Popular Culture

Paul Simon mixes new work with fan favorites in Toledo Zoo concert

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent Media The dilemma of Paul Simon came to the fore in one brief moment at Sunday night’s concert at the Toledo Zoo. He’d just performed “Stranger to Stranger” the title track from his latest album. That was new, he said, now I’ll play something old. A female voice exclaimed from the audience: “Oh, yeah!” Simon knows that most of those who packed the Zoo Amphitheatre were there to hear the hits, especially those dating back to his Simon and Garfunkel days. That was evident from the rapturous greeting those numbers received. But Simon has never stopped growing as a songwriter and musician in the almost half century since the duo broke up. Each album – and that really starts with “Bridge Over Troubled Waters,” the last Simon and Garfunkel studio effort that is a bridge into Simon’s solo career – has been a sonic experiment, first in the textures of the sounds of the American soul – rock, jazz, gospel, rockabilly – and later extending to South African, Brazil, and electronics. He’s grown into the most sophisticated American pop songwriter, whose evocative lyrics float over complex, multi-rhythmic grooves. Encapsulating such multidimensional body of work into a single concert is daunting. Simon and his wildly talented band of musical wizards managed it easily. Like his albums, the zoo show had a unified sound that captured the textures of Simon’s various musical phases. He opened with a blast – “Boy in the Bubble” from 1986’s “Graceland.” “A bomb in a baby carriage shattering a shop window,” he sang, a line sadly still current. The “Graceland” album was…

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“Activism from Where You Are” theme of BGSU Women’s History Month events

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS “Activism from Where You Are” is the theme of the keynote event in this year’s Women’s History Month celebrations at Bowling Green State University. New York poet and political activist Staceyann Chin will conduct a workshop on the topic Saturday, March 18 , from 5-8 p.m. Chin, an “out” poet and Jamaican national, has starred in the Tony Award-nominated “Def Poetry Jam on Broadway,” has performed in “Voices of a People’s History of the United States,” in one-woman shows off-Broadway and at the Nuyorican Poets’ Café. The workshop, geared toward students, she will share her own story about how a girl “born into denial and contempt can grow up resilient, sane and full of purpose.” The workshop will include a gathering of participants’ family narratives and how those unique narratives can inform their activism. Pre-registration for the workshop is required. Email the Women’s Center at womencenter@bgsu.edu. The overarching theme of the month’s events is “Get in Formation: Women of Color and Contemporary Activism.” Sponsored by the Women’s Center and the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, there are activities for people of all ages. Below is a sampling of what’s happening. The annual “Toss the Tiara,” an alternative dress-up day for boys and girls, takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday (March 4) in the Lenhart Grand Ballroom at the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. Also on March 18, the National Council of Negro Women Empowerment Conference will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. Pre-registration is also required for this event. Faculty members from BGSU and…


Kehinde Wiley’s portraits bring people from the street to museum walls

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Kehinde Wiley found his direction as a painter on a street in Harlem. He’d recently finished his graduate studies in art at Yale and had enrolled the Studio Museum of Harlem’s art residency program in 2001. At Yale he painted black males with extravagant hair styles. Thursday in a talk at the Toledo Museum of Art, he said that had completed his study “at the feet of the fathers,” and was in a crisis as to where to go next. There at his feet he found a piece of paper. A rap sheet. On it was the young man’s mug shot. Wiley said at that instant he thought: “This is a really cool portrait. I know that’s kind of screwed up. If you’re thinking like I think which is to use your life to tell a story about the world you live in, finding this piece of paper tells a story about the world we live in.” He turned the mug shot into a portrait, and that painting is now hanging in the Toledo Museum of Art’s exhibit Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic. The major retrospective of the Brooklyn-based artist’s career is now on exhibit through May 14. In the 15 years since finding that mugshot Wiley has achieved “super star status,” said Brian Kennedy, director of the Toledo Museum. That was evident by the standing-room-only crowd that gathered in the Peristyle on Thursday to hear the artist’s talk on his work. Wiley has achieved fame by both celebrating and challenging the notions of Western art. He has highlighted the lack of black bodies…


BGSU Arts Events through Feb. 21

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Feb. 9—The Elsewhere Season begins with “The Winter Barrel,” written and directed by film faculty member Dr. Eileen Cherry-Chandler. The staged reading will begin at 8 p.m. in the Marjorie Conrad M.D. Choral Room, located in the Wolfe Center for the Arts. Free Feb. 11—The David D. Dubois Piano Festival and Competition features guest artist Chu-Fang Huang. Winner of a 2011 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Huang debuted as a finalist in the 2005 Van Cliburn Piano Competition and as First Prize Winner of the Cleveland Piano Competition that same year. In 2006, she won a place on the Young Concert Artist roster. Her performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall located in the Moore Musical Arts Center. Tickets are $7 call 419-372-8171  or online at http://www.bgsu.edu/the-arts.html. Feb. 12—The David D. Dubois Piano Festival and Competition will start at 9 a.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. The annual event supports student pianists by providing scholarships for high school students to attend BGSU, encouraging undergraduate students to develop innovative programming ideas for outreach projects and supporting current piano students to participate in music festivals around the world. Free Feb. 14—Music at the Manor House features BGSU violin students. The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Manor House in Wildwood Metropark, 5100 W. Central Ave., in Toledo. Free Feb. 14—Tuesdays at the Gish continue with the 1968 film “Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One,” directed by William Greaves. This film on the making of a film involves three camera crews capturing the process and personalities (director, actors, crew, bystanders) involved….


Museum’s WWI exhibit puts visitors in the trenches

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A century ago, American doughboys were being sent overseas to fight in World War I. Wood County farm boys, many who had never been outside the county, were shipped over to battle in the trenches. To commemorate the county’s involvement in WWI, the Wood County Historical Center has dedicated its entire museum space this year to the “War to End All Wars.” The exhibits look at the war overseas, the local boys who served their nation, and the families they left behind here in Wood County. Many of the items on display have been loaned to the museum by local families, whose ancestors served. Others have come from American Legion posts in the county. “We are very, very grateful,” said Holly Hartlerode, curator at the historical center. “We are here to share story.” Many of the legion posts throughout the nation are dwindling in memberships but are teeming with historical artifacts of past members. “This is important,” Hartlerode said. “We can become a depository for their memories.” The WWI exhibit is the first time that the entire museum has been devoted to one period in history. The self-guided tours start with an explanation of how WWI started. Because the war seems almost like ancient history to some younger visitors, the exhibit includes some interactive portions to keep the attention of guests. One of the first rooms on the tour offers a game with maps, portraits of world leaders and questions about who are allies and who are enemies. “The average person was affected by the actions of these fellows,” Hartlerode said pointing…


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…