aroundKent Magazine Vol 9 2016

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Akron Symphony

Porthouse Theatre

What does a City Sound Like?

Raise your Voice, Raise the Roof


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Re co w

content volume 9 2016

publisher/photographer Matt Keffer 330.221.1274

art director Susan Mackle

advertising/design services Matt Keffer 330.221.1274

contributing writers Elizabeth Carney Maggie Fuller Elliott Ingersoll, Ph.D. Mark Keffer Joni Koneval Paula Mastroianni Tom Novisky Dr. Patrick O’Connor Mick Rogers Heather Roszczyk Marilyn Sessions . Copyright 2016. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of editorial or pictorial content of any manner is prohibited without written permission. aroundkent accepts no responsibility for solicited materials.

6 Porthouse Theatre 10 What Does a City Sound Like?


14 The Road Less Traveled 18 Pulp Exhibition


20 Western Reserve PBS: How We Connect With You

26 Visual Art Showcase 34 Elianae Stone 38 On Drugs 42 Tom’s Old-Time N orthampton Gulf Service Station

18 42

46 Local Music


54 KRMA Radio 56 Mick Rogers


60 Grill for Good Cover: Photography by Todd Biss;


Raise your Voice, Raise the Roof Joni Koneval

In the hit Broadway musical Sister Act, main character Deloris Van Cartier encourages the nuns in the convent’s choir to “raise the stakes, raise the game, [and] raise your voice!” This summer, Porthouse Theatre, Kent State University’s summer professional theatre, is taking a page out of Deloris’ book by presenting a summer of theatre that will leave audiences raising their voices and raising the roof. A 2016 Season to Sing About In keeping with Deloris Van Cartier’s words, it’s only fitting that Porthouse will open its 48th season with the regional premiere of Sister Act, directed by Porthouse’s executive producer Eric van Baars. Based on the 1992 motion picture starring Whoopi Goldberg, Sister Act puts a new spin on the term “protective custody.” When nightclub singer Deloris witnesses a murder, she ends up hiding out in a place she never imagined: a convent. Posing as a nun, Deloris’ disco style aggravates Mother Superior but injects new life and energy into the struggling church and community. Sister Act runs June 16 — July 2. Porthouse raises the stakes with its second musical of the summer, embarking on a co-production of Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash with Columbus’ CATCO is Theatre. Directed by CATCO producing artistic director Steven C. Anderson, Ring of Fire brings the music of Johnny Cash to life on stage as a small ensemble of performers weave a story out of America’s best known songs. In a first for Porthouse, the production will originate at CATCO in Columbus in June and transfer to Cuyahoga Falls in July, sharing the same cast, designers, costumes and scenic elements. Ring of Fire runs July 7 — 23.

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T o close out the summer, Porthouse’s production of Footloose will leave audiences dancing in their seats and raising the roof. Directed by Porthouse producing artistic director Terri Kent, Footloose brings the action of the iconic film starring Kevin Bacon to the stage. When high school student Ren moves from Chicago to a rural town, he isn’t prepared for some of the town’s strict rules — particularly their ban on dancing. Teaming up with the local reverend’s daughter, Ren sets out to prove that dancing isn’t something to be banned, but celebrated. Footloose runs July 28 — August 14.


Enjoy the Porthouse Experience Porthouse is more than just theatre. Porthouse is an experience unlike any other in Northeast Ohio. Guests arrive hours prior to the beginning of the show to enjoy the ambiance of Porthouse’s extensive grounds, bringing a picnic dinner to enjoy with friends and family. To many patrons, securing their picnic reservations in one of two covered pavilions is just as important as securing the tickets to the show. Pre-show picnicking isn’t the only Porthouse tradition. Intermission has its own ritual as patrons vie to purchase Porthouse Theatre’s famous “blinkies.” These lighted pins, specially selected and sold for each show, are more than just a souvenir. They’re a Porthouse staple and it’s common for guests to arrive at the theatre with jackets or bags covered in their collections. Porthouse Theatre isn’t just an entertainment venue. It’s a family. And every summer that family grows. Located on the grounds of Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, Porthouse Theatre has entertained scores of Northeast Ohio audiences and provided training opportunities for countless developing theatre artists since its founding in 1968. Now 48 seasons later, more than 20,000 guests experience Porthouse each summer. Enjoying the Porthouse experience is easy. With nearly 3,500 annual subscribers, Porthouse’s patrons know that subscribing is a fantastic way to fill their summers with theatre in Northeast Ohio. It doesn’t hurt that becoming a subscriber is also a great value — practically getting a ticket to three shows for the price of two. But becoming a subscriber isn’t the only way to experience Porthouse. Single and group tickets are available to all

performances and come in a variety of options and prices to meet everyone’s needs.

An Educational Mission In addition to its devotion to producing high quality theatre, Porthouse’s dedication to education makes it truly special. Porthouse Theatre grew out of a partnership between Kent State University and The Cleveland Orchestra, who formed the Kent/Blossom Arts festival programs in 1968 in an effort to develop Blossom Music Center into a total environment for the arts. Under the direction of Kent State theatre professors Louis O. Erdmann and William H. Zucchero, Kent/Blossom Theatre became Porthouse Theatre in 1970. The theatre was named after Mr. and Mrs. Cyril Porthouse whose donation of a challenge gift facilitated the construction of the 500-seat theatre. The more than 100 actors, designers, technicians, and managers who come to Porthouse each year spend their summer working side by side with established professionals to refine their skills and talents. By taking students out

of the classroom and putting them in the environment of a professional producing theatre, Porthouse affords these artists and designers in-training a unique and valuable educational opportunity. Porthouse’s educational outreach also extends to international students, college students, and local high school students through its Porthouse Theatre Academies. These multi-week academies provide opportunities for students to learn more about the theatre arts in the environment of a professional producing theatre. The Porthouse High School Academy is a summer theatre experience for high school students entering their sophomore, junior or senior years interested in performance and/or in theatrical performance, design and technology. Every day, students participate in several classes and have opportunities to observe the Porthouse Theatre Company at work. The two-week academy meets Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 5:00pm at Kent State’s School of Theatre and Dance. The 2016 High School Academy runs June 20 — July 1, 2016.

Become a Porthouse Patron For more information on Porthouse Theatre’s upcoming 2016 season or its 2016 academies, please visit Subscriptions for 2016 are now on sale and can be purchased by calling 330-672-3884. Single and group tickets can be purchased beginning May 31, 2016 online at or by phone at 330-672-3884. If you are interested in Porthouse’s High School Academy for local high school students, please visit Registration materials are now being accepted and scholarship applications are available.


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Heather Roszczyk

YOU’LL SOON FIND OUT WHEN THE AKRON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA premieres a new work entitled “Sounds of Akron,” on April 16 at EJ Thomas Hall. The symphony, written by local composer Clint Needham, incorporates hundreds of sounds recorded by Northeast Ohio residents over the past year. The project was funded by the Miami-based Knight Foundation, in keeping with their investment, “in a culture of engagement through tools and projects that encourage people and groups in Akron to explore, debate, and act upon local issues.”

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The concept of the “city symphony” was originally conceived by Tod Machover of the MIT Media Lab. Machover, called “America’s Most Wired Composer” by The Los Angeles Times, is widely recognized as one of the most significant and innovative composers of his generation. Already known for creating genre-busting compositions made for concert halls, Machover had been recording sounds and composing symphonies in a few European cities when he caught the ear of a Knight Foundation official, who proposed a symphony for Detroit.


As Machover began work in Detroit, the Knight Foundation approached the ASO with a proposal to create an Akron-based symphony of its own. With its long history of community partnerships and collaborative approach to music-making, ASO was a natural choice for the second U.S.-based project. ASO has been a driving musical force throughout Greater Akron for over 60 years. Committed to enhancing the quality of life of the community through education and musical excellence, it is widely known for engaging the public in innovative ways.

