Popular Culture

“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 other universities will speak at and host conferences and events throughout the month. On March 22, “Focused Falcons: BGSU Alumni Activists” will feature a panel discussion facilitated by Dr. Sandra Faulkner, director of the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program. The discussion begins at noon in the Women’s Center, 107 Hanna Hall. A discussion on “Indigenous and International Women Activists,” at 2:30 p.m. March 23 in 410 Kuhlin Center, will be moderated by Dr. Jackie Sievert, political science. Dr. Nicole Jackson, history, will lead a screening and discussion of Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” at 7 p.m. March 27 in 107 Hanna Hall. She will also present “Say Her Name: Justice and Honor for Murdered Black Women” at…


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 depicted in the paintings of museums such as the TMA. “That’s not right,” Kennedy said. Wiley has set about redressing that by setting young people of color who he meets on the streets and dance halls around the world and placing them within the context of Western classic art. So it is a black man wearing a bandana, sweat wristbands and camouflage who leads the army over the Alps, not Napoleon. Through Wiley’s work black bodies command their place on museum walls in monumental form dressed in the best urban fashion. Some of the women wear gowns designed by a top designer. All this came about because his mother sent Wiley and his twin brother…


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. Led by visionary auteur William Greaves, the collective project also depends on his multi-racial crew, who stage an on-set rebellion that becomes the film’s drama and platform for sociopolitical critique and revolutionary philosophy. Filmed in Central Park, the film is a vivid document of this historical period and moment in American independent cinema. The screening will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater located in Hanna Hall. Free Feb. 16—The Creative Writing Program’s Reading Series features graduate students Bridget Adams and Benji Katz. The reading will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free Feb. 16-25 — “The Penelopiad” will be presented  at 8 p.m. in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre at the Wolfe Center…


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 to the portraits of the world leaders hanging on the wall. Though she finds the war fascinating, the curator is aware that interactive exhibits help keep others interested. “How do we not bore people to death when explaining the political aspects of the war,” she said. The exhibit explains the U.S. reluctance to get involved in WWI, with Woodrow Wilson sitting on the sidelines for nearly three years until two key events occurred. First was Germany’s unrestricted submarine warfare that resulted in the sinking of the Lusitania with 128 Americans on board. The second was the interception of the Zimmermann Telegram, in which Germany tried to persuade Mexico to wage war against the U.S. in…


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 a jolly time. In the old days, he said, the dinners could last for eight hours, and boys with wheelbarrows would be on hand to push the revelers home afterward. The Bowling Green event ended with everyone raising their voices in a chorus of “Auld Lang Syne.” The frivolity began well before the first round of whisky, and only heightened with each succeeding shot. “We need something in winter in Bowling Green besides hockey, so we have Robert Burns,” MacFarlane declared. Not that there’s anything wrong with hockey. He did after all grow up in Bowling Green. All this was in keeping with Burns, a failed “ploughboy” and tax collector who found success as a…


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 512 drone strikes in the past year and dropped 26,171 bombs in the last year. West, who said he was breakdancing in 2008 when Barack Obama was elected president, has called the former president to task for not reining in the military industrial complex. The casualties – 750,000 in seven years – from those conflicts, mostly in majority Muslim nations, are what gave rise to “the gangsters and thugs” of ISIS. “They have gangsters and thugs in all traditions,” he said. If such a death toll had been experienced in America, the Ku Klux Klan would be on the frontlines. Africans Americans have shown another way. “We’re not a people of revenge, but a people…


