Popular Culture

The Stacked Deck offers gaming fans a new place to gather in downtown BG

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Joe Busch was in high school, playing Dungeons and Dragons had a “Cheetos in the basement” stigma attached to it, so he and his friends used the school chess as a cover. Now role playing games and the card game Magic are more popular and accepted. Busch is out in the open with his love for the games as the new owner of The Stacked Deck, a gaming shop in downtown Bowling Green. Busch said he first got into gaming in junior high. Like many others in his generation Pokémon served as the gateway game. He and his friends heard about Magic the Gathering, which was more complex with deeper back story, so they started playing that. Busch said he loved writing and telling stories, so in high school, he started his own Dungeon and Dragons campaign, conducted under the cover of the chess club, and continued through his college years. The New Jersey native, Busch attended Rowan University where he studied journalism. Summers he’d come home and muster his friends and resume the campaign. That’s the appeal of role playing games in the world of fast paced video play. Video games may have good stories, he said, but those tales are created by someone else. “Dungeons and Dragons moves with you,” he said. “It’s writing a story but with a group of five people all contributing. You can do whatever you want. You’re just having fun telling the story together.” Whether engaged in role playing, another board game, or a Magic, the social aspect of people gathering for fun and camaraderie is part of the attraction. From the beginning Busch knew he wanted to do more than sell games and cards, but wanted to have a place where people could play uninhibited without the questioning looks of people wondering what they were doing rolling those strange dice and talking about fireballs. “It’s not like you’re an outsider…

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BGSU professor Nancy Spencer was on the line at Battle of the Sexes

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Nancy Spencer was offered the chance to be a line judge at the tennis match dubbed the Battle of the Sexes, she at first demurred. Now a professor at Bowling Green State University, she was a 24-year-old at Corpus Christi, Texas, when former men’s tennis champion Bobby Riggs challenged women’s champion Billie Jean King to a match. But a few months earlier Riggs, as much as showman as an athlete, had defeated Margaret Court. Spencer said she was so “devastated” by that outcome “I had told myself I wouldn’t watch the next match.” Technically she wouldn’t be watching the match, the official said, she’d be watching the lines. He sweetened the deal by offering her a couple complementary tickets for friends and a pass that would allow her to tour the Astro Dome, then “the eighth wonder of the world,” where the match was being held. So on Sept. 20, 1973, she was at the center line making calls for a match that made history. She was one of three women officiating the match. In the wake of the release of the major motion picture “Battle of the Sexes,” starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell, Spencer will give a talk on her experience at the match Monday, Oct. 16, at 7 p.m. in room 111 in Olscamp Hall on the BGSU campus. The match, Spencer said, was big news. Making the four-hour drive from Corpus Christi she stopped to get gas, and the attendant asked her out of the blue who she thought would win the match. Few people followed tennis at the time. The event drew the largest crowd to watch a tennis match, 30,472. The crowd was packed with celebrities including sports figures such as Jim Brown and George Foreman and Hollywood stars such as Lee Major and Farrah Fawcett. To warm up the crowd and the line judges, the main event was preceded by a…


BGSU Arts Events through Oct. 24

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING  & COMMUNICATIONS Oct. 11 – The Faculty Artist Series presents BGSU tuba/euphonium instructor David Saltzman. An active soloist and chamber musician, Saltzman was the winner of the 1996 Colonial Euphonium Tuba Quartet’s Tuba Solo Competition in Albany, New York. Since then, he has performed solo recitals at many regional and international festivals, and he has most recently been part of a consortium of tuba players commissioning a new concerto for tuba by Samuel Adler, currently slated to premiere in October 2018. Salzman’s performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Oct. 12 – The Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble will perform as part of a small ensemble with guest artist Matthew Murchison. Murchison is known as a varied performer, composer, arranger, educator, conductor and producer. He was a member of the River City Brass in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from 2002-15, and was the principal solo euphonium for the last nine of those years. Since then, Murchison has performed solo and chamber music concerts across the U.S. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Oct. 13 – The BGSU Concert Band will perform as part of Homecoming festivities. The band will perform traditional repertoire and new compositions by the world’s leading composers, conducted by Dr. Bruce Moss. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of Moore Musical Arts Center. Tickets in advance are $3 for students and $7 for adults and available at bgsu.edu/arts or by calling 419-372-8171. Oct. 15 – The Sunday Matinee Series presents “Bedroom, Parlor and Bath” (1931, U.S.A., 85 minutes, directed by Edward Sedwick, with Buster Keaton, Charlotte Greenwood and Reginald Denny), with an introduction by film historian Dr. Jan Wahl. It very well may be that Buster Keaton’s greatest achievements lay in the silent era when he was allowed to control the making of each film. Yet his was a genius that could not be entirely diminished, even by the bosses at MGM. Keaton…


