Arts and Entertainment

BGHS team wins Chalk Walk

A team of hometown artists came away with top honors in the Black Swamp Arts Festival’s Chalk Walk. Bowling Green 2 won honors for their design “Peace Car.” Members of the team were Natalie Avery. Ian Brackenbury, Jordan Ely, Rona Mejiritski, and Anne Weaver. Nikki Myers was the team’s advisor. The second place honors went to Holgate for their earth centered work. Third place went to Wayne Trace for a piece, “Science and Art.” Eleven teams participated in this year’s event.


Toledo author to discuss his supernatural fiction, Sept. 16

From PHIL FARINA Phil Farina, Toledo author, will be appearing at Gathering Volumes, to discuss his newest supernatural works of fiction, “Gravesend” and “The Enochian Dilemma” Saturday, Sept. 16, 2-4 p.m. “Gravesend” is loosely based on the author’s personal experiences with the supernatural. The main character is a young man named Robbie Mauro, who as a young boy often had experiences. Sometimes he heard things; sometimes he saw things; but most often he had premonitions. These experiences had a profound effect on his life. One day he and his friends came across a very old Ouija Board. Unable to resist, the boys played with the board to some death defying results. In the “Enochian Dilemma,” the author takes a page out of the book of Enoch. We are told by Enoch that God created first the angels, then man. He loved man most of all and sent the Angels to watch over man. These special Angels were called Watchers; for they were tasked to watch over man but not interfere.  The angels did not like this much, so they disobeyed Gods commands and mated with women whom they found beautiful. The results were the Nephilim, or the Giants of Old. This angered God and resulted in their destruction by the Great Flood of Noah. All the Watchers were destroyed save one, Azazel who swore vengeance against the Almighty. The Enochian Dilemma takes the reader on a fantastic journey of how to stop a renegade Angel who is hell bent on destroying God’s creations. Both books have been features at Wizard World Comic Cons and have been well received by both…


BG’s Main Street transformed into art show

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Hardly five hours after the sound of Dwayne Dopsie’s accordion stopped reverbing around the Main Stage area, and throughout the city, dozens of volunteers were back downtown getting ready for the opening of the art show, and the second day of the Black Swamp Arts Festival. The Dawn Patrol, so dubbed by the late Bill Hann, a retired Air Force officer, had reported for duty. Their mission was to transform Main Street into a vibrant arts village. This begins well before dawn and continues until the art shows are ready to open at 10 a.m. There’s an air of anticipation as the metal framework of tents go up, top with roofs, and the sides. Stacked among these are carefully packed arts and crafts, just waiting to be displayed. It’s an art in and of itself the way the exhibitors packed their vehicles, knowing what they need to have out and up, before boxes are removed. It’s a puzzle that must be disassembled and then put together again in an entirely different form. There are numerous details to take care of – where to park when the unpacking is done, where to get coffee, where to find a rest room. Volunteers are there to show the way, intent on maintaining the festival’s reputation for treating artists well. Coffee was being delivered. Roaming through the art show in progress, I find many familiar faces from previous shows. Always happy to see them back, and to stop and briefly chat before they set back to the task at hand. A street that’s empty at 5, by 6…


Hot time as the 25th Black Swamp Arts Festival opens

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Taking the stage, zydeco royalty Dwayne Dopsie made the audience at the 25th Black Swamp Arts Festival take a pledge. “I’m not here to complain,” he said leading the crowd in the pledge. “I’m not here to be cold.” No, he told them, they were there to dance, have fun, and party. If anyone had a reason to complain about temperatures that dipped into the crisp 50s, it was a tank-top-clad son of the Bayou who only had tattoos to cover his arms. But Dopsie had other things on his mind and that was entertaining the crowd with a hard driving set of music. He pushed along his band the Zydeco Hellraisers with the antic virtuosity of his accordion over the vigorous rhythm of washboard player Paul Lafleur. Dopsie, carrying an umbrella, even left the stage to lead a conga line of fans through the full house of listeners. Dopsie and the Hellraisers capped off a night of music that was intense in different ways. The show opened at 5 with the Matt Truman Ego Trip. The wise-cracking, hard rocking bar band’s tight sound held up well in the unaccustomed light of day. Frontman Matt Truman said they were honored to open what is for them a neighborhood festival, especially given it was the event’s 25th year. “We’re from around the corner,” he said. “You probably call the cops on us when we practice.” The local rockers gave way to the mellower, though lyrically dark, rockers from Cincinnati, The Hiders. Then the show pivoted to Ireland. The quintet Lunasa is full of champion players….


