St Mane Theatre206 Parkway Ave N
Lanesboro, MN 55949
Lanesboro Arts presents "Music for Free on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route," a film screening and concert event with artist Ben Weaver at the St. Mane Theatre in downtown Lanesboro on Saturday, June 29 at 7:00 p.m. Ben is a Saint Paul-based songwriter, musician, poet, letterpress artist, cyclist and outdoor adventure advocate that is returning to engage with the Lanesboro area community following a pair of outreach events in 2017 and a mini-residency in 2018. His film "Music For Free..." is a beautiful journey down the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, exploring wilderness, what it means to be wild, and examining the common denominators that unify all humans who share this planet.
Ben, along with ceramic artist Anna Metcalfe, will lead a Group Bicycle Ride on the Root River State Trail to nearby Whalan, MN beginning at 10:00 a.m. on June 29. The journey will include a stop with Ben and Anna at the gazebo in John Whaalahan Park in Whalan for live performances and the exchange of stories while enjoying morning tea & snacks. Please check our website to learn more and register for the Group Bicycle Ride with Ben and Anna.
Adventure films often position the athletes as the heroes. Ben Weaver has always felt this approach leaves out an important part of the story. The part about the people who helped along the way. "Music for Free..." follows Ben's journey as he pedaled 3,000 miles in June 2018 from Banff, Alberta, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico, U.S.A, with filmmaker Keenan Desplanques in order to tell a different kind of adventure story. Stopping in the communities along the way, Ben gave free performances and offered thanks to the people who continue to support the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (the longest mapped, off-road bikepacking route in the world) and its riders. Ben believes mountain vistas and overcoming physical challenge are not nearly as inspiring as listening to a stranger tell their story, and in it, hearing your own. If "Music for Free..." had a chorus it would be this: The people are the heroes.
For Ben, an artist is a person who believes in the impossible. They are the representatives of awe, the kinds of people who set off into the storm with no matches. Artists are the ones who lay down on the ground and wrestle with the wolves, metaphorically and sometimes literally. Artists keep the truth of a spirit breathing, constantly in pursuit of an energy, a source, a language larger than the sum of our petty concerns. For Ben, it’s about reciprocity, a way of listening and sharing, observing and making for more than oneself. The artist makes visible for a moment the potential of the human spirit for those who may not otherwise be able to see it.
The film screening & concert on June 29, as well as the Group Bicycle Ride earlier in the day, offer community members an opportunity to continue dialog around the issues and ideas explored during Ben’s previous visits to Lanesboro. Reflecting on his upcoming visit, Ben shares, "I am excited to return to Lanesboro. It will feel particularly meaningful to reconnect with the community whose members have helped inform my own process of story collecting and sharing." Ben adds, “The importance and value of unification through diversity has been an ongoing topic of discussion between myself and the people of Lanesboro each time I have visited. I am curious to see how that will continue to evolve in connection to this new project of mine."
Artist Anna Metcalfe's community-engaged "Upstream" project is a decade-long investigation of the waters of the Upper Midwest that reflects her abiding connection with water. With a background in clay, Metcalfe is interested in how social engagement is endemic to craft and how it can be a conduit for social and environmental change. Her work investigates relationship to landscape and water through community storytelling and personal narrative.
Metcalfe is returning to Lanesboro, following her Tea & Conversation events in Gateway Park this past September, to join Ben Weaver in helping build connections and share stories between both neighbors and strangers within a watershed through tea drinking, a simple and a universally-understood action that will serve as the mechanism by which stories are collected and shared.