Popular Culture

Record Store day is a hit at Finders

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News National Record Store Day has turned into a record-setting day for sales at Finders Records in downtown Bowling Green. “The last three or four years for Record Store Day have been record-setting days for us in the history of Finders,” said the shop’s founder and owner Greg Halamay. He was standing inside the door greeting people as he let them in. With 200-300 people waiting outside the downtown Bowling Green shop for the 10 a.m., opening he was controlling how many people were in so the store didn’t become too crowded. The most popular area was the crates of vinyl records. In its 10th year, Record Store Day was founded to celebrate the resilience of the local record store. Getting ready for the day is a lot of work, Halamay said. “But it’s a celebration of what we are, who we are, and where we’ve been down the path.” The beginning of Record Store Day coincided with the rediscovery of vinyl records, the music format of choice when Finders first opened its doors in 1971. “Vinyl is back,” Halamay said. “Vinyl has been embraced at Record Store Day with all the special editions that’ve come out and created a lot of enthusiasm for the record collectors.” Some of the earliest arrivals were from Columbus and Cincinnati, Halamay said. And collectors travel from Michigan to shop. Zachary Weymer drove up from Sidney with his best friend from childhood for Record Store Day. They’d previously gone to a store in Lima, but decided the extra miles were worth a trip to Bowling Green. “These guys have…

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BG revelers raise their glasses and voices in memory of Robert Burns

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News   All we needed Friday night was Robert Burns processing into Naslada Bistro with the haggis. After all, we had bagpipes, and plenty of tartan, including Bulgarian chef Boyko Mitov clad in a tam o’ shanter, sash and kilt of Royal Stewart. And he wasn’t the only one baring his manly gams. Later there would be poetry and song, and traditional Scottish dishes, and of course, many rounds of whisky. The occasion was a celebration of the birth of Robert Burns, and if the bard of Scotland and bawdy bon vivant was absent is body – being dead some 220 years is a good enough excuse– he was certainly there in spirit. This is the second annual Burns Night held at the downtown restaurant. Or, as host Elliot MacFarlane said, the second and a half. Another Burns night was held Thursday. Demand for the first in 2016 prompted Mitov and MacFarlane to present it two nights this year. Burn Night Dinners are a tradition dating back to shortly after the poet’s death. Now on the face of it, a night devoted to the poetry and song of a long dead personage, with interlude grandly titled “The Immortal Memory” may sound a bit staid. The event was nothing of the sort. Haunch to haunch with the poetry and sentimental ballads were bawdy jokes. A Burns Night Dinner, MacFarlane said, was a time for flatulence and rude talk about the English. After uttering his first “fuckin’” while telling a story, he advised the several dozen gathered that the word was Scottish for “jolly.” The dinner was…


Cornel West sings the praises of Dr. King at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Martin Luther King Jr. is no Santa Claus. Cornel West, an activist and philosopher, told his audience at Bowling Green State University Thursday night,  to resist efforts “to defang him,” to make King some lovable figure, a benign old man with a bag of toys on his back. “Don’t Santa-Clausify, my brother,” West said. “In a celebrity-scented culture, so obsessed with feeling comfortable … we just want to hear something that makes us feel good. If that’s the case you got the wrong Negro with Martin Luther King Jr. He wanted you to feel empowered, challenged, so you can straighten your back up.” As beloved as the civil rights leader is today, he was not in his time, West said. Right before his death, 72 percent of Americans disapproved of King, and that included 55 percent of African-Americans. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover considered him “the most dangerous man in American.” King was a “love warrior,” West said. “Justice is what love looks like in public.” He fought against systematic racism, and also opposed the Vietnam War and militarism. He believed “poverty was a form of tyranny.” The indifference to humanity that led to dropping bombs in Vietnam was tied to the indifference to the poor in this country, whether they are poor blacks in the inner city, or Latinos in barrios or impoverished white in Appalachia. “There’s a connection between militarism on one hand and the indifference to the plight of our poor brothers and sisters on the other,” he said. That lesson has not been learned. Not when the U.S. has launched…


BG dinner to toast poet Robert Burns

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Elliot MacFarlane of Bowling Green, found an unusual partner in his celebration of the birth of Scottish national poet Robert Burns, Bulgarian chef Boyko Mitov. For the second year, they are teaming up to present Robert Burns Night dinners , Thursday, Jan. 26, and Friday, Jan. 27, at 6 p.m. both nights at Naslada Bistro, 182 S, Main St., in Bowling Green. Dinners in honor of Burns, around the time of his Jan. 25 birthday, have been celebrated since the poet’s death in 1796, MacFarlane, a member of the St. Andrews Society said. He has been involved in organizing such events for decades in Toledo, Detroit, Frankenmuth and elsewhere. The closest to home was years back when there was one presented at Nazareth Hall. Now, he has to drive miles, to enjoy and help others enjoy this mid-winter festivity. Last year, after working with Mitov on a Scotch tasting dinner, they decided to present a Burns Night celebration. Held one night in January, 2016, the restaurant was packed and had dozens on the waiting list. This year, the Burns dinner will be presented twice. MacFarlane said he’s had people approach him to make sure there’s room. As of Thursday noon, Mitov said there were places for a few more. Each dinner accommodates about 40 people. Only the back part of the restaurant is used. The large tables up front are needed for staging. The event offers a full evening of entertainment, as well as a four-course meal of Scottish specialties. The festivities begin with the arrival of the traditional meat pudding, the haggis, accompanied…