Lawrence Coates cultivates a sense of place in his fiction

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News In his lecture “Temporary Landscape: Literature of Place,” novelist Lawrence Coates made an observation that to the young writers in the audience may have seemed like a challenge: no great novel of place has been written about Toledo or its environs. Ohioan Sherwood Anderson posited the metaphor that each place is a brick in the wall that is America. And each brick, whether it is William Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County or Anderson’s own Winesburg, Ohio, modeled after Clyde, is needed to make that wall complete. This is according to Susan Straight’s map and essay “The American Experience in 737 Novels.” Coates, who teaches in Bowling Green State University’s Creative Writing program, has worked on adding his own brick to the wall. The native of northern California has focused on the Santa Clara Valley, now known as Silicon Valley. Before that it was known by other more fanciful names – The Glorious Garden Without Walls, The Valley of the Heart’s Delight, The Poor Man’s Paradise, and The Garden of the World. The last name Coates plucked for the title of his novel about winemaking in the 1920s. In his Spotlight in the Arts lecture, Coates focused on his first novel, “The Blossom Festival” and his most recent “The Goodbye House.” He opened his talk with a passage from “The Blossom Festival.” Boys are playing on the site of what was a railroad yard. All they know is that it’s a place to play, not that it was once an orchard, or a place the Spaniards grazed cattle, or friars raised grapes, or a seed meadow for…


Local acts at home on art festival’s Main Stage

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent Media In celebrating its 25th year, the Black Swamp Arts Festival is putting local talent center stage. Each day this weekend, a local act will open up on the Main Stage. Opening up the festival on Friday (Sept. 8) will be Matt Truman Ego Trip with a show at 5 p.m. Saturday, the BiGBand BG kicks things off at noon followed by Toledo bluesman Bobby G at 1:20. (Read profile. ). And Tom Gorman returns for his 25th year on Sunday. Truman’s no stranger to the festival. In recent years it’s been his children who have been involved, including performing with the Horizon Youth Theatre. “The kids love it.” But in the festival’s early years, a teen-aged Truman performed. In 1995 it was with the Jinkies on the Community Commons Stage, and then a couple years later he was on the Main Stage with Jackie-O. The details of those long-ago gigs are faint, except he remembers with Jackie-O playing with the sun in their faces. Not a common situation for a bar band. Truman is a veteran of the local music scene. Growing up outside of Pemberville he and his brother Ted were involved in various groups that played on the Bowling Green scene. Truman started playing saxophone in fifth grade band and guitar about the same time. Early on they played in various garage bands. They even had a dual-well cassette player which they used to record. “That’s when you realize it’s easier to be an original band than a cover band,” he said “That way you don’t have to play things above your…


