So far I’ve managed to not mention Bozarts very much and I have been able to portray ideas, concerns and desires from and for the creative community. However, this week I’m feeling a bit proud and very excited about July 3 and the festivities and celebrations to occur.
The gist … This Saturday July 3, Bozarts will turn 1-year-old with all kinds of friends, food, music, art and contests for the young and old to come down and enjoy. Along with the anniversary celebration there will be three birthdays being celebrated, a bicycle wedding ride, an artist moving sale, a potluck dinner and six CD releases and performances from Old West End Records (OWE).
Not to mention July 3 is also the coloring contest submission day as well as the petition kick-off for a public art wall for Downtown Toledo.
The overwhelming, open-armed and warm reception Bozarts Fine Art and Music Gallery has received has been unbelievable. Toledo has shown me there are a lot of people who want to support a place that believes in them as a community of like-minded, forward-thinking individuals rather than a customer base. I also believe there has been an incredible amount of extreme and thoughtful talent showcased at Bozarts during the past year which has led to legitimizing our place and stance in our community.
In many ways, this anniversary party is for those of you who understand my sincerity and have been out to enjoy these evenings as well as for those of you who have wanted to but haven’t been able to make it down yet. Scoffers, please continue … maybe we’ll see you next year.
My friend Heather Helwig, my pooch (Jobo) and I are celebrating our birthdays on July 3. Plus, my friends Toby Fey and Anneliese Gryta are getting married and having a bicycle crawl which will swing through with the wedding party as they venture over to the Sofia Quintero Art & Cultural Center for their reception.
What would Bozarts be without the arts? This Saturday will be sure to satisfy your aesthetic palette. UT professor Dustin Bork and Carly Dahl will display a moving sale of sorts. Their works will be featured at the one-night event in an effort to lighten the proverbial load and sell some works to help finance their transplant to Arkansas where
Dustin will be professing the good word (of art) at Lyon College.
Along with Dustin and Carly’s work we will also offer a preview of one of Toledo’s artistic gems, Yusuf Lateef. Yusuf has been utilizing the gallery as a studio over the last month and will continue to through out the summer until his solo exhibition in September.
Oooh … Yeah … and the music, can’t forget about the music. All the music on Saturday will be performed by OWE Records musicians and DJs who you have probably relaxed or danced to whether at Wesley’s on a Friday night or at the Glass City Cafe’s Bluegrass Breakfasts which are two of Downtown Toledo’s staples.
A great circle of friends has been brought together through their love for music by Ben Langlios. You may want to take a breath before reading this list … ready? The Fairly Handsome Band, Blowing Grains, Alana Pop, Quick & Sneider, The Dub Starlings along with DJs N Mattimoe, Alan Leizerman, Ortho and Damon Sturdivant. All of them will perform between 4 p.m. and 1 a.m. thoughout the evening.
Along with performing, OWE Records will release six different CDs for purchase or to win by raffle on Saturday night.
Did I mention the coloring contest? Saturday is the submission day for the coloring contest, available at the Ottawa Tavern, Home Slice Pizza or Downtown Latte (three of my favs). There are no rules regarding the contest; all ages are welcome as well as any form of manipulation. The entries will be put on display as they are received and the winner will earn an evening at Bozarts to do with what they will on a Friday in November or December. An exhibition, performance, dance party, poetry reading, movie showcase … whatever they like.
OK. That is about all the room I have, but by no means is the complete list of fun things going on Saturday. You can see more under my events on Facebook (under Jerry Gray).
Bozarts is located at 151 S St Clair St.
Jerry Gray is an artist, writer, vocalist, bartender, gallery owner and advocate of the Toledo Potential, which promotes the retaining and featuring of artistic talent and culture in our city.
Archive for June, 2010
So far I’ve managed to not mention Bozarts very much and I have been able to portray ideas, concerns and desires from and for the creative community. However, this week I’m feeling a bit proud and very excited about July 3 and the festivities and celebrations to occur.
Millions of people have heard Herbie Russ sing, they just don’t know it. That’s because Russ has sung in commercials for a number of companies, including AT&T, Chevrolet and Ford. He also sang the theme for the new Comerica Park in Detroit.
Russ began playing saxophone in grade school. While playing in his school band in sixth grade, his band director noticed he had learned how to improvise — Russ could turn on the radio and play along with it.
The director put him in the high school jazz band before Russ had even entered high school. He was the only performer in the group who could improvise, so the director started writing arrangements around his solos.
That was when Russ knew he wanted to be a full-time musician.
