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INSIDE: ‘Fifty Shades’ parody n Luke James n Vinilla Burnham


JAN. 16, 2013

Here comes the guide Bridal Guide: Theme weddings, fashion and trash the dress!


“Laters, baby.” — E.L. James, “Fifty Shades of Grey”

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“What is it about elevators?” — E.L. James, “Fifty Shades of Grey”

Dressing the stars


TMA brings costume designer Vinilla Burnham Star of the Week to Toledo on Jan. 20.

By Jeff McGinnis Toledo Free Press Star Pop Culture Editor

During her “Monster Ball” tour, Lady Gaga would take to the stage wearing her now-famous “Living Dress” — an ever-shifting cacophony of fabrics controlled remotely using motors and cables. The spectacle never failed to garner an epic reaction from her audiences. In one fan video, you can hear the voice of a spectator almost enraptured with excitement at the sight. “It’s amazing! It’s f****** amazing!” Those words were music to the ears of Vinilla Burnham — Vin for short — the designer who worked feverishly for six weeks to finish the garment. “You can’t get better feedback than that!” Burnham said in an interview with Toledo Free Press Star. Burnham will share her experiences working on projects like the Gaga dress, the Batsuit used in Tim Burton’s “Batman Returns” and many, many more in a free presentation at 2 p.m. Jan. 20 in the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle. Titled “Touching the Stars: Costume Design from Covent Garden to Hollywood,” her talk will cover the wide variety of experiences the U.K. native has had in the entertainment industry. “Covent Garden and Hollywood are poles apart, both as wonderful as each other,” Burnham said. “I was extremely fortunate to have such an enormous variety in my career, from ballet and opera to Monty Python, Jim Henson and the Muppets, Batman and Lady Gaga. “I specialized in costume design which crossed over with creature effects, puppetry, animatronics and even CGI, so I will cover all these areas. It will be an overview with a lot of variety and even some inside information.” If Burnham sounds enthusiastic about her visit, well, it comes naturally. Burnham is a naturally passionate individual, and sharing her experiences with others clearly brings her great joy. “I love it. I love passing on my knowledge and I hope people are entertained as well as informed, and hopefully inspired.” Burnham’s passion is informed by a lifetime within show business. Her parents were both actors, but the young Vin knew she never wanted to perform herself. Still, there was an inevitability to her involvement with theater. After a stint at art school, she got a job working with props at the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden, before migrating to costumes for television and film. Her parents’ experience as performers helps Burnham empathize with the actors she works

Costume designer Vinilla Burnham with her Caped Crusader costume from Tim Burton’s “Batman Returns.” PHOTO COURTESY VINILLA BURNHAM

with. “It is their character after all, so it is my job to work with them to find out what works best for their portrayal of the character. It is a curious and exciting process; whatever preconceived ideas I may have about how I think they should look changes completely on meeting them, and it is a voyage of discovery to find the perfect look.” So when does Burnham know that they have hit upon the perfect design? She just ... knows. “It is usually the case that both the actor and myself know instantly when we have struck the right chord, and that we have got it right. It is never a case of my telling the actor what he/she is wearing, it is collaborative. “Very rarely does an actor’s ego get in the way,” Burnham added. “Some feel more strongly than others and some want more input than others, but I have encountered one or two that were difficult, and they will remain nameless!” Celebrity gossip columnists may be disappointed when Burnham refuses to surrender such juicy details, but for her it’s always about the work. Beyond her most famous pieces, Burnham expresses a great deal of joy for her designs on a

