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 doing something like that here,” he said. The appeal is broad. “You can have anybody play with anybody.” Fathers bring in their kids to get their first starter deck of Magic cards. He had a man in his 70s stop by. He’d seen YouTube videos about Magic, and was thinking about taking the game up. When Busch went to the bank to set up his business account, the banker was excited because he played Magic. He introduced him to one of his co-workers who was also a fan of the game. This is the kind of place Busch missed when he first moved to town about four years ago to take an editing job. When the owner of that company cashed out, he took a job in the frame shop at Ben Franklin. He liked the job, but felt he was in a rut. Busch, 28, admired what his friends Jon and Kayla Minniear were doing with their shop Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Retro, and thought he’d like to do something similar. Then they told him a spot was open on the alley across from their store’s back door. Busch did some research into the gaming shops that have come and gone in town. Given the number of stores in Toledo, he was surprised none existed in Bowling Green, He discovered they didn’t close because of lack of business, but because of other extenuating circumstances. So he decided to take the plunge. He ordered new merchandise to sell, but that wasn’t enough to fill up what was essentially a large closet. Through Jon Minniear he heard about a guy who owned some storage sheds. One…


Bravo! is a love fest for Eva Marie Saint & the arts at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Eva Marie Saint’s Falcon spirit does has its limits. President Rodney Rogers found this out before he left for Bravo! BGSU on Saturday. Saint, the Oscar-winning actress and 1946 graduate of Bowling Green State University, was staying in the president’s house with her son and daughter, during their visit back to campus. The visit was capped off by her receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from the university. (Click for related  story.) Standing at the podium to deliver the award, Rogers said he’d started to leave the house wearing an orange bowtie. “Lose the orange tie,” Saint told him. “Black is classic.” When Eva Marie Saint tells you to do something, he said, you do it. So the president of BGSU appeared at Bravo! BGSU with nary a patch of orange. The awarding of the Lifetime honor to someone Rogers called “our most celebrated” graduate, capped off an evening celebrating the arts are BGSU. Bravo! BGSU now in its fourth year raises money for scholarships for arts students. This year 340 tickets at $125 were sold, more than last year when $75,000 was raised, according to Lisa Mattiace, the president’s chief of staff. Another $9,000 came in  from the silent auction. Students who benefited from those scholarships were evident throughout the night. Performances and art demonstrations were staged through the Wolfe Center for the Arts. Students screened their films and read their poetry. They sang musical theater tunes and art songs. A jazz group jammed and the Combustible Ensemble improvised music for dancers. One of those Bravo! Scholars, Kimberly Tumblin, was painting in a hallway.  She appreciated the scholarship. “It just helps out my family a lot.” She also saw it as “a validation” of her work. Tumblin, who is from Coshocton, came to BGSU on the recommendation of her high school art teacher, who is a graduate of the university. Tumblin intended to study digital arts, but really loved painting. She was intimidated by the medium’s long tradition, especially given she was interested in more traditional styles. But at BGSU she got the encouragement she needed, and switched to painting, studying with Brandon Briggs. The figure painting she was working on was inspired by the art of the Italian Baroque. This was the first time she’d worked in such a public setting, and was surprised how much work she was getting done. In another hallway one of her fellow Bravo! Scholars, Emily Avaritt painting a figure in a more contemporary style.  She came to BGSU from the Toledo School for the Arts, which is sponsored by the university. Given that relationship and her familiarity with BGSU, the Toledo resident felt this was her best option for college. Christine Hansen was standing nearby admiring Avaritt’s art. “I’m watching this picture come to life in a matter of minutes.” Hansen came to Bowling Green six months ago from Wayne State in Detroit to become assistant vice president for major giving. “Everywhere I stop, I’m struck,” she said. “You can’t imagine what you see. The passion and talent not only that the students have but the faculty who are teaching them.” She said she wishes her stepson, who is an artist with Disney, was here to see the work. Hansen said before coming to BGSU she was unaware of the quality of its arts programs. “This is a secret.” As someone involved in raising funds for BGSU she was glad to have the university sharing that secret with donors. Dick and Annette Sipp, of Perrysburg, were attending Bravo! for the first time. He consults with the College of Health…


