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Here's what's coming to lakes area this month

Country singer Jake Owen to take Shooting Star stage March 16

MAHNOMEN — Country singer Jake Owen, of "Barefoot Blue Jean Night" fame, will perform live at Mahnomen's Shooting Star Casino, Hotel & Event Center on Friday, March 16, at 8 p.m.

Tickets start at $40 and are on sale now. They can be purchased by phone at 1-800-313-SHOW (7469), online at, or via the "Buy Tickets" tab on Shooting Star's Facebook page:

Born in 1981, Jake Owen began his music career singing original country songs in his local Florida State college bar. In 2005, at the age of 24, Owen moved to Nashville to pursue a professional career in music. Soon after his arrival, Owen signed with Sony/BMG Nashville and began writing and producing chart-topping hits.

In 2006, Jake Owen released his first single, "Yee Haw." Later that year, Owen dropped his debut album, "Startin' With Me." The album's title track became his first Top 10 hit, landing at No. 6 on the Billboard Country Music Chart. In 2009, Owen dropped his sophomore album, "Easy Does It," which landed at No. 2 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, and included his first Top 5 single, "Don't Think I Can't Love You."

Owen's gold-certified album, "Barefoot Blue Jean Night," was released in 2011, and produced two No. 1 singles, the double-platinum certified title track, and "Alone With You." His fourth album, "Days of Gold," dropped in 2013 and included the platinum-certified single, "Beachin'." In 2016, Owen released his fifth album, "American Love," and in 2017, he released his "Greatest Hits" album.

The star has won numerous industry awards including New Male Vocalist of the Year from the Academy of Country Music, the Breakthrough Artist of the Year from the American Country Awards, and was nominated for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals at the 51st Grammys. Owen is known for his thrilling performances and continues to impress fans on his current tour.

'Little Minnesota' authors to speak at Wadena Bookends event

WADENA — Jill and Deane Johnson are March guests at Book Ends, the monthly meet-the-author event at The Uptown in Wadena. The event will be held Saturday, March 10.

Starting at 11 a.m. with an hour of conversation, Q&A, book autographs/sales and ends at noon with lunch. No admission charge, but lunch is not free.

The Johnsons followed their first book with Little Minnesota in World War II: The stories behind 140 fallen heroes from Minnesota's littlest town.

"When interviewing for the first book, we were struck by the out-of-proportion contributions and ultimate sacrifices of small town Minnesotans," says Jill Johnson. "There was a story worth telling."

Historical re-enactor brings 'Prohibition in MN' to Park Rapids library

PARK RAPIDS — Ever-popular, historical re-enactor Arn Kind will present "Minnesota's Wild and Woolly Prohibition Days" from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday, March 12 at the Park Rapids Area Library.

The 1920s are probably best known for Prohibition, a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages that remained in place from 1920 to 1933.

Minnesotans, along with the rest of the country, were plunged into what many called "The Great Experiment." Kind will explore Prohibition in Minnesota, the struggle for many to survive and how it changed the lives of ordinary people. As gangsters grabbed the headlines, everyday Minnesotans quietly set up their own stills and speakeasies, producing what many considered, the best corn liquor in the nation.

Kind has been an educator for over 35 years, both in the classroom, teaching grades 4 through 12, and through his presentations to young people and adults of all ages.

His unique performances are popular in a multitude of venues — from library and classroom seminars at elementary, middle and high schools to immersive lectures at the university level as well as summer camps, historical reenactments and festivals.

This free Legacy program is funded, in part or in whole, with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on Nov. 4, 2008 which dedicated funding to preserve Minnesota's arts and cultural heritage.

MSUM theater, music students join to produce rock opera 'Tommy'

MOORHEAD — Minnesota State University Moorhead's School of Performing Arts will present "The Who's Tommy," a rock opera composed in 1969 by guitarist Pete Townshend and transformed from a rock album into a musical by Townshend and Broadway director Des McAnuff in 1992.

