Popular Culture

Owens exhibit casts light on teen years of celebrated NYC artist Basquiat

From CONTEMPORARY ART TOLEDO Contemporary Art Toledo and Owens Community College will present Zeitgeist: The Art Scene of Teenage Basquiat. This extraordinary exhibition focuses on the creative community Jean-Michel Basquiat helped galvanize in gritty, pre-AIDS, downtown New York—A time when decay and dissolution fueled a boom in creativity and where the definition of fame, success, and power was not based on money, Facebook likes, or self-promotion. Zeitgeist complements and amplifies the film by Sara Driver, BOOM FOR REAL The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat  released from Magnolia Pictures last May.  Driver teamed with culture critic Carlo McCormick and Mary-Ann Monforton associate publisher of BOMB Magazine, along with the New York gallery Howl! Happening to curate this expansive exhibition which features works and ephemera by Basquiat himself and more than 3o friends and contemporaries, including Nan Goldin, Kenny Scharf, Al Diaz, and Lee Quiñones. Zeitgiest runs from January 25 through March 22. A public reception for the exhibition will be held on Feb. 9 from 5-7 p.m. followed by a public screening of the film BOOM FOR REAL The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat.  Special guest for both the exhibition reception and the film will be curator Carlo McCormick.   Known today for his outsized role in the rise of Neo Expressionism and recent record breaking auction sales, the late Jean-Michel Basquiat was first recognized for his graffiti work in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In the emerging artistic circles there, the focus was not on creating content the established art market could readily digest and profit from, but on creating a community that stood in opposition –  fostering unfiltered, uninhibited expression. Basquiat’s work illuminated the contradictions of society – its opposing realities, inequalities, injustices – through a mix of disparate artistic traditions and unrefined, raw emotion fueled by the punk and hip-hop movements of the time. In only a few years, he went from supporting himself through panhandling and selling painted t shirts and postcards while homeless, to being one of the most celebrated artists in New York, bringing the street level politics of what was an underground counter-culture collective with him into the spotlight. Zeitgeist offers a unique opportunity to revisit the explosive, pre-fame period of Basquiat and his contemporaries. For these creators, to be a penniless published poet or a musician gigging at a local club was the height of success. In the rawness of the work, the focus on street art and graffiti, and the experimentation and cross-pollination of styles and disciplines, the era has become a flash point for younger generations seeking to learn about and understand the authenticity, closeness, and community expressed in the work of the artists in this truly unique exhibition. Featured artists and friends in both the film and exhibition include: Alexis Adler, Charlie Ahearn, Ted Barron, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Robert Carrithers, Henry Chalfant, Brett De Palma,  Al Diaz, Barbara Ess, Coleen Fitzgibbon, Fab 5 Freddy, Futura, Robert Goldman aka Bobby G, Godlis, Nan Goldin, Michael Holman, Becky Howland, Tessa Hughes-Freeland, Jim Jarmusch, Justen, Ladda, Ann Messner, Mary-Ann Monforton, James Nares, Glenn O’Brien, Franc Palaia, Lee Quiñones, Walter Robinson, Christy Rupp, Luc Sante, Kenny Scharf, Paul Tschinkel, Robin Winters, and Bob Gruen. Exhibition Dates: Friday, January 25 – Friday, March 22 Location: Terhune Gallery, Owens Community College Center for Fine and Performing Arts Address: 30335 Oregon Road, Perrysburg, Ohio 43551 Public Reception and Movie Screening: Saturday, February 9 ·      Reception – 5-7 p.m. ·      Movie Screening of BOOM FOR REAL The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat – 7 p.m. (run time 1 hour, 19 minutes) ·      Q&A with curator Carlo McCormick, following the movie Terhune Gallery Hours and Information: www.owens.edu/fpa/terhune

