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Grand Forks, North Dakota

ISSUE 9

TA K E A B I T E
INSIDE
art / theatre / music / lit

3 6
These women know how to hit a high note | pg 5

LIT LINEUP

5 8 A fresh perspective on an old classic | pg 8

MUSIC CULTURE

10
SPECIAL FEATURE
Acclaimed author to visit Grand Forks | pg 4

The Beat is a publication of the
Empire Arts Center. Find out more about the Empire
Empire Staff:
by visiting www.empireartscenter.com. Have an idea
for a story? Contact us at info@empireartscenter.com. Emily Montgomery, Executive Director
Mackenzie Teepen, Development & Communications
Affordable advertising opportunities are now available
for upcoming issues of The Beat. Ask about our non-
profit rates. Email mackenzie@empireartscenter.com for
more information.

2 THE BEAT | WINTER 2017
ARTS & CULTURE
LIT

Layers of Fragments: Book review of George Saunders’
‘Lincoln in the Bardo’
By Mollie Douthit

G
eorge Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo where he is able to communicate with him. The book reads quickly and slowly all the clarity that occurred in the passages. I
is a novel is based around the true Willie, reciprocating his father’s affection, is at once. What I found extraordinarily felt emptiness in the white sparseness on
events of Abe Lincoln’s son Willie desperate to return to the life he knows and powerful was the fragmented writing, some pages, visually humming the weight
passing away at age 11 from a sudden is reluctant to move on. At this point, other coming from different sources, voices, and that Lincoln held in his grief stricken state.
illness. It is known that Lincoln visits ghosts in the Bardo enter into the narrative. dimensions of time and reality. Reading These revelations all occurred to me post
Willie’s body while being held in a crypt These characters begin to express the need each passage functions like an unfolding reading, good thing too because the book
before burial. During these visits, Lincoln for Willie to move on, otherwise he will be stack of thoughts and facts. These bits is a piece of fiction, not poetry. It never
would hold his dead son. The weight of tortured. Collectively they form a union to followed a linear narrative and then becomes pretentious in its approach.
his grief presides over the entire book as help Lincoln understand what is happening connected back to the layers of verbal Saunders won the Booker Prize this year
it takes a semi fictional journey from these for Willie’s sake. These characters tell crumbs Saunders placed in previous pages- and rightly so, this book feels honest in a
events that expresses love and loss in such their own stories, which reveals their own creating a multidimensional space for the place that is completely imagined. He was
a pure act: the need to hold the dead body reasons for remaining in the Bardo. reader to (and writer for that matter) float able to channel voices, spaces, and time in
of a beloved son. in comfortably. a way that must have felt dangerous while
Meanwhile, Saunders narrates this novel writing but unavoidable.
‘Bardo’ is not purgatory; it is a ‘place of with op cit. and passages from writings of I find it essential to read books in the
in between,’ therefore life in itself can be the political events of the time, the most physical form rather than virtual. The short Mollie Douthit is an internationally recognised
considered a bardo, a place between birth pressing being the start of the civil war. In a chapters and concise blurbs of writing were painter. She lived Ireland the from 2012-2017
and death. In this this novel, ‘Bardo’ is the daring move, Saunders combines facts and vital to the emotions I collected in a space where she earned her MFA in Studio Art. Douthit
space where Willie exists in a ghost-like fiction in these snippets. Turmoil, tension, between words on a page and me taking in is currently based in Grand Forks.
state before he moves on to the next place. and the unknown dominate the zeitgeist of its contents. This approach to writing and @MollieDouthit | www.molliedouthit.com
Lincoln visits his son in this ghost-like place the time and the novel. publication permitted my mind to sink into

