AHS takes One Act play to sections; public show set

AITKIN-The Aitkin High School's production of "The Chronicles of Jane Book Seven" by Alan Haehnel took first place in the Minnesota State High School League Subsection One Act Play competition hosted at Aitkin High School.

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The production is directed by Kelly Blake.

The students will perform the play at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1, for the public at AHS auditorium in preparation for the Section One Act Play competition at Hibbing Community College the following day. The play is 35 minutes long.

Free will donations will be accepted to go towards the theater department.

The cast: Jane is played by Anne Courtemanche; Norman, Jerry Christian; Mrs.Sniperly, Kindrid Sandberg; Computer, Jezeriel Houser; Stewart, Joey Haasken; Cecelia, Amy Gaulke; Time, Maddie Buisman; Procrastination, Brett Bosserman; Wall Stud, Woodrow Rian; Wall, Esme Pool; Nymphs of Slumber, Alex Brucker, Sophia Ryan, Carolin Friedrich; Bed, Jorde Rinta, Kaylee Bosserman; Chair, Thomas Gustin; Power Cord, Kaila Fremling; and Tech, Sam LaLond.

Stage North Theatre Company announces season

The Stage North Theatre Company is gearing up for its 2019 season.

Celebrating five years this May, the company is throwing a party to say "Thank You!" to the community at 4 p.m. May 18 at Yesterday's Gone in Brainerd. There will be cake, ice cream and entertainment.

"We want to extend a huge thank you to all the patrons and sponsors who supported Stage North from our humble beginnings to a well-established company known for producing Shakespeare, original works like 'Baby Face' and adaptations of classic, proven stories like 'Little Women,' 'A Christmas Carol' and 'Dracula,'" organizers stated in a news release. "Stage North truly puts the community in community theatre."

Stage North will kicks off its 2019 season with "Stepping Out," a comedy about the attempts of some working class amateurs to overcome their inhibitions and left feet in a low-rent dance studio in northern Minnesota. Mavis, a former professional chorus girl tries her hardest to teach the bumbling amateurs some tap steps for an upcoming recital. But before the dancing begins Mavis must mediate the minor dramas that erupt amongst this motley but loveable crew on their way to triumph at their recital. Liza Minnelli starred as Mavis in the popular film.

During the summer Stage North will offer an intense acting workshop for youth ages 9-17 called S.N.A.P. Jr.-Stage North Acting Program. From 9 a.m. t o 2 p.m. July 29 to Aug. 2, students up to 20, will meet at the Franklin auditorium. Cost is $35 for the week.

The fall production will be "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"-a dramatization of Robert Louis Stevenson's well-known novel about a London lawyer who investigates the strange occurrences

between his old friend, Dr. Henry Jekyll and the evil Edward Hyde. Performances will be Oct. 23-26.

For the holiday season Stage North will produce an original adaptation from the famous story by

Hans Christian Anderson, "The Snow Queen"-the story of Gerda, a little girl who searches for her friend Kai when he is bewitched and imprisoned by the Snow Queen in her ice palace. Gerda's innocence charms everyone she meets along the way. The production will run Dec. 11-15.

Season tickets are available online at www.stagenorththeater.com, by calling 218-232-6810 or by stopping in at the A 2 Z Yarn Shop on the main level of the Franklin Arts Center.

Artist teaches Valentine cartoon class

AITKIN-Cartoonist Duane Barnhart will teach a "Let's Draw Valentine Cartoons!" class from 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, at the Jaques Art Center in Aitkin. The class is for youth and adults. Students will learn cool techniques for cartoon creation using basic shapes. Materials will be there to make your own Valentine cards. Class cost is $10, but the art center provides scholarships to those in need.

For more information call the art center at 218-927-2363.

Register for bus trip starts Friday

AITKIN --The Jaques Art Center hosts its Kaleidoscope program on the first Saturday of every month unless it falls on a holiday weekend, then it's the second Saturday. In lieu of a March 2 Kaleidoscope class the Jaques has joined forces with Aitkin Community Education to take a bus trip to the new Bell Museum of Natural History in St. Paul. The Jaques Art Center will pay for the entry tickets for students K-12. The cost of bus transportation is $25. Students must be accompanied by an adult.

The attraction for the Jaques Art Center is the magnificent art displayed there created by Aitkin's own hometown boy, Francis Lee Jaques. Jaques worked for the Bell Museum for many years and painted the backgrounds for the large dioramas. A diorama is a scene that contains three-dimensional figures and objects with a painted background that puts them in their natural

setting. In Jaques' case, he painted lifelike scenes for wolves, moose and other Minnesota and world-wide animals. The dioramas have been moved from the old Bell Museum, refurbished to its new home near the St. Paul University of Minnesota campus. In addition to a guided tour of

the Jaques work, visitors will also be able to see the giant wooly mammoth on display and go to the state-of-the-art planetarium show and the "please-touch" learning room, a news release stated. People may bring a lunch or buy one at the cafeteria.

