Theater by Zoom

The University of Minnesota Duluth’s production of “Love and Information,” directed by Lauren Roth, is a play of bits and blurbs, pieces of conversation the audience is dropped into: a tug-of-war over a secret, a message from an unlikely source, a sister who is technically a mother.

UMD - Fine Arts Facebook
UMD - Fine Arts Facebook

Playwright Caryl Churchill’s work premiered in London in 2012, and it contains dozens of plotlines and more than 100 characters. Pre-pandemic, it played on a stark, simple set. Now it comes to you within the neat boxes of Zoom. “Love and Information” is available for viewing at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11-14.

Rich Mattson and the Northstars released "Skylights" last week. (Photo from Mattson)
Rich Mattson and the Northstars released "Skylights" last week. (Photo from Mattson)

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‘Skylights’ gets virtual release

Rich Mattson and the Northstars have released “Skylights,” a full-length album with that kind of pure rock ‘n’ roll joy that will knock you back to pre-pandemic things like tapping your pockets for ear plugs, swaying and bobbing, sweaty bangs. What kind of collective power could we harness if we all listened to this at exactly the same time?

Mattson and friends put together a virtual album release show that was posted to YouTube on Friday. It includes a video and live performances from the past fall and general goofiness.

"Hey, if you can't be self-indulgent during a pandemic, when can you?" Mattson asks at the beginning, sitting next to Germaine Gemberling.

Woodblind (file / News Tribune)
Woodblind (file / News Tribune)

Woodblind goes live

Woodblind, the local ska band of Jason Wussow and Veikko Lepisto, is returning to a stage that hasn’t yet seen a ton of virtual action: Mitchell Auditorium. The band, which is playing as a “Live from the Mitchell” series, will flashback to the album it released this past summer, which features cameos from other local musicians. The concert is at 7 p.m. Feb. 13 and will be available for free streaming on Facebook and YouTube.

“Live from the Mitchell” features regional musicians and interviews by Brittany Lind of The Current’s Duluth Local Show.

Cal Metts, Vicki Fingalson and Jeffrey Madison (2013 file / News Tribune)
Cal Metts, Vicki Fingalson and Jeffrey Madison (2013 file / News Tribune)

Love, exciting and new

More than a dozen local artists are part of the Duluth Playhouse virtual production of “From Broadway With Love,” a performance of songs about love — from the romantic kind to the sibling kind, to the fingers-crossed kind. The lineup includes Amber Burns, Vicki Fingalson, Diona Johnson, Sarah Lawrence, Jeff Madison, Cat Metts, Shad Olsen, Christina Stroup, Sara Marie Sorenson, Tiff Willie and Q Wright. The free concert, directed by Phillip Fazio and Andy Kust, premieres at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 and is available for streaming through Feb. 14 on the Playhouse’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Check your mail

Prove Gallery, in its 10th year, is offering two things of note right now: real-time processing through art and, frankly, charming mail. The gallery — physically located on North Lake Avenue, but now coming to you via your mailbox — has, available for purchase, a Quaranzine. It’s a colorful collection of photographs, poetry, collage, drawing, bits and blurbs, and it’s a treat. Money raised from the sale of the $5 art burst goes to Loaves & Fishes. And it ends with a call for art, which suggests this isn’t the last we’ll see of it. Meanwhile, the group is also offering a subscription to a monthly art-by-mail. Locally designed postcards, which offer fresh work and a blurb about the artist, will be sent to you, or your friend, for all of 2021. January’s pick is Efe Eme, followed by Ivy Vainio and LeBicar, a Canadian artist. For more info, check out the gallery's Facebook page.

Zenith Bookstore (photo from Facebook)
Zenith Bookstore (photo from Facebook)

Zenith Bookstore playing matchmaker

It’s Valentine’s Day week, and these Best Bets are pretty light in the love department. But how about this: Zenith Bookstore is offering a blind date with a book. They’ve wrapped books and written on the outside of the brown paper a bit about what is inside: that it’s a debut novel, perhaps, or a bit about the plot. Each comes with a bar of chocolate.

So there you have something to unwrap and something to feast your eyes on for the hearts and flowers day. Zenith Bookstore is at 318 N. Central Ave.