Polka runs in the veins of BGSU guest Alex Meixner

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Though Alex Meixner has degrees in jazz and classical trumpet performance from Ithaca College and Penn State, accordion is the instrument that’s closest to his heart and polka is the music he’s devoted to performing.  Meixner will visit Bowling Green State University Sunday, Dec. 9, for A Celebration of Polish-American Polka, from 5 to 9 p.m. in the Lenhart Grand Ballroom in Bowen-Thompson Student Union. Tickets are  $25 for dinner and music and $10 for BGSU students. The university libraries has what may be the largest collection of polka sheet music in the world, Meixner said. That’s thanks to BGSU grad Steve Harris who two years ago donated the library of the Vitak-Elsnic company to the library. Meixner is adding to the stash with a donation of his library. Meixner, who turns 42 the day before the BGSU event, can trace his ties to polka back three generations. His love of music started early. Growing up in the Austrian enclave of Copley, Pennsylvania, he was surrounded by ethnic sounds. His father, who was born in the US but taken care of by his grandparents, didn’t speak English until he was 5. The Austrians were just one of several ethnic groups from central and Eastern Europe to populate the area, and each had its particular twist on polka music. While Meixner was surrounded by music he was never pushed to play. Not that his parents could have stopped him. “I was never forced to do this,” he said in a recent telephone interview.  “I’d drum on anything, from the kitchen table or myself. I was just following in my father’s footsteps and my grandfather’s as well. It resonates with me,” he said. “I’ve been really blessed to have had the opportunity to study and perform in so many different contexts.  There’s just something about that 2/4 beat of the polka that created its own heartbeat for me.” At 3, he started piano lessons, before moving to accordion. By the time he was 6 he was on stage, and hasn’t left since. A track he recorded with his father was included on a Grammy-winning album. He collaborated with Jack Black on the soundtrack for the movie “The Polka King.”  Jan Lewan, the subject of that film, will be a guest Sunday at BGSU. To the extent Meixner made a name for himself, he said, it is for bringing a pop sensibility to polka by covering unlikely tunes by Lady Gaga and others. Still he is devoted to the tradition. The continuum is evident in the musicians he’ll perform with in Bowling Green.  They include guest vocalist Joe Oberaitis. Meixner’s father recorded with the singer.  “My dad came home from that taping in time for me to be born,” Meixner said. Jimmy Meyer,  on guitar and banjo, started off playing with Meixner’s father. “We come from the same vibe.” Like Meixner, Meyer is skilled in other styles. “He’s a killer rock and blues guitarist.” Meyer worked in industry, but kept up his music. He formed a company band that won top honors in a competition at the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Others in Meixner’s group bring firm grounding in other genres to the music — drummer Tom Haller has classical and jazz background, fiddler Paddy King is rooted in the Irish and Americana traditions — this is his first polka gig, and saxophonist Chris Heslop has written operas and charts for jazz orchestra as well as working in gypsy jazz. Meixner played with Frankie Yankovic late in the polka legend’s 70-year career. He saw first hand how…

Visitors see arts in action at annual BGSU showcase & sale

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Song and dance  and more spilled into the corridors, classrooms, corners and stages of the Fine Arts Center and the Wolfe Center for the Arts Saturday during the 14th ArtsX. The gala showcases the creativity of all the arts on campus. This year ArtsX invited special guests Verb Ballets, a Cleveland-based company. The company adopted the name Verb Ballets because it evoked action, said Richard Dickinson, associate artistic director. The company’s performances at ArtsX showed how fitting that name was. In the second of the Verb’s two performances Saturday evening, it blended humor and sensuality to the music of Mozart in K281. That sensuality was evident throughout, whether on the contemporary “Between the Machine” with a pulsating score that mixed jazz with industrial sounds, to the climatic setting of Ravel’s “Bolero,” where European and Indian classical dance moves blended with flamenco. Verb didn’t restrict its action to the stage. It also presented classes for community and university dance students earlier in the day and performed and worked with middle and high school students on Friday. Dickinson said the company particularly enjoyed the middle school, where a two-hour delay on a Friday meant the energy level was particularly high. The company’s performances Saturday had people buzzing in the halls of the Wolfe Center and Fine Arts Center as they perused the jewelry, ceramics, glass, prints, and more on sale.  Artists also demonstrated their techniques. Music suffused the event from traditional sounds from Beethoven to taiko drums to the experimental work of doctoral students. As usual there was far more going on than any one visitor could take in. While the crowd attending seemed smaller than in the past, the energy of the participants was still high.        

