Page 2, The Loafer • June 3, 2014
June 3, 2014 • The Loafer, Page 3
Volume 28 Issue #26
June 6-8, 2014 Publisher - Bill Williams • Editor/Graphic Arts Director - Don Sprinkle • Office Manager - Luci Tate Cover Design - Bill May • Photography - Mark Marquette Advertising - Dave Carter, Akey Kincaid, Terry Patterson Contributing Staff - Jim Kelly, Andy Ross, Ken Silvers, Mark Marquette, Pat Bussard Published by Tree Street Media, LLC., P.O. Box 3238, Johnson City, TN 37602 Phone: 423/283-4324 FAX - 423/283-4369 www.theloaferonline.com • email@example.com e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (editorial) email@example.com (advertising All advertisements are accepted and published by the publisher upon the representation that the agency and/or advertiser is authorized to publish the entire contents and subject matter thereof.The agency and/or advertiser will indemnify and save the publisher harmless from any loss of expense resulting from claims or suits based upon contents of any advertisement,including claims or suits for defamation,libel,right of privacy,plagiarism,and copyright infringement.
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Pictures from Blue Plum Festival 2013 The Blue Plum, the Tri Cities largest free, three day festival is gearing up for a wonderful weekend and is celebrating its 15th year. Music, arts and crafts, a fast 5K, bicycle criterium, activities for kids of all ages, storytelling, craft beer tent and so much more will happen during the festival held in downtown Johnson City on June 6, 7 and 8. Holston Distributing and Bud Light are back as Main Sponsor for the Festival. “We have been a part of the festival for many years and are thrilled to once again be the Main Sponsor,” said Frank Wood, President of Holston Distributing. “Our goal is to provide resources to the Friends of Olde Downtowne that will ensure a safe and responsible festival.” Holston will be offering its Sober Ride program during the festival hours. Bartenders will have vouchers for $10 dab rides for those who have over consumed during the festival. “We have worked with the bar owners and the police in encouraging a zero tolerance for underage drinking and responsible drinking for those who are of age.” This year’s festival will feature three stages: the Fountain Square Stage, the Southern Stage and the Jazz Stage. The Fountain Square Stage will offer wonderful Americana music by David Bromberg Band and Humming House on Friday night and Bill Kirchen Band and Jeff Austin Band on Saturday night. Musicians featured on the Southern Stage include Squash Blossoms, Malcolm Holcombe and Josh Oliver. Sending out smooth jazz music from the Jazz Stage,
sponsored by ETSU, is Moment’s Notice, Rich Willey and The Carolina Jazz Quartet and featuring local fan favorites, Greyscale from ETSU and the New York All-Stars with The Jazz Doctors. The Blue Plum Revival stage will feature local acts on Sunday. All artists and the scheduled times are listed on the website, www.blueplum.org Several new events are being added to the Festival in celebration of the 15th Anniversary. On Saturday, we will celebrate one of the region’s gems, the ETSU Storytelling Program will bring artists to the Majestic Stage to tell tall tales and spin yarns. Storytelling runs from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Also new for 2014, is the Blue Hop Brew-HaHa on Saturday from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. This event is for Craft Beer lovers, for a $20 ticket, you can sample 20 craft beers, featuring Holston River and Breen Man Breweries, among others. Tickets are limited and can be purchased at bluehopbrewhaha.com. This special event is sponsored by Holston Distributing and People’s Community Bank. Popular events returning to the festival include the Blue Plum Fast 5K Run/Walk called Dress Up for Downtown, where folks will be encouraged to wear their most creative interpretation of formal and prom running fashions. This new course begins downtown at the Lady of the Fountain; it will get your heart pumping on an early, smooth incline before tuning on to the Tree Streets and ending back at the Fountain Square. Online registration is available on the website. Sponsored by Cherokee Distrib-
uting and Blue Lizard Sunscreen. Runners and walkers don your tutus, tuxes and ballgowns there will be prizes for the best formal attire. The Blue Plum Playhouse, where kids and their parents will have an opportunity for free fun play is open during the day on Friday from 11-3 and Saturday, 11-4 pm. The Playhouse, in Munsey Church’s parking lot, is outside the alcohol zone and provides lots of activity for preschool and elementary aged children. Urban Art Throw Down, now in its 4th
www.theloaferonline.com year, featuring amazing artwork by aerosol graffiti artists will be on Roan Street and the Animation Festival gives you a chance to sit indoors and enjoy some great short features. Arts and Craft booths will line Main and Roan Streets, some wonderful and unique artists are scheduled. The Food Court is a foodies delight! The Food Court coordinator looks for unique festival food and this year will be bringing in items such as bacon pops, smoked Gouda mac n’cheese, veggie kabobs, Hungarian sausage and delectable ice cream sandwiches. Of course, all your favorite festival food will be there as well. Festivities continue on Sunday with the Omnium Criterium Bike Race sponsored by Franklin Woods Community Hospital, with amateur categories beginning at 8 am the professional race is at 2:30 pm. Music, food court and arts and crafts will still be available during the bike race. The area’s largest, free festival could not happen without the help of volunteers. Area civic, church and non-profit groups as well as
June 3, 2014 • The Loafer, Page 5 individuals are encouraged to volunteer to help in many capacities. During the festival, volunteers are used to help at the information tents, in several events as support, and at the merchandise tents. To find out more about volunteer opportunities, go to blueplum.org. It takes hundreds of volunteers working together to put on the festival and the Blue Plum Planning Team is always willing to have others join in. Contrary to popular belief, the Blue Plum Festival is not a festival celebrating a fruit. The name, Blue Plum, is in honor of the 1800’s rural post office serving an area in East Tennessee that would become known as Johnson City. It has grown considerably over the years since its beginnings as a street fair. Celebrating our 15th Anniversary this year, the Friends of Olde Downtowne are excited to welcome back old friends and introduce our festival goers to some new experiences as well. For more information about the festival, go to blueplum.org or email blueplumdirector@gmail. com.