BG dinner to toast poet Robert Burns

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Elliot MacFarlane of Bowling Green, found an unusual partner in his celebration of the birth of Scottish national poet Robert Burns, Bulgarian chef Boyko Mitov. For the second year, they are teaming up to present Robert Burns Night dinners , Thursday, Jan. 26, and Friday, Jan. 27, at 6 p.m. both nights at Naslada Bistro, 182 S, Main St., in Bowling Green. Dinners in honor of Burns, around the time of his Jan. 25 birthday, have been celebrated since the poet’s death in 1796, MacFarlane, a member of the St. Andrews Society said. He has been involved in organizing such events for decades in Toledo, Detroit, Frankenmuth and elsewhere. The closest to home was years back when there was one presented at Nazareth Hall. Now, he has to drive miles, to enjoy and help others enjoy this mid-winter festivity. Last year, after working with Mitov on a Scotch tasting dinner, they decided to present a Burns Night celebration. Held one night in January, 2016, the restaurant was packed and had dozens on the waiting list. This year, the Burns dinner will be presented twice. MacFarlane said he’s had people approach him to make sure there’s room. As of Thursday noon, Mitov said there were places for a few more. Each dinner accommodates about 40 people. Only the back part of the restaurant is used. The large tables up front are needed for staging. The event offers a full evening of entertainment, as well as a four-course meal of Scottish specialties. The festivities begin with the arrival of the traditional meat pudding, the haggis, accompanied by a piper. Mitov uses grass-fed beef and fresh lamb to make the traditional dish. MacFarlane said he provided Mitov with Scottish recipes, and he’s tweaked them in his own style. “It’s great working with a good chef,” MacFarlane said. Though the cuisine was new to him, Mitov said, he had no problems adjusting the recipes and the preparation. The format, with paired drink and food, is similar to traditional dinners served in Bulgaria. In both cases, specially selected liquors are serve with complimentary entrees. The haggis will be accompanied by 12-year-old Cragganmore, Speyside Single Malt. The other courses are Cock-a-leekie Soup with 14-year-old Glenfiddich U.S. Exclusive Bourbon Barrel Reserve; Scotch Collops of Beef with…


The death of an advocate

By ELIZABETH ROBERTS-ZIBBEL I couldn’t stop weeping when Carrie Fisher died. Every new photo, tweet from one of her co-stars, or thoughtful personal statement from a Facebook friend would bring me to fresh tears.  My grief pounded through me like the migraine that followed, triggered by crying and strong emotion. I saw The Empire Strikes Back at a drive-in with my family when I was seven. I played Star Wars with my brother every day, Princess Leia to his Luke Skywalker. Of course I wanted to be Leia, wearing my hair in braids, brandishing her visage on tee shirts. In elementary school while anticipating the release of Return of the Jedi I had no idea how unusual it was for my favorite movies to have such a strong, fearless female character to emulate, more a warrior than a princess. Yes, she was beautiful, but in one of her very first scenes she stared unflinchingly right into Darth Vader’s helmeted face and informed him with steely eyes that he would regret holding her hostage. It would become clear that she was less afraid of him than any of her male counterparts were. Carrie Fisher was a warrior herself, and a multi-talented one with much more to offer than adorable hair buns, a blaster, and a metal bikini. But rather than continuing to be bitter about the role that defined her, she decided to embrace Princess Leia, much as she did the experience of growing up as Hollywood royalty. Then, in the downtime after the Star Wars movies had been (everyone thought) completed, her drug use increased and she found herself in rehab after an overdose. That experience inspired her to write the thinly-veiled autobiographical novel Postcards From the Edge, and from that point on, she became a more and more outspoken advocate for mental health. After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder she wrote and spoke publicly about her private struggles with a refreshing forthrightness that made me feel not only that it was okay to be me, a creative adult with migraine and depression, but also that maybe I could write and talk about my experiences. That I could be as vocal, and honest, and brave. In her later years, Carrie also took on sexism, body image, aging, and the double standards of the movie industry, endearing this new…