New WBGU-TV show captures sound, atmosphere of Howard’s Club H

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Dive is a moniker that Howard’s Club H wears proudly. While owners Steve Feehan and Tony Zmarzly have made a number of cosmetic improvements to the Bowling Green establishment, the essential gritty rock ‘n’ roll essence of the place remains. Joe Goodman, of WBGU-TV, recognized that spirit as soon as he came in. The graffiti, the concrete floors and the smell of well-aged beer, he said, “reminded me of all the places I loved in New York City that I was missing. … It’s where real rock is born. This is where people cut their teeth.” So the television producer started thinking about how he could share this place viewers. Working with bands and the owners, he brought in a crew to film. The result is “Live at Howard’s.” As the posters declare “the dive comes alive on WBGU-TV” on Thursday, Oct. 12 at 11 p.m., and in that time slot every week for the next nine. The shows will then be rebroadcast early Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 3 a.m. The show’s premiere will be celebrated with a party at the club where the first episode will be shown. Goodman said the aim is for “Live at Howard’s” to be “a little manic, energetic” in keeping with the vibe of the gritty club. The aim is to feature up-and-coming bands both local and regional with a mix true to the club’s usual lineups. The first show features Howard’s regulars Tree No Leaves. The band headlined a show last December, when the first taping was done. Technical difficulties marred some of the taping. When Feehan heard about it, he came in to make sure that wasn’t repeated. He wanted to show to fly. He’s impressed with Goodman’s work on the project. “This guy really has a vision for it.” The episodes were all produced locally by the WBGU-TV staff and Bowling Green State University students. Goodman said “Live at Howard’s”…


Rockin’ prof explores ways pop music has been trashed over the decades

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Popular Culture Professor Matthew Donahue took listeners on a trip through the hit parade Thursday at Jerome Library on the Bowling Green State University campus. His hot tracks weren’t just there because they were popular, but because they were also unpopular with authorities, pastors, parents, politicians, and even white supremacists. Donahue’s presentation, “Popular Music Controversies and Banned Popular Music: The Ascent from Low Culture to High Culture,” in the Pallister Conference room was held in conjunction with Banned Books Week and to celebrate Jerome Library’s 50th anniversary. Donahue’s trip down memory lane began at the dawn of the previous century when blues was labeled devil’s music, as was its close cousin, jazz. Maybe concerns about those styles provoking illicit coupling was warranted, since they gave birth, with some country added to the gene pool, to rock ‘n’ roll. The emergence of rock ‘n’ roll opened a chasm between America’s teenagers and their parents and others. Drawing on YouTube videos, Donahue showed one Rev. Jimmy Snow declaring that young people were marching on the road to hell to the beat of rock ‘n’ roll. More sinister condemnation came from a member of the Alabama White Citizens Council, who said the music was intended to bring white children “down” to the level of African-Americans. And the sartorial style inspired by the music drew the ire of middle school administrators in a clip about the dangers of tight skirts, snug fitting sweaters, unbuttoned shirts, “dungarees,” and leather jackets. With the advent of television, the music – though critics often didn’t consider music at all – “brought rock ‘n’ roll into people’s living rooms.” That meant they witnessed the gyrations of Elvis’ pelvis. Even the title of a song could get it banned as was the case with guitarist Link Wray’s “Rumble.” And all this led to the Beatles. Donahue played clips showing the reaction to the band’s Cleveland show where 14,000 teenagers, mostly…


BGSU library hosts presentation on banned music

Submitted by MATTHEW DONAHUE In recognition of Banned Books Week, Bowling Green State University’s Jerome Library will present “Popular Music Controversies and Banned Popular Music: The Ascent from Low Culture to High Culture” by Dr. Matthew Donahue, of the Department of Popular Culture, Thursday, Sept. 28 at 1 p.m. in the Pallister Conference Room. The free presentation will highlight some of the controversies surrounding rock and roll music and various subgenres from the 1950s to the present. In addition to examining some of the controversies surrounding rock and roll and its many subgenres, this presentation will also examine how certain popular music styles have gone from being labeled as “low culture” and being banned or controversial, to being celebrated and embraced by so called “high culture” institutions such as museums and universities. There will also be a brief musical performance by Dr. Matthew Donahue (guitar) and BGSU alumni Craig Dickman  (drums) and Tyler Burg (bass). Dr. Matthew Donahue is a lecturer in the Department of Popular Culture at Bowling Green State University, teaching a variety of courses related to popular music and popular culture. In addition he is a recognized musician, artist, filmmaker and writer, his academic and creative pursuits can be viewed at www.md1210.com .  


Dancing the night away at Toledo Museum’s Block Party

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Toledo Museum of Art’s annual Block Party takes place throughout the museum’s campus. And for the fourth party held Saturday night, even the lawns and terrace didn’t seem like they were quite big enough as thousands of neighbors, coming from as close a few blocks away or neighboring communities, jammed the museum grounds for a night of entertainment, food, beverages, and camaraderie. The air throbbed with the sounds of hip hop, electronica and funk. Two dance groups performed, including the Hellenic Dancers. The troupe’s performance was tied to the opening in the museum’s Canaday Gallery of the major exhibit “The Berlin Painter and His World.” The show showcases dozens of vases painted in 5th Century B.C. in Athens, Greece. Considered the finest representations of their time, the vases come from museums around the world.  During a glass demonstration tiny replicas of those vases were being created. Greek food was also among the cuisines available from the food trucks arrayed along Monroe Street. The evening also featured The Dancers of Aha! Indian Dancers and Birds Eye View Circus. Despite the international flare, all the performers come from Toledo, a nod to the area’s cultural richness. The multi-ethnic throng ranged in age from babes in arms and hard-to-corral toddlers to elders, who for whatever their infirmities, still could move to the music. As closing approached, people were still dancing to the throbbing beats delivered by DJ Folk. In the middle of it all, Alexander Calder’s sculpture “Stegosaurus” presided, poised it seemed to snap its moorings and join the dance.