2006 production of “The Wind in the Willows” starring Matt Lucas and Bob Hoskins. “I loved the book as a child, and it was colorful, animal characteristics, it was period and it was a comedy, all the ingredients I love. I was particularly pleased with Badger’s costume and I have brought it with me from England to show at my talks,” she said. Burnham’s experience integrating her fanciful designs with physical and visual effects certainly gives her a leg up in an era where the process of creating fantastic sights on film is changing rapidly. She said she hasn’t found it hard to adapt, because “it is not about elaborate visual effects, it is about telling stories through characters. “If effects are used for the sake of it, it will be meaningless, and audiences will not believe it. Having said that, I love to use visual effects,” she noted. “I am the first one to want to know of new technology and materials, but they must be used within a context of good ideas and good design, it must be totally relevant to the visual statement you are making or you are sunk.” Burnham communicates such love and joy through her film work that it comes as a surprise to

learn she’s taking a hiatus to launch a new project called “The Little Costume Shop Weddings.” “I have been making quarter-scale ballet costumes for some while now for collectors, and it occurred to me one day, ‘Where do people put their wedding dresses after their weddings?’ Most people pack them away and never see them again, so I thought it would be a wonderfully romantic idea to offer people a quarter-scale replica of their wedding dress.” But there will always be a fire within Burnham about her first love, one which she believes she will communicate to the Glass City on Jan. 20. “I hope that Toledoans will find the talks interesting, informative and also entertaining,” she said. “I would like to tell them about some of the incredibly talented and creative people that inspired and educated me during my career that they perhaps would never otherwise come across, people whose work should live on. And how my English heritage amalgamated with your American heritage and resulted in some groundbreaking work, and bridged the gap across the ‘pond.’” For information, visit O


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SPANK! By John Benson

Toledo Free Press Star Staff Writer

If there was any doubt the risqué novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” was ripe for parody, confirmation came last Mother’s Day with a “Saturday Night Live” sketch. For those who missed it, the faux commercial showed dads and husbands surprising mothers on their special day only to find them, well, occupied while reading the ubiquitous bestseller. It’s this mindset that led director Jim Millan (“The Kids in the Hall,” “Larry King Standing Up,” “Marijuana-Logues with Tommy Chong” and “Mythbusters Live”) to co-write the unauthorized “SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody,” which plays in Cleveland Jan. 17-27 at the Hanna Theatre, 2067 East 14th St. “It was August when I got together with the top comedy people I knew,” said Millan, calling from Detroit. “We wrote it in the month of September and it opened in October. The model was more like a comedy writing room for ‘The Show of Shows.’ It really snowballed because there’s a romantic comedy and sexy erotica. There are so many things to parody. We found that inventing our own version of the story gave us a lot of freedom, and we kept making each other laugh.”

“Are you smirking at me, Mr. Grey?” — E.L. James, “Fifty Shades of Grey”

“Fifty Shades” parody comes to Cleveland. Whether it’s a funny scene around hang gliders or in a fancy hotel bathroom, “SPANK!” transforms the sexy book into a musical romp that since its debut has been played for sold-out crowds. In fact, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be hearing a lot about the production, which is not only about to go international with a tour to Australia but appears to be destined for a permanent Las Vegas company. Overall, Millan describes “SPANK!” as a fractured fairytale of the book. Others describe it as equal parts Chippendales and Second City. The director stressed that the production doesn’t take itself too seriously. “We don’t make fun of the book,” Millan said. “It’s a parody but it’s really a celebration about being free to choose a lifestyle or dare to try something. It’s a celebration of something that’s become a pop icon. Like when the lights go down and our male character enters, there is screaming like it’s a Justin Bieber concert. I never would have expected that. When I created the opening with a very big rock god entrance for our lead male, I didn’t know that would elicit screams. But that’s what the audience brings to it, their excitement because they’ve had a lot of fun with this.” n SHADES CONTINUES ON 5

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Amanda Baker stars in “SPANK!” a “Fifty Shades of Grey” parody. PHOTO COURTESY JIM MILLAN

“This is a man in need.” — E.L. James, “Fifty Shades of Grey”


