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Bad Romance

Navigating the fine line between passion and pretense



Ryan and I met in the choppy free-for-all that is the Highland Park pool in St. Paul, a 50-meter, lane-less affair. He was faster than me, with a swimmer’s broad shoulders and beautiful tanned skin. In the soup of adults paddling, shredding, and chopping their way up and down the pool, Ryan floated to the top. Good-looking, smart, kind. After we met a couple of times, he asked me out.

Our first date was the kind of date that some women (probably married women who can’t get their husbands off their butts to take out the trash) dream about. Ryan picked me up in the morning and loaded my bike into his car. Since we’d be doing the 20-mile Cannon Valley Trail round-trip, he’d brought food to fortify us: Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, scones, and French roast coffee. We ate in the car on the way to Red Wing, chatting about our families and the books we’d read lately.

It was a gorgeous late summer day, and the trail was crowded. We stopped for lunch in Cannon Falls, and after having a burger and a beer, turned around and began the 20-mile ride back to Red Wing, where Ryan had made dinner reservations.

In Red Wing, we headed to the YMCA for a swim and a hot tub, and to shower and change. Hot tub, candlelit dinner, bottle of wine, a ride home under the stars—a girl should love being swept off her feet like this, right?

At the end of the night, Ryan walked me to my door. Then he cupped my face in his hands and dived in for the kind of passionate kiss you see in movies, when lovers have been separated by war.

I was stunned. Our day together had been lovely, but passion could not be forced or fabricated. And for whatever reason, I was not feeling that sort of connection with Ryan.

I saw him a couple more times after that, and I think Ryan was disappointed when things didn’t work out. It puzzled me, too. His ideas for our dates were the kind of things you see in the movies: a romantic sharing of a sundae, a picnic, a stroll through a museum or park. But some small part of me couldn’t help but wonder if he was on a date with me, or with the idea of our date.

Which begs the question, I guess: would I have preferred that he invite me over to do the dishes? To move the couch and vacuum for bugs?

These are the things I remember from watching the romance of my formative years. Sure, my parents got dressed up and went out to dinner. But to me they always seemed most happy together when they were engaged in domestic tedium. I remember them up on separate step ladders, at opposite ends of the basement, holding flashlights, and, having removed the ceiling tiles, searching the crawl space for the dead field mouse that was making that awful smell. I remember their laughter echoing up in that space, while my sister and I sat on the nubby orange couch watching Love Boat.

A couple of years after I’d last seen Ryan, I ran into him at Starbucks. I had spent the morning doing yard work, and had not yet combed my hair. Needing a break, I’d decided to run to the drugstore and then grab a coffee.

When Ryan spotted me, I had grass clippings on my shirt and probably in my hair. I had dirt under my fingernails and was wearing a sincerely butchy pair of cargo shorts. My sister and her kids had visited me recently, and they’d been exposed to children who had head lice. So there I was, holding a lice kit, a box of tampons, and a Snickers bar.

I assumed that in that moment, Ryan was probably quite grateful that things hadn’t worked out. You’re welcome! I wanted to say. See?! It was for the best!

“How’ve you been?” he asked, tentatively.

And because I looked truly feral, and couldn’t think how to say I’m sorry, or I don’t understand the mysteries of the heart! I instead blurted out, “I’ve been doing yard work.” He nodded, and walked away.

Shannon Olson, the author of the novels Welcome to My Planet and Children of God Go Bowling, is a regular contributor to “Last Word.”

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MN Events Calendar

August 2015

Black and White refers to both the striking graphic qualities of the printed image and to the divisiveness at the heart of apartheid—the segregation of black and white. The remarkable story...