Photography by Todd Biss;

Once the Sounds of Akron project was set, the first order of business was choosing a composer. With Machover committed to Detroit’s Symphony in D, the search was on for a new voice. Christopher Wilkins, ASO’s Music Director, traveled to MIT where he and Machover combed through a list of potential composers. They had a number of criteria in their search, but city of residence wasn’t necessarily one of them. “We were looking for someone with prior experience as a composer-in-residence with an orchestra, someone who was versatile and flexible stylistically, and of course someone who produced listenable and likable music,” Wilkins said. They found the perfect combination in Clint Needham, Composer-in-Residence and Assistant Professor of Music at the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music. A recipient of numerous awards for music composition, his music has been described as “wildly entertaining” and “stunning … brilliantly orchestrated” by the New York Times. His local roots were the icing on the cake, according to Wilkins. Not only did Needham have all of the qualities they sought in a musician, but he had a deep connection to the area as well. On May 15, 2015, ASO and the Knight Foundation hosted a kickoff event for the project at Jilly’s Music Room in the Northside district of Akron, just across from ASO’s offices. Local residents packed into the venue to hear Needham, Wilkins, and Knight Foundation President and CEO Alberto Ibargüen discuss the new project. After a countdown to the official launch, Wilkins recorded the crowd shouting “Sounds of Akron!” From that night in May through November 15, community members submitted sounds via the Sounds of Akron smartphone app. According to Willow DiGiacomo, ASO Project Manager for Sounds of Akron, hundreds of sounds were submitted from all over Northeast Ohio. They ranged from the personal — a baby’s laugh — to the industrial — the roar of the Goodyear blimp. The recordings themselves may have varied widely, but DiGiacomo says they all had one thing in common. “It was meaningful to every person to share that part of themselves, share a little part of their day. It’s not about the sound, it’s about the person behind it.” Continued on page 12


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Continued from page 11 When asked what her favorite sound submission was, DiGiacomo points to an event for young musicians ASO held at EJ Thomas Hall over the winter. In attendance were over 50 students from Boy Scouts of America and Boys and Girls Club of America, ranging in age from 8 to 17. The students toured the hall, met ASO musicians, sat in on an ASO rehearsal, and rotated through five stations designed to educate them about different aspects of music. The composition station was run by DiGiacomo herself and, after learning about harmonies, rhythm, and notation, the students worked collaboratively to compose up to eight measures of music. DiGiacomo submitted those compositions to Needham, who plans to incorporate the students’ music into the final work. In addition to submitted sounds, ASO also reached out to neighboring organizations to partner in sound collection. Representatives from ASO attended a RubberDucks game to record the roar of the crowd, caught the sound of footsteps on pavement at the Akron Marathon, and captured the clatter of train tracks aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. As ASO Executive Director Paul Jarrett said, “The intent is to engage the entire Greater Akron community — everyone, everywhere. With many of these organizations, we’ve never had a solid reason to reach out before. Sounds of Akron provided that reason.” Indeed, ASO forged many new relationships through the project. ASO developed contacts during the CVSR event that landed an introduction to the LeBron James Family Foundation, which has now made a private ASO performance their annual fourth grade family outing. In addition, the Akron Marathon is now using an ASO recording of “Carmina burana” to kick off the race.

public school classrooms to speak about the project, and after each visit saw a tremendous increase in submissions. “The kids are always very engaged and excited about the idea,” he says. So what will Akron sound like? April 16 is fast approaching and Needham is hard at work pulling together the myriad sounds he’s received. While he ultimately wants the final work to be a surprise, he shared a bit of his plan in a recent interview. “There will be three large sections to the piece,” he said. The first will contain a dialogue between orchestra and recorded sounds. In the second, the audience may hear unexpected music, such as clips of local bands or well-known local voices. The finale will feature the sounds that made Akron famous — the sounds of factories, the blimp, and of course, basketball. “Sounds of Akron is exciting because it allows people to participate in the classical music world in a way they usually don’t,” says DiGiacomo. “With this project, you don’t have to be a musician to take part. Anyone can do it.” Needham agrees. His hope is that the residents of Northeast Ohio hear the symphony and feel pride for their city and positivity for the area’s future. It is truly a crowd-sourced symphony, he points out, and he hopes everyone who participates recognizes their contribution to the greater work. “In the end,” he says, “I hope people jump to their feet and applaud themselves.”

While submissions have come in from all walks of life, Needham says some of the most enthusiastic responses he’s received have been from the youngest participants. Needham himself has made several trips into

The world premiere of Sounds of Akron will take place on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at 8:00 pm at EJ Thomas Hall. The event will kick off earlier that evening with lobby activities showcasing Akron’s vibrant arts scene, as well as a pre-concert talk featuring Wilkins and Needham. Complete details are available on ASO’s website. Tickets for the performance start at $25 for adults and $12.50 for students, and are on sale now at 330-535-8131 or

Composer Clint Needham

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The Path of Kara Stewart Born To It Dr. Patrick O’Connor

Most creative, successful people have traveled very interesting paths to get to where they are … usually zig-zagging a lot, shifting gears, retracing steps, exploring new passions, revisiting previous experiences, maybe reinventing themselves and generally bouncing back often. All these experiences

Kara Stewart felt born to dance ballet. She was even born with a physical hip condition (dysplasia) that afforded her unique flexibility which is essential for a ballet dancer. All she ever wanted to do was be a dancer. It gave her such a feeling of success. She always felt “most at home” when dancing. Kara began ballet lessons at age four with daily lessons at 8.

sacrifices a dancer has to make. Due to the exhausting practice and performance schedule, dancers often miss out on much of the socialization and typical experiences of childhood and adolescence. The sacrifices and perseverance that accompany dance were valuable early lessons that have served Kara well throughout her life.

She acknowledges dance has been somewhat of an obsession. Shy and a bit sheltered as a child, dance enabled her to express herself and deal with her shyness. Her driven nature and passion for ballet enabled her to deal with the

At 14, Kara was apprenticed to the Ohio Ballet for two years. Training and performing with a professional dance company at such a young age is a rare occurrence. She even went to a high school for her first three years that would permit her to attend

are part of their creative profile and serve to motivate and inspire them. This feature, The Road Less Traveled, tells that story. It answers the question; how did they get to where they are now? This version of The Road Less Traveled describes the path of Kara Stewart, coordinator of the Master of Arts Administration program at The University of Akron and Executive Director of Art Sparks, an educational dance/music outreach program.

Author note: If a reader would like to suggest someone to be considered the subject of a future “Road”, e-mail the publisher at

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half day so she could continue full time study with the dance group. Then, it was on to the North Carolina School for the Arts in WinstonSalem, North Carolina (now part of the University of North Carolina) for her senior year of high school. At this level, all students are fully engaged in a specific aspect of the arts.

I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. – Robert Frost

She Made It Kara’s success throughout high school, especially in North Carolina, put her on the fast track to New York City and a professional ballet company … the zenith of the ballet world! At just 18 (she celebrated her 19th there) she was thrilled to finally be where she had longed to be for so many years. She had worked so hard to get there and so many people had been part of her journey. Among others, her mother and a number of her dance mentors provided encouragement and guidance along the way. Success, however, was brief as health problems began to stall her career, ending it shortly after it started. This was a really quick fall from a very long and arduous rise. She got there, but was unable to stay there. An odd irony is the physical attributes from dysplasia that enabled her to excel in ballet now failed her. In short, she felt betrayed. She was crushed and very angry that her body was no longer able to do what her mind wanted it to do. She thought if she was unable to perform as she had, there was nothing left for her in dance. She was unable to do what she had dreamt of and prepared for all her life. The anger and bitterness would last about 10 years. In fact, she was so overwhelmed by

the disappointment that she refused to have any contact or connection with dance … even to the point of avoiding performances that included any kind of dance.

So Now Where Does She Go? Kara decided to leave New York City to study psychology at the University of Akron. Part of her motivation was to better understand herself, how she got where she was and how to deal with the resulting fall. After graduation, she became an entrepreneur of a health food store in Cuyahoga Falls. By this time, she was now married, had two small children, loved golden retrievers (ice cream too) and was a full time retailer … a full plate to say the least.


So, what else could life drop on her? How about a diagnosis for a rare disease that looked a lot like lung cancer? It turned out she had sarcoidosis of the lung and lymphatic systems. She struggled through diagnosis, surgery and treatments for a year, eventually going into remission. It was about this time she decided some changes in her life were in order. In some respects, the stress of her lifestyle was, in part, contributing to her disease. She had now come to understand failure as a natural part of growth. Essentially, failure and disappointment were the reasons she was led back to the arts. The time she spent away from it was filled with signs that something was missing in her life.

New Lessons Kara had little idea what would happen next in her life, but a surprise event (shortly after going into remission) led to a major change for her and everyone around her. She received a gift of an adult ballet lesson package. Somewhat reluctantly but perhaps feeling like she had nothing to lose, she agreed to go. The first two sessions would be critical in her transition back to dance. She attended the first class and immediately felt “at home”. Being on the dance floor for the first time in almost 12 years, she felt like Continued on page 16

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Continued from page 15 “someone had just wrapped their arms around me”. It was the start of a new chapter in her life. In some respects, it was a bit of a rewind considering it re-ignited her fire for dance. But it would be dance of a different kind and launch her to places she never imagined. A second odd event occurred when she attended the very next class session. It turned out the instructor had to cancel due to illness and Kara was asked to teach the class. She eagerly agreed and found herself in her first experience as a dance instructor. It took only one session and she was hooked! She also decided it was time to move on from her previous disappointments in dance. It occurred to her that we have to let go of anger, bitterness and disappointment if we are truly going to lead the lives we are meant to live. The spark was back!

New Beginnings Kara decided to return to the University of Akron to pursue a master’s degree in arts administration. This degree would enable her to blend her education and experiences in

psychology, business, entrepreneurship and dance into her new career. Little did she know that almost 30 years later, she would be fully immersed in the art form she loved. She was fully committed to everything she did and her dance approach was still with her. That is, failure was still unthinkable. Dancers hit every mark, put the pointe shoes on swollen feet and smile through it all.

