Tag Archives: entertainment

Here, there and everywhere

It’s been a while since I’ve shared my stories on the blog, but I’ve been doing a lot of fun things lately. I figured it was time for a quick update, so here’s a rundown of what I’ve been up to in no particular order:

  • I visited Altru Hospital and met a couple caring nurses who were trying their best to make the holidays a cheerful time for their patients. Melissa, the childlife specialist, took on a little project with the ever-so-popular Elf on the Shelf. She refused to take credit for the little elf named Elfie. “He just showed up,” she said, creating some holiday magic for the children in the pediatrics unit. To read more about their efforts, click here.
  • I chatted with Steven Grant Douglas about his journey from The Empire in Grand Forks to Broadway. The talented actor from Stephen, Minn., landed a lead role in the nationally touring production of “Ghost the Musical” right after performing “Avenue Q” in Grand Forks. We talked about his role, the tour and adjusting to the much larger audiences and life on the road. Read more here.
  • I visited with Rachael Hammarback, owner of RH Standard, about the best choices in winter work wear. We talked tights, boots and leggings. Yes, leggings as pants for work. More here.
  • I joined a group of charitable carolers as they sang holiday favorites to neighbors and friends for Caroling for Warmth. They raised money for people in need of warm clothes such as sweaters and long sleeve shirts. More here.
  • I talked to Ashok Bhatia, of India, and Omar Alomar, of Iraq, about how they celebrate the holidays and how their traditions differ from American traditions. To read more, view the full article here.
  • I visited with several boutique owners about the best New Year’s Eve fashion accessories. We discussed statement necklaces, sequins blazers and cocktail rings. More here.
  • I joined a group of regular trivia-goers for a night at El Roco. While there I met “the king of trivia” and learned about the history of the game in Grand Forks. More here.
  • I reviewed a ton of apps such as 99 Dresses, Lift and Circle.
  • And I met a couple stylish people along the way to do quick Q&A’s with for my weekly Street Style.

This month, I’m excited to share my first episode of my new video series “In the Artist’s Studio.” I’ll be back with more on that later.

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Barton’s Place


Surrounded by hundreds of art from around the world, I tried to take it all in. I imagined spending hours and hours chatting with the artist Barton Benes about his collections. He’d share stories of each piece of art, where it came from and how he acquired it through a trade with a collector, dealer or artist in another country.

Instead, I sat at his table and chatted with his long time friend, Laurel Reuter, director of the North Dakota Museum of Art. The two had met many years before and had shared many conversations over the same table when it was in Barton’s New York apartment. After Barton’s death in May 2012, the table and the artist’s many collections traveled 1,500 miles to be a part of Barton’s Place, a recreation of the artist’s apartment in the Mezzanine Gallery at North Dakota Museum of Art.


Laurel told me how some of the pieces came to be… the stuffed rooster came from the museum assistant director, Matthew Wallace… the bull’s head came from a bull in the Running of the Bulls in Spain… the African pots and masks were acquired from a dealer… As she looked around the small space full of Barton’s life and memories, Laurel recalled a curious man, who could always make her laugh, even in the darkest of times. She remembered a conversation the two of them had about his belongings and what would happen to them when he passed. He didn’t want them to be picked our by family and friends and thrown out. Laurel suggested giving them to the museum to create the museum’s first period room, a 21st century artist’s studio. Laurel said the suggestion became a dream Barton held on to. 

Now, that dream is a reality. The North Dakota Museum of Art opened Barton’s Place early this month. It’ll be on exhibit for an undetermined amount of time, with the hopes of turning it into a permanent exhibit. For more information on the exhibition, read my full article at gfherald.com or visit bartonlidicebenes.org.


Along with Barton’s Place, a collection of African pots and a batik exhibition are also going on at the museum. Be sure to check it all out before it’s too late!


And, James Rosenquist’s beautiful painting, “Through the Eye of the Needle to the Anvil” is STILL up! DO NOT MISS this one! The photo does NOT do it justice! Trust me!

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Passing on knowledge, excitement for the arts

Early last week I was asked to write a story for Saturday’s City/State section. Although I was a little stressed to have another assignment added to my list, I was excited to write another story about my favorite place in Grand Forks: The North Dakota Museum of Art. I wrote the preview story for the museum’s 15th annual live Autumn Art Auction, which was held this Saturday  with 56 original pieces of artwork up for bid.

When I made an appointment with Laurel, the director of the museum, I expected to have a quick interview about the auction in her office downstairs. But, when I got to the museum, Laurel met me in the gallery and showed me the artwork. Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to write about every piece in the auction, she still took the time to tell me each of the artists’ stories and the story behind their work.

It always amazes me how kind and helpful Laurel is when I come for a story. Not only does she give me all the information I need for the article, but she teaches me so much more about the artwork and the artists. Every time I leave her office, she gives me a new book (or two, or three), and I couldn’t be more thankful. Her passion and excitement for the arts has made me want to know more and more. And the more I learn and the more I write about the arts the more passionate I become about the arts. I think I’m getting closer and closer to discovering what I’m truly meant to do in this life.

