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ArtsMinded column: Halloween is just around the corner

It's almost Halloween! The most fun holiday of the year!! Scary decorations are turning up everywhere. The best ones, of course, will be here in our neighborhood and our town as we get tuned to the holiday! But, in case you are in Minneapolis, we saw a wonderful house decoration yesterday. Waiting for our grandkids' parents to meet us for dinner after we had been to the Children's Theatre version of "Last Stop on Market Street," we drove around Lake Harriet and saw a "mansion" decorated for Halloween. Lifesize skeletons were climbing the walls, orange lights highlighted the decorations — all this where one would least expect.

Meanwhile, since we are temporarily in the Cities, let me recommend the present offering at Children's Theatre at the Art Institute in Minneapolis. Don't get me wrong—we have plenty of fine offerings here in our own city, but this particular play outdoes even the Minneapolis Children's Theater where it's produced. Not only is it an exceptional production in every way, but "Last Stop on Market Street" (loosely based on the well known children's book) includes fine messages for dwellers in any city of any size. Don't expect a faithful representation of one of your favorite children's books. This one, according to our grandkids and their parents, goes much further than the book. It is a fine promotion of great values for children and the rest of us. Not only do we get a delightful representation of life in the less prosperous parts of a city, but we get great lessons in values that we could all practice.

Enough of the city far away, across the wide water. River Falls has enough to keep us here and happy.

First, there's theatre: We have our own "Steel Magnolias!" Local talent presents the play about women who soar despite adverse circumstances! Directed by Brian R. Erdrich! Males are represented. Set in North Louisiana in the early '80s, in a home salon shop, six witty women—all of them played by local female talent—show us how friendship and a little humor can keep us going. Performances are at 8 p.m. Oct. 19, 20, 26, and 27 at the River Falls Library. Tickets are $13 at the door, $10 for students.

Then there's our local "children's theatre" which will soon produce "A Year with Frog and Toad,"

Nov. 2-3, 8-10 in Davis Theatre in the UWRF Kleinpell Fine Arts building. This is the fall production of the Stage and Screen Arts Department, a play that was originally developed at Children's Theatre Company at the Art Institute in Minneapolis.

CAB has its own women-centered event — the very night you receive this paper: Art's House Gallery presents its own Ladies Night! For all of us local Steel Magnolias, 4-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11 create your own personal fan and enjoy the company of fellow Magnolias—snacks too!

And when you're not creating fans, on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, you can see the fine exhibit at Art's House featuring Jean Heidenreich, paintings and calligraphy; Aaron Becker, pottery; Ingrid Bjerstedt Rogers, pottery; Laura Lusardi, jewelry; Philip Colpitts, paintings.

And there's the River Falls Main Street Art Crawl (artist applications have already been filed), but we can all attend the Crawl, downtown River Falls, on Oct. 20.

The University Music Department also has great offerings for our delight and edification. The free Frances Kohler Coffee Concerts (and other offerings from the UWRF Music Department) are back. All of them are in the Abbott Concert Hall!

  • Steve Kenny Quartet, 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20.
  • Celebration in Song, noon on Friday, Nov. 2

For a modest fee and with a bit more prep, we can enjoy fine evening concerts:

  • St. Croix Valley Symphony Orchestra Colors of Fall, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23.
  • Symphony Band/University Band Concert, 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28.

Don't forget the local Falls Theatre, now with two fine screens. Now playing in historic auditorium is "A Star is Born," 6:45 and 9:15 p.m.with a Saturday and Sunday matinee at 1:45 p.m. In the new auditorium with reclining seats and state of the art sound: "Small Foot," 7 p.m., 8:50 p.m., 2 p.m. matinee on weekends.