Arts and Entertainment

John Brown’s Body celebrates reggae’s roots & future

  By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The reggae band John Brown’s Body has hardly been molderin’ since its last appearance at the Black Swamp Arts Festival in 2003. The band delivered a percolating set of reggae that had the crowd on its feet and dancing, and then the band’s horns joined the closing act Chubby Carrier for a raucous jam that had members of the audience dancing on the stage. In the intervening years, says drummer Tommy Benedetti, the band has continued to evolve. “Any good band is on a journey,” Benedetti said in a recent telephone interview. John Brown’s Body will perform on the Main Stage, Friday, Sept.9 at the festival. For John Brown’s Body that evolution starts back in Ithaca, New York, with a band called The Tribulations, founded by Kevin Kinsella and Elliot Martin. Benedetti first heard them when he was a student at Berklee College of Music in Boston and became a fan. He then took over the drum chair in the band’s last year and a half. About 20 years ago, John Brown’s Body emerged from the remains of The Troubadours. The band took a “rootsier” approach. Kinsella was the main songwriter at that point. He wrote what Benedetti called “almost country reggae.” Tunes with strong harmonies and bridges that could easily be played just on guitar. But he also added the horn lines that are part of John Brown’s Body’s signature sound. Those horns are and were an integral part of the band, Benedetti said. European promoters have approached JBB about touring with a smaller ensemble, but the band isn’t interested. They want their fans to get the full experience. Benedetti said he…


Art Supply Depo opens up shop in Bowling Green

  By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Hardly two weeks after celebrating the fifth anniversary of the opening of the first Art Supply Depo in Toledo, Jules Webster and her crew has opened up shop in Bowling Green. The second Art Supply Depo will mark its grand opening on Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. and an opening party. The store is open this week 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. As was the case in Toledo, the opening is timed for the start of classes at local universities. Opening up an Art Depo Supply in Bowling Green was a natural, Webster said. Faculty and students from the Bowling Green State University School of Art as well as artists from Bowling Green were already faithful customers. Webster saw “a gap in the market.” “Bowling Green has such a strong art program it seemed a little crazy that Bowling Green didn’t have a specialty art supply store,” she said. When considering the new store, she checked the numbers at UT versus BGSU. UT has 175 undergraduate art majors; BGSU has 625 undergraduate and graduate art majors. While artists from Bowling Green would travel to Toledo for supplies, it often wasn’t convenient especially for younger students who didn’t have cars. Webster said staff has been “hoarding supply lists” from BGSU students in previous years to help guide stocking the shelves. This location also better serves artists in the surrounding communities of Perrysburg and Waterville, some of whom were reluctant to travel to downtown Toledo, even though as Webster points out, it’s the safest part of the city. Here they’ll also have ample parking. With the School of Art less than a…


Black Swamp Arts Festival has been music to the ears of Best of Show winner Chris Plummer

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News For Kentucky printmaker Chris Plummer, a change of scenery shifted his gaze to the landscape. About two years ago Plummer quit his job at the Kroger bakery and moved with his family from the outskirts of Cincinnati to a more rural part of Kentucky. “I do a lot fields and barns because that’s what I see around me now.” Before he focused on woodprints that depicted slices of stories that reflected the angst of folks on the edge between the country and suburbs. Now he creates colorful monoprints, abstracted color landscapes, all inspired by scenes within a few miles of his home. “With woodcuts, for whatever reason, I tend to focus on what is wrong, and with monoprints what I’m looking at is the beauty around me.” Plummer had started to experiment with monoprints, as well as painting, before he moved. Now that has taken hold. Those prints were praised by the jurors at the 2015 Black Swamp Arts Festival when he won Best of Show honors. He also took the top prize at the festival in 2013. Plummer said he’s heard a lot of positive reactions to the newer work, though some people have said they prefer his older work. Still others noted that they like that he’s continuing to change as an artist. “I know a lot of people find what works and stick to that,” he said. “To me that would be boring.” Though he’s done as many as 20 shows a year, Plummer has settled into doing about a dozen. He particularly likes college towns with their bookstores and coffee shops, and younger buyers. As a music fan, Plummer enjoys…