WINTER 2017 | THE BEAT 3
ARTS & CULTURE
LIT

Community bands together to read
by Staff Writer

WORD SEARCH
T
he Greater Grand Forks Reads These events are free and open to the
Program is poised for a second public. On November 3, The Lost City of Z
year of local literacy after its will be at the Empire Arts Center; this film is
inaugural season last year. The program based on a David Grann book by the same
“is committed to providing opportunities name. Dead Poets Society will be shown at the
for community discussions of literature Empire on January 19. A panel discussion
and culture,” according to its website. titled “Mining and Minerals: Practices and
They choose “common read” books for Politics” will be held on February 21 at the
the community and schedule related events East Grand Forks Campbell Library.
throughout the year.
Finally, the Greater Grand Forks Reads
This year, Greater Grand Forks Reads activities will be capped off in the spring with
has chosen two books. Winger, by Andrew visits by both authors. David Grann will
Smith, has been chosen for young adults. be visiting the University of North Dakota
Winger follows the story of a high school Writers Conference and participating in
boy in boarding school. Killers of the Flower a number of their free events, including
Moon, by David Grann, has been chosen a reading from Killers of the Flower Moon
as the main community book for the year. on March 21 at the Memorial Union
Grann’s book is a true-life murder mystery Ballroom. Andrew Smith will be making
that recounts the history of the oil-rich an appearance at the WAR for Literacy
Osage Indian nation in the 1920s. Both Conference at Central High School on
authors will be visiting Grand Forks this March 24.
coming spring.
For more information about Greater Grand
In the meantime, the organization has Forks Reads or for more event information,
planned several events related to the books. visit their website at www.ggfreads.org.

4 THE BEAT | WINTER 2017
ARTS & CULTURE
MUSIC

The High Flutin’ Pitches
By Janelle R. Huber

W
hat a name, right? The High lowest flute that the High Flutin’ Pitches one to us, we would be more than happy different professions including doctors,
Flutin’ Pitches is a flute choir has. It plays one octave below the C flute to accept. public school teachers, retirees, and college
made up of flutists from the and is twice as big. It is so big that the professors. We came together because we
Grand Forks City Band. We began as an headjoint has to curve back around toward The High Flutin’ Pitches is a relatively new love the flute and soon found that we liked
idea one City Band rehearsal, an idea that the flutist so that he or she can reach the group, formed in the fall of 2016. Our first hanging out together.
took shape from a special comradery that keys. The Pitches are proud to say that one gigs included performing at the Grand
we have in our flute section. This August, a few of our
We enjoyed playing together members took a road trip to
in band so why not form a Minneapolis to attend the
group and play together as an National Flute Convention. In
independent entity? As for our the company of nearly 3,000
name—it may have evolved other flute players from around
from a fit of giggles involving the world, we took the place by
high notes and something else. storm, taking every opportunity
We are not entirely certain. to engage in this flute festival.
One way we did that was by
But seriously, what is a flute performing as part of the 10,000
choir? Quite literally, it is a choir Lakes Flute Choir. This was a
made up of 6 or more flutists volunteer group of convention
who play music specifically goers who played the concert
written for the ensemble. We use that opened the convention. It
a variety of strange flutes not included roughly 250 flutists and
typically seen in your modern had everything from the piccolo
band or orchestra. The choir to the contrabass flute. Flutist,
usually includes one piccolo, 3-4 Sheridan Stokes, performed as
C flutes (your regular concert a guest soloist with us. He is a
flute), one alto flute, and one studio flutist who is best known
bass flute. for recording the famous penny
whistle love theme for the movie
Everyone is always very curious Titanic--“My Heart Will Go
about the low flutes when we On.” We had a tremendous
perform so we often take time to time at the convention and it
show them to the audience. The was a trip that brought us closer
alto flute is slightly larger than together.
the C flute and can have either
a curved headjoint (the part of So—where can you hear the
the flute that the flutist blows Pitches perform? Our next
into) or a straight headjoint. performance is on November
This is mostly to accommodate 5th as part of the Music on the
the size and comfort of the Edge concert series at the First
flutist because with a straight Presbyterian Church on South
headjoint the flutist has to reach Washington at 4:30 PM. We
a little further for the keys. The would love to see you there!
alto flute is pitched in the key
of G, which means that is plays Photos courtesy of The High Flutin’ Pitches If you would like for the High
in the range that exists between Flutin’ Pitches to perform at
the C flute and the bass flute. Surprisingly of our members owns one. We would love Cities Mall, United Lutheran Church, your next event, you can message us on our
enough, three members of our flute choir to own a contrabass flute (yes, those exist Valley Memorial Homes, and the Myra Facebook page, “The High Flutin’ Pitches”
own an alto flute. The bass flute is the too), so if anyone is interested in donating Museum. Our members come from many @thoseflutepitches.