The band director encouraged Russ’ parents to send him to the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, a boarding high school designed for students interested in pursuing careers as artists.
At the school he studied classical music, blues and jazz.
After graduating, he got the attention of a Vegas-style band. They needed a saxophone player to replace their old one, who also sang. Russ looked like their former band member.
“You gotta sing at least two songs and we’ll hire ya’,” Russ remembers them saying.
So without receiving any formal training or voice lessons, he began singing in the band.
“I’m not sure if Ray Charles or Otis Redding did either,” he said.
He got his start singing in commercials by another stroke of luck. He was playing sax for someone else’s recording and the studio engineer got him to record a car dealership commercial after hearing him sing into the microphone to check it.
Since then, he has recorded several CDs and numerous commercials.
Russ said he looks forward to his performance in Toledo, where he will play saxophone and sing. He said he might play two horns at once.
“You have a big mouth and a lot of hot air, you can do stuff like that,” he said.
Russ will perform at the Maumee River Jazz Series on June 30.
Robert “Blind Bobby” Smith has been sharing his creative gift with local music lovers for decades and he isn’t about to stop. The legendary guitarist will perform tunes from his recently completed album “Keepin’ It Real” from 6:30 to 9:40 p.m. July 2 at the Toledo Museum of Art (TMA).
The album, which was recorded by Andrew Appold’s Parallax Studios during a period of several years, is Smith’s first full-length release in a decade. Other artists on the record include Chris Aftoora, John Rae, Gloria J. Smith, the late Ron “Crawdaddy” Crawford, Mike Hayes and Redus Boykin.
“I was on my boat and Andrew happened to be on the water as well and he said that he had been looking for me and wanted to cut my next album,” Smith said. “He had seen me perform live a few times and that’s how I wound up recording at Parallax. He has put an awful lot of faith in me, and I just want to go out and play and reward that trust. I’m a show all by myself, all I need is my guitar.”
Smith’s last album was recorded at BGSU and was released in a limited run of 500-600 copies. Before that he worked as a session musician for artists such as T-Bone Walker, John Lee Hooker and B.B. King, touring the country playing such venues as Griffin’s Hines Farm Blues Club.
Smith, who is legally blind, found himself surrounded by family support when he moved to Toledo from Chattanooga in 1945.
“My mother was in my corner 150 percent, she came to a lot of my shows, and a number of people in my family make music, including my granddaughter, who will be playing with me at the museum. I used to have a seven-piece band, but I gave that up around 10 years ago. I’m a disciplined person and you always have this person or that person coming in late. I play every day, usually for one hour in the morning and another hour at night.”
Smith is booking future shows and working on another album to be recorded by Parallax. “Keepin’ It Real” can be purchased locally at Culture Clash and Ramalama Records. The TMA show is free and will be outdoors, weather permitting. Also featured will be Princess Tiona.
For more information, call (419) 255-8000 or visit www.blindbobbysmith.com.
Check out these high-quality games for unique challenges and content from Asian cultures.
“Fragile Dreams — Farewell Ruins of the Moon” (XSeed Games)
Intrigue, mood and a solid story make this highly involving one player Nintendo Wii exclusive game stand apart from other role-playing action games. As a survivor named Seto, players encounter a haunted world in some immense cinematic-style environments perfect for exploration. Help this 15-year-old link memories together to discover background subplots. Players have plenty of time to enjoy the amazing graphics, but the control interface needs some smoothing.
Screen brightness and control options are important as players cycle through a flashlight, weapon or proximity sensor with the remote and move with the nunchuk control stick. The controls can be challenging without referencing the helpful manual or memorizing schemes.
Backtracking missions can also frustrate unless players are prepared to progress to future missions, including a hide-and-go seek game.
The beginning dialogue might lead players to believe the game might be “lost in translation,” but it is easily overcome after discovering the context and background. Once players have the lay of the land, this post-apocalyptic world provide a great escape, enhanced by a strong musical score and different lighting scenarios where players must strategize their flashlight use. English, French and Japanese language and dialogue text speed options are available (***, rated T for animated blood, fantasy violence, suggestive themes and alcohol and tobacco reference).
“Sin and Punishment: Star Successor”
Players can visit another amazing post-apocalyptic world in this outstanding Nintendo Wii exclusive third-person shooter. The graphics impress (the game cover art alone is enough) and the two-player cooperative control option is even better.
The two hero characters, a young human soldier named Isa and human-looking recon alien Kachi, each have unique skills to battle endless enemies among the fight between two worlds — inner space and outer space.
