Arts and Entertainment

Nick Zoulek’s music for saxophone alone has the sound of togetherness

DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Nick Zoulek’s music for solo saxophone involves working with many people. The saxophonist-composer builds his work on collaborations with dancers, artists and filmmakers. From those collaborations grew the music that will appear on his first CD, “Rushing Past Willow.’ The recording of his original compositions for solo saxophone will be released on the Innova label later this summer. Videos of some of the pieces can be seen on While the recording will be music only, Zoulek, a student in the Doctor in Musical Arts in Contemporary Music program at Bowling Green State University, wanted to capture the passion that led to the creative process. The videos juxtapose the sound of Zoulek’s saxophones, alto, tenor, and the elephantine bass, with images of light sculpture by Erwin Redl, animation by John Simmons, who works under the name Simsies, and dancers. “The music came first,” Zoulek said in a recent interview.  “But it was inspired through so many visual memories, so many collaborations and improvisations, I wanted to capture those moments.” The compositions all grew from the practice of improvising that has been a central part of Zoulek’s playing dating back to his lessons in high school. He remembers that toward the end of his lesson his teacher would pick up his saxophone or sit at the piano and just say “here we go.” “I didn’t realize that was unusual,” Zoulek said. “I was very fortunate to have had teachers who were well versed in free improvisation and at the same time the classical and jazz traditions.” As a student of jazz, he learned “bebop change running” and transcribed solos by jazz masters, and played jazz gigs throughout his undergraduate studies. Zoulek, 28, grew up in Menomonee Falls near Milwaukee. His family was not musical. His father worked in the family heating and plumbing business and was assistant fire chief, and his mother worked in health care. “Just a hard working family,” he said. “That’s something I’ve always admired.” His brother, Tim, is an artist and one of his collaborators. Zoulek was exposed to the avant garde fringes…

Library offers adult summer reading programs & more

From WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY Reading contributes to a limber mind, so Summer Reading Programs aren’t just for kids at Wood County District Public Library in Bowling Green. A Summer Reading Program for Adults, “Exercise Your Mind: Read!” has begun and will continue through July 29. Participation is easy—simply report books read this summer either online at or by completing an entry form available at the library. Sponsors of the program include the Friends of the Library, Bowling Green Parks and Recreation, and Wendy’s. The library also has more activities for adults in store in the upcoming week: Monday, June 6 Monday Mysteries book group meets at 7pm at the Carter House (directly behind the library) to discuss Blackout by Connie Willis. The group is led by Mary Callahan Boone and Doris Ann Norris. Thursday, June 9 “BG’s Got Talent” starts at 6:30 pm in the Atrium. Enjoy an evening of family-friendly performances featuring Bowling Green’s brightest stars. Saturday, June 11 WCDPL IT assistant Nick Sluka offers an Introduction to Computers in the library’s TechLab starting at 10 am. Ideal for beginners, this class covers the basics of operating systems, parts of the computer—including important buttons and ports, and understanding basic applications. Due to space limitations, registration is required. To register, call 419-352-5050. While some programs may require registering in advance due to space limitation, all library events are free. For more information contact the Adult Services department at 419-352-5050.

Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa’s “Human Landscape” to be displayed outside & inside of Toledo Museum of Art

From TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART Works by one of Spain’s most celebrated contemporary artists will stretch across the Toledo Museum of Art’s galleries and grounds when “Jaume Plensa: Human Landscape” opens June 17. The major exhibition, which continues through Nov. 6, spotlights Plensa’s sculptures, drawings, paintings and installations that explore the human body in relation to landscape and language. Northwest Ohio is the final destination of this traveling show organized by the Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art in Nashville, Tennessee, in partnership with the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. It’s also the last chance to see so many of these outstanding works in one place – in this case in the Museum’s Levis Galleries indoors and outside on the 36-acre campus. “Jaume is one of the most important contemporary sculptors working today,” said Amy Gilman, Toledo Museum of Art associate director and curator of contemporary art. “He is a poet. He is very thoughtful about language, and he’s choosing to express that in this visual way. You leave his work having had a moment of reflection and thoughtfulness that is a hard thing to come by in the very data-driven and internet-connected world that we live in.” Six large-scale sculptures and sculpture groups by Jaume Plensa (pronounced zhow-muh plens-sah) are positioned in various locations on the Museum’s campus while a selection of works on paper, including 18 drawings and 6 etchings, are on display in the Levis Galleries along with large-scale installations that hang on the walls and ceiling. “The addition of Plensa’s sculptures to surroundings that are familiar will give our visitors an opportunity to experience the campus in a new way. And, given the immediate popularity of Plensa’s “Spiegel” when it was added to our collection, we believe the works themselves will really resonate with visitors,” Gilman said. Visitors familiar with Spiegel, which was acquired by the Museum four years ago for the Welles Sculpture Garden, will instantly recognize Plensa’s singular style in Human Landscape. “See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil” (2010) shows three human figures demonstrating the parable. But the bodies in…

