Arts and Entertainment

Art community strives to keep painter Bob Mazur’s legacy alive

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bob Mazur’s spirit has returned to Bowling Green State University’s Bryan Gallery. A dozen of his paintings as well as prints of his work are hanging on the walls in preparation for a celebration of his life at noon on Saturday.  Mazur, who taught at BGSU for 33 years before retiring in 1998, died in August, 2015. The paintings are vibrant with splashes of color, especially blue. Mazur dove deep to find them. He snapped underwater photographs that inspired the thick lines and designs of his abstract paintings. He applied thick layers of paint that even years later still seems in motion. They possess a muscularity one would expect from a former wrestler. “You can see his big, bold personality in his paintings,” said Charlie Kanwischer, who started teaching at the university a year before Mazur retired. He was “a guy who liked to have a good time.” Kanwischer said Mazur was always positive and upbeat with friends and students. The exhibit is more than a display of his talents; the show is intended as a continuing effort to continue his legacy. Working with Laura Jajko, president of American Frame, friends, family and colleagues have been working to endow a scholarship in his honor. All 12 paintings and the glicee prints on display, Kanwischer said, are for sale. Those visiting will also be able to order a book of Mazur’s work. Or they can write a check to the BGSU Foundation. “This is about Bob’s legacy and passing it down for generations,” he said. Mazur, Kanwischer said, was one of a generation of artists who took the School of Art to greater prominence. Professors such as David Cayton, Ron Jacomini, who designed the book, and Tom Hilty all “dedicated their lives to the place.” Mazur’s widow, Lynne Mazur, told Kanwischer that over his career her husband painted more than 1,000 works. The 12 in the show are the last she has to sell. Already the scholarship fund has generated $28,000. About $25,000 is what’s required to fund the scholarship. The scholarship, Kanwischer said, will be for a student already enrolled in the School of Art and will be for one year. The family, he said, has provided important support in creating the memorial for Mazur. Kanwischer said that Jajko deserves a great deal of credit for the scholarship drive. Her father and mother started a gallery in Toledo, which sold Mazur’s work. “She remembers Bob from when she was a child,” he said. “Without her energy and drive, we wouldn’t have reached the endowment.” The work will remain on display through May 28. The gallery, however, is not open regular hours, so those wishing to see it should contact Kanwischer at ckanwis@bgsu.edu. For more information on the scholarship, visit: http://mazurmemorial.wix.com/14may2016.


BGSU faculty among Ohio arts award winners

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Three members of the Bowling Green State University faculty have received $5,000 Ohio Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council. The awards are recognition by the artists’ peers for a body of work. Among this year’s recipients are writers Theresa Williams and Lawrence Coates, both of whom teach in the Creative Writing program, and composer Mikel Kuehn, of the College of Musical Arts. Coates, who has received recognition for his novels set in his native northern California, said it was good to receive recognition from Ohio, where he has lived and taught for 15 years. While his novels are most often set in the past and focus on the history of California, his stories often have Ohio locales. One, “Bats,” a piece of flash fiction, won the 2013 Barthelme Award. “People really seem to like the stories I set in Ohio,” he said. He included a few of those in his application. Still “when I write novels I tend to go back to where I feel home is,” he said. “As a teacher as well as a writer I hope to inspire my students to write great fiction set in Ohio,” he said “I hope my students take on that work.” Coates said he plans to use some of the grant to finance the research on forthcoming projects, including a novel set in the years after the Gold Rush. He has to travel to archives to find some of the material he needs. “Not everything is on the internet,” he said. Williams said she will spend her grant on needs closer at hand – both her computer and phone need to be upgraded. The 10-year-old computer, she noted, still has an XP operating system, and she uses the phone as part of her writing process. Williams said she is in the midst of writing a graphic novel and is “in sore need of art supplies.” Williams has developed and is teaching a workshop on the graphic novel at BGSU. “The graphic novel is opening up doors of my imagination that have never been open before,” she said. She doesn’t expect the novel to be finished at least for two years. It is a blend of the real and supernatural, with ghosts and preachers involved. As a writer, Williams, who has her MFA in Writing from BGSU, has published a novel and numerous short stories. For the award she submitted two stories, “The Full 88,” which has been published in Sun Magazine, and “21 Songs for Ryokan,” which “I’m still trying to place.” Both “are about dealing with the death of a spouse,” Williams said. “Having been married 46 years, you begin to think about what life would be like, and the fear surrounding that.” This is her second Ohio Excellence Award. Kuehn has won…


