grown flowers. Participants will take home their centerpiece arrangement, as well as a set of skills that can be used again and again, any time flowers come into one's life, a news release stated. Schaefbauer has worked in professional floral design, and has been growing her own flowers, for three years. She will provide all of the flowers for the class.

Cost is $50 for Crossing Arts members, $55 for non-members. Call TCAA at 218-833-0416 to enroll. Pre-registration is required.

Dusty Heart to open Grassroots Concerts season

NISSWA—Dusty Heart duo Barbara Jean and Molly Dean is the opening act of the 2018 concert season for Grassroots Concerts.

Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28, at the Live Well Nightclub and Coffee Bar in the Journey Church in Nisswa. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children

under 12 with listening attention when accompanied by an adult. Seating is first come, first served.

"This the first time the relatively new duo has played in Nisswa. Rich vocal harmonies merge with intimate layers of guitar, fiddle and banjo to define the lush sound of Dusty Heart," organizers stated in a news release. "Barbara Jean and Molly Dean are considered by many to be two of the most talented women in the Minnesota music scene. They now combine their voices for a powerful sound that takes on a life of its own."

Their debut album, "Dusty Heart," has earned rave reviews. It is described as "chilling, resplendent Americana" by The Current, Minnesota Public Radio.

"Molly and I connected through the Twin Cities music scene," Jean stated. "We bonded immediately over a mutual passion for harmony and our shared love of adventure, vast landscapes and the open road."

Dusty Heart has crafted a sound bridging together the diverse musical worlds of roots, indie, pop and folk.

At each concert, Grassroots organizers welcome nonperishable food or cash donation to the local food shelf.

CLC plans London travel study program

Central Lakes College theater instructor Patrick Spradlin will lead a theater travel study course

in March 2019.

Students and non-students interested may sign up for the class, "The London Theatre Experience." The trip is scheduled March 8-16, 2019.

"I've been taking students and community members to London for several years now," Spradlin stated in a news release. "It is one of the more popular travel study programs the college has ever offered."

People meet for a few orientation sessions in the two months leading up to the trip based on the participants' schedules. In these sessions, people receive an introduction to overseas travel, to

the landmarks and venues of London and to the current theater season in the city's West End.

"I don't use a travel study organization, so there's no hop on/off a bus with this trip," Spradlin stated. "The time in London is primarily self-guided, with a lot of pre-planning, but with the ability to be spontaneous and spend time in a way that individuals are most interested in doing."

Those enrolled in the class receive more academic background, and have particular assignments to complete during the trip.

The essential trip costs including airfare, hotel and transportation is estimated at $1,700. People may budget for meals, theater tickets, admission charges to attractions and souvenirs.

"I tell people to budget around $3,000 as a very liberal estimate," Spradlin stated.

A $150 deposit is due by Sept. 28 to hold an airline seat and hotel room. Final commitment to the trip's cost is not due until Dec. 7. The group size is limited to 20.

Those interested in joining the trip or who have questions should contact Spradlin at 218-855-8255 or via email at

St. Francis Community Chorale to meet

LITTLE FALLS—St. Francis Community Chorale meets Thursdays from 7-8:30 p.m. beginning Sept. 20 in Room 242 at St. Francis Music Center in Little Falls.

No auditions are necessary. The group sings a wide variety of music from sacred to Broadway to pop. Fall rehearsals will focus on preparing for a Christmas concert, which will be Dec. 7.

For the past 10 years, the Community Chorale has gathered together hundreds of singers

who meet other adults, sing together and present concerts.

The Community Chorale is free and open to everyone thanks to grants from the Five Wings

Arts Council. To sign up or for more information call St. Francis Music Center at 320-632-0637.

St. Francis Music Center is a community school for the arts sponsored by the Franciscan

Sisters of Little Falls.

Minnesota Salsa Fest set Sept. 22

LONG PRAIRIE—The Central Chapter of the Sustainable Farming Association invites the community to attend the second annual Minnesota Salsa Fest from 1-10 p.m. Sept. 22 at the Todd County Fairgrounds in Long Prairie.

"In celebration of food grown locally in central Minnesota and the rich cultural diversity of the local farming and food community, Salsa Fest features live music, dancing, local vendors and fun for the whole family," a news release stated.

