Peacock Books’ Gem Theatre Opening in 2024
Lisa Loucks-Christenson is adding a small theatre to Peacock Books in 2024 that will feature her book trailers, cartoons, clay animations, her bestselling and award-winning wildlife art, photos, illustrations, broadcasts, and writing.
“This is something I’ve been planning on adding for several years, but had to wait for God’s timing, the right space and location,” said Loucks-Christenson.
The Peacock Books’ Gem Theatre will focus on showing Loucks-Christenson’s exclusive wildlife and her street documentaries on of her upcoming books, exhibits, she’s turning into films: “Square Eye: A Photojournalists’ 50 Year History of Rochester, Minnesota,” Angels, She Wrote, “Whitewater Photos and Art Sketchbook,” and her “Temple of Eagles: Lisa’s Bald Eagle Documentary, the bald eagles of the Whitewater Valley that healed her by giving her the reason to return.”
It’s been a long wait for Loucks-Christenson to find a gallery home large enough to have wall enough space. The theatre will remain small, just a few seats for now. That’s her vision, along with her original shorts, cartoons, and wildlife episodes.
Loucks-Christenson estimates she shot between 2800-3800 original episodes during her 15-year journey into the Whitewater Valley. She spent over 13 years with one pair of eagles she studied inside their nest area, among several other nests she documented from her drive-in or hike-in access points. This estimate is episodes from her film footage.
She also shot over 2 million images to sell, license, and to create her books from, which of the over 17 bestsellers, so far, have listed and became instant #1 bestsellers on pre-release, bestsellers in her stores, and every exhibit she has opened and printed art for, has sold out.
Big corporations that wanted to take her project under their wings have approached her. So far, Loucks-Christenson has stood her faith and declined, even through health struggles where the additional and guaranteed money could have changed how her family had to go up backsides of mountains, it was still God, leading me to my answers, though prayers.
To her, staying true to what is in her heart.
Loucks-Christenson’s mantra is: “This is my walk with God as much as the eagles and everyone wants to take ‘God’ out of it. I can’t allow that. God is the reason I stayed safe through all the incidents I endured to stay on my project.
“He is the author and finisher of this story.”
Other journalists, all of whom had covered her journey, had told her that her story should focus on her, not just the eagles.
Lisa shot through the best and the harshest Minnesota weather, including blizzards, flash floods, unrelenting heat, white-outs, ice storms, and temperatures minus 35-70 Fahrenheit with the wind chill temperatures. She’s shot water spouts on the Mississippi River, she filmed the scenes during severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, waded through flasj floods, she fell through ice, got stuck in snowdrifts when her snowshoes could not keep her on top of the snow, and other times her different vehicles slid down onto ponds, ditches, or she’d have to drive through the drifts, while the National Weather forecastor was announcing the countless blizzard warnings, she was already stuck in.
Loucks-Christenson covered the eagles’ lives both on and off the nest, the area’s wildlife, the interactions between species. She was there from the study eagles’ pre-nesting, to months after the eaglets fledged each year. From 2005 to 2020, Loucks-Christenson covered a 13-mile beat, driving on low maintenance roads, slush and unplowed highways. She hiked and broke her own trails through canary grass, stinging nettles, and hip-deep snow.
She covered multiple documentaries on other subjects too: Blandings Turtles, Sandhill Cranes, Trumpeter Swans, a Giant Canada Goose Project, Coyote, Wolves, Black Bear, Cougar, Winter Bugs! (sold out), and Summer Bugs!, Wildlife of Whitewater, Mushrooms, and The Spirit Trees of Whitewater.
While she sat in the field documenting wildlife and eagle behavior, during the quiet times, she penned dozens of children’s books and other original fiction stories that won literary awards, cover design and book illustration awards. Her art cards and prints sold out, exhibits, books and ebook sales funded her ongoing work.
The National Eagle Center featured Loucks-Christenson’s Winter Bugs! and Lisa’s Bald Eagle Documentary as long-running exhibits. International media outlets featured her work in their interviews, regional outdoor television shows like Ron Schara’s Minnesota Bound and television news in two states covered her documentaries, her flood coverage, her Winter Bugs! Exhibit and book, some of these stations and news outlets included: KTTC-10 NBC, KAAL-6 ABC, BEAU-13 Eau Claire NBC, KIMT-3 CBS, The Big Wild Outdoor Radio Show, newspapers, school tours, shows and events and in her bookstore-art galleries.
At the new Peacock Books & Wildlife Art space in the Historical Odd Fellows Building 1876, Skyway Entrance, there are long halls and high walls, a ballroom, exhibit rooms to display her documentaries, children’s book art, and event space for a theatre.
Lisa Loucks-Christenson's customers from around the world and new visitors will soon experience a firsthand encounter with the wildlife and eagles that have left a lasting impression on her. Customers can view exhibits, new and exclusively sold books, and used books, and the missing piece was the theatre, now they’ll have a place to witness, in motion, sound, and travel along through the seasons on Loucks-Christenson’s true-life documentaries.
Like a reality show, with one actress, Lisa Loucks-Christenson narrated her films and scenes, knowing then, one day, God would show her how to put it together, in His time, the true purpose of her work.
Loucks-Christenson said, “My job was to show up.”