Nemeth to leave historical museum for new challenge

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Five years ago, Dana Nemeth came home to the Wood County Historical Museum – the former county infirmary that she frequently visited as a child. As director of the museum, she was at the helm as the site was transformed into an ADA accessible facility – no simple feat for the rambling building more than a century old. And she led the staff as they created a World War I exhibit that filled the sprawling site and drew the largest crowds ever at the museum. But now, Nemeth is leaving for another challenge – also one close to her heart. On April 2, she will move into the new position of reference archivist at the Bowling Green State University popular culture library. “It’s bittersweet,” Nemeth said about her departure from the museum and arrival at the library. “I love the museum and what I do there,” she said. “I grew up going to that museum. It’s had a special place in my heart – always has, always will.” Nemeth’s dad, Dorsey Sergent served as the pharmacist for residents at the county infirmary, then later volunteered his time to turn the closed site into a county historical museum. “I remember as a little girl going over there with my sister,” Nemeth said of the historical center which is about a quarter-mile from her childhood home. But Nemeth also has history with her new home at BGSU. She graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Master of Arts in Popular Culture, and previously served as a library associate at BGSU’s Jerome Library’s Center for Archival Collections. As a student, she worked in the pop culture library. Her new position is in administration, and will entail supervising student employees and helping with research requests. BGSU was looking for someone with a library science degree and popular culture expertise. “It just seemed like a really good fit for me,” Nemeth said. “It seemed like the right thing to do.” She previously worked at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, N.Y.; the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich.; and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. During her years as director at the county historical museum, the overarching goal was to make the site more accessible. With the help of state funding, support from the county commissioners, and volunteer fundraising efforts, the museum was transformed and now has an elevator so people of all abilities can see all the exhibits. “Accessibility is the thing I’m most proud of,” Nemeth said. “That was something we wanted for 40-plus years.” The museum also took a big chance by switching from its traditional exhibits, and turning the entire building into an examination of World War I and Wood County’s role in the war. “I’m really proud of all the staff has accomplished,” Nemeth said. As director, Nemeth said she benefitted from the support of the county commissioners. “I really enjoyed working for the county.” And she appreciated working with the museum’s board of trustees. “I made a lot of lifelong friends.” The move to BGSU is also bittersweet now that the heavy-duty work making the museum accessible is done. The new director will be able to build on that – and Nemeth is looking forward to seeing how the museum grows. “It’s hard to walk away from it,” she said. “But I leave it in good hands.”  


“All Hands on Deck” brings a sense of purpose to its celebration of WWII generation

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Jody Madaras, the song and dance man from Pemberville, created the musical “The All Hands on Deck Show” as a celebration of the World War II generation. The show brings together more than 40 hits from the era, tied together by a plot about a USO troupe. The show has found a home in Branson, Missouri, when it is not touring the country. As the members of that generation pass from the scene though, Madaras said he’s finding fans from an unexpected cohort. “We’re seeing a lot of Vietnam veterans,” he said. “The whole show is about unity. The Vietnam veterans I’ve spoken to and gotten to know have a yearning for unity.” The country was not a unified when they were sent to war, he said. Now they see this show about their parents’ generation as providing a sense of what they miss and long for. “All Hands on Deck” will return to the Valentine Theatre in Toledo Sunday, March 4, for a 2 p.m. matinee. Click here for tickets. https://www.etix.com/ticket/p/7156800/all-hands-on-deck-toledo-valentine-theatre “In six years I’ve personally learned a lot about our country just meeting these people,” said Madaras.  “One of thing I’ve learned that I didn’t know early on is that in 1942 every American had a purpose. Every citizen had a purpose. Every citizen felt like they could contribute to the country. “That could be the key to our future,” he said. It’s something his generation – he just turned 47 – could learn from and emulate. “That idea of every American having a purpose, I don’t think we have that kind of mindset.” That comes through in the songs, he said, especially the Rosie the Riveter. The famous image of the bicep flexing worker flashes on the screen. “These are women with a purpose; that’s powerful.” Madaras hopes the show, which he co-created, “in some small way” reminds people of the need for unity and a sense of “contributing to something greater than our own specific interests.” That may be a lesson for some of the show’s younger listeners. He said he’s seeing young families attend with their children. The parents want the kids to know these songs, and hear them performed live with a real orchestra. The show continues to evolve, Madaras said. He’s added another level of media. Photos are projected as a back drop behind the songs. So a photo of James Cagney pops up as the cast sings “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” There’s even an image of a Maxwell House coffee can as they sing the company’s jingle. “They howl at that,” Madaras said. The images add historical context and a sense of the times, he said. A new service theme has been added to the score. When the cast was doing a teaser set, an older man approached Madaras and said he’d seen the show. He liked it, but noted in the section when all the military themes are performed, the Merchant Marine was left out. The Merchant Marine played a key role in the war effort, ferrying supplies and troops, across the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, the veteran mariner told him. Madaras said he had looked and could not find the Merchant Marine theme. Not long afterward he had a communication from a lawyer, and enclosed was a copy of the song “Heave Ho!” written by Jack Lawrence. Madaras reduced the orchestration for a 27-piece orchestra for his nine-piece swing band, and the Merchant Marine is now represented. The biggest change for the show is a switch in Branson venues. As of this year, the show…