WINTER 2017 | THE BEAT 5
MUSIC
FALL CONCERT LARRY HAMETT & LAKOVOS WINTER WUNDERLAND
November 2 KOLANIAN GUITAR RECITAL December 2
Presented by the Gramd Forks City Band November 15 Presented by UND School of Music
Empire Arts Center Presented by UND School of Music Chester Fritz Auditorium
701.746.7471/ gfcityband.org Josephine Campbell Recital Hall 701.777.4090 / cfa.und.edu

OPEN MIC NIGHT
November 3 DEUCES WILD DUELING PIANOS WINTER CONCERT: A RUSSIAN
The Ember November 17 WINTER
701.772.2631/ elroco.com Presented by the Ralph Engelstad Arena December 10
Empire Arts Center Presented by Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra
701.777.4090 / theralph.com Empire Arts Center
AITAS/ SPACE MONKEY MAFIA 701.746.5500 / empireartscenter.com
November 4
El Roco Bar & Grill GRAND CITIES CHILDREN’S CHOIR
701.772.2631/ elroco.com CONCERT SING-ALONG MESSIAH
November 19 December 14
Presented by the Grand Cities Children’s Choir Presented by Grand Forks Chorales
DUO: THE AFIELD Chester Fritz Auditorium 701.732.0091 / gfchorales.org
November 5 701.777.4090 / cfa.und.edu
North Dakota Museum of Art
701.777.4195 / ndmoa.com HAIRBALL: AN 80S TRIBUTE BAND
CRESCENDO December 29
November 27 Alerus Center
DECADES REWIND Presented by Northern Valley Youth Orchestras 701.792.1420/ aleruscenter.com
November 9 The Ember
Chester Fritz Auditorium 701.777.4090 / cfa.und.edu
701.777.4090 / cfa.und.edu OCTOBER ROAD
January 12
Shotgun Sally’s
701.757.3825/ shotgunsallys.com
FILM
THE LOST CITY OF Z: FREE THE MISSION OF HERMAN STERN DEAD POETS SOCIETY: FREE
SCREENING November 6 SCREENING
November 3 Presented by UND Art Collections January 19
Presented by Greater Grand Forks Reads Empire Arts Center Presented by Greater Grand Forks Reads
Empire Arts Center 701.746.5500 / und.edu/art-collections Empire Arts Center
ggfreads.org ggfreads.org

6 THE BEAT | WINTER 2017
THEATRE/DANCE
DISNEY’S HIGH SCHOOL CIRQUE MUSICA HOLIDAY: THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT
MUSICAL, JR. BELIEVE EVER
November 3 - 12 November 26 December 11-14
Presented by Fire Hall Theatre Alerus Center Presented by Red River High School
Fire Hall Theatre 701.792.1420/ aleruscenter.com 701.746.2411 /spacompany.org
701.777.4090 / ggfct.org

A CHRISTMAS CAROL: NUTCRACKER EXTRAVAGANZA
IRVING BERLIN’S RADIO PLAY December 15 & 16
WHITE CHRISTMAS December 7 - 10 Presented by North Dakota Ballet Company
November 24 - December 3 Presented by Fire Hall Theatre Empire Arts Center
Presented by Empire Theatre Company Fire Hall Theatre 701.746.6044 / northdakotaballet.org
Empire Arts Center 701.777.4090 / ggfct.org
701.746.5500 / empireartscenter.com
A MAGICAL MEDORA CHRISTMAS PASSION PLAY
December 11 January 25-27
MOSCOW BALLET’S GREAT Presented by Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation Presented by Empire Theatre Company
RUSSIAN NUTCRACKER Empire Arts Center Empire Arts Center
November 24 701.746.5500 / empireartscenter.com 701.746.5500 / empireartscenter.com
Chester Fritz Auditorium
800.320.1733 / nutcracker.com

POTPOURRI
ONE MILLION CUPS US CAPITOL CHRISTMAS TREE UGLY SWEATER PUB CRAWL
November 1 & every following Wednesday WHISTLE STOP December 9
Presented by One Million Cups Grand Forks November 19 Downtown Grand Forks
The 701 coworking space Town Square 701.757.4012
1millioncups.com 701.757.5542