Dance is the hidden language of the soul. — Martha Graham The next two events would be pivotal to her new career. First, she joined the dance faculty (after double hip replacement surgery) at The University of Akron, eventually stepping into the position of her mentor who had been her dance instructor at age 7. Her work at The University of Akron focuses on preparing graduate students to enter leadership and administrative roles in arts-related organizations such as The Cleveland Playhouse,

Akron Art museum and others. A critical component of the program is the extensive internship program that partners students with arts practitioners. The program has a 100% placement rate! Also, about this time, she co-founded Art Sparks. Dance is the perfect balance between structure and expression. This was the genesis for starting Art Sparks with colleagues Jordan Peterson-Fitts (dance) and Ron Hazlett (music/vocal performance). Art Sparks brings joyful dance and music programming to non-traditional arts participants and students with exceptionalities. It provides a wonderful opportunity for experiential learning. Kara gets the priceless feeling when the heads rise up of disadvantaged or special education students who experience dance. This is the result of “joyful concentration” which is learning to focus and apply yourself to something that energizes and empowers you. Everyone wants to be themselves and dance is a medium for this. More information on Art Sparks can be found on the website:

Wisdom from a Dancer The mix of Kara’s work in dance education and arts administration is the perfect combination for both her interests and skill sets. She never thought that teaching (both in the schools and at the college level) would be for her. It was a long journey back to the dance studio. She wants readers to know that dance education is life education. Dance teaches us about ourselves and our world. Kara’s world has been one filled with personal, professional and medical challenges with perseverance as the common theme. She is exactly where she wants to be in life as her following comment indicates: ”I can’t imagine a better situation than the one I have now.” Looks like she has made it all over again!

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Elizabeth Carney

Akron Art Museum • February 27 — July 31


features a selection of photographs that span several decades, styles and approaches, but share a connection to the humble and ubiquitous piece of paper. The exhibition, on view at the Akron Art Museum from February 27 through July 31, offers an opportunity to view diverse artworks from the museum’s collection in a thematic context. The exhibition’s title references the pulp paper is made from as well as the cheap books and magazines popular in the first half of the 20th century, known as “pulps” because of the rough wood pulp paper they were printed on. For just a few pennies, these publications provided lurid, sensationalistic stories of crime and mystery to a broad audience (the 1994 landmark film Pulp Fiction drew heavily upon this genre). The paper products pictured in the photographs in PULP are not inherently beautiful, but utilitarian and at various stages of degradation. They often feature ads and other images that appeal to consumer desires. In other words: trash. When recycled, scrap paper is milled into a pulp that is then pressed into fresh, blank sheets. PULP highlights another type of recycling, in which artists create new images from our cultural detritus. Newspapers, magazines

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and posters, discarded from their intended purposes, feature in abstract compositions investigating formal principles in art; cultural critiques that examine how the media portrays and affects society; and quiet, introspective studies that speak to social and personal anxieties. Together, these photographs call attention to paper as a symbol and as part of our daily lives. In Aaron Siskind’s photographs, paper often appears in the form of disintegrating, peeling posters. His Chicago uses such a subject, but focuses on texture, shape and value to create compositional balance within a flat plane. His aesthetic sensitivity recalls that of the Abstract Expressionist painters working in New York City in the 1940s, some of whom were his friends and colleagues. Siskind did much of his work in the darkroom, masterfully manipulating the values in his negatives to achieve lushly toned prints that reveal beauty out of decay. Both Siskind and Richard Misrach use photography to magnify and bring attention to details that we may normally miss, although with different objectives. Misrach scaled up sections of Playboy magazines that he found discarded on a desert shooting range after they had been used as practice targets. He photo-


graphed mutilated pages inside, including an ad for Marlboro featuring silhouetted cowboys in front of a sunset and an advertisement starring Andy Warhol. The final images, dated 1990, offer powerful metaphors for violence that still permeate many layers of American culture. Esther Bubley’s photograph of a New York newsstand, taken around 1944, similarly suggests violence in popular culture several decades earlier. A rack of magazines creates a rhythmic display, simultaneously chaotic and orderly. Bold publication titles focused on criminal activity and attempts to control it — such as “CRIMINALS,” “LAWBREAKERS,” and “CRIME FIGHTERS” — yell out at passersby to indulge. Also included in PULP are works by Pavel Baňka, Harry Callahan, Gloria DeFilipps Brush, Judith Golden, Ralph Steiner and others. The Akron Art Museum exhibits and collects modern and contemporary art. Highlighting artworks in the collection, which is especially strong in its holdings of photography, is an important aspect of our curatorial approach. PULP is one example of an exhibition that brings varied artworks from the museum’s collection together, inviting new connections and insights.

Richard Misrach, Playboy #38 (Warhol) 1990, chromogenic print, 23 ½ x 18 ½ in., Collection of the Akron Art Museum, Anonymous Gift 2001.9

Harry Callahan, Peeling paint and paper c. 1977 (printed 1980-81), dye transfer print, 8 11/16 x 13 7/8 in., Collection of the Akron Art Museum, Gift of Soraya Betterton 2006.78

Esther Bubley, Newsstand c. 1944, gelatin silver print, 6 ½ x 4 ½ in., Collection of the Akron Art Museum, Gift of the estate of Esther Bubley 2003.22

Aaron Siskind, Chicago, 1957 (printed mid-late 1960s), gelatin silver print, 17 1/2 x 22 1/4 in., Collection of the Akron Art Museum, Museum Acquisition Fund 1994.10

Richard Misrach, Playboy #97 (Marlboro Country) 1990, chromogenic print, 20 x 25 in., Collection of the Akron Art Museum, Gift of the artist in honor of Barbara Tannenbaum 2010.53

Judith Golden, Untitled from the Magazine series 1975, hand-colored gelatin silver print, 14 x 11 in., Collection of the Akron Art Museum, Gift of the artist 1998.41


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For more than

Paula Mastroianni

40 years, Western Reserve PBS has touched the lives of people all across Northeast Ohio in many ways, and not just the obvious. Yes, you are assured that we bring quality, trusted programs into your homes each and every day: programs such as Sesame Street and Peg + Cat educate and inspire our children. Shows such as Nova and Nature bring the wonders of the world into your home. News and information programs including PBS NewsHour and Washington Week provide an unbiased, balanced view of national and international affairs. Plus there are the dramas that sweep us away into another day, place or time, including Poldark, Mercy Street, A Place to Call Home and, of course, the most successful PBS drama of all time, Downton Abbey. Yes, we are known for our outstanding programs, but our connection with the people and communities that we serve runs far deeper than that. Here are some of the ways that we touch people’s lives other than through your television or electronic device.

We love our neck of the woods Being an active part of our community is quite important to us. Sometimes we use our programming to engage. Downton Abbey has provided a myriad of opportunities to reach out and bring a bit of Great Britain to Ohio. We’ve hosted Downton Abbey-related gala events, presented a look into what’s to come through preview events and even rallied people to take a collective spot of tea as part of a social media promotion called “The Big Sip.”

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Literacy is one of the most important issues of our day. For 10 years, we have joined in partnership with Plant the Seed to Read, a children’s book fair held each April at Fellows Riverside Gardens in Youngstown. Cosponsored by Western Reserve PBS, the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County, Mill Creek MetroParks and Altrusa Club of Youngstown, this event brings together book authors, storytellers and hands-on activities for children to promote literacy. And you never know who might be in our booth. Over the years, costumed characters from Curious George, Peg + Cat, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and many more PBS children’s programs have shown up to meet with fans. On a more serious note, one of the most important tasks that any adult who has assets can do is to write a will. Western Reserve PBS is proud to have collaborated with Leave a Legacy Portage/Medina/Summit over the past several years in sponsoring Write a Will Day. We coordinate and manage this free community event that enables attendees to write a simple will. Area attorneys join us in volunteering their time and expertise to ensure that those taking advantage of this service come away with their wishes properly — and legally — in place.

Partnerships are a beautiful thing “We are stronger together” is our approach to joining forces with other nonprofits to capitalize on our individual strengths and further our collective community missions.

Our partnerships enable us to provide programs and services to those in our community while working with some of the finest organizations around. Here’s a look at some with whom we collaborate: • The Akron Civic Theatre is a great partner when we want to hold a community event in front of a sitdown audience. From program screening events to collaborating with us just this last December on our Downton Abbey Soirée, we can always count on them to bring down the house! • Our collaborations with both the Akron Symphony Orchestra and Canton Symphony Orchestra are music to our ears. • Our partnerships with the Akron Art Museum and the Canton Art Museum bring the beauty of the visual arts to Northeast Ohio, and Youngstown’s National Packard Museum has a proud heritage that changed the nation through transportation. • If you are a lover of the performing arts, we have that area covered, too, through relationships with E. J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall in Akron, The Kent Stage in Kent and Stambaugh Auditorium in Youngstown. All are known for bringing some of the best and brightest talent to our area. • Finally, we believe it is important to support WKSU 89.7, WYSU 88.5 and The Summit 91.3 in Akron and Canton and 90.7 in Youngstown. All are our sister public broadcasters and do good work in service to our local communities.

We are more than what you might know Did you know that we actually have four channels? You are probably aware of Western Reserve PBS (WNEO 45.1 in Youngstown and WEAO 49.1 in Akron/Canton), but we also broadcast three other channels that enable us to offer an even greater variety of programming.

