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Fall Fundraiser

October 4, 2018 @ 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm


The Beltrami County Historical Society premieres Patrick Scully’s Leaves of Grass – Illuminated in Bemidji.  This solo performance by Patrick Scully summons the spirit of America’s great poet, Walt Whitman, revealing Whitman’s many sides: from the furtive—changing genders to “straighten things up”, to the fierce—defying the censors and getting banned in Boston. We celebrate, approaching Whitman’s 200th birthday (May 31, 2019) that Whitman is also an important artist for our era; a poet who loved America, and used his writing to strategically transform what he believed needed to be changed. 

 Leaves of Grass – Illuminated reflects Whitman’s utopian dreams, and his 19th century tribulations. It presents fascinating aspects of Whitman’s life, times and work. It pulls from history, art, literature, even opera. 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. 

 Leaves of Grass – Illuminated is the product of over 10 years of research and development. A large cast version of this show opened in Minneapolis to critical acclaim in 2014. Scully developed that version into a one man show in a residency at MANCC at Florida State University in 2015, and premiered Leaves of Grass – Illuminated in New York City and Minneapolis in 2016. In 2017/18, he toured it to 24 communities in Minnesota, with support from the Minnesota State Arts Board’s Legacy Funds. In 2018/19, again with MSAB  touring support, he is touring it to another 24 communities. 


“Both Whitman and Scully are major figures; they contain multitudes.” (Village Voice) 

Patrick Scully was born to play Walt Whitman.” (Lavender Magazine)   

“Scully is the perfect caretaker for Whitman’s legacy.” (Minneapolis StarTribune) 


Doubtless I could not have perceived the universe, or written one of my poems,  

If I had not freely given myself to comrades, to love.

Excerpt from Leaves of Grass  



This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.  Many Thanks also to Sanford Health, who generously provided support.



APPETIZERS and DESSERT INCLUDED!  Cash bar for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages will be available.  All proceeds support the education and preservation missions of the Beltrami County Historical Society, serving the Greater Bemidji Area for over 60 years.  For additional information, to purchase individual or group tickets, or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities, please call (218) 444-3376.  Tickets can also be purchased in person at the Beltrami County History Center, 130 Minnesota Avenue SW (located inside the historic “Great Northern Depot”) or by clicking on:   https://squareup.com/store/beltramihistory/item/fall-fundraiser








October 4, 2018
6:30 pm - 9:00 pm


Bemidji Eagles Club
1270 Neilson Ave SE
Bemidji, MN 56601 United States
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