Entertainment Briefs — Sept. 30

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

Contributed / Metro Newspaper Service

Special outdoor event set in Little Falls

LITTLE FALLS — Comedian Jason Schommer and singer-songwriter Michael Shynes will perform at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, for a special outdoor performance at Linden Hill in Little Falls.

Schommer and Shynes will perform an afternoon of comedy, storytelling and music. Violinist David Gerald Sutton also will join the duo as a special guest.

Tickets are $20 plus fees and are available on Eventbrite at . People who attend may bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on in the upper grounds of Linden Hill. More information is available by contacting Schommer by email at .

Moving the show outdoors allows the event to safely comply with all COVID-19 restrictions and guidance and still gives audiences a much needed break to sit back, relax and spend the afternoon laughing and listening to live music, the performers stated in a news release.


Michael Shynes and Jason Schommer
Comedian Jason Schommer and singer-songwriter Michael Shynes will perform at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, for a special outdoor performance at Linden Hill in Little Falls. Submitted Photo

Schommer is a standup comedian, actor, director and storyteller who spent two years as the opening act for comedy legend Louie Anderson in Las Vegas and continues to tour with Anderson regularly. As a stand up comic Schommer has performed all over the United States as well as Canada and for the U.S. Military in Japan and has worked with such comedy superstars as Chris Kattan of “Saturday Night Live” and “Night at the Roxbury;” Josh Blue of “Last Comic Standing” champion; Judy Tenuta, Grammy award for Best Comedy Album; and Tim Meadows of “Saturday Night Live.”

A regular performer at The Moth, Schommer won numerous Story Slam competitions and was invited to perform at the GrandSlam at The Fitzgerald Theatre in St. Paul in 2016 and in 2018 at The Guthrie Theater and has been heard on The Moth Radio Hour aired nationally, as well as featured on the podcast. In 2019, Schommer hosted The Moth GrandSlam at the Guthrie Theater.

Schommer has performed at numerous storytelling events throughout the region, including Strike Story Slam and WordSprout Story Slam. Schommer worked in New York City for “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” and for Richard Frankel Productions, a Tony Award winning Broadway Producer. Schommer 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 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.”

Shynes is a Midwest-born singer songwriter with a Platinum Record in Poland. Being a self taught musician from Little Falls, Shynes chased an unlikely dream and built a career out of nothing more than pure hustle and soulful songwriting. While Shynes’ music may be difficult to define — often oscillating from folk to pop to R&B to country — the intent behind it is the unifying ingredient; the unmistakable truth that it never strives to be anything less than genuine and authentic, a news release stated.

Blending shades of multiple genres over an acoustic and full band landscape, his songs are ripe with lyrical depth rarely paired with such mainstream appeal. The thing that seems to separate Shynes is unquestionably his vocal stylings. With a range and falsetto that is nothing short of captivating, his acoustic finger-picking style acts as the perfect bed of warmth on which his soulful lyrics can rest.

Shynes would often get noticed as a strong local candidate to open up for national acts as they came through town, and even ended up on a tour with Platinum Recording Artist Howie Day. From humble beginnings, he has worked to become one of the most sought after performers in the Midwest and now plays to standing room only crowds.


Shynes recently released his third full length album “The River, The Current, and The Undertow” to rave reviews.

Sutton is Minneapolis-based five-string violinist, string arranger and composer who has been able to find a unique voice in the world of music with his violin, not limited to the addition of an extra string on his instrument. Utilizing guitar-effect pedals and taking a page from Ed Sheeran's book on looping, Sutton has combined these electronic elements with almost 20 years of classical and jazz studies to carve out a place for the violin in today's world of pop music, both synthesized and organic.

Whether he's providing a one-man orchestra for artists or writing and producing his own instrumental pop music, Sutter has his hands in as many facets of the music world he possibly can, a news release stated. The emotion and passion that exudes from his playing can be felt by audiences of all ages and genre preferences, calming anxiety-driven minds and restoring fond memories of joy and wonder.

Sutton’s newest release, “Deep Breath” is available now on all digital platforms.

Organizers cancel Youth on Stage event

The Youth on Stage Open Mic event scheduled this month at the Brainerd Eagles Club, is canceled.

Organizers canceled the event as a result of the COVID-19 flare-ups in the area school districts. Brainerd Elks Lodge 615 sponsors the event through an Elks National Foundation grant and by the Brainerd Eagles Club No. 215. This monthly youth-oriented event is geared for those age 25 and younger who have a family-friendly talent to share on a year-round basis.


Kurtz Book Cover
The book cover of Janet Kurtz debut book called “Northern Shores – Southern Borders, Revelations of a Bilingual Life.” The book was designed by Chip Borkenhagen. Submitted Photo

Author to speak on memoir ‘Northern Shores, Southern Borders’

Brainerd area author Janet Kurtz will discuss her recently released memoir “Northern Shores, Southern Borders” from noon to 1 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5, in a live virtual event.

Kurtz’ presentation is part of the Brown Bag Lunch author visit presented as live virtual events on the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library Facebook page.

Janet Kurtz
Janet Kurtz

In 1968, Kurtz was 15 and living in a Midwestern town of under 30,000. In a news release, Kurtz stated, “Being bilingual meant you could correctly pronounce tortilla and being multicultural meant you would eat one.”

That summer, she was en route to Mexico for a three-week Spanish immersion. Instead of merely improving her vocabulary, she was catapulted into a lifetime of real Spanish-speaking people and the lives they inhabited. Her memoir explores the many encounters she never would have experienced were it not for her study of the Spanish language and the many cultures in which it is spoken.

Kurtz was born in Illinois, raised in Wisconsin and moved to Minnesota where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and master’s in Latin American Studies at Hamline University. After a decade of teaching high school Spanish, she joined the faculty at Central Lakes College. There she created and coordinated the Cultural Thursday series, study trips to Mexico and Spain, Latino festivals and international teacher exchanges. She is a frequent contributor to Lake Country Journal and Her Voice. Her favorite place is the family cabin on a remote lake in the Nicolet National Forest.


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

The Friends of the Brainerd Public Library are 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 Library’s

Facebook page at .

Mandolinist to appear virtually in Wadena

WADENA — Fred Keller will be a featured guest and will perform Oct. 13 via Zoom for the Wadena County Historical Society annual meeting.

Keller has a passion for Minnesota history and local stories. He is also a professional musician, steeped in the traditions of Irish, early American, blues, Tin Pan Alley and ragtime music. His songs will connect you to a Minnesota long past, but not entirely lost, a news release stated. The business meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. with a “State of the Museum” address by director, Lina Belar. Keller and his mandolin will follow at 7 p.m.

To receive an invitation to the Zoom meeting email .


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