Fusion (WNEO 45.2 and WEAO 49.2) focuses on regionally produced programming; arts and performance shows; Ohio Government Channel programming; and British comedies and dramas. Popular series airing on Fusion include Great Performances at the Met and Classic Arts Showcase, the latter of which offers video samplings of art, music, ballet, theatrical performances and classic films.

F or the globally minded, MHz Worldview (WNEO 45.3 and WEAO 49.3) is for you. This independent, noncommercial service presents fresh, relevant English-language content including news, documentaries and dramas. And finally, we are pleased to offer quality Hispanic language programming on our V-me channel (WNEO 45.4 and WEAO 49.4). V-me is the fastest-growing Hispanic TV network in history. It provides smart, engaging and empowering entertainment for our region’s Latino families. Continued on page 22


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Continued from page 21 These channels are available to all who watch TV over the air, plus many cable providers include them in their lineup. If your cable or satellite provider does not carry them, please call and ask that they do!

Communicate, communicate, communicate We provide many ways for you to learn about our unique offerings and connect with us. We offer four printed and digital products, each focusing on a different aspect of our programming. Monthly we publish The Alternative, a magazine that offers program details, includes a calendar of happenings around Northeast Ohio and recognizes the people and businesses that support us. The Alternative is a member benefit of Western Reserve PBS. The History Circle is a free monthly newsletter that features history programming found on Western Reserve PBS and Fusion. It includes a community calendar of history-related events. Every Monday we send out a free digital newsletter, The Prompter, which highlights our programming for the week ahead, along

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with events and other news happening at our station. Our TechKnowledgy News publication is focused on area educators. It offers news about professional development workshops, activities and trainings provided by our Department of Educational Services. The newsletter is available on our website and is mailed to area school districts. Social media is where it’s at and we are proud to provide news, information, program teasers and more. Discuss your thoughts about our programs with others, get first-hand information or simply show your love for Western Reserve PBS by becoming a fan on Facebook, following our tweets on Twitter or subscribing to our videos on YouTube. And then there is our website, which is chockfull of everything you want to know about us. View trailers and video on demand. Sign up for our newsletters. Learn how to donate a vehicle. See what events we have going on and — most important of all — check out the many ways you can support Western Reserve PBS. Remember, every dollar helps! We believe strongly in the importance of our community outreach efforts as a tool to engage and enlighten people in the communities we serve. Through your support, we will continue providing programs and services of benefit to all Northeast Ohioans. If you have comments or suggestions or just want to talk about PBS, contact us at 330-677-4549 or We’d love to hear from you!

Visual Art


One compelling aspect of art viewing lies in seeing the different ways in which artists respond to the world around them. The work focused on here reflects this with responses that contain beauty, austerity, hope or humor — often in engaging combinations. Thanks goes out to Carolyn Getson for her coverage of the work of her friend (and KSU

Mark Keffer KSU Class of ‘88

grad) Roy Bigler.

Q I A N Based on experiences in my homeland, I explore how people’s lives are affected by politics, religion, cultural reality and universal themes such as the acceptance or refusal of one’s fate. My work explores how history and the social environment influence one’s identity and decision-making, ultimately shaping the cultural landscape.”


Artist Qian Li’s description of her work is an intriguing guide for exploration as it allows for numerous subjects and forms (in various media) to be addressed along diverse yet parallel paths. A recent multimedia installation entitled No Matter How Hard I Yell #1 was held at Cleveland’s Sculpture Center and addressed

these concerns. Working in large scale, an elaborate scenario was constructed in which a ghostly staircase leads to a darkened window. Through the window the viewer looks down to see a multistoried architectural exterior and a pair of hands grasping for survival in the darkness.

Epilogue video, 3:06, 2009

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Breath #1 / Breath #2 mixed media, 23 x 30” each, 2011

Based on a recurring dream, this work conveys a powerful sense of fear, pain and struggle in contemporary society. Dreams are a consistent source of influence for Qian. As she states: I see dreams as a more truthful and vivid representation, a metaphor to inner reality, and a study of the human psyche. My dream is of a desperate world, full of mental and physical pain; anxiety and restlessness; running and hiding. In this series of work, I depict the moments in my dreams before disasters happen — that split-second of peace, romance, beauty and desire, which will be replaced by endless chaos, violence, war and natural disaster. They are largely driven by the desire to love and to be loved, the desire for peace, and life and death. In my work I try to depict the moments of peace and beauty to serve as respite.

State University and has exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the 20th International Video Festival, Bocum, Germany and the Boston Cyber Art Festival. She has shown in China, Brazil, Serbia, Turkey, Greece, and other countries. She received the Individual Excellence Award and Grant from the Ohio Arts Council in 2015 and 2008. Qian’s art has been published in many art magazines and her works are included in several permanent collections in the US and China. She is represented locally by 1point618 gallery in Cleveland.

Qian Li was born in Qingdao, China. She received a BFA from the Academy of Arts and Design, Tsinghua University in Beijing and an MFA from Umass Dartmouth in Massachusetts. Qian is an associate professor at Cleveland

Distance mixed media, 20.5 x 27”


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Visual Art




Local artist Liz Maugans is among the most active members of the Northeast Ohio arts community; her energies and contributions to the culture of our area are nothing short of inspiring. In addition to the role of serious contemporary artist, she is also Co-Founder and Executive Director of Zygote Press, a non-profit printmaking studio located in Cleveland. She is the founder of the Collective Arts Network, a quarterly journal and arts network that promotes Northeast Ohio artists and organizations. She has curated numerous exhibitions featuring regional, national and internationally known artists and collaborates with several art- and non-art organizations for the betterment of life in our area. She also teaches printmaking and drawing at the Cleveland Institute of Art.

In Over my Head found boat oar, relief on handmade paper, neon, 2014

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Her positive spirit and infectious sense of humor shine through in her art work, often in the midst of addressing serious sociopolitical concerns. In a recent project entitled Screen Plays (referencing both the writing of scripts and the screen printing process) she recruited twenty of her favorite local writers for individual collaborations regarding various aspects of mid-life realities. “In all cases, the openness and ambiguity of language: provokes and suggests, urges and orders, and compels and conflicts the viewer/reader to compare and contrast their own everyday melodramas. My intentional context triggers new meanderings and adventures throughout the private and public process.”


She continues: “I use art as a bridge to connect uncommon, unspoken and private thoughts about everyday life. I work in a variety of media, commonly using printmaking, and communication vehicles as a means of developing a dialogue with various audiences. … My work has occupied road side signs, screen and letterpress posters, neon signage and business marquees.” Liz Maugans received her BFA in printmaking from Kent State University and her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1992. Her work is included in the Progressive Art Collection, BF Goodrich (Charlotte, NC) and The Riffe Center for Government and the Arts, (Columbus, OH) collections. She received an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship in 2000 and a 2005 Artist-in-Communities Grant for "Drawing It Out", a program that introduces creative experiences for women (reentering the community from the criminal justice system) in chemical dependency programs towards their recovery. Maugans was awarded an Ohio Arts Council’s International Residency to Dresden, Germany in 2009. She was the co-recipient of the Martha Joseph Prize for Distinguished Service from the Cleveland Arts Prize in 2012. In 2013, she was awarded the Creative Workforce Fellowship from Community Partnership for Arts and Culture.

Screen Plays: Everyone Lies collaboration with writers. screenprint, collage, 2015

Screen Plays: Parents Worst Nightmare collaboration with writers. screenprint, collage, 2015


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Visual Art R O Y



Photography and Article by Carolyn Getson Roy Bigler, (1956 — 2014) Cleveland artist and 1984 graduate of Kent State University’s School of Art. His intense, often reverential, and sometimes humorous interest in the beauty and potentially pluralistic meanings of the often overlooked objects, images, and words of everyday life provided the impetus for Roy’s wedding of these materials; creating rich and

contemplative wall sculptures and assemblages. His works are much more than the sum of their parts; a philosophical richness exists throughout and echoes the make-up of an intelligent and highly sensitive man. The term 'visual poetry' applies here and with a variation of tones reflecting Roy’s internal pensiveness and dedication to the holiness of the relics included in each piece: some solemn, others playful or at times jolting.

Super Chestnuts mixed media, 2002

Mesmeric Tumeric mixed media, 1995

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Untitled (bunny thorns), mixed media, undated


A private man, Roy rarely participated in public exhibitions. However, his recent passing gave impetus to his friends, collectors, and associates to share their extensive collection of his works in a retrospective exhibition: Good Things to Life. He has also been accepted into the Artists Archives of the Western Reserve. This organization stores, maintains, and exhibits the works of regional artists.

installation shot from the memorial exhibition Good Things to Life Cuyahoga Community College, Eastern Campus


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Elianae Stone Bringing Culture, Fitness and Fun to Kent!