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Blue Plum means
GREAT MUSIC Ask Ed Snodderly about his choice of why the bands that have been booked for Blue Plum are on the schedule and you will get several answers. One, he chooses acts that will appeal to a wide array of people offering several different music styles; two, he chooses musicians that play to entertain; and three, he wants the public to get to know regional musicians that are known nationally. The Fountain Square Stage, sponsored by Holston Distributing and Bud Light, will have artists beginning at 4:30 pm Friday until 11:00 pm and Saturday from 11:45 am to 11:00 pm. Hitting the Fountain Square Stage this year are artists that might be unfamiliar but once they begin playing, festival goers are gonna be saying, “oh, I recognize him now!” David Bromberg, formerly of The Band and having played with Bob Dylan, will entertain with guitar, mandolin and fiddles, as well as all the other instruments his band brings along. John Cowan has been touring with the Doobie Brothers, so he will play a variety of tunes from courtry, bluegrass, soul and rock and roll, and the question is out, who he will bring along with him? Saturday night artist Bill Kirchen is known as “A Titan of the Telecaster” by Guitar Player
Hillbilly Bad - Saturday, June 7th -Southern Stage Magazine, he celebrates an American musical tradition where rock ‘n’roll and country draws upon its origin in blues and bluegrass. Jeff Austin of Younder Mountain String Band, will hit the stage with the improvisation that his fleet fingers are known for. “My goal has been to introduce the Blue Plum audience to musicians they may not be familiar with, but will come away being a fan, says Snodderly. “I want to promote and nurture both regional and national acts, we have some great talent in our region, who travel nationally, let’s give
them the chance to play for their neighbors.” The Southern Stage, sponsored by WETS and Bristol Motor Speeedway, will provide a venue for some artists who have local roots, and true to the name, play music with a southern tone. Artists begin on the Southern Stage at 5:15 pm on Friday and 12:30 pm on Saturday. The Jazz Stage, sponsored by ETSU, Time and Pay and Johnson City Federal Credit Union, will begin at 5:30 pm on Friday and 3:00 pm on Saturday. Jazz fans will enjoy hearing from familiar regional artists as well as from musicians Joe Carello, Frank Grosso and Joe Colombo. “The Blue Plum is a festival unlike any others in our region, we offer a multitude of music that falls under the umbrella of Americana, said Dianna Cantler, media chair. “We promise you will enjoy a time of toe tapping and some musicians will make you want to get up and dance, and if you feel the desire to do a bit of swing dancing, our streets are open for you!” The Blue Plum Festival runs June 6-8, with three music stages and arts and crafts, as well as multiple events throughout the three day weekend. For more information about the festival, go to blueplum.org.
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Grandfather Mountain welcomes iconic rhododendron blooms
The vivid fuchsia blooms of the Catawba rhododendron are beginning to emerge at Grandfather Mountain in Linville, revealing a spectacular annual show sure to impress even the most seasoned observer. “Out of all the diversity we have here on the Mountain — numerous trees, all the wildflowers — this set of shrubs in the heath family are the gems of the Mountain,” said Naturalist Mickey Shortt Jr. “They are the showiest, the brightest, the ones that we turn our heads to look back at.” To showcase and describe the beauty and significance of the plant, Grandfather Mountain will host the Remarkable Rhododendron Ramble from June 1-16. These short, guided strolls held at 1 p.m. daily allow visitors to observe the ostentatious blooms and learn from naturalists about their history, characteristics and roles they play in the Mountain’s ecological communities. The programs are free with the cost of admission. The Catawba rhododendron (Rhododendron catawbiense) has leathery, dark green leaves that are generally broader and shorter than other rhododendron varieties, and the flowers bloom in flashy tones of lilac and magenta. The species was first named and catalogued by French explorer André Michaux in the late 1700s. While the Catawba rhododendron is the leading act, the mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) and flame azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum) will quickly join the procession of shrubs blooming on the Mountain. Visitors also will be able to see the white to creamypink flowers of the rosebay rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum) in late June and into July. Some rhododendrons are already blooming at lower elevations on the Mountain. “The Catawba rhododendron blooming seems to be a little earlier than last year,” Shortt said. “The bloom show is getting underway.” But the wide range of elevation
The Catawba rhododendron blooms annually in flashy tones of lilac and magenta. Helen Moss Davis | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. available on Grandfather Mountain — a nearly 1,000-foot change from base to peak — provides viewers with a longer window of opportunity to see the rhododendron in bloom. The attraction is now operating under its extended summer hours from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation established to preserve Grandfather Mountain, operate the nature park in the public interest and participate in educational research activities. For more information, call 800-468-7325 or plan a trip at www. grandfather.com.
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Boggs & Baker Two Girls from Pound to Perform on Song of the Mountains
Two wonderfully talented ladies from the little town of Pound, Virginia will be in concert on Saturday, June 7th at the Lincoln Theatre in Marion, Virginia for Song of the Mountains. Reagan Boggs will perform with her band as will Kaitlyn Baker and her fine group. “I think it is amazing that both these young ladies are so talented and both are from the same little town of Pound, Virginia in the coalfields of Southwestern Virginia”, says Tim White the host and executive coordinator of the award winning nationally televised concert series. “Both of these ladies have recently
signed recording contracts with record labels and we are so glad to have them on Song of the Mountains on the same night”, says White. Boggs has several recordings to her credit with her most recent CD titled “Quicksand”. The “quicksand” theme resonates throughout the 13 songs on the album, revealing a raw side that crosses a range of emotions from insecurity, hopelessness, loss and revelation. With her rich voice, she strips bare stark realities, feelings and situations that trap people in jobs, places and relationships.
Boggs again teams with producer / engineer Eric Fritsch (Sheryl Crow, Scott Miller) of Eastwood Studios in Nashville, TN. Quicksand features an array of talented musicians including Fritsch providing multiple parts, Dave Coleman of The Coal Men singing and playing steel guitar on the duet “You Deserve Better.” Singer-songwriter Kaitlyn Baker’s music reflects the beauty of the Cumberland Mountains and the ruggedness of the coal-mining culture in which she was raised. “My father and grandfather used to work in the coal mines,” she says. “People would gather around the town hall and play bluegrass music. I grew up listening to old rock and gospel. I feel as if all those things combined to give me a bluesy, country-rock style that’s a little sassy.” This native of Pound, Virginia
has co-written songs with established Nashville songwriters and has opened for such artists as Billy Currington, Doug Stone, Sawyer Brown, Rhonda Vincent, Sammy Kershaw, Brett Eldredge and Josh
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Continued from previous page Gracin. With three self-produced albums behind her, Kaitlyn recently signed with Silvercreek Records in Nashville and plans to release her debut album on that label this summer, through Sony/RED. Also on Song of the Mountains in Marion, Virginia on June 7th see and hear the fine bluegrass sounds of Mark Templeton and Pocket Change. Mark Templeton grew up in a musical family where he learned to pick and sing the “Blue Ridge Mountain” way. Throughout a career spanning more than 35 years and over 20 albums later, Mark continues to entertain crowds in the traditional Mountain bluegrass way. Mark’s program includes a variety of musical styles, celebrating the finest Appalachian roots music. He is an exciting entertainer and thrills the audience with his incredible musicianship, particularly when he “Lets one go” on the banjo. Mark has recorded for Sonshine Records, QCA, ACA Records and is currently recording under the Homeland Records brand. Rounding out the concert will
Kaitlyn Baker - Photo credit: Paula Rowe be the Rose Sisters and Friends. The Rose Sisters, Jamie Collins and Karla Diller, have been playing in the southwest Virginia and Tri-cities area for the past three years. The girls released an album, America, in 2013 and have enjoyed playing music across the country; from Jamie’s homelands of the Appalachian Mountains to Karla’s journey back to the Rockies. Jamie, from Bristol TN, has
been around music her whole life. At age seventeen she struck the string of an upright bass and has yet to put it down. Jamie met Karla at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City TN in the Old Time, Bluegrass and Country Music Program in 2007 and graduated with a Bachelor’s
degree in Education in December 2012. Karla grew up performing in Colorado and Wyoming. From theatre to bluegrass, she made her way to East Tennessee to partake in Appalachian Old Time tunes. She has never stopped her pursuit to experience and share music with as many people as possible and looks forward to the notes to come. Meade Richter (fiddle) from Boone NC, Jamie’s father Tony Collins (guitar) and her brother Blake Collins (mandolin) shall be performing with The Rose Sisters. Each brings such a unique and tasty style to the tunes, it is just hard not to sit back and have fun! The most important idea this group wants to share is bringing everyone together to share in good company, music, and memories. The Song of the Mountains concert and taping on June 7th will begin at 7:00 pm at the Lincoln Theatre in Marion, VA. Tickets and information is available at www. songofthemountains.org or by
calling 276-783-6093. Tickets are $ 25 reserved seating. The concert series is underwritten by the Town of Marion, VA, the Ellis Family Foundation including the General Francis Marion Hotel, Bank of Marion, Morehead State University, Emory and Henry College and Blue Ridge Country 98.1 WBRF Radio. Song of the Mountain/Lincoln Theatre is a nonprofit organization.
