Arts and Entertainment

Music with a political message on the side

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The taco truck invasion came to Bowling Green last night. Earlier this week a supporter of Donald Trump’s campaign warned that of Hillary Clinton was elected there would be an influx trucks.  Since then social media has been full of mocking references to the remark. So Next Gen Climate, a group mobilizing young voters to vote for politicians in favor of taking action to combat global warming, brought a taco truck to downtown Bowling Green and was handing out free tacos and other food items. They also offered to register voters. Among the most enthusiastic was Kirsty Sayer, a native of South Africa, who recently became a U.S. citizen. She happily posed with her voter registration form and a sign that declared “Stop Trump, Vote Climate.” The taco truck was there in conjunction with a Concert for the Climate held across the street at Grounds for Thought. The concert was billed as a mix of activism and music. As promised the music took the upper hand. Singer-songwriter Justin Payne, encouraged people to register to vote during his set. “That’s as much as you’ll hear me say about politics in public,” he told the audience. Dustin Galish, who is a field organizer for Next Gen and the leader of the band Tree No Leaves, urged those in attendance to vote for candidates who support environmental causes. They need “to make sure the environment didn’t suffer because you didn’t vote.” And with that he turned over the spotlight on the first act Tim Concannon, who evoked an earlier generation of activists with a rendition of Pete Seeger’s “If I Had a Hammer.” He also made the only explicit pitch for a candidate, singing a song in support of Kelly Wicks, the owner of the coffee shop and a Democratic candidate for the State House. Certainly Mechanical Cat, a musical project of John Zibbel, wove environmental messages in his intergalactic tales about a visitor from the planet Trifenderor. (Zibbel is a BG Independent business partner.) Otherwise the mostly college age crowd of about 100 heard an evening of mostly original music. Payne’s original pieces drew heavily on the blues and folk tradition, evoking working folks up against the industrial machine. He said that earlier this year while on tour, the rash of…


Live in the House season opens tonight (Sept. 3) in Pemberville

From THE PEMBERVILLE OPERA HOUSE The Pemberville Opera House opens its ninth season of Live in the House concerts tonight (Sept. 3) with Dwight Lenox and the Lenox Avenue Express. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. From blues to ballads and jazz to swing, Dwight shines. His impeccable instincts and mellow sound have garnered the attention of some of the finest musicians in the industry. Dwight’s fluid style lends itself to a vast repertoire from Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, James Ingram, Stevie Wonder, Lou Rawls and many more. But his raw abilities are evidenced in his performance of original music. He’s sung on numerous recordings, including works for commercial and corporate use. He’s an accomplished studio session singer. Growing up in New York, Lenox honed his talent in the church choir. He went on to study and perform musical styles as diverse as country and rock n’ roll. But his gospel roots, combined with such childhood influences as Nancy Wilson, Nat Cole, and Sarah Vaughn, made jazz a natural showcase for his talent. The Live! In The House Concert Series started in 2008 and has since brought well over 100 performances to the opera house stage. The Pemberville Opera House was built in 1892 and completely restored to its’ original glory in 1999. Built as a true ‘theatre on the second floor, the opera house has recently completed an elevator tower and is now handicapped accessible. Programs are nearly always the first Saturday of each month, Sept thru May and tickets are available as a series for $90 or individually at $12 each. Upcoming shows are: Oct. 1: The Midwestern Swing is a Cincinnati based band inspired by the great Western Swing bands of the 40s, 50s & 60s coupled with equal parts tradition and modernity. The group’s repertoire features tight arrangements from the classic Western Swing and Great American Songbooks. www.themidwesternswing.com Nov. 12: The Juggernaut Jug Band What do you get when you blend jazz, blues ragtime, swing and original music with washboards, washtubs, kazoos, jugs and various other sundry hardware? Nothing less than the strange concoction called the Juggernaut Jug Band. www.juggernautjugband.com Dec. 3: Matt Watroba and Robert Jones American Roots Music (Folk, Blues, Spirituals, Work Songs, Chants, etc.) as the music that matters. This is the music that America and that the world has…