Vintage Valentines celebrate the sweet & sour sides of the holiday

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Most of the origin stories about Valentine’s Day are not true. There really is no link to any one of the five Valentines who share Feb. 14 as their saint days. And the connection to the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia seems tenuous at best. That celebration involved sacrificing dogs and goats, and whipping young women and crops with whips made of the goat’ hides to ensure fertility in the coming year. The more modern belief that Valentine’s Day is a “Hallmark holiday,” cooked up by the card company to boost sales is also not true – people were exchanging Valentine’s Day greetings for more than a century before the company was founded in 1910. “Most of what we know is probably wrong,” said Steve Ammidown, manuscripts and outreach archivist for the Browne Popular Culture Library at Bowling Green State University. Ammidown visited the Wood County District Public Library to share a selection of vintage Valentine’s Day cards. The first reference to St. Valentine’s Day being associated with lovers comes in Geoffrey Chaucer’s 14th century poem “Parlement of Foules (The Parliament of Fowls).” By the 16th century the tradition of exchanging romantic notes on Valentine’s Day took hold, especially in England and Germany. Exchanging cards began early in the Victorian Era. True to the times, Ammidown said, “complicated and fragile” was the way to go. It was a female entrepreneur, Esther Howland, who founded the first Valentine card manufacturer in America in the 1840s. The Worcester, Massachusetts, businesswoman had a staff to create her line of cards, which “were very ornate, very overwrought.” Ammidown showed a Howland card from the archive’s collection with its intricate patterns and fine, lace-like cut paper. It was meant to display, and its excellent condition indicates it was treasured. The Valentine card business proved attractive enough that competitors sprang up. The most prominent, George Whitney, eventually purchased Howland’s business. “He became the biggest name in Valentine’s cards,” Ammidown said. The business flourished at the turn of the 20th century as the post office became more reliable and postcards became more popular, the archivist said. Though they may have flowery, sentimental sayings on them, sometimes what was written on the back was more pedestrian. The inscription on the front of one declared: “My heart’s a posy blooming for you.” On the back is written: “Your boss said you have to come to work on Monday. He told me this morning. Your mother.” In the 1920s, students started exchanging cards in school. That gave rise to simpler cards with more age appropriate messages. Ammidown said that the library’s collection has grown through donations. Many of the cards come from the Armitage family. While the library may be willing to look at collections, Valentine or other, he said, “we’re not really interested taking huge mounds” of them. The nature of cards changed with the times. There were vinegar Valentines, he said. They were a reaction to the “sickly sweet sentiments” of traditional cards. One has a woman declaring “I dream of you every night” on the front. Inside it reads: “Wot nightmares!” In the 1970s, the cards grew racier. Ammidown showed a pair. One depicted a devil declaring: “We’ll have a hot time.” Another pictures a monster: “You bring out the beast in me.” The cards were given by a young child barely old enough to sign them to grandma and grandpa. In the 1980s, trademarked characters such as the Ninja Turtles and Strawberry Patch Kids made their appearance, and continue to dominate the kid market. Cards have migrated to the internet…


