Bryan Stevenson to offer virtual speech for Clayton Jackson McGhie memorial
Last year's memorial events surrounding the 100th anniversary of the death of Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson and Isaac McGhie, traveling circus workers who were murdered in the streets of Duluth after they were falsely accused of rape, were postponed because of the pandemic.
And while the committee isn't shooting for 10,000 people in the streets this year, (as was the original plan to match the amount of humans who were in the street on the night of June 15, 1920), it is offering a virtual event featuring keynote speaker Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative. Stevenson, a lawyer, works to right the very-very wrongs of the prison system, including exonerating innocents on death row. He is also the author of "Just Mercy."
Bryan Stevenson's keynote address is part of commemorative events that start at 3 p.m. June 13 on YouTube.
From one Tiny Desk Contest winner to another
Gaelynn Lea, the Duluth musician-activist who has created a weekly YouTube variety show in response to the pandemic, will this week host Grammy Award-winning Oakland Black roots-blues musician Fantastic Negrito. Gaelynn Lea and Fantastic Negrito have both won NPR's Tiny Desk Contest. The former won in 2016 for her song "Someday We'll Linger in the Sun," which has golden-hour vibes and the latter won in 2015 for a one-take performance of "Lost in a Crowd," recorded in a freight elevator. If you miss it, her YouTube page has an archive of past episodes.
Gaelynn Lea's "Sunday Sessions" with Fantastic Negrito is at 2 p.m. June 13 on her YouTube channel.
Lyla Abukhodair has your summer jam
Lyla Abukhodair’s new song starts with semi-sweet vocals “Can you hear me, am I too far away?” before dipping into a brief pause and then blasting off into a full-color punk parsing of the Q of who-am-I. The answer: “No idea,” she repeats in this quick-hit, catchy jam that will play well at summer shows where humans might dare to again crash bodies into other bodies. This is the first song off of Abukhodair’s EP “Your Mom Hates Me Now.” It’s available for streaming all over the internet.
Tie-dyes and Aquarius
The Duluth Playhouse hops into the wayback machine for a tribute to the musical "Hair," now playing at the NorShor Theatre. Expect to hear "Let the Sunshine In," "Aquarius" and "Good Morning Starshine" in the showcase directed by Philip Fazio. A News Tribune reviewer described an audience of tie-dyed shirts and said, "By the time everybody was on stage doing the a capella chorus, I was having the same emotional reaction I would have had if I were watching an actual performance of 'Hair.'" The Duluth Playhouse production of "Age of Aquarius" is at 7:30 p.m. June 11-12 and 2 p.m. June 13 at the NorShor Theatre. Tickets at duluthplayhouse.org.
Mary Bue & The Monarchy kick off Chester Creek Concert Series
The Chester Creek Concert series kicks off with former Duluthie Mary Bue & The Monarchy. For the uninitiated, Mary Bue can sit quietly at a piano or rip into a guitar, and either way, she's emoting big. She's known for songs that dig deep, soothe aches, or offer a pathway to meditative state.
Mary Bue & The Monarchy play at 7 p.m. June 15 at Chester Bowl, 1801 E. Skyline Parkway. Free, open to the public, chesterbowl.org.
Get ‘In the Heights’
Zenith Bookstore and the Bookstore at Fitger's are among the lit spots in the country that are part of a virtual book launch for “In the Heights: Finding Home,” a book that goes behind the scenes on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s pre-”Hamilton” Broadway show. The review of the musical that ran in the New York Times in 2008 described Miranda, then a less-known figure as bounding “jubilantly across the stage, tossing out the rhymed verse currently known as rap like fistfuls of flowers, you might find yourself imagining that this young man is music personified, a sprightly new Harold Hill from the barrio, where this sweet if sentimental musical is set.” Miranda, Quiara Alegria Hudes and Jeremy McCarter joined forces on the backstory and will talk about creativity and community during the book’s launch 7-8 p.m. June 15. Customers who order the book through Zenith or the Bookstore at Fitger's — or other participating stores — will get a link to the event. Go to zenithbookstore.com/heights and use the promo code HEIGHTS or go to eventbrite.com to connect with the Bookstore at Fitger's.