BGSU Arts Events through Sept. 26

Sept. 6 – The Faculty Artist Series features violinist Penny Thompson Kruse at 8 p.m.in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Sept. 7 – Spotlight on the Arts focuses on creative writing with a talk by Dr. Lawrence Coates, chair of the Department of English and award-winning author of novels “The Master of Monterey,” “The Blossom Festival,” “The Garden of the World” and “Camp Olvido.” Coates will discuss “Temporary Landscapes: The Fiction of Place,” at 7:30 p.m. in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre at the Wolfe Center for the Arts. A reception will follow. Free Sept. 8 – Family Weekend kicks off with a family-friendly showcase featuring the College of Musical Arts, Department of Theatre and Film and the School of Art. The showcase begins at 7 p.m. in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre at the Wolfe Center for the Arts. Free Sept. 11 – The ARTalk series begins with “Strings, Folds and Rabbit Holes” by 1981 alumna Kristy Deetz, arts and visual design professor at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Her talk will begin at 6 p.m. in 204 Fine Arts Center. Free Sept. 12 – In conjunction with the exhibit “FABRICation,” Kristy Deetz, arts and visual design professor at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, will give a gallery talk on “The Curator’s Process.” The talk will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Willard Wankelman Gallery at the Fine Arts Center. Free Sept. 12 – Tuesdays at the Gish presents “The Virgin Suicides” (1999, U.S., 97 minutes, directed by Sofia Coppola). This coming-of-age film, starring Kirsten Dunst and Josh Hartnett, features five sisters and the group of boys who become fascinated by their troubled lives. The film…


After year of photographic success, Bell sidelined

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Black Swamp Arts Festival played a pivotal role in launching Jan Bell’s photographic career. In 2003, the long-time graphic designer for WBGU-TV had returned to photography. He had accumulated enough work that he decided to apply to enter the juried show. Bell was accepted, and then on the festival weekend, the judges returned and awarded him best of show honors. It was his first art fair. Since then he’s put up his tent, assembled his street gallery, greeted customers, taken it all down and moved on, on dozens of times. More importantly, he’s traveled thousands of miles on photographic adventures to national and provincial parks here and in Canada living in a camper, hiking with 40 pounds of equipment, and waiting for days for the right light on the right subject. When he won the top award so early in his career, one woman warned him about the dangers of such early success. Bell has not rested on his laurels. His work has been accepted in many shows and received numerous honors, and has continued to evolve. These past 12 months have been especially notable. One photograph, “Distant Island,” an image from Lake Superior was juried into nine exhibitions. “That’s crazy wild,” he said. Then it won first place in one of those shows the Allegany National Photography Exhibition in Cumberland, Maryland, as well as an honorable mention at the Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey, Michigan in April. Then three works were included in a photo exhibit highlighting images of National Parks at the same gallery. The exhibit was being held in…


Nikki Hill ready to rock the Black Swamp Arts Festival to the end

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Nikki Hill is no stranger to Bowling Green. Since she and her husband, guitarist Matt Hill, first hit the road as a duo in 2012, they’ve stopped here twice. Once for a show at Grounds for Thought, just as they were pulling their band together and then in 2014 in prime time Friday on the Main Stage at the Black Swamp Arts Festival. Unfortunately, the festival audience just got a taste of her sound, as she was upstaged by a storm. What listeners missed was a sound that mixes soul with hard rock and taste of classic rhythm ‘n’ blues, all built on a gospel foundation. Hill got her start as a child in North Carolina singing in church choir. “That’s about the best training you can get. It’s a great place to develop your voice,” she said before her 2014 festival performance. She also experimented with punk and even old-time music. She didn’t intend to become a professional musician. She was working as a physical trainer. But her husband a professional musician heard something special in her voice, something they could share with a broader audience. That’s exactly what they’ve endeavored to do since 2012. Since her festival show, Hill has released her second recording “Heavy Heart, Hard Fists” in 2015. The recording is another stop on Hill’s evolution as a songwriter. That’ll be on display when Hill closes out the festival on the Main Stage Sunday, Sept. 10, at 3:30 p.m. Cole Christensen who co-chairs the festival’s Performing Arts committee said they were happy to book her. ”We always like to end…