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Border Bash to host
Motel Rodeo and Todd Day Wait’s Pigpen! Set in Historic Downtown Bristol, Border Bash continues on Friday June 6, 2014 in the 600 block of State Street. The evening’s events will start with children’s activities, crafters, and concessions at 6PM. Live mu-
sic begins at 7:00PM with Motel Rodeo followed up by Todd Day Wait’s Pigpen around 8:30PM. As always, Border Bash is free to the public!
Motel Rodeo: Conceived outside the classrooms of East Tennessee State University’s Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies program, Motel Rodeo draws heavily from curriculum coupled with personal taste, and delivers their sound in a lively, energetic manner. The band has spent a great amount of time developing their craft, creating a unique sound deeply rooted in the traditions of early country. A Motel Rodeo performance is sure to deliver high energy, foot stompin’ music with tight vocal harmonies accompanied by pedal steel, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, and guitar. For information can be found at www. reverbnation.com/motelrodeo.
Todd Day Wait’s Pigpen: In 2009, Todd Day Wait put everything he owned on the curb of his home in Columbia, Missouri, and started what would become a seemingly never-ending cross-county voyage. Traveling in a vegetable oil-powered shuttle bus, he headed out to California by way of the Rocky Mountains, and ended up in New Orleans. Along the way, he found collaborators where he could, picking up one line-up for a few states and rotating regionally. Relying on each musician’s various strengths, Wait adapted his music to suit them, shifting genres as he did states. For more information please visit http:// tdwpigpen.com/. “Border Bash is always a great night, and a wonderful way to get a sneak preview of some of the fantastic bands that will be playing at Rhythm & Roots later this year,” said René Rodgers, Associate Director of Believe
in Bristol. “This summer concert series is a real celebration of music, and by setting these concerts in our historic downtown, it’s always a lively and fun atmosphere. There’s sure to be something for everyone!”
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“TREAD ON THIS”
First Phase Bike Silhouette Art Project TWO-phase juried public art projects: First phase: Temporary Bike silhouette art project to be produced in 2014 Second phase: Permanent Bike-inspired public art project for South Side Neighborhood (a.k.a The Tree Streets) - production 2015 The bike silhouette art project a “temporary” juried work is the first phase of a two-phase public art project plan that will be produced and displayed in Johnson City throughout 2014. The second phase, slated for 2015 - preferably placed on city property - is a permanent bike-inspired public art piece designated for The Tree Streets Neighborhood. “I’ve been asked ‘why choose a bike for the art project?. Bicycles serve as a reminder that we all have shared experiences, through biking, regardless of our unique cultural, racial, generational, economic and gender backgrounds,” said Virginia Buda, Arts Or- ganizer and Founder of Artlandia - a grass roots developing online arts organization. There are 10 bike art silhouettes, approximately 5.5’w x 3.3’h in size, that have been cut out of 3/4” treated plywood for local and/or regional artists to produce work on. A prototype of the bike is displayed in downtown Johnson City at Nelson Fine Art Cen- ter,
324 East Main Street. The first bike silhouette artist chosen by the jury was Isaac Knicley (last name pro- nounced “Nicely). His concept is a “punkit” vision where he will illustrate work, scan it and vinyl wrap the bike. All bikes must include at least one original bike piece. Knicely’s bike silhouette project, the first of 10 bikes, will be displayed at Nelson Fine Art Center during the first weekend of Blue
Plum, June 6, 7 and 8th. Local and regional artists interested in applying for the bike silhouette project can request an application by contacting Virginia Buda at facebook: artlandiajc or firstname.lastname@example.org or call/ text 423-833-8474. The application deadline to submit visual concepts is June 16, 2014 with the goal of having all bike silhouettes completed by July 30th.
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Wayne Henderson and Friends
Saturday, June 7th @ the Carter Family Fold Saturday, June 7th, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert by an old time band - Wayne Henderson and Friends. Performing with Wayne will be Jeff Little, piano player extraordinaire. Concert admission is $10 for adults, $1 for children 6 to 11, under age 6 free. Wayne Henderson’s top-notch finger-picking is a source of great pleasure and pride to his friends, family, and neighbors in Grayson County, Virginia. His guitar playing has also been enjoyed at Carnegie Hall, in three national tours of Masters of the Steel-String Guitar, and in seven nations in Asia. In addition to his reputation as a guitarist, Henderson is a luthier of great renown. He is a recipient of a 1995 National Heritage Award presented by the National Endowment for the Arts. He produces about twenty instruments a year, mostly guitars; he is almost as well-known for the mandolins he has made. Doc Watson owned a Henderson mandolin. Some of Henderson’s instruments are intricately decorated, but they are most respected for their volume, tone, and resonance. Blues guitarist John Cephas said that Wayne Henderson “is probably the most masterful guitar maker in this whole United States.” There is a waiting list for Henderson’s guitars made up of the “famous (and not-sofamous).” He built a custom guitar for Eric Clapton. Above and beyond his great talents as a musician and instrument maker, Wayne Henderson is known as a “friend to everyone” and shares his talents and knowledge unselfishly. Hotshot rockabilly pianist Jeff Little comes from Boone, North Carolina, in the heart of the Blue Ridge, where he grew up surrounded by music. Jeff began to
www.theloaferonline.com Continued from previous page play piano at age five. His family owned a music store, and musicians of all persuasions dropped by to play a few tunes with the kid, which helps account for Jeff’s mastery of a range of styles. But Jeff’s critical influence was Appalachian singer and guitarist Doc Watson, a neighbor and close family friend. His uncompromising approach helped shape Jeff’s approach to music. Known as a keeper of deep Appalachian traditions, Watson was a rockabilly guitarist when he began visiting Little’s Music Store in Boone to play a few tunes with his young friend. Today Jeff Little is still conversant with a range of music, but finds his greatest joy in performing two styles that were hot when he was growing up in the music store – rockabilly and traditional Appalachian music. An astounding performer in the rockabilly genre, he obviously owes some inspiration to Jerry Lee Lewis. “Oh sure, you had to know some Jerry Lee when I was coming up. His tunes would buy you a burger; you didn’t have to live on peanuts. But even back then I never did get to thinking I was Jerry Lee. I kept a lot of me in my music.” Jeff Little’s approach to the music of his native Blue Ridge is based upon the traditional dance of the area and a regional piano style. Made famous by Al Hopkins of The
June 3, 2014 • The Loafer, Page 13 Bucklebusters on 1920s Brunswik recordings, the piano style was also performed by Woodie Blevins and others. Hopkins lived at Gap Creek, between the ancestral homes of Doc’s and Jeff’s families. But there is also an echo of more contemporary mountain tradition in Jeff’s performance. His lead solos, much influenced by the flat-pick guitar tradition, are breathtaking in their speed, precision and clarity. They tell that he learned much from Doc Watson. Rounding out Wayne’s group of friends accompanying him will be Helen White on fiddle and guitar, Greg Cornett on banjo and vocals, and Herb Key on bass. For one of the best nights of old time music you can imagine, don’t miss Wayne Henderson and Friends with Jeff Little. Be sure to bring along your dancing shoes – and your friends! Shows from the Carter Family Fold can be accessed on the internet at http://www. carterfoldshow.com. Carter Music Center is part of the Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. You can visit the Crooked Road Music Trail site at http://thecrookedroad.org. Partial funding for programs at the center is provided by the Virginia Commission for the Arts the National Endowment for the Arts. For recorded information on shows coming up at the Fold, call 276-386-6054.