Guion Family loves to share its sweet holiday tradition

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Keith Guion’s family gathers at his mother’s house for the Thanksgiving dinner, the big meal will be a respite from the sweet toil that occupies them the rest of this week. More than a dozen members of the Guion family are continuing a candy making tradition that goes back four generations. The Guion family will be busy this week making up to 300 pounds of fudge, caramels, creams and toffees. Those will be packed in half-pound and pound boxes and shared with friends.  It’s a tradition that dates back to the Depression in Indiana when Guion’s grandmother and a friend decided they wanted to learn to make dipped chocolates, said Cassie Greenlee, Guion’s daughter. But the chocolates came out gray and streaky instead of smooth and glossy. So she approached a local candy maker to ask advice. Greenlee’s great-grandmother ended up getting a job as a window dipper, Greenlee said. She dipped chocolate in the shop’s window to lure people into the shop for a closer look. And because the family needed money, she and her husband started making chocolate, 300 pounds of it,  and sold it door to door, accompanied by their son, Guion’s father.  With the Depression passed, Greenlee said her great-grandmother said she’d had enough of the peddling.  “I never want to sell this again. I just want make it and give it away as gifts to friends.” That spirit of giving has continued for almost 90 years. Guion’s grandfather taught his wife the candy making craft, and they passed it along to their five children, including Keith. The Guions still love making candy, and still love sharing them. They’ll even teach others the craft. Earlier this month Guion and Greenlee presented a workshop on candy making at the Wood County Library. They set up shop the historic Carter House with Guion getting an early start making the fudge by boiling cocoa, sugar, corn syrup, and milk to bring it to 238 degrees.  Then he poured it onto a marble slap with a frame around it. Let it cool, but not too much, before using a putty knife he worked in butter then vanilla extract, and the secret ingredient, Sucrovert. He admitted that at this phase of the process, he always wonders: “Is this going to be an absolute disaster? I never now until it’s done.” He works it until the fudge is the right consistency until it can be rolled into strips and cut into bite-bite-size pieces that will be rolled further and dipped. During the family week of chocolate making this is when the grandkids get called into action to do the rolling and cutting. Greenlee said her aunt, though, is always on hand for quality control to make sure the pieces are the right size. The kids, Greenlee said, are usually excited and careful at first, but can start slacking as they get bored. Creating 300 pounds of candy takes a lot of labor. They once, just once, employed a midnight shift, with the younger generation cooking from midnight to 3 a.m. They do try to get enough done to be able to take Thanksgiving Day off to spend with the family matriarch. Even then they may have to get back to work in the evening once she’s retired for the night. They show up in Bowling Green with some work already done. Caramels and toffee are made before the family gathers from Columbus, upstate New York, Ypsilanti, Michigan, and Rhode Island. One aunt always shows up with new flavors to try. Greenlee said there are now…

Historical museum revisits panic-inducing ‘War of the Worlds’ broadcast

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Eighty years ago the world was on the brink of global war, and the American people were spooked by a fictional invasion. Tuesday, Oct. 30, marks the 80th anniversary of the first broadcast of “The War of the Worlds,” Orson Welles’ radio adaptation of the H. G. Wells’ novel. The Wood County Historical Center will celebrate the anniversary by presenting a recreation of the broadcast at 8 p.m. that night. Tickets are $10. The cast and crew of the show doesn’t expect to induce panic the way the original reportedly did. How many people back in 1938 actually took the broadcast to be actual news is subject of debate. Jane Milbrodt, who provides the music, isn’t surprised if some people did. “It sounds like it’s really happening.” Kent and Janet McClary at the request of Historical Center Director Kelli Kling assembled a cast of local thespians. This is the fourth time the couple has been involved in a recreation of the broadcast. “It’s nostalgic,” Janet McClary said. “It’s a piece of history. People like to see it performed.” She will join Jim Barnes, who also participated in those earlier productions, in providing the sound effects. And they have enlisted a real radio personality Clint Corpe, of the WBGU-FM’s “Morning Show,” for a central role. Others involved include Tom Milbrodt doing sound and actors Lane Hakel, Jeremy Kohler, and Jim Toth. The show will be taped for possible future broadcast. Together they will bring to life the story of Martians landing in Grover’s Mill, New Jersey, and then running roughshod toward New York. Welles staged the story as a series of news bulletins interrupting an evening of musical entertainment. The urgency of those bulletins gave the script a vivid sense of reality. “It’s really a super adaptation,” Tom Milbrodt said. The next day newspapers reported of cases of people in panic because they thought the invasion was real. Some, Janet McClary said, may have tuned in late, missing Welles’ introduction. Some even thought it was Germans, not Martians attacking. While the Martians never conquered the earth, the broadcast and its effects certainly captured the imaginations of many. Kling said the show is a perfect fit for the season and with the Leisure Time theme at the museum this past year. Radio has been a big part of it. It shows that entertainment can go awry, she said.  That’s not expected to be the case with this broadcast of “The War of the Worlds.”

Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Retro finds room to grow

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Kayla Minniear said she’s had her eye on the storefront at 127 S. Main in downtown Bowling Green for a while. The space wasn’t available when she and her husband, Jon, opened Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Retro two years ago. So they settled into the former Mills Jewelry store a half block south on the other side of the street.  Now the shop has moved into those more spacious quarters across the street. “We had just outgrown that space,” Jon Minniear said. “We didn’t have enough space to put stuff out. We loved the old space, but this is bigger.” Now, he said, he’s not tripping over everything. Opening the store was something the couple discussed before they were married.  Back when they were dating, Kayla Minniear said, they started collecting Nintendo games, and that expanded to other vintage items. Having a storefront to sell the surplus seemed a natural development. Rock ’Em Sock ’Em sells video games dating to the Atari era, pop culture themed  items, action figures, vintage toys,  and some manga merchandise. They not only sell, but they also buy these items. “We have a little something for everybody,” he said. The storefront has a large vestibule that now has arcade games. That large entryway was one of the storefront’s appeals, Kayla Minniear said. One of the shop’s back rooms will be equipped for arcade game competition. Another, Jon Minniear said, will be used to display art by the Black Sheep Shack. The company run by Caroline Lippert, Kayla Minniear’s mother, also did the signage for the shop. The shop is doing well, John Minniear said. Because of Bowling Green State University, every year brings a new group of customers. Some customers who’d just discovered the shop this fall, even helped the couple move. “We’ve made a lot of great friends, customers who come in regularly,” he said. A year after Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Retro opened, Cameron’s Comics also opened on Main Street. Then in spring, at the encouragement of the Minniears, Joe Busch opened The Stacked Deck gaming shop across the alley from their original storefront. Reflecting on these developments, Jon Minniear said: “We’re bringing nerd culture back.” 

Author Adam Alter warns about the dangers of being hooked on electronics

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Writer Adam Alter believes technology has an addictive power over people. He should know.  In his talk Monday at Bowling Green State University, Alter related his own experience with the game Flappy Bird. He was on a six-hour flight from Newark to Los Angeles. He had plans for all he would accomplish in that time. He started by playing the game. Six hours and a continent later, he was still playing the game. “I had lost all sense of the passage of time.” Alter was on campus because his book “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked,” was chosen as the campus’ Common Read. It raised, said Sheila Roberts, acting vice provost of academic affairs, themes that are familiar and  “frankly a little bit uncomfortable.” Speaking before a packed ballroom mostly of students, Alter described how people’s involvement with technology is increasingly taking over that part of our lives not devoted to work, sleep, and the other necessities of life. That free time “where all the magic happens.” Alter said he deleted Flappy Birds, and its developer Dong Nguyen, in a fit of conscience, even had the game pulled from app stores even though it was making $75,000 a day in advertising and sales. Alter doesn’t see Apple, Facebook, and the other tech giants as following suit. Though, he said, they seem aware of the dangers and are instituting some changes. Alter said he was prompted to write the book after reading a profile of Apple founder Steve Jobs in The New York Times. The reporter, Nick Bilton, commented to Jobs that his kids must love the iPad that had recently been released. Jobs replied they didn’t have one. “We limit how much technology our kids use at home.” In exploring further, Alter found that Jobs was not alone. His attitude about his children’s engagement with technology was typical of those in the tech industry. This is akin, Alter said to the belief among drug dealers: “Never get high on your own supply.” The author noted that many tech executives send their kids to the Waldorf School of the Peninsula where computers are only allowed after grade 8. Instead much of the learning happens outdoors. Alter wondered: “What were they so concerned about?” Young people, like the majority of those he was addressing, are more tied to technology. A study asked people would they rather have their phone fall and shatter into a 1,000 pieces or break a bone in their hand. About half the young people surveyed preferred to break the bone. Some asked if the injury would keep them from using their phone. The cell phone does, he said, enable us to connect with other people. “It’s a large part of our social well being.” And during the question period after the talk, one young man spoke about how he has friends who suffer from depression and extreme anxiety who call him for support. He feels he can never shut off his phone. But what we have now is not what we will have in 10 years, Alter said. “In 20 years we’ll laugh at Facebook.” Already younger users are fleeing the platform. On the horizon is virtual reality where everyone has a personal set of goggles, and a more powerful way to distance themselves from the real world. Alter, who teaches marketing and is affiliated with the psychology department at New York University, pointed to the four drives in human nature that tech companies tap into to make their products irresistible. The first is the…

