Weekend shows celebrate Howard’s Club H musical legend

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Steve Feehan and Tony Zmarzly bought Howard’s Club H earlier this year, it was with the intent of reviving the venerable night spot as a top local music venue. The fruits of those ambitions will be evident this weekend. Blues rocker Michael Katon, who played the club regularly from 1982 through the early 2000s, will return for a show Friday. Then on Saturday at 10 p.m. a crew from WBGU-TV will be on hand to tape a triple bill of younger acts – Tree No Leaves, Indian Opinion and Shell. “Howard’s has always been a music venue, a place to hear live music with a bar to go with it,” Feehan said. “We want to foster a community as much as we can. That’s what’ needed in this day and age.” And that’s what Howard’s was in its heyday. The bar traces its genesis to 1928 when Fred Howard opened a candy shop where the Wood County Library now sits. Legend has it, Feehan said, that the candy store also fronted a speakeasy that was popular with college football players. When Prohibition ended, Howard’s became a bar. The details of that and other stories are hard to pin down, he said. That’s part of the fun. “After we took ownership, then we realized what we had,” Feehan said. People would walk through the door, and share lore of the club, which moved across the street in the early 1970s. “We almost felt more…

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BG a bubble of more liberal voters in last election

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It’s not unusual for Bowling Green to be a bubble of liberal thought in Wood County. So when the General Election vote tallies last month in Bowling Green didn’t jive with the Wood County totals that went purely Republican, it was not a surprise. But when a meeting was held last week on BGSU’s campus, one person in the audience brought up concerns about living in a community where the majority of the voters supported Donald Trump. That new realization gave him a bad feeling about Bowling Green that he hadn’t felt before. So while it’s not a surprise, maybe it is worthy of a story that the majority of Bowling Green voters did not cast their ballots for Trump. In Wood County, Hillary Clinton got just 42 percent of the vote. But in Bowling Green, she secured nearly 61 percent of the vote, with 7,161 votes for Clinton compared to 4,621 for Trump. Clinton won in all four wards of the city – ranging from getting a high of 70 percent in the Second Ward to a low of 54 percent in the Fourth Ward. Derrick Jones, assistant director of BGSU Academics and Assessment, said at last week’s meeting on campus that Wood County’s support of Trump as president called into question the inclusive and diverse philosophy of the university and surrounding community. He mentioned the Not In Our Town organization which works to stop hateful speech and discriminatory actions on…


Everyone gets into the act at Arts X

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News At Arts X a surprise awaits the visitor around every corner. An actress in a shimmering gown and dramatic blond wig, steps forward to sing “Let It Go.” One of the Living Statues in the lobby of the Wolfe Center, she’s been waiting her turn as other characters have stepped forward to offer a song or monologue. Look up and there’s a pair of eyes projected overhead. Big Sister is watching. As the audience settles for a performance in the Donnell Theatre, someone says she has just posed for a Vogue cover. Two comedians come careening down the hall on the second floor of the Wolfe Center, making a harried entrance into the Heskett dance studio. Do you know there’s an art exhibit, they exclaim. It’s part of the act; we’re all part of the act. There’s always something to see and hear and do at Arts X, and that means there’s always something to miss. There’s always someone new to meet, or an old friend to greet. With the end of the semester looming, and finals and holiday festivities just ahead, artists, performers, writers and their fans took time out to celebrate. Arts X drew hundreds to the Bowling Green State University School of Art and the Wolfe Center Saturday night. The annual event is part art fair, part music and theater festival, part holiday party. Arts X organizers have been tweaking its presentation since the start. This year the Bowling Green Philharmonia…


BG Area Community Band has plenty to celebrate

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Bowling Green Area Community Band has an added reason to be in a celebratory mood this holiday season. The band is marking its 10th year. It was about 10 years ago that several area musicians, including then Bowling Green High band director Thom Headley and Nick Ezzone, a retired educator and conductor of the North Coast Concert Band, started meeting to discuss the formation of a community band. The ensemble was launched early the next year. So the theme Rejoice! is doubly appropriate for the band’s upcoming concert. The Bowling Green Area Community Band and the BiG Band will perform a free concert Sunday, Dec.11, at 4 p.m. in the Bowling Green Performing Arts Center. The concert will be conducted by Catherine Lewis, the band’s assistant director. She joined five years ago, recruited by Headley, who now directs the band. The program took shape when she found an arrangement of the 16th century hymn “Gaudete,” which means rejoice. In selecting repertoire, she said, “I’m always trying to find something that pushes everyone in the group.” On this concert it is “The Eighth Candle,” a fantasy on Hanukkah themes by Steve Reisteter. After what Lewis called “a very prayerful” opening for the woodwinds, the piece shifts into a vigorous rhythmic section that has the band negotiating through different musical meters. Headley, who was conducting a recent rehearsal, was intent on making sure the band brought out all the harmonic and rhythmic subtleties of the…


