Arts and Entertainment

Unitarian Universalists celebrate the art of moral revival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Maumee Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation wants to raise money for and awareness of the Poor People’s Campaign. And they want to have fun doing it. On Sunday, Nov. 18 the congregation will hold an art-in from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Rev. Lynn Kerr said that the Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio has been working with the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. That included helping people register to vote and then helping them get to the polls. “Though obviously we’re not encouraging them to vote any particular way,” she said. The proceeds from the art-in will be shared with the Poor People’s Campaign and the congregation. The art-in itself has two elements. Art supplies are being donated by local artists and businesses and will be sold at low prices so people can get the art supplies they want.  “The second thing is we have local artists who are sharing their talents where someone can come in do DYI project. But the artists will be there to show them how to do those projects,” she said. The projects include jewelry making, crocheting, holiday ornaments, and origami. Kerr will be showing how to make ornaments out of birch bark. “They’ll be doing cool things that don’t take a terribly long time to do,” she said. That way people will be able to complete several over the course of the afternoon. Food will be available including items from the Share Our Grounds cafe in Whitehouse. Poor People’s campaign is calling for a moral revival. “We’re just adding art to it to raise awareness.  What’s lacking in the country is we need to think about what’s a compassionate act,” Kerr said.  “What we’re missing right now is compassion through moral action.” During the congregation’s 11 a.m. service Melissa Jeter, who is studying to be a lay minister and often speaks on social issues, will give the sermon. Jeter said that the Poor People’s Campaign is a continuation of the work Martin Luther King Jr. was pursuing in the years before his assassination. So much of what she sees, from the Flint water crisis to concerns about violence in schools, goes against King’s belief in the need to build a beloved community. This new call for a moral revival is not a commemoration of the effort started by King. “This is to continue the work that’s not been completed,” Jeter said. All these issues from the growing income disparity to threats to the environment are part of a web. “We’re all in the same boat.” That there are still poor people who struggled for life’s basics in this wealthy country “does not seem right, does not seem moral,” Jeter said. That someone making minimum wage has to work 74 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom apartment makes one question how much value is put on a person’s life. Unitarian Universalists value every individual’s life. Tying this mission to the arts is fitting, she said. “It’s a way of reclaiming our own power to create.”  

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Comedy in the cards in Black Swamp Players’ ‘Clue: The Musical’

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Black Swamp Players has survived. With “Clue: The Musical” the Players start their 51st season, something that seemed in doubt earlier this year. What better way to start that season than killing a character off. And there’s never been a more congenial corpse than Mr. Boddy (Heath Diehl). He serves as master of ceremonies to his own murder, and even after he ends up dead at the end of the first act, he can’t help but return to join the chorus line. Silly? You betcha. And in the spirit of a musical based on a board game, the audience gets to play along. “Clue: The Musical” opens tonight (Friday, Nov. 9) at 7:30 p.m. and continues with shows this and next weekend at first United Methodist Church. Click for showtimes and details. Audience members get game cards and a pencil with their programs.  The goal is to guess who killed Mr. Boddy, where and with what weapon. The solution differs at every show.  At the start Mr. Boddy along with Prop Runner (Katie Partlow) takes a jaunt into the audience to have them select game cards determining each of those elements. The chosen cards are placed in an envelope on stage to await the  big reveal at the end. Then we get to meet the suspects. This being a play, just cardboard cut-out characters won’t do. No, these familiar figures emerge from the box in full two-dimensional glory, and not atallinclined to play by the rules. They are caricatures of the stock characters in murder mysteries. Mrs. Peacock (Karla Richardson) is the much married rich widow with a trail of husbands, all dead under mysterious circumstances. Colonel Mustard (Andrew Varney) is an old lover, who has survived. He was married to Boddy’s mother and lays claim to ownership of the mansion and the scene of the crime. Miss Scarlet (Annelise Mason) is a small time Vegas entertainer, who at one point gave Boddy an encore in his hotel room. Professor Plum (Matt Crawford) is a pretentious intellectual who is writing a book with Boddy and has been on the losing end of some business dealings with him. Mr. Green (Garett Hummel) has also had shady business dealings with Boddy, though he’s been more successful at it. And Mrs. White (Monica Hiris) is the much put-upon domestic, literally the chief cook and bottle washer and suspect. Boddy bailed out her stepson from major trouble with the law, and so she is resentfully in his debt. Such a richness of motives! The detective, a hard-boiled cutie, played by Mac Ramsey comes on in the second act to sort it all out, though the suspects sing “She Hasn’t Got a Clue.” All this is played for laughs. The songs are a pastiche, and nothing really audience members will come away humming. ItThe cast, accompanied by pianist Anna Chowattanakul, gives the tunes their due with Mason showing off a voice that merits being heard in another context. The pianist actually deserves billing with the cast, given her placement on the stage and occasional interactions with Mr. Boddy. The action at times spills off the thrust stage further pulling the audience into the show. The audience at the dress rehearsal was busy at intermission trying to sort out…