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Drew Moerlein stars in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” parody “SPANK!” PHOTO COURTESY JIM MILLAN

n SHADES CONTINUED FROM 4 Finally, perhaps the elephant in the room regarding “SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody” is the spouses who invariably will be dragged to the show. However, Millan said that unlike taking in a rom-com or spending three hours listening to

opera, this evening comes with nearly guaranteed bedroom benefits. “It works out really well for them, I guarantee you,” Millan laughed. “Absolutely, it’s great to be the date.” For more information, call (216) 241-6000 or 866-546-1353, or visit O

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“Never trust a man who can dance.” — E.L. James, “Fifty Shades of Grey”

Running down a dream Luke James perseveres with “Brooklyn Love.” By Mike Bauman Toledo Free Press Star Staff Writer

For singer-songwriter Luke James, the last five years may as well have been a Hollywood script. A girl and a dream led the Bowling Green native to pack his bags and head for the bright lights of New York City roughly five years ago. And while James’ tale didn’t end the way a predictable Hollywood film may have — him getting the girl and the major label deal — his time in the Big Apple and the path he’s been on since have created a different script with an exciting new beginning. After returning to Northwest Ohio two years ago, James took the culmination of his experiences and poured them into his debut album, “Brooklyn Love,” released in December. He’s since played the album’s songs live at numerous regional bars and venues and will continue to do so in 2013, including another hometown gig at Howard’s Club H on Jan 18. “It’s been a great experience so far,” James said. “And I’m just really happy that I finally got an album done, and I’m really happy with how the album turned out.” James, whose real name is Luke Shaffer, has

been playing the guitar for nearly a decade. “I didn’t even listen to music really in high school, and then I had gotten a guitar for Christmas along with my brothers,” the 27-yearold said. “And my younger brother got better than me right away, but I wasn’t, like, motivated to play it at all. And then once I saw him being able to play songs and strum and stuff, I’m like, ‘He’s my younger brother. I’ve got to be better than that!’ “So I picked up the guitar and I started playing it, and I hope have since surpassed him.” Once James got the itch, music became his vision. Not long after graduating from Bowling Green State University he moved to New York, where he was able to land a job as a waiter while he pursued his dream. However, achieving that dream wasn’t so glamorous. “All your friends that you just made friends with because you work at a restaurant come and they pay $10 to get in for 45 minutes, and then I only get paid if there’s more than 10 people that come,” James said of playing shows. “And then I just get paid for every person after that. So the most money I think I ever made at a show in New York was, like, $20 or $25.” n JAMES CONTINUES ON 7

Luke James will play a gig at Howard’s Club H on Jan. 18. PHOTO COURTESY LUKE JAMES

“You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.” — E.L. James, “Fifty Shades of Grey” n JAMES CONTINUED FROM 6 In the midst of that grind was a taste of stardom. James has auditioned for “American Idol” three times, twice making it to Hollywood in seasons nine and 10. That experience, though, is not one he enjoys talking about. “When you make it so far and you feel good about it, but then they don’t show you on TV at all, it’s kind of like, ‘What was the point of that entire thing?’” James said. James had hoped “American Idol” would at least show some footage they shot of him at the restaurant he worked so he could get some exposure, but it never aired. “I didn’t have, like, a baby or one leg or something like that, so I didn’t get the air time that they want to show people,” James said. “They want to show people that have gone through tragedy, and I was just a small-town guy that moved to the big city and liked to sing.” James didn’t let that experience sour his dream. He recorded the EP “Fresh” while still living in New York City, then made it his goal last year to put out a full-length. Thanks to Kickstarter, an online fundraising tool for creative projects, and believers in his craft, James was able to raise more than $4,000 to help make “Brooklyn Love” possible. “There’s been a number of things that have happened over the years that have helped me to continue, like random people I don’t know giving me motivation and encouraging me to just continue on playing music,” James