BGSU grad speakers tell of different paths to success

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Speaking at Commencement ceremonies Saturday morning at Bowling Green State University, ESPN personality Jay Crawford remembered his first college class. It was a speech course that met in South Hall in 1983, and as an exercise the professor asked them to tell the class what they hoped to achieve. The freshman from Sandusky said: “I’m here to be a television sports anchor.” “I had no idea how crazy that sounded, and I’m glad I didn’t,” he told the graduates from the College of Arts and Science. “I heard the chuckles in the back of the room, but I didn’t listen to them.” He cautioned the graduates that for every friend and family member who supports them there will be “many more who will stand between you and what you dream of and what you want the most. Hear those voices but let them fuel you.” So the kid from Sandusky persisted. Armed with a degree in radio, television and film, he went into broadcast. Now the 1987 graduate is at the top of his field as co-host for the midday edition of ESPN’s flagship program “Sports Center.” Crawford has “wildly exceeded the dreams” he had that first day in class at BGSU, he said. Honorary doctoral degree recipient Maribeth Rahe, president and chief executive officer of Fort Washington Investment Advisors, took a less direct route to success. “Career paths are not linear,” she told the graduates. Her mother urged her to go to college to pursue the opportunities denied women of older generations. She graduated in 1970 with a BA in Spanish with a minor in business. She only came to BGSU after first attending Miami University. Rahe’s career sights were not as precisely set as Crawford’s. She wanted to learn Spanish, study abroad and be active on campus. At Miami, she found her choices to study abroad limited. Her sister’s BGSU roommate, though, told her she could study abroad for a full year in Madrid. She transferred and at BGSU got the grounding she needed to pursue a career in finance. “If you like what you do, it does show up in your work and life,” Rahe said. “and if you don’t, seek out another opportunity. … Do not settle for something expedient or what someone else thinks you should do. Trust your own instincts.” Crawford recalled his own graduation 29 years ago. It was the year children television legend Fred Rogers spoke. When the beloved Mister Rogers came to the podium, a student called out a request for the show’s theme song. So Mister Rogers led 2,200 graduates in singing about his neighborhood. “The symbolism of that moment was gripping,” Crawford remembered. Rogers’ speech continues to resonate with Crawford. “The message was to come together all of us as neighbors as friends,…


College of Education honors Dr. G for her student-centered theater education

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Matt Webb knew of Jo Beth Gonzalez’s teaching mostly through his daughters’ experience in theater at Bowling Green High School. Katie is a high school junior who is in the improv troupe and in one acts, and the other, Liz, is a college junior who danced in the musicals. As students involved in theater they worked closely with Dr. G, who has taught theater at the school for 22 years. Neither girl, their father said, is a star, but both felt the drama teacher had a positive influence on them. His younger daughter told him that Dr. G was always preparing them for life. So when, in his role as the director of student and academic services in the Bowling Green State University College of Education and Human Development, Webb received an email asking for nominations for the college’s Educator of the Year award, he decided to submit her name. First he reached out to Gonzalez and asked for her curriculum vitae.  He learned the details, about the ground-breaking productions, the award-winning shows, two books. “I realized how stellar she is.” This week Gonzalez received the honor given to outstanding alumni and gave the keynote address to about 350 graduates of the college during their Capstone Day activities. As nominee, Gonzalez had to go through an interview process, almost like getting hired for a job. “It was a little nerve wracking,” she said in a recent interview. And she had to respond to a question, she hadn’t prepared for: What is the greatest challenge facing the nation and how does she address it in her work? The problem: The disparity in the quality of education people receive depending on where people live. Her solution: “We need to teach or social equity and social justice… that there’s injustice in all facets of our country.” She continued: “I teach in a way that alters the power structure. So I’m not the power center.” She makes her classes student centered in order “to teach students to collaboratively make decisions.” In productions, she said, that means bucking the star system and making “the ensemble completely integral to the work,” even in musicals. It also means, Gonzalez said, making sure students understand that some people have more privilege than others. She starts with herself. Being up front that being a white, middle class, able-bodied, heterosexual gives her an advantage in life. “I feel students who are marginalized appreciate somebody recognizing their own privilege,” she said. “Other kids, it makes them think. … We don’t do that enough.” Not that there isn’t resistance. In a public speaking class, one student argued against the concept of white privilege and said that society is too concerned with matters of social justice. “I think it’s important,” Gonzalez said, “for kids to be able…