Americans squeeze in leisure time between WWI & WWII

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Americans were ready for a break after World War I. Unaware of the impending Great Depression and then World War II, Americans were ready for leisure when their boys came home from “the war to end all wars.” They were ready to have some fun. During the decade after WWI, the first Miss America Pageant was held, the Little Orphan Annie comic strip came out, Kraft created a new version of Velveeta cheese, and the first loaf of pre-sliced bread was sold as “Sliced Kleen Maid Bread.” Life was good. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade started using giant balloons, 7-Up was invented, and George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue was played at Carnegie Hall. This era of leisure is the focus of a new exhibit opening today at the Wood County Historical Center. The exhibit celebrates the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI with “The Return to Normalcy: A Life of Leisure in Wood County, 1920 to 1939.” The exhibit will run concurrently with the museum’s look at Wood County’s role in WWI. The WWI exhibit opened in 2017 to honor the 100th anniversary of the United States entering World War I, and both exhibits will remain on display until Dec. 1. The new exhibit was inspired by Warren G. Harding’s 1920 presidential campaign platform “The Return to Normalcy.” Visitors are welcomed to the exhibit by a recording of Harding reading his famous speech that was credited for helping him win the presidency. Holly Hartlerode, museum curator, is hoping visitors can relate to the images and sounds of those years. Old radios play hits from that era, like “Minnie the Moocher” by Cab Callaway, “Shim, Sham Shimmy” by the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra,” and “Red Lips, Kiss My Blues Away.” Radios became the family entertainment center in that era, playing programs like the “Jack Benny Show,” the “Lone Ranger,” and “The Shadow” featuring Orson Welles. Those programs kept families glued to the radio listening for the next adventure. The radio programs playing at the museum exhibit include those type of shows, plus a Wheaties cereal jingle and a baseball game between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers. “There’s no television yet, so people are still reading,” Hartlerode said. But for the first time, radios united families for home entertainment. “They brought stories into the living room. This was an event in somebody’s home.” The museum exhibit is linked with a timeline stretching around one room, and features signs in each area reminiscent of the old red Burma Shave road signs. Companies were offering vacations for the first time, and car payments could be spread over years. “That allows for more leisure time,” Hartlerode said. The leisure exhibit focuses on the game of bridge, which was all the rage for a while. Americans had time to play croquet, drink beer and ride bicycles – as shown in old black and white photos – many of them taken in Wood County, Hartlerode said. The “driving culture” also began and for the first time, people could travel on their own. “Now that you have a car, you have the ability to go beyond where you live,” she said. Old maps line the walls, showing the growth of the roadway systems in Ohio. “Driving changes how people spend so much of their time,” Hartlerode said. The early years of the “driving culture” created the “roadside picnic culture,” since few restaurants were located along roadways. Black and white photos at the exhibit show people relaxing at the old Vollmar’s Park near Grand Rapids. Wool bathing suits…


Toledo Museum exhibit puts mummies in a new light

From TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART The Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) is once more displaying the two Egyptian mummies that launched the Museum’s early collection and have fascinated visitors for more than a century. The exhibition explores how TMA acquired Young Priest (ca. 800 BCE, Third Intermediate Period) and Old Man (ca. 100 CE, Roman Period), their historical significance in the Museum and the phenomenon of Egyptomania – Western civilization’s interest and obsession with ancient Egypt during the 19th- and 20th-centuries. The Mummies: From Egypt to Toledo is a rare opportunity to see the mummies, alongside other ancient Egyptian artifacts, and is on view exclusively at TMA from Feb. 3 through May 6. “We want to offer the public an opportunity to consider the various questions that arise today regarding the collecting that occurred in Egypt over 100 years ago, and what these objects mean in today’s context,” said Brian Kennedy, the museum’s Edward Drummond and Florence Scott Libbey Director, President and CEO . The exhibition is co-curated by Adam Levine, deputy director, and Mike Deetsch, the Emma Leah Bippus director of education and engagement. The exhibition is organized into three thematic sections: the rise of Egyptomania beginning with Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in the late 18th-century; ancient Egyptian religion and the afterlife; and burial practice, human remains and the humanization of an ancient civilization. The exhibition places the mummies in historical context by including additional Egyptian objects and artifacts from the TMA collection as well as loans from other institutions and private collections. Memorabilia from the Libbeys’ travels to Egypt will be on display along with examples of Egyptomania portraying ancient Egypt in film, art and advertising. Related programming includes a Saturday matinee film series titled “He Went for a Little Walk: Mummies in the Movies” which runs Feb. 17 through May 5. The films all begin at 2 p.m. in the Little Theater. Tickets are free for members and $5 for nonmembers (discounts available with ticket bundles). From March 8 through 10, guests can participate in the “Mummies by Moo-Light” Flashlight Tours. Tours begin at 9 p.m. on Thursday andFriday and 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, with a pre-reception taking place in the Green Room one hour prior to the tours. Tickets are $15 for members and $20 for nonmembers. Two exhibition-related Master’s Series will be held in the spring. On Thursday, March 29, Bob Brier (a.k.a. Mr. Mummy) will lead a discussion titled “Egyptomania: Our Three Thousand Year Obsession with the Land of the Pharaohs” in the Peristyle at 6 p.m. AIA-Toledo Society and TMA will co-host an appearance by Dr. Salima Ikram on Thursday, April 19. Her lecture, “May They Live Forever: Ancient Egyptian Mummies,” will begin at 6 p.m. in the Peristyle. Both events are free and open to the public. The Masters Series is sponsored in part by the TMA Ambassadors. For additional information about the exhibition’s related programming or to reserve tickets for the film series or flashlight tours, visittoledomuseum.org. Admission to the exhibition is free for Museum members and $10 for nonmembers. Discounted tickets are available for seniors, college students and military personnel ($7) and youth ages 5-17 ($5). Admission for school groups is free.        The Mummies: From Egypt to Toledo is supported in part by Block Communications Inc., KeyBank, Taylor Cadillac, and the Ohio Arts Council, with additional support from the 2018 Exhibition Program Sponsor ProMedica.