Cost: Free

Where:
Weisman Art Museum
333 East River Road
Minneapolis, MN  55455
View map »


Sponsor: Weisman Art Museum
Telephone: 612-625-9494
Contact Name: Erin Lauderman
Website »

More information

Paul Shambroom: Lost presents three new projects by internationally renowned photographer Paul Shambroom. The series Lost features photographs whose imagery is taken from old flyers of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Minnesota Museum of American Art Project Space
141 E. 4th Street
St. Paul, MN  55101
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for a salon-style show featuring new works by hundreds of artists including Israeli artist Shay Kun and local artists Carl Bretzke, Mary Lingen, Wayne Meineke, Mike Welton, Kevan...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
Douglas Flanders & Associates
818 West Lake Street
Minneapolis, MN  55408
View map »


Telephone: 612791-1285
Contact Name: Douglas Flanders
Website »

More information

The Meeting Waters Friday, August 28, 2015 – Sunday, August 30, 2015  Whittier Studios Reception: Friday, August 28, 6:00-9:00 p.m. Uniting artists from disparate...

Cost: Free

Where:
MCAD Whittier Gallery
2840 Grand Avenue, Minneapolis
Minneapolis, MN  55408
View map »


Telephone: 612-874-3793
Contact Name: Ann Benrud

More information

Red Wing Depot Gallery will be full of the season...The Harvest Season. Depending on your background, you may envision different things when you consider harvest time. We have artwork that reflects...

Cost: Free

Where:
Red Wing Depot Gallery
418 Levee Street
Red Wing, MN  55066
View map »


Sponsor: Red Wing Arts Association
Telephone: 651-388-7569
Contact Name: Arlene Roth
Website »

More information

All poultry enthusiasts, 4-H supporters, and state fair goers, join Minnesota 4-H and Gold’n Plump on Sunday, August 30 from noon to 1:00 p.m. at the sixth annual Poultry Prince and Princess...

Cost: Free with admission to Minnesota State Fair

Where:
Minnesota State Fair Sheep & Poultry Barn
Judson Ave & Liggett St
St. Paul, MN  55108
View map »


Sponsor: Gold'n Plump
Telephone: 612-337-0087
Contact Name: Julia Irwin
Website »

More information

Join us as we gather with MCEA donors and friends at the Grand Ely Lodge on Sunday, August 30th from 4:00-6:00 PM! Enjoy refreshments and conversation as we learn from MCEA’s staff...

Cost: Free, reservations are required

Where:
Grand Ely Lodge
400 N. Pioneer Rd.
Sunrise Room
Ely, MN  55731
View map »


Website »

More information

Franklin Arts Center | Resident Artists Gallery will host a new body of work by Minneapolis artist Sara Suppan. Suppan’s paintings explore the relationship between the home and its...

Cost: Free

Where:
Franklin Art Center Resident Artists Gallery
1001 Kingwood St
Brainerd, MN  56401
View map »


Sponsor: Franklin Art Center
Website »

More information

St Paul! Come see Alan Jackson perform all his hits live at the Minnesota State Fair on August 30th. Don't miss this unforgettable night of hits!

Cost: $40

Where:
Minnesota State Fair
St. Paul , MN


Website »

More information

July 13, 2015 – White Bear Lake, Minn. – White Bear Lake is an extraordinarily picturesque Minnesota city that has maintained its small-town character over the past 150 years. It is...

Cost: Free

Where:
White Bear Center for the Arts
4971 Long Avenue
White Bear Lake, MN  55110
View map »


Telephone: 612-990-0126
Contact Name: Lynn Nelson
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Paul Shambroom: Lost presents three new projects by internationally renowned photographer Paul Shambroom. The series Lost features photographs whose imagery is taken from old flyers of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Minnesota Museum of American Art Project Space
141 E. 4th Street
St. Paul, MN  55101
View map »


Website »

More information

Black and White refers to both the striking graphic qualities of the printed image and to the divisiveness at the heart of apartheid—the segregation of black and white. The remarkable story...

Cost: Free

Where:
Weisman Art Museum
333 East River Road
Minneapolis, MN  55455
View map »


Sponsor: Weisman Art Museum
Telephone: 612-625-9494
Contact Name: Erin Lauderman
Website »

More information

Red Wing Depot Gallery will be full of the season...The Harvest Season. Depending on your background, you may envision different things when you consider harvest time. We have artwork that reflects...