“Due to my documentaries, God’s timing, and showing up, I can confirm that at least four people in different situations survived without freezing to death because my timing had been off all day—probably so I’d be the one to see them.”
“One of those incidents involved a woman that had managed to slide off the highway and landed on the river's edge at dusk. The temperature was in the mid-20s. Miraculously, I spotted her and stopped. I ran down the embankmank (there is no cell coverage in that area). While her car was tipped on its side with the Driver’s side in the air, I rescued her by pulling her out. Her food had spilled everywhere, and she was visibly shaken and freezing. I also found out that she was dying of cancer.”
“Because I lack the strength, I'm attributing this to the assistance of God's angels. Somehow, I managed to free her. There must have been something holding the driver’s door up against the force of gravity. I couldn’t keep it open, I was too short to reach it and keep it held up. I had the sensation of lifting a ten-ton concrete slab with one hand while freeing a woman from her car, somehow, with the other arm.”
“Some customers are only now finding out they have cancer, or worse, that it has come back. Rosie, who would become one of my closest friends, came into my life through that encounter. In my business, age doesn’t alienate.”
“Rosie’s last words to me this summer were, ‘Make sure you tell our story, just ours.’”
“Rosie's cancer journey is the subject of that book. It’s a collection of our jokes, the highs and lows, our countless prayers, building resilience, staying strong in faith, Covid, it’s everything life throws at you while you are struggling to survive,” said Loucks-Christenson.
Loucks-Christenson said, “We believed Rosie had overcome the cancer.”
Loucks-Christenson had a writer’s conference in Fairbanks in May 2023. She wanted to attend and visit Rosie while there. However, the year before she’d rescued a baby starling orphan (ironically, at the cornerstone and alley of the building housing her new store now!) A bird that imprinted on her, and Loucks-Christenson couldn’t leave her to go to Alaska. You just can’t do that with an imprint bird, they get too attached and you become their world, you and your family and pets. Lisa is working on a documentary with Allie, the starling and has taught her puzzles, how to ring a bell, how to come, and repeat over 30 words and phrases.
A few weeks later, they gave Rosie the heartbreaking news that the cancer was incurable. Her journey towards hospice had begun, and it signaled the end of her life and our friendship on Earth. “That was the day I knew I had to pray for both of us, because the days that followed she couldn’t always respond,” said Loucks-Christenson.
“We had fought like prayer warriors for almost five years! We refused to give up, but in the end, she would pray, ‘God’s will be done,’ that she wanted me to pray, too. The book I am finishing up to help others is one that Rosie wanted to have me share I’m calling, “Rosie of Fairbanks, Alaska: The Great Forget-Me-Not.”
Loucks-Christenson said, “I lost four clients and friends this summer. When you stand behind my counter, with one fake Tiffany lamp spreading light and rainbow colors, you face cougars with me. You stand up to bears and don’t back down at bad news no matter how big it looks—you stand taller and longer. You look cancer and illness in the eye and you pray it away, the best you can.”
Loucks-Christenson firmly believes in the life-saving power of sharing hope and inspiration. She hopes that by entertaining her guests with her own outdoor episodes, filled with all original content, including bloopers, she can offer others a glimpse into her daily beat and the wildlife that always manages to entertain her, regardless of the season. Her ultimate goal is to help others.
The direction of my documentary was a mystery known only to God. I couldn't have foreseen the destination He has brought it to, even temporarily, since downtown Rochester is a place in our city that attracts a global range of people, from the richest billionaires and royalty to the homeless or penniless, many whom are relying solely on their faith and hope. I know, I’ve interviewed them,” said Loucks-Christenson. Rochester, Minnesota, is a place where people come for healing, no matter what your religion is, who you are, rich or poor.
Through God's blessings, I am presenting the Temple of Eagles as a gift to my community and the worldwide community, seeking answers, hope, and resilience.
Lisa Loucks-Christenson, a local eagle expert and documentarian, showcases a Temple of Eagles exhibit and documentary on the upper floor of the corner building at 2nd St SW and 1st Avenue SW in downtown Rochester, Minnesota, above Eagle Drug and Eagle Grocery. Follow the skyways between the Breckenridge and Mayo Clinic, head to Peacock Books & Wildlife Art Bookstore by Newt’s Express to find this gem, Peacock Books’ Gem Theatre. The one screen theatre offers historical theatre seats for the upcoming visitors to sit in to watch Loucks-Christenson’s films and cartoons.
The theatre sole purpose is to create an escape for everyone who wants to try a different kind of theatre, for the healthy, for visitors who are companions of their loved ones to find entertainment, to immerse in one story or cartoon at a time.
The heart of our city can now celebrate their new curated theatre in the historical 1876 Odd Fellows Building, featuring original films by the curator, a Rochesterian native who is happy to share her experiences and wild adventures with her customers.
When the theatre opens, please stop by. Choose a unique movie from our exclusive collection and enjoy it while knowing you’ll be sitting in a vintage theater seat (unless you want a cushioned chair).
Peacock Books Gem Theatre serves as a sanctuary where visitors can escape into various lives, journeys, wildlife adventures, interviews, the history of Rochester, Lisa's animation and cartoon films, and potentially other filmmakers' creations in the future, allowing them to immerse themselves in another story, even if only for a short film.
You can check the theater showings (in 2024) at: