Best Bets: Sauna your days away

Find something to do this weekend in the Twin Ports.

Four people sitting in chairs with their backs to the camera, contemplating three different saunas.
There's no shortage of options during Sauna Days.
Contributed / Larsmont Cottages
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You might not think of May as a prime sauna month, but given how recalcitrant this spring has been, the prospect of steaming it up with some fellow friendly folks might not sound too bad. Larsmont Cottages in Two Harbors is providing quite the opportunity this weekend: Its annual Sauna Days event features live music by Woodblind and Beth & Les; local craft beer and a Finnish smorgasbord dinner; and of course, ample opportunities to soak up the heat in mobile saunas from four vendors. Full disclosure: Subsequent immersion in the waters of Lake Superior is described as "a required step." For more information, see

Bob Dylan and civil rights

Black and white photo of a woman and man singing, as the man plays guitar with a harmonica on a rack around his neck.
Joan Baez and Bob Dylan perform at the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963.
Contributed / Rowland Scherman / U.S. National Archives

Although Bob Dylan famously disappointed some fans when he turned away from protest songs to explore electric frontiers, the March on Washington performer never turned his back on the cause of equality for all. As part of the "Year of Dylan" series honoring Bob's 80th birthday (he'll turn 81 on May 24), Steve Potts of Hibbing Community College will be at Zeitgeist's Teatro Zuccone in Duluth on Thursday for a presentation about the Duluth-born Dylan's relationship to the Civil Rights Movement. For more information on the free 7 p.m. talk, see

'Anne Frank' at the NorShor

Young girl sitting at desk, writing in diary and looking thoughtful.
Mia Patronas in character as the title child in the Duluth Playhouse production of "The Diary of Anne Frank."
Contributed / Wes Drummond

The story of Anne Frank (1929-1945) is one of the most haunting in history. With her brave accounting of her family's attempts to hide from the Nazis, the teenage Anne not only provided an important historical document, she's helped generations of young people to understand the horrors of the Holocaust. Not all of her diary was initially published, though, and Wendy Kesselman has adapted the well-known Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett play "The Diary of Anne Frank" to be even more true to the heroine's complex lived experience. The Duluth Playhouse is bringing that version of the play to Duluth's NorShor Theatre from May 6-22. For information and tickets, see

Great Lakes, pretty good art

A painter, seen from behind, works to capture the nuances of light and shadow on a bust he's rendering on canvas.
A detail from the flier for the Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art's fifth annual Student/Instructor Exhibition.
Contributed / GLAFA

The Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art employs a classical apprenticeship method to train emerging artists — and St. Peter's Church, the Central Hillside landmark where the Academy is based, provides a stunning setting in which to seek inspiration. You can see the results for yourself at the Academy's fifth annual Student/Instructor Exhibition, taking place Friday and Saturday. If you like what you see, you may be able to bring it home, as some of the work will be available for purchase. For details, see

Caddy Shack ... or love shack?

A crowd gathers in front of a green-lit stage in a barroom. Due to the crowd, the stage itself is not visible.
The Caddy Shack stage, pictured here, will become the venue for a "Magic Mike XXL" tribute show, not pictured here.
Contributed / The Caddy Shack

You knew Lincoln Park had outstanding craft beer, inspiring murals and charming coffee shops, but this Saturday, it's also going to have "America's top male stripper entertainers." "No shirt, no shoes, no service" rules don't apply for the attractive gentlemen taking the Caddy Shack stage to pay tribute to the 2015 Channing Tatum classic "Magic Mike XXL." The dancing dudes are "back in Duluth by popular demand," according to the venue, and they're making the most of their time in a sizzling show that doubles as a pet food drive and fundraiser supporting PJ's Rescue animal shelter in Cloquet. For tickets and all the sexy details, see


Passionate piano

Woman in form-fitting black clothing stands with her hands behind her back, leaning against a concrete wall and looking severe.
Pianist Zlata Chochieva will perform at the College of St. Scholastica on May 10.
Contributed / Adriano Heitmann

At the height of the Romantic Era, pianists like Franz Liszt could inspire such fan frenzy that listeners were known to faint dead away. Fortify yourself for the "Matinee Musicale" concert Tuesday, May 10, at the College of St. Scholastica's Mitchell Auditorium, where famed Russia-born, Germany-based pianist Zlata Chochieva will present a program drawing on her 2021 album, "re(creations)": a collection of masterworks transcribed for piano by Sergei Rachmaninoff, Ignaz Friedman and Liszt himself. Swoon! For tickets and information, see

The animatronic attraction's crew had less than two days to turn the DECC's Pioneer Hall into a prehistoric playground.
Beer drinking and ax throwing don't sound like two things that should be done simultaneously, but the Duluth brewery has scored a direct hit with taproom visitors.
With July 4 falling on a Monday this year and live entertainment back to pre-pandemic scale, it's shaping up to be one of the most epic long weekends in years.
Entertaining musical opened Friday night and runs through July 17 at the NorShor.

Arts and entertainment reporter Jay Gabler joined the Duluth News Tribune in February 2022. His previous experience includes eight years as a digital producer at The Current (Minnesota Public Radio), four years as theater critic at Minneapolis alt-weekly City Pages, and six years as arts editor at the Twin Cities Daily Planet. He's a co-founder of pop culture and creative writing blog The Tangential; and a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can reach him at or 218-279-5536.
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