‘Salute to America’
Event at Kingsport Goodwill! The Goodwill Industries of Tenneva retail store in Kingsport, Tennessee is hosting its annual customer appreciation event, themed as a Salute to America! On June 6, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., the Green Acres Goodwill, located at 1185 N. Eastman Rd, will hold a tent sale featuring items 75 percent off and a 50 percent off blue tag sale! The Green Acres Goodwill employees will dress the part, wearing red, white and blue clothing. The retail store will be decorated with stars, banners and military memorabilia with a local DJ spinning some tunes for the shoppers! The tent sale will feature various items such as clothing, housewares,
children’s toys, and accessories, all at 75 percent off. Beverages and snacks will be provided and there will be door prize give aways all day! If patrons cannot attend this customer appreciation sale, the next one will be at the Richlands Goodwill retail store located at 2510 South Front St, Richlands, Virginia on June 13. The proceeds from the retail stores funds Goodwill Industries of Tenneva’s employment services and vocational programs for people with barriers to employment. For more information, please call the Marketing Department at 423.245.0600.
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“From Country to the King” at the Renaissance Center in Kingsport R&M Tribute Entertainment and TCB Shows return to Kingsport to present “From Country to the King” at the Renaissance Center in Kingsport, Tennessee on Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 7:00 PM. Admission is $15.00 per person. Reserved seating is available by contacting Missy Miller (865) 684-6082/ email@example.com or Carole Polk (205) firstname.lastname@example.org (credit/debit cards are accepted). The show will feature Terry Turner as Jerry Lee, Conway Twitty and Willie Nelson. Ronnie Miller will perform as Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard. Both Ronnie Miller & Terry Turner will perform a ’70s era concert stage style tribute to the King of Rock n Roll – “Elvis Presley”. Location for the event is the Kingsport Renaissance Center, 1200 East Center Street, Kingsport, TN 37660. The Kingsport Renaissance Center is a facility which serves the community as a center for the arts and senior citizen’s activities, and as a facility for business meetings, parties, receptions, classes, showers, and day long seminars with breakout rooms. It is managed by the City of Kingsport’s Cultural Services Division as part of Parks and Recreation. The facility includes a 350-seat theatre, three-story sky lit atrium, art gallery, gymnasium, meeting rooms and offices.
Terry Turner is from Lincoln, AL and Ronnie Miller is from Maryville, TN. Terry Turner is the Alabama Ambassador for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis, TN. A portion of the proceeds from this show will be donated to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. For more information or to reserve seats contact Missy Miller at (865) 684-6082 or Carole Polk at (205) 567-2556.
Margaret Gregg Exhibition
continues Through June in the Virgie R. Fleenor Art Gallery The beautiful, thought provoking fiber and mixed media exhibition by artist Margaret Gregg continues in the Virgie R. Fleenor Art Gallery at the Bristol Public Library. As the only free public art gallery in Bristol, the Fleenor Gallery and the Library seek to offer regional artists a venue to display their works. Gregg, an Abingdon resident, has titled her exhibition “Retric,” which is the combining of the words “retro” and “eclectic,” and the exhibition brings to the Fleenor Gallery some different aspects of artistic expression. When asked about the unique aspects of her works, Gregg says, “Over the years, I’ve worked in theatre, film and video, painting, silk screen printing, sculpture, textile constructions, mixed media, installations, layout and design. Each of these experiences opens up new areas of exploration. Sculpture, silk screen, and textile construction influenced theatre projects. Layout and de-
sign influenced film and video. Each media awakened limits that provoked me to seek help and technical support and be more inventive.” Gregg’s exhibition has been very popular with a large number of patrons enjoying it. “I like to watch people in the Gallery ‘oh’ and ‘ah’ over the gorgeous silk quilts. Then they come to one of the mixed media works and you can see them take a step back, tilt their heads to the side, and look at the works in a whole new way, “ says patron Nancy Adams of Bristol. “I like the way it makes people think.” The exhibition will hang through June 28th. As the only free public art gallery in Bristol, the Fleenor Gallery seeks to offer regional artists a venue to display their works. This is in keeping with the Bristol Public Library’s mission of “Expanding Minds, Building Community.”
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Tipton-Haynes State Historic Site celebrates: 1864
You are invited to TiptonHaynes as the site presents “Springtime in Haynesville: 1864” on Saturday, June 7th from 10am till 3pm. Starting in 2009 (or 1859), Tipton-Haynes has showcased the Haynes family experiences of the Civil War by celebrating the 150th anniversary of that costly war. With the first of two celebrations for 2014, “Springtime in Haynesville: 1864” will allow the entire family the chance to enjoy the day and learn about the Haynes family and the Civil War. Join us in the historic parlor of the Haynes family and enjoy the timeless songs of Stephen Foster (1826-1864). Foster was an American composer of 286 musical works that were popularized before and during the Civil War. His music embodies the social and emotional tones of American life during the mid 1800s, as well as transcending into our own today. Come and sing some Foster favorites such as “Beautiful Dreamer,” “Nelly Was a Lady,” “Oh Susannah,” “Old Folks at Home,” and many more. Several Civil War reenactors will be encamped on site for visitors to learn about camp life of the com-
mon soldier. The reenactors will also be displaying the several uniforms of Confederate and Union soldiers. If you think that it was simply the blue vs. the gray, then come and learn the truth about the variety of uniforms that both sides wore. There will also be infantry and artillery demonstrations and firing. Come out and smell and taste period food cooked over an open hearth. Discover the rich history of Tipton-Haynes as you examine the site’s eleven historic structures. Explore the cave and feel its cool air on a warm June day. Also, take a relaxing stroll along the site’s quarter mile nature trail. Admission for the “Springtime in Haynesville: 1864” will be adults $4, children $1.50, and members are free. For more information call 423-926-3631 or email tiptonhaynes@embarqmail. com. Tipton-Haynes State Historic Site is located at 2620 South Roan Street in Johnson City. Bring a picnic and come and enjoy the day on June 7th as we celebrate the year’s first of two events for the Civil War Sesquicentennial.