Beautiful Kids’ “Midsummer Night’s Dream” is theater worth celebrating

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Summer’s here. School’s out. Couples are marrying. It’s a season for celebration. Beautiful Kids Independent Shakespeare adds to the festivities with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” marking its 20th season. Director Abbey Casino noted in her introduction that the company is just a bit younger than she is. Like irises, Beautiful Kids blossoms in June to present a Shakespeare play for all to enjoy, free of charge, in the open air – if the weather cooperates. The play will be staged tonight (Wednesday), Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. on the Needle Hall stage in Bowling Green’s City Park. (Moved inside in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.) The comedy is the perfect selection for the anniversary show. Weddings play a central part with all the suitable complications, and the play is, in its way, a tribute to theater. Those rude mechanicals, played with gusto by Jalesa Earby, Pat Mahood, Nathaniel Smith and Zachary Taylor Robb as Bottom, are the forbearers of community theater, though not certainly at its finest. And the mischievous sprite Puck (Dee BonAnno) manipulates humans – “What fools these mortals be,” she exclaims – and enjoys the drama as it unfolds, even bringing some popcorn to munch as lovers quarrel. All this makes for a lively, and very funny, production. Trimmed down to run two hours including intermission, the play has comic punch and narrative directness. Using an 11-member cast, Casino makes good use of double casting. Rachel Hetrick plays both the mortal queen Hippolyta and the queen of the fairies, Titania while Michael Portteus plays both Theseus, the king of Athens, and Oberon, the king of the other world. It’s a duality that works well. The otherworldly roles are the bigger and broader. Hetrick’s Titania is every bit able to stand up to Portteus’ blustering Oberon. So much so that he must rely on Puck to turn the trick that turns the plot. BonAnno energizes every scene she’s in. Her Puck is full of cunning and mischievous energy. Yes, she’s cowed by Oberon’s fury, but it doesn’t deter her from enjoying…

City Park to come alive with sound of music

Information from BG PARKS & RECREATION Bowling Green Parks and Recreation will present six shows in its Concerts in the Park series, starting on June 12. All concerts are Sunday nights at 7 on the Needle Hall stage in City Park. Scheduled to perform are: June 12, The Bowling Green Area Community Band. June 19, The Joe Baker Band, playing standards, rock, blues and country standards. June 26, Kerry Patrick Clark and Band, playing folk and original songs. July 10, The Jeff Tucker Band, originals and rock classics. July 17, Swingmania, swing and big band sounds. July 24, The Pride of Toledo Chorus and Voices of Harmony, barbershop singing.

Big Kids bring Bard’s beautiful works to BG stage

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Shakespeare’s plays and actual play collide when Beautiful Kids Independent Shakespeare Company brings the Bard’s works into Bowling Green’s City Park. Since 1997, the Beautiful Kids have localized Shakespeare’s observation that “all the world’s a stage,” and paraded Shakespeare’s panoply of characters across the Needle Hall stage. All within laughing and shouting distance of the swings, slides and picnic table. All within a wooded glade that can stand for parapets of a Danish castle, a battlefield at Agincourt, the Forest of Arden, or the wilds of Prospero’s island. The productions began in 1997 when a group of Bowling Green State University theater students decided to stage “As You Like It” at Needle Hall, and every year since students, graduates and the friends have returned to stage a Shakespeare play, sometimes two. The troupe marks its 20th year with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” this week Wednesday, June 1, Thursday, June 2, and Friday, June 3,  at 7 p.m. The tradition has passed down from student to student with little formal structure. Tyler Ward, who was active with the troupe for five years starting in 2005, said because the plays are not done with the constraints of school or work, they have an element of freedom to them. “Beautiful Kids gave me the opportunity to explore Shakespeare on my terms,” he said. “We were doing it for the love of it. We were doing it because we wanted to do some freakin’ Shakespeare.” With the semester over, and the cast hanging on in town for a few weeks, “it became really celebratory. It became like a month-long party.” Ryan Albrecht, who is producing this year’s show, said that in the last few years, student participation has dropped off. That’s probably because the theater fraternity Theta Phi is no longer active, and that served as an important conduit for Beautiful Kids. The troupe, he said, is trying to revive the link with theater students in order to keep the troupe going. Regardless of who’s on stage, the spirit remains. This is Shakespeare on the fly with thrift-store…