Cost: Free

Where:
Red Wing Depot Gallery
418 Levee Street
Red Wing, MN  55066
View map »


Sponsor: Red Wing Arts Association
Telephone: 651-388-7569
Contact Name: Arlene Roth
Website »

More information

Summer Group Show 2015 Featuring the artists of the Kolman & Pryor Gallery: Betsy Ruth Byers: Painting Kate Casanova: Mixed Media and Sculpture Jim Dryden: Painting Jil Evans: Painting...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kolman & Pryor Gallery
Studio 395, Northrup King Building
1500 Jackson St. NE
Minneapolis, MN  55413
View map »


Sponsor: Kolman & Pryor Gallery
Telephone: 612-385-4239
Contact Name: Anita Sue Kolman
Website »

More information

Join us as we gather with MCEA donors and friends at Tycoons in Downtown Duluth on Monday, August 31st from 4:00-6:00 PM! Enjoy refreshments and conversation with MCEA’s executive...

Cost: Free, reservations are required

Where:
Tycoons Alehouse
132 E. Superior St.
Duluth , MN
View map »


Website »

More information

July 13, 2015 – White Bear Lake, Minn. – White Bear Lake is an extraordinarily picturesque Minnesota city that has maintained its small-town character over the past 150 years. It is...

Cost: Free

Where:
White Bear Center for the Arts
4971 Long Avenue
White Bear Lake, MN  55110
View map »


Telephone: 612-990-0126
Contact Name: Lynn Nelson
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Black and White refers to both the striking graphic qualities of the printed image and to the divisiveness at the heart of apartheid—the segregation of black and white. The remarkable story...

Cost: Free

Where:
Weisman Art Museum
333 East River Road
Minneapolis, MN  55455
View map »


Sponsor: Weisman Art Museum
Telephone: 612-625-9494
Contact Name: Erin Lauderman
Website »

More information

Paul Shambroom: Lost presents three new projects by internationally renowned photographer Paul Shambroom. The series Lost features photographs whose imagery is taken from old flyers of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Minnesota Museum of American Art Project Space
141 E. 4th Street
St. Paul, MN  55101
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for a salon-style show featuring new works by hundreds of artists including Israeli artist Shay Kun and local artists Carl Bretzke, Mary Lingen, Wayne Meineke, Mike Welton, Kevan...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
Douglas Flanders & Associates
818 West Lake Street
Minneapolis, MN  55408
View map »


Telephone: 612791-1285
Contact Name: Douglas Flanders
Website »

More information

Red Wing Depot Gallery will be full of the season...The Harvest Season. Depending on your background, you may envision different things when you consider harvest time. We have artwork that reflects...

Cost: Free

Where:
Red Wing Depot Gallery
418 Levee Street
Red Wing, MN  55066
View map »


Sponsor: Red Wing Arts Association
Telephone: 651-388-7569
Contact Name: Arlene Roth
Website »

More information

Summer Group Show 2015 Featuring the artists of the Kolman & Pryor Gallery: Betsy Ruth Byers: Painting Kate Casanova: Mixed Media and Sculpture Jim Dryden: Painting Jil Evans: Painting...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kolman & Pryor Gallery
Studio 395, Northrup King Building
1500 Jackson St. NE
Minneapolis, MN  55413
View map »


Sponsor: Kolman & Pryor Gallery
Telephone: 612-385-4239
Contact Name: Anita Sue Kolman
Website »

More information

This is a Minnesota Recovery Month event to express gratitude, convey hope and to celebrate all in recovery—family, friends, and everyone in our communities who help recovery happen. ...

Cost: $15.00

Where:
Target Field
822 S 3rd St, Suite 101
Minneapolis, MN  55415
View map »


Sponsor: Minnesota Recovery Connection
Telephone: 612-584-4158
Contact Name: Julia Parnell
Website »

More information

July 13, 2015 – White Bear Lake, Minn. – White Bear Lake is an extraordinarily picturesque Minnesota city that has maintained its small-town character over the past 150 years. It is...