Have an event coming up? Email a press release and photos to: email@example.com
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Mars Red Ruby of the Night
The word brings to mind all the mystery and imagination by humans. Since ancestral man began paying attention to the five wandering stars that moved among the fixed star patterns, Mars has beckoned. Tonight and all through the Summer of 2014, Mars beholds your attention with just a look to the south when twilight descends. Far from its red brilliance when it was opposite Earth in April, Mars is still a ruby red eye-catcher in the Summer darkness. Watch Mars move against the backdrop of stars during the next months by checking its relationship to the bright, white star Spica, both celestial objects in the sprawling lady of the night, Virgo the Virgin. When you look at Mars, you’re looking at the one celestial object that has inspired more science fiction and questions of science facts than any other stargazing sight. Sure, plenty has been written about the Moon, but it is Mars where the hope of life has tantalized the writers of books, movies and documentaries. Everyone probably has a favorite Mars movies (mine being “War of the Worlds” 1953 and “Red Planet” 2000) and maybe a science fiction or fact book (again, my favs are “Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert Heinlein and “Mars 3-D” by Jim Bell). Just 100 years ago, a Boston aristocrat with
eccentric ways, Percival Lowell, was enjoying the afterglow of his three best sellers: “Mars” (1895), “Mars and Its Canals” (1895) and “Mars As the Abode of Life” (1908). Lowell, who built his observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz. and later began the search for Planet X, aka Pluto, is responsible for popularizing the popular notion that Mars had a dying civilization calling to Earth for help. That was the inspiration for H.G. Wells and his Earth invasion by Martians in “War of the Worlds.” Mars is the only planet that we see the surface, easy to do with even a small, backyard telescope when the Red Planet is at opposition every two years. The white polar caps and dark, angular markings are apparent against the orange-red of the assumed deserts. Until the Space Age began in the 1960s, the exact nature of the dark markings was unknown. Details in large, professional telescopes were often best seen with the naked eye instead of photography because of limits of the films being used and unsteady atmosphere of Earth. Yet hundreds of features were recorded and given exotic names from Martian mythology, like Elysium, Sineus Sabous, Hellus and Syrtis Major. Authors have continually imagined Mars as an abode for life—if only the visiting astronaut. Edgar Rice Burrough’s se-
ries of planet Barsoom and hero John Carter is legendary; as are the terraforming concept books of Kim Stanley Robinson: “Red Mars” (1993), “Green Mars” (1994) and “Blue Mars” (1996). A friend called me just the other day to ask if I’d read a new best seller, “The Martian” by Andy Weir, which he plowed through in a couple sittings—then re-read it! It’s on my list, and debuted 12th on the New York Times Best Selling Fiction list. And the movies are filled with Martian drama and comedy, from the 1964 “Robinson Crusoe on Mars” to the comedy “Mars Attacks” (1996). The movie rights to “The Martian” have been bought and Hollywood will soon bring us the story of an astronaut stranded alone on the Red Planet. The fascination with Mars is timeless. The first Martian surface feature was sketched by Dutch Astronomer Christiaan Huygens in 1659, the triangular patch called Syrtis Major. This feature was rediscovered in the 1970s to be a plateau of a shield volcano form billions of years ago. With the 21st Century invasion of Mars by American spacecraft that are in orbit and crawling on the surface, the real Mars is just as fascinating and mysterious as anything written in fiction—minus the aliens, of course. Many people are surprised that Mars is half the size of Earth at just 4,200 miles wide. It is a cold world, and without a protective, thick atmosphere and shield of a magnetic system, the surface is bombarded by damaging ultraviolet rays of the Sun and cosmic rays of the Universe. Mars is more like Antarctica, super cold, yet windy with sand being blown around everywhere. There are eight huge volcanoes larger than anything on Earth that once belched ash around the planet. The iron dust rusted from moisture in the air, and everything on Mars is coated with it. NASA’s rovers have a brush to scrape off
the paper-thin layer of rusted volcano ash—giving the Red Planet its name since antiquity. Looking up at Mars in the Summer of 2014 is an amazing time. With two American rovers, two NASA orbiters, and a European robot in orbit, never has so much data on one planet been accumulated with such continuity—the satellites watching the Earth an obvious exception. We know Mars had a watery past with a hemisphere covered with oceans. The huge volcanoes dormant for maybe 3 billion years (we think?) must have created a vast network of tube caves. The protection of caves from the harsh space environment sterilizing the Martian surface could allow all kinds of life to flourish. And there is plenty of evidence of underground water seeping to the surface, not to mention the billions of gallons of water frozen at the poles and buried just a few feet beneath the surface. There is no rain on Mars, but the polar lander Phoenix detected snow in the atmosphere that didn’t reach the ground. Another discovery of the 1998 stationary lander was the melting of ice in front of the cameras—sublimating from solid water to a gas without taking liquid form. Yet, Mars is a lot like Earth—more so, of course, than any other world in the Solar System. There are clouds and dust devils that have left squiggly lines in the deserts (and cleaned off solar panels on rovers). Evidence of flowing water is everywhere, from tapered islands in ancient rivers to pebbles in a dry creek that was in the path of NASA’s latest billion-dollar rover, Curiosity. The imagery of Mars from the surface and orbit is astounding. So alien in form and style that a display of Martian space art is on display through September 14 at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. The surface of Mars has rocks like
Earth. Of course there’s lots of vesicular basalt from volcanoes. Breccias from water sediments are also easy to find. And there is rocky andesite, volcanic sulfur and hematite that have rolled up in millions of balls the size of blueberries across the Meridinia plains that Mars rover Spirit in its amazing eight year trek. It’s true that the surface of Mars can get a warm as 60 degrees F. on a hot summer day. But the thin atmosphere doesn’t hold the heat well, so at your knees it might be 40 degrees and at the top of your head six feet off the ground it’s only 20 degrees or less! The thermal changes might pose problems for large structures, though six landers have operated within their limits designed by spacecraft engineers. Martians are big our minds, and though we know they won’t be waving at us, all the evidence to support life has been discovered by American robots. It might take astronaut cave explorers to turn over a rock and see the first alien cockroaches scatter. So there’s plenty to think about when looking at Mars in our Summer evenings this 2014. Let your mind go wild and join some great thinkers who have brought us both Martian fact and fiction.
