Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Maltese Falcon at the Matthews Opera House

by Victoria Kinkler
guest blogger, theater fan

This week the locally famous Matthews Opera House debuted one of its theater productions; this one based on the popular mystery The Maltese Falcon.  

Titled "The Maltese Falcon, A Live Radio Show" the show featured excellent talent, including Aaron Otterness as lead detective

Let's start at the beginning though.  

The Matthews Opera House was built in 1906 and remained popular until cinema took hold in the 1930s.  

Over the next 25 years, it fell into disrepair and, according to the Rapid City Journal

"It even served as a home for pigeons...and an old man and his dog, who took up residence in one of the dressing rooms for a few years."

Several revivals were attempted from the 1950s on, but it wasn't until the 1980s that renovations actually began and a plan was put into action.  

Since its reopening in 2006, The Opera House (which now also hosts the Spearfish Arts Center) has found success with the audience of Spearfish. 

Throughout the year, the Opera House and Arts Center hosts a variety of events. 

They've hosted musical acts that range from a bluegrass band to an electric cellist (who's written beats for artists like Kanye), and their annual Winter Art Show just took place.  

Kaylie Hairychin assists Tyler Fischer in voting 
for Best in Show at the Winter Art Show

True to Spearfish's academic appreciation, there are brown bag lunches on some Wednesday's.  Here, you can bring a sack lunch and listen to a lecture.  The most recent one included live birds of prey! 

Last week, there was a Detective Cosplay night that included games, a fashion show, music, and snacks.

Chris Awwerter, dressed as Detective Dee, takes home first place 
in the mens division of the detective cosplay fashion show

Back to the play.  "The Maltese Falcon, A Live Radio Show" (describe play)

(photo from play)

Though you missed out on this one, there are other productions coming up soon, including "Kiss Me, Kate" in April and the annual "Phantom of the Matthews Opera House," written in the 1970s.  

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The BHSU Experience

by Victoria Kinkler
guest blogger, BHSU student

One advantage winter travelers to Spearfish have is the opportunity to get to know Black Hills State University.  While the bookstore on campus is still open in the summer (check out their new downtown location as well), much of the university shuts down.  

However, fall and spring semesters offer community interest and family friendly events.

Here are the highlights of the BHSU experience:

Woodburn Theater
Beautiful Woodburn Hall is the second oldest building on campus (the oldest is Wenona-Cook Residence Hall).  

While the first two floors host modern administrative offices, step inside the second story theater and you are transported through time.  

The drama department puts on several plays throughout the year, including some original works.  They are cheap to attend and BHSU has some stellar talent.  Find out if they have a production coming up here

inside tip: be sure to hike up to the third floor and walk the hall of the art department.  The walls are always splattered with a wealth of innovative multimedia works and drawings.

Athletics in the Young Center

The Young Center is BHSU’s premier athletic facility.  

Indoors or out, there’s always something going on here.  

Watch the Yellow Jackets play basketball, softball, volleyball or football--and soon, soccer.

See their schedule here

Jonas Hall
Jonas is the humanities hall, and there is much to do here.  
  • The photo lab is in the basement, and the walls leading down to it are lined with commercial quality studio and field photography.  
  • Every Thursday at 4, there are “Geek Speaks”.  These delightful lectures feature discussions put on by a different professor or guest speaker every week and cover a range of topics from Sherlock Holmes to the role of women in the New Testament.  They are hosted in Jonas 110 and are free to attend.
  • The Ruddell Gallery is situated where Jonas meets the Student Union via skywalk.  It features temporary art exhibits that range from juried student art shows to that of Dick Termes.
  • Club Buzz is in the basement of the student union--along with the radio station.  Here events like stand up comedy, poetry slams, and lip synching battles are hosted.

Meier Hall
Music and business classes are taught here, and sometimes, the choir, band, or a soloist rewards the public with a concert.  

Find out if there’s a show coming up here

Meier is also host to guest speakers such as the Canon Explorers of Light (who work for organizations like National Geographic) and other explorers who have done things like hiked Everest or made a documentary while bicycling through China.  

Before you head out, swing by the library for a bite to eat at the newly opened savory Einstein’s Bagels, or get a full meal in the cafeteria--which features a cooked to order Asian grill, salad bar, and dessert bar.  