Pianist Cole Burger to perform in Malaysia

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Dr. Cole Burger has gone to Southeast Asia for a few weeks each of the last two years, even traveling to Thailand unknowingly in the midst of a coup-albeit a “very peaceful” one-in 2014. But the trip he will take this May, back to Malaysia for a third time, will be a little different. The instructor of piano in the College of Musical Arts will teach piano and present recitals and master classes at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur as a Fulbright Specialist. Part of the U.S. State Department’s prestigious Fulbright Scholar Program, the specialist program promotes short-term collaborative projects linking American scholars with counterparts at host institutions in more than 140 countries. While he has also been in Cambodia and Indonesia, as well as in Thailand, recently, Malaysia was his desired destination because English is spoken “relatively well” there, plus roads and other infrastructure are better, he said. In addition, about 10 percent of Malaysia’s population is ethnic Chinese and, in a colleague’s words, “it seems like half of the Chinese population wants to be a classical pianist,” Burger related. So, he added, while many Chinese students are studying Western music, the Chinese don’t have the history of teaching it that the U.S. does, offering an opportunity. “We have a chance to share what it means to teach and learn classical piano music,” said Burger, whose international trips to teach and perform have also included one to China, in 2007, and five to Europe. To go abroad, and to welcome international students to BGSU and elsewhere in America, and help change lives through music – “that’s diplomacy at its best,” he maintains. Such new opportunities were among the attractions to apply for the Fulbright, as were the chance for professional development and a learning experience in general, Burger noted. “Just because I have a doctoral degree doesn’t mean I don’t have more to learn, and you learn a lot from travel,” he pointed out. But the fourth-year BGSU faculty member wasn’t really aware of the availability of international travel through the Fulbright Program until his colleague, Dr. Elainie Lillios, spent the 2013-14 year as a Fulbright Scholar in Greece. Then, in Malaysia last summer, he heard about the specialist program at the U.S. embassy, with which he then communicated about a placement with a Malaysian university. Burger credits two other colleagues, Drs. Robert Satterlee and Solungga Liu, for their help in establishing his connection in Southeast Asia. They spoke in his behalf with Mongkol Chayasirisobhon, a Thai “impresario,” he said, who studied in the U.S., has both musical and business training, and sets up concerts and teaching opportunities for American musicians. When “Mr. Mongkol” picked him up in Thailand for his visit in 2014, “he let me know there was…