LIONS CHRISTMAS IN THE PARK HAPPY HARRY’S BEER AND
TRIVIA MAFIA November 23 - December 31 BACON FESTIVAL
November 7 & every following Tuesday Presented by Gramd Forks Lions CLub January 20
Dreamer’s Lounge, Ramada Inn Lincoln Park Alerus Center
701.775.3951 / triviamafia.com/dreamers 701.746.4636 / downtowngrandforks.org 701.792.1200 / aleruscenter.com

CARDBOARD & COFFEE HOLLYDAZZLE FESTIVAL OF FAMILY DAY
November 4 LIGHTS January 27
The Ember November 26 Presented by Greater Grand Forks Reads
701.203.2877 / theemberon3rd.com Presented by Downtown Development Association North Dakota Museum of Art
Downtown Grand Forks & East Grand Forks ggfreads.org
701.746.4636 / downtowngrandforks.org
PRIDE OF DAKOTA
November 4 BOURBON & CAKE POPS
Alerus Center SANTA’S VILLAGE January 20
701.792.1200 / alerus center.com December 7-10 & 14-17 Presented by Brick & Barley
Lincoln Golf Course Clubhouse Brick & Barley Bar & Restaurant
701.746.2750 / gfparks.org 701.757.4012 / brickandbarleygf.com

WINTER 2017 | THE BEAT 7
ARTS & CULTURE
CULTURE

Behind the uniform
By Justin Dela Cruz

W
hite Christmas is a play that times, while owning a ski resort that has These men came from all over the country A great leader is someone that really
centers around three military had little to no snow during the winter. to support him and show their appreciation changes people in the best way. They
member that retire after World This has stifled his business so much that for what he’s done. Though military life don’t belittle or humiliate, they build on
War II and find lives in the civilian world. the inn is empty. Later they learned that he has been hard for all them, they found successes to make someone better and look
Two of the characters, the lead roles, invested all of his money into this place. something while in their service. Friendship, out for the wellbeing of others. Having
return to their jobs as performers and find comradery, family, and respect for a man that in a boss, a coworker, or a commander
immense success in their venture. The Still knowing the good man that he is, who would never let them down if he had can make an enormous difference in how
other struggles to adjust to civilian life. these two the choice. people react to adversity.
men want to A GREAT LEADER IS SOMEONE
After some shenanigans and make sure For that one Though this is a musical about the holidays
misinformation, the two leading men the general is THAT REALLY CHANGES PEOPLE Christmas, they it does pay tribute to military and all who
run into their old commander, a retired taken care of, IN THE BEST WAY. THEY DON’T wanted to not have served. To honor that, the Empire
general. As each one meets him, they snap just as he took only pay him plans on providing military discounts
to attention and give him a salute. Why care of them BELITTLE OR HUMILIATE, THEY back, but to say for the production and recognizing
would they do that? They don’t have to overseas. To BUILD ON SUCCESSES TO MAKE that they will active or retired military before each
do that anymore, because they retired. help, they never forget performance. Though a small gesture,
Once out of the military, no one really is try to bring SOMEONE BETTER AND LOOK OUT him. Because we hope to acknowledge some of the
expected a salute anymore. That gesture, in more FOR THE WELLBEING OF OTHERS. when a great sacrifices made by them in their service.
to them wasn’t out of custom, habit, or business, and leader exists
even the rank. Instead, it is because their they have and leaves an Justin Dela Cruz is a native Texas and the son of
General, their commander, is their friend their whole staff stay in the inn. On the impression on someone’s life, they get that two Filipino immigrants. Justin has lived in Grand
that deserved that salute. night before Christmas Eve, they put out a back ten-fold or more. Though this is a Forks, ND for over three years and it has grown on
TV announcement: their former battalion holiday show, it does have an underlining him since then. He likes to write his own stories but
This makes seeing him a bittersweet visit. was to meet up and come support their message for anyone that can understand: a loves hearing others tell theirs.
As they have found success outside the General and say thank you for taking care great leader doesn’t just lead, they inspire @jdelac25
military, their leader has fallen on tough of them. people and care for them.