Lily Parker blossoms as Black Swamp Arts Festival volunteer

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When a 9-year-old Lily Parker first showed up to volunteer at the Black Swamp Arts Festival, Bill Donnelly, who coordinates artist hospitality, sent her out with an adult to deliver water to exhibitors. Twenty minutes later, he said, she was back. “I was glad she had lasted that long.” Little did he know that this was just the start. The 14-year-old Bowling Green High School freshman has continued to volunteer at the festival – and for other community events. Donnelly said that first year: “At Lily’s suggestion, they loaded coffee vats, PB&J, bread and silverware onto the … delivery wagon and rolled back out with their hospitality upgrade. That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. … Lily has been a go-to volunteer for me for six years. I admire her initiative and hard work, her character, and her passion for the festival.” That passion has been passed down to her through her family. Her grandfather Tom McLaughlin Sr. exhibited in the first show and chaired the visual arts committee during the early years. Both her mother, Penny Parker, and her father, Tom McLaughlin Jr., were volunteers. Her father, who died earlier this year, was a stalwart on the performing arts committee, and a regular presence backstage. Lily said it will be hard this year without him there. She shows a photo on her phone with her and her father and music legend Richie Havens backstage in 2006. Lily’s stepfather, Dave Shaffer, chairs the festival committee. “This is something I always really liked doing,” she said. She’s one of about 1,000 volunteers it takes to stage the annual event. The festival depends on people to assist with every aspect. Those wishing to volunteer should visit: http://www.blackswampfest.org/volunteer/ How much will Lily work festival weekend, Sept. 9-11? “Probably as much as I can, as much as they need me.” She expects on Friday she’ll head out with Donnelly to do shopping to stock the hospitality area for artists with fruit and baked goods. Then at 5 a.m. Saturday she’ll join the Dawn Patrol, those volunteers up before dawn to transform Main Street in downtown Bowling Green into an art show and youth arts area. Artists start showing up right away for a little caffeine and sustenance to help fuel their efforts…


Musicians to sing for the climate

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Activism and musical entertainment will come together in a Concert for the Climate Saturday starting at 7 p.m. at Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St., Bowling Green. The goal, said musician Dustin Galish, is “to try to register people to vote and generate a dialogue about environmental and green energy issues.”                   Grounds for Thought is a good venue for the event. It’s a place people come to discuss issues, he said. “Music has inherently always been anti-establishment and about stirring things up, doing that in a positive way,” he said. “There’s always a history of when the time is right of talking about the issues you care about. Music does bring people together. It’s a good bridge.” Galish’s own band Tree No Leaves will headline the event. It’s been awhile since he’s had a show at Grounds and as a field organizer for NextGen Climate, the timing seemed perfect.   NextGen is a national effort geared up to register voters and promote action to combat climate change. Galish said the group has been active registering voters every day since students arrived back on campus. NextGen Climate is helping with the show, and there’ll be tables set up for other environmental groups including those from campus. “There’s a good amount of environmental activism in the area.”   He called around to bands to see who was interested in playing. Sage Rozzel’s Beats by Sage will spin tunes, including originals at 7 p.m., as people gather and converse. Tim Concannon will open the concert at 8 p.m. The show will also feature singer-songwriter Justin Payne, who is recently back in town after an extensive tour. College rockers Balance Bird open the band portion with Tree No leaves batting cleanup.   Also making appearance will be the Mechanical Cat. Galish said the other acts won’t necessarily include any topical material. Mechanical Cat, though, trades in his own surreal way in topical material. “Mechanical Cat will bring his whole experience. I’m sure he’ll be saying certain things.” Galish said: “We’re not telling anyone who to vote for. We’re just saying get involved and showing how many people are involved.” When people see others are committed to voting that will encourage them to go to the polls as well.  