Cost: Free

Where:
White Bear Center for the Arts
4971 Long Avenue
White Bear Lake, MN  55110
View map »


Telephone: 612-990-0126
Contact Name: Lynn Nelson
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Paul Shambroom: Lost presents three new projects by internationally renowned photographer Paul Shambroom. The series Lost features photographs whose imagery is taken from old flyers of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Minnesota Museum of American Art Project Space
141 E. 4th Street
St. Paul, MN  55101
View map »


Website »

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Black and White refers to both the striking graphic qualities of the printed image and to the divisiveness at the heart of apartheid—the segregation of black and white. The remarkable story...

Cost: Free

Where:
Weisman Art Museum
333 East River Road
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Sponsor: Weisman Art Museum
Telephone: 612-625-9494
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Website »

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Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
Douglas Flanders & Associates
818 West Lake Street
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View map »


Telephone: 612791-1285
Contact Name: Douglas Flanders
Website »

More information

Red Wing Depot Gallery will be full of the season...The Harvest Season. Depending on your background, you may envision different things when you consider harvest time. We have artwork that reflects...

Cost: Free

Where:
Red Wing Depot Gallery
418 Levee Street
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View map »


Sponsor: Red Wing Arts Association
Telephone: 651-388-7569
Contact Name: Arlene Roth
Website »

More information

Summer Group Show 2015 Featuring the artists of the Kolman & Pryor Gallery: Betsy Ruth Byers: Painting Kate Casanova: Mixed Media and Sculpture Jim Dryden: Painting Jil Evans: Painting...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kolman & Pryor Gallery
Studio 395, Northrup King Building
1500 Jackson St. NE
Minneapolis, MN  55413
View map »


Sponsor: Kolman & Pryor Gallery
Telephone: 612-385-4239
Contact Name: Anita Sue Kolman
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
White Bear Center for the Arts
4971 Long Avenue
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View map »


Telephone: 612-990-0126
Contact Name: Lynn Nelson
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Thursday, September 3, 2015, 7:30 a.m. Hoversten Chapel, Foss Center, Augsburg College  625 22nd Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55454.  Keynote Speaker — Johnny Smith. ...

Cost: $15.00

Where:
Augsburg College
Minneapolis, MN


Sponsor: Minnesota Recovery Connection
Telephone: 612-584-4158
Contact Name: Julia Parnell
Website »

More information

Paul Shambroom: Lost presents three new projects by internationally renowned photographer Paul Shambroom. The series Lost features photographs whose imagery is taken from old flyers of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Minnesota Museum of American Art Project Space
141 E. 4th Street
St. Paul, MN  55101
View map »


Website »

More information

Black and White refers to both the striking graphic qualities of the printed image and to the divisiveness at the heart of apartheid—the segregation of black and white. The remarkable story...

Cost: Free

Where:
Weisman Art Museum
333 East River Road
Minneapolis, MN  55455
View map »


Sponsor: Weisman Art Museum
Telephone: 612-625-9494
Contact Name: Erin Lauderman
Website »

More information

Join us for a salon-style show featuring new works by hundreds of artists including Israeli artist Shay Kun and local artists Carl Bretzke, Mary Lingen, Wayne Meineke, Mike Welton, Kevan...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
Douglas Flanders & Associates
818 West Lake Street
Minneapolis, MN  55408
View map »


Telephone: 612791-1285
Contact Name: Douglas Flanders
Website »

More information

Red Wing Depot Gallery will be full of the season...The Harvest Season. Depending on your background, you may envision different things when you consider harvest time. We have artwork that reflects...

Cost: Free

Where:
Red Wing Depot Gallery
418 Levee Street
Red Wing, MN  55066
View map »


Sponsor: Red Wing Arts Association
Telephone: 651-388-7569
Contact Name: Arlene Roth
Website »

More information

Summer Group Show 2015 Featuring the artists of the Kolman & Pryor Gallery: Betsy Ruth Byers: Painting Kate Casanova: Mixed Media and Sculpture Jim Dryden: Painting Jil Evans: Painting...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kolman & Pryor Gallery
Studio 395, Northrup King Building
1500 Jackson St. NE
Minneapolis, MN  55413
View map »


Sponsor: Kolman & Pryor Gallery
Telephone: 612-385-4239
Contact Name: Anita Sue Kolman
Website »

More information

Join Ian Karl for an evening of carving canoe paddles, sharing stories of paddling adventures, and sampling some of the fine dark beer that the Midwest has to offer. Ian is an accomplished...