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ARTS & CULTURE
CULTURE

Two unusual instruments, one
facinating musician
By Staff Writer

Many of us play instruments such as piano Bagpipe players may be even more rare
or guitar. But how many people do you than accordion players. Sheila says she
know that can play the accordion? What is as interested in the cultural traditions
about the bagpipes? What about both? surrounding the instrument as she is in the
music itself.
Sheila Liming, a Grand Forks resident,
happens to be One of the
proficient in both issues that Sheila
accordion and “I MISSED PLAYING THE PIANO, has faced while
bagpipes. The SO I ASKED MY PARENTS playing relatively
Beat recently sat rare instruments
down with Sheila TO SEND AN OLD FAMILY is the challenge
to discuss her ACCORDION TO ME SO THAT in repairing and
unusual musical maintaining said
talents. I COULD STILL MAKE MUSIC.” instruments.
Sometimes, the
Sheila began closest technicians
playing the accordion when she resided in are hours and several states away. It
an apartment without a piano. “I missed can also be difficult to find likeminded
playing the piano, so I asked my parents to musicians. Still, she continues to follow
send an old family accordion to me so that her passion as perhaps the most unique
I could still make music.” musician in Grand Forks.
ARTS & CULTURE
SPECIAL FEATURE

Storytelling, the movies, and the Empire
By Christopher P. Jacobs

T
he Empire Theatre has its own of entertainment in Grand Forks and By now movies had become a major part a big attraction for anybody with time
long and fascinating story, much across the country, with daily newspaper of everyday life. A 1923 article in the to spare, many attending at least once or
of it revolving around the major advertisements keeping patrons informed Grand Forks Herald reported that the city’s twice a week, or even more frequently.
storytelling medium of the past century, of the frequently-changing programs. 15,000 residents produced about 740,000 Local theatre managers described 1923
motion pictures. ticket sales at the five movie houses then trends in moviegoing, identifying westerns
When a 1918 fire damaged the popular in Grand Forks/East Grand Forks. The as “most alluring to children,” even more
People have enjoyed stories since vaudeville theatre then known as The average family was spending an estimated than comedies. Saturday was the biggest
prehistoric tales around campfires. By the Grand (which coincidentally had opened $56 annually at the movies, almost as much day of the week for attendance, as it
time of Ancient Greece some 2500 years as “The Empire” back in 1907), its owner as their winter heating bill. Movie tickets at remains today. Managers noted “several
ago, storytelling had evolved into an art could see the shifting direction of public this time normally ranged from 10 cents to classes of theatregoers in Grand Forks.”
through epic poetry and staged drama, tastes and decided to build an all-new 35 cents (roughly equal to a typical hourly Some attended only comedies, never the
with theatres constructed especially for structure just for showing movies, “The wage), depending on the theatre, time of deeper themes. Others preferred emotional
their presentation to large audiences. New Grand.” Like the old Grand and the day, and patron’s age. Stage plays cost melodramas. Still others would come to
Throughout the past four centuries, stage Metropolitan, it would be a full-size theatre, nearly ten times as much at $1.10, $1.65, any show, finding the movies a pleasure
production was developed and refined as opposed to the town’s other movie-only and $2.20 per ticket, depending upon seat simply to pass time.
until theatre became a leading form of art venues, which had been adapted from small location. The Herald noted that 1923
and entertainment, popular with both the storefront locations. The old Grand was was a barren year in Grand Forks for the In spring of 1927, storytelling on the big
general working-class public and academic, eventually repaired and reopened under legitimate stage, but that the cinema was screen became a home-town project when
intellectual critics. Then suddenly in the new ownership as “The Orpheum” (later “markedly successful.” It had relatively the Grand Theatre partnered with the
1890s a new invention came along that “The Dakota” until demolished in 1971). little competition. Radio at this time was Grand Forks Herald and an independent
would change everything: the movies. The New Grand finally opened to the still in its infancy, and home entertainment movie company to hold a movie contest.
public November 10, 1919, with a nearly was rather expensive with phonographs Herald readers were invited to enter a
Crowds were first fascinated by the mere sold-out house even though the year’s first selling for $100 to $240 (perhaps two or story idea or script for a two-reel (about
fact that photographs could now be blizzard had just struck that day, cancelling more weeks’ wages) and popular recordings 20-minute) picture set in Grand Forks.
seen in motion. As that novelty wore off, almost all other activities. The theatre’s (of one or two songs) costing 75 cents to Some scenes had to include the Herald’s
moviemakers quickly turned to recording own five-piece orchestra accompanied the $1.50 each (several hours’ wages). building, with interiors to be shot on the
brief stories on film. On Christmas Day of silent films on the screen, and a few months stage of the Grand Theatre. The winner
1903 Grand Forks saw its first advertised later a small pipe organ was also installed. Well-told stories at a modest price were would receive a prize of $20 plus the
film screening with the Thomas Edison
studio’s 15-minute movie adaptation of
Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Proudly promoted as a
reproduction of the famous stage play, it
was shown at the opulent Metropolitan
Theatre downtown, Grand Forks’ premiere
showplace for opera, stage productions,
and other live entertainment.