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Page 18, The Loafer • June 3, 2014
Skies This Week Celestial events in the skies for the week of June 3rd - June 9th, 2014, as compiled for The Loafer by Mark D. Marquette. Summer is officially three weeks away, and we are already experiencing the benefits of extended daylight to enjoy our outdoor activities. The Moon makes a big impression this week as it is First Quarter heading to the full phase next week. The Moon makes a low arc across the southern Zodiac, tinting the globe with golden light as it filters through the Earth’s atmosphere. This honey colored Moon might be responsible for the social term “honeymoon” for the frolicking nights of newlyweds married in the popular month of June.
Tues. June 3
Mercury is in the feet of Gemini and visible from about 9:20-9:50 pm this week in the west twilight. And Jupiter is also setting close to the Sun, Castor and Pollux right behind. But Mars in Virgo and Saturn in Libra are visible through most of the night.
Wed. June 4
The crescent Moon is below the star Regulus, the heart of Leo. The Lion is dipping toward the western horizon, relinquishing its Spring dominance to the Summer Milky Way.
Thurs. June 5
First Quarter Moon is tonight when the globe, our Earth and Sun make a perfect right angle with each other at exactly 8:40 pm. In a pair of binoculars the Moon is beautiful, and in any telescope, the detail of craters and mountains is breathtaking.
Fri. June 6
Happy 82nd birthday to Apollo 15 moonwalker David Scott. He no doubt will look at the Moon this week and think of his lunar journey with James Irwin, deceased. They rode the first Lunar Rover next to the edge of an ancient lava river and Hadley Mountains in July 1971.
Sat. June 7
The Moon is below Mars in Virgo, and tomorrow night it will be beside Spica. That approximate 12
degrees distance is what the Moon zon. The predawn skies are those travels each day eastward as it or- of early Autumn nights, with the bits Earth at 2,120 mph. Milky Way spanning beautifully overhead toward the west. Sun. June 8 The liftoff of the Soyuz TMA13M spacecraft May 28 from the Russian Spaceport at Kazakstan sent to the International Space Station NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman, cosmonaut and Soyuz Commander Max Suraev of Roscosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency, and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Alexander Gerst. Welcoming their Expedition 40 team members were ISS Commander Steve Swanson of NASA and Flight Engineers Oleg Artemyev and Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos, who have been aboard the orbiting complex since March 27. Check NASA or SpaceWeather on the Internet for times when the ISS passes overhead.
Mon. June 9
Don’t forget the morning skies, where the planet Venus rises two hours before the 6:15 am sunrise, drawing eyes to the eastern hori-
Fossil dig planned for
Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of East Tennessee will be digging for fossils with East Tennessee State University paleontologist Dr. Steven Wallace on Saturday, June 7, at the ETSU and General Shale Natural History Museum and Visitor Center at the Gray Fossil Site. Wallace has been involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters since he was 8 years old and matched with big brother Jim Funk. He credits the program with giving him needed support throughout his childhood and encouraging him to attend college. He and his “big,” as they are called in the program, bonded over fishing trips and construction projects. Over 30 years later, the two still keep in touch, and even take family vacations together. “Big Brothers Big Sisters has made a huge impact on my life,” Wallace said. “Just through the activities that Jim and I participated in together, he encouraged me to go to school and pursue my dream career. This is a great opportunity for me to give back to the program and share my BBBS story, while also sharing my love of paleontology with people who might not otherwise be able to dig on an active fossil site.” Wallace will lead the excavations, and his “big” will be there as well. Anyone involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters is encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity for a fun activity to enjoy with their match. Two sessions will be offered. The first session begins at 9 a.m. and the second session begins at 2 p.m. Spots are limited, and reservations are required. For reservations or more information, call (423) 439-3661. For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at (423) 439-8346.
June 3, 2014 • The Loafer, Page 19
Page 20, The Loafer • June 3, 2014
Jonesborough Welcomes Storyteller
Tim Lowry Raised as the son of a Baptist preacher, Tim Lowry considers himself something of an expert on good funeral food. A professional storyteller, Lowry’s latest collection of tales is a lighthearted look at Southern funeral and burial customs, including a helpful breakdown of postfuneral repasts by denomination. “Episcopalians, that’s high church, so they have very fine homemade heirloom recipe food,” Lowry says. “The Methodists tend to cook in casseroles. They’re good people, but their kitchen pantries look more like arsenals than they
do food shelves with all those canned goods. But let it be said of Methodists they can deliver a casserole within 30 minutes of any bereaving situation.” Lowry’s own demographic, the Baptists, are perhaps lowest on the totem pole, with their tendency to add marshmallows to congealed salads. His advice? “I know you’re going to stop by the Piggly Wiggly and pick up one of those tacky plastic trays with slick ham,” he says. “At least have the dignity to garnish it with a good-quality brown mustard. French’s yellow mustard is for hot dogs.” A guest of the International Storytelling Center’s Storytelling Live! series, Lowry will soon begin a weeklong storytelling residency in Jonesborough. He plans to share
personal stories, folklore, and exciting tales from American history. For a military history buff, Lowry has a surprisingly cheery disposition. He spends a lot of time bringing American wars to life for young audiences in schools. “A little girl said to me one day, ‘Mr. Lowry, when you came to see us in third grade, we did the American Revolution. When you came in fourth grade, we talked about the Civil War. And today you’re telling stories of World War II. Every time you come, people die.’ And we had a good laugh about that.” During his residency, Lowry will offer daily matinees June 10 – 14, Tuesday through Saturday, at 2:00 p.m. in the Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall. Tickets for all matinees are just $12 for adults
June 3, 2014 • The Loafer, Page 21
Tim Lowry --- continued from previous page and $11 for seniors, students, and children under 18. Season passes that offer savings of 44 percent are also available while supplies last. In addition to those daily performances, Lowry will also host a special children’s concert on Saturday, June 14, at 10:30 a.m. Tickets are only $5 for all ages, and ticket holders will receive coupons for 15 percent off at The Lollipop Shop, a popular Main Street store that sells old-fashioned sweets and toys. A hit with audiences during his residency last year, Lowry is excited to return to Jonesborough. “I love the intimate setting,” he says. “It’s thrilling to work in front of a big energetic audience, but it’s a lot of fun to be in that 100-seat theater.”
Information about all TIR performers, as well as a detailed schedule for 2014, is available at www.storytellingcenter.net. Storytelling Live! is supported by Presenting Sponsor CrestPoint Health, program sponsors Eastman Chemical Company and Eastman Credit Union, and media sponsors News 5-WCYB, FOX TriCities, Tri-Cities CW, Johnson City Press, Kingsport Times-News, Herald & Tribune and Cumulus Media. The International Storytelling Center is open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. For more information about Storytelling Live! or to make a group reservation, call (800) 952-8392 ext. 222 or (423) 913-1276.
Step right up folks!