Choose from four controller options including the Wii Zapper accessory — perfect for this non-stop shoot ‘em up, which has close-range and distance attacks with helpful color schemes so players can easily identify who is shooting who.
Concentrate on the weapons, combination attacks and multipliers for high scores while shooting everything in sight. The lock on option is handy while movement and terrain choices are also important. Footraces are fine, but the jetpack and hovering skateboard options add even more visual enhancement as players take to the sky for better attack angles or strategic evasion moves.
The numerous boss levels include bonuses for speed, remaining health and earned medals. This sci-fi action game, the long-awaited sequel to the Japanese Nintendo 64 cult classic, also features auto-save checkpoints and an online international leader board (****, rated T for fantasy violence).
Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce (KOEI)
The PlayStation 3 game expands the previously released PlayStation Portable (PSP) game of the same title. Players get exclusive content plus online play for up to four players as this action packed game series, set in Imperial China, offers a more customized format with more than 40 playable characters. Voice and text chat options enhance communication between friends (in cooperative mode) or foes (competitive mode). Quick play modes helps new players orient themselves in the special equipment/strategy mode before going into battle.
The extended campaign battle modes offer hundreds of missions with three AI-controlled officers to fight with you and special officer commands to help delegate actions. The new “fury” transformations enhance character abilities including the multiple melee “musou” attacks while players can lock-on from the ground or using the new aerial combat movements.
The downloadable content is free, so download the most recent packs to get all the previous extra missions and goodies (***, rated T for violence, also available on Xbox 360).
It’s all been done before. We have all either heard or used that phrase at some point and quite often it’s the truth. As far as “rock ‘n’ roll” is concerned, this phrase carries extra weight because there is very little left that hasn’t been done.
Enter Hypernova, a ridiculously dope collective of four musicians from Iran that will play Mickey Finn’s on June 30. The show at Finn’s is part of Hypernova’s first headlining tour in support of its new album, “Through The Chaos,” which was released in April.
While the backstory of Hypernova is impressive, it would be unjust to omit how damned good its music is (myspace.com/hypernova). Granted, indie rock doesn’t hold the lion’s share of the music market; it’s still evolving, growing and becoming less and less of a subgenre. Hypernova may be the band to help push indie music to where it wants to be.
Hypernova’s sound isn’t uniquely organic, hypnotic or groundbreaking. However, what Hypernova offers is something that many people still look for in new rock — energy and melodies that resonate.
The Iranian four-piece has a genuine yet modern rock sound and writes songs that command attention. Vocalist and rhythm guitarist Raam has an amazing baritone voice. His deep tones and exceptional control are the foundation for the band’s potent lyrical content.
Lead guitarist Kodi and bassist Jam embody what rock is. They’ve got the rock look, slick playing style and solid timing. So often, rock bands tend to play the same notes at the same time. While this generates some massively thick sounds, it doesn’t always leave room for counter-melodies or tonal motion. The way the guitars and bass interact keeps each Hypernova joint fluid and engaging.
Last, but certainly not least, is Kami, the expressive and nearly inhumanly accurate left-handed drummer for Hypernova. While the show will be the first time I’ve seen him live, watching him play in the “Fairytales” video and live on other videos it’s clear that what we’re hearing is not a studio derivative; this guy can play.
The Hypernova show at Finn’s is the result of ridiculous persistence, years of hard work and some extraordinary luck.
“To come to the States we had to apply for visas and that was a difficult task because it’s not easy getting visas when you’re from the Axis of Evil” said frontman Raam in a recent interview. “As artists we’re the good guys, we’re not the bad guys. When we came here, all we wanted was a shot.
“We sent a demo to the South by Southwest festival and a few weeks later we got an e-mail back from them telling us we were selected to showcase. We went to Dubai to visit the American Embassy so we could get visas.
“After months of waiting for work petitions we had an interview and were denied the visas because we couldn’t prove we were a legitimate band. The problem is, there is no way to prove you’re a legitimate band when you’ve spent your music career trying to hide!”
It was shortly after being denied visas that Hypernova received its first bit of good fortune. People handling work visas and immigration in the states learned of the situation and forwarded the issue to New York State Representative Chuck Schumer, who promptly faxed a letter to the U.S. Embassy in Dubai.
“We went in for a second interview and they didn’t even interview us, they just gave us the visas and told us we had a very powerful fan in the states,” Raam laughed. “We were just crazy kids with a dream of coming to America to perform in New York. We came here not knowing what to expect. We didn’t even know how to do a proper sound check, we never played on a real stage before.”