Arts beat: NRBQ right at home at Howard’s Club H

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Anyone who doubts that Howard’s Club H is having a revival as a music venue wasn’t at Saturday night’s NRBQ show. The venerable rock quartet was right at home in the stylish grit of the venerable club. And the sound system did justice to the band’s mix. NRBQ responded with 100 minutes of effervescent groove-based music delivered with a sly smile. The band opened with founder Terry Adams’ ”Rhythm Spell” and wrapped things up with Johnny Cash’s “Get Rhythm” as an encore. That was fitting because there was plenty of rhythm on display between the two. Whether they were sunny rock, the blues, or mambo, the beat was the thing throughout the night. The set bounced with little time between numbers from one highlight to another – the NRBG standard “Me and the Boys” or a rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” among them. The show had its odd turns, as when the Adams summoned drummer John Perrin from behind his set to sing a number, supposedly for a woman in the audience. He ambled to the front of the stage and consulted with bassist Casey McDonough and guitarist Scott Ligon about what to sing. Then they eased into Roger Miller’s hit “King of the Road.” Adams took his place behind the drum set, He treated those drums far gentler than he did his two keyboards, which he treated like percussion throughout the night, slapping, punching, and then executing flowing runs. That’s the secret of NRBQ. Why after 50 years and shifts in personnel – Adams is the only founder and long-time member – the band is something more than the best bar band in the country. The repertoire is true to the sounds you’d expect from a band planted in the 1960s – before it seems anyone on stage except Adams was born. The celebrates the pop music of that time and the various Americana sounds that inspired it. They’re not afraid to play a novelty tune like Adams’ “Yes I Have a Banana” from the new EP “Happy Talk” that responds to a novelty tune from the 1920s. Adams is a musical subversive. He brings the joyous anarchy of an overgrown teenager to the mix, and a sophistication of someone whose influences include jazz mystery men Sun Ra and Thelonious Monk. He demonstrates how those seeming musical poles are all part of the same musical culture. Given this year is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Monk, another musical subversive, Adams had promised to play one of the jazz icon’s compositions. He fulfilled that promise early in the show with a tender reading of Monk’s walking ballad “Ruby My Dear.” That was proof enough that Adams may play in a rock band but he is one of the best interpreters of Monk out there. His ease with the casual dissonances and the jagged turns of phrase and his respect for the song’s melody and roots in American song and dance are unmatched. Then late in the show he declared they had five minutes left, and then four and three, as the banter with the audience continued. He asked for requests and was greeted with a cacophony of song titles, which he let continue in a bit of spontaneous performance art. Then he launched into rocking version of Monk’s “Little Rootie Tootie.” Well, NRBQ had more than three minutes left, and the band cruise through a few more tunes on a mission to empty the tank before landing on the blues, then finishing aptly with the warhorse…


Expect the unexpected when NRBQ plays Howard’s Club H, founder Terry Adams promises