Hello! My name is Danielle Elianae Stone, or Elianae as I am known in the dance world. I am a bellydancer, ballet aficionado and all-around fitness and culture professional and I am excited to be sharing my skills and knowledge with you! AK: Thanks Elianae. Could you give us a little background on yourself? I have lived in Kent since 2013 when my husband and I moved here from Columbus. We love the diversity and charm of the community and I was eager to make new friends and share my passion of dance and the arts with this receptive audience. Truly, Kent has helped me to find my niche and I have been welcomed with open arms!

Photograph by Laura Dark;

I have been dancing all my life starting with ballet at age 5, which I continued until my early 20s. I was in the preprofessional program at BalletMet Columbus and enjoyed the honor

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of dancing at the Ohio Theatre to a live orchestra and taking productions such as “The Nutcracker” on tour to Pittsburgh and other states. I won a scholarship to Jacksonville University for their dance program and later transferred back to The Ohio State University to continue my studies in their modern dance department. AK: What influenced you into middle eastern dance? After taking a short hiatus from dance and pursuing other art forms (and also meeting my husband and getting married!), I decided to dance again, but wanted to try something different. Dance was always my go-to for exercise, but also fed my creativity and allowed me to create art at the same time, so it was a no-brainer. I observed a bellydance class in Columbus and was delighted by the colorful costuming and fun, noisy props such as finger cymbals, jingly coin scarves and silky veils. It ignited my inner child with wonder and I knew I had to try it. Plus, the classroom was full of women from all different age groups, different sizes and shapes, and economic and cultural backgrounds, all laughing, relaxing and having fun together. This was a new experience. AK: How did you become a bellydance instructor? I was a student at Habeeba’s Dance of the Arts for about 4 years before they asked me if I’d like to train to become an instructor. At first I was unsure of my capability, but after an extensive 3 month daily training schedule, I felt ready to become an assistant instructor. After one year of helping the main Instructor and learning the ins and outs of running a business, I was promoted to Lead Instructor, and taught 4 classes weekly for the next 3 years, as well as taking 4 classes as a student every week. I was

also part of Habeeba’s Professional Performing Troupe; an experience I found rewarding. We performed at dozens of events yearly and I went on to become a competitive dancer, garnering first place in the “Rising Star” category of the Personal Best Middle Eastern Dance Competition in 2009 and “Audience Choice” in the Mission Green Light Bellydance Competition in 2011, respectively. In recent news, I placed 4th in 2015 in the Professional Division of the “Sherena’s Shakedown” Bellydance Competition! As well as Habeeba’s Dance of the Arts, I later went on to study with Dance Du Soleil and other dance coaches to broaden my studies and skills and found all these experiences beneficial to developing my own personal dance and teaching style. AK: What brought you to Kent? My husband and I moved to Kent, Ohio to pursue higher education and I was eager to continue teaching dance and performing. It


had truly become a large part of my life and I was excited to discover what opportunities were available or that I could create for myself. I started contacting businesses and venues to offer my unique service-world dance for women and kids. After several unsuccessful attempts at trying to find my niche, I found Kent Yoga and I have been there ever since. AK: When did you start offering bellydance instruction in Kent? I first met with Heidi Shaffer, the then-owner of Kent Yoga in late 2013 and she was receptive to my idea of offering a bellydance workshop at Kent Yoga. In fact, she said she had been looking for an instructor for a while and that others had approached her, but for reasons unknown, had not followed through. I wasn’t about to make that mistake. It turned out that my encouraging, approachable style fit in perfectly with Kent Yoga’s clientele. Having taught for many years to such a diverse group Continued on page 36

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Continued from page 35 of women ranging in ages from 18 to 70, really prepared me to tailor each class to that specific group’s needs and abilities and to have compassion and intuit what my students needed from their experience. Having such a positive reception at Kent Yoga gave me the confidence to move forward and offer more. My bellydance workshop went well and I progressed forward with weekly classes. These classes, over time became a source of joy, safety and community to the women I taught and continue to teach. We have class parties, or Haflas, an Arabic word for a social gathering where the students and their friends and family can dance, see costumed performances and enjoy food and fellowship. I have expanded my teaching repertoire and have included workshops in other aspects of bellydance, such as an introduction to playing zills, or finger

cymbals. I have also branched out into other global dance forms to educate students and offer unique, fun ways to exercise and move, such as Bollywood. Heidi and Kent Yoga have been truly innovative and supportive in allowing me to be creative in my offerings and see the merit and benefit in what I am doing. Dance is so therapeutic for adults and in my opinion, there are far too few places where adults can dance and feel creative and supported. That will change if I have anything to say about it! AK: What are your plans for 2016? In the New Year, I desire to broaden my teaching and performing and participate and play a more active role in the Kent community and events. I did a wonderful educational presentation at Kent Free Library and would love to educate people more on the beauty, history and diversity of middle eastern dance. I will be partnering with a wonderful group of Kent State University performers; the Barefeet Dance Tribe, to offer a World Dance workshop focusing on African dance and bellydance at the Standing Rock Cultural Center. This

Photo Courtesy of Kara Whaley Photography and Design

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workshop will be geared towards kids and at-risk teens and is going to be a great time! In addition, I will be offering ladies’ night events and performances at several local wineries; Secret Cellar in Kent and restaurants, so be on the watch for that! I enjoy doing Kent’s International Festival every year and hope to participate in more events to support arts and community. If you know of any cool happenings or events locally, feel free to give me a ring! Kent is a wonderful, progressive community and I like to play an active part. I am a member of the Kent Community Timebank. I have collaborated with tabla drummer Joe Culley and am always interested in collaborations. Bellydance classes at Kent Yoga will be entering the winter session in February. Check out my website or theirs for details! We’d love to have you in class. Thank you, aroundKent Magazine for the interview and thanks, Kent as a whole for supporting the Arts. You’re awesome!

I AM OFTEN ASKED, “Why is there so much superstitious thinking where drugs are concerned?” My first answer is that when discussing psychoactive drugs (drugs that affect our mind by acting on the brain), we are dealing with the brain and we know very little about it. Worse still, we are talking about the brain and the mind. It may surprise you to know that in psychology, a discipline where I’ve worked with these questions for 25 years, we cannot agree on a definition of the mind or its relationship to the brain. The mind/brain unit is one of the most complex things in our universe and brimming with uncertainty. When human beings face uncertainty, they fill the gaps with beliefs and superstition. I use the following couplet as a reminder to my students.

disorders. Let me illustrate these benefits in three scenarios. Imagine a person suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS). This person has what is called “relapsing, remitting MS,” meaning she has neurologically disabling attacks and then after a period of time, she regains some or all of her functioning. In her case though, she is regularly plagued with pain, muscle spasms and sleep difficulties. Now, further imagine she can walk into a store and browse among dozens of strains of marijuana and edible products infused with oil from the marijuana plant. Like


Where our Knowledge Base is Thin, Superstition Creeps on In. At the root of thinking straight about psychoactive drugs is the relationship between “mind” and “brain” and our beliefs about them. If we believe a human being is nothing more than a primate with an advanced brain, we are more likely to treat its suffering with drugs and laws. If we believe a human being has some immortal essence that is expressed through its brain, perhaps it is easier to live with the mystery that dwells at the heart of each life. If we honor belief and encourage a spirit of exploration, perhaps we can create a society that can separate what is taboo from what is therapy and what informed exploration of psychoactive drugs can teach us about alleviating suffering without exacerbating social ills. We have been acculturated to believe that illegal drugs are dangerous and driving many of our societal ills. But, researchers are now finding that some illegal drugs can have farreaching and sustainable benefits for those suffering from trauma and terminal illness, not to mention other physical or mental

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Elliott Ingersoll, Ph.D. a liquor store, she shows her ID, picks out an edible marijuana product that eases her pain, sleep problems and muscle spasms, pays and leaves like she had just bought a package of decongestant. Imagine a combat veteran who barely survived multiple tours of duty in the Middle East and who is plagued with crippling symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This veteran (who is on a 6-month wait list for treatment at the VA Hospital) is haunted by nightmares that disrupt his sleep, which only comes via heavy alcohol use. He has been on four different antidepressants that have given him no relief and have many side effects. Now imagine this same veteran has two therapy sessions with an experimental drug (3, 4methylenedioxymethamphetamine or MDMA)


that helps him lower his defenses, recount his traumatic experiences with a deeper sense of empathy and compassion but without the fear and horror he usually experiences. In psychotherapy we would say the treatment helps him “metabolize” the trauma. In “metabolizing” trauma, he doesn’t forget what happened but he also doesn’t “re-member” or re-create it every day. Following the drug treatment, he has 6—10 drug-free psychotherapy sessions, and at 6-month and 12-month follow-ups, he is functioning well. Finally, imagine a loved one who is suffering from terminal cancer. As horrible as the illness is, he is also incapacitated with anxiety about death. While his pain is medically manageable and he is able to live at home, his final months of life are marred by the existential gloom that is his fear of death. While he and his family recognize the tragedy in death, he wants to have a “good death,” meaning one that brings to a loving close what has been a good life. Now imagine this loved one can be treated at a clinic with lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). After meeting requirements of a psychological screening, your loved one is guided through an LSD experience with trained therapists who stay with him during the experience and help him integrate what the experience taught him in subsequent sessions. He lives 9 more months and reports that the experience has almost eliminated his death anxiety for those months.