Hypernova’s lack of “proper” experience wasn’t for a lack of skill or talent, it was because as rock musicians in Iran they had to stay buried in the underground and stay hidden.
“We missed the South by Southwest festival because of the delayed visas but we came to New York and played one show. It was a shitty venue on a shitty night and we really didn’t expect all of the attention we got. We were quite overwhelmed by it,” Raam said. “I understand the human interest part of the story as people haven’t heard bands from the underground of Iran. The way the media sometimes depicts our country and our culture, it’s not as accurate as one would believe.”
The overwhelming attention Hypernova attracted included a New York Times interview that “exploded.”
“We were only supposed to stay a few weeks and go back home. We hadn’t even said proper good-byes to our friends and family,” Raam said. “We really didn’t feel like we deserved the attention because our music really sucked when we first came here, it was quite overwhelming.”
As Hypernova continued to play shows and gain fans, they continually extended their visas. Three years later Hypernova is the first band from Iran to get signed and tour across the United States. According to Raam, “It’s been a wild journey.”
“When we first came to the States, I would have given us a 1 out of 100, now I’d give us a 10!” Raam laughed. “We worked so hard to get here, we don’t take anything for granted.” Even if our journey ends today, we’d still be the happiest people on the planet.”
When asked about Hypernova’s success, Raam said, “It’s the American Dream, but it’s also the American way. If you want to become successful you have to earn it. That’s what we’ve been doing, we’ve been grinding it out, we’ve had lots of ups and downs, and we’ve had a lot of bad things happen, but it’s all part of the journey.”
It is hard work being on the road and constantly touring for three years.
“It’s the greatest drug, there’s so much freedom just being on the road,” Raam said. ‘You’re in this complete state of bliss where you’re just waiting for the next show and just taking things as they come and just really enjoying the moments that make up your life.”
While touring the United States and playing shows in different cities every night sounds like a dream, Raam said, “I’ve never been poorer, but I’ve also never been happier.” Despite the poor economy and hit-or-miss shows from city to city, Raam said, “Every night we play in front of 10,000 people in our minds!”
What’s the best part of realizing your dreams? What is the most amazing thing about making it to the States, touring with your band for years, playing shows for thousands of screaming fans and the freedom that comes with all of that? According to Raam, it’s “the girls!”
“The women are the best part of this whole thing. That’s how most of my bandmates have learned how to speak English; it’s all the girlfriend’s they’ve had,” Raam laughed.
What’s more rock ‘n’ roll than that?
The doors for the Hypernova show open at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door.
Elliston native Crystal Bowersox paired with Pennyroyal Silver, a jewelry company, to create a pendant design to benefit the Toledo Red Cross.
Bowersox tweeted about the jewelry and said 30 percent of sales will benefit Toledo and she is “working to get that percentage higher.”
The pendant designed is based on Bowersox’s first tattoo and comes with a handwritten message from Bowersox.
To purchase a pendant, visit www.pennyroyalsilver.com.
At its monthly meeting two weeks ago, the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) decided to keep many on pins and needles, when they delayed deciding on where the home for the 2012-2014 state football championship games will be held.
It might be hard for some to imagine, a decision as small as to where six state championship games will be held, keeping so many on the edge of their seats. But in many ways something resembling a heavy weight fight has been unfolding behind the scenes between two sites.
In one corner is the city of Columbus, with Stark County in corner two. Both have been vying to be the sites for all six OHSAA’s state high school football championship games.
Both sites have hosted the games before, and truthfully both make a compelling argument as to why they should host the games, which generate anywhere from $3-$5 million dollars in revenue for the local economy.
Stark County has hosted the games since 1989, moving the games to Northeast Ohio from Columbus. The OHSAA board has been very pleased with the job that Stark County has done hosting the games.
The community is filled with high school football history. Besides having two of the most storied high school football programs in the history of Ohio high school football (Canton McKinley and Massillon Washington), the area is also home to two of the premier facilities in all of high school athletics.
Massillon boasts the 16,600 seat Paul Brown Tiger stadium (yes, that Paul Brown), which also has an indoor football facility and a two story locker room that were just recently built.
Canton has Fawcett Stadium, which can hold 22,375 fans. The stadium is most notable for hosting the annual NFL Hall of Fame Enshrinement Game at the beginning of every NFL exhibition season.
Between the two, it is easy to see why OHSAA would have a hard time moving its games for its current host stadiums.