Pop culture scholar recalls when comics were considered the scourge of the nation’s youth

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Banning books never seems to go out of style. To make that point, before Charles Coletta started his talk “The Seduction of the Innocent: The Anti-Comic Book Crusade of the 1950s and Beyond” he listed entertainments his students in Popular Culture classes have been forbidden to read or watch. Those include Harry Potter, “South Park,” “The Simpsons,” and  “Sponge Bob Squarepants,” a recent addition. Then he quizzed his audience in Jerome Library. “The A-Team” was a surprise, but “Family Guy” and “Bevis and Butthead” were staples of the do-not-watch list. Recently the reprinting of a classic comic story   “The Monster Society of Evil,” which hasn’t been reprinted in 30 years, was canceled because some of the characterization are racist, including depictions of Japanese from World War II and stereotypes of African-Americans that are “horrible,” Coletta said. And when just over a year ago the United Nations tried to name Wonder Woman as its fictional good will ambassador, there was an outcry over her skimpy outfits and that the superhero was not a good role model for women. Those complaints echo what was said about her 70 years ago. Because banning stuff never goes out of style, every year the Friends of University Libraries hosts an event to mark Banned Books Week.  Coletta’s focus on Thursday was on a crusade led by psychiatrist  Wertham against comics for all manner of offenses, particularly promoting violence. Superheroes, he said, was fascist role models who promote the idea that problems were solved with superior strength and violence. “I think Hitler was a beginner compared to the comic book industry,” he once stated.  Wertham also complained about unrealistic body images projected by female and male characters, racism, and embedded sexual messages. Wonder Woman, he claimed, was into bondage — a claim that proved not so outlandish when it learned that her creator William Moulton Marston was as well. But Wertham also said that her strength and independence, and hanging out with Amazons indicated she was a lesbian. And Batman and Robin’s relationship, he said, was “like a wish dream of two homosexuals living together.” He also said that comics were harming youngsters’ reading skills.   Wertham had a willing audience, Coletta said. The post-war era saw a rise in juvenile delinquency nothing major, the young folks were just getting into all kinds of mischief.  What they weren’t doing so much was reading comic books. From the 1930s through World War II, comic books were riding high. They got shipped to GIs overseas as diversion. They came in all genres romances, Westerns, cartoon characters, and, of course, superheroes with Superman coming first, followed shortly by Batman, as well as Wonder Woman. But as demand waned, publishers, most prominently EC Comics turned up the heat with horror and crime comics. Given the comic book was viewed as being aimed at juveniles this created panic. Wertham became a pioneering talking head addressing these concerns, and he testified before Congress. Bill Gaines, whose father had founded EC Comics, had a meltdown on the stand speaking for the industry. The hearings led the industry to adopt the Comics Code. Coletta noted that the panel that reviewed the comics was made up of women, and included a librarian, social worker, and movie script editor. They were on the watch not only for violence and sexuality, but also to make sure criminals were always punished and authority figures were always seen in the best light. They could success all manner of charges to the comic books they reviewed. If a comic book didn’t get its…

BGSU library will host talk on efforts to censor comics

From UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Charles Coletta will speak on Seduction of the Innocent: The Anti-Comic Books Crusade of the 1950s & Beyond Thursday, September 27, at  1 p.m. in Pallister Conference Room, Jerome Library This presentation highlights the backlash against comic books during the 1950s following the publication of Dr. Frederic Wertham’s book The Seduction of the Innocent: The Influence of Comic Books on Today’s Youth. The presentation includes a discussion of efforts to ban comics today. Wertham’s text fueled widespread fears that comic books were a leading cause of juvenile delinquency, sexual perversion, and rising crime rates. He even claimed heroes like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman were promoting immorality. His anti-comics crusade led to Congressional hearings, book burnings and the rise of the Comics Code Authority, an industry self-censorship board that lasted until the early 21st century.   About the presenter Dr. Charles Coletta is a lecturer in BGSU’s Department of Popular Culture, teaching a variety of courses related to comics and popular culture. He has served as a contributing writer to several academic texts on comics. In 2006, he assisted BGSU alumna Eva Marie Saint in preparation for her role as Martha Kent in Superman Returns. He is co-chair of the 2019 BGSU Batman Conference at BGSU.