On Drugs but Off Target Filling in gaps in knowledge with beliefs leads to misinformation (spreading false information that we believe to be true) and disinformation (intentionally spreading information we know to be false). An example of “misinformation” is when mental health therapists used to tell clients that mental illness was caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. In the Continued on page 40


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Continued from page 38 1950s and 1960s, this was a fair, if oversimplified theory. This theory, however has been scientifically falsified for decades, though many people still believe it. True, sometimes we can alleviate psychological suffering by introducing drugs that affect brain chemistry, but that in no way means the brain chemistry affected by the drugs was dysfunctional to begin with. The idea that mental illness is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain is also an example of “disinformation” when promoted by pharmaceutical companies to sell drugs that deliver little more than side effects for patients and huge profits for the companies. For decades our government has waged a “war on drugs” that relied heavily on belief, misinformation and disinformation. In the 1980s, there was a commercial showing an egg with the caption “this is your brain,” then the same egg frying in a pan with the caption “this is your brain on drugs” (you can see it at https:// The problem with such ad campaigns is they lump all illegal drugs together, as if they were the same. The same problem exists with our five federal drug schedules where Schedule I simply lists all illegal drugs, but does not distinguish between drugs that really cause harm and those that cause little to no harm. This is how a relatively safe drug like marijuana gets listed in the same category as very dangerous drugs like crystal meth. Misinformation and disinformation can also end up in otherwise reputable scientific journals. Two good examples were governmentfunded studies initially published in the journal Science and then later retracted. The study results suggested MDMA (a drug now being studied to treat trauma) caused brain damage. When no researchers could replicate the results, they investigated and it was learned

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that the author of the Science papers did not use MDMA but a far more dangerous drug — methamphetamine. Until the truth came out though, there was much hysteria about the dangers of MDMA and other drugs that fueled increasingly draconian punishments for nonviolent drug offenders. It is now admitted that one of the largest effects of the war on drugs has been enriching the prison industry, making us the number one country in terms of the percentage of incarcerated citizens, an expense our tax dollars work overtime to support. Many people believed all drugs were dangerous, but it turned out that in many cases the laws were far more dangerous than the drugs they were aimed at eliminating. Our brains are not just wired for belief, but for rational examination of beliefs. We are finally examining beliefs that led to policies and laws that put so many non-violent drug offenders behind bars and have dissuaded sanctioned scientific study of drugs like MDMA. It is likely this year will see a federal change in such policies that will decrease the severity of punishments for non-violent drug offenders. Also, the 21st century has seen a return to scientific study of many drugs that are currently illegal. Most people do not realize that not only were many of these drugs illegal to use or sell for decades, but the study of them was also prohibited. Nonetheless, we are seeing the emergence of government-approved studies of illegal drugs to see if they have therapeutic value. Studies of MDMA (3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine ) to treat PTSD in veterans are showing far better results than conventional therapies or treatment with antidepressant medications. Studies using hallucinogens like LSD or psilocybin to decrease end-of-life anxiety are not only promising, but also humane as far more people


fear dying than taking drugs. Decriminalization of marijuana at the state level is correlated with decreased use of more dangerous drugs like heroin and alcohol and leads to enormous tax revenues. In cases like using MDMA to treat trauma, hallucinogens to treat end-of-life anxiety or cannabis to treat some types of pain, we are finally allowing the study of drugs that actually seem to work. I wrote “actually work” because the public is finally catching up with what researchers have known for years: the therapeutic effects of legally available psychiatric drugs are nominal at best, dangerous at worst. Take the case of antidepressants, once considered to be miracle drugs, but now known to be no better than placebos about 50% of the time. Newer antipsychotic drugs that do have efficacy for severe symptoms of schizophrenia are dangerously over-prescribed for children, characterized as “acting out,” resulting in minimal therapeutic value, severe side effects and in some cases death. Treatment of chronic pain with opioid medications is effective, but also can lead to abuse of and dependence on these drugs. Since edible marijuana is effective for certain types of pain and does not induce dependence, it makes sense to allow people access to it in a legal, regulated way that eliminates the risks associated with the black market. Part of growing up is learning when to relinquish a belief in the face of evidence to the contrary. As a society we appear to be at a tipping point where such growth is finally possible regarding drugs and drug use. While some drugs like crystal meth have no therapeutic value and are quite addictive and dangerous, other drugs can be used destructively or constructively. As a society, we may be growing up enough to rethink our beliefs about drugs and move toward a saner, more humane world.


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Tom’s Old-Time

N orthampton Gulf Service Station

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Tom Novisky


OM’S OLD-TIME NORTHAMPTON GULF SERVICE STATION is a modern re-creation of a typical mid-century gas station and service garage often found in rural America during the late 1940s and early 1950s. Tom’s is located in old Northhampton Township (now Cuyahoga Falls) in a building that might have been best described as “neglected” long before the idea formed of reincarnating the building as a vintage service station. The small building has an interesting history: It was built in the late 1930s as a small golf ball factory. After the factory closed, at some point during the 1960s a local artist by the name of Adelle Wydro used it as her studio and gardening center. Later, after Tom purchased the property, in 1982 his brother John began repairing and restoring the old structure. He replaced the old coal furnace, added insulation and new doors and made much-needed structural and roof improvements. In addition, the electrical wiring was updated to modern standards by Tom’s late uncle, Tom Kost who had worked as an electrician for the City of Cuyahoga Falls during the 1950s. After these improvements, the building, which is located on the same parcel of land as Tom’s home was used by Tom and his family as a workshop and storage facility. One day, Tom’s wife Maureen was staring at a pile of what she called “automotive junk” — what Tom calls “automotive treasure” — that was laying around on the property. She then decided to hang a piece of that “junk” on one of the walls of the workshop and storage building. With that simple act, the building’s transformation had begun.


Ninety-five percent of the “treasure” nowadays adorning Tom’s Old-Time Northampton Gulf Service Station are vintage original pieces, most of which are unrestored, adding to the building’s historic charm. Of course, the gasoline pumps are period-accurate and have been hand-painted just the way they were originally designed and built. The antique light poles were restored by Tom in his shop, including the manufacture of some broken or missing parts. Building and restoring the neon trim seemingly took on a life of its own. After the first pieces were donated by Tom’s old friend Randy Neighert, Tom and his wife collected the remainder a piece or two at a time, with restoration and repair performed by RAM-Z neon specialists in Youngstown, Ohio. The glitz and glamor of neon is similar to that of chrome in that after adding one piece, you just can’t stop yourself — you’ve just got to keep adding more until you get the right “look.” That warm and bright neon glow is a main reason old-time gas stations had their magical feel and appeal and is a must for any serious re-creation. Hanging over the pumps on the front edge of the canopy, the large neon-enhanced letters that spell G-U-L-F — shown beautifully in one of Chuck Slonaker’s paintings — were created by Jeff Scott, a very talented local artist. Jeff used original materials and the same exact techniques that would have been used back in the day to create the superb reproductions. Now that you’ve read about it, if you want to get a feel for how Tom’s Old-Time Northampton Continued on page 44

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glow, the flavor, the essence and the presence the new “old” gas station seems to emanate, especially at night. “Every time I look at Chuck’s works they take me back in time and put me in a place I really like,” says Tom.

Continued from page 43 Gulf Service Station might have looked in the context of the times, it’s easy. Just take a look at some period movies — movies such as Thunder Road or The Birds, for instance. If you squint your eyes a little and slightly use your imagination, you might even see Tom out front gassing up a car and cleaning its windshield. Tom’s travels while employed by General Motors provided wonderful opportunities for Tom to find and bring back pieces from northern states like Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York. His family vacations also provided time for shopping the junk shops and back lots of

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small-town southern America in states such as the Carolinas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, West Virginia, Alabama and Florida. Tom says he and his wife felt like they might have been the original “American Pickers.” One of Chuck’s paintings highlights a collection of antique outboard motors that are family hand-me-downs. Such small engines are typical of what might be found in for repair at service stations of the time to help station owners make ends meet when the automotive-related business slowed. Chuck Slonaker is a great artist. He has done a brilliant job of capturing the warm feeling and


Since Maureen’s untimely passing in 2008, the station has provided Tom and his family a peaceful pastime as they continue to add, refine and maintain the station. Once or twice a year, the station is used by local artists, friends and enthusiasts as a location and backdrop for photographing antique and classic automobiles and motorcycles.


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Mo’ Mojo

The TwistOffs

Mo’ Mojo is a hard driving, high energy, Zydeco-based “Party-Gras” Band. The female fronted group features three-part harmonies, accordion, fiddle, guitar, rubboard, sax, trumpet, harp, bass, percussion, and drums. The band visited 8 countries in 2014 — 15 (from Central America to Central Asia), spreading the Zydeco gospel as “Cultural Ambassadors” for the U.S. State Department. The new album has a dozen songs: nine originals; two Zydeco standards meant to pay homage to the musical tradition; and one part cover/part original medley based off of Bob Marley’s, “Stir It Up.” It features a Zydecobase that blends in reggae, Cajun, blues, instrumental, and indie sounds.