Over the next decade, movies developed
into a distinctive new cinematic method
of storytelling, no longer just a record
of theatrical performances. Movies’
popularity increased to the point where
they were a regular part of vaudeville
variety shows and new theatres started
opening that were devoted primarily to
films instead of live performers. By 1913,
even the prestigious Metropolitan began
showing films “daily, except on dates of
the big attractions.” By 1915-16, motion
pictures had become the dominant form

10 THE BEAT | WINTER 2017
ARTS & CULTURE

L VE
hopes of fame and fortune in a new movie continued bringing films to Grand Forks
career. Leading actors were nominated by audiences until April 1994, its 75th year as
ballots the Herald printed in every issue, a commercial movie house.
which patrons could drop at the theatre.
Other actors were selected from the people That December, the Midcontinent
who showed up on the day of shooting. A Corporation donated the building to the

Wine
comedy-drama called Mary Lou was the North Valley Arts Council. After fund
winning story, filmed the weekend of May drives and more renovations, the Empire
13-14. The
f i n i s h e d A 1923 ARTICLE IN THE GRAND life in 1998 as
movie
ready about
was FORKS HERALD REPORTED THAT THE a Performing
began a new

Arts Center,
w
six weeks CITY’S 15,000 RESIDENTS PRODUCED bringing a
later and ABOUT 740,000 TICKET SALES AT wide variety
played at the of music,
Grand June THE FIVE MOVIE HOUSES THEN IN theatre, dance

YOU’RE WITH
29-30 as the GRAND FORKS/EAST GRAND FORKS. programs, and
short subject art exhibits
p r e c e d i n g THE AVERAGE FAMILY WAS SPENDING to downtown
the regular AN ESTIMATED $56 ANNUALLY AT Grand Forks,
feature. as well as
THE MOVIES, ALMOST AS MUCH AS o c c a s i o n a l
A year later, THEIR WINTER HEATING BILL. m o v i e s ,
the Grand lectures, and
became the first local theatre to convert arts workshops.
to the new Vitaphone talking picture
technology, ushering in a new era of Christopher P. Jacobs taught film classes at the
movie storytelling. Another ownership University of North Dakota, managed movie
change and an extensive 1930 renovation theatres for nine years (including the Empire), and
turned the Grand into the Paramount. wrote and filmed a number of independent local
A quarter-century later the Paramount movies. Jacobs had long been interested in the
again led Grand Forks theatres in catering history of film, Grand Forks, and of local theatres.
to movie trends when it installed a wide Jacobs passed away in October of 2017. His
GRAND FORKS • 2702 GATEWAY DR • 2051 32ND AVE S
CinemaScope screen and stereophonic contributions to the Empire Arts Center and the
FARGO • 4001 53RD AVE S • 1621 45TH ST SW • 1125 19TH AVE N
sound in May 1954. After additional community will be remembered with gratitude.
WWW.HAPPY-HARRYS.COM
remodeling it changed its name one more
time in January 1955 to the Empire. This article was originally published in the Encore
With ups and downs in attendance, it magazine.
VisitGrandForks.com

/VisitGrandForks