‘All Hands on Deck’ brings home-grown talent to Pemberville Fair

From PEMBERVILLE FREE FAIR Celebrate the USA as the Pemberville Free Fair proudly announces segments of The All Hands On Deck! Show to be performed Thursday August 18th, 2016, at 8:30pm on The Grandstand Stage. Admission is free and seating is open to the public. The show features the rerun of two local performers, the show’s creator Jody Madaras, formerly of Pemberville, and Patrick Scholl, a 2015 graduate of Bowling Green State University and Bowling Green High School. The All Hands On Deck! Show is a 1942 Roadshow & Radio Broadcast reproduction featuring a Live 9-piece Big Band that fills your hearts with 42 of the greatest American songs ever written including Chattanooga Choo-Choo; Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe; I’m In The Mood For Love; Pennsylvania Polka; I’ll Never Smile Again; Any Bonds Today?; Don’t Fence Me In; America The Beautiful; Deep In The Heart Of Texas; Thanks For The Memory, and a powerful Military Medley – a full-circle salute to America and to our servicemen and women! Pemberville native and 1989 Eastwood High School graduate Jody Madaras created, directed, and also stars in The All Hands On Deck! Show along with Branson cast members Valerie Hill (Les Miserables), Scholl, and Beth Conley (“I’ll Say She Is” Off-Broadway musical). With nine of the best jazz musicians in NW Ohio, including fellow Eastwood graduates Michael Sander (chair of Fine and Performing Arts at Owens Community College) and Keith Hamen (Director of Bands, Lake High School), The All Hands On Deck! Show brings Pemberville a fun-filled, true-to-life reproduction of the kind of USO show Bob Hope and Jack Benny would have taken to the troops 65 years ago: classic humor and great music from those special days of road shows, war-bond drives, and radio broadcasts. Inspired by the…


Arresting images portray intersection of policing & art

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Ben Schonberger’s art installation, “Beautiful Pig,” at River House Arts in Toledo couldn’t come at a more fraught moment coming as it does in a time when our reactions are color coded. The heart-felt cry of Black Lives Matter giving rise to the reaction of Blue Lives Matter. Schonberger collaborated with retired Detroit detective Marty Gaynor to create a portrait of the cop and his community and the relationship between the cop and the artist. “I think it’s an incredibly fragile moment,” Schonberger said. “I don’t think it’s ever been more relevant.” He sees the exhibit as an opening to an “alternate” conversation about policing and community, one “that doesn’t begin with a charged reaction.” In every incident, “everybody has an alternative story,” he said. This isn’t work, he said, that someone will see in the gallery and buy to hang in their home. “The best part about this work isn’t the art, it’s to be able to have an alternative conversation about people and process. If you can have a conversation about humans and feeling, identity, empathy, survival and history, if you can understand someone’s brain for a minute, that’s when contemporary art is so powerful.” Fittingly this is the first collaboration between the gallery’s owner Paula Baldoni and the nascent group Contemporary Art Toledo. Brain Carpenter, the founder, said the group is interested in exactly these kind of shows that are more about generating debate than displaying objects. The River House walls are lined with the pictures of suspects, and cryptic symbols, documentation of Gaynor’s 31 years on the streets of Detroit. They touch as well as his identity as a Jewish…


Levis Commons hosts art fair this weekend

From GUILD OF ARTISTS & ARTISANS Four Bowling Green artists will be among the more than 130 exhibiting at the 12th Annual Levis Commons Fine Art Fair on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 13 and 14, at the Town Center at Levis Commons in Perrysburg. The art fair is presented by the Guild of Artists & Artisans, which produces the Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair. Admission and parking are free. Fair hours are Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fairgoers can visit LevisCommonsFineArtFair.com for up-to-date event information. More than 130 professional artists from across the country will show their work at this juried event. Featured artwork includes ceramics, glass, painting, drawing, multi-media, sculpture, photography, fiber, leather, wood, jewelry and more. Bowling Green artists who will exhibit are: Thomas Sanders, photography; Diana Hall, photography; Ellen Smith, wood artist; and John Thies, ceramics. The featured artist at this year’s Levis Commons Art Fair, featured on its poster, is Paul Fletcher of Westlake, Ohio. Fletcher has been painting and drawing as long as he can remember. A graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, he began his professional career in 1981 in an advertising studio in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1986 he became a full time artist building his career with zoos, aquariums and wildlife organizations. Fletcher’s love of nature and wildlife are his inspiration. After discovering encaustic in 2008, he spent his first year developing a self-taught style of unique impressionism. Now he works exclusively in encaustic, creating one of-a-kind original sculptural paintings. His work is in many private and corporate collections throughout the U.S. The Levis Commons Fine Art Fair also features a free children’s art…