Old tunes find new listeners at concert for young & young at heart

With an audience made up largely of kids age 4 through 7, the line between moving to the music and fidgeting is pretty fine. It didn’t matter that the music was not only before their time – because everything is before their time – but before their parents’ time, and likely even before their grandparents’ time. The beat was good. A few youngsters broke out the dance steps, a few swayed in rhythm in their seats and a few fidgeted. Teachers know the difference. For its Young and Young at Heart concert Friday, the Bowling Green bands threw open the doors of the Performing Arts Center to senior citizens and pre-school, kindergarten and first graders from Kenwood, Conneaut and Crim. The older listeners mostly took up the back rows, while the front of the house was packed with kids, and their outnumbered teachers. After some preludes on marimba, the concert got underway with the high school’s jazz band, the Jazz Cats. Their short set was devoted to swing classics from the 1930s and 1940s. But what’s 70 years when one of the songs is named “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” which is deliciously funny to say. During the switch between the Jazz Cats and Symphonic Band, Band Director Bruce Corrigan demonstrated how that bugle boy blew those notes. More funny sounds, more laughs. Corrigan knew his audience. Then the Symphonic Band stepped forward with Morton Gould’s “American Salute,” a fantasy on “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” then a bit of musical magic, a piece featuring a flute solo by Lilly Rakas, and a musical tribute to bugs that included a couple of comically cavorting butterflies. The time just flew until the show ended up in a galaxy a long time ago. First graders trooped up to the stage to take positions within the band, and don the visages of Stormtroopers, Ewoks and Wookiees. Then with their masked associates at their feet,  the musicians played music from “Star Wars,” a preview of a May 10 at 7 p.m. concert when the winds will join the string orchestra to play music from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Now it was time for the youngsters to troop out to waiting buses, and for the elders to convene in the atrium for cookies… sorry, kids. Emma Cook was on hand with her husband and two young grandchildren. The youngsters’ sister, who was there with her class, encouraged them to attend Cook was more than willing to make the outing. She has fond memories of being in band and choir in Bowling Green High and Otsego. It helped her, she said, when she went on to Bowling Green State University and studied to be a teacher. These musical programs are valuable, she said. Concerts show young kids what they’ll be able to do when they get…


Cinco de Mayo is a loud & proud celebration of Mexican heritage

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Gloria Pizana and her family didn’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo when they grew up in Pemberville. Their celebrations of the Mexican heritage were private – birthdays, holidays, all had their own Latin twist. Now Pizana, as a member of Bowling Green’s Human Relations Commission, organizes the Cinco de Mayo celebration which was held Sunday. As she spoke the sound of Mexican music echoed through the corridors of the Woodland Mall. “I never had this,” she said. “Having grown up in Northwest Ohio you think you’re the only one. You have a few cousins. No one ever talks about your culture, who you are. You’re isolated, and the history books never mention it.” That’s why she feels it’s so important that Bowling Green has held this celebration for 24 years. It started, Pizana said, when then Mayor Wes Hoffman approached Marsha Oliveraz about what the city could do to recognize Latino culture. The result was the Cinco de Mayo celebration. That’s a bit ironic because, as Pizana notes, the holiday that celebrates the Mexican repulsion of a French invasion in 1862, isn’t really celebrated much in Mexico. Still this became a time for area Hispanics to celebrate their roots and culture. That’s important, Pizana said. “I say it’s the most important history. To know who your ancestors are is to know who you are today because of what they went through. It’s showing respect and appreciation for your ancestors. You need to take pride in who you are. The more you know about your family the more there’s that self-pride. That’s why we do this. I want my grandchildren to know, I want everyone to know.” Everyone should celebrate their ethnic heritage, and she’d like to see Bowling Green host powwows and events to celebrate other ethnic groups. Her great-grandparents were from Mexico. Her parents traveled back and forth between Northwest Ohio and Texas to harvest crops for many years before settling here in 1954. The display tables included her family tree among those of several other families. That included the Estrada family. Jacob Estrada led the band that opened up the festivities with a variety of Mexican pop tunes. Pizana’s brother Juan Enriquez had organized the tables, about half of which were devoted to Latinos, including himself and his brothers, who had served in the military. He is on a mission to celebrate winners of the Congressional Medal of Honor of different ethnicities, those who don’t fit the John Wayne stereotype. That’s not meant as any disrespect to any Medal of Honor winner, but just broadening how people see the nation’s war heroes. People of all backgrounds sacrificed, he said. That includes Marcario Garcia, who is a cousin and the godfather of his brother Shon. Garcia, a native of Mexico who lived in Sugar…