Cost: $20 per person

Where:
Northwest Passage's In A New Light Gallery
7417 North Bass Lake Rd
Webster, WI  54893
View map »


Sponsor: Northwest Passage
Telephone: 715-309-4254
Contact Name: Brenda Martin
Website »

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The edgy EuroDance music and contagious charisma of ALI V is back at the 2015 Minnesota State Fair!  ALI V will be performing music from her award-winning debut album, "SHADE"....

Cost: Free

Where:
Minnesota State Fair
1265 Snelling Ave. N
St. Paul, MN  55108
View map »


Website »

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One of American theatre's best loved plays, A Streetcar Named Desire has been celebrated, studied and produced all over the world for nearly seventy years.  From the dramatic artistry of...

Cost: 25.00

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St. Croix Festival Theatre
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Cost: $25-$32

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824 Hennepin Ave.
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Sponsor: Brave New Workshop
Telephone: 612-332-6620
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Cost: Free

Where:
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4971 Long Avenue
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If you're an animal-lover, and enjoy competition as well, the Wisconsin Working Stock Dog Association's 30th Annual Labor Day Trials are something you'll want to see. Witness some of...

Cost: $7 per person. (Kids under 10 are free)

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Badlands Sno-Park
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Sponsor: Wisconsin Working Stock Dog Association
Contact Name: Claudia Mahon
Website »

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View map »


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Minnesota Museum of American Art Project Space
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St. Paul, MN  55101
View map »


Website »

More information

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Sponsor: Weisman Art Museum
Telephone: 612-625-9494
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Summer Group Show 2015 Featuring the artists of the Kolman & Pryor Gallery: Betsy Ruth Byers: Painting Kate Casanova: Mixed Media and Sculpture Jim Dryden: Painting Jil Evans: Painting...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kolman & Pryor Gallery
Studio 395, Northrup King Building
1500 Jackson St. NE
Minneapolis, MN  55413
View map »


Sponsor: Kolman & Pryor Gallery
Telephone: 612-385-4239
Contact Name: Anita Sue Kolman
Website »

More information

Red Wing Depot Gallery will be full of the season...The Harvest Season. Depending on your background, you may envision different things when you consider harvest time. We have artwork that reflects...

Cost: Free

Where:
Red Wing Depot Gallery
418 Levee Street
Red Wing, MN  55066
View map »


Sponsor: Red Wing Arts Association
Telephone: 651-388-7569
Contact Name: Arlene Roth
Website »

More information

One of American theatre's best loved plays, A Streetcar Named Desire has been celebrated, studied and produced all over the world for nearly seventy years.  From the dramatic artistry of...

Cost: 25.00

Where:
St. Croix Festival Theatre
210 N Washington St
St. Croix Falls, WI  54024
View map »


Website »

More information

In our latest best-of show, "Throwback BNW: Junk from our Trunk," the cast takes a look in the BNW archives for the best sketches from the last decade. The show will feature recent...

Cost: $25-$32

Where:
Brave New Workshop Comedy Theatre
824 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN  55403
View map »


Sponsor: Brave New Workshop
Telephone: 612-332-6620
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More information

One of American theatre's best loved plays, A Streetcar Named Desire has been celebrated, studied and produced all over the world for nearly seventy years.  From the dramatic artistry of Tennessee...

Cost: 25.00

Where:
St. Croix Festival Theatre
210 N Washington St
St. Croix Falls, WI  54024
View map »


Website »

More information

Crow with No Mouth Promotions presents German composer Gerhard Stäbler and Korean-born German composer Kunsu Shim in a collaborative electroacoustic performance. Crow with No Mouth...

Cost: $12

Where:
Studio Z
275 E. 4th Street, Suite 200
St. Paul, MN  55101
View map »


Sponsor: Studio Z
Telephone: 651-755-1600
Website »

More information

July 13, 2015 – White Bear Lake, Minn. – White Bear Lake is an extraordinarily picturesque Minnesota city that has maintained its small-town character over the past 150 years. It is...

