Stacy Bengs has been a photojournalist at the Red Wing Republican Eagle since 2010. She holds a bachelors degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota.
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Forty-one degrees. No, this is not the expected temperature for this first day of spring. It is the difference between last year's high of 66 degrees and today's forecasted high of 20 degrees. In fact, the 2012 annual temperature was 3.2 percent above the 20th century average, making it the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States, according to the National Climatic Data Center. This year, we are on Mother Nature's elusive timeframe, yo-yoing between temperatures, precipitation types and layers of clothes.
In the 50 years the Red Wing Singers has performed, the group has have never shared the stage - until now. The bluegrass rhythms of the well-known Monroe Crossing meet the gospel chorus of the Red Wing Singers Saturday March 16 at the Sheldon Theatre. Each group will highlight its interpretation of some bluegrass classics and then combine to perform "The World Beloved - A Bluegrass Mass," written for Monroe Crossing by Minnesota composer Carol Barnett.
Longtime Minneapolis resident Jaspar Lepak is a folk/Americana songstress who will hit the stage Friday Feb. 22 at the Oak Center General Store. Riding on the heels of her critically acclaimed album "Forgiving Wind," which Rolling Stone South Africa - where the album was recorded - hailed as an album full of "beauty and original charm," Lepak has been performing from the West Coast to the Midwest. Lepak spent two years in South Africa, following husband Kale and his job transfer to the coastal city of Durban. "During that time I wrote enough songs to make an album," she said.
The 1993 film "Grumpy Old Men" tells the story of a lifelong feud between two neighbors, Max and John. Add a new female neighbor into the mix and the grudge only grows. The original movie and its sequel "Grumpier Old Men" will be the cause of celebration in Wabasha next weekend. Both films were set in the small river town, although no scenes were actually filmed in Wabasha. Neighboring Minnesota towns and cities, including Red Wing, were graced by the camera's presence. Nevertheless, Wabasha has held an annual Grumpy Old Men Festival.
Looking for a good book to read during the chilly days of winter? Warm up your mind, while satisfying your taste buds at the second annual Local Authors Day from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday Feb. 9 at the Cannon River Winery. Guests at the event can meet authors, purchase their books and have them signed while sipping on award-winning wine.
The Universal Music Center of Red Wing is preparing for its debut live performance. The concert will be 2 p.m. Sunday Feb. 10. Music lovers throughout the community are invited celebrate the accomplishments of the 15 students who are taking part in the 12-week program. "The students make up four separate bands and will perform a wide variety of current and classic material," program founder Mike Arturi said.
What do an anniversary, a cruise ship, an original classic love song, Facebook, an island, a Siren and an old flame have to do with one another? The uncommon elements melt together to create the romantic comedy "Sirens," presented by the Soapbox Players on Valentine's Day at Hobgoblin Music Loft in Red Wing. The script is relatively new, written in 2012 by Deborah Zoe Laufer of the Actors Theatre in Louisville with original music by Matt Callahan. "It is really well written," said director Min MartinOakes, taking on another Soapbox Players production.
When independent film producer Ian Morland and writer/director Brandon Lohstreter set out to find a location to shoot their upcoming short dark comedic film, they had no intention of leaving the cozy niche or city limits of Minneapolis. But, after posting an online call for a house to use for the set of their film, they received a plethora of responses. Sorting through emails and attached photos, a certain house sparked their interest. A few phone calls later, the up-and-coming filmmakers found themselves heading south to Red Wing to see the potential location in person.
We may be in the midst of the winter blues, but Joe and Vicki Price bring an easing type of blues as they make their way back to the Oak Center General Store. The Iowa natives have been performing at the Lake City-based venue for almost 10 years. They return Saturday Jan. 26. "Oak Center is such a great sounding room, it is a pleasure to perform there," said Vicki. "The people who come to the shows are there to hear music and they really appreciate what you do." The music is finger-style guitar new blues in the Muddy Waters/ Elmore James tradition, although a bit rough.
With the last day of 2012 falling on a Monday, the celebration to ring in the New Year starts this weekend. Look for local entertainment ranging from live music to hitting the slopes. Highlights from the music lineup include a weekend of vocals at the Cannon River Winery. Annie Lawler and her band kick off a harmonious afternoon at 1 p.m. today with a laid-back mix of blues, jazz and alternative country. Jagged Ease follows Lawler's set. The five-piece acoustic group plays original compilations. Singer, pianist and songwriter Andrew Walesch takes over Sunday afternoon.