2Ton Gallery’s 2nd Annual
Customer Appreciation Day On June 7, 2014, 2Ton Gallery will be holding their second annual ballyhoo. This is a free event that begins at 4pm Saturday June 7. There will be free games and face painting for kids, live music provided by Tattoo Bruise, free popcorn and icees provided by Beach Hut, prizes and more. The main attraction will be Southern Fried Sideshow featuring sword swallowing, juggling, fire breath-
ing, stilt walking, and much much more! This all ages event is open to the public! Join us at Woodstone Deli for the after party!
Gasp in amazement at wondrous curiosities!
2Ton Tattoo Gallery is located at1308 East Stone Drive in Kingsport, Tn. www.2tongallery.com Follow us on Facebook for more info! 423-288-2866.
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Days of Future Past I have always considered the XMen the step children of the Marvel Comics Universe. Characters like Spider-Man and The Avengers always seem to garner the most attention and are the most mainstream of the Marvel Universe. However, for step children, they sure have appeared in plenty of live-action movies. In case you don’t know anything about the X-Men, they are humans who possess an “X-gene” which normal humans lack, giving them various special powers. The first “X-Men” movie was released in 2000, and is said to have started a new superhero movie wave. Several
movies, and one spin-off later, the mutants are back on the big screen in the new film “X-Men : Days of Future Past.” The plot for the film is taken from an X-Men comic book story-line from the 1980’s, which is apparently an important one for fans of the series. Being a DC comics fan, I wasn’t aware of the significance of said story line, so I had to become informed and educated on the matter. The story is set in the future, the past, and in a bit of the present and involves time travel, a sci-fi favorite. The film opens in the future where all mutants are being exterminated
by robots knows as Sentinels. The extremely strong and adaptable robots are also oppressing humans who harbor the genes that lead to mutant offspring. In the future part of the story, Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) is using her powers to project the consciousness of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back to 1973 so he can deliver a warning to a young Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) in order to prevent Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from killing the creator of the Sentinels. Once Wolverine convinces Professor X to help him find and stop Mystique, the film is off and running. First Wolverine
and company set Magneto (Michael Fassbender) free from a prison cell underneath The Pentagon (!), with the help of Peter Maximoff (Evan Peters) and his super speed. Magneto has been locked up after being accused of assassinating President Kennedy, and is more than ready to help the cause after being freed. The group finally meet up with Mystique at the White House, and a battle ensues. Meanwhile, in the future, the older versions of Magento (Ian McKellen) and Professor X (Patrick Stewart), along with other mutants, including Storm (Halle Berry) are attempting to fight off the attacking
Sentinels. Thus, the film has two exciting battles taking place in the past and the future. The film ends on a pleasant note, with the unpleasant future erased, preparing us for the 2016 sequel. The actors in the film are all wonderful, and I especially enjoyed the performance of McAvoy as the younger Professor X. The special effects are spectacular, and the 3-D (sometimes hit and miss in films) is eye popping. With a compelling story-line and outstanding performances by the actors, “X-Men: Days of Future Past” is easily the best of the X-Men movie series. (Rated PG-13) B+
June 3, 2014 • The Loafer, Page 23
“Contra Dance 101”
A Workshop for Beginners and Contra Dance to follow! The Historic Jonesborough Dance Society will offer a FREE two-hour comprehensive workshop for people interested in learning how to contra dance. This event will be held on Saturday, June 7, 2014 at the Jonesborough Visitors Center, 117 Boone Street from 4:00pm-6:00pm. Leading the workshop will be Warren Doyle from Mountain City, TN. Warren has over 40 years of experience as an educator, contra dancer, dance instructor/caller and dance event organizer. To help maintain, and improve, the overall dancing level in Jonesborough and in the region by discussing, and demonstrating: a) Importance of listening, timing and grace (gentle strength) in dancing b) Barriers common to smooth and joyful movement c) Challenges of creative, individual movement within the collective structure
Family Movie Matinee @ the Library
Jonesborough Library, Tuesday, June 10, 1:00 p.m. Or Gray Library, Tuesday, June 11, 2:00 p.m.
d) Reasons why people contra dance The class/workshop will be relaxed but meaningful with a healthy balance of discussion and dancing. Not only are beginners welcome, but also experienced dancers who wish more in depth training in the art of contra dance. Participants are encouraged to attend the entire session. Adults and children are welcome. No pre-registration is required. Attendees are encouraged to
stay for the evening contra dance with music performed by our Community Open Band led by Dr. Lee Bidgood from ETSU with the dance being called by Warren Doyle. A class for beginners starts at 7:00pm with the dance running from 7:30-10:30pm. Admission is $7, HJDS Members and full time students $5. For further information, contact event organizer, David Wiley at 423-534-8879.
Join us at the Jonesborough Library on Tuesday, June 10, 1:00 p.m., or the Gray Library on Wednesday, June 11, 2:00 p.m., for our Family Movie Matinee. Our film this month features a young boy who rescues a huge robot which has rocketed to earth from space, and tries to protect the genial giant from a nosy government agent and the military.
A captivating animated feature that’s part metal, part magic and all heart! Our show time features free drinks and popcorn. Our Family Movie Matinee is a free event sponsored by the Friends of the Washington County Library. For more information, please call the Jonesborough Library at 753-1800, or the Gray Library at 477-1550.
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June 3, 2014 • The Loafer, Page 25
Tonight on House Hunters
I ask for you indulgence this week, dear readers, as I’d like to present a column with a little different “wording “if you will. If you’ve ever flipped around on the dial of cable TV, you’ve no doubt come across a show on HGTV called “House Hunters.” “House Hunters” is a show in which a young couple tries to find a house together, usually moving out an apartment or a van down by the river. So with your pardon, I’d like to present my representation of this series written out as if it was a stage play. Feel free to put this little scene on in your backyard with friends, bring out your inner “Hey gang! Let’s put on a show!” vibe and have at it! Never seen narrator: Tonight on House Hunters, Dick and Suzy are a newly married couple, ready to take that great leap into owning a house. Let’s hear how they met. Dick: I was doing a keg stand one night in college, and this cute piece of tail caught me when I slipped. Suzy: It was really funny, he smashed his heel into my nose, and we both crashed into a glass coffee table. We bonded while try-
ing to stabilize each other in the ER waiting room. Dick: Our budget is $950,000. Which should buy us a house big enough to for a pool, and a hedge in the front yard shaped like a middle finger. But really, that’s what the house is for anyway. Narrator of all seeing power and judgement on houses: Dick and Suzy have teamed up with realtor, Tina Underwire, to help
them search for their suburban dream home. Tina first takes them to a house in the up and coming “Not Completely Crap” district. We see the couple pull up the home. Tina: Hi, guys! Welcome. This house is 40,000 square feet, has a pool, 5 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, a wine room, and a kill floor under the kitchen! It’s in your range at only $800,000. The couple enter the front room of the house. Dick: Wow! This is really nice. It’s totes everything I’m looking for. Suzy: I hate that staircase! Dick: You’re right babe, this house sucks. Narrator which is all powerful and from Wisconsin: Tina takes Dick and Suzy to a house that has everything they want, but is out of their price range. In the very trendy “Debt City” area of town, it’s only $1,115,000. Tina: Now I know this house is a little out of your price range... Dick: Oh, this is all I’ve ever dreamed of, I love it! It’s everything! But...the price. I just... I can’t. I just... At this point Dick breaks down crying, curls up on the floor, and wets himself. Narrator who will crush your hopes and dreams with one swift breath: After a change of clothing, and a powdering, Dick and Suzy move on to the last house on the
list. Priced well under their range at only $235,000--and in the reasonable “You Don’t Need That Much For Your First House, You Bloody Idiots” section of town. It’s a charming vintage ranch house. Tina: It’s three bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms. It’s really nice inside, recently updated, and would be the perfect starter home. The couple is impressed with the house, but still come up with ways to throw their money away. Dick: Wow! That backyard has so much room! We’d finally have a space to build an outdoor kitchen, AND a wooden effigy of those who have wronged us! Suzy: Which we will then burn down to the ground and dance on the ashes of!