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said. “And it’s always in the lowest times that that happens.” Recorded at Little Elephant Recording in Rossford with Rob Courtney and Brian Gross-Bias, James said the environment they provided was a big factor in why the record turned out the way it did. “They’re really cool, really easy to work with,” James said. “I had a blast doing it. We had booked out, like, a week-and-a-half,

two weeks, and then I realized I was doing 18 songs and it turned into two-and-a-half months, something like that. So it took a lot longer than I expected, but I’m really, really happy with the final product.” “Brooklyn Love” is an album that not only displays James’ chops and musical potential as a singer-songwriter in the pop/folk vein, but also showcases his ability to tell a story. As for his own story, there are still

plenty of empty pages and new chapters to be written. On Jan. 18, James will headline a show that also features Cape Canyon at Howard’s Club H, 210 N. Main St. in Bowling Green. James will be joined by his band Luke James & The Thieves, featuring Mark Williams (drums) and Rory Taylor (bass). The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5. For more information, visit O


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“My inner goddess is jumping up and down, clapping her hands like a five year old.” — E.L. James, “Fifty Shades of Grey”


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Glacity to present Baker’s ‘Transformation’ By John Dorsey Toledo Free Press STAR Staff Writer

Attending the theater can often be a transformative experience. Just ask the members of the Glacity Theatre Collective (GTC). The company’s latest production explores the dramatic process and how it impacts the lives of a group of actors along for the journey. Its presentation of Annie Baker’s critically acclaimed play “Circle Mirror Transformation” opens at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church on Jan. 17. The production features Pamela Tomassetti, Ben Pryor, Risa Beth Cohen, Megan Aherne, and Juan Rodriguez. Holly Monsos is directing for the company. “Holly Monsos, who is an avid play reader with impeccable taste, came across this play. My first thought upon reading the piece was that the characters are all wonderfully flawed but honest people. In other words, they have the same troubles that many other people have,” said Glacity Artistic Director Edmund B. Lingan. “Because of that, they are very easy to identify with. Also, I was impressed with the author’s creative spin in the play, Rather than a play within a play, this is a series of acting exercises and improvisation games within a play. Anyone who has taken an acting course will

likely recognize many of the exercises that are played by the characters in the play.” “Circle Mirror Transformation” first premiered off-Broadway in 2009 at Playwrights Horizons and went on to win the Obie Award for Best New American Play and Performance, Ensemble in 2010. The play was also named one of the best plays of 2009-2010 in the latest edition of The Best Plays Theater Yearbook. According to Glacity’s website, The New York Times called it an “absorbing, unblinking and sharply funny play” and said that “Annie Baker’s play is an absolute feast.” “Circle Mirror Transformation” is the kind of unheralded gem that sends people into the streets babbling and bright-eyed with the desire to spread the word.” Baker’s other works include “Body Awareness,” as well as an adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya.” “Patrons shouldn’t miss this production because the cast is just excellent, and because GTC is offering an opportunity to see a great play that probably would not have seen the light of day in Toledo otherwise,” Lingan said. “Circle Mirror Transformation” runs Jan. 17-19 and 24-26. All shows begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20, while “Pay What You Can” night is Jan. 24; those tickets must be purchased at the door. St. Paul’s United Methodist Church is located at 1201 Madison Ave., Toledo. For more information, call (419) 277-3492 or visit O

“There’s a very fine line between pleasure and pain.” — E.L. James, “Fifty Shades of Grey”


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”I’m Eve in the Garden of Eden, and he’s the serpent, and I cannot resist.” — E.L. James, “Fifty Shades of Grey”

On the rise

The Plot in You gears up for a new album and tour. By Mike Bauman Toledo Free Press Star Staff Writer