David Jackson professes his love of polka every Sunday morning

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When I arrive in David Jackson’s office in Williams Hall on the Bowling Green State campus, he’s busy doing what he’s been doing so much of since the campaign started. He’s on the telephone talking to a reporter. In this instance, he responding to questions about Meryl Streep’s impassioned speech at the Golden Globes the night before. Jackson, who teaches political science, has become the go-to expert for the national media on the impact of celebrity endorsements in politics. He’s found they don’t matter much, and often hurt. Even after the election he’s still getting calls. That’s not what prompted this visit from BG Independent News, though. I want to talk polka. For almost six years, Jackson has hosted the Sunday Morning Polka Show 10a.m. to noon, on WXUT, 88.3, and available for streaming on Mixcloud at https://www.mixcloud.com/discover/sunday-morning-polka/. While the show includes all styles of polka as well as some related pop music, at its heart is the Polish-American polka that Jackson grew up listening to in southern Saginaw County, Michigan. His parents, especially his mother (maiden name Lazowski), listened to it. Every year it was the focal point of the festival hosted by the Catholic Church he attended. ”There wasn’t a period in my life that I didn’t listen to polka,” Jackson said. Sure, he admits, maybe for some time as a teenager, he looked down on the music as corny. Then he came to appreciate its variety and complexity. “It’s about more than drinking beer and dancing.” And he demonstrates that in the stream of consciousness show in which he decides on the fly which of the 25,000 polka songs stored on his computer he’ll play. Maybe he’ll play “Midnight in Moscow,” formerly a Soviet radio network theme after a New from Poland story about American troops arriving in Poland. Or he’ll do a keyword search to string together related songs. They can be brand new, or vintage vinyl, scratches and all. Polish-American polka is, Jackson asserts, “as distinctive an American style of music as bluegrass, blues, jazz or Cajun music in the sense that it has a non-US origin that combines with other influences in the US to become this hybrid.” But, he said, “it’s the one that gets made fun of, which I don’t like.”…


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

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Rebecca Kinney only realized she should write about her hometown of Detroit when she was living to the West Coast. Kinney grew up in Royal Oak, just north of the city, hugging Woodward Avenue. She remembers watching the fireworks explode over the Detroit River from the National Bank building downtown. She remembers how far the city seemed though it was just a 20-minute drive from her home. And she remembered being impressed by the change in architecture, the towering, imposing structures in the city compared to the single-family scale of the suburbs. Living in San Diego and San Francisco, she found everyone had something to say about the place where she grew up. Even if they’d never been to Detroit or even the Rust Belt, they knew, or thought they knew, something about the place. That made Kinney wondered: where did they get these ideas? Everyone knows this, she was told. What everyone knew was that Detroit had once been an industrial powerhouse, and then it fell into ruin. But now, it was on the rise. News magazines ran front page stories on its advertised rebirth. Photographers captured the city’s ruined beauty, depicting it as a new frontier. Chrysler celebrated it in Super Bowl ads. At the time her writing focused on Chinatowns in other cities, now her attention turned back home. “For me it was the first city I ever experienced,” Kinney said in an interview with BG Independent. “It’s a city I always compare other cities to, which is strange because until 10 years ago it wasn’t considered a city. It was considered a dead city, a dying city, a place where by all accounts nothing was happening. … Writing it off as a dead city suggests that the 670,000 people who lived there did not exist.” Detroit is still the 21st largest city by population in the nation. And what then does it mean, to say that the city is now reviving? Kinney’s analysis and study of those questions resulted in the book “Beautiful Wasteland,” which was published by the University of Minnesota Press this fall. The image of Detroit as a frontier, as depicted in the photographs she discusses in the chapter “Picturing Ruin and Possibility,” served to set up the city as a place…


Perrysburg teen expresses passion for doing good by bringing pop star Kesha to Stroh Center

  By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Coming from a family of music fans and people who believe in making the world a better place, Maya Dayal’s early jump into charity work shouldn’t be surprising. The 18-year-old Perrysburg woman founded Bands4Change this year, and the non-profit’s first endeavor is to bring pop star Kesha to Bowling Green State University’s Stroh Center for a benefit concert Jan. 27. Tickets are now on sale from Ticketmaster or the BGSU box office. Contact 1-800-745-3000 or ticketmaster.com. Tickets are $45 to $65. Her mother, Anisha Dayal, took Maya and her sister to Lollapalooza several years ago, and it occurred to Maya that “music can bring big groups of people together, so why not utilize this to benefit others.” Her family has been involved in environmental activism and her mother has fought for human rights. “All that passion has helped create this company,” Dayal said. The Kesha concert will raise money for Humane Society International, the National Eating Disorder Association and the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. These were causes selected by Kesha. Dayal said she wants the performers to decide what causes their performances will assist. “We wanted them to have a more personal connection with the concert and company,” she said. “We wanted them to be more passionate about the event.” But before any of this could happen, Bands4Change had to find an artist to perform. Being a start-up, and one founded by a teenager, meant the company had little credibility with performers. She and her mother, who needed to be involved because Maya was too young to legally sign off on some details, started trying to contact artists. “It was essentially trial and error,” Dayal said. Then they reached out to Kesha’s management, and “Kesha took a chance on us and said ‘yes.’” Kesha emerged on the pop scene with her debut recording “Animal.” Back then she went by the name Ke$ha. She’s since returned to the original spelling of her name. She continues to record as well as write for other top acts. This summer she had a global tour with her band The Creepies. Bands4Change is running a contest to find an opening act for the Stroh show. Bands interested should visit https://www.facebook.com/Bands4Change/ and post an EPK link to the band’s best track of no more…


