“In 1982, the music world lost a legend with the death of Thelonious Monk. At Monk’s funeral, thousands gathered to pay their respects. One of Monk’s former colleagues sat at the piano and played, according to legendary jazz writer Ted Joans, “a sad but soulful” version of Monk’s own “’Round Midnight.” That pianist was Duluth-native Sadik Hakim, who played and recorded with jazz icons from the 1940s to the 1980s. Down Beat magazine described him as “one of the unsung veterans who helped forge the bebop revolution.”
The Iron Range’s first craft beer festival is on tap this Saturday in Virginia. In addition to a craft beer village, the Olcott Fountain Brew Fest will feature food, live music and kids’ activities.
The event is a fundraiser organized by the Olcott Park Fountain Restoration Committee, whose mission is to restore the park’s historic fountain to its former glory.
“It’s the first brew fest north of Duluth. We seem to have a lot of interest from all over the Iron Range, which is awesome,” says Carly Gobats, who curated the event’s brewery and music lineup and serves as the its volunteer coordinator.
When I moved to Duluth from San Francisco in July 2004, my fiancé Jeremy and I rented a first-floor apartment in a 100-year-old house on Third Street. The elegant flight of stairs inside our foyer was an egress for the upstairs apartment, so we had to keep the door between us unlocked. Jeremy didn’t seem worried; he had been living in Ely, where everyone leaves their keys in the ignition. Turned out our upstairs neighbors were a couple of women who rescued abandoned baby animals and nursed them with eye droppers. I stopped worrying about it, too.
From our back porch we grilled brats, drank Lake Superior Special Ale, and gazed at the brewing company’s namesake. I had never had a porch, a grill, or a view this pretty. As I looked across the blue water I felt my shoulders relax. I felt off the map, like a witness relocated: no one from my past life could find me here unless I wanted them to.
Then one morning in the window of Positively 3rd Street Bakery I saw someone from my past on a poster for the Bayfront Blues Festival: Koko Taylor. Now I was old enough to see her sing. The last time I was not, and that was a long time ago.
The Stage, a weekly British newspaper and website covering the entertainment industry, has compiled reviews of the new Bob Dylan-inspired play set in 1930’s Duluth. Girl from the North Country, written and directed by Conor McPherson, opened earlier this month at the Vic Theater in London.
Critic Fergus Morgan notes the show “boasts a large, diverse cast, and 20 Dylan songs from across his career, pared down and rearranged for the stage by Simon Hale and performed by a live, onstage band.” The setting is described as “a run-down Minnesota guesthouse during the Great Depression. We’re in Duluth, Dylan’s place of birth, seven years before the singer-songwriter entered the world.”
Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Clare Means was in Duluth recently for a performance at Wade Stadium. While here she recorded a “Duluth Song” and released this video, set to images of the Western Duluth Little League Intermediate Division District Tournament Team, which defeated Lake Park 15-5 on July 11 to claim the 2017 Minnesota state championship.
This documentary by Bill Draheim follows Mike Watt and his band at the time, the Jom and Terry Show, as they drive into Duluth and load in for a performance at the NorShor Theater on May 28, 2002. They tour the old R. O. Carlson’s bookstore, do some sightseeing in Canal Park and spend the night at Shaky Ray Records before heading south for shows at the Turf Club in St. Paul and the 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis.
Watt wrote extensively about the tour, and the Duluth stop, on his “Our Oars Became Wings” Tour 2002 Diary. He marvels in the diary and in the film about seeing Lake Superior for the first time. He also mentions in the diary getting a tour of “the secret tunnels” under the NorShor and how it “feels haunted down there.”
Duluth band Rooftop Fable will be hosting a release party for their album “Nuanced” on Saturday, July 22 at Blacklist Brewing. The event will also feature Emily Jayne & The Blue Plate Fella’s, Honest Maude, The True Malarkey and cabaret performances by The Duluth Dolls.
The video above is from the album and features aerial acrobat and contortionist, Cheryl Birch, and was filmed at Ignite Studio in downtown Duluth by Brian Barber.
With the Head of the Lakes Fair underway this week in Superior, it’s fitting to take a look back 30 years ago when Joan Jett and Blackhearts graced the fairgrounds stage. Fortunately, a bootleg recording exists of the Aug. 15, 1987 show.
Perfect Duluth Day reported in early May that a new musical play written and directed by Conor McPherson with music and lyrics by Bob Dylan was scheduled to open at the Vic Theater in London in July. What wasn’t known at the time is the play is set in Duluth.
Audio clips of two tracks recorded as part of a workshop for Girl from the North Country can be heard in the PDD post from May. Three reports verifying the setting of the play are listed below.
In the pilot episode of a new “musical series aiming to explore sources of inspiration and intrigue,” Minneapolis-based soft-noise artist Todd Luffa performs on the beach at Minnesota Point in Duluth.
The Lyte Source series was created by director Gordon Byrd and producer Aubree Miller of Minneapolis, who “aim to bring performances to settings too intimate or bizarre for audiences to normally inhabit. To capture a sensory experience and transform it into a unique collaboration.”