Next week’s theme, as we near the 135th anniversary of J. Proctor Knott’s famous speech, will be “The Untold Delights of Duluth.” Send your suggested quiz questions (and answers) to lawrence @ perfectduluthday.com by noon on Wednesday, Jan. 20.
It’s been ten years since Saturday Night Live aired its skit about a local band, led by Jack Daniels-guzzling Wally Hamrlik and his wife Char, who overstay their welcome while performing “Fly High Duluth,” the theme song for morning show Duluth Live. The sketch originally aired on Jan. 14, 2006, and was first posted to Perfect Duluth Day on on Jan. 16, 2006. Happy Saturday.
Mike Simonson had a project planned for his retirement. That was the type of guy he was. I’d never heard him talk about retiring, and then the first time he mentions it he’s laying out a plan to produce an epic radio documentary about the St. Louis River … for fun.
I wasn’t surprised Mike had no intention of slowing down after four decades in journalism — a journey he started at the Denfeld Criterion in the mid-1970s, continued at various commercial radio stations during the 1980s, and concluded with a 24-year stint as Wisconsin Public Radio’s northwestern region correspondent at KUWS-FM in Superior. And maybe the topic of the St. Louis River shouldn’t have surprised me either. Mike lived on the river for most of his life, and routinely swam across Stryker Bay for fitness and pleasure.
Now the St. Louis River? That’s basically the entire history of Duluth, Superior and all the communities that line the 192-mile waterway. It would take an episode to cover the geology alone. The early Anishinaabe-Ojibwe history could be a multi-part documentary by itself. The fur trade, shipping and shipbuilding, the formation of Duluth’s western neighborhoods, industries too numerous to mention, environmental degradation, cleanup efforts, revitalization, wild-rice restoration, fishing and recreation and on and on — there’s just too much story. I was in awe of the idea while flabbergasted at the notion of even Mike Simonson attempting to pull it off.
It is hard to not feel a bit inadequate when a friend will schlep 4 miles for groceries when it’s 15 below, and my biggest concerns are where’s my Zhivago DVD, and do I have enough cloves to stud a lemon for a hot whiskey. That said, Winter is my favorite season — not as some endurance test, but as a time to heed nature’s insistence that we “lie low to the wall until the bitter weather passes over” (John O’Donohue).
Duluth’s Rachael Kilgour was named the grand prize winner of the 2015 NewSong Contest during a music showcase and competition held Jan. 7 at Lincoln Center’s David Rubenstein Atrium in New York City. She will receive a performance slot at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival’s ASCAP Music Café in Park City, Utah, later this month; an opportunity to perform at Lincoln Center later this year; and a recording session at Echo Mountain Recording Studios in Asheville, NC, produced by Gar Ragland, NewSong Music’s executive director, for an album to be released under the NewSong Recordings label.
Kilgour also was the winner of the 2015 LEAF Newsong Contest in North Carolina and a finalist in last year’s Telluride Troubadour Competition. Noted singer-songwriter Catie Curtis is producing Kilgour’s crowd-funded album, which is set for release later this year.
My family and I are currently considering a home in the Myers-Wilkins / Lincoln Park / Denfeld school boundary and are looking for some first-hand experiences. We definitely do not want to open enroll. We like the idea of our daughter going to school with her neighbors and I don’t want to be driving her to and from school every day.
I have heard mixed things about Myers-Wilkins, but as of right now, we feel OK about potentially sending our daughter there (she is 1, so it’ll be a few years). Same for Denfeld, but I would love to hear some first-hand experiences.
My mom used to work at Lincoln Park Middle School about 15 or so years ago and her experience left much to be desired. I have heard recently of some people pulling their kids out of Lincoln Park (all second hand stories) because of bullying problems. We are of the mentality that if she has good parents at home, she will do fine anywhere; however, we don’t want to send her somewhere we know could cause problems during middle school, and we all know how awesome middle school is…
I am hoping to hear of some positive experiences, since I have pretty much only come across negative opinions (none of them first hand), but any and all opinions are welcome and appreciated!
Before we launch PDD’s poll to determine the best play or musical of 2015, we present this list of every play or musical from the past year we could track down, with the hope that you’ll let us know in the comments if we’ve forgotten any.
Avenue Q – The Underground
Banning Around the Christmas Tree, or, The Last Noel of Don Ness – Rubber Chicken Theater
The Barber of Seville – Lyric Opera of the North
Behind the Shining Star – Duluth Playhouse Theatre for Young Audiences
The Birds – Renegade Theater Company
Blithe Spirit – St. Scholastica Theatre