Aretha Franklin’s spirit resonates throughout American culture

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2009, Aretha Franklin was there to sing “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.” The singer, who died Thursday of pancreatic cancer in her hometown of Detroit, had to be part of the celebration of the first African-American to become president. “She’s of a generation that knows a time when that seems like that would never come true, and it has come true,” said Angela Nelson who chairs the Ethnic Studies Department at Bowling Green State University. “She was there to sing and be part of this thing we thought would never happen and has happened.” Franklin was born in 1942, the same year as Nelson’s mother. Franklin had a bond with Obama. She could move him to sing as he did during a campaign stop in Detroit or move him to tears as she did during her version of “Natural Woman,” during the Kennedy Center Honors concert honoring the songwriter Carole King. Her music was so embedded in the culture, Nelson said, she’s not sure when she first heard her, probably on the radio. But what made an impression on Nelson was “Amazing Grace,” a 1972 album that returned Franklin to her gospel roots even including preaching by her father C.L. Franklin. Nelson remembers hearing this album growing up in the late 1960s and early 1970s in her maternal grandparents’ South Carolina home while her mother was in graduate school. These gospel roots, Nelson, whose first degree was in vocal performance, said, served the singer well throughout her career, as they did others with big voices who crossed over into the world of pop. “Singing is like breathing for them.” Few retained the link to gospel as much as Franklin did. “She maintained that connection.” Coming up in her father’s Detroit church, she started young. That was not unusual, said Nelson, who studies female gospel singers. If youngster showed ability that talent was put to use in the church. “God-gifted her so you use that gift.” “For people who grew up in the church, their training is almost unmatched,” Nelson said. “There are all these opportunities for immediate feedback. If you have a hallelujah going on or crying going on or hands lifted, you have feedback from the audience that you’re aligned with where they are, aligned with the spirit.” Franklin also learned about being involved in social justice issues from her father who was a confidante of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Franklin also made her talents available to the Civil Rights movement. “It took courage for her to be let her name be attached to social justice issues,” Nelson said. She offered to put up bail for activist Angela Davis. Many entertainers, Nelson said, tried to shy away from political statements before the 1970s, even when they were personally affected. It was a time, Nelson said, when Nat King Cole’s network variety show went off the air after a season because no company wanted to sponsor a show hosted by a black man for fear of the negative reaction of white southern viewers and some in the north as well. Detroit was itself the home of some of the greatest American music as well as the site of its most vicious race riots. Nelson said she didn’t not experience this prejudice first hand. She heard of it from her grandparents, uncle and mother. She became more aware after starting her graduate studies at BGSU. Franklin still remains important for her students as not just part of the history, but part of the musical and social continuum. Nelson…