"Tommy" tells the story of a psychosomatically deaf, dumb and mute boy who witnesses a terrible crime before becoming a world-famous pinball wizard and the leader of a cult. Hit songs include "Pinball Wizard," "See Me, Touch Me" and "Acid Queen." Winner of numerous Tony, Drama Desk and Olivier awards, the musical presents numerous technical, musical and emotional challenges.

"The show is going to be aurally and visually very interesting," says director Craig Ellingson. "The rock aspect invades the vocal work on many different levels, but the most important design element will be lighting." Ellingson hired lighting designer Jeff Brown, an MSUM alum who runs his own design company in Duluth, to create the look and feel of a rock concert.

MSUM's Commercial Ensemble will perform the rock score's instrumental music, and music theatre students will provide the vocals. Students are excited to take on such a musical challenge, and Ellingson shares that excitement. He's also eager to engage them in a piece of history: the play takes place early in World War II, and pushes into the 1960s.

The Gaede Stage is located in the Roland Dille Center for the Arts on the MSUM campus. MSUM's production opens April 4 and continues through April 7. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Craig Ellingson at 701-388-9382 or craig.ellingson@mnstate. For tickets, go to or call the MSUM Box Office at 218-477-2271, Monday through Friday from noon to 4 p.m., or arrive early and pick them up at the door.

McKnight Foundation exhibit at BSU features ceramic artists

BEMIDJI — Ceramics work by six artists who have won McKnight Foundation Fellowships and Residencies are being featured at Bemidji State University's Talley Gallery through March 28.

Each year, the Northern Clay Center develops an exhibit of fellowship and residency recipients which tours Minnesota to share the work with people outside of the Twin Cities metro area.

The annual exhibition, "Six McKnight Artists," features new work by 2016 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Ceramic Artists recipients Nicolas Darcourt from Minnetonka, and Sheryl McRoberts from Plymouth. The exhibit also features 2015 McKnight Artist Residency for Ceramic Artists recipients Kathryn Finnerty from Oregon, Lung-Chieh Lin from Taiwan, Helen Otterson from Kentucky, and Joseph Pintz from Missouri.

The McKnight Artist Fellowships and Residencies for Ceramic Artists programs are designed to strengthen and enhance Minnesota's artistic community. The fellowship awards are used to defray studio and living expenses, allow artists to experiment with new materials and techniques and to build upon ideas within their work. The fellowship program is intended to advance the work of Minnesota ceramic artists whose work is deemed to be of exceptional artistic merit. McKnight fellowships provide two types of direct financial support: two annual fellowships for exceptional mid-career Minnesota ceramic artists, and four awards to artists from outside Minnesota that includes a three-month residency at the Northern Clay Center.

Since 1997, the McKnight Foundation has supported 99 ceramics artists — 28 with fellowships and 71 with residency fellowships.

Located in Bridgeman Hall room 140, Talley Gallery is barrier-free and open at no charge to the public. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation, seeks to improve the quality of life for present and future generations through grant-making, collaboration and strategic policy reform. The McKnight Foundation supports working artists to create and contributes to vibrant communities behind the vision that Minnesota thrives when its artists thrive.

Submissions sought for National Poetry Month reading in Wadena

WADENA — The Wadena County Historical Society invites area poets to submit an original poem to be selected for reading at Minnesota Voices on Thursday, April 19 at noon at the Wadena County Museum as part of National Poetry Month.

Between 10 to 15 poems will be selected by the panel. The guidelines for submission are as follows: Only poems written by the poet will be considered. The poem should be no more than 30 lines. The poem may be in any form: rhymed, free verse, prose, rap, etc. The poem may have been previously published.

Submissions should include your name, address, email, the title of the poem, and the complete text of the poem. Indicate whether you will be present to read the poem on April 19.

Submissions must be received by April 1 to be eligible. Selected poets will be notified by April 5. Submit via email to or mail to Wadena County Historical Society, 603 Jefferson Street North, Wadena, MN 56482.

Minnesota Voices is a free program featuring Minnesota writers and their work. It is held the third Thursday of each month from noon to 1 p.m.