Delta Saints to bless arts festival with healthy dose of rock ‘n’ roll

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News What does it take to bring a rock ‘n’ roll band from dorm room sessions to the stages of the world? About a 1,000 shows and just as much bourbon. That’s what Ben Ringel attributes the success of The Delta Saints to. When the band plays the 10 p.m. set for the Friday show at the Black Swamp Arts Festival Sept.9, he wants the audience to come away with one impression: “I’d love it if people left and said ‘we really saw this great rock ’n’ roll band.’” Not that he feels the Delta Saints have reached perfection. It’s a continuing learning process, he said. “We try to learn something every night,” he said. “Three-quarters of the lessons we learn are ‘don’t do that the next time.’” That sense of lifelong learning is not surprising for a band that got its start at a college, Belmont University in Nashville. In 2007, Ringel and several other students who had transferred into the college bonded together.  They shared a bit of an outsider attitude, coming from different schools and parts of the country. Ringel was born in Louisiana, but lived in Seattle, before going to Nashville. Bassist David Supica came from Kansas. They and a couple other guys were “all pursuing music, both in school and as a passion.” “We needed an outlet for it, needed friends to drink beer with. It really took off from there.” They wrote songs together, and then with enough for a setlist, they started playing the first of those more than 1,000 shows. The band’s members – Ringel, vocals, guitar; Nate Kremer, keyboards and guitar; Dylan Fitch, guitar; Supica, bass; and Vincent…


Horizon’s Thomas Long wins top comic acting prize; 3B’s “Mermaid” going to state festival (update)

From BG INDEPENDENT NEWS Actors from Horizon Youth Theatre picked up awards, including a top comic acting honor, at the Ohio Community Theatre Association’s OCTA Fest Jr. this weekend. Thomas Long received an Outstanding in Comedic Acting for his role in “The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet.” HYT presented a 40-minute excerpt from the play, which was originally staged in October. Also at the festival 3B Productions’ “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” was one of two excerpts chosen to be staged at OCTA’s state conference on Labor Day weekend. Several HYT actors performed in the chorus for that show, which was 3B’s annual summer youth production. “Little Mermaid” received outstanding awards for: Dylan Coale, makeup design;  Joe Barton, costume coordinating; Janine Baughman and Tom Montgomery, musical accompaniment; and Sarah Matlow and Will Dupuis, outstanding musical performance. Also, 3B received excellence for:  vocal ensemble; Bob Marzola, choreography; Beth Kinney, props; Andrea Maccariella, props; Jesse Bernal, set design; and Noah Halaoui, musical performance. In addition to Long’s award, HYT won a number of merit awards. Those were: first time director Jeffrey Guion; Wendy Guion, props; ensemble acting; and Anne Weaver and Bob Walters, acting. The Toledo School for the Arts presented an excerpt from “Little Prince” and received an outstanding for puppet design and excellence for ensemble acting, as well as several merit awards. The festival, held Saturday in Wadsworth, was about more than competition. As the performers from all over the state waited for the results, they flooded the area in front of the stage and sang along to the show tunes being played over the public address system. Together they danced and sang tunes from “Les Miserables,” “Little Shop of Horrors,”…


Life of a cop turned into art in “Beautiful Pig”