Cousins team up to tell story of family life in the inner city

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Usually book signings don’t include blood pressure tests. Antrone “Juice” Williams, though, always includes the health screening at events he’s involved in. Since he almost died from a stroke while working out back in 2012 he’s been an advocate for stroke awareness. That was the focus of the first book he wrote with his cousin Damien Womack. “A Walking Testimony Stroke Survivor: My Second Chance” was about his recovery, an ongoing process, from his near-death experience. It was meant to be an inspiration and encouragement for others facing this situation, and a warning about the necessity of monitoring blood pressure and other health indicators. The former semi-professional and college basketball player has devoted his life to raising awareness of the dangers of strokes and helping youth. Now Williams and Womack have written a second book “The P.I.L.L.A.R.S.” Originally, Womack said, this was supposed to be part of the first book, the story of how Williams arrived at the gym in Augusta, Maine, where he was felled by a stroke. But the publisher decided, Womack said, it was better to keep the book focused on the inspirational story. “The P.I.L.L.A.R.S.” – that stands for The People I Love, Last and Remain Sacred” – reflects on the families that raised the cousins. While it’s told with love, “it’s more in your face,” Womack said. “It means you’re going to run the gamut of emotions.” The book takes the reader to the inner city streets of Chicago, where Williams grew up, and Detroit, where Womack grew until moving to rural Ohio to be with his father. Each had their strengths. Williams thrived on the neighborhood basketball courts playing street ball. Womack did his best in the classroom. Neither had an easy childhood, coming from working poor families in tough neighborhoods with gangs always off in the wings. Their families were loving, but many of them tried to salve the pains of life with alcohol leading to arguments and break-ups. And, Williams said, there was the shadow of chronic illness that no one wanted to talk about. Williams suffered from a sense of abandonment when his father left his mother, who then had to work long hours to support him. That left him in the care of his grandmother, and feeling his mother had abandoned him as well. Womack’s father had to follow his job to Cambridge, Ohio, when Champion Sparkplug closed its Detroit plant. His parents’ marriage didn’t survive the move, splitting the family. The story is raw, though not without its touches of humor and sentiment. Womack moved to Bowling Green in the late 1999 to attend Bowling Green State University on a full scholarship. Williams joined him in 2016 as he continued his recovery. They’ve been a team since working both on the books and running the Team HOW Foundation. “Having grown up together, it’s not a challenge to translate his vision into words,” Womack said. Given their schedules though finding tome to meet face-to-face is a challenge. They communicate as much they can through emails and other means. But Williams said that he suffers from aphasia as a result of the stroke. So it helps to work with his cousin who knows him so well. “He brings my words to life.” Copies of “The P.I.L.L.A.R.S.” are available at Grounds for Thought and also from Amazon both as print and in a Kindle version.        

Poetry in motion – Sandra Faulkner explores link between women & running

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Sandra Faulkner wanted to study women runners, she used poetry as well as footnotes. Earlier this year, Faulkner, a professor in the School of Media and Communication, published “Real Women Run: Running as Feminist Embodiment.” The book is deeply personal scholarship. Early on Faulkner traces her own history as a runner, starting when she was 11 years old, growing up in the suburbs of Atlanta. She ran so hard her nose started bleeding. She didn’t notice until she finished the race, and won third place. But she missed the awards ceremony because her mother couldn’t staunch the bleeding. Her life as a runner has been full of small triumphs, injuries, and frustrations – sometimes at the same time. Though Faulkner says she doesn’t race to place, she’s still competitive. After one race she saw that she was fourth in her age group, but she thought there were only four runners in that class. Only later didn’t she learn there were more than that. Her life as a runner is told in brief journal-like entries, and each is paired with a haiku. One reads: “Don’t call us a girl / don’t call us a girl jogger / fierce women running.” The personal stories are “in service critiquing, discovering, uncovering larger social patterns,” she said. They take us up to Sept. 3, 2016, when Faulkner is 44 and has a daughter of her own, who cheers on her mother and herself has started running. “She’s more of a sprinter,” Faulkner said. This was the right time for Faulkner, an ethnographer, to research women and running. She would never have done this as a dissertation. When she used interviews for her dissertation on Sex and Sexuality at Penn State, where she studied interpersonal communication, it was considered unconventional. But when “Real Women Run” was starting, Faulkner had tenure and was taking the next step of applying for promotion to full professor. She had already completed a much cited book on poetic inquiry, “Poetry as Method: Reporting Research through Verse.” “I’m convinced that this book wouldn’t have happened until that exact point.” BGSU, where she’s been on faculty for 11 years, was the place to do it. “BGSU has been a great place for me.,” Faulkner said. “I have felt very supported in my work. I think this is my best work. I feel very satisfied and pleased.” Last fall, she coordinated an international conference on poetic inquiry on campus. It was held in conjunction with the annual Winter Wheat writing conference. She’s collaborating with Abigail Cloud, of the creative writing faculty, on an anthology of poetry of a more political nature. “There’s things that poetry can do that other forms of writing can’t, especially since I was interested in the embodied experience of running,” Faulkner said. Embodied experience with no “false separation between mind and body” is a hot topic in feminist theory. “I think poetry can do that in a way prose cannot. … Poems are all about the line, all about the breath. When done well they can be an embodied experience.” She interviewed 41 women runners at races around the country asking them: what does it feel like when you take a good run? What does it mean to have a bad run? Why do they run? Faulkner speculated that women’s interest in running got a boost when Oprah Winfrey ran the Marine Corp Marathon in 1994. Now more women enter road races than men There are many reasons for that. Some run for health. Some for losing weight. Some for stress relief….