The cafeteria even grows some of their own vegetables.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Spring Break in Spearfish

by Victoria Kinkler
guest blogger, spring breaker

March is notoriously Spring Break month, and as you may know, there is a university (Black Hills State University) in town.

So what are the nearly 4,000 students doing over Spring Break?

Many are gearing up for the Savoy Winter Challenge in Spearfish Canyon, while others take advantage of the last opportunities of the season to learn snowshoeing or cross country skiing for free, thanks to GFP.

And of course, St. Patricks Day has the luck of coinciding with Spring Break.  St. Patty's Day events include the Leprechaun Leap 5k, which begins at the BHSU gravel lot and is sponsored by the Spearfish Rec Center.

Flannagan's Irish Pub cooks corned beef and hash all day, while green beer and Irish bands are found throughout town all weekend.

What are my Spring Break plans?

I would like to make a trip downtown to a few of my favorite stores; Kathleen's Unique Boutique (not just dresses--jeans, shoes, jewelry), The Junk Drawer (local art and vintage stuff), and the antique mall, which hosts hundreds of booths.

My birthday is over break, so of course I'll be having dinner at Killian's Tavern with my friends.

I would also like to go for a couple night hikes since there's no class.  Lookout mountain is one of the best night hiking spots because it has a very clear trail and a rewarding view of the city lights.

For more March events, click here.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Top 7 Places to Chill With Your Pooch

by Victoria Kinkler
guest blogger, dog lover

The good people of Spearfish are very outdoorsy and adventuresome, which translates into Spearfish being an exceptionally dog friendly city.  Here are a few spots your four-legged friend is welcome:

Fruitdale is an unadulterated field on the edge of town.  It is fenced in, with a dirt path running along side the fence.  This path connects to the bike path as well as Fruitdale Lane itself--which you can park at.  The creek runs the entire length of the field, and there are several spots deep enough for both man and dog to jump in!  You can also spot fly fishers and bicyclers out here--sometimes there are horses pastured at the ranch across the fence too.

Located next to Grant Street Liquor, the wine bar only has beer and wine.  They have a beautiful porch you can listen to the creek and drink a beer on while your dog sits by your feet.  If your dog is well behaved, the bar tender may let you bring it inside too. 

The Iron Creek Trail runs between Iron Creek and a cliff.  It is a flat, easy trail.  Easy enough for old dogs, but lengthy enough for a young dog.  Beautiful and peaceful for a human.  Iron Creek is dotted with waterfalls and small mossy caves and has accessible parking.  Remember to pick up any litter you see along the trail.

Unlike the wine bar, Crow Peak prefers that your dog remain on the balcony and watch the sunset over Crow Peak--or on the patio, where there is music all summer long.  They keep a water bowl around as well as a long cable to tie your dog up to a picnic table with.  Crow Peak drinkers love to see a dog there.

For only a small fee, the Spearfish Best Western will let your dog stay in the hotel.  They are conveniently located close to the interstate and close to downtown.  The hotel has a homey feel, as it resembles an upscale cabin.  Dogs are not permitted inside the hotel bar (Lookout Lounge).

The campground is open for tent and RV camping from May-October.  It is nestled between the canyon (accessible via bike path), the hatchery, and Spearfish park--all places your pooch is welcomed on-leash.  The creek runs through the campground, as do several small tributaries.  

The campground is open to public year round.  This means that in winter, you can walk through without paying/camping.  There is a free skating rink, as well as numerous turkeys and deer that regularly make their way through the grounds.

The frolf course is also open all year round, free of charge, and has recently been expanded to a whopping 28 holes.  Benefits of going during winter include avoiding the crowds and being able to find your disc easier (because of the snow).  This disc golf course covers a lot of ground and connects to the jogging path.  

Disc golfers start near the mouth of the canyon and eventually climb a fairly steep hill to the other holes, throwing their discs uphill the whole time.  

Spearfish also has an off-leash dog park and an extensive bike path system.  There are several places to camp near Roughlock Falls.  Keep in mind that there is a city ordinance requiring dogs to be leashed within city limits.  

To learn more about Spearfish's culture, click here

Also, be on the lookout for the 2016 Spearfish Activity Guide--coming soon!