Entertainment Briefs - Jan. 27

A roundup of area concerts, shows, book and visual art events in the Brainerd lakes area.

Contributed / Metro Newspaper Service

Brainerd, Little Falls One Act teams advance to sectionals

The Brainerd and Little Falls high school One Act teams will move onto sectionals for the One Act Play competition.

The Little Falls Flyers One Act team took first place in the 8AA subsection and Brainerd Warriors took second.

Brainerd One Act
The Brainerd High School One Act team poses for a photograph. The team is advancing to sectionals. Submitted Photo

The BHS One Act team performed the drama “Tracks” by Peter Tarsi. The show is about a group of people in a subway station who discover they are all in different locations because they are all dead. This year, all One Acts were recorded and sent to the judges electronically. All actors and tech crew members are required to wear face masks during the entire performance, to keep everyone in the cast and crew safe, a news release stated.


Brainerd will record their play for sections Friday at Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd, and it will be submitted by Feb. 2. Under the state competition, there are several rules every school must follow, such as having 20 students or less involved with the production and staying under 35 minutes for the performance. Rehearsals began Jan. 4.

“This year, we did not get to see the other high school's One Act performances live, which is tough because it is always a great experience to see what other schools are doing,” BHS Theater Director Karla Johnson stated in an email release. “We also did not have an oral critique from a judge immediately after the performance. Another difference this year due to COVID-19 is that there was not a timed set-up and take down of the set. Generally, schools have 10 minutes to set-up and 10 minutes to take down, so that alleviated a little stress this year. We also had a very shortened rehearsal schedule because the governor allowed rehearsals and extracurricular activities to continue on Jan. 4, and we had to submit our recording by Jan. 21.”

Local authors release book

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, lakes area locals Wendy DeGeest and Gary Hirsch present their new book, “Perpetual Courtship: A table top guide to the Perfect Relationship.”

Book Cover relationship
The book cover of local writers Wendy DeGeest and Gary Hirsch new book, “Perpetual Courtship: A table top guide to the Perfect Relationship.” Submitted Photo

DeGeest and Hirsch, an unmarried couple, have been very happily dating for more than 30 years. The couple shares their story on what has worked for them and highlight factors that keep their relationship loving and fun. The book offers insight to all couples, whether married or not, living together or separate, a news release stated.


The book is available for a limited time at Cat Tales Books and Gifts in Brainerd, for $10.

Brainerd theater hosts talent show series

Brainerd Community Theatre is calling all singers, dancers, musicians, comedians, poets, jugglers, magicians, dog trainers, yodelers and any others with a special talent to join the "Show Off!" talent show series.

This friendly competition will give people a chance to show off their talents in a positive atmosphere and compete to win a prize, a news release stated. Those who participate will record their performances — five minutes maximum — either at home or in Brainerd’s theater space. A panel of expert judges provide some cordial commentary and then when the show airs, people may watch fellow performers and vote with the rest of the audience on who had the most stunning performance.

The theater company is planning on the talent show to be a four-part series comprising three competitions throughout the spring and then a special performance this summer with the winners from each show. Those who’d like to participate or learn more, may go online at or email George Marsolek at .

Auditions set for BCT production

Brainerd Community Theatre is hosting auditions for an upcoming performance title “Talking With” by Jane Martin.

This play is a series of monologues in which idiosyncratic characters amuse, move and frighten, always speaking from the depths of their souls. They include a baton twirler, a fundamentalist snake handler, an ex-rodeo rider and an actress willing to go to any length to get a job. The performances will be recorded and streamed to a virtual audience. Depending on COVID-19 protocols in place, there is the possibility of live performance in front of a limited sized audience, a news release stated.

Auditions will be via Zoom by appointment only, and will be Monday-Tuesday, Feb. 1-2. Those interested in auditioning should email Patrick Spradlin, the director, at .


Author and journalist Maya Dusenbery
Author and journalist Maya Dusenbery

Author/journalist presents next Brown Bag Lunch

Author and journalist Maya Dusenbery will discuss her award-winning book Monday, Feb. 1, as part of the Brainerd Public Library’s Brown Bag Lunch author visits.

Dusenbery will present her book “Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick,” noon to 1 p.m. as a live event on the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library Facebook page at .

In the book, Dusenbery weaves together scientific and sociological research, interviews with doctors and researchers, and personal stories from women across the country to provide the first comprehensive, accessible look at how sexism in medicine harms women today, a news release stated. It explores the deep, systemic problems underlying women’s experiences of feeling dismissed by the medical system. Women have been discharged from the emergency room mid-heart attack with a prescription for anti-anxiety meds, while others with autoimmune diseases have been labeled “chronic complainers” for years before being properly diagnosed, the release stated.

Book Cover doing harm
The book cover of “Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick." Submitted Photo

A New York Times Editors’ Choice pick, “Doing Harm” was named one of the best books of 2018 by National Public Radio and Library Journal. It was the winner of the 2019 Minnesota Book Award for general nonfiction.

Dusenbery is a journalist, editor and author. She has been interviewed about gender bias in medicine on NPR’s “Fresh Air,” “Good Morning America,” and countless radio shows and podcasts. She regularly gives talks on the subject to students, health care providers, patient advocates, researchers, and biomedical industry employees. Before becoming a full-time writer, Dusenbery worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. She received her bachelor’s of science degree from Carleton College in 2008. A Minnesota native, she is currently based in Portland, Oregon.

This presentation is sponsored by the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library through its volunteer and fundraising efforts.

The Friends of the Brainerd Public Library group is celebrating the 21st season of the Brown Bag Lunch Author Series with a lineup of award-winning and acclaimed Minnesota writers.

For more information, contact the library at 218-829-5574 or visit the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library’s Facebook page.

Mary Aalgaard
Mary Aalgaard

Baxter woman named recipient of state Arts Board Grant

Mary Aalgaard of Baxter is the recipient of a Creative Support for Individuals grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board.

Aalgaard received the grant for the purpose of creating theater workshops for both youths and older adults in the Brainerd area.

Aalgaard is a playwright who works with both children and adults to create original dramas. She teaches writing, leads youth theater workshops and develops multi-generational programs to enhance quality of life and build community in the Brainerd lakes area, a news release stated.

Aalgaard is also a piano teacher and freelance writer. Her words stretch across the globe through her articles in regional magazines and her blog Play off the Page, where she reviews local, regional and national theaters and the arts in general.

Through the grant, Aalgaard will develop programs through various partnerships including the Central Lakes College theater department to provide in-person or possibly virtual summer theater workshops. Grant monies will also support various audio, visual and technical equipment to enhance the in-person or virtual offerings.

“I am grateful for the support from the Minnesota State Arts Board to be able to enhance my studio and my own artistic endeavors,” Aalgaard stated. “I’m grateful for the partnership I have with the Central Lakes College theater department offerings of youth theater opportunities, which have been a huge success in the past, allowing students a chance to create their own show and build on skills in theater and working together. I’m also grateful for the ongoing opportunities to work with older adults at Northern Lakes Senior living and their Activities Director Sandy Hudak.”

The Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant program is designed to support and assist professional Minnesota artists at various stages in their careers by encouraging artistic development, nurturing artistic creativity, and recognizing the contributions of individual artists to the creative environment of the state of Minnesota. Aalgaard’s grant was made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Find out more about Aalgaard and her upcoming classes, reviews, workshops and offerings at .

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