BG celebrates 4th with symphony of sights & sounds

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green marked the July 4th holiday Tuesday with its annual concert and fireworks display. The Bowling Green Area Community Band and BiG Band BG opened with a concert of patriotic favorites and show tunes. The finale was provided by the orchestrated blasts and bursts of the fireworks. The event, on the intramural fields on the Bowling Green State University campus, was presented by the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce.          

Rossford presents Chautauqua’s ‘Modern Legends’

From ROSSFORD CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU If history was your favorite subject in school, or even if it wasn’t, you will be amazed and delighted when history comes to life before your very eyes in Rossford June 19-23rd.  Northwest Ohio is very fortunate to have Ohio Humanities in Columbus select Rossford as one of its four cities for the Ohio Chautauqua 2018 tour.  The theme for 2018 is “Modern Legends” featuring characters of note including politician and lawyer – Robert F. Kennedy, humorist and author – Erma Bombeck, labor leader and civil rights activist – Cesar Chavez, American writer, activist and feminist Betty Friedan and the first African-American general officer in the US Air Force – Benjamin O. Davis. Chautauqua includes daytime programs with visiting performing scholars as well as a Family Day on Saturday. Two local figures are involved in this year’s program. Robert Kennedy is being portrayed by Jeremy Meier, theater professor at Owens Community College. Baldemar Velasquez, president of the Toledo-based Farm Labor Organizing Committee, will give a presentation on Wednesday, June 20, at 4 p..m,  at the Rossford Library. He will speak about his work with Cesar Chavez an his own ground-breaking work on behalf of migrant workers.  Velásquez received the Bannerman Fellowships for helping organize people for racial, social, economic and environmental justice, was named a MacArthur Fellow (known as the “Genius Grant”), and received Mexico’s Aquila Azteca Award, the highest award Mexico can give a non-citizen.  The living history presentation of Cesar Chavez will be that evening, June 20th at 7 p.m. at Veterans Park. The El Corazon de Mexico Ballet Folklorico will perform at 6 pm. that evening. Building on the 19th-century tradition established on the shores of New York’s Chautauqua Lake, Ohio Chautauqua is a five-day community event that combines living history performances, music, education, and audience participation into a one-of-a-kind cultural event the entire community will enjoy. Each evening, family, friends and visitors gather as live music fills the air in Veterans Park at the Marina, 300 Hannum Avenue with convenient parking and buses from Eagle Point School. Then, a talented performer appears on stage, bringing a historic figure to life through personal stories and historic detail.  With its warm, nostalgic vibe, this truly unique experience is sure to open minds and start conversations. A daily schedule can be found online at www.VisitRossfordOhio.com or www.OhioHumanities.org. Sponsors of Ohio Chautauqua 2018 in Rossford, Ohio include Ohio Humanities, the Rossford Convention & Visitors Bureau, TARTA, NAI Harmon Group, NSG Group/Pilkington, The Blade, La Prensa, The Sojourner’s Truth, Welch Publishing, Meijer Rossford, Camping World, the City of Rossford and the Rossford Library. Food vendors including Country Lane BBQ and Marco’s Pizza nightly from 5-9 PM and Snowie Summers Shaved Ice and Roe’s Lemonade on Friday and Saturday.   Evening Performances Rossford Veteran’s Memorial Park and Marina 300 Hannum Ave Rossford, OH 43460 Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Live local music at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 19 Susan Marie Frontczak as Erma Bombeck Music by Tim Concannon Wednesday, June 20 Fred Blanco as Cesar Chavez Music by El Corazon de Mexico Ballet Folklorico Thursday, June 21 Dr. Sally Ann Drucker as Betty Friedan Music by Muddy Friday, June 22 Dr. J. Holmes Armstead as Benjamin O. Davis Jr. Music by Carmen Miller Saturday, June 23 Jeremy Meier as Robert F. Kennedy Music by Dan Cadaret Daytime Programs for Adults Engage in real conversations about real issues at scholar-led programs. Rossford Library 720 Dixie Hwy Rossford, OH 43460 Tuesday, June 19 2:00 p.m. America Emerges as a World Power 1940 -1970 with Dr. J. Holmes Armstead (Benjamin O. Davis Jr.) 4:00 p.m. Zoot Suit Riots with Fred Blanco (Cesar Chavez) Wednesday, June 20…