It’s only been absent three years since The Plot In You formed, yet the Findlay-bred metal quintet continues to turn heads. On its new album, vocalist Landon Tewers tackles subjects ranging from abuse, death, murder, betrayal, religion, rage, confusion and abandonment. the album, “Could You Watch Your Children Burn,” features a burning Bible as the cover art — it’s safe to say The Plot In You will continue to turn the heads of both detractors and fans alike in 2013. “As soon as [our first full-length] ‘First Born’ was finished, Landon had started writing songs for the new album, just demoing stuff out, and all of us kind of came to the realization that we wanted to do something different than everybody else,” said The Plot In You guitarist and Swanton High School graduate Josh Childress. “Just different and try to just avoid, like, simple breakdowns and chugging riffs and do something new.” Fleshed out by Tewers, Childress, bassist Ethan Yoder, guitarist Derrick Sechrist and drummer Cole Worden, The Plot In You is on the road with Whitechapel, Emmure, Unearth and Obey The Brave as part of the “Brothers of Brutality” tour in support of “Could You Watch Your Children Burn,” released Jan. 15. “We toured with [Whitechapel] back in the spring, and they’re just all really good people and they’re definitely a pretty hyped band right now, along with Emmure,” Childress said. “The tour’s going to do really well, and us releasing our new album on the tour will definitely be a good time to put it out and everything.” Just as he did with “First Born,” Tewers produced “Could You Watch Your Children Burn.” Taking a different direction than “First Born,” a concept album, Childress said the band wanted to make every song about something different on the new record. The result in “Could You Watch Your Children Burn” is an album that’s raw emotion, brutal, chilling and powerful. The opening track and lead single “Premeditated,” Tewers tells a story of somebody sexually abusing a girl, one in which he fantasizes about slaughtering the perpetrator who committed the heinous act. The second track, “Fiction Religion,” features a creepy choir sample and deals with a struggle of faith. It’s also the source of the album’s title. Childress said Tewers is an honest leader. “Whatever is on his mind, he speaks it and doesn’t hold back,” Childress said of Tewers, who recently declared that the song “Digging Your Grave” is about Of Mice & Men vocalist Austin Carlile, who Tewers has had public disagreements with. The track simulates the sound of someone urinating on a grave as the song fades

The Plot in You’s new album, “Could You Watch Your Children Burn” was released Jan. 15. STAR COURTESY JOSH CHILDRESS

out. “If he’s questioning something, he’s going to let everybody know that.” The Plot In You started out as a side project in 2010 when Tewers was still in Before Their Eyes. Tewers eventually split with his former bandmates to make The Plot In You a full-time pursuit, and it didn’t take long for his new group to gain attention. The band signed to Rise Records that same year. After making noise with its “Wife Beater” EP, The Plot In You gained steam with the release of “First Born” in 2011. By its second tour, Childress said he noticed how rapidly the band’s name and music had grown. “Our second tour ever was the first time we were out in California, and we played Sacramento,” Childress said. “When we walked out on stage and started playing, the crowd just was super into it and knew all the words and [was] singing along to everything. I think that moment for all of us we realized that we were actually doing something that people cared about. “Being from Ohio and playing all the way out in California for the first time and having a great show was just, like, awesome for us, and we all realized we wanted to keep doing it,” Childress said. One of the latest in a recent line of successful metal bands hailing from Ohio, The Plot In You’s quick rise has taken the 21-year-old Childress on an unexpected journey, a path that he’s excited to keep traveling in the new year with a new album. “When I first started I was just going to shows in high school and stuff, enjoying myself, and [I] just kind of fell into it,” Childress said. “It’s all pretty surreal, but it’s awesome. I can’t complain about it at all.” O

FREE Presentation

Touching the Stars: Costume Design from Covent Garden to Hollywood Sunday, January 20, 2013 | 2 p.m. Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle

Vin Burnham, creator of Lady Gaga’s “Living Dress” and costume designer for Batman Returns, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, and The Chronicles of Narnia, discusses her work for feature films, theater, opera, ballet and television. Cosponsored by the Ballet Theatre of Toledo.

