Maybe summer is out there somewhere

Sam Black


David Packa, Patrick Colvin, Ali Littrell Finstrom:  Say It Somehow. Photo credit: Sam Black
David Packa, Patrick Colvin, Ali Littrell Finstrom:  Say It Somehow. Photo credit: Sam Black

As I write on the 29th of May, I am watching my lilacs and crabapple begin to get serious about blooming. In the next week or so, my yard will clearly look like Spring has begun - - what happened to the notion of 21 March?  On the other hand, the arts across our region are in full blossom, as they are twelve months of the year. No self-respecting artist or advocate pays any attention to meteorology at this latitude. That’s why I live here.

Zenith City Cabaret

        I am very happy to see Adam Sippola generate new thoughts with the program called Zenith City Cabaret, a variety musical opportunity that happens in the Zeitgeist atrium several times each year. Last week, it was a celebration of Bob Dylan, Rigoletto (Verdi and the LOON opera), and quite a bit of Sondheim and Loesser. Pianist/singer Patrick Colvin is headed off to Chicago, while Jan Lee and Liz Woodworth came over from  Washburn, WI to tease the audience.

        My two favorite performances of the seventeen-song-evening were ‘Gabriel’s Letter/My First Woman’ (Kiss of the Spider Woman), featuring Adam Sippola and Shad Olsen, THEN  ‘What You Don’t Know About Women’ (City of Angels), with Ali Finstrom and Louisa Scorich. These wonderful, almost spontaneous musical presentations at Zeitgeist are filled with charisma and new songs from musicals we don’t all know yet. 

Bob Dylan is clearly alive and well in Duluth minds

On Thursday, both wrens and hummingbirds were visiting my assorted offerings at the top of 10th Avenue, and a week full of Bob Dylan offerings was taking place all over town. I sang Bob Dylan songs on Thursday, and I attended a few events during the week. The lecture/slide show by Phil Fitzpatrick on Saturday afternoon at the Karpeles Museum was filled with local nostalgia. Song references, and Duluth/Hibbing images were shared with people from several countries(!) in town for the Dylan Fest. Watch for next year’s offerings, as they do get better every year.  

Dave Lynas, Bob DeArmond, Mary McReynolds, ARAC Awards 2017. Photo credit: Sam Black
Dave Lynas, Bob DeArmond, Mary McReynolds, ARAC Awards 2017. Photo credit: Sam Black

Arrowhead Regional Arts Council Awards for 2017

May, 2017,  featured the 19th Annual Arts and Cultural Heritage Arrowhead Arts Awards, and event created by the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council (ARAC) back around 1998. This year, Dave Lynas, a clay artist and the inspiration for the Empty Bowl food drive in Duluth was awarded the George Morrison Artist Award. Since 1990 he has brought his skills and interests to bloom in Duluth, with pottery, clay flutes, and aboriginal-styled didgeridoos. His creativity as an artist is celebrated this year. 

The Maddie Simons Arts Advocate Award was presented this year to Mary McReynolds, a St. Louis County planning professional, and driving force behind the renewal of the State Theatre - - - Lyric Arts Center in downtown Virginia, MN. Mary has been involved in scores of projects at the Lyric Arts Center - - concerts, arts exhibits, plays from children and adults, and community awareness which spans the past century and more.

        The Accidental Ensemble, from Ely, provided entertaining music, before Bob DeArmond, executive director of ARAC, took the microphone and introduced the awards for this year. After 30 years of leading ARAC, Bob is retiring this year, and his retirement reception will be June 15 in the August Fitger Room ( at Fitger’s building), starting at 5:30pm. The exciting world of ARAC will continue under new leadership beginning July 01, 2017. 

Wherever you are at this moment, please understand that we have abundant arts in bloom all across the lovely community of Duluth. I hope you find time this next few months to participate in our personal excitement along the wonderful edges of the north shore of Lake Superior. We are here to provide and artistic presence for you.