‘Dear Santa’ makes local Christmas dreams come true

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Some Santas defy the storybook image of a white-bearded man dressed in red and conveyed by reindeer. Here in Bowling Green, the Santas are more likely to wear jeans and pack gifts in pickup trucks. For the eighth year, the Dear Santa Society in Bowling Green will do its best to answer the Christmas wishes of about 40 families. The organization, founded by Jim and Dee Szalejko, goes well beyond buying teddy bears and candy canes. Through the generosity of the community, the Dear Santa program has given such gifts as a violin and music lessons to a child whose greatest wish was to learn how to play, ballet lessons for a child who dreamed of dancing, and baseball registration fees for a child who longed to play ball. One year, the local Santas delivered bicycles to an entire family. Another year, the program received a special plea from a local child, whose family was on the verge of being evicted after missing two months’ rent. “All I want for Christmas is to be able to stay home,” the child wrote. So the Dear Santa program paid the overdue rent. This year, the group plans to help a young swimmer whose family can’t afford the program fees, and help pay the way to Disney World for a marching band member whose family can’t swing the costs. “It’s unbelievable, the need in the city,” said Dee Szalejko as she prepared for another year…


Black Swamp Arts Festival voted best in the state in magazine poll

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Black Swamp Arts Festival received an early gift as preparations get underway  for the 25th festival next September. The readers of Ohio Magazine have voted the Bowling Green festival as Best Art/Fair Festival in the state of Ohio. The results of the readers poll appear in the January issue of the magazine. “It’s great that it’s a reader appreciation award, a community-based reaction, to what we’ve done,” said Todd Ahrens, who chairs the committee that works year-round to stage the festival. “It’s good for the committee to have validation that the work we do as volunteers has meaning to the community. Bringing arts and the community together – that’s what the festival has been about since the beginning.” The 2017 festival will be staged in downtown Bowling Green Friday, Sept. 8 through Sunday, Sept.  10. The festival features musicians from around the world, more than 200 exhibitors in three art shows, arts activities for children, and a range of food and beverage offerings. That diversity of offerings is what sets the festival apart, Ahrens said. “We offer visual and performing arts… and then have this youth arts area that blows people away.” The Chalk Walk competition for high school students was started as a way to engage teenagers.  “We continue to find ways to make it something for everybody,” he said. The festival also features a beer garden and a variety of food vendors. “People enjoy the beer garden in particular and being…


Road to climate control just got a lot steeper

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Advocates for climate change efforts already had a rough road ahead – and Donald Trump’s election has made the climb even steeper. But David Holmquist, a regional leader for Citizens Climate Lobby in the Chicago area, is no stranger to fighting against difficult odds. Unlike other climate legislation advocates who work with already converted Democrats, Citizens Climate Lobby takes a different strategy. This group tries to win over resistant Republicans. “If we want to get climate change legislation, we have to have Republicans on board,” Holmquist said Thursday as he spoke with the Bowling Green Kiwanis Club. So instead of being argumentative with conservatives, the climate lobby tries to convert Republicans with respect and reason. The group of volunteer lobbyists get a range of reactions from Republicans, from supportive to antagonistic. Holmquist was asked Thursday where U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, stood on that scale. Holmquist said he was uncertain – but wouldn’t tell even if he knew. The Citizens Climate Lobby keeps its efforts with individual legislators confidential, he added. “We have allies and we don’t want to out them” until they are ready, he said. “Our mission is to create the political will for a stable climate,” Holmquist said. “That attitude has allowed us to make inroads with people who don’t agree with us.” The climate lobby group, founded in 2007, has a volunteer force of nearly 40,000 members and supporters. They don’t consider themselves environmentalists, but rather realists….