Best bets: Runners, music talk and a creative space

This week's top picks in local arts and entertainment.

(File and submitted photos)

About those runners …

For the first time since the summer of 2019, there will be throngs upon throngs of athletes in the streets of Duluth. Grandma's Marathon and its adjacent races return June 20. Expect to see speedsters and lopers alike as they push their way from near Two Harbors to Canal Park.

Grandma's Marathon is Saturday. (2019 file / Ellen Schmidt / News Tribune)

This is a fun and free way to people watch. Go big: make a sign, slip into a costume, fry up some bacon, construct a funnel so fun-seekers can ingest Gatorade quickly, but do it in a covid-safe way. Or maybe you're running 26.2 miles or the Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon: In that case, prepare to watch the sunrise over Lake Superior and learn about all the mysterious ways the human body can chafe.

The half-marathon starts at 6:30 a.m. and the top runners tend to finish in just more than an hour. The marathon starts at 7:45 a.m., and the speediest in 2019 finished in 2:11:56. Aaron Pike won his third consecutive wheelchair title in 2019, finishing in 1:20:59.


Big Wave Dave and the Ripples will play twice during Grandma's Marathon weekend. (2015 file / News Tribune)

… then dance those achy legs to health

This year's race weekend entertainment, which is free and family friendly, includes five local bands, including two go-rounds with Big Wave & The Ripples at Bayfront Festival Park.

Rock-a-Billy Revue plays from 9 a.m.-noon, followed by Boxcar. Big Wave Dave & The Ripples plays from 3-5 p.m., then 7:30-9:30 p.m., with Whiskey Trail in between.

Boxcar also plays a set at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Bayfront, following Friday's William A. Irvin 5K.

Scottie Gardonio's Great Lakes Aquarium poster was featured on the finale of "Superstore." (Image courtesy of Gardonio)

Duluth in pop culture: ‘Superstore’ edition

In the final minutes of the “Superstore” finale, which aired in late March on NBC and is available for viewing on Hulu, there is a Duluth reference lying low in the background: a poster with an image of the Great Lakes Aquarium created by Duluth graphic designer Scottie Gardonio.


The scene plays as an epilogue to the six season sitcom’s finale — Amy and Jonah’s shift together into domesticity. They host a backyard barbeque with their former coworkers, sneaking a kiss as the latter settles into his spot at the picnic table. They also tuck the kiddos into bunk beds, in a room where Gardonio’s poster is framed on a nightstand.

The artist, who is inspired by the colors of a storm, art deco, and the shape of lamps, said she was contacted by a "Superstore" set dresser about 10 days after she posted the series online . Gardonio signed an NDA, sold the poster and shipped it off, and then quietly watched Season 6 of the show about employees of a fictional big box. This isn’t the first time Gardonio — who has been behind Daymark Design since 2010 — has had a brush with celebrity. Almost a decade ago, she designed the color scheme for an NFL owner’s private jet.

Rich Mattson and the Northstars will perform during the Duluth Dylan Fest in Superior. (2019 file / Clint Austin /

From Sparta to ‘The Heart’

Sacred Heart Music Center has started a singer-songwriter series that offers music and up-close convo with local musicians, hosted by Karen Sunderman. The hour-long streams are available live or archived on the venue's YouTube channel .

"Live from the Heart" opens with a cozy look at the artists, voices filling the mostly-empty space, candles lit, then a sit-down with Sunderman.

Up next: Range rockers Rich Mattson and Germaine Gemberling at 7 p.m. June 20. The duo will perform songs from throughout their careers. Mattson has played with Ol' Yeller and the Glenrustles and, with Gemberling, is in Rich Mattson and the Northstars.

Gemberling is from the all-girl punk band SMUT. They live and work at the Sparta Sound, a recording studio on the Iron Range.


Superior Siren, a dark folk project, opened the series earlier this month. The video is still available for viewing.

“N. Scott Momaday: Words from A Bear” (Photo from Independent Television Service)

Screening looks at life work of N. Scott Momaday

AICHO and Duluth Superior Film Festival have doubled back for a virtual screening of "N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear," a movie that was planned to play for an local audience in 2020.

The documentary, by Jeffrey Palmer, is about the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, and the movie connects his life and his work. After the screening, the film series host Khayman Goodsky will talk with author Linda LeGarde Grover about Momaday's legacy.

The screening is free and open to the public, but donations are accepted. Register at .

Art space at Duluth Armory annex. (Photo submitted by Mark Poirier)

Looking to create in a place?

Are you looking for a workspace to create art? Recently, the Historic Duluth Armory Facebook group posted a listing for 120 square feet of space in the Perkins-turned-Armory Annex, 1305 London Road.

At peak capacity, the building houses seven artists: blacksmiths, jewelry makers, mixed media makers and one piano tuner.

The spot is a wide-open area without a door, but with a window view of Lake Superior, a 12-foot, metal-covered table, shelving and a cool neighbor. Yarrow Mead Metals is on the other side of the fern.

The space's keeper, Mark Poirier, will warn you that the ceiling leaks, but he has a system to combat it. And there is dust from the blacksmiths, but that's not a problem for a lot of artists. It's probably not a good spot for a photographer, he said.

It's $72 per month plus utilities, which about doubles the price, according to Poirier. If interested, call 218-428-9686.

Christa Lawler is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.
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