So - what's in a name? Julius Caesar for starters: July was named for him so here we are stuck with July. Among other notable achievements during his distinguished lifetime was his ability, minus campaigning, to simply announce that he was emperor and it became true. In his spare time he may have indulged in games of dice or knucklebones. He outlived two legal wives but caught the eyes of the beautiful Cleopatra, whom, it was recorded, was quite influential in Roman goings-on. In all probability, loquacious Caesar and the voluptuous queen spent quality time lounging on the banks of the Nile - probably nibbling some luscious grapes. As time marched on (as it usually does) Caesar's enemies decided it was time for him to go and assassinated him. Sadly, even one of his trusted friends was among the killers. As Shakespeare put it, the last words uttered by Caesar to his friend were "Et tu, Brute?" (Translation: And you, Brutus?)
In Minot, in July we have notable names with attached-named events. For starters, let's look at the word "parks." For many years, venerable Oak Park has been a favorite venue for everything from family picnics to band concerts and many other events. The disastrous flood of 2011 unmercifully ravaged this beautiful oak-treed park. With lots of volunteer helpers determined to bring back the glory of the park, this summer several favorite events will once more be held at Oak Park. All you need to do is bring a chair or cushion, sit where you choose and enjoy an evening for free. There will be some strategically placed containers, tempting you to put into them loose change or even some negotiable folding cash. Whatever you leave will help the continuance of quality summer entertainment in our parks. Popcorn and water are always available for a small price. Most times during the summer, local artists representing a variety of media will be on hand for your added enjoyment. The Minot Area Council of the Arts, directed by Terri Aldrich, can be thanked for making arrangements for your Summer in the Parks events. On two Thursdays, July 11 and 18, at 7 p.m., Jerry Spitzer, veteran director of the Minot City Band, will present yet another of their always-popular concerts. On July 11, Cheryl Firth, who operates a business, "Blue Canary," will demonstrate the art of soap making. On July 18, Judy Hovde, talented calligrapher, will show you some of her work and may even offer you calligraphy tips. Also, Mandi Zavalney's cake decorating skills will be on display.
When you say "Roosevelt" in Minot, immediately you picture Teddy Roosevelt astride his faithful steed at the park bearing his name. The Souris River flood of 2011 damaged extensively this venerable park, but left the statue of one of our presidents still
standing. With lots of volunteer help, this park is once again welcoming visitors. The flowers are blooming, the pool is open and many displaced animals are once again in their homes, where you may enjoy their beauty and oftentimes their antics. On July 4, all of you who enjoy running or walking for exercise and prizes are invited to participate in this year's Fourth of July Zoo Run and Walk. Registration starts at 6:45 a.m. There will be a Tot Trot that begins at 8 a.m. Kids 5 and under and 6 to 10 will all receive a prize when they cross the finish line. The four-mile run and walk and four-mile team relay will begin after the Tot Trot. For a registration form, you can go the Roosevelt Park website at (rpzoo.com/events) or call 852-4166.
Minot's newest park, Scandinavian Heritage Park, will be the park of choice for most of July's Summer Arts in the Park events. In its location along Broadway, the disastrous flood of 2011 did no damage. Could we give credit to the Scandinavians for choosing this location or to the intelligence of one of our contributors, the late Dr. Myrone Peterson? Whatever the reason, hundreds of visitors agree that it is a magnificent addition to our Minot parks, as well as a lasting and significant tribute to all Scandinavians. Gail Peterson, president of the Scandinavian Heritage Association, says that it is not necessary that you be of Scandinavian heritage to tour the grounds, visit the buildings or attend the events. So, if you feel like celebrating the Fourth of July festivities, just come, park your vehicle and enjoy the day. An all-faith service will begin at 9:15 a.m. and will be followed at 11 a.m. by the Minot City Band. At noon, there will be a patriotic program honoring the late Hardy Lieberg. Hundreds of us for more than 20 years looked forward to Fourth of July festivities arranged by Hardy, so many of us this year will remember this talented musical gentleman as we salute and honor him for his dedication to this annual celebration. There will be entertainment by the Green Men and the Dakota Rose Band, plus the antics of a professional juggler. For the kids, there will be a bouncy castle. During the day an assortment of vendors will be on hand with their saleable wares. All we need is sunshiny weather.
On Sunday, July 7, in Scandinavian Heritage Park at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., you can listen to the tunes of the Badlands Express and view the talents of Minot artist Pat Marquard. In this same park at 7 p.m. on Sunday, July 14, the JMB Band promises you a program of music as only as these four fellows can perform it. Mixed media artist Tina Hjelmstad plans to display some of her work.
On Sunday, July 21, at both 4 and 7 p.m., all of you who enjoy good guitar music will have a chance to listen to a first-class guitarist, Gene Putnam, at Scandinavian Heritage Park. Sculptor Don Cullum plans to show off some of his talents while you listen to Gene turn out his tunes.
On Thursday, July 25, at 7 p.m. in the same park, the Dakota Rose Band will be in concert and you will view the talents of Nancy Hankins, local artist who is involved in our schools, as she displays samples of her work. It is said that the children have named her the "clay lady."
The Dance Company dancers will perform at the Scandinavian Heritage Park on Sunday, July 28, at both 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., and TelStar Soaps featuring the talents of Terri Aldrich and her daughter represents the visual arts portion of the program.
Summer would not be complete without attending a performance out at the MSU Amphitheater. It will be your good fortune to attend any of the July nights of July 6-10 for the performance of "The Nerd." The play takes place in 1981 in Terre Haute, Ind. An aspiring architect, Willum Cubbert, has often told his friends about the debt he owes to Rick Steadman, a fellow ex-GI whom he has never met but who saved has life in Vietnam. He has written to Rick to say that, as long as he is alive, "you will have somebody on Earth who will do anything for you," so Willum is delighted when Rick shows up unexpectedly on the night of his 34th birthday party. But his delight soon fades as it becomes apparent that Rick is a hopeless "nerd" - a bumbling oaf with no social sense, little intelligence and less tact. After just one week, Rick has almost single-handedly destroyed Willum's career, his life and his sanity. Incident piles upon uproarious incident, until the normally placid Willum finds himself contemplating violence - a dire development which happily is staved off by the surprise ending of the play. "The Nerd" begins at 8:30 p.m. Adults will pay $8, $7 for students and seniors, and $5 for 12 and younger. According to Kevin Neuharth, veteran director of many performances at MSU, there are no seats available for mosquitoes but you might like to bring along mosquito repellent. Another classic, "Jesus Christ Superstar," will take the stage in MSU's Amphitheater July 18-23 - same prices, same reservation number as for "The Nerd." Same exclusion also applies for mosquitoes. This rock opera follows the last seven days of Jesus of Nazareth and is a story that illuminates the transcendent power of the human spirit with a passion that goes straight to the heart. When you leave this musical, you will leave feeling inspired and uplifted.
Whenever you hear the words "Taube Museum of Art," you immediately think of the name Nancy Walker, executive director of the Taube. As of this writing, Nancy says that the Taube program called Summer "Art"ventures continues in July at the Taube. On July 9 and 10 from 1 to 3 p.m., boys and girls will be making Cardboard Knights. Charlie Lee, son of Taube education coordinator Margaret Lee, and Jon Ross will help all children who appear. On July 18 from 1 to 3 p.m., Ross will show both boys and girls how to make some interesting characters using ordinary clothespins. Margaret Lee is very proud of the scores of children who have already taken part in the art classes at the Taube. She invites and urges all of you to visit the art created by both boys and girls which is on display in the lower level of the gallery. Margaret will be excited when more boys take an active interest in creating a variety of art using almost an endless number of media and subjects. She claims that once they use their imagination and direct it toward art they will not only be surprised, they will want to do more; in fact she predicts they might even get hooked on it. Winding up art for children at the Taube will be an Art Camp featuring colorful collages. Kids may choose to try their imagination from either 9 a.m. to noon or 1 to 4 p.m., July 29-Aug. 1. This camp is open to children ages 5 and up. Call the Taube at 838-4445 to reserve a spot for your children or grandchildren.
The "brain child" of Nancy Walker that she calls Paint the Town Red, a series for adults 21 and over, has been a highly successful first-time art class venture, so successful that many wannabe artists have attended all of the scheduled classes. The last one, for now, Nancy says, will be held at the Taube July 30 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Cost is $35. Joan Hansen will be the instructor for this session. Call the Taube soon to reserve your spot at the easel with Joan to make your very own masterpiece.
Hope that you have enjoyed "What's in a Name" from Julius Caesar to Joan Hansen, and hope that you will enjoy the events these name represent, culturally and jubilantly, in July in the Magic City.
P.S. Special thanks to Julius C. and Margaret G. for super assistance.
(Arlene Saugstad is a freelance writer who lives in Minot.)