Shop windows have downtown BG looking a lot like Christmas

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Downtown Bowling Green is all decked out for the holidays. Hand-crafted stars, a chorus of singing snowmen, and even Sonic the Hedgehog trimming a tree. “To me it just makes the city so fun, walking up and down the street at night,” said Sandy Wicks, a longtime downtown businesswoman. This wasn’t always the case, though, recalls Wicks. She remembers about 25 years ago when many downtown businesses paid little attention to their windows. Some proprietors used them for storage. A revitalized Downtown Bowing Green sent a delegation to shopkeepers to encourage them “to make their windows appealing,” she said. “I always had a sense and firm belief you put your best foot forward,” she said. “Put anything in window – art, plants, merchandise – but artfully displayed.” Wicks has practiced what she preaches for 28 years in the windows at Grounds for Thought. She does thematic displays on the south side – right now, Christmas trees made up of old sheet music, newspapers and book pages with bundles of books underneath. For the past few years, the shop has turned over the annex window to the middle school art program to display student creations. “It helps downtown, helps business,” Wicks said. “It gives a sense of specialness and uniqueness of small town businesses.” Back more than 20 years ago some shopkeepers were receptive to offers of help, others didn’t want to bother. “They’re not in business anymore,” said Wicks. “How about that?” Now proprietors all through downtown, from established enterprises such as Grounds for Thought and Ace Hardware to newcomers not yet celebrating their first anniversaries, have stepped up. “It’s the first impression they get of your store,” said Amy Craft Ahrens, who owns For Keeps and has designed the window displays for 20 years, “so your window is important.” “I want it to reflect what we sell in the store, but I want it to be eye-popping enough for people to want to come in and see what the store is if they’ve never been here before.” Given her line of housewares and gifts, her shop has plenty of seasonal merchandise to display in the window, she said. Gayle Walterbach, Coyote Beads, praised by both Wicks and Ahrens, also makes use of her shop’s merchandise to set the…


BGSU grads urged to be stars of their life’s reality

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Regardless of what career goals those graduating from Bowling Green State University Saturday have in mind, commencement speaker D.C. Crenshaw told them they should become stars in a reality show. That reality show isn’t one that would air to compete with the Kardashians or various Real Housewives franchises. No, Crenshaw, who himself had a bit part in a reality show, said it should be the reality show of their own lives. Crenshaw was speaking before the fall commencement for the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education and Human Development. This weekend, BGSU graduated 1,002 graduates in two ceremonies. Crenshaw said he felt right at home back in Bowling Green – “cold, snowy, ice.” That’s what the 1991 graduate remembered about the town from his days here, and what he experiences in Chicago where he’s made his life and his career. A former Falcon football player, Crenshaw has gone on to become an entertainment and media entrepreneur. That came about by accident, he said. “I was doing pretty well for myself” as a regional sales manager. Then in January, 2008, the company he was working for shut down. He wasn’t concerned at first. He was confident he’d find a new position. He had contacts and an impressive resume. A year later he was “an unemployed stay-at-home dad still trying to find a job. We were in a recession and I was scared.” Then, he realized he couldn’t depend on someone else to provide him employment. “That’s when my creative juices started to flow, my work ethic increased tenfold,” he said. He sought out like-minded people. The result was an Emmy-nominated TV show, a tequila brand, network TV appearances, and a lifestyle magazine. Crenshaw drew his eight tips for being a reality star in real life from those experiences. “Don’t let anyone define you,” he said. “Define yourself. Create your own path and never believe people who tell you, you can’t do something. Put your ears on mute and don’t listen to the naysayers.” “Change the game,” he continued. “Create your own category. Create your own dream. If no one wants to hire you, create your own dream job.” Crenshaw said people sometimes approach him with business ideas. Often they hate their jobs and want to move…


