Entertainment Briefs - Aug. 20

Teen Challenge choir to perform Minnesota Teen Challenge Choir will perform at 7 p.m. today, Aug. 20, in the bandstand at Gregory Park in Brainerd. The choir sings songs of hope and share their stories of redemption and healing. For more than 25 ...

Artist Denise Bunkert’s pastel work titled "Woods Edge" will be among the work on display at Ripple River Gallery on Bay Lake, along with work by wood artisan Bob Carls. (Submitted)
Artist Denise Bunkert’s pastel work titled "Woods Edge" will be among the work on display at Ripple River Gallery on Bay Lake, along with work by wood artisan Bob Carls. (Submitted)

Teen Challenge choir to perform

Minnesota Teen Challenge Choir will perform at 7 p.m. today, Aug. 20, in the bandstand at Gregory Park in Brainerd.

The choir sings songs of hope and share their stories of redemption and healing. For more than 25 years Minnesota Teen Challenge has been restoring hope to teens and adults struggling with

drug and alcohol addiction. Teen Challenge offer both a long-term faith based recovery program and short-term treatment program, serving individuals with a broad spectrum of addiction issues; from those seeking treatment for the first time, to those who have been struggling with addiction for many years.

Bandstand concerts are free and open to the public. People can bring a lawn chair, a blanket and be ready to enjoy the music. 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 collaboration between Brainerd Parks and Recreation Department and The Center. Funding for the concerts has been provided by community donations.

Final Music in the Park concert

CROSBY - The Cuyuna Lakes Chamber of Commerce announces the final Music in the Park Series for the 2015 season. The concert will be held at 6 p.m. Aug. 27 in Crosby Memorial Park.

First up, we have Mike and Jan Cherry, who have lived in McGregor for 10 years. They play a mix of original songs, folk songs, country and country/rock tunes. Most are highly recognizable like John Denver, The Eagles, Olivia Newton John and John Fogerty.

Next up will be Hill City's Vern Bishop. People in the lakes area know him from events like Aitkin's Riverboat Days and Brainerd's Cowboy and Hobo Days. He has opened for big names in Nashville. He has headlined in places like Branson and Sandstone.

For more information go to or contact the Cuyuna Lakes Chamber at 218-546-8131.

Destiny Cruises throws tropical party cruise

Destiny Cruises, a luxury yacht, will host a tropical party cruise from 2-5 p.m. Aug. 28 on Gull Lake.


People can get their best Tommy Bahama or Hawaiian shirt on for the event. Live music will be provided by Bruce and Tiki D from Fort Myers Beach, Fla.

Expect plenty of steel drums, maracas and plenty of swing from this fun duo who specialize in island favorites like Jimmy Buffett and Bob Marley. Enjoy classic island songs like, "Cheeseburger in Paradise," "Come Monday," and "No Woman No Cry."

Go to for tickets or call 855-953-3784. Tickets for the cruise are $32.95 plus taxes for adults and $19.95 plus taxes for children.

Trivia night set at Ruttger's

DEERWOOD - Trivia Night is scheduled at 7:15 p.m. Aug. 30 at Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge.

Questions such as these will be asked of the teams: "What is the name of Huckleberry Hound's son?" "What state has the motto "Eureka?" "What was the name of the Minnesota Twins before they moved to Minnesota?"

This event is a benefit for the Bay Lake Environmental fund. Teams of up to eight players of all ages are welcome to participate and will compete to answer six rounds of 10 questions each, as well as a progressive question. The team who answers the most questions correctly will be declared the winner. Prizes will be awarded.

A $15-per-person entry fee includes an appetizer buffet. Registration starts at 6:45 p.m. and the trivia questions commence at 7:15 p.m.


Ruttger's also is seeking prize donations from either individuals or businesses. Contact Peggy Blistain at for more information.

Giant Outdoor Puppet Show set in New York Mills

NEW YORK MILLS - The New York Mills Civic and Commerce annual Corn Feed scheduled Friday will feature a giant puppet show created and performed by community members under the direction of artist and "Puppeteer-At-Large" Anne Sawyer-Aitch. The original play by Sawyer-Aitch weaves folklore from the Finnish national epic poem, the Kalevala, and the cultural heritage of the region. The play will be performed outdoors behind the Cultural Center at 7 p.m.

Sawyer-Aitch is returning to the Cultural Center for the fifth year. She has also worked with In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater, Steppingstone Theatre, Artstart, Gustavus Adolphus College,and many others. Her colorful larger-than-life puppets, carried on stilts and sticks by the volunteer performers, are enjoyed by the audience.

Award-winning Minneapolis musical duo, Curtis and Loretta also are back this year to provide the lovely musical melodies and creatively produced sound effects that make the pageant come to life.

This year's story, titled "King Kraken and the True Story of the Corn Feed," features some fantastical creatures including a witch, a green man and something lurking in the water. More than 20 community members, ranging in ages from 5 to 65, created the puppets, costumes and scenery, learning to walk on stilts, and rehearsing the performance throughout two weeks of workshops, build sessions and stilt practices.

For more information go to or call the Cultural Center at 218-385-3339.

Auditions announced for Pequot play

Auditions for Pequot Lakes Community Theatre's production of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast"

will be at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 9-10 in the high school theater.

"Disney's Beauty and the Beast," will be directed by Lauren Nickisch and choreographed by Amy Borash and it opens Nov. 13 with seven performances. Rehearsals begin Sept. 21 and will take place from 6:30-9:30 p.m. on weeknights.

All cast roles in the production are open. The cast is an ensemble of 12 named characters plus a large chorus. Actors age 8 and older who like to sing and dance are encouraged to audition. Actors age 8 to 14 need to be accompanied at the audition by an adult who is also interested in being involved with the show.

During the audition, actors will be asked to learn and perform a short song from the show, a short dance sequence and to read from the script. If they wish, actors may also bring a previously prepared song with recorded or sheet music accompaniment to further showcase their abilities. Shoes and clothing appropriate for movement should be worn.

Those who would like to volunteer their help behind the scenes can sign up at auditions, or by contacting Pequot Lakes Community Education at 218-568-9200.

Roles include: Belle, a plucky young woman from a provincial town; Maurice, an inventor and Belle's father; Gaston, a pompous and dim-witted "ladies man;" LeFou, a dim-witted lackey to Gaston Monsier D'Arque, proprietor of the lunatic asylum Cogsworth; an English major-domo of the castle who is becoming a clock; Lumiere, a French maître d' who is becoming a candelabra;

Babette, a maid who is becoming a feather duster; Mrs. Potts, a cook who is becoming a tea pot; Chip, Mrs. Pott's son who is becoming a teacup; Madame De La Grande Bouche, an opera singer who is becoming a wardrobe; The Beast, master of the castle who used to be a prince; Old Beggar Woman; Young Man; townspeople and servants.

"Disney's Beauty and the Beast" is presented through special arrangement with

The Pequot Lakes production is sponsored by Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Medical Center.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Five Wings Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

'Journey Through Trees' at Bay Lake area gallery

AITKIN - Painter Denise Bunkert and wood artisan Bob Carls celebrate their connection to the woodlands of Minnesota in "Journey Through Trees," the new exhibit at Ripple River Gallery that opened Wednesday and will be on display through Sept. 20.

Pastel and acrylic paintings by Bunkert will be accompanied by turned wood bowls and vessels by Carls will be on display with a reception to meet the artists from 2-4 p.m. Saturday.

Much like the many layers and seasons of life, Bunkert's paintings are enveloped in light and alive with layers of color and texture. Each of her paintings is the result of exploring nature and the inner workings of the human spirit.

Bunkert said, "While the subject matter of my paintings spans from vast landscapes to intimate views of tree bark, a couple of attributes remain true for my artwork: A love for nature and the healing qualities of art. My paintings are not just a reflection of the beauty found in nature or on the surface, but an exploration of deeper paths to inner beauty and healing, beneath all the fragile human layers."

In line with this belief, Bunkert was awarded several commissioned paintings for the Minnesota Children's Hospitals and the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Minnesota Children's Hospitals, the Mother Baby Center, Regions Hospital and the Lake Nokomis Clinic. Bunkert, Savage, also teaches at local art centers and galleries and exhibits regularly in local juried shows.

Carls creates functional and decorative lathe-turned wood vessels using traditional and contemporary woodworking processes, both on and off the lathe.

"My work focuses on function or implied function, acknowledging the history of the vessel," said Carls. "Drawing from my personal experience and value system, I strive for continuity, historical context and a high level of workmanship."

Carls finds inspiration in the environment, the seasonal changes in the lakes and woodlands surrounding his studio, and in the wood itself. Carls brings to his work a lifetime of study in art forms that range from improvisational music to the visual arts, especially photography, sculpture and film.

Turned woods vessels by Carls can be found in the permanent collections of the Minnesota State Historical Society, St. Paul; Waterloo Art Museum, Waterloo, Iowa; Waage Art Center, Fergus Falls; and corporate and private collections worldwide. Carls and his wife, Amy Sharpe, own and operate Ripple River Gallery.

For more information go to or call 218-678-2575.

Art center asking for public's help

LITTLE FALLS - Great River Arts is asking for public input for an upcoming curated photography exhibition titled, "Faces, Places & Traces of Morrison County." Great River Arts is sending local photographers out into the county to capture the stories and imagery evoked by the exhibition's title. Right now the gallery is looking for stories and general information about - "Faces," the who; "Places," the what; and "Traces" the where - that have had an impact on the development of Morrison County.

People can get an online submission form at if they know any people, places or traces left in Morrison County that should be included in the photographers' lists.

During November/December 2013, Great River Arts curated the exhibit "Faces of Morrison County" which was a 30 piece collection of black and white photos of people who have made an impact on the communities of Morrison County. Each photograph was accompanied by a short interview composed by a local author. The exhibition was a success and brought many people to the art center for the first time.

"We want to expand on the concept of the first 'Faces' exhibit, by adding 'Places' and 'Traces'," Jill Moore, Great River Arts executive director, said "capturing a more complete representation of our community and its history. The who, where and what made us who we are today."

The exhibit is expected to be in the gallery in November and December.

Call for book award nominations

The Friends of the St. Paul Public Library is calling for nominations for the 28th annual Minnesota Book Awards.

The Friends of the St. Paul Public Library kicked off the 18th season of awards on Aug. 1 with the opening of nominations for books published in 2015.

Eight categories recognize and celebrate the best in Minnesota literature: Children's Literature, General Non-fiction, Genre Fiction, Memoir & Creative Non-fiction, Minnesota, Novel & Short Story, Poetry, and Young People's Literature.

Authors, publishers, and agents are eligible to nominate a book by completing the nomination form online and submitting five non-returnable copies of the book, plus a $45 nomination fee.

To be eligible, a book must be written by a current Minnesota resident and be published in 2015. Nominations close 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4.

Finalists in the eight categories will be announced Jan. 30, 2016. Winners will be announced at the 28th annual Minnesota Book Awards ceremony Saturday, April 16, 2016, at the Historic Union Depot in St. Paul.

Nominations are also being accepted for three special awards: the Minnesota Book Artist Award; the Kay Sexton Award; and the biennial Hognander Minnesota History Award which recognizes an outstanding scholarly work on a topic of Minnesota history.

Currently celebrating its 70th year, The Friends of the St. Paul Public Library is a nonprofit membership organization whose mission is stronger libraries for stronger communities. The Friends has a nonprofit consulting group, Library Strategies, that provides services to libraries and library organizations across the country and internationally. The Friends also leads the Minnesota Book Awards and serves as the Minnesota Center for the Book - the state affiliate of the National Center for the Book at the Library of Congress.

Go to for more information.

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