Art Walk brightens up downtown BG

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The sunny day couldn’t have been better for Cindy Tesznar. The spring weather meant she was comfortable as she sat outside the Ben Franklin store in downtown Bowling Green selling her glasswork, and the sunshine made her bottle trees glow. As a veteran Art Walk participant, she knows the weather isn’t always so favorable, so on Saturday she was enjoying the sun. “The bottles show better outside,” she said. Tesznar was one of dozens of artists who were showing, and many like her, selling their work, as part of the annual event. The work displayed in locations throughout the downtown was created by professional, avocational and student artists. Crim art teacher Noreen Overholt said she was glad that the organizers always included the schools in the event. She was overseeing the art activities and exhibit by her students inside the United Way office. Among the projects was an art cave that students could crawl through to see “cave drawings.” “This gives the kids a chance to participate in a real art show,” she said. “It gives them a chance to share art with their families.” Art Walk also gives the schools a chance to show the community what students are doing and “all the talent they have.” “It’s nice that Bowling Green sponsors so many arts events,” she said. “Look at all the people walking around. It’s good for the whole city.” Amy Craft-Ahrens who owns For Keeps, agreed. On Saturday she was in Ben Franklin helping with that shop’s 40th anniversary sale. She noted the number of people in the store. “On a beautiful sunny day like today, we get a lot of traffic …You see a lot of people walking downtown,” she said. “It’s not necessarily a day that lends itself to significantly larger sales but it brings people downtown and they see what we have offer and even if they’re not buying today, they’ll come back.” While Ben Franklin is celebrating its 40th anniversary on Main Street, Flatlands Coffee is a newcomer on the retail scene. Ben Vollmar, the owner, grew up in Bowling Green and remembers first getting interested in art through Art Walk and other events in town His shop was displaying, appropriately enough, 60 drawings of coffee cups by Bowling Green sixth graders. “Bowling Green is very down-to-earth, art-appreciating town,” Vollmar said. “I like the way it brings people together.” That mindset helps foster an atmosphere where businesses such as his can thrive. “We have designed the space for the creative thinkers,” he said. Other shops downtown, he said, have paved the way for his, and all benefit from the interest generated by art-themed events. Vollmar said his business has done well attracting university faculty and graduate students. “I’d like to see residents just try us out, get…


Students and colleagues sing their good-bye to James Brown

By FRANCES BRENT Good bye dear, dear Mr. Brown! Saturday 50 of his former students, youthful again despite grey hair and receding hairlines, met at St. Mark’s Lutheran in a Memorial Choir led by Linda Gullufsen, to sing him to his rest. The church was packed with his admirers. The final Hallelujah Chorus drew dozens more singers from the pews for a musical celebration of a man who brought so much beauty and creativity to the young people of Bowling Green. Jim Brown brought greatness to Bowling Green students as they learned to create a beauty that transcended their everyday selves. He made music matter. Bowling Green High School students that didn’t make it through auditions, or that never thought of trying, still experienced an era when music (band was terrific too,) was a source of school cultural pride. Jim Brown and his generations of student musicians were also a source of community pride and for a time almost defined Christmas and summer musical theater in BG. To earn a place as a Madrigal Singer was to be blessed for life and to learn that all that glory of song was the result of very hard work, lots of discipline and major disruption to family life. Less well known was the wide ranging idealism and world view of a class he co-taught with English teacher Dianne Klein that inspired students outside his musical world. Jim Brown was the heart, soul and remarkable leader and inspiration of a truly memorable 50-year song fest that blessed the Bowling Green Schools and the entire community. The Madrigals, the Yuletide Singers, the Summer Musicals were spectaculars in the “Small Town America” that is Bowling Green, Ohio. He gave a musical opportunity that allowed generations of young people to experience the joy of being part of a beauty that took them beyond their everyday selves. He also organized terrific international tours that introduced the great wide world to hundreds of students and lucky chaperones.