BGSU’s Jonathan Chambers honored for theatrical explorations

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News For Jonathan Chambers, theater is a venture into the unknown. “I’m interested in directing shows I don’t understand,” he said. “I see the creative endeavor of working on a show or writing an essay as the same. … It’s about my coming to a new understanding.” Chambers has taught at Bowling Green State University for 15 years, directing a show a year. They’ve ranged from “Quiet in the Land,” an intense drama about the Amish in World War I, to the giddy musical satire “Urinetown.” So when he started his most recent production “Middletown” in November, it was important for him to take the time to discuss the ideas embedded in the script with his young cast. Chambers doesn’t see a divide between the lecture hall and the stage. “I never found those two endeavors as separate,” he said in a recent interview. “I look for opportunities to spread that point of view to my students. … To me those two endeavors are more linked than separate. The idea of being a scholar artist is one I’ve tried to embrace in my career and, in turn, pass on to my students.” This mix of scholarship, teaching, and mentorship has been recognized by the American Theatre and Drama Society which has awarded Chambers its Betty Jean Jones Award. The award honors Chambers work over the span of a career. Chambers taught at St. Lawrence University in northern New York before coming to BGSU. He moved around when he was young as his father, a Church of Christ minister, moved from church to church. He sent his early years in western Pennsylvania, just outside of Pittsburgh.  He still considers that home. But when he was a teenager his family was “all over the place” – Denver, Spokane, and Lexington, Tennessee. “I was somewhat involved in theater in high school, not deeply involved,” he said. Chambers attended Milligan College in Tennessee, where he majored in English with a minor in voice performance. In 1987 as a senior, he decided to audition for “Children of a Lesser God.”…

Julie’s Dance Studio’s Star-Style benefit show to raise funds for Wood County Historical Society

The Wood County Historical Society is honored to partner with Julie’s Dance Studio as the recipient of their annual Star-Style Benefit Show on Saturday June 4 at the BG Schools Performing Arts Center, 530 W. Poe Rd. Dancers will perform 7:00 – 8:00 pm and admission is donation only with 100% of the proceeds benefiting the WCHS Accessibility Project. “Join Us at the Top of the Stairs” is a fundraising campaign and construction project aiming to add an elevator and other accessibility amenities to the Historical Museum (formerly Wood County Infirmary), which was abandoned as the county home in the 1970s due in part to the structure’s limitations for those with physical disabilities. This project ensures that all members of our community will have access to one of Wood County’s most treasured landmarks. Photos, accessibility project updates, and donation information can be found at, or call 419-352-0967.  For more information about Julie’s Dance Studio visit

Black Swamp Players will stage four shows in 2016-2017

Submitted by BLACK SWAMP PLAYERS The Black Swamp Players have announced their productions for the 2016-2017 season. On tap are: * “Sylvia” by A.R. Gurney presented at a venue to be determined from Sept. 16-18 and 23-25.  Directed by first time director, Wayne Weber. * “Vanya and Sasha and Masha and Spike” by Christopher Durang. One weekend only at the Clazel, November 3, 4, and 5.  Directed by Deb Weiser. * “Crazy for You,” Gershwin tunes with a Ken Ludwig book.  Feb. 17-19 and 24-26. at  First United Methodist Church and directed by Inge Klopping. * “Dixie Swim Club” by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, Jamie Wooten at First United Methodist on April 28-30 and May 5-7 and directed by another first time BSP director, Paul Soska.