Author to discuss Ohio’s presidential election bellwether status at Toledo Museum of Art, Sept.22

From TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART Kyle Kondik, author of the new book “The Bellwether: Why Ohio Picks the President,” will appear on Sept. 22 at the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle. Just days ahead of the first presidential candidate debate, Kondik will shed light on the Buckeye State’s remarkable record as a predictor of presidential election winners. The free event at 7 p.m. is being presented jointly by the Museum and the Toledo Lucas County Public Library. Kondik is managing editor for the nonpartisan political forecasting newsletter Sabato’s Crystal Ball, published by the University of Virginia Center for Politics. Using historical documentation and research, he will explain Ohio’s remarkable record for predicting presidential election results and why the state is essential to the 2016 election. A book signing and reception in Libbey Court will follow the presentation. Kondik is the first of five speakers making appearances in Toledo this fall in conjunction with the Museum’s nonpartisan exhibition I Approve This Message: Decoding Political Ads. Others include University of Michigan political scientist Ted Brader; American Press Institute senior manager Jane Elizabeth; University of Michigan musicologist Mark Clague; and media, entertainment and technology executive/advisor Don Levy. (See BG Independent News story on the exhibit at: http://bgindependentmedia.org/toledo-museum-exhibit-dissects-the-emotional-manipulation-of-political-ads/) Ted Brader, author of the book “Campaigning for Hearts and Minds,” will discuss how emotional appeals in political ads work at 2 p.m. Sept. 24 in the Little Theater. Brader is a professor of political science at the University of Michigan and at the Center for Political Studies in the Institute for Social Research. He is a principal investigator of the American National Election Studies and has received multiple grants from the National Science Foundation for studies of political psychology, political communication, public opinion and voting behavior. A book signing will follow in Libbey Court. Jane Elizabeth will give a presentation titled “Fact-Challenged: Finding Truth and Accuracy in a Fact-Resistant World,” at 2 p.m. Oct. 1 in the Little Theater. A senior manager at the American Press Institute, she will discuss the challenges journalists face in reaching voters with the facts during a fact-challenged campaign advertising season. Music has the power to inspire devotion and mobilize individuals to action. University of Michigan musicologist Mark Clague discusses how music has been used to shape U.S. presidential contests, at 2 p.m. Oct. 8 in…


Mariachi Flor de Toloache skirts tradition with intoxicating Latin mix

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Mariachi Flor de Toloache has ruffled some feathers as the all-female ensemble has taken flight on the Latin and alternative music scenes. Though rooted in the mariachi tradition, founder Mireya Ramos is not afraid to tweak that tradition by incorporating music from outside its boundaries and jazzing up its presentation. In a recent telephone interview, Ramos said that after a CNN segment on Flor de Toloache, some of the comments posted on line were “nasty.” “It is a tradition passed on through generations,” she said. “You have families that are all mariachi, and we’re women. We don’t wear skirts. We have caused some controversy.” But those criticisms are more than balanced out by the plaudits. Ramos said she was especially pleased with the reaction from fans in Los Angeles. “They really love it,” she said. “They say, ‘oh, great, this is something new!’” And the band has caught the attention of rock crowds as Flor de Toloache has toured with Black Keys’ singer Dan Auerbach’s new band, The Arcs. Auerbach’s fans may not know exactly what to make of them at first but are captivated in the end. Local mariachi aficionados and other music fans will have their own chance to weigh in when Mariachi Flor de Toloache performs a Main Stage set at the Black Swamp Arts Festival, Saturday, Sept. 10 at 6:15 p.m. Earlier that day they will play on the Community Stage at 1 p.m. and then the Family Stage at 2:45p.m. Ramos grew up in Puerto Rico. Her father who is Mexican (her mother is Dominican) played mariachi, but Ramos a violinist didn’t start performing the music herself until she moved to New York City to study 15 years ago. The first gig she landed was with a mariachi band. “It was quite an experience,” she said. “I came from Puerto Rico, played with Mexicans and learned a lot about the music and lot about the culture.” What she didn’t see was other women playing mariachi. She decided that having an all-female band, especially one from New York with it burgeoning Mexican population “would be a cool thing.” So in 2008, taking a name from an intoxicating flower, she founded Mariachi Flor de Toloache. The first call she made was to her friend and collaborator…


Fiction writer Wendell Mayo “All My Lonely Ones” to initiate Spotlight on the Arts, Thursday, Sept. 1