Hakels’ glass treasures in “Hot Spot” at Toledo Museum’s Glass Pavilion

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Milt and Lee Hakel have poured their love of art into collecting art glass, and now they’re sharing a few favorite pieces with the world. The Bowling Green couple have four pieces in the exhibit “Hot Spot: Contemporary Glass from Private Collections” now at the Toledo Museum of Art. The show is on exhibit in the Glass Pavilion through Sept. 18. They are happy to have some of their glass treasures included, but Lee Hakel said her husband “was a little bereft when the pieces went off.” Not that the loans to the museum leave gaps in the Hakels’ home decor. The couple has been collecting glass for 20 years, and has no idea how many pieces they own. They are displayed throughout the house, from the sunroom to the bathroom. Milt Hakel said they are attracted to art glass because of its sculptural nature and because of the way glass interacts with light. “It’s so different in different lighting conditions.” The vivid color is evident at every turn as a visitor moves through the house. That’s what greeted Jutta-Annette Page, the museum’s curator for glass and decorative arts when she visited last fall. They got to know the curator through their involvement in the Glass Arts Society meeting in Toledo in 2012, marking the 50th anniversary of the glass arts movement. “The Hakels are serious collectors,” she said. She visited collectors within a 25-mile radius of the museum to find artwork that represents the current directions in art glass, both here and abroad. Of course, the Toledo area is just the right place to do that. The museum was central to the development in art glass. In 1962, potter Harvey Littleton, along with several colleagues, set up a studio to explore the use of glass in art. The efforts took place in the center of commercial and industrial glass production. Dominick Labino was an artist and glass craftsman who provided important insights. Though not in the show, the Hakels own a relic of that time, a small bowl created by Labino that was given to Littleton. After her visit, it took a while for Page to get back to the Hakels. They thought maybe she didn’t need anything from them. That turned out not to be the case. Still, Lee Hakel said, “even if we didn’t have any pieces in the show it would still be exciting.” According to the museum most of the objects are on public view for the first time. The Hakels know seen many of the collections represented in “Hot Spot.” But, she said, there are at least two collectors represented who they now want to visit. The Hakels don’t have a particular focus to their collecting. In fact, they really didn’t set out to focus on glass. It…


Roller on a roll at Art Walk

Art Walk winners   Art Walk has been good to artist Tom Roller. In previous years he’s won both the top prize awarded by the jurors and has won the top prize chosen by the public. This year he won both. That double win will amount to a fond farewell for Roller, who said earlier in the day that he’s going stop doing art fairs this year. At 78 hauling his large metal sculptures is more than he wants to take on. Not that he’ll abandon his metalworking tools. He’ll continue selling his sculptures inspired by flora and fauna out of his garage. That’s plenty of work for him. Also winning Juried Art Awards were: Chris Burch, photography, second place, and Shannon Yocum, found art furniture, third place. Winning People’s Choice honors were: Richard Gullett, drawings, second place; John Calderonello, wooden boxes, third place; and Curisa Passalacqua, fourth. Art by professional, avocational and student artists was displayed in 29 locations in downtown Bowling Green.


Emily Freeman Brown honored as Professor of Creative Arts Excellence

BGSU Office of Marketing & Comunications There have been many high notes during Dr. Emily Freeman Brown’s 33-year career at Bowling Green State University. Brown, who has a Ph.D. in music performance studies, has been named the 2016 Professor of Creative Arts Excellence. The title is conferred upon members of the faculty already holding the rank of professor and who have established outstanding national and international recognition through research and publication or creative/artistic achievement in their disciplines. The title is for a period of three years with an annual stipend of $5,000 — a $3,000 salary stipend and $2,000 for professional development. Brown serves as director of orchestral activities and professor of orchestral conducting in the College of Musical Arts, a position she has held since 1989. “Dr. Brown’s record of creative activity is stellar in every way and she maintains a national and international profile as an orchestral conductor and music educator,” said a letter of nomination, composed by a committee of Drs. Rodney Rogers, provost and senior vice president; William Mathis, chair of music performance studies; and Marilyn Shrude, professor of music composition. “The quantity of her creative output is remarkable and the quality and prestige of her work has only grown through the years.” Last year, Brown released a book, “A Dictionary for the Modern Conductor,” published by Rowman and Littlefield. Guest conducting appearances make up the majority of her creative work, the nominators said. “Her record in this regard would qualify her consideration of this award by itself,” they said. “Her new book, publications and presentations and associated scholarship throughout her career are significant and lend an added dimension of prestige to her profile.” Some of her invited performances as conductor or presenter in the past 10 years include serving as guest conductor in international venues with the Sibiu (Romania) Philharmonic Orchestra, Gottingen (Germany) Symphonie Orchester, Chengdu (China) Philharmonic Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra of Macedonia. On two occasions, Brown has been invited by the U.S. State Department to lead cultural arts activities: in 2003 with the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra in Riga, Latvia, and a 2006 concert with the National Conservatory Music Orchestra in Astana, Kazakhstan, in celebration of the opening of the new American Embassy. Performances in the United States include guest appearances with the University Choral Society in Ann Arbor, Mich.; Cleveland Chamber Orchestra, Eastman Philhamonia and Virtuosi at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y.; and the Festival Orchestra of the Chautauqua (N.Y.) Summer Institute. Brown also has led All-State Orchestras of Washington (2006 and 2012), Iowa (2008), Missouri (2002), Ohio (1997), Minnesota (1996 and 1997), and the All New England Orchestra Festival (1989). Since 2008, she has taught an Orchestral Conducting master class at the Free University of Berlin. In 2007, she organized a conducting workshop for the Conductors…