Aitkin Community Education will start to register for this bus trip Friday, Feb. 1. Online registration is preferred, but people may also call 218-927-2115 extension 2153. The bus will leave at 9 a.m. March 2 from Rippleside Elementary in Aitkin.

Galactic Cowboy Orchestra performs Friday

LITTLE FALLS-The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. at Great River Arts in Little Falls. Tickets are available at GRA's website at greatart.org/gco or by phone at 320-632-0960.

Galactic Cowboy Orchestra formed in 2009 and ever since they have stretched the limits of their music limits with multiple albums of rock music with poetic lyrics, sophisticated harmonies, dynamic and technical complexities, a news release stated. GCO writes and performs original pieces of music but also showcases their love of other music with covers like "All Your Love," "Whipping Post" to "When the Levee Breaks."

GCO is made of four musicians and two dogs. Lisi Wright, on violin/vocals, started playing the violin at age 5 and from there she played with multiple country bands through the years. Dan Neale, on guitars/vocals, is one of the Twin Cities' most adored pickers, a news release stated. He has played with Bo Diddley and has performed as a guest artist and a fill-in for Pat Donohue on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion." John Wright, on bass/vocals, first made his mark in the Minnesota music scene in 1989 where his versatility on the bass found him onstage with guitarist Bill McLaughlin. Alec Tackmann, on drums/percussion/vocals, started on the piano as a kindergartener until he switched to the drums in his early teens. From then on, he stuck with the drums by attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. After four years and completing his bachelor's of music degree, Tackmann returned to Minnesota to build a career as an independent musician; keeping a rigorous performing schedule while maintaining a private teaching studio of roughly 45 students per week.

'What Mental Illness Feels Like' exhibit opens

LITTLE FALLS-Artist Barb Kellogg's exhibition titled "What Mental Illness Feels Like-Images & Stories" will be on display through March 2 in the Front Gallery at Great River Arts. The exhibit consists of images and stories representing what mental illness feels like to the people who live with it, as visually interpreted by photographer Barb Kellogg.

An opening reception will be 6-8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, where people can meet the artist and GRA staff and board members.

The goal of the exhibit is to create a connection with the viewer through photography and storytelling, decrease stigma and increase awareness of mental illness; and, ultimately, to humanize it.

"What Mental Illness Feels Like-Images & Stories" is a personal photography project inspired by conversations with a friend who battled depression.

"The result of those conversations was a better understanding, not of the textbook definition of his illness, but of how it felt to him in terms I could relate to," Kellogg stated in a news release. "I wondered how I, as a photographer, could translate mental illness so that people without it could visually see how it feels, perhaps even relate in some way."

The project consists of using conceptual photography to relate the feelings described in interviews with people living with mental illness. Conceptual photography is a way of showing feelings, concepts or stories-a "visual analogy" created with photography instead of words, Kellogg stated.

"Each visual analogy photograph will also have the person's story next to it to enhance the meaning of the image," Kellogg stated. "For many participants I created black and white portraits, as I feel the portraits further humanize the experience for the viewer and help to reinforce that mental illness can happen to anyone."

Great River Arts is funded in part by the Five Wings Arts Council and the Legacy Amendment. Gallery is open from 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. Saturday.

Go online at www.greatart.org or on its Facebook page to be notified of upcoming events.

BookEnds features Poet Laura Hanson

WADENA-Poet Laura Hansen will be the featured guest in an author event called BookEnds at 11 a.m. Feb. 9 at the Uptown in Wadena.

Shelly Weinstein will be the moderator for this year's BookEnds program, a monthly literary event that connects readers and writers in outstate Minnesota.

Hansen is a regular contributor to regional magazines and literary journals. Her poetry has been featured on Lakeland Public Television, Northern Community Radio and National Public Radio and in the anthologies "Fog and Woodsmoke," published by Lost Hills Books and "The Heart of All That Is" published by Holy Cow Press.

Hansen has been awarded three Five Wing Arts Council Individual Artist Initiative Grants and is the winner of the 2015 Stevens Poetry Manuscript Prize. Her collection, "Midnight River," was recently named a Midwest Book Awards Finalist. She has judged writing contests for The Talking Stick Literary Journal, Brainerd Writers Alliance, National Federation of State Poetry Societies and for Central Lakes College. A summa cum laude graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead and former bookstore owner, she currently lives in her childhood home in Little Falls. Her newest poetry chapbook, "Déjà vu," was released by Finishing Line Press in the summer of 2017.

Others guests scheduled for BookEnds include: Mary Krugerud, author of "The Girl in Building C," in March; Thomas R. Smith, poet laureate for River Falls and author of "Windy Day at Kabekona: New and Selected Poems" in April; Lori Sturdevant and David Durenburger of "When Republicans Were Progressive" in May; and Lin Enger author of "The High Divide" in June.

For more information contact the Wadena County Historical Society at 218-631-9079 or email 603wchs@arvig.net.

BookEnds is free and open to the public. It is produced in collaboration with Travelin' Storyseller and the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center. Funding for BookEnds has been provided by generous donors and a grant from Five Wings Arts Council.