It’s funny how when I start something new I expect to enjoy a certain part of it, but something always seems to surprise me in the best way. When I got my job at the Herald, I was super excited about my Life & Style beat. I wasn’t quite sure what to think about the Arts & Entertainment part of my job. After all, I didn’t know much about the arts. I never took many art classes. I didn’t sing or paint or draw. I was never involved in theater, and I quit band as soon as I possibly could. I always had a great appreciation for music. I enjoyed going to plays. And, I was always amazed by talented artists, but I never saw myself as an artsy person. I guess I just didn’t know enough about it to care all that much. 

But, after a few months on the job, I’ve been fully immersed into the art community in Grand Forks, and I couldn’t be happier. I’m learning so much and meeting some awesome, inspiring people and hopefully sharing it all with the Herald readers in an entertaining and informative way that gets them excited and passionate about the arts.

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Vintage love

I haven’t always had a love for vintage, but after meeting and interviewing some vintage collectors, researching vintage items and actually doing my own hunting, I’ve developed a great love for the old.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Michel Starnes, a self-proclaimed natural born picker. Starnes lives between her two homes in North Dakota and Florida, which she’s packed full of vintage finds from auctions, garage sales and estate sales.

Ever since Starnes was a little girl she’s been attending auctions, flea markets and sales. First, it was to please her parents. Then, it was out of need to furnish her apartment. Now, she does it purely out of love. When she came to the Herald for her interview she brought a few of her smaller items for the photo shoot. The items included some awesome binoculars, some vintage glasses, a metal toy airplane and sewing machines drawers which she’d fastened together to make hanging shelves.

Starnes and her husband are interested in old home decor and aeronautical pieces. She said when she sees something interesting she gets complete tunnel vision. Some of the items she keeps for herself; others she sells on her Etsy shop. She said someday she hopes to open a little storefront full of old vintage items and cool ’80s pieces, along with some pastries and coffee.

To hear more about her favorite finds and dreams for the future, read the full article at gfherald.com.

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Summer Performing Arts: More than meets the eye

I’m constantly discovering and rediscovering reasons why I love my job. The past two weeks I had the opportunity to attend several class show-and-tells, share days, and rehearsals while covering Grand Fork’s Summer Performing Arts Company. The program is known for its two major high school musicals it produces each summer; however, the program is so much more than singing and dancing.

One of the intern reporters, Will Beaton, used to participate in SPA and now teaches the elementary SPA theater. Being an insider, Will was able to give us deeper insight into the program. Three of the programs I had the opportunity to write about were MySPA, ELL SPA and School of Rock. MySPA is an arts program that gives students with special needs an opportunity to get creative, gain confidence and perform on stage. The students are so enthusiastic and a joy to watch. ELL SPA is a program for students learning English. They spend have of their day working with ELL teachers and half of their day working on performing arts. School of Rock is one of the many classes offered through SPA. Students get the opportunity to write and record original songs (or covers) with professional studio equipment.

If you want to read (or watch) more about this awesome performing arts program in Grand Forks, please, check out my article and Will’s awesome video. 

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Writing for the Web 2

In the last couple weeks, I’ve posted two more stories on Doing it downtown for my Writing for the Web class. The first was a story about a local musician who plays on a street corner in downtown Fargo. I heard him playing during a street fair this summer. In between songs, he talked about how he always plays on the same corner because it’s located between two of the most popular downtown bars. He said he enjoys seeing the interactions between the drunks from each bar. I didn’t know his name or how popular he was at the time, but I decided to pitch the story idea at the beginning of the semester. After the idea was “approved,” I went to Spicy Pie and asked if they knew the guy that played outside their building. They said his name was Eden Parker, so I looked up “Eden Parker” and sure enough it was the same guy. I contacted him via Facebook and set up an interview. My boyfriend Robert came along to video tape the interview and ended up shooting a “music video” as well.

F-M artist shares stories with late-night downtowners

Eden was very down to earth and I was happy I got the chance to meet such a great local musician and help tell his story. I incorporated links, music, photos and video to make the story a complete multimedia package, and I think it turned out great.

The second story was the first opinion/first person piece I’ve written for class. It was also the first story I’ve ever written about running, which was kind of cool because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I remember when I first became interested in journalism I either wanted to write about fashion or running. Now, I’ve done both for the class blog.

The marathon effect: Fans get inspired to run

The story is about fans getting inspired and motivated from watching the Fargo Marathon and other races. I interviewed Mark Knutson, director of the Fargo Marathon, who said he’s seen many people watch the race one year and then run their first 10k or half marathon the next. I think it’s really cool that just watching runners can inspire others. I’ve experienced it myself and know others have too, so it was cool to share the “phenomenon” with our readers.

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