Greetings from Grand Marais, where more than six inches of blizzard-driven snow has covered the land, with gusts clocked at 70 mph on Wednesday night. Trees are down, power was out for some, roads were covered with drifts, making it a challenge to get around. On the other hand, everyone will have a beautiful White Christmas this year. We’re assured of reasonable temps on Christmas Day, too, with highs in the 20’s, maybe.
That being said, holiday celebrations will definitely be different this year, with restaurants and bars closed to in-person dining. There are a lot of take-out options, though. Check out the listings at VisitCookCounty.com. Also, VisitCookCounty has a listing of what is open for take-out next week, including New Year’s Day, and hours at local shops and grocery stores.
Just so you know, Covid is in the community, with 102 infections so far, but, like the rest of the state, they have slowed considerably during the last week. For up-to-date information, community resources and more, click here.
Christmas will be celebrated in various ways this year, with lots happening online at WTIP Community Radio on Thursday and Friday. Highlights include music from St. Olaf College’s internationally renowned Christmas Festival Concert, a re-broadcast of the Borealis Chorale & Orchestra’s 2018 Christmas Concert as well as the airing of the Chorale’s “The Gift of Darkness” on Thursday and Friday. The performance can also be listened to online here.
Many of the volunteers will be playing holiday music over the next few days as well. Click here to see the complete schedule.
Also this week, the Grand Marais Playhouse will present “A Christmas Carol,” a radio play by Philip Grecian adapted from Charles Dickens’ classic story. For tickets, click here. They include a chance to watch the readers perform.T Tickets are $7 for an individual, $12 for a family.
The North Shore Artists League Online Member Show continues at the Johnson Heritage Post through Jan.3. The exhibit features a wide variety of art, from paintings and pottery to fiber art, glass and sculpture. Here are just a few examples.
The view all the pieces in the show and shop, click here. To learn more about the North Shore Artists League, click here.
The Duluth Art Institute is currently closed to the public, but it has produced a virtual tour of Blair Treuer’s spectacular exhibit,”Identity” and how it evolved from her life experiences.
Treuer will talk about her exhibit and how to evolved from her life. See it here.
Artists at Work:
For the last seven years, lovers of Shakespeare have been gathering to read from his plays as well as related works. They call themselves the Shakespeare Readers Group and this week, they held a special event: a Zoom reading (with some costumes) of Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” although this time, they renamed it Midwinter Night’s Dream, since it’s the Winter Solstice. Here’s the playbill.
Here’s a screen shot of the Zoom performers:
The Grand Marais Art Colony recently hosted an interview with artist/activist Hazel Belvo and author Julie L’Enfant. L’Enfant’s book about Belvo, her life and art, entitled “Hazel Belvo: A Matriarch of Art” has recently been published, and the two discuss the book and Belvo’s thoughts on art in this interview.
View it here: The book is available at Drury Lane Books and online.
In normal times, North House Folk School hosts the annual shadow puppet show but on by the Good Harbor Hill Players on campus during the Winter Solstice. That was not possible this year, but North House executive director, Greg Wright, his wife Jeanne and daughter Olya, produced a cranky box film for all to enjoy to celebrate and partake in this annual tradition from afar. Check it out. (BTW: Olya Wright is playing the violin in this piece.)
There was another type of Winter Solstice celebration, masks in place with social distancing, by the harbor on Monday, when a few friends gathered by a fire, wrote their “gloomies” on birchbark or paper, set them in small frozen containers, lit them and then placed them in the harbor to float away
Outdoor sales are still possible! Potters Mike Smieja, Natalie Sobanja and Kari Carter held a curbside pop-up sale outside Betsy Bowen’s Gallery & Studios on Sunday. Truth be told — it was in the lower 30s, but they had a nice fire going, and, the sale was a success.
Wood turner Lou Pignolet is still busy in his shop, turning bowls.
Pignolet’s work can be seen on his website, here.
The Holiday Art Underground Show continues at Betsy Bowen’s Studio and Gallery with work by more than 30 local and regional artists.
Debbie Duncan, Minnesota’s First Lady of Song, a jazz great in Minneapolis, died earlier this week. Here she is singing, L-O-V-E
Here’s a beautiful piece by the Armor Music Ministry:
Luckily, we found some great photographs this week. First,
:Landscapes, Seascapes & Skyscapes:
‘Tis the season:
A Christmas poem for 2020
by Shawna Hickling
T’was 2 sleeps before Christmas, and all through the town,
People wore masks, that covered their frown.
The frown had begun way back in the spring,
When a global pandemic changed everything.
They called it corona, but unlike the beer,
It didn’t bring good times, it didn’t bring cheer.
Airplanes were grounded, travel was banned.
Borders were closed across air, sea, and land.
As the world entered lockdown to flatten the curve,
The economy halted, and folks lost their nerve.
From March to July, we rode the first wave;
People stayed home, they tried to behave.
When summer emerged, the lockdown was lifted,
But away from caution, many folks drifted.
Now it’s December and cases are spiking;
Wave Two has arrived, much to our disliking.
It’s true that this year has had sadness a-plenty;
We’ll never forget the year 2020.
And just ‘round the corner – The holiday season;
But why be merry? Is there even one reason?
To decorate the house and put up the tree;
Who will see it? No one but me.
But outside my window, the snow gently falls,
And I think to myself, let’s deck the halls!
So, I gather the ribbon, the garland, and bows,
As I play those old carols, my happiness grows.
Christmas is not canceled and neither is hope.
Happy Holidays to all and to all good cheer.
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