SPLICE Ensemble brings heart & soul to electroacoustic music

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Even music that relies on circuitry needs the human touch.  “It’s really that live concert that can make music live and breathe and survive the test of time,” said Keith Kirchoff, of the SPLICE Ensemble. “It’s the performer that’s going to take this music into the next generation.  We still need to go to concerts, and it’s this concert experience that’s driven by a compelling performer … that makes it an immediately relatable art form.” The SPLICE Ensemble will headline the SPLICE Festival  this week at Bowling Green State University. The festival convenes Thursday, Nov. 8 on the Bowling Green State University, and continues through Saturday, Nov. 10. SPLICE will perform a free concert on the last night at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall. The festival is devoted to electroacoustic music. Kirchoff defines electroacoustic music as classical music using electronics that’s “designed for the concert stage, for concentrated listening, intentional listening as opposed to being in the background or for dancing.” The festival, Kirchoff said, is a mix of performances and workshops. “We wanted to create a ground where  the education is an intrinsic part of the festival.” The festival is one branch of the umbrella SPLICE organization. It started as a one-week summer institute, branched out into the festival, and soon will have an academy program. The ensemble grew out of the institute, Kirchoff said. SPLICE was launched about five years ago by composer Christopher Biggs and Kirchoff, a pianist. “I felt there weren’t very many, if any, opportunities for performers to become comfortable integrating electronics into their performances,” Kirchoff said. The ensemble is an outgrowth of the festival. Kirchoff and Biggs  “wanted to have a performance faculty that was really good at their instruments and really good at electronics.” That, Kirchoff said, turned out to be himself, Kirchoff and fellow institute faculty, Adam Vidiksis, percussion, and  Sam Wells, trumpet.  “We really enjoyed working together,” the pianist said. They realized that they had a distinctive sound. Only one composition existed for their particular instrumentation.They set about soliciting composers to write for them. That process was facilitated by the institute and the festival. The SPLICE Festival is in its second year. Last year it was presented at Western Michigan University where Biggs teaches. Bringing it to BGSU was a natural. Elainie Lillios, of the BGSU composition faculty, teaches at the SPLICE Institute. She’s been “the boots on the ground” to coordinate the event. “BGSU is fertile ground for a lot of new music,” Kirchoff said. “It’s awesome to me that there’s so much going on.” Thanks to the Fromm Foundation, Lillios will be writing a major piece for the SPLICE Ensemble. The trio will perform six pieces on its Saturday recital. Most of them were commissioned specifically for the festival. Flannery Cunningham’s “Eh/k/oh” has the percussionist and pianist singing in harmony with the trumpet.  Jeff Herriott’s “eyes, sewn, await the sun” started life as a duo for percussion and piano. The composer integrated the trumpet into the work at SPLICE’s request. “It’s very slow and with a lush sound and really gorgeous atmosphere in electronics,” Kirchoff said. The trio came worked with Iranian composer Bahar Royaee at the institute. “Kücha-lar” explores an Iranian folk song in meditative fashion with Kirchoff plays inside the piano. Robert…


Library offers chance to meet children’s book author Jane Yolen

From WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY Bestselling and award-winning children’s book author, Jane Yolen will talk about her work at the Wood County District Public Library on Thursday, November 8 at 7 p.m. Jane Yolen is the best-selling author of over 365 children’s, middle grade and young adult novels, picture books, story collections, and poetry anthologies. Her works include award-winner The Devil’s Arithmetic, the bestselling picture book series How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night, Caldecott Honor winner Owl Moon, and hundreds more. For a complete list of her titles, as well as a Jane Yolen calendar that recommends one title a day for a full year, please visit her website, janeyolen.com. Jane Yolen’s visit is supported through a gift from the estate of Majorie Conrad, along with BGSU’s Literacy in the Park and University Libraries. During her visit to Wood County District Public Library, Ms. Yolen will speak, answer questions, and be available to autograph books. Six of Ms. Yolen’s titles will be available for purchase that evening through the Friends of the Library. Available for purchase will be Owl Moon, The Devil’s Arithmetic, How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten, How Do Dinosaurs Play With Their Friends, What to do with a Box, and Fly with Me, published in October 2018 The audience is encouraged to bring any personal copies of Ms. Yolen’s books for signing as well. For more information, contact the Children’s Place at 419-352-8253.


