Mid-June  and the Summer Arts are about to unfold

by Sam Black

Nicole, Jenna, Rebecca, Kevin:  Gabriel String Quartet at the Beerthoven Aquarium event. Photo credit: Sam Black
Nicole, Jenna, Rebecca, Kevin:  Gabriel String Quartet at the Beerthoven Aquarium event. Photo credit: Sam Black

One day the high temperature is 62 degrees; the next day the high temperature is 88 degrees; the following day the high temperature is ? Welcome to mid-June alongside Lake Superior. There are tornadoes, hailstorms, high winds, excessive rain/flooding within a two hour radius of Lake Superior, but the Great Inland Sea tends (in general) to push those tempers back to the south and west.

Several local theatrical venues are getting ready to launch their first offerings of the summer months. The Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra is preparing a July 13 start for this 2017 season. The Lyric Opera of the North will put Verdi’s Rigoletto on stage at UMD’s Marshall Performing Arts Center (MPAC) on the 22nd and 24th of June. Bayfield is in motion with Big Top shows beginning June 16, and Thursday night local concerts beginning on July 6. Here at Bayfront Festival Park, things are in motion from June 16 onward.

Beerthoven Duluth, 2017

Meanwhile, I hope you came to the Great Lakes Aquarium last Friday evening for the 5th Annual Beerthoven Festival sponsored by the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra and a host of breweries, distilleries, and arts organizations. Walking around the Aquarium is a regular treat, but sipping on fresh beer and listening to live classical chamber music is really special. Watching out the windows past the Gabriel String Quartet was as pleasing as the music itself. Beethoven, Brahms, and Schubert would have jumped at the event. There were woodwinds, brass, as well as strings filling the concrete hallways, and lots of delightful conversation and tasting. Of course, a sipper can simply view the Duluth Harbor on a June evening. I am already preparing for next year.

The Last Leaf, Deb Burk, 2010. Photo credit: Sam Black
The Last Leaf, Deb Burk, 2010. Photo credit: Sam Black
Poppies on Plaid, Sue Erickson, 2010.  Photo credit: Sam Black
Poppies on Plaid, Sue Erickson, 2010. Photo credit: Sam Black

Another Birthday Surrounded by Colorful Art

My own personal birthday meal preference has been the Scenic Cafe for quite a few of the past twenty years. Sharing the wine, the meal, the view of Lake Superior, and the rotating art exhibits is always very special. This year I sipped on a chilled Kerpen Riesling while we sampled Sashimi Tuna Tacos (how do they create that taco shell?) and a Salmon Burger on rye that is darker than a moonless night. The Pistachio Cake (with birthday candle) was a nice close to an afternoon celebration. 

Kathy and I were surrounded by quilts that were small enough to hang all around the dining room. One really bright work by Sue Erickson was called Poppies on Plaid. The brightness of the poppies in contrast with the black and white plaid made the afternoon seem really festive. Another quilt, The Last Leaf, by Deb Burk, was a really haunting image. The sky, the naked tree, and the leaves on the ground kept alive the memory of how short the growing season is around Duluth. I watched the light change as I dined, but that last leaf stubbornly stayed on the tree. It will probably rotate out by the next time I drive up 61 to the New Scenic Cafe.

Now that the public schools and colleges have finished their sessions, I hope you and your families take wonderful advantage of the music, drama, and art experiences across these summer months.