Everyone gets into the act at Arts X

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News At Arts X a surprise awaits the visitor around every corner. An actress in a shimmering gown and dramatic blond wig, steps forward to sing “Let It Go.” One of the Living Statues in the lobby of the Wolfe Center, she’s been waiting her turn as other characters have stepped forward to offer a song or monologue. Look up and there’s a pair of eyes projected overhead. Big Sister is watching. As the audience settles for a performance in the Donnell Theatre, someone says she has just posed for a Vogue cover. Two comedians come careening down the hall on the second floor of the Wolfe Center, making a harried entrance into the Heskett dance studio. Do you know there’s an art exhibit, they exclaim. It’s part of the act; we’re all part of the act. There’s always something to see and hear and do at Arts X, and that means there’s always something to miss. There’s always someone new to meet, or an old friend to greet. With the end of the semester looming, and finals and holiday festivities just ahead, artists, performers, writers and their fans took time out to celebrate. Arts X drew hundreds to the Bowling Green State University School of Art and the Wolfe Center Saturday night. The annual event is part art fair, part music and theater festival, part holiday party. Arts X organizers have been tweaking its presentation since the start. This year the Bowling Green Philharmonia offered a prelude of holiday music in the Donnell before the hubbub officially ensued. The theme “Volanti: Seeking Unknown Heights” tied in with the featured guest artists Violet and Fortuna, storytelling acrobats. They performed two shows in the Donnell, sections from their work-in-progress, “Laces.” The piece combined a disembodied voice emerging from the dark to set the scene, a house in Toledo’s Old West End. The scenes introduced the audience to the home’s inhabitants. There was a very tall man, the original owner. There were stuffed toys left behind in a trunk. There was a lesbian couple who made the property bloom with plants and company. These stories were played out with circus arts – aerial work, acrobatics, clowning, tightrope walking. In the most dramatic instances the duo of Erin Garber-Pearson and Kathleen Livingston hung…


Arts X reaching for new heights

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Erin Garber-Pearson has performed several times at Arts X at Bowling Green State University. The former teacher in the School of Art feels right at home at the festival that brings all the arts on campus together. Her own work blends sculpture, video, storytelling and aerial acrobatics. That’s a perfect fit for Arts X with its mélange of art sales, exhibits, musical and theatrical performances, all colored by a certain level of tom foolery. When Garber-Pearson and Kathleen Livingston perform at Arts X as Violet and Fortuna on Saturday, Dec.3, the acrobatic storytellers will take the work to new heights. The work-in-progress “Laces” involves two solo and two duet pieces.  The duets require the performers to fly higher. Working as a solo aerialist is challenging enough but working together requires a heightened sense of communication and trust, Garber-Pearson said.  The duo has been working on the duets for three years. Arts X is “a good time to show” what they’ve been working on. The works fits right in to the theme of Arts X 2016:  “Volanti: Seeking Unknown Heights.” The event runs from 5 to 9 p.m. and is preceded at 4 p.m. by a holiday concert by the Bowling Green Philharmonia in Donnell Theatre in the Wolfe Center. Arts X is a free public event. Violet and Fortuna will perform two 20-minute shows, one at 7 p.m. and another at 8 p.m. in the Donnell Theatre. They will be joined by dancers from Auxwerks in Ann Arbor. Also BGSU faculty member Montana Miller will perform. According to the university, the former circus aerialist “will present a personal narrative of the truth behind the romantic image of flight based on her 25-year career as a professional aerial acrobat, from trapeze artist to high diver and now as a competitive, world record holding skydiver. She also will perform a piece to convey her journey through movement using aerial rings that she used to fly on 20 years ago.” Violet and Fortuna’s “Laces” tells the 100-year-old story of house in Toledo. Given Garber-Pearson’s work can’t fit it into one box, Arts X is ideal venue. “For me, it’s an opportunity to show my work to a diverse audience interested in the arts. I like it that it’s the whole campus… all the…