Prince maintained artistic integrity throughout his career

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Jeremy Wallach was a teenage musician when Prince hit the scene. As a keyboard player he was captivated by the sounds Prince elicited from his keyboards. The attack was funky and percussive, and Prince made the most of the distinctive qualities of the electronic instruments of the time. They were firmly rooted in the funk traditions, but difficult and definitively Prince. Now a scholar who studies Indonesian rock and pop music, Wallach has seen the global reach of Prince’s music. When he hears a Chinese guitar player solo over a rhythm ‘n’ blues groove that manages to incorporate elements of traditional Chinese music, he hears the influence of Prince. The Minnesota funk master respected no boundaries, he didn’t set any for himself and certainly didn’t care about any limits others tried to place on his music.                 When his record label pressed him for new and bigger records following “Purple Rain” he rebelled. He famously changed his name to a symbol, and was referred to as “the artist formerly known as Prince.” All “because he didn’t like the way the industry was treating him.” Wallach, who teaches in the Pop Culture Department at Bowling Green State University, said Prince never returned to his days of being “a commercial juggernaut” the way he was in the 1980s and 1990s, but he continue to create. “I hope 50 years from now people will listen to his entire catalog as masterpieces of American music, both his best known stuff, and his lesser known stuff. … I do hope music scholars will appreciate his later work.” Wallach said he senses people are beginning to start to appreciate the entire span of his work. True, Prince’s most innovative period was in the 1980s and 1990s. His late work “wasn’t as innovative. It didn’t have the shock of the new.” Still Prince explored his own sound, and he was still experimenting. He defied genres and defied limitations. He tossed together elements of rhythm ‘n’ blues with rock. He experimented with hip hop. And he was always funky. That defiance of industry expectations was a reason he was so “beloved” within the African-American community. “He was speaking for a community that was very boxed in,” Wallach said. “He stands up for himself, and the music he produced, and by extension the tradition it represents.” That included a song “Baltimore” prompted by the death of Freddie Gray, and the deaths of other blacks in encounters with police. As to commercial success, “maybe he wasn’t interested in bigger sales.” Given his early success, he may well have been financially set. “It was the record companies that pressured him to produce high sales and he resisted that,” Wallach said. Instead Prince remained living near his native Minneapolis…