BGSU Arts Events through Sept. 12

Through Sept. 14 – “FABRICation” displays the work of seven artists — Erin Castellan, Kristy Deetz, Virginia Derryberry, Reni Gower, Rachel Hayes, Susan Iverson and Natalie Smith — who incorporate elements of fabric and fabrication. Inspired by a rich array of historical textiles (drapery to quilt), these complex, multi-part constructions are encoded by traditional handicraft to contrast our culture’s rampant media consumption with the redemptive nuance of slow work wrought by hand. Whether painting, tapestry or construct, these works interweave sensory pleasure with repetitive process to invoke introspection and reflection. The exhibit is in the Willard Wankelman Gallery at the Fine Arts Center. Gallery hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdaythrough Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Free Through Sept. 16 – Focus Northwest Ohio/Southeast Michigan presents the juried High School Art Show in the Dorothy Uber Bryan Gallery at the Fine Arts Center. Gallery hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6-9 p.m.Thursdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Free Aug. 30 – The Faculty Artist Series presents Andrew Pelletier on the horn at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Aug. 31 – Visiting Writer Series will feature American poet Timothy Liu, whose poetry collections include “Bending the Mind Around the Dream’s Blown Fuse” (2009), “For Dust Thou Art” (2005), Publishers Weekly Book of the Year “Of Thee I Sing” (2004), and Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award winner “Vox Angelica” (1992). His reading will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free Sept. 5 – Tuesdays at the Gish opens with “Lion”(2016),…


North Korean troupe lifts curtain on harsh life under Kim Il-sung’s regime

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The scene acted out by eight defectors from North Korea left some, including the director, wiping tears from their eyes. A younger brother knelt by his dead sister pleading for her not to leave him alone. Over and over, he cried out, until another character came and led him off. Maybe they would cross the Tumen River into China, and maybe from China finally reach South Korea. As emotionally wrenching as the 20-minute drama was, the reality is worse, said Taejoon Choi, one of the actors. The audience saw “just a glimpse” of a situation “more serious and severe.” The cast members are not professional actors. They are victims of the North Korean regime who have made that journey to refugee camps in China, where further hardship and abuse awaits them, and finally to South Korea. This was not fiction. This was their lives, and continues to be the reality for those who remain in North Korea. The mission of the troupe from NAUH International is to expose the harsh realities under which people live in North Korea. As part of that mission the troupe visited Bowling Green State University Wednesday night to present “Kotjebi: We Are Happy.” The play takes place in the market, Jangmadang, where the casual brutality of life under despot Kim Il-sung plays out. A mother played by Gunjn Ju, sells homemade tofu to feed her two children. She is joined by a schoolboy played by Taejoon Choi. His father has died because of the famine, now his mother is dying because of typhoid. He is selling his father’s clothes…


Young jazz composer unveils adventurous project at museum concert

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Jazz from a new generation will be featured at the Toledo Museum of Art Friday when Bowling Green State University grad Galen Bundy presents his Project 206 in concert. The concert will mark the release of composer and keyboardist Bundy’s first recording “Struggle is Joy.” The show is Friday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the museum’s Glass Pavilion. Bundy, 24, will be joined on stage by some of his peers from the area Ben Wolkins, trumpet,  David Mirarchi, alto and baritone saxophones, Johannes Ronquillo, bass, and Travis Aukerman, drums. Together they explore free jazz within an electronic soundscape. Some of the music, Bundy said, is highly structured, and through composed. Other pieces adhere to the traditional heads-solo format typical of mainstream jazz. He was influenced by the use of electronics by jazz artists Donny McCaslin and David Binney. The sound of Project 206 has echoes of Miles Davis’ early electronic experiments, the free jazz of Ornette Coleman, and the genre-defying work of Flying Lotus. They grow out of Bundy’s experience at BGSU where some of these pieces were conceived. A jazz piano major he did collaborate with musicians in the university’s fertile new music scene. The Project 206 also reflects his love of film music, particularly that of Hans Zimmer that “mirrors live action with a lot of fast changes.” Bundy selected his fellow musicians for this project who could handle the musical and technical challenges. That includes Mirarchi, currently a student at BGSU. He and Bundy played in the university’s top big band and in small ensembles. Aukerman and Ronquillo are products of the…


Black Swamp Players launch fundraising drive for a new home as part of golden anniversary celebration