From BG MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Dr. Wendell Mayo, prize-winning author and Fulbright Scholar, has lived two lives, the first as a chemical engineer, the second as a writer and BGSU faculty member. Mayo, a professor of English and creative writing, is the featured speaker for the University’s Spotlight on the Arts event Sept. 1. His presentation, titled “All My Lonely Ones: The Short Fiction of Wendell Mayo,” will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre at The Wolfe Center for the Arts. The event is also part of the Creative Writing Program’s fall reading series. Mayo started as a chemical engineer at the behest of his father, a nuclear physicist. His mother continually encouraged him to “dream big” and use his imagination. “My mother, the whole time, encouraged anything that had to do with creativity in me. She would read all my writing, tell me, ‘Don’t listen to your father, someday you’ll be an artist.’ She thought I’d be a painter, or a lawyer.” Mayo started writing seriously around 1982 while working for Standard Oil, now BP, in San Francisco. He enrolled in the Vermont College of Fine Arts Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts program, continuing to work for BP at the Lima, Ohio, refinery until he earned his M.F.A. in 1988. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in writing from Ohio University, took a job teaching at Indiana Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and then relocated to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He came to BGSU in 1996. Though he wrote poetry throughout junior and senior high school, he now focuses solely on fiction. “Distances,” the first story he had published in the Houston magazine Touchstone, ruminates on distance and alienation, things he felt living so far from home and siblings. The second story, “Apple Orchard,” published in Wind Magazine, was about “the truth in the moment.” “For me, it seemed like I understood life, or I understood how I make sense of my world, in terms of important moments instead of in a longer narrative arc. For me, short stories are about these important moments that have larger significance to them. So in that sense I’m not a traditional novelist.” Though Mayo had published numerous stories before arriving at BGSU, “it took me eight years to…


Music finds Suitcase Junket’s Matt Lorenz in the oddest places

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Music has a way of finding its way into Matt Lorenz’ life. The creator of the eclectic one-man band Suitcase Junket started his musical adventure when his music-loving parents adopted an old piano. Lorenz also found the guitar that gave birth to Suitcase Junket. He found his own version of throat singing after taking a South Indian cooking class. He finds the suitcases that give the band its name and serve as percussion instruments at yard sales. He finds his lyrics in nonsense syllables he shouts while practicing. From these rescues from the world’s musical dog pound, Lorenz creates his Swamp Yankee sound, a space age take on roots music. Suitcase Junket will perform at the Black Swamp Arts Festival Sunday, Sept. 11, on the Main Stage at 12:30 p.m. and on the Family Stage 2:45 p.m. Lorenz oddball approach to music making comes in part from his childhood fascination with how things work. He remembers once convincing a babysitter to let him disassemble the telephone. Both his parents were teachers – his mother homeschooled his sister and him – and were “pretty good sports.” “My parents started taking me to the dump so I could bring home random things to take apart,” Lorenz said. His parents also brought home a free piano. His sister, Kate, who is a few years older started getting lessons. “I couldn’t stay away from it,” Lorenz said. So he started taking lessons. “My parents never played, but were huge music lovers and the house was always full of music. They were into the idea of us picking up those skills, so they were very supportive.” He attended Hampshire College in Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley from 2000 to 2004 and studied experimental composition and adaptive music design. For one project he and another student designed a pulley system that allowed a drummer who’d had his right leg amputated continue to play the bass drum on his kit. They expanded on that to develop a system to allow a double amputee to play drum set. In 2005, he and his sister started a band, and when their drummer quit, he decided to put all his moving around on stage to use and provide the percussion for their group. Those levers and pulleys come in to good…