Minnesota Salsa Fest includes salsa-making demonstrations, salsa ice cream for sample and sale developed by the University of Minnesota Ice Cream Lab and served by the Todd County dairy princesses and local vendors selling salsa and other farmers' market goods.

A salsa contest will take place 1-3 p.m., at which people taste contest entries and vote for their favorite. Public votes will be counted to determine the top three salsas per category of red, verde or pico de gallo that will face the contest judges in the final round from 5-6 p.m.

"I had the privilege to judge the salsa contest in 2017, and I was surprised at the many distinct and unique varieties," Luan Thomas-Brunkhorst, director of the Long Prairie Area Chamber of Commerce, stated in the release. "Salsa Fest showcases area businesses including growers, food producers and restaurants. It's a great opportunity to capture some of what Long Prairie has to offer, while also having quite a bit of fun."

Another highlight of this year's fest is the live musical entertainment from 6-9 p.m. by The Stearns County Pachanga Society. As an organic musical experiment, the Stearns County Pachanga Society aims to combine the participatory musical spirit of Cuban Cabildos, Brazilian Samba clubs and Spanish Charangas. People may bring their own percussion instruments, dance and enjoy the rhythms.

Admission at the door is $5 per person; children 12 and under are free.

Vendor, sponsor and salsa contest applications are still being accepted. For more information and applications in both English and Spanish, visit or contact event coordinator Zachary Paige at or 631-807-5163.

2018 Minnesota Salsa Fest sponsors include the University of Minnesota Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, Local Harvest Market, Minnesota Grown, CentraCare Health-Long Prairie, Sprout MN, Coborn's Long Prairie, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education-North Central, Buckwheat Growers Association of Minnesota, American Heart Association, Good Food Access Fund, Long Prairie Farmers Market, Long Prairie Sanitation, Todd County Farm Bureau, Cass County Farm Bureau, Finnegans Brewing, Knights of Columbus, American Heritage Bank, Central Minnesota Credit Union and Mid-Central Federal Savings Bank.

Comedy night set in Little Falls

LITTLE FALLS—"Jason VS Nature! A Night of Comedy!" starring Jason Schommer and Friends will hit the stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Great River Arts Center in downtown Little Falls.

Tickets are $13 and all seating is general admission. Tickets can be purchased by phone at 320-632-0960, at the Great River Arts office during business hours, or at the door. Tickets may also be purchased online at

"The laughs will be coming fast and furious in this outrageous comedy about the survival of the fittest (and funniest)," the news release stated. "The world around Jason continuously seems to conspire against him, whether he is being attacked by spiders and centipedes, stalked by a deranged wild turkey, or on the run from an overzealous goat—there is no place that's safe for Jason to hide. From a swamp to a tropical island to the northwoods and every place in between, nature has a score to settle with Jason, but he refuses to surrender."

Prudence from Bowlus and her friends will perform in "Titanic: Prudence from Bowlus Will Go On and On and On!" a funny spoof of the movie "Titanic" with a central Minnesota twist.

The news release states, "When Prudence and friends signed up for a leisurely cruise down the Mississippi on Barry Block Boat Tours newest ship S.S. Titanic, little did they know they would be floating right towards disaster. Will history repeat itself or can Prudence save the day and the ship?"

The cast includes Robyn Gray, Susy Prosapio, Laurie Koll, Rick Converse, Jim Norwood, Steven Weiss, Kimberly Perry and Allen Riedeman. Live music will be provided throughout the night with Kelly Cordes.

Schommer is an actor, director, stand-up comedian and storyteller who spent two years as the opening act for comedy legend Louie Anderson in Las Vegas and continues to tour with Louie regularly. A regular performer at The Moth, Schommer has won numerous story slam competitions and was invited to perform at the Grand Slam at The Fitzgerald Theatre in St. Paul. Schommer has directed and acted in numerous productions including Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," "Evita," "Grease," "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," "The Pajama Game," "Murder at the Howard Johnson's" and "Singin' in the Rain."

Schommer has worked in New York City for The Rosie O'Donnell Show and for Richard Frankel Productions, a Broadway producer. As a stand-up comic, Schommer has performed all over the U.S. as well as Canada and Japan. He recently released his first live comedy album "Confessions of a Local Celebrity" and worked behind the scenes in Hollywood as a stand-in for Louie Anderson in the FX television series "Baskets."