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Black Swamp Players celebrated 50 years of drama and comedy Saturday night at the Clazel. That’s 232 plays, noted Lane Hakel, the troupe’s president. Those plays were staged in 28 different venues. After an admittedly unscientific poll at the Ohio Community Theatre Association conference, Hakel confirmed, for himself at least, his assumption that having a community theater company survive that long without its own home is rare. As much pride as the Players may take in beating the odds – “it’s a testament to our fortitude” – they want that to change. Hakel announced that in honor of its 50th anniversary the troupe is launching a campaign to raise $50,000 – $1,000 for each year the troupe has been entertaining the public. That would be the start of the fund that would be intended to either acquire the troupe its own house, the dream outcome, Hakel said, or rent a space more suitable to their needs. Since 2000, the troupe has been more or less in residence at the church hall at the First United Methodist Church. Hakel said the Players owe a depth of gratitude to the church for letting them use its space. But the room has limitations. It’s not a great place to act because of the acoustics, and there’s no infrastructure for sets and staging. Also because the shows are presented in the church there are contraints to what kind of material can be presented. Anything with “adult language” either can’t be done or must be “sanitized” as was the case for last season’s “Sylvia.” The troupe also often…


Birds of Chicago come home to roost at Black Swamp Arts Festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News JT Nero seems to have his head in the clouds when it comes to bands. He used to lead a band called JT and the Clouds, and that has morphed into Birds of Chicago. The music that band produces, though, is firmly rooted on land, an earthy sound that emerges from the fertile soil of the American musical landscape, gospel, folk, country, and more. And his songs are given voice by Allison Russell, who possesses a voice more than equal to the task of inhabiting the songs’ varied terrains. They’ve dubbed their sound “secular gospel,” and the tag fits. The music is redolent of the spirit and the streets. It has its shadows and foreboding, lightened by moments of joy. Local music lovers will get a chance to experience the sound when the Birds of Chicago alight at the Black Swamp Arts Festival for two sets on Saturday, Sept. 9. The Chicago-based band will perform at 1:30 p.m. show on the Family Stage before moving over the Main Stage for a 4:30 p.m. set. Nero said the festival has been on his radar for a number of years. That’s not surprising. Raised in Toledo, he started playing at venues in Bowling Green in the 1990s with The Rivermen. He moved to San Francisco. That’s where he first met Russell, who was based in Vancouver, British Columbia, through mutual friends on the music scene. Russell was working with her band Po’ Girl. After Nero moved to Chicago, they remained in touch. JT and the Clouds would host them in the city hooking them up with…


Teddy Roosevelt portrayal opens Live in the House series at Pemberville Opera House

The Live in the House performance series will begin its season with  “The Man in The Arena: Theodore Roosevelt,” a one-man play starring Derek Evans Saturday Sept. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the Pemberville Opera House. Theodore Roosevelt — “Teddy” to the world — was the face of America for three decades. Powerful, opinionated, intensely loyal, and devoted to the ideal of a just, honorable, and muscular America, he stood for high ideals, and never preached anything he didn’t practice. Roosevelt has been energetically brought back to life by Derek Evans in performances from the White House Visitor Center to grade school classrooms, museums, and theaters across the United States. Come and meet the man Owen Wister called “The most American American who ever lived!” Derek Evans is a professional actor and scholar who has spent a career of almost 40 years engaged in educational presentations for schools, colleges, museums and libraries. He is a veteran of over 40 stage productions in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco. In addition from 1969 to 1988 he wrote, produced and performed in educational programs in association with Chicago’s Urban Gateways.  Since 1995 he has concentrated on living history presentations on Theodore Roosevelt, which have now totaled more than  500 performances. Tickets are available for $12 at Beeker’s General Store, at the door or by contacting Carol Bailey at 419-287-4848, carol@pembervilleoperahouse.org or by visiting www.pembervilleoperahouse.org. Programs are first Saturday of each month, September through May and season tickets are available as a series for $90. Also, scheduled for this season are: October 7, “A Tribute to Patsy Cline” A 90 min biographical…