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Back in 1966, a teenage Terry Adams used to push his piano into the bedroom and jam with brother, Donn, and a few other musical friends. A half century later Adams is still pushing his keyboards across the country playing concert halls, clubs, and bars with that band born in the outskirts of Louisville. NRBQ – originally for New Rhythm and Blues Quintet, and then Quartet – purveyors of off-kilter, off-beat pop rock is heading to Howard’s Club H, Saturday, Oct. 28, starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20. Click to purchase. A few home recordings mark the launch of a band that has persisted over the years, reaching music lovers ears in concerts, recordings, and the soundtrack of “The Simpsons,” where their loving irreverence was a perfect fit. In a recent telephone interview, Adams said “you don’t want to lose the reason you got into it.” “Music affected me when I was a young guy. Listening to it gave me something I couldn’t get anywhere else. It showed me the world, gave me insight into living. You can have times when you need a true friend and the music really reaches you. It’s there for you.” He started “messing around” on piano around sixth grade. “I didn’t know I was going to be a musician. I just loved listening to it, and slowly I realized I was making it myself, and I never turned back.” At the beginning during those bedroom sessions, “we just started playing music. Whatever we wanted. Different guys would stop by, and we realized we kind of had something.” Louisville, he said, didn’t seem to them to have much of a music scene. They had to seek out the sounds. Back then, he said, music lovers thought nothing of liking The Beatles and Sun Ra. That openness has remained. The band’s originals and covers run the range ofAmerican music from classic country to surf pop, and everything between and way out beyond the fringe. Adams is a jujitsu master of the keyboard. He makes his home at the intersection of Little Richard and jazz icon Thelonious Monk. Given this year is the 100th anniversary of Monk’s birth, Adams said he expects the band will pay tribute. Adams’ love of Monk goes back to his early teens. He’s recorded a full album of tributes “Thelonious Talks.” Not that he can tell you for sure what will be on any given set. “It just happens,” he said. The band steps on stage not even knowing what the first song will be. “It can be risky,” Adams, who calls the tunes, said, “but for the most part it’s the only way to play music for me. You can tell what’s right for the moment when you’re there. You can’t really predict it the night before, the day before. You don’t really know until you’re there what’s supposed to happen.” He recalls sitting in with the Sun Ra Arkestra, and Marshall Allen, the saxophonist who now leads the ensemble, declaring just as they were about to go on stage: “Nobody knows nothing.” “That’s our philosophy,” Adams said. “We’re just going out there to let it happen and feel the vibes.” Adams and NRBQ have felt the vibes in Bowling Green before. The band played the Black Swamp Arts Festival in 2003, sharing Saturday night headlining credits with Tom Tom Club. That was the year before the band took a  hiatus because of Adam’ treatment for cancer. The personnel has shifted since with the various members heading off in different directions. Joining Adams in the…


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 celebrity mixed doubles event pitting Andy Williams and his wife, Claudine Longet, and Merv Griffin and actress Sandra Giles, who had dated Riggs. Spencer said during the main event she was a little nervous, but ended up making only five or six calls. King and Riggs kept play on the edges of the court. The most nervous she got was when Riggs questioned a call. But she remained firm and confident of the call. Of the actual tennis, she recalls little. She just concentrated on the line and blocked out what was happening on the court. Spencer said she did notice the player’s feet, especially the blue suede shoes King was wearing. Spencer later bought herself a pair. “I do remember at one point I didn’t know if Bobby Riggs was going to step it up. I knew this match was going in Billie Jean’s favor. I realized he really wasn’t prepared.” That was in contrast to his meeting earlier with Court. Spencer puts the blame squarely on Court. “She choked. … She looked tight. She didn’t have the fight that Billie Jean had. She didn’t see it as a big deal, she saw it as ‘I can make $35,000.’” Not so with King. After faltering in the early sets, she bore down, and easily defeated Riggs. “The symbolism was important,” Spencer said. “I was the first female assistant teaching pro at my club,” she said. After Court’s defeat “guys came up and said ‘I bet I could beat you.’” She didn’t hear anything like that after the King-Riggs match. Instead when she got back to the club a 10-year-old girl gave her a bracelet…


