From 'The Mountaintop'

In Katori Hall's "The Mountaintop," it is April 3, 1968, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is in room 306 of the Lorraine Motel. It's the day before his murder, and he has just given the speech "I've Been to the Mountaintop" at a Memphis Mason Temple.

(Courtesy Duluth Playhouse)
(Courtesy Duluth Playhouse)

The Duluth Playhouse is hosting a virtual staged reading of the play, which starred Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett when it played on Broadway, to celebrate Martin Luther King Day.

Actor Gabriel Mayfield is King in this reading, and Daysha Ramsey is Camae, a maid who visits with him.

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"The Mountaintop" premieres at 7 p.m. Jan. 15 and will be available for streaming through ShowTix4U through Jan. 18. Tickets are $10 per household. Once a ticket is purchased, you have 48 hours to watch the performance.

Superior Siren (Image courtesy of Laura Sellner)
Superior Siren (Image courtesy of Laura Sellner)

Don't underestimate

On the first day of the year, the deep-dark folk band Superior Siren posted a new video for “Trying Too Hard,” a song off its 2018 self-titled album. “New year, new anthem,” the band wrote on social media. Cut to singer-guitar player Laura Sellner with a strong stare, repeating, “Don’t underestimate me.”

The video is by Killy Kay, who creates videos for a lot of bands — including others for Superior Siren. This one, starring Alison Peluso, has an aesthetic that matches the band’s sound: dark, serious, powerful. It’s mesmerizing.

If “Don’t Underestimate Me” resonates: Superior Siren is selling T-shirts with the message, and 20% of sales goes to Safe Haven.

Paula Gudmundson (2020 file / News Tribune)
Paula Gudmundson (2020 file / News Tribune)

Traveling flute show

In mid-September, flutist Paula Gudmundson played a series of short concerts at a handful of spots around Duluth starting with the balcony at Glensheen mansion and ending at the Northland Vietnam Veterans memorial.

"I could have played five more," she said after her final bow that day.

The music professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth was among a group of musicians from the Bach Society of Minnesota who played mobile concerts as part of its "Vagabond Season."

DanSan Creative followed along that day and created a video set to Bach's Partita in A minor BWV 1013. The 10-minute slice from the day includes aerial footage of Duluth vistas along with Gudmundson's engaging style.

The video is available on Gudmundson's YouTube channel.

Speed theater

Twenty-eight local artists are involved with a fast-paced theater project: a single day to write, memorize and perform a monologue which will then be posted on Renegade Theater Company's Facebook page.

"The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues Duluth" was scheduled to start Monday evening when 14 writers were told where their actor would record the monologue, their costume and if they have a special skill.

The actors were scheduled to receive their original monologue by 10 a.m. the next morning. Later Tuesday, the vids were to be posted in 15 minute increments, starting at 6 p.m.

Dala horses (Courtesy Nordic Center)
Dala horses (Courtesy Nordic Center)

Another day another … dala

Teri Glembin, a graphic designer, began doodling dala horses which turned into a full-fledged project: A Dala a Day.

Her 31 bold colored dalas, some with birds, some without, are available for viewing on the Nordic Center's website,