From RIVER HOUSE ARTS The life of a Detroit police officer is the focus of “Ben Schonberger: Beautiful Pig,” an exhibit that opens with a reception Friday, Aug. 12, from 8 to 10 p.m. at the River House Arts and Contemporary Art Toledo, 425 Jefferson, Toledo. The reception immediately follows the artist’s 7 p.m. talk in the GlasSalon of the Toledo Museum of Art’s Glass Pavilion. Centered on a trove of photographs and ephemera collected by a former Detroit police officer during the latter part of the 20th Century, purposefully assembled and augmented by the artist, Beautiful Pig offers a provocative, timely, and unflinching look at cultural identity, self-perception, and the realities of racial disparity in law enforcement. The project began when Schonberger, while working in Detroit, acquired a box of photographs from Marty Gaynor, a retired police officer. Gaynor had documented the entirety of his career through thousands of images, including countless Polaroids of individuals he had arrested. Intrigued by the scope of the collection and the man responsible for amassing it, Schonberger embarked on a years-long collaborative process with Gaynor. The result is in an intensely personal yet culturally and historically revealing archive. Beautiful Pig appeared in 2013 as a self-published book to overwhelming critical acclaim. It was shortlisted by both the Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation Award in 2013 and the Anamorphosis Prize in 2015. Today the book can be found in the New York Public Library, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, MoMA, the Los Angeles Contemporary Archive, The Arts Library at Yale University, and nearly a dozen other cultural institutions. While portions of the collection have appeared in group exhibitions, the upcoming show at River House Arts will be…


Pokey LaFarge travels the byways of American music

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Pokey LaFarge is a traveling man. Has been since his teens when he left his Illinois home, where his name was Andrew Heissler, to head west. He had his mandolin and his stories with him. He also took with him a love of music and history first nurtured by his grandfathers and put that together into songs he sang on the streets. He ate from trash cans. He slept where he could. Now leading his own six-piece band, he travels by bus and plane and eats good food. Still, he agreed, that this was busking in grand fashion. “Traveling has always been the essence, the heart, of what I do,” he said in a recent interview. LaFarge’s wandering ways will bring him and his band to the Black Swamp Arts Festival where he’ll perform a Main Stage show, Saturday, Sept. 10, at 8 p.m. He’ll also perform on the Youth Arts Stage at 4 p.m. that day. His music is rooted in the music of the American heartland and in a time when jazz, country, blues, ragtime and vaudeville shared a cradle. And the stories his music tells are, too, reflecting the way we’re pulled into the future, sometimes reluctantly, but never able to surrender our past. Certainly things have changed, said LaFarge, who now calls St. Louis home. “A professional musician has a lot more responsibility, a lot more work,” he said. “But it’s better than sleeping in the ditch.” Some things haven’t changed. “My sense of curiosity that led me out into the world has not waned at all.” He’s still curious to hear new stories, learn new things, hear new sounds,…


Black Swamp Arts Festival poster has wild look

The posters for the 2016 Black Swamp Arts Festival have arrived. They should start popping up around town. They are also available at Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St., Bowling Green. The poster features a full color front featuring the flowers and plants of the Black Swamp. The back features a quiz about the plants depicted as well as information about the area. The poster was designed by Erin Holmberg. Festival opens Friday, Sept.9, with music on the Main Stage continuing Saturday, Sept.10, and Sunday, Sept.11 with art shows, music and kids activities throughout downtown.


Horizon Youth Theatre headed to OCTA Jr.

The young thespians from the Horizon Youth Theatre will bring their talents to The Ohio Community Theatre Association’s OCTA Fest Jr. Saturday (Aug. 6) in Wadsworth. Horizon Youth Theatre will present the one act “The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet” directed by Jeffrey Guion.  Their 3:45 p.m. performance starts a run of performances by Northwest Ohio troupes. HYT’s performance will be followed by Toledo School for the Arts’ “The Little Prince.” Then at 5:05 p.m. 3B Productions will present an excerpt from its summer teen musical “Disney’s The Little Mermaid.”