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 was able to adapt to this new medium, so now we were able to hear the unique voice that went with the clown’s body. The screening will begin at 3 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater, located in Hanna Hall. Free Oct. 17 – Tuesdays at the Gish presents “Seconds” (1966, U.S., 106 minutes, directed by John Frankenheimer) with an introduction by William Avila, doctoral student in American culture studies. “Seconds” is about a middle-aged banker who makes a Faustian bargain to get a new life and becomes (after cosmetic surgery) a painter, played by matinee-idol Rock Hudson. A dystopian slow-burner, “Seconds” is must-see for James Wong Howe’s striking cinematography. Like “Stagecoach,” the film belongs to the collection of films archived in the National Film Registry. The screening will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater, located in Hanna Hall. Free Oct. 17 – Music at the Manor House presents Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble. As part of the Manor House’s BGSU Tuesday Evening Concerts, the ensemble will perform a variety of musical genres. The performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. at the Toledo Metroparks Wildwood Manor House, 5100 W. Central Ave., Toledo. Free Oct. 18 – The 38th annual Bowling Green New Music and Art Festival kicks off with an ARTalk by Michael Fox on “Subjectivity in a Data-Driven Culture.” A 2013 BGSU graduate, Fox is a Los Angeles-based artist researching the use of natural aesthetics to inform subjective conclusions. Working directly with innovators from research organizations such as Northwestern University’s Cognitive Science Department and Medical Robotics team and the Chin Lab at the University of Chicago, Fox explores how evolving technology can be utilized to alter space and invoke questions about social change. The talk…


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” is meant to harken back to the late night programming he found on public TV that introduced him a new alternative bands. That’s a role public TV should play again. For Feehan, having the local PBS affiliate take notice of the venue affirms his and Zmarzly’s goal to revive the club as a top venue for music, built on area acts while casting a broader net. The premiere of “Live at Howard’s” is on Thursday leading into Homecoming Weekend at Bowling Green State University. The club has booked shows to encourage the people in town for Homecoming to check out the club. Mark Mikel, a veteran multi-instrumentalist who has been touring, writing and recording since the late-1970s, will perform a tribute to Black Sabbath in honor of Friday the 13th. He’ll perform at 8 p.m. followed by the popular local band Corduroy Road. On Saturday, Oct. 14, another veteran Toledo rocker Chris Shutters will perform the 8 p.m. show. Shutters has been performing with the drummer Corky Laing’s Mountain project. Tree No Leaves, Heavy Color, and Conscious Pilot will play the late sets. Feehan said the club also has a number of international artists booked for the coming months including NRBQ, Oct. 28, blues rocker Michael Katon, Dec. 7 and 8, and Kofi Baker, son of legendary rock drummer Ginger Baker, Dec. 12. Future “Live at Howard’s” episodes will feature a rockabilly mix, Oct. 19, with Flatline Revival, The Velvetmatics, Splitt Second, and The Living Deads. The Oct. 26 episode will be devoted to Red Rose Panic. The Nov. 2 episode will be another mix with Hemi Devils. The Nov. 9 will feature Laurel and…


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 girls packed the auditorium. They were, the commentators said, intentionally whipped into a frenzy, some ripping their dresses, and some even slipping notes of an indecent nature onto the bandstand. Later when John Lennon opined that the band was more popular than Jesus, another frenzy ensued. This one, spurred on by radio stations called for people to bring in their Beatles records and memorabilia to be destroyed. Donahue said for collectors like himself and Bill Schurk, his mentor and retired archivist at the Sound Recording Archives, there’s a sadness in seeing what now would be valuable records stomped on. The pattern, Donahue said, was the same: music got popular, there was a backlash, giving it more exposure. As country singer Loretta Lynn noted, when her hit “The Pill” was on the charts radio stations had no choice to play it despite complaints. The pattern remained through the years as one pop music style followed another. It held true for proto-punk band MC5 from Detroit and later punk the Sex Pistols, for their song “God Save the Queen.” They were even forced for a time to play under a different name. In the 1980s, the Parents Music Research Center, a bipartisan group of Washington D.C. mothers, compiled its list of the “Filthy 15.” That led to Senate hearings in which Dee Snyder, lead singer of Twisted Sister, was called to testify, and surprised the panel with his cogent defense of his work. He also insulted Sen. Al Gore by saying people read into the songs what they wanted to read into them. Gore’s wife, Tipper, a PMRC founder, wanted to hear about sadomasochism in a song…


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.