Cost: Free

Where:
White Bear Center for the Arts
4971 Long Avenue
White Bear Lake, MN  55110
View map »


Telephone: 612-990-0126
Contact Name: Lynn Nelson
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

If you're an animal-lover, and enjoy competition as well, the Wisconsin Working Stock Dog Association's 30th Annual Labor Day Trials are something you'll want to see. Witness some of...

Cost: $7 per person. (Kids under 10 are free)

Where:
Badlands Sno-Park
772 Kinney Road
Hudson, WI  54016
View map »


Sponsor: Wisconsin Working Stock Dog Association
Contact Name: Claudia Mahon
Website »

More information

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Black and White refers to both the striking graphic qualities of the printed image and to the divisiveness at the heart of apartheid—the segregation of black and white. The remarkable story...

Cost: Free

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Weisman Art Museum
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Telephone: 612-625-9494
Contact Name: Erin Lauderman
Website »

More information

Paul Shambroom: Lost presents three new projects by internationally renowned photographer Paul Shambroom. The series Lost features photographs whose imagery is taken from old flyers of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Minnesota Museum of American Art Project Space
141 E. 4th Street
St. Paul, MN  55101
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The public is invited to attend the ninth annual Blue Moon Art Tour on Saturday, September 5 and Sunday, September 6 of Labor Day weekend, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Visit artists at their studios...

Cost: Free

Where:
Art Studios
Blue Moon Road
Drummond, WI  54832
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Telephone: 800-533-7454
Contact Name: Cable Area Chamber of Commerce
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Looking for something new to kick off Labor Day Weekend?... Try this...No Dog Left Behind's inaugural 5k for both humans & their dogs. Run, Walk, Bark along the Shores of Beautiful...

Cost: $20 in advance, $30 Race day

Where:
Brighton Beach
Brighton Beach Road
Duluth, MN  55804
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Sponsor: No Dog Left Beind
Contact Name: Susan
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Join us for a salon-style show featuring new works by hundreds of artists including Israeli artist Shay Kun and local artists Carl Bretzke, Mary Lingen, Wayne Meineke, Mike Welton, Kevan...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
Douglas Flanders & Associates
818 West Lake Street
Minneapolis, MN  55408
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Telephone: 612791-1285
Contact Name: Douglas Flanders
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Red Wing Depot Gallery will be full of the season...The Harvest Season. Depending on your background, you may envision different things when you consider harvest time. We have artwork that reflects...

Cost: Free

Where:
Red Wing Depot Gallery
418 Levee Street
Red Wing, MN  55066
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Sponsor: Red Wing Arts Association
Telephone: 651-388-7569
Contact Name: Arlene Roth
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One of American theatre's best loved plays, A Streetcar Named Desire has been celebrated, studied and produced all over the world for nearly seventy years.  From the dramatic artistry of Tennessee...

Cost: 25.00

Where:
St. Croix Festival Theatre
210 N Washington St
St. Croix Falls, WI  54024
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In our latest best-of show, "Throwback BNW: Junk from our Trunk," the cast takes a look in the BNW archives for the best sketches from the last decade. The show will feature recent...

Cost: $25-$32

Where:
Brave New Workshop Comedy Theatre
824 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN  55403
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Sponsor: Brave New Workshop
Telephone: 612-332-6620
Website »

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One of American theatre's best loved plays, A Streetcar Named Desire has been celebrated, studied and produced all over the world for nearly seventy years.  From the dramatic artistry of...

Cost: 25.00

Where:
St. Croix Festival Theatre
210 N Washington St
St. Croix Falls, WI  54024
View map »


Website »

More information

July 13, 2015 – White Bear Lake, Minn. – White Bear Lake is an extraordinarily picturesque Minnesota city that has maintained its small-town character over the past 150 years. It is...

Cost: Free

Where:
White Bear Center for the Arts
4971 Long Avenue
White Bear Lake, MN  55110
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Telephone: 612-990-0126
Contact Name: Lynn Nelson
Website »

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