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Kristopher "Kohl" Miner tapped his experiences and his pride as a Native American and a gay man to tell stories on stages in Minneapolis and across the country.

"Kohl was a dynamic and energetic, always coming with ideas for shows and performances," said David Daniels, a longtime friend who performed with Miner over the years.

Miner was 61 when he died early Thursday in an overnight fire at his apartment on the southern edge of downtown Minneapolis. The blaze remains under investigation.

Daniels said Miner's heritage as a Native American "was his driving force. I learned a lot about his Ho-Chunk Nation through Kohl's stories at Heart of the Beast and Patrick's Cabaret."

Patrick Scully, who founded Patrick's Cabaret in Minneapolis, said, "I celebrate Kohl for his depth and his wit. In the last 30 years, he performed many times at Patrick's Cabaret. He made me laugh, he made me cry.

"Kohl was able to summon magic when he performed. As a gay man from the Ho-Chunk Nation, he knew that sharing his stories could make the world a better place."

Sandy Spieler, who was artistic director at In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre on E. Lake Street in Minneapolis for 45 years until 2019, recalled Miner's "humor and his profound sensitivity and total sweetness."

Spieler said Miner wore many hats in his time at Heart of the Beast from 1989 to 1993: writer, performer, storyteller and collaborator.

She said Miner "was just a brilliant performer in one-person shows at the theater and in several company performances."

She said a highlight of Miner's time with Heart of the Beast was his Native-themed "Discover America," which she said was about living as a "he/she two-spirit person. It was just so beautiful." She said the main character's name was "Hishi."

Also among Miner's more memorable work at Heart of the Beast, Spieler said, were "Tales from the Aftermath, 1492-1991" and "Three Circles of 500."

Miner is described as "a playwright, performer, poet, monologist, spoken word artist, and resource development specialist" in an online biography posted by Minneapolis' Intermedia Arts venue for the 2015 "Queertopia: A Cabaret Celebration of Queer Love."

Listed among his credits are performances at the Walker Art Center and the Guthrie Theater. His career also took him to New York, Los Angeles and Seattle.

Miner graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in theater arts and from UCLA with a master's in social work.

He was preceded in death by his husband, Steven Solberg; sisters Alicia Miner and Lisa Miner-Leith; and brother Stewart Miner. He is survived by his mother, Marian M. Miner; sisters Heidi Bird and Heather Beal; brothers Scott Beard, Jon Miner, Tom Pera and Lance Tallmadge.

Traditional Ho-Chunk services have been held.