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Solo show about Walt Whitman explores male relationships: Cultural Center to host 'Leaves of Grass -- Illuminated" on Nov. 3

Actor and writer Patrick Scully performs "Leaves of Grass-Illuminated," the story of poet Walt Whitman's personal life and motivation. Scully will present the program at the Cultural Center in New York Mills on Nov. 3. (Submitted Photo)

The Cultural Center in New York Mills will host Patrick Scully as Walt Whitman in "Leaves of Grass — Illuminated" on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m. This one-man theater show is free to attend and recommended for persons in high school and older.

This solo performance summons the spirit of America's great poet, Walt Whitman, in celebration of Whitman's 200th birthday in 2019. It also shines a spotlight on Whitman as an important artist for the modern era; a poet who loved America, and used his writing to strategically transform what he believed needed to be changed.

This show begins a conversation about celebrating male companionship. Whitman crafted clear strategies to deal with the social pressures and the consequences he faced for writing about taboo topics. This is a side of Whitman that few of us learned about in our American Literature classes. Some of these taboos have disappeared, others are still very relevant — such as relationships between men, and the forces that seek to deny them.

The show reveals how Whitman seemed to be able to look into the future, foreseeing that same-sex relations would move out of the shadows into the light of day. There will be time for questions after the performance.

"Leaves of Grass — Illuminated" is the product of over 10 years of research and development. Scully has his roots in choreography and has read over 55 books by and about Whitman. A large cast version of this show opened in Minneapolis to critical acclaim in 2014. Scully developed that version into this one-man show, which premiered in New York City and Minneapolis in 2016.

For the past two years, Scully has been touring the show to 24 communities in Minnesota, with support from the Minnesota State Arts Board Legacy Funds, and he will continue to tour it to another 24 communities, including New York Mills, through 2019.

The performance at the Cultural Center will be preceded starting at 5 p.m. by a gallery reception for the center's new exhibit, the "Jeremy Lundquist and Regan Golden Printmaking and Installation Art Show," which opens in the gallery Oct. 31. The reception is free to attend and open to all.

Light refreshments and a cash bar will be available for both the reception and the theater performance.

For more information, call 218-385-3339, or visit www.kulcher.org or www.patrickscully.org/touring/#section-about.

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