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Wedding themes are ‘very personal’ By Brandi Barhite Toledo Free Press Star Community Ombudsman

Two years after their Halloween-themed wedding, friends and family still say to Shelly and Digger Pierce, “We had so much fun at your wedding.” This compliment usually comes when the Oregon couple are guests at a traditional wedding. The Pierces’ big day was anything but traditional. They lit a jack-o’-lantern instead of a unity candle. The groom and ushers wore Grim Reaper gowns, while the bride sported black and white tights under her gown. The bridal party even danced down the aisle to “The Adamms Family” theme song. The reception took the theme even further. Every guest received a trick-or-treat bag with one of six haunted stories about Northwest Ohio. The cake was ominous-looking with chocolate ganache dripping from white fondant. And a face painter was hired to “Halloween-up” guests, while guests 15 and younger were encouraged to wear costumes to the wedding, on Halloween. “Both me and my husband have always been into Halloween.We usually have a big Halloween party at our house, so we thought what better way to get married?” Shelly said.


Digger and shelly pierce hosted a halloween-themed wedding two years ago.

Her friend, Kelly Heuss, co-owner of Puttin’ On the Glitz in Perryburg, said the brides she works with want their day to be unique; they don’t want what everyone else has had. “Weddings have gotten away from ‘This is what you have to do at your wedding,’” she said. “It has become a very personal thing.” Heuss’ specialty is creating invitations. Some of the most-requested themes are Broadway, “The Great Gatsby” and, of course, Halloween, a growing trend, she said. Pierce started her Halloween theme with the save-the-date cards, which read, “Save the date, something old, something new, a Halloween party with a wedding skew.” The theme carried into the centerpieces, which were antique glass vases with dead branches inside. The bottom of the vases were adorned with glittery skulls. Even the keepsake for the bride and groom were themed. Instead of a guest book, people signed zombie portraits of them. “In all honesty, I was a little bit nervous because I have a pretty religious family and I was scared about the intake of it,” Pierce said.


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But guests loved it, and most importantly, she and her hubby loved it. “My perspective of the whole entire night was that everyone had a fun time,” she said. Heuss said being unique is much more acceptable these days. Brides are leaning toward themes that are inspired by Art Nouveau’s early 1900s ornate look and Frank Lloyd Wright’s stained glass. Mason jars and the rustic look are popular as well. “It isn’t always outrageous things, people are going classy,” Heuss said. Justin Chuba, formerly of Toledo, and his fiancee, Bridget Long, are going with a wine theme for their wedding. The couple met when they were both working at Penn State University. “Our thing is sort of wine,” Long said. “We go to wineries, and when he proposed, we had went on a wine-tasting tour in California and then he proposed at a vineyard.” Their June 2014 wedding will be at a winery on Put-in-Bay. After their vows are exchanged at a Catholic church on the island, the reception will be hosted at the Doller House winery. The decorative theme will revolve around

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wine with the use of deep purple colors and vines. The couple, now living in North Carolina, has an extensive collection of free wine glasses from wineries and those, along with their extensive collection of corks, will be used for centerpieces. “My big thing is bubbly, so there will be some bubbly,” Long said. Chuba said their invitations will, appropriately, have wine stains on them. For those guests who don’t like wine, there will be beer. Newly engaged Shannon Rogacki of Toledo is just starting to plan her wedding, but she is already developing a theme of a barbecue backyard hoedown. She is envisioning a big tent with sparkly lights, candles galore, pig on a spit, baked beans, corn on the cob and ribs. “We want to do something that is very relaxed and fun for all ages. We are also planning a bonfire with a s’mores-making section,” Rogacki said via Facebook. Heuss said anything goes these days, and no theme surprises her anymore. “It is no longer the stereotypical wedding,” she said. O

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“Love must be as much a light, as it is a flame.” — Henry David Thoreau

Cold months, hot fashion D

uring the beginning of the fall and into the holidays, dressing for weddings and special events seems like a nobrainer. During these months, access to glitzy dresses and statement jewelry is right at our fingertips. