Entertainment Briefs - Feb. 12

Call for 'Face to Face' self-portraits The Crossing Arts Alliance (TCAA) is asking for submissions for up to three works for Face to Face, a juried self-portrait exhibit. Face to Face seeks to highlight the relevance of thoughtful self-portraitur...

One of the three groups competing in The Sing Off! are Just Gorgeous Men: Bernie Nelson (back left), Jim Sauer, Erik Dovre, Dan Jacobson, Robin Collins, Pat Lunemann, Dave Anderson, Tony Sanders, Tim Greene (front, left), Dave (Bob) Bengtson and Jürgen Brunkhorst.
One of the three groups competing in The Sing Off! are Just Gorgeous Men: Bernie Nelson (back left), Jim Sauer, Erik Dovre, Dan Jacobson, Robin Collins, Pat Lunemann, Dave Anderson, Tony Sanders, Tim Greene (front, left), Dave (Bob) Bengtson and Jürgen Brunkhorst.

Call for 'Face to Face' self-portraits

The Crossing Arts Alliance (TCAA) is asking for submissions for up to three works for Face to Face, a juried self-portrait exhibit. Face to Face seeks to highlight the relevance of thoughtful self-portraiture in an age of "selfies."

Submission deadline is noon on March 2. Artists currently living in Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties are eligible to submit. All media will be considered, including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, digital, printmaking, video, installation, collage, mixed and textile. Original work only. Work may be representational, abstract, non-representational or conceptual and must not have been previously displayed with TCAA.

Submission fee is $10 per TCAA member or $15 for non-members and covers submissions of up to three works for consideration. A People's Choice Award will be given. Winner will have a feature in TCAA's quarterly newsletter.

Submission details can be found on TCAA's website at or by emailing , or by phone at 833-4016, or in person at the TCAA office located in the Franklin Arts Center.


This activity is funded, in part, by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Five Wings Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund; and grants from Sertoma Winter Wonderland, Brainerd Service League, Mid Minnesota Federal Credit Union, and the Anderson Family Legacy Fund.

CLC theatre announces upcoming auditions

Central Lakes College (CLC) Theatre will hold open auditions for "The Servant of Two Masters," a classical comedy, on Feb. 23, with call-back auditions on Feb. 25.

Auditions will be held at 7 p.m. in the Dryden Theatre on the Brainerd campus.

The play is directed by CLC Theatre Director Patrick Spradlin, and calls for a flexible cast of up to 15 actors. "The script will serve as a launching pad for the cast to then create a unique production," said Spradlin. "While we will faithfully tell the story of the play, we'll create a production with our own imprint on it."

The director is looking for actors with specialized talents such as dance, juggling, mime, impersonations, gymnastics, playing a musical instrument, singing 'and general shenanigans.'

"As part of the rehearsal process the cast will work with the professional improvisational actors of Second City from Chicago when they are in town for their show on March 5," said Spradlin.

The story of the play, written by Carlo Goldoni in 1743, centers around the attempts of Truffaldino, an ever-hungry servant, to be employed by two masters without each knowing of the other. The play is full of plot twists that include disguise, lovers parted and united, narrow misses and wildly physical comedy.


Auditions will be improvisation-based, so those interested need not prepare material in advance. The director does ask that anyone with a special talent such as those listed above be prepared to demonstrate that talent (for instance, by bringing the instrument they play to the audition).

The play will be performed April 30 through May 2 and May 7-9. Rehearsals will primarily be on weekday nights. The show will be produced in the Chalberg Theatre.

For more information contact Spradlin, at 855-8255 or by email

The Sing Off, a fundraising dinner concert planned

STAPLES - The Sing-Off, a fundraising dinner concert to support Real Men Sing, is scheduled Feb. 28 at the Town's Edge Event Center in Staples.

The event begins at 5 p.m., with a social hour and the dinner concert/competition begins at 6 p.m.

The good-natured singing competition will be between members of the Staples Area Men's Chorus (SAMC.) The chorus has been divided into three teams: "The Salty Dogs," "Just Gorgeous Men" and "Pitch Please" will take turns singing their concert selections in each round with the audience members voting for their favorite group after each round with monetary donations.

"So after the first round, the audience will have an opportunity to vote with your cash for their favorite group," said SAMC director Steve Hoemberg. "Our emcee for the evening will be local radio celebrity Corey (the man with a face for radio) Tackmann from KWAD, KNSP and the Super Station K106. So although the dinner concert tickets are $25, we are hoping our guests will bring some extra cash to make donations throughout the evening. All the profits from the evening will be used to help support the Real Men Sing event we hold each fall."


After each round of competition and donations, the groups will continue until an elimination round. Eventually, one group will become the group who wins The Sing Off based on which group raises the most donations throughout the concert.

"Keep in mind that we do have an ability to take credit card donations on site as well," said Hoemberg. "The guys are pulling out all the stops to turn their teams into winners. I've heard rumors that Gene Floistad will be dancing."

The Real Men Sing festival put on by the SAMC is the only festival free for students and schools. There have been more than 3,000 participants throughout the years, with an average cost to the SAMC of $50 participant each year. Real Men Sing is an educational outreach program designed to encourage young men to continue singing throughout their lives. If one is unable to attend, donations for this event are also possible by going to the group's website and donating at

Team captains were asked about this fundraiser and their thoughts on the competition.

Ron Denning, representing "Pitch Please" said: "When I first heard we were going to do this, I thought it's a great fundraiser for the young fellas who want to participate in Real Men Sing. However, the Sing Off is dividing us from one loving group to three competitive ... groups."

The "Pitch Please" team has "a wide range of talent in our group from high school students to guys who can be their great-grandfathers," said Denning. "But just because they may have some age on their competition, we will bring our claws, our clubs, our voices and our nasty attitudes to do what it takes to be the champion of this year's Sing Off."

Mike Gold spoke of "The Salty Dogs" said "From the audience perspective they are going to see things they haven't seen the men's chorus do. Why most people would want to come, they are going to see music that is light and entertaining. It is a fun format with guys so competitive.

"We're excited about running our first ever fundraiser for Real Men Sing as a group. We've had over 2,000 different kids participating over the years some participating every year in ninth-through 12th grade. Something we do want to drill out there is that there is absolutely no cost for the kids to participate in Real Men Sing. It's always been totally free for the kids. It's about $50 per kid to put it on. Last year we had more than 300 singers participate and it was more than a $15,000 project."


"Just Gorgeous Men" group said they have 214 years of experience in the second tenor alone to help them win the competition. They said they have special instruments, along with some drums and an accordion.

Tickets are presale only with sales ending Feb. 21. Tickets can be purchased online at the SAMC website or in person at Nelson Insurance Agency or at the Stomping Grounds Coffee House both in Staples.

Heartland Poets to meet

Heartland Poets, an area chapter of the League of Minnesota Poets, will meet from 6-9 p.m. Friday in the large room of the Brainerd Public Library.

Participants are asked to bring their favorite love poems and read them in the open reading. The poets then will discuss upcoming poetry events. People also can bring a poem-in-progress with copies for review by other members.

New juried show at Jaques

Dave Rickert will present the "Land and Sea" exhibition from Feb. 20 to April 4 at the Jaques Art Center in Aitkin, with an opening reception from 12-3 p.m. Feb. 21.

New comedy play by Jason Schommer


LITTLE FALLS - Comedian Jason Schommer will present his new comedy play he wrote titled "Wish You Were Here! Small Falls, MN USA" at 7 p.m. on Feb. 21 at Great River Arts in Little Falls.

Schommer and the You Betcha! Players will perform the new original comedy play inspired by "The Prairie Home Companion" and Little Falls. Tickets are $10 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 comedy will be about Saturday night in Small Falls and once again the town's colorful citizens are gathering for the weekly radio show "Wish You Were Here!" on K-RAP AM 320. With all the news and stories from Small Falls, a tiny little community in the heart of Minnesota, "Wish You Were Here! - Small Falls, MN USA" is a hilarious look at small town life and those who live it. This comedy uses Little Falls and central Minnesota as its inspiration by drawing from actual local events, news, locations, personalities, issues, controversies and figures but with an outrageous fictional twist.

Area students perform in College of St. Scholastica production

DULUTH - Two Brainerd lakes area students participated in the College of St. Scholastica Theatre's student-produced performance, "1959 Pink Thunderbird" by playwright James McLure. The play is comprised of two one-act companion plays, "Laundry and Bourbon" and "Lone Star."

Kaylin Ebinger of Brainerd was the assistant director of "Laundry and Bourbon."

Jake Spartz of Longville was the director of "Lone Star."

Jess Lourey presents the 10th installment of murder mysteries


Mira James leaves snowy Minnesota in the latest Murder-By-Month mystery from Jess Lourey, "February Fever."

Mira's sweetheart Johnny just accepted an internship in Portland and though she is sad about the distance, she is excited to board the Valentine's Train to Oregon for love and a private investigator conference. And, as a bonus, her good friends Mrs. Berns and Jed are also along for the ride.

But this wintry train will encounter more problems than a snowstorm when a woman is murdered in cold blood in the dead of the night and her husband and daughter disappear. Now Mira must team up with the other private investigators on the train to find the missing people and solve the murder before anyone else gets hurt.

Lourey is the author of the Lefty-nominated Murder-by-Month mysteries set in Battle Lake. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, The Loft and a founding faculty member of the Mystery Writers of America's MWA University.

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