University Chorale holds open auditions

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS The College of Musical Arts at Bowling Green State University is pleased to announce open auditions for the 2016-17 season of the University Choral Society.  Highlights of the season will include performances of Handel’s “Messiah” and Johann Sebastian Bach’s “St. John Passion.” The ensemble will perform “Messiah” with soloists and the Toledo Symphony Orchestra on December 4 as part of the symphony’s regular season at the Toledo Museum of Art.  During the spring semester the University Choral Society will perform J. S. Bach’s landmark masterpiece the “St. John Passion” with tenor Christopher Scholl as Evangelist, a variety of soloists, and the BGSU Early Music Ensemble.  The St. John Passion will be performed at Toledo’s Hope Lutheran Church on Palm Sunday, April 9, and at Bowling Green’s First United Methodist Church on Good Friday, April 14. Mark Munson, Director of Choral Activities at BGSU, serves as the director of the University Choral Society.  During his tenure at BGSU he has led the Collegiate Chorale, A Cappella Choir and University Women’s Chorus. He is a past president of the Ohio Choral Directors Association and is currently president-elect of the Central Division of the American Choral Directors Association. The chorus rehearses on Tuesday evenings from 7:30 until 9:30 at the College of Musical Arts, with the first rehearsal scheduled for August 30.  Membership consists of BGSU students and community members from the greater Bowling Green area.  For more information and/or to schedule an audition, please call the college at 419-372-2188.  


Diana Bibler wins People’s Choice Award as NowOH exhibit closes at BGSU (updated)

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Diana Bibler’s “Heart Breaking” got some love from visitors to the annual NowOH art exhibit at Bowling Green State University. Bibler’s acrylic painting won the show’s People’s Choice Award. The honor was announced Sunday after the last day of the show’s two-week run. Artists arrived at the galleries in the Fine Arts Center to collect their work. More than 100 ballots were cast for People’s Choice. “Heart Breaking” was an outgrowth of a family calamity. Bibler’s family had a house fire. In the aftermath, a 90-gallon fish tank was neglected and just kept freezing and thawing. They finally just “shoved it outside” where the bright plastic plants froze inside ice crystals. That was the image that inspired Bibler’s vivid abstraction. The title “Heart Breaking” refers, in part to the fire, but was as much inspired by viewer’s reactions to the art. “It reflects the mood you get from the painting,” Bibler said. Bibler, a graduate of Bowhser High School in Toledo, will be in her third year as a 3-D art major at BGSU. Having been encouraged to be creative by her mother, Bibler has known since age 5 that she wanted to be an artist. She’s already won awards for her felted sculpture “Hero.” She entered the painting into NowOH as a way of getting more visibility for her work, and winning People’s Choice, she said, gives her confidence as she moves forward in her career. BGSU Gallery Director Jacqueline Nathan said that was more than in the previous eight shows, and in line with what she saw as an uptick in attendance. “Every day we were open we had a pretty good…


The Sheepdogs: Rain or shine rockers

DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Sheepdogs proved their rock ‘n’ roll mettle at last year’s Black Swamp Arts Festival. They took the stage as the closing act Friday night in a downpour that would have scared off many other artists. The Canadian quintet rocked out in the rain for a hard core crowd of several hundred that danced in the front of the stage, seeking refuge from the storm in the unrelenting backbeat and driving guitars. That’s just part of the deal when you’re a traveling rock ‘n’ roll band, said Ewan Currie, the lead singer and songwriter. “There’s a lot of sweat equity, a lot of travel, a lot of sucking it up… playing 10 shows in 10 days in unpredictable weather. That’s the price you pay for following the dream and playing in a rock ’n’ roll band.” The Sheepdogs will return to the festival this year as the Saturday night closing headliner. Currie hopes for better weather, but is ready to deliver “a good dose of rock ’n’ roll.” “We’ll come out with guns blazing,” he said. The festival runs Friday, Sept. 9. through Sunday, Sept. 11, in downtown Bowling Green. The band hasn’t had any off time since it last passed through Bowling Green. The Sheepdogs have been logging the miles in a tour to promote its latest album “Future Nostalgia.” The BG stop was at the beginning of a tour that will extend into November. That’s running close to 300 shows. “That’s missing a lot of weddings and other mundane life things,” Currie said. That’s being a rock ’n’ roll band. “The touring rock ’n’ roll band in 2016, we’re like the blue collar,…