BGSU Arts Events through Nov. 28

At the galleries – “The Shodo Way of Writing: Calligraphy Scrolls from the BGSU Asian Studies Collection” exhibition continues through Nov. 18 in the Willard Wankelman Gallery at the Fine Arts Center. Presented by the BGSU Galleries, the exhibition includes 30 calligraphy scrolls by contemporary Japanese masters of these traditional arts.  Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Free Nov. 7 – Award-winning documentary filmmaker Dr. Matthew Donahue, a lecturer in popular culture, will present and screen “The Amsterdam T-Shirt Project,” highlighting the artists, vendors and creators of souvenir T-shirts in Amsterdam, Netherlands, the souvenir T-shirt capital of the world. The presentation and screening will begin at 1 p.m. in the Pallister Conference Room, Jerome Library. Nov. 7 – The Faculty Artist Series presents Caroline Chin on violin. She is an assistant professor and has been described by the Chicago Sun Times as “riveting and insightful, who lights up in passages of violin pyrotechnics.” She has performed throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia. The recital will begin at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Nov. 8 – The Prout Reading Series presents readings by MFA students Erin Carlyle and Katy Cesarotti. Carlyle, a poet, and Cesarotti, a fiction writer, are MFA students in the creative writing program. The reading will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free Nov. 8 – The BGSU Early Music Ensemble and Graduate String Quartet will present a recital at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall, Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Nov. 8 – The College of Musical Arts hosts the SPLICE Festival 2018, featuring music written for instruments and electronics. The first concert is at 8 p.m. in the Cla-zel Theatre, 127 N. Main St., Bowling Green. The festival runs through Nov. 10. For a complete listing of events, visit https://splicemusic.org/festival/ii/program/. Nov. 9 – The SPLICE Festival 2018 continues with a concert at 10:30 a.m. and a talk at 1:30 p.m., both in Bryan Recital Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center; a workshop at 3:30 p.m. in 0108 Moore Center, and a concert at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall. Free Nov. 10 – The SPLICE Festival will present its final day of events in Moore Musical Arts Center starting with a concert at 10:30 a.m. and a talk at 1:30 p.m., both in Bryan Recital Hall; a workshop at 3:30 p.m. in Room 0108, and ending with a Music at the Forefront concert by the SPLICE Ensemble at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall, sponsored by the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music. Free Nov. 11 – The Student Reed Quintet, with students Andrew Hosler, Ava Wirth, Kendra Sachs, Nicole Grimone and Jennifer Bouck, will give a recital at 4 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall at Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Nov. 13 – Tunisian hip hop artist “Medusa” Boutheina El Aloudi will be on campus to share her unique views on an industry dominated by male artists. She will perform at 10:30 a.m. in Bryan Recital Hall at Moore Musical Arts Center and will present a Q&A session at 12:30 p.m. in the Choral Rehearsal Hall in the Moore Center. Free Nov. 13 – The College of Musical Arts Guest Artist Series welcomes Yu-Fang Chen on…


Visiting master demonstrates how art & words come together in Japanese calligraphy

