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Heads up! We've got a book about heads this week, "Heads in Beds," by Jacob Tomsky (Doubleday, $25.95). But first a brief dissertation on what I like to call the "insider" novel, which has been around for centuries. One of the first is "Moll Flanders." In which Daniel DeFoe gets inside the life of a prostitute and con artist to tell readers what goes on in the life of Moll. Tons of such novels have followed.
A popular hot air balloon will return to the Hudson Hot Air Affair Feb. 1-3 -- the RE/MAX balloon. The familiar red, white and blue aerostat representing the real estate company has been part of Hot Air Affair for more than 20 years. The winter festival and hot air balloon rally is presented by WESTconsin Credit Union-Hudson and features about 30 commercial, regular and special-shaped hot air balloons.
The Hudson Brewing Company LLC of Hudson and NDT Solutions, Inc. and Bosch Packaging Technology, Inc. of New Richmond have been named emerging business, small business and business-of-the-year for 2012, respectively, by members of the St. Croix Economic Development Corp. Current EDC president Roger Humphrey announced the winners Thursday afternoon. Larry Knegendorf, former manager at Baldwin Telecom and a community volunteer, is the recipient of the 2012 Director's Award. All the companies will be honored at a banquet on Thursday, Feb.
Starbuck (Luke Reidenbach, Arden Hills, Minn.), a charismatic con man, offers hope to a Midwestern town beset by a severe drought, and to Lizzie (Katie Gherty McNabe, St. Paul), a woman whose life is at a crossroads in The Phipps Center for the Arts production of "The Rainmaker," by N. Richard Nash. Other favorites from Phipps productions include Jim Reidenbach as H.C. (Norman Thayer Jr.
Comedian Scott Novotny will offer Acting for Adults - Improvisation/Comedy on six Mondays, Jan. 21 through Feb. 25, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., culminating in a performance on Thursday, Feb. 28, at The Phipps Center for the Arts. Using the fundamentals of improvisation, participants will learn how to help create scenes, improve their acting confidence, and develop interesting characters while working on improvisational exercises and games. "Bring out the inner child in you. Come have fun and learn how to be an improvisational actor at the same time," encourages the instructor.
Hudson swan enthusiast Barry Wallace will lead a Swan Walk and program as a Hot Air Affair countdown event on Saturday, Jan. 12. The free program starts at 10 a.m. at the Hudson Area Library, then moves down the path through Lakefront Park to watch Wallace feed the hundreds of trumpeter swans that spend the winter in Hudson. The group will reconvene at the library to view a movie about swans and draw for door prizes.
The congregation of St. Peter Lutheran Church in Afton, Minn., is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2013. On Jan. 13, The Green Lake Bluegrass Band will perform at 2 p.m. with fellowship to follow. The band plays a wide variety of music including Irish, Gospel and folk tunes. The church is located at 880 Neal Ave. S. in Afton.
Nationally known vocalist Jearlyn Steele, a regular on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion Show, will be the special musical guest at Bethel Lutheran Church's Highlands campus at the 9:30 a.m. worship service on Sunday, Jan. 13, along with the Bethel Chorale and Bethel's New Song Band. The service will celebrate the life, ministry and impact of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Willow River Nordic Ski Association will be offering cross country ski lessons for adults on Saturdays, Jan. 5 and 12, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Nature Center. Skiers must provide their own equipment. Traditional stride (classic) and skate skills will be taught. Cost is $10 per person plus vehicle admission payable to the instructor the day of the class. Funds will go to the Willow River OWLs, the park's Friends group. Lead instructor Wally Milbrath is a lifelong skier with experience in both skiing styles. Sign up at the park office or call (715) 386-5931.
Youth Action Hudson's fifth Annual Hudson Youth Have Talent Show! on Friday, Jan. 11, at 7 p.m. at Hudson High School auditorium. Each youth has a chance to win a cash prize of $100 or $50. Along with their cash prize, this year's Audience Choice and vocalist winner will perform with American Idol finalist Reed Grimm on Feb. 1, at Hudson High School. The public is invited to the vote for a talented performer. Tickets are available at the door $5 for students with ID and $10 for adults.