Formed by ringleader Erik Walter (guitar/vocals) in a dank, suburban basement in Kent, Ohio in 1986, The TwistOffs have since performed more than 2,000 shows, tracked more than 150,000 miles and covered over 40 states and three countries.

Shivering Timbers Sarah is a captivating singer — part P.J. Harvey, part Patsy Cline — add the nuanced howl of Jayson’s guitar work for the perfect mate to her sultry vocals. Their performance can entrance and haunt the audience, while in the next breath, invite them into a whimsical, foot-stomping play land with the percussive mastery of Daniel Kshywonis on drums. More importantly, Shivering Timbers has been honing their considerable craft on relentless tour stops with Shovels & Rope, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Kenny Loggins, Alejandro Escovedo, Field Report, Carolyn Wonderland, Kopecky, and so many more; resulting in a live presence that combines Indie Rock energy, Blues/Punk passion, and Country/Gospel reflection, all evidenced in their second album “Sing Sing”.

15 60 75 The Numbers Band

The Numbers Band has been praised by almost every national music publication and several international publications since the beginning of their 30 years of live performances and recordings. Many fans are under the impression that the band remains obscure by choice. In fact, they have never been offered a contract from any recording company in the industry, ever.

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Hey Mavis

Americana-Roots band, Hey Mavis was born along the winding path of the Cuyahoga River. With their fine musicianship, strong songwriting and engaging stage presence, they weave together a musical tapestry that speaks the truth of our human condition — with all of it’s beauty, heartache, humor, disappointment and joy. Over the past five years, Hey Mavis has methodically ramped-up touring efforts, moving from humble porch concerts in the Cuyahoga Valley to successful shows at NPR’s Mountain Stage and the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival. Their new music video, “Love We Give”, was filmed in our beautiful Kent, Ohio!

David Mayfield If you’ve seen David Mayfield perform with The Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons, Jessica Lea Mayfield, or at Bonnaroo, you’ve caught the charisma, the heart, and the comedy and it’s likely you’ll come back for more. STRANGERS, Mayfield’s first album with Compass is a tour de force, stretching from the avant-garde to Mayfield’s musical roots which are buried deep in the bluegrass tradition from a childhood of touring with his family’s band. Tracks range from the Celtic-inspired opener “Caution,” which features Mayfield’s deft ability in orchestrating complex instrumentation, to “The Man I’m Trying to Be,” a sharply honest song that is as dark and it is tender.

The Speedbumps

Austin Walkin’ Cane

The Speedbumps are an award-winning American band with a warm, authentic sound, built on a passion for hollow-bodied instruments, indie-folk influences, and singer-songwriter Erik Urycki’s breathy, commanding vocals and canny phrasing.

Austin Walkin’ Cane is a blues singer, songwriter and slide guitar impressario who performs across acoustic, solo, duo and electric band mediums. He has toured Australia, Colombia, Nepal, France, Germany, England and Wales. He has also crossed the United States, perhaps most notably from New Orleans, Louisiana to Juneau, Alaska with only a guitar and suitcase in hand.

The band’s roots lie deep in the Rustbelt, where quiet strength and limited embellishment define the culture. The working class towns around Akron, the former rubber capital, from which artists like The Black Keys, Jessica Lea Mayfield, and Joseph Arthur have emerged, have provided the band with an aesthetic that seeks to tease out beauty from the gritty details of everyday life.

Jessica Lea Mayfield

Rachel & The Beatnik Playboys Rachel & The Beatnik Playboys embrace and explore many Americana styles — and combine them into a soulful, powerful sound. With original compositions and their own unique channeling of Americana classics, Rachel & The Beatnik Playboys are blazing new trails into the world of Americana.

Mick Rogers

Mick Rogers plays original music, songs rooted in the Ohio experience. He is a 3 chord musical identity crisis, two fish swimming in opposite directions. A glass half empty, a missing button that has a problem with authority. Doesn’t own shoe polish and prefers cheap guitars, and writes the most interesting lyrics you’ll hear this year.


Jessica Lea Mayfield is a 24 year old guitarist, singer and songwriter who was born in Kent, Ohio. She grew up touring with her family’s Newgrass/Bluegrass band “One Way Rider” and at the age of 8 years old, they relocated to Nashville Tennessee, where when they weren’t touring regionally, they played 4 shows a day, 7 days a week. They lived and traveled on a 1956 tour bus that had once been owned by Bill Monroe that he had christened as the “Bluegrass Breakdown.”

Continued on page 48

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Johnny and The Apple Stompers

Like a tasty sandwich of old time music, Johnny and the Apple Stompers put meaty honky tonk and country between bluegrass songs with old time blues and jazz thrown in for flavor! Led by Northeast Ohio locals, Johnny Miller and Cory Grinder, this band is a dedication to classic country like Hank Williams, Roger Miller and Willie Nelson through original material written by Johnny. Formed in 2010 as a skiffle band playing on the streets in Akron, Kent and Cuyahoga Falls, The Apple Stompers have evolved their sound through years of playing at bars, weddings, retirement homes and flea markets. Johnny’s bright acoustic picking and lonesome voice is paired with Cory’s high harmonies and fiddle playing along with the addition of members from brother-bands, “Rodney and the Regulars” (Rodney Dewalt, Stephen Karney and Richard DeWalt) and “Fast Molasses”(Jason Willis, Shawn Wee and Steve Gill). Pedal Steel, Upright Bass, Banjos and more are often in the mix.

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Bobby Selvaggio

Copali is an original instrumental funk fusion band based in Northeast Ohio. Their shows consist of a unique and exciting blend of musical styles. The band members include Blaine Klein on steel drums, Willow DiGiacomo on clarinet and alto saxophone, Lucas Rich on saxophone, Mike Langman on guitar, Charles Klein on bass and Cameron Weichman on drumset. Copali, formed in the summer of 2014 is on the rise and maintains an active presence in the Northeast Ohio music scene. Copali’s self-titled debut album was released in December of 2015 and is available at Follow them on

Bobby Selvaggio is one of the leading alto saxophone voices on today’s jazz scene. In the words of pianist Kenny Werner, “Bobby is among the best of players out there,” and legendary saxophonist Joe Lovano praises Bobby by calling him “one of the few young saxophonists on the scene today that captures you with his strong presence, focus and sound.” In addition to playing alto saxophone, Bobby also plays soprano saxophone, alto clarinet, flute and is a composer, arranger and jazz clinician.

SvobodaBand Xtra Crispy Xtra Crispy is a perfect blend of blues rock and Americana, blending foot-stomping rock and roll with pure and golden melodies.


SvobodaBand is a trio from Kent, Ohio that is reinventing the roots of music and live performances. Their unique sound mixes blues, jazz, soul and folk to create a musical experience that is both familiar and original. Singer Bethany Svoboda transitions between auxiliary percussion and guitar while singing passionate lead and back up harmonies. Dan Desantis gracefully commands lead guitar, fusing blues and jazz standards and Elliott Ingersoll adds depth and atmosphere on upright and acoustic basses. Three part harmonies layer smoothly and powerfully making this trio a rare act that you don’t want to miss!


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Maggie Fuller, co-owner of KRMA Radio, and Craig Reed, former roady from Lynyrd Skynyrd

KRMA Radio is like comfort food for the soul. Talk radio listeners in northeastern Ohio have been hungering for a new talk of the town. KRMA is talk and rock 24 hours per day, seven days of the week. If you’ve been listening for some fresh ideas on politics, current event, news, comedy, and more, then you have come to the right place. With more than eighteen hosts, KRMA hosts specialize in topics such as gun rights, gaming, sports and spirituality, too. Although KRMA is on the worldwide web, the focus is on northeastern Ohio, the source of

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the 50 thousand plus individual listeners. More than 95% of the listeners are your neighbors and friends of northeast Ohio. Located in Kent, the station is comprised of familiar voices and talents from broadcasting venues in this area plus voices from around the world. Like most talk radio programs, KRMA welcomes callers’ opinions, ideas and suggestions. “Callers are the life-blood of most talk radio programs,” stated Maggie Fuller, co-owner of KRMA Radio, “…And we get pretty excited about calls on the air. We love to talk! To put in your own two cents, the on-air line is 330-673-2428 (CHAT).”