BGSU’s “Noises Off” brings on roars of laughter

By DAVID DUPONT By BG Independent News The actress playing the housekeeper in “Nothing On” is struggling during the dress rehearsal. The play is about to open and she’s still trying to learn her lines. Some of what comes out of her mouth, allows the director, does have a ring of familiarity. The actress says, her brain is like a slot machine—she’s not sure what’s going to pop up, two oranges, a lemon or even bananas. “Nothing On” is a play within the play “Noises Off,” and by the time we get out final shout out to sardines, it’s all bananas. The classic theatrical farce “Noises Off`” opens tonight at 8 p.m. in the Donnell Theatre in the Bowling Green State University’s Wolfe Center for the Arts. It continues Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Advance tickets are $15 and $5 for students. All tickets are $20 the day of the performance. Visit bgsu.edu/arts or call the box office at 419-372-8171. Directed by Geoff Stephenson, “Noises Off” is a well-oiled piece of comic chaos. The show is full of fainting, pratfalls, dropping trousers, stuck doors, and multiple servings of sardines that appear and disappear as if they had a will of their own. The play opens during the dress rehearsal of a touring company’s production of “Nothing On,” a British bedroom farce. Dotty Ortley (Ashli York) who plays the dithering maid is, well, dithering, speaking her lines and musing aloud on what she should do until interrupted by the director Lloyd Dallas (Jared Dorotiak). Dallas is a genius, at least in his own mind. He’s not above comparing himself to Yahweh of the Old Testament, though in his dalliances with the youngest women in the company, he’s more like a Greek god. One by one we meet the cast as they crash or wander on to make their entrances. First to arrive are the pair Garry Lejeune (Zach Robb) and Brooke Ashton (Madi Short). They play a couple stopping by the house for a dalliance. Lejeune is also married to Dotty and is quite perplexed by the state of affairs and Dallas’ direction. Brooke, on the other hand, is oblivious to everything. Her idea of acting is flaying arm gestures to punctuate her lines. Next on are Freddy Fellowes (Austin Packard) and Belinda Blair (Micala Behrens) playing the couple who own the home but for tax reasons live in Spain. Fellowes needs reasons for his character’s actions. Why does he carry the box out of the room? That it needs to be out of the way for a bit of business later is not good enough. So the director deftly improvises a bit of nonsensical motivation that Fellowes happily accepts. Blair is something of a steadying influence amid all this, though being steady…


River House Arts takes up residence in historic Secor building

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News River House Arts, an art gallery that has enlivened the area art scene for six years, has now taken up residence on the left bank … of the Maumee River in the Glass City. Paula Baldoni who owns the business with her husband, William Jordan, said that move from the house on the river in Perrysburg to the sprawling new space in the Secor Building at 425 Jefferson Ave. has taken more time than anticipated. But even as Jordan works on the floors in the 9th floor office space, the gallery is ready to open its newest show, “Immigrants, Outcasts, and Other Heroes,” oil paintings and drawings by Cuban artist Augusto Bordelois. The show of more than two dozen works opens with a reception Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. The show continues through June 4. For details visit: http://www.river-house-arts.com/#!immigrants-outcasts-and-other-heroes/cbtc The exhibit is well in keeping with what River House Art has been about all along. Its exhibits have featured forgotten American masters such as Clay Walker featured in the gallery’s first show in November, 2009; international artists such as Mexican painter Veronica Leiton, creator of surreal abstract cityscapes; important contemporary Americans such as Swinomish and Tulalip photographer Matika Wilbur, who is using fine art photography to produce powerful and positive images of contemporary indigenous people; and local artists both young, jeweler Amy Beeler, and more established, photographer and digital artist Lou Krueger. Bordelois, Baldoni said, has been living in Cleveland since 1999, but he regularly returns to Cuba. His paintings are bold, with robust, heavyset figures. They lounge in the tropical heat, or at least it looks like that. One painting is actually a homesick Cuban on the beach of Lake Erie, Baldoni said. “Each painting has an incredible story.” And they are full of mythological images. While they are full of color and wit, they also have an emotional heft to them. The show will be displayed in the ground floor gallery with windows looking out at the Huntington Center. Paintings will also be on display at the Registry Bistro which is the gallery’s neighbor in the 110-year-old former hotel. This space is just part of what Baldoni and Jordan are leasing. They also have storage and an office on the ninth floor. They will also curate other spaces in the building including the sixth floor lobby outside the Toledo Opera offices. “We wanted to be in downtown,” Baldoni said. River House operates an art leasing program for corporate clients. They can find art, especially regional art, to decorate their walls. They sell both regional art and estate art from the 19th and 20th centuries. The Secor space offers more space for the art. “We wanted to be closer to our clients,” Baldoni said. This also brings them closer to many of…