Southern Avenue is Israeli bluesman’s street of dreams

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Growing up in Israel, blues guitarist Ori Naftaly dreamed of Memphis. He’d listen to the LPs. He decorated his room with the images. He read the stories. Now when he performs with his band Southern Avenue and looks over at his bandmates, he realizes he’s living that dream. In Tierinii Jackson he has found a true “church girl” whose soulful vocals “give me goosebumps.” In her sister Tikyra Jackson he has the drummer of his dream who delivers a soulful groove. In Daniel Mckee, he has bass player rooted in the fertile musical soil of Memphis. So on the bandstand sometimes he wonders: “How did I get here? This is pretty amazing.” Southern Avenue will bring its Memphis-based soul and blues sound to the Black Swamp Arts Festival for a Friday, Sept. 9, 6:30 p.m. Main Stage set. Naftaly’s journey started with his father, an avid music fan. His father had a large record collection. He had a friend at a record store and though him got the latest music magazines. In Israel, Naftaly explained, only American hits are available. His father dug deeper into the roots, and shared that knowledge with his guitar playing on. Naftaly had a following in his native land. He was “an ambassador” for the blues, he said. Then he had the opportunity to be an ambassador for his country, representing Israel in the International Blues Competition in Memphis. He was “weeded out,” Naftaly said. He was up against 50-year-olds who grew up on the music. But the experience was invaluable. The reception he received was good enough that he decided to return the following summer. It was an expensive proposition getting a visa and settling in Memphis, and he knew he had three years to establish himself or his artist’s visa would not be renewed. He toured with his own band, but he said he never liked being out front. He went through six different singers, because “you don’t want to hear me sing.” Then another musician in Memphis told him about Tierinii Jackson. She was singing around Memphis, but didn’t have the chance to sing her own music. He fell in love with everything about her presentation. And Tierinii told him about her sister the drummer. “These girls were so dynamic and…


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 recalls being disappointed in hearing some classic reggae outfits who replaced their horns with “cheesy keyboard sounds” for some live shows. That full experience also means traveling with their own front of the house engineer. “He’s a part of the band,” Benedetti said. That means the band can deliver the full sonic experience heard on the records in live performance. “We always bring the full experience,” he said. That sound went through a major change when Kinsella left the band in 2006, and Martin assumed the lyric writing duties. “Elliot has a more futuristic, more cutting edge,” approach Benedetti said. “The band evolved into a…


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 mile away from the shop at 435 E. Wooster St. and residential areas in the neighborhood, she said, “we’re in a more vibrant, active community.” Art Supply Depo, she said, sets itself apart from big box stores in its extensive inventory. Here artists can buy top quality paper in all sizes, including extra-large sheets. While a big box store may carry the top 25 colors of Prima Color Pencils, Art Depo carries all the colors, 150 of them. The same with Golden acrylic paints. The store’s staff also sets it apart. “Everyone on my staff is a working artist,” she said. “Everyone on my staff…


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 the acts at the Black Swamp Arts Festival. In 2007, his first visit to the Black Swamp fest, he discovered Alejandro Escovedo and has been a fan ever since. This year he’s looking forward to seeing Pokey LaFarge live. His booth in the center of the show gives him a front row seat for those performing on the Community Stage. Plummer didn’t set out to sell work on the art fair circuit. In fact, after working for an artist who did the circuit, he saw how much work it was and told himself that was not the path for him. Then in 2001, a couple…


‘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 Hollywood Victory Caravan – a group of famous film stars who toured America by train in 1942 selling war bonds – The All Hands On Deck! Show has captured the hearts of veterans of all ages, active duty servicemen and women, and audience members young and old. The All Hands On Deck! Show offers a musical message for all Americans celebrating the American way of life, and reminding us of a time when our country was fully united. It reminds us of what’s right about our country. The All Hands On Deck! Show currently performs in Branson, Missouri at the Dutton Family Theatre. For more information on The All Hands on…


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 man, a rarity in law enforcement. They touch on the ethnic divide of urban policing – most of the suspects are African-American. The material at first seems unmediated, but looking closely, Schonberger’s shaping hand is evident. He didn’t just take the material and slap it up on the walls. He took it, asked questions, revisited the scenes. The bare walls of the gallery in the historic Secor building add an additional layer of authenticity. City life goes on outside the ceiling to floor windows; the neon Star of David inside the gallery is visible to those passing by. Schonberger had the idea for the project…


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 activity center presented by the Toledo School for the Arts. TSA students will help children with several fun art activities including printmaking. Face painting will also be offered free of charge. Adjacent to the children’s area TSA Artisan’s Guild (TAG) will have a booth of items for sale created by students in this year’s summer program. “The Guild’s mission is to help cultivate an appreciation for unique, hand-crafted artwork,” said Karen Delhey, Guild Executive Director. “The art fair is a special opportunity for those who value original artwork to meet the artists and learn more about their inspiration and techniques. Meeting the artist gives the…