Arts and Entertainment

Kofi Baker to bring Cream Experience to Howard’s Club H

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Kofi Baker doesn’t play the music of Cream as a tribute to the 1960s super group. And he doesn’t play it because that’s what his father, Ginger Baker, the drummer with Cream and later Blind Faith, played it Baker, who’s been a drummer longer than he can remember, performs the music associated with Cream and Blind Faith because that’s the style that allows him to express who he is as a musician, freewheeling and genre defying. “The Cream stuff is all improvised,” Baker said in a recent telephone interview. “That’s why I like playing it.” Baker will bring his Cream Experience featuring guitarist Chris Shutters and bassist Frankie May to Howard’s Club H Friday, Aug. 24. The band starts a little after 9 p.m. “The music I play has nothing to do with my dad,” he said. “It’s a style I was brought up in, and I really like it.” (This interview was conducted in December before a Howard’s show that was cancelled.) The trio is not a “cover band” that listens to the records and tries to replicate them. They play the melodies of the songs, flipping their grooves as the mood suits them and then launch into their own exploration. “It’s been a challenge my whole life to play in a project that allows me the freedom to play differently every night.” Baker said. This band allows him to do just that. He launched the Cream Experience after hearing his father, Eric Clapton, and Jack Bruce, who died in 2014, during their 2005 reunion tour. This was the sound imbedded in his soul since infancy. His father was his primary teacher. Baker realized this was the sound that gave him the freedom he desired. “That’s why this is kind of the perfect thing. Why I’ve fallen into it and really enjoy it,” he said. “Every night it’s a completely different ball of wax. … It’s always different every night because we come to it with a different attitude.” Audience interaction can help shape those improvisations. If the band hits a groove, quotes the melody from another song, and the crowd cheers “then we may move into different things. It really depends on the vibe that night, how the stars align.” The guitar, bass, and drums trio provides the right balance, leaving plenty of room to roam. “When…

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Young artist wins People Choice honors at Now OH exhibit

Amanda Gargac doubled up on her honors at the 11th Now OH exhibit in the university galleries. When the show closed recently the ballots for People’s Choice were counted and Gargac was the winner. The 18-year-old from Northwood also received the Kiwanis Youth Award  for her painting “Mother to All.” The painting is a portrait of her grandmother, the mother of 13 children. Gargac will be a sophomore at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Now OH exhibit is open to all artists in a 12-county region of Northwest Ohio. This year 65 artists exhibited work.


BGSU faculty member shares love & lessons of improv comedy

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Comedy can change your life. It did for Diana DePasquale. Now an instructor at Bowling Green State University, she was in a period of transition when she took her first improv comedy class with the Upright Citizens Brigade back in New York City in January, 2002. She said it was a “transformational time” in her life. That’s putting it mildly. Within a year she was divorced, her mother died, and then she lost her job forcing her to sell her home. Her new-found passion, though, endured. “Improv inspired me to take risks I hadn’t thought possible. My life is so very different than what I ever thought was possible for me. ” It set her on a road to higher education and led to teaching gender and ethnic studies at BGSU. Now, in her new home, she’s committed to sharing the love and lessons of improv with others. About eight months ago, she and fellow performers, Nick Morgan and Erin Kanary, formed Glass City Improv as a vehicle for their own artistry and teaching. The troupe is now enrolling students for classes that will begin later in August. The eight-week classes are held in the Valentine Theatre’s Studio A. Each concludes with a showcase performance. Cost is $150. Kanary will teach the Level 1 class, “Fall in love with improv. Love. Truth. Play.” It runs Thursdays, 6:30-8 p.m., starting Aug. 16. Morgan will teach the Level 3 class, “Seriously, get a room.  Risk. Discover. Build.”  That class runs Wednesdays, 6:30-9 p.m. starting Aug. 16. DePasquale teaches the Level 2 class, “Dig that honeymoon phase … Trust. Listen. Agree.” That class is already full. But she’ll be teaching a one-day workshop for women only, “No Shrinking Violets,” Saturday, Aug. 25, 9 a.m. to noon. The troupe has a performance Friday, Aug. 10 at 8 p.m. at the Art and Performance Center of West Toledo, 2702 W. Sylvania Ave. The faculty have their own individual focuses. An award-winning writer, Kanary, who studied improv and sketch writing at The Second City and iO in Chicago and Planet Ant in Detroit, focuses on love and play. In Level 1 students engage in short form games that encourage students to be honest and open up. Morgan is also an alum of The Second City and iO. He pushes students to be bold and take risks, DePasquale said. The…


BGHS drama teacher returns from India with lessons & insights

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Drama teacher Jo Beth Gonzalez got a change of scene this summer, and found happiness, or more precisely happiness curriculum Gonzalez, who teaches at Bowling Green High School, traveled to India through the State Department’s Teachers for Global Classrooms fellowship. She spent three weeks in the country where she observed, taught, and learned, and established connections she hopes to foster back in Bowling Green. She’d liked “to maintain connection with students and teachers at the high school and engage a couple of my colleagues in that as well. That’s one of my goals.” “With my kids I think what I’ll share with them is that, in my opinion, from my experience, is that drama is a way to connect kids with each other and with other people, that drama continues to be a way to share insights and feelings and help people think no matter where we are.” She hopes her Bowling Green students and those she met in India can become digital pen pals, using email, Skype, and other social media. Gonzalez said the trip was just a taste. Citing the tale of the blind men and the elephant she said “I’d need to go back to India 17 more times before I had a fuller picture. “I’m so grateful for these three weeks,” she said. Gonzalez was traveling with a group of a dozen middle school and high school teachers, part of the larger 70 in the international program. She was the only arts teacher among those going to India, and one of a very few involved in the program. Most were science and social studies teachers. The trip started Delhi to “acclimate ourselves to the culture.” While there they visited government schools, a two-year training program for teachers, a juvenile detention center, and a child welfare organization. They also met with Delhi’s minister of education, Mahish Sisodia, who is promoting a happiness curriculum. “It’s based on Gandhi’s concept that we should become centered within ourselves before we become educated,” Gonzalez said. “That concept seems to permeate Indian education.” The school day, she said, begins with an assembly devoted to various meditation practices, different mindfulness activities, and yoga.” All students practiced some yoga. The idea is to connect with themselves and with each other, Gonzalez said. “Drama by its very nature does some of that,” she said….