The death of an advocate

By ELIZABETH ROBERTS-ZIBBEL I couldn’t stop weeping when Carrie Fisher died. Every new photo, tweet from one of her co-stars, or thoughtful personal statement from a Facebook friend would bring me to fresh tears.  My grief pounded through me like the migraine that followed, triggered by crying and strong emotion. I saw The Empire Strikes Back at a drive-in with my family when I was seven. I played Star Wars with my brother every day, Princess Leia to his Luke Skywalker. Of course I wanted to be Leia, wearing my hair in braids, brandishing her visage on tee shirts. In elementary school while anticipating the release of Return of the Jedi I had no idea how unusual it was for my favorite movies to have such a strong, fearless female character to emulate, more a warrior than a princess. Yes, she was beautiful, but in one of her very first scenes she stared unflinchingly right into Darth Vader’s helmeted face and informed him with steely eyes that he would regret holding her hostage. It would become clear that she was less afraid of him than any of her male counterparts were. Carrie Fisher was a warrior herself, and a multi-talented one with much more to offer than adorable hair buns, a blaster, and a metal bikini. But rather than continuing to be bitter about the role that defined her, she decided to embrace Princess Leia, much as she did the experience of growing up as Hollywood royalty. Then, in the downtime after the Star Wars movies had been (everyone thought) completed, her drug use increased and she found herself in…


David Jackson professes his love of polka every Sunday morning

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When I arrive in David Jackson’s office in Williams Hall on the Bowling Green State campus, he’s busy doing what he’s been doing so much of since the campaign started. He’s on the telephone talking to a reporter. In this instance, he responding to questions about Meryl Streep’s impassioned speech at the Golden Globes the night before. Jackson, who teaches political science, has become the go-to expert for the national media on the impact of celebrity endorsements in politics. He’s found they don’t matter much, and often hurt. Even after the election he’s still getting calls. That’s not what prompted this visit from BG Independent News, though. I want to talk polka. For almost six years, Jackson has hosted the Sunday Morning Polka Show 10a.m. to noon, on WXUT, 88.3, and available for streaming on Mixcloud at https://www.mixcloud.com/discover/sunday-morning-polka/. While the show includes all styles of polka as well as some related pop music, at its heart is the Polish-American polka that Jackson grew up listening to in southern Saginaw County, Michigan. His parents, especially his mother (maiden name Lazowski), listened to it. Every year it was the focal point of the festival hosted by the Catholic Church he attended. ”There wasn’t a period in my life that I didn’t listen to polka,” Jackson said. Sure, he admits, maybe for some time as a teenager, he looked down on the music as corny. Then he came to appreciate its variety and complexity. “It’s about more than drinking beer and dancing.” And he demonstrates that in the stream of consciousness show in which he decides on…


BGSU scholar Rebecca Kinney dissects the myth of Detroit’s death & resurrection

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Rebecca Kinney only realized she should write about her hometown of Detroit when she was living to the West Coast. Kinney grew up in Royal Oak, just north of the city, hugging Woodward Avenue. She remembers watching the fireworks explode over the Detroit River from the National Bank building downtown. She remembers how far the city seemed though it was just a 20-minute drive from her home. And she remembered being impressed by the change in architecture, the towering, imposing structures in the city compared to the single-family scale of the suburbs. Living in San Diego and San Francisco, she found everyone had something to say about the place where she grew up. Even if they’d never been to Detroit or even the Rust Belt, they knew, or thought they knew, something about the place. That made Kinney wondered: where did they get these ideas? Everyone knows this, she was told. What everyone knew was that Detroit had once been an industrial powerhouse, and then it fell into ruin. But now, it was on the rise. News magazines ran front page stories on its advertised rebirth. Photographers captured the city’s ruined beauty, depicting it as a new frontier. Chrysler celebrated it in Super Bowl ads. At the time her writing focused on Chinatowns in other cities, now her attention turned back home. “For me it was the first city I ever experienced,” Kinney said in an interview with BG Independent. “It’s a city I always compare other cities to, which is strange because until 10 years ago it wasn’t considered a city. It was…