But Columbus has been on the attack, especially since Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel decided to help spearhead the city’s effort. With 105,000 seat Ohio Stadium in their back pocket, Columbus has pulled out all the stops in an effort to woo OHSAA back to the campus of Ohio State.
It has been no secret though that Columbus would like to have to the football championship games back in the state’s capital city and with no disrespect to Stark County, the games belong in Columbus.
Many of us have made the trek down US 23 and have experienced many of the amenities that Columbus has to offer.
The city already plays host to so many other events, and the city’s sport commission has experience putting on some higher profile sporting events. With hosting NCAA basketball tournament games, a major golf tournament, and three professional sports teams in town, it is clear that the city would be well equipped to host the football games.
Columbus certainly has the best amenities to offer potential competing schools, and the city would allow the high school athletic association an opportunity to make the events about more than just football.
The city’s central location has its advantages too, allowing teams to have a similar driving trek for all schools in the state.
But the other bonus that comes with Columbus is the stadium where it will be played. For many, Ohio Stadium represents hallowed football grounds. What football player hasn’t dreamed of running out of the tunnel at the great Horseshoe?
The same cannot be said for Paul Brown Tiger Stadium and Canton Fawcett Stadium.
Columbus’s bid represents a chance to elevate the prestige that goes along with playing in a high school state championship. That’s why Ohio’s basketball, hockey, baseball, and many other tournaments are played there.
After two decades away, it’s time for OHSAA to do the right thing and bring the state football games back to Columbus. It’s time to take the state championship back to Ohio Stadium.
It’s time to turn the state championship games into what they should be – the best football teams in Ohio, battling for the division titles on the biggest state possible stage. The teams have earned their time to shine.
What would happen if Joseph Conrad and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” had a literary offspring?
According to Columbus resident Matthew Alexander, it would be something like “Withûr We”, his first novel, which is self-published.
Alexander, who has more formal training in film than writing, decided to write a science fiction novel in part when he embraced anarchist/libertarian philosophy. Murray Rothbard, one of his favorite thinkers, argued that people do not need the state to thrive; anything the state does can be accomplished through private interest.
Alexander accepted this philosophy at about the same time he realized he would never pursue a career as an independent film director.
“I decided right then and there, I’ve got to write a book,” he said.
The events of the Bush administration, especially the war in Iraq, informed the themes of the novel.
“It’s essentially a story about the danger of the government and the importance of liberty,” Alexander said.
The novel tells the story of a young marine who returns home from a war going on in a different colony, to find he has entered a strictly regimented, fascist society. Chafing under the unjust regulations, he becomes swept up in a rebellion against the government.
Warfare and imperialism are two of the novel’s major themes.
Alexander wanted his title to have a similar effect as the title to Ayn Rand’s bestseller “Atlas Shrugged.” He said he always admired that title because while it does not tell readers too much about the novel, it encapsulates the story’s theme.
He said he hoped calling his novel “Withûr We” would do the same thing. The title is the phonetic spelling of the phrase “whither we.” Alexander said the title plays on the two meanings of the word w?thûr, which can refer either to the action of something withering, or to the archaic word for “where.”
Readers who reflect on the title as they read the novel will understand precisely what it means.
Alexander currently works as a Spanish translator for Community Refugee and Immigration Services, a nonprofit organization.
Readers can purchase the 692-page book on Amazon.com or at its website, www.withurwe.com.
United Way was voted to be the fiscal agent and administrator of funds for long-term tornado relief, said Kelli Kreps, public relations specialist for United Way of Greater Toledo.
Red Cross has covered its expenses and given about $35,000 to United Way, earmarked for long-term tornado relief, according to a news release.
In Wood County, a group of social service agencies and emergency personnel voted United Way to this position. Kreps said United Way doesn’t always become fiscal agent for disaster relief, but it has done so before.
“We just tend to step up whenever we’re asked to fill that role. We don’t normally, always do that, but sometimes it’s needed,” she said.
Anyone wishing to donate to long-term tornado relief should give donations to United Way, Kreps said.
“We’ll take donations indefinitely until everything’s wrapped up — which could be months and months and months,” she said.
The Butterfly House in Whitehouse is honoring Crystal Bowersox, the “American Idol” season 9 runner-up from Elliston, the way it paid homage to Sarah Palin: with a corn maze.
“Crystal saw the corn maze design June 28 during her visit to Toledo and was very excited about it. We will pursue Crystal Bowersox as the theme this year,” said Duke Wheeler in a statement.
The 2010 corn maze season will begin Sept. 11 and run through Oct. 31.