Narrator’s final moment of glory: Which house will Dick and Suzy pick? Let’s pause to get your worked up over this bull, then come back with the answer! Insert ton of Lowe’s ads here. Dick: After a lot of thought, and some tweaking of the books... Suzy: We’ve decided to go with house number two! Sure, we’ll be in debt forever, but I’ll be able to shove it down everyone’s throat on Facebook! Fin Just remember you saw this little drama here first, I’m sure a Tony award is well in my future. Now just to write up some show tunes to go with it! See you next week.
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Turning Darkness Into Light:
Remembering GORDON WILLIS When most people watch movies they generally heed the advice given by the Wizard of Oz: “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” The same is also true when we listen to music. However, without these “men behind the curtain”—in the case of movies, cinematographers, and in music, sound engineers—we would have nothing to watch or listen to. Simply put, without cinematographers, there would be no movies, and without sound engineers there would be no recorded music, but the curtain is rarely drawn to reveal the very important work they do. When famed and contentious cinematographer Gordon Willis died a couple of weeks ago, we were reminded of the great debt we owe to these largely hidden technical artists. Needless to say, his name is not a household word and even the most enthusiastic fans of the movies he brought into being might not even recognize his name. They, of course, would have no problem presenting accolades for the directors who hired him to translate their visions into reality—men like Francis Ford Coppola, Alan J. Pakula, and Woody Allen. Gordon Willis was born in Queens on May 28, 1931 to parents who danced on Broadway. When his father became a makeup man for Warner Brothers, Willis was hooked on show business. His first ambition was to become an actor, but fortunately for us he turned his attention to lighting and photography, further honing his craft during the Korean War as manager of the Air Force’s Photographic and Charting Service. When he returned home from the war, he initially began his career in advertising, shooting commercials and documentaries, before establishing himself as a motion picture cinematographer. According to his Wikipedia entry, Willis decided very early that “I’m a
minimalist. I see things in simple ways . . .It’s human nature to define complexity as better. Well, it’s not.” This minimalist philosophy guided Willis through an illustrious career that in many cases redefined the look and feel of motion pictures, especially during the 1970s, when he did his definitive work. Richard Crudo, President of the American Society of Cinematographers, paid tribute to Willis’ talents last week when he stated that “Gordon was one of the absolute giants. He not only changed the way movies look, he changed the way the world looks at movies . . . .his influence over subsequent generations of cinematographers will continue for all time. He will be sorely missed.” Willis was given his nickname, “The Prince of Darkness,” by Conrad Hall, another influential cinematographer. Although Willis was not fond of Hall’s assessement of his talents, it is nonetheless apt because of the evocative way he used lighting to create a dark mood in his pictures (some have called it “film noir in color”). The 1970s was a decade in motion picture history known for its exploration of the darker side of human nature, and Gordon Willis’ work is a vital ingredient in this formula. For his work, Willis received an honorary Academy Award to go along with his two previous Oscar
nominations. Although I generally don’t like to reduce things to lists (we have enough of these already), I can’t resist presenting you with my Gordon Willis Top 10 list. I hope you will revisit or watch some of these movies for the first time in the weeks ahead, and please pay very close attention to the man behind the curtain as you marvel at Willis’ magic.
One of Willis’ first major works, David Greene’s “The People Next Door” (1970) painted a very dark portrait of an American family as it was shaped by the turmoil of the 1960s. All those who argue for a return to the “good old days” when family values were supposedly in place should watch this movie for a more realistic view of family val-
ues. Three movies directed by Alan J. Pakula are some of the best ever made in America: “Klute” (1971), “The Parallax View” (1974), and “All The President’s Men” (1976). These movies, sometimes referred to a Pakula’s Trilogy, paint an unforgettable portrait of America in the 1970s, and they would not be what they are without Willis’ masterful use of lighting and suggestive use of shadows. If you are a fan of detective drama, you shouldn’t miss Stuart Rosenberg’s second entry in the Ross Macdonald-inspired Harper series, “The Drowning Pool” (1975), starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in a very seedy tale of deceit, betrayal, drowning, and infidelity; one of my favorite Willis movies. Although his reputation has been tarnished by child abuse allegations (which, as of this writing, are still being contested), there is no doubt that Woody Allen is one of America’s most esteemed movie directors, and Gordon Willis is responsible for the look of some of his finest works, including the gorgeous video essay, “Manhattan” (1979), the Best-Picture winner “Annie Hall” (1977), and the experimental and inventive “Zelig” (1983), the movie that inspired “Forrest Gump” ten years
later. One of Willis’ last major movies, and certainly one of his best, is Harold Becker’s “Malice” (1993), starring Nicole Kidman, Alec Baldwin, and Bill Pullman, in a frightening little piece of neo-noir that harks back to “The People Next Door” with it’s horror-movie portrait of American family values under siege and its portrayal of the medical establishment as the Devil incarnate. Many rightfully consider Willis’ crowing achievements to be the provocative work he did for Francis Ford Coppola in all three of his “Godfather” epics (1972, 1974, and 1990). It is indeed impossible to imagine these masterpieces without Willis’ cinematography; they are as much his movies as they are Coppola’s, and for them he richly deserves his nickname as The Prince of Darkness. In summary, we should consider a comment made by American Cinematographer publisher Stephen Pizzello, who says that “If there were a Mount Rushmore for cinematographers, Gordon’s features would surely be chiseled into the rock face. . . His peers regarded him with awe, and his legacy as one of Hollywood’s greatest cameramen is secure.” So, let’s pull back the curtain this week and unveil the man who stands behind it. If you want to understand more about the important place the 1970s—Gordon Willis’ decade— plays in American movie history, I suggest you read Peter Biskind’s entertaining and enlightening Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How The Sex-Drugs-And-Rock ‘N’ Roll Generation Saved Hollywood (1998) and Mark Harris’ Pictures At A Revolution: Five Movies And The Birth Of The New Hollywood (2008). Gordon Willis’ shadow looms over both of these essential studies. See you next week.
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Page 28, The Loafer • June 3, 2014