New music lovers to stage gathering at BGSU next spring

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University will host a new music lovefest a year from now. On Thursday, the New Music Gathering announced it would hold its 2017 event on the BGSU campus, May 11-13. The gathering is expected to attract as many as 500 new music lovers, said Kurt Doles, the director of the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music, which is housed in the College of Musical Arts. Among the performances, talks, panel discussions, will be speed dating for performers and composers. The event is described on the website as “an annual three-day conference dedicated to the performance, production, promotion, support and creation of new concert music.” The gathering “aims to be both a conference in the traditional sense but also quite literally a collective place for things to grow, improve, solidify and above all get personal.” Doles attended the first New Music Gathering two years ago hosted by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. “I decided within the first 12 hours I was there that we had to do it . … I doggedly pursued it.” First he needed to secure cooperation from officials at the College of Musical Arts, and then show  the organizers that Bowling Green, set among the farm fields of Northwest Ohio, could handle being host. “It took a little bit of convincing on my part,” Doles said. The first two gatherings were held in San Francisco and Baltimore, and organizers were “leaning toward” putting them in another urban center, Doles said. But he was able to assure them that BGSU had the facilities, and he had the experience from the university’s own New Music Festival held each October, to handle the event. “That we were able to secure this says something about Bowling Green as a new music center,” he said. BGSU will handle all the logistics for the event, while the gathering’s team will handle all the programming. The featured guest artist will be percussionist, conductor and author Steven Schick. He is music director of the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus and artistic director of the San Francisco…

BG Arts Council seeks Air for Art in the Park

Submitted by BG ARTS COUNCIL The Bowling Green Arts Council and Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department will host Art in the Park on the grounds of Simpson Garden Park, 1291 Conneaut Avenue, on Friday, June 10, from 4:30-7:30 p.m.  Artists of all ages are invited to bring their easels and art supplies to the park to paint in the gardens for this event. Artists can register to participate by sending an email to  Artists may not bring additional work and no sales can be made on Park premises, however they are encouraged to bring business cards to distribute. In addition to the artists at work, Art in the Park will feature both indoor and outdoor hands-on arts activities for children. Adults will have a chance to work with stained glass artist Gail Christofferson. There will also be local musicians, music by students of the BGSU College of Musical Arts and performances by the Black Swamp Players and Horizon Youth Theatre.  Some light refreshments will be provided.    

Trombonist John Gruber featured soloist for community band’s salute to veterans, May 26

From KAREN SMITH Bowling Green Area Community Band A Memorial Day Salute to America’s Finest is the season finale for the Bowling Green Area Community Band’s ninth season. Set in the style of a “Boston Pops” concert, with seating at tables complete with refreshments, the evening promises a great variety of patriotic, pop and traditional band music. The Thursday, May 26, 7:30 pm Americana salute also will feature the talents of two hometown musical success stories. John Gruber, BGHS Class of 2006, is the featured trombone soloist. The son of John and Sue Gruber, John started playing trombone in the fifth grade at Kenwood Elementary. During high school, John earned many musical honors, including the OMEA All-State Concert Band, The Toledo Youth Orchestra and was a drum major at BGHS. In 2010, he earned a BME from Bowling Green State University and subsequently taught public school music. John received his M.M. in Trombone Performance from the University of Michigan (2015) and is continuing his studies there as a doctoral student. In addition, he is active as a performer, educator and clinician, including holding the Principal Trombone chair of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra. John teaches low brass at Siena Heights University, is the assistant director of the Trombone Ensemble at University of Michigan and has a private teaching studio in Southeast Michigan. For the BGACB performance, John will be featured in the Norman Leyden Concerto for Trombones, joined by two of his former trombone teachers, Dan Saygers of the Tower Brass Quintet and Dr. William Mathis, interim dean of the College of Musical Arts, BGSU. A tour de force for three performers, the Concerto has classical, jazz and cinematic influences. It’s very fitting for the Concert Band to include this masterwork on the patriotic program, as the late Mr. Leyden was a WWII veteran, served as an Army Air Corps musician and was a contemporary of the famous Glenn Miller. Among the patriotic selections chosen by director, Thomas R. Headley, the Concert Band is performing The Battle Cry For Freedom, Sousa’s The Stars and Stripes Forever March and The Armed Forces…

Library wants to showcase BG’s talent

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Since the Wood County Public Library opened in 2003 its atrium up to a variety of entertainment. With the purchase and installation of a Steinway grand piano in 2006, the library became a regular venue for performers, from around the corner and around the world. “We have a lot of concerts and recitals, and people a lot of time people will ask how they can perform,” said reference librarian Kristin Wetzel. “All these people would like to perform, so why not have an adult talent show just to showcase different acts in town that maybe people don’t always get to see?” So BG’s Got Talent was born. The show – not a contest, “just pure fun” – will be held June 9 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the atrium. Acts have until June 3 at 6 p.m. to sign. The show is open to pretty much any kind of act that can move on and off stage quickly. Acts will have as long as 15 minutes to perform. Wetzel said these could be singers, poetry reading, clean stand-up comedy, anything suitable for all audiences. “It’d be great to have a few piano pieces mixed in,” she said. So far, three acts have already expressed interest. Two are singers accompanying themselves on guitar, and the third is a group of teenagers who are writing their own song. “There’s room for more,” Wetzel said. Registration forms are available at the library or on the library’s website: For information email or call 419-352-5050.    