How do you listen to internet radio? KRMA can be found at Much like every other station who offers programming on line, KRMA is internet based. “Most people listen to their favorite stations on their computers and now they have a bigger variety of top-notch talk radio programming,“ says Aleister Crowley, co-owner of KRMA Radio. You can listen at home on your computer, at work, on your smart phone and in your car. “Cars are now being made with internet radio built into the dash board,” remarks Crowley. This is a solid indicator that internet radio is a reality and here to stay. Every day I am asked, “Where do I find KRMA on my dial?” remarked Maggie. You can also listen in your car with older style radios as well. You simply buy an FM converter which are available at big box stores, superstores and from internet sources. The FM converter is an easy-to-use attachment to plug into your smart phone and vehicle dash board. KRMA can be found on,, and KRMA radio is also found on Facebook and Twitter. KRMA is the inspiration of Aleister Crowley and Maggie Fuller who dreamed up a small internet based radio station. “As we began talking about our new station on social media, the hosts began sending me messages to find out about having their own shows,” said Maggie Fuller. Most hosts are experienced broadcasters, familiar names that listeners know and love. Fuller believes that there is talent out there in the listening audience. “The new hosts are a hit, too!” Fuller added. With a little training and growth, these new hosts have attracted many new listeners and have found “their voice” very quickly. Aleister thought of the name. “Killer Radio: Maggie & Aleister; that reads K.R.M.A,” said Maggie. To Crowley and Fuller, KRMA made

sense. It was consistent with their philosophy of karma, do good deeds and good comes back to you. Do harm and that, too will return to you. Fuller adds, “We began looking for a name by going through the alphabet to choose names. We were almost Aardvark radio. At least we would be first in the alphabet.” “We have some of Northeast Ohio’s top talent coming out of your speakers,” Maggie stated. Combined, KRMA staff have over 100 years of broadcasting experience. At this point in time, KRMA has more than 50 thousand individual listeners and more than six million times listeners have tuned into KRMA. Aleister stated, “I see the future of KRMA as having many new stations both country-wide and world-wide. Each new station will feature a particular genre of music.” Maggie remarked, “We try to keep it familyoriented and staff have even brought their children to their shows. Broadcasting is a very must-bethere type of work and we want our staff to succeed and be happy … that is karma,” she added. As internet radio gains momentum, KRMA invites listeners and new sponsors to their fold. KRMA is all about good vibes, according to Christopher Jones, Chief Technology Officer at KRMA. “ We believe in


programming with a purpose,” stated Jones. Passion for radio is what KRMA is about and all of our hosts are dedicated lovers of broadcasting. “I like to think that we may have helped some newbies get their first taste of the radio business and helped them gain experience,” said Maggie. KRMA has an ever-growing listenership, most of which come from Northeast Ohio. “Most of our listeners are adults with jobs,” Maggie remarked, “But we have younger listeners as well, thanks to gaming and some of our music shows.” KRMA radio broadcasts to an audience of dedicated listeners and callers, ready to take action. KRMA hosts believe in the upbeat energy we provide and that is contagious. Good KRMA is only a click away! For a description of shows and their hosts, visit their website at

The Altered Realm hanging out at Comicon Day

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I write songs. I do other things, but I wake up in the morning thinking about the songs. Words. I am words. I dream words, I see them when I talk. Each word is a paragraph of meaning, and each of the words in the paragraph, another explanation. Each a pyramid of ideas. Riding to basketball practice in the seventh grade one afternoon with the coach and his son, I was singing with the radio and the kid looks back at me and asks if I worked on memorizing all the radio lyrics. I had no answer. How do you not know the lyrics? The first single I bought was “Sherry” by the Four Seasons, the first album “Little Deuce Coupe” by the Beach Boys. I started putting words together in high school in terribly embarrassing poetry. Kept at that, reading works in bars back when poetry readings were street level, alcohol fueled affairs with a pulse. Like the Beats I admired as a kid, I thought the best poetry had music behind it. I performed pieces with percussionists and jazz players, once with a guitarist playing a sax, who could only blow air noises through it and click the keys. I had to shout when anyone walked past me and trickled

coins into the cigarette machine and pulled the lever. That was a Kent that has passed. My mom had bought me a red Teisco guitar from Sears when I was a kid. I’d learned a few chords, then pawned it when I ran away from home in high school and hit the west coast and needed a hamburger. Later I bought a Les Paul that sat in various closets around the country as I roamed around. I dragged it out some years after I hit Kent and started learning the chords to the music I’d been carrying around in my head.




Several various bands, usually emphasizing original music that no one really wanted to hear upstairs at Mother’s Junction, on the stage at JB’s Up, playing to the barmaid. Or next door at the Rondevous, where someone jimmied open the front door one night and stole all our equipment, which we discovered when we showed up to play the next night. Continued on page 58


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C ontinued from page 58

I saved up some money to make an album of my songs. Went into the studio with an enthusiastic drummer and had a good time. And I saw what the digital age could mean to a musician. I put together an inexpensive but serviceable studio in my house, and found I could record without scheduling time, for as long or as short as I wanted, any time of day. I could play a part fifty times at no additional cost.




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sually I’d have an U idea for a part, then it wouldn’t sound right, so I’d try different tempos, different right hand rhythms, be aggressive, melodic, whatever. I’d record it first thing in the morning or last thing at night, drunk, sober, every which way I could. Usually I’d come back to the original idea I had first, and that’d be it. Move on. I had every convenience that the Beatles had, except for George Martin. Never came up with a Sgt. Pepper. I did make six additional CD’s of my music. Original, but not created from air. See, I have a catalogue of music parts somewhere in my head. I think they’re stored where most people keep the “How To Make Money” stuff.




I don’t know. There are vocal lines, harmonies, cool lyrics, guitar rhythms and bass drum sounds from thousands of albums over the last sixty years. I don’t make parts up, I remember them. But then, here’s my secret. When I try to recreate them, I fail, and something else is created. I stand on the toes of giants. Write what you know. Old advice. Then you temper that with a couple of rules I learned at Songwriter College, where I eventually earned a black belt in haiku. First, every song doesn’t have to be autobiographical. Finding that balance opens up a world. I write songs like Hemingway with a sense of humor. Humor is my backbone. But none of my songs are funny. Except maybe the parody of “Imagine”. I don’t write parodies. Just that one. I’m funny, like how you need to be funny to survive. Hopefully, my songs come across as parts of conversations. There are characters, many of whom, while a bit self-destructive, are interesting to watch. There are stories, some with endings and some that end the way you know they will without being told. A few are exactly autobiographical. Escaping Ohio. Returning to Ohio. Places like my hometown, a steel town, a party where the barn burned down. Kent. Jerry’s Diner and the way things change. The way we change. People I know, people I love, pain and failure, blue

skies and brown eyes. And hope. Like I always hope people will connect when they hear these songs. And they do, if they hear them. I write my songs for the same reason I wrote bad and angst-ridden poetry in the 10th grade; to forge connections. While I am a lone wolf isolationist, as any artist, I think the biggest challenge and greatest success is making connections. Even though I always try to work my dark and destructive magic on them. There are different and usually mutually exclusive parts of music. Writing and recording is an isolated activity. Creative isolation is such a joy. You can never be alone enough to write. Writers want to tell you something without making eye contact. It’s tricky. It takes an extended train of thought. Usually about a year for me. Then I have a CD. Invariably, at some point, I want for those songs to draw breath. Then something else begins,

And then there’s another really lovely way to do it. There are a lot of very good musicians out there. Many of them work really hard to get good. It’s a lifelong pursuit. I’m not one of them. What I think is unfortunate is that so many of them define “good” as sounding just like someone else. While my songs are not groundbreaking, they are mine. I have lately had the rather incredible fortune to find some very good players, well versed in the traditions that I love, who are not slaves to tradition. I get to hear my songs take on life as may never have been intended, but always growing bigger than I imagined. When you have players merging from several traditions, with a nod to each

others’ approach, and listening to the song to see what they can contribute to the whole, it’s a kind of magic. Not magic. That sounds cheap. Maybe transcendence. I don’t know, somewhere between magic and transcendence. And when you mix in an audience, you get something more. The audience, you. You should know that when players know there are ears out there listening and responding, it affects the performance. There’s a feedback loop and it’s exactly the kind of feedback we all want. Go see live music and let the performers know you’re there. Dance, yell, whistle, clap. Get into a fistfight. Something. Let ‘em know you’re there. Get the conversation rolling.



I perform these songs live, and it’s then that the other fish, swimming in the other direction, takes over. I love to sing. Love to take over a room with my voice and my characters and their stories. Performing is both for introverts and for extroverts. You are isolated and you are joined. When I perform solo, I control the songs.


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The seventh annual Grill for Good fundraiser, sponsored by the Kent Junior Chamber of Commerce (Kent Jaycees) is set to take place on Saturday, June 11th from noon to 7pm in the Hometown Bank Plaza, located at the corner of Main and Water Streets in downtown Kent.

Live entertainment will take place throughout the day with Wooster-based classic rock group Sobos, headlining the event. New to this year’s event is an 80s Music Fest which will follow Grill For Good in more than 25 different venues throughout downtown — so come eat and enjoy Grill For Good and continue your evening with 80s MusicFest! Grill For Good tickets are $10, (children 5 and under enter free), which entitles each ticket-holder to three “tastes” of their choice or get a “Big Kahuna All You Can Eat” ticket for $50 and enjoy food from the many grilling stations featuring food from local businesses and non-professional foodies. Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, or a meat eater, there will be something for you at Grill For Good! Proceeds from the fundraiser will locally benefit those in need with food, shelter and mental health services offered by Family & Community Services, Inc. and the Coleman Foundation. Event originators Marilyn and Brian Sessions brought Grill For Good to the Jaycees through their passion for cooking and love for their community. This very well attended event continues to grow each year, contributing considerably to the Kent and surrounding communities.

Marilyn and Brian Sessions

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