New Toledo Museum gallery sheds light on contemporary art

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Toledo Museum of Arts has transformed storage space for light bulbs into a clean, well-lighted place for some of its most cutting edge art. “Sights & Sounds: Art, Nature, and the Senses” is the inaugural exhibit in the New Media and Video Gallery. “Some of these works … we haven’t been able to show because we haven’t had enough space,” said Halona Norton-Westbrook, the museum’s director of collections who curated the exhibit. Takashi Ishida’s “Walk of the Sea” is a prime example.  Purchased in 2013, the three-screen high definition video has been in storage since. Now the museum has the space to do justice to its mesmerizing expanse. “Sights & Sounds”, Norton-Westbrook said, explores human’s interaction with the world. That’s evident in another recently purchased work David Hockney’s “Woldgate Woods, Winter, 2010” that toys with the viewer’s concept of perspective with a grid of nine screens. The black and white piece is a “personal meditation” on a place in England near where the British artist grew up, Norton-Westbrook said. It unfolds slowly over 49 minutes. Hockney’s road provides a contrast to fellow British artist James Nares’ “Street.” While Hockney plays with perspective, Nares plays with time. He filmed 16 hours of footage in his adopted home of New York City out of the back of an SUV. He then edited down to 61 minutes video that has been radically slowed down – if shown at natural speed, it’d last only three minutes. In speaking to staff, Museum Director Brian Kennedy noted that “Street’ shows the link between anthropology and art. “Street” captures people going about their day-to-day routines, living out the stories of their lives that are only hinted at in their brief appearances on film. Still they pique interest. What is up with the youngster shown running down the street with a smile on his face? The exhibit features an international cast of artists. Iranian artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian is represented by “Aram (Convertible Series).” The cut-glass mirrored construction reflects the influence of American artist Frank Stella. Norton-Westbrook noted the floral images and patterns in the work. Two works on paper by Farmanfarmaian are on the walls nearby. One focused on flowers, the other on the geometric shapes used on “Aram.” The piece is also notable in that the pieces of the work can be arranged in…


The arts can be the zipper on gown-town relations, architect explains.

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Mary Ellen Mazey was president of Bowling Green State University, she called the arts the front porch of the university. Last week during the Ohio Town and Gown Summit, architect Patrick Hyland, of DLR Group, used a different expression: The arts were the “town-gown zipper.” Hyland discussed four Ohio projects that exemplified the idea that arts facilities can bring schools and communities closer together. At Mount Union College in Alliance, the 1950s vintage arts center was on the edge of campus. The building had “bomb shelter” qualities, and college officials wanted something more attractive and functional. Also, the school realized it was lagging in female enrollment. Part of the problem, Hyland said, was the poor state of the arts facilities. A new venue was needed not necessarily for majors, but for students who wanted to continue to be involved in theater and music even while pursuing other degrees. The Giese Center was packaged with raising money for health science facilities. The Giese Center included a large, multi-use facility that could be used for music, theater, receptions, and lectures. It was large enough to bring in touring road shows and was available to the local public school. The facility also included a black box theater, a flexible space akin to BGSU’s Eva Marie Saint Theatre. The Apollo Theater in downtown Oberlin near the Oberlin College was also badly in need of repair. The movie house built in 1913 had undergone “various bad renovations” over the years, Hyland said. Its days as a first-run theater were over. The college was investing in creating an arts district neighboring its conservatory. The theater was turned into the home of Oberlin’s film program. The historic character of the old theater was maintained. Historic preservation tax credits were used to fund part of the project. The main auditorium was reduced from 800 seats to 500. Another smaller 60-seat screening room for student projects, both by college and high school students, was carved out within the space. The Allen Theater on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland also opened as a movie house, albeit on a much grandeur scale, seating more than 3,000. By the 1970s it and its neighboring theaters were in disrepair and were slated to be torn down and turned into parking lots, Hyland said. But civic and arts groups banded together to oppose…


Black Swamp Players casting ‘Clue: The Musical’

From BLACK SWAMP PLAYERS The Black Swamp Players will hold auditions for its fifty-first season opener, “Clue: The Musical,”  during the week of August 12. Open auditions for the production will be held on the following dates: Sunday, August 12 from 3-5 p.m.; Tuesday, August 14 from 7-9 p.m.; and Saturday August 18 from 10 AM – noon. The script calls for a cast of five men and three women of various ages. All auditions will be held at the First United Methodist Church on East Wooster Street in Bowling Green. Those who want to audition should prepare a two-minute song excerpt and should expect to cold read from the script. Based on the 1949 board game of the same name, “Clue: The Musical” is an interactive theater experience that invites audience participation. Like the board game,”Clue: The Musical” concerns the murder of Mr. Boddy and features all of the colorful characters made famous by Parker Brothers, including Colonel Mustard, Miss Scarlet, Professor Plum, Mrs. Peacock, Mr. Green, and Mrs. White. But the musical also allows audience members to 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 production will be directed by Melissa Shaffer. “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 PM; 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. 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. “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. Auditions for “The Music Man” will be held in November. The Players will close their 51st season with the world premiere of an original play by local F. Scott Regan, titled…