Prizes awarded to BGHS senior show artists

Submitted by BGHS Art Department Monday the awards for the Senior Art Show now on display at Four Corners Center in downtown BG were announced. In announcing the awards, art teacher Nicole Myers said: “To be in Senior Studio, students need to have great work ethic, great creativity, be independently motivated and take art all four years. “Student artists complete teacher driven prompts while trying new materials and solving problems that may arise. Each student is responsible for exhibiting their best work from the four years in the Senior Studio Show.” The show is in its 19th year and includes the work 26 seniors, the most ever in Senior Studio history. Participating in the show were: Savannah Artiaga, Hannah Brose, Brittney Bushman, Ashley Cochrane, Rebecca Elsasser, Conner Erdody, Kurt Greiger, Angie Hoffsis, Lydia Kalmar, Maeve Kennedy, Alexandra Knoell, Michael Koldan, Miranda Lentz, Keller Martin, Sydney Mason, Zach McCurdy, Alex Noble, Drew Peterson, Lilly Rakas, Tony Reisberg, Adam Schroeder, Katy Slaughterbeck, Micah Smith, Morgan Smith, Allison Swanka and Rowan Wicks. Awards for a total of $1,000 were sponsored by businesses, organizations and individuals. Award winners were: • PTO Purchase Award, Miranda Lentz, “Another Brick in the Wall,” a pen and ink drawing. • 2-D purchase award courtesy of Black Swamp Arts Festival, Micah Smith for “Cinnamon Teal,” colored pencil drawing. Matt Reger selected this piece for its incredible detail and overall display. Reger selected a second piece as well, Sydney Mason’s “Aquarelle,” acrylic painting. He was drawn to the bright colors and said it is just fun to look at. Copies of Sydney and Micah’s pieces will be displayed on the second floor of the high school. • 2-D purchase award courtesy of Black Swamp Arts Festival, Adam Schroeder for “Pierre the Pigeon,” clay. • Principal’s Award sponsored by Mr. Jeff Dever, which goes to a student with high work ethic, Lilly Rakas. • Outstanding Technical Merit Award sponsored by Ben and Jen Waddington of Waddington Jewelers, Brittney Bushman, “3 Shades of Blue” necklace, an enameled piece made by melting glass on individual pennies and then attaching each with jump rings….

Fred Tomaselli’s art takes flight at Toledo Museum

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Fred Tomaselli was a young painter, he felt the weight of history. What more could he contribute to the grand tradition of painting? Instead he looked around and saw new media emerging, installations and video art. So he did a seascape, not with oils, but with foam cups tethered to wood and set in motion by a breeze from a fan. Tomaselli, 59, said he turned the flotsam and jetsam that normally float on the water into the water itself. He turned something that holds liquid into the liquid itself. Tomaselli plays tricks with perception. He brings together conceptual art with representational art. He pleases the eye and tweaks the brain. As he related in his Master Series lecture Thursday at the Toledo Museum of Art, his artistic journey led to a return to painting and intricate representations of birds. Those images, part painting, part collage, are made up of smaller images. Scott Boberg, the museum’s manager of programs and audience engagement, noted in his introduction, in one Tomaselli painting the viewer discovers “a bird beak that’s literally dozens of bird beaks.” Those paintings are on view in the museum in “Keep Looking: Fred Tomaselli’s Birds,” continuing through Aug. 7. The exhibit and the talk coincide with what’s considered the biggest week in birding as flocks migrate, stopping on the shores of Lake Erie before continuing their journey north. Tomaselli apologized at first, explaining the talk would not be all about birds. Rather he explained how his imagination took flight starting as a child in Orange County, living near Disneyland. What he saw in the sky was Tinkerbell. He was influenced by “that friction between reality and the construction of reality.” Tomaselli experienced the battles between the various schools of art. “I liked it all,” he said. “It all seemed to have some validity to me. … I was a kid. I didn’t have any skin in the game.” The son of an Italian immigrant, Tomaselli left California in the 1980s to resettle in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. He was interested in…