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Kyoko Fujii started studying calligraphy when she was 6 growing up in Hiroshima, Japan. It was a popular after school activity, she said. Most students after a few years move onto other hobbies. Fujii however continued to study. For her doing calligraphy was like eating or breathing. She took weekly lessons for many years with a master calligrapher. Despite her abiding interest, she didn’t reflect on her art much. It was only when she was 24 and her employer, a securities and banking firm, sent her abroad to the southern United States that she realized that what she did was something special, something beautiful, a way to reach out and connect with people. Now a master instructor herself, Fujii visited Bowling Green State University on Saturday to teach the art as part of the opening of an exhibit of calligraphy scrolls given to the Asian Studies Program by the Japanese counsel general in Detroit. “Shodo Way of Writing: Calligraphy Scrolls from the BGSU Asian Studies Collection” will be on display in the Willard Wankelman Gallery in the Fine Arts Center through Nov. 18.  Fujii, who now lives in Novi, Michigan, said it was an honor to demonstrate her art amidst so many fine examples of both traditional and contemporary calligraphy. She has mastered both kohitsu (pen writing) and mohitsu (brush writing) techniques,and demonstrated both. She started by writing out the lyrics of a popular children’s song about maple trees in fall. She had painted yellow and red maple leaves in the margins of her paper beforehand. Then as the song played on her iPod, the Japanese characters appeared. More than a simple letter, each character is a combination of images that together create the meaning of the word. And the character is executed with a flourish that’s a visual representation of the meaning. Fujii said her American husband always wants to know what the words and meanings are of her paintings, she said. This came through in the second part of Fujii’s presentation. Taking individual words, she painted them, and explained how they are constructed. The word “work” included symbols for human, heart, and power. When writing the word for wind or breeze, the way the character is drawn shows the kind of wind it is. She concluded her demonstration by switching to a gold pen to write out a Buddhist prayer. The entire prayer would take a day to copy, so she did the beginning lines. When asked, she chanted prayer in Japanese. Raymond Craig, dean of the College of Arts and Science, said this is an important part of what the college does. More than exposing students to other cultures, it gives them first-hand knowledge and hands-on experience in elements of that culture.


Black Swamp Players presenting musical ‘Clue’

From BLACK SWAMP PLAYERS The Black Swamp Players will open its fifty-first season with Clue: The Musical, which takes the stage beginning this Friday, November 9, at 7:30 p.m.  Based on the 1949 board game of the same name, Clue: The Musical concerns the murder of Mr. Boddy (Heath A. Diehl), who also serves as the host of the evening’s performance. The first act of the musical introduces the colorful characters made famous by Parker Brothers and their motives for possibly murdering Mr. Boddy. There also is an interactive component in which audience members randomly select cards that will determine which suspect committed the murder, which weapon was used, and where the murder took place. The show has 216 possible endings. The second act introduces a new character, the Detective (Mac Ramsey), who along with the cast and audience, work to solve the murder of Mr. Boddy. In addition to Diehl and Ramsey, the cast also includes: Andrew Varney (Colonel Mustard); Garrett Hummell (Mr. Green); Karla Richardson (Mrs. Peacock); Matt Crawford (Professor Plum); Annelise Mason (Miss Scarlet); and Monica Hiris (Mrs. White). The production is directed by Melissa Shaffer and Anna Chowattanakul is the music director and accompanist. Clue: The Musical briefly ran Off-Broadway in 1997 and has since been a popular choice for community theater groups throughout the country. A contributor to Broadway World dubbed it “an entertaining, humorous, and interactive musical that is not to be missed.” Clue: The Musical will open on Friday, November 9 at 7:30 p.m. Additional performance dates include: Saturday, November 10 at 7:30 p.m. ; Friday, November 16 at 7:30 p.m. ; Saturday, November 17 at 7:30 p.m. ; Sunday, November 11 and 18 at 2 p.m. Both Saturday evening performances will be preceded by a dinner, beginning at 6 p.m. , that will benefit the First United Methodist Church. All performances will be held at the First United Methodist Church on East Wooster Street in Bowling Green. Tickets for the Friday and Sunday performances are $15/adults, $12/seniors and students. Tickets for the Saturday “Dinner and a Show” performances are $25/person and must be purchased one week or more prior to the show. All tickets can be purchased on the organization’s website. The Dinner and a Show performances, which are co-hosted by the First United Methodist Church, will feature either meatloaf or a vegetarian quiche and will also include potatoes, vegetables, applesauce, bread, and various desserts. Clue: The Musical is the first of three productions to be mounted by The Black Swamp Players for its 2018-2019 season. Clue will be followed by a production of Meredith Wilson’s 1957 Tony-Award-winning musical, The Music Man, which will be performed at the First United Methodist Church in February 2019. The Players will close their 51st season with the world premiere of an original play by local F. Scott Regan, titled Peanuts and Crackerjacks. Regan’s play will be performed in April/May 2019. Black Swamp Players is nonprofit corporation that exists to provide opportunities for area residents to experience quality, amateur, live theatre in all its many aspects. Founded in 1968, Black Swamp Players has been providing community theatre to the Bowling Green and surrounding areas for the past fifty years. Those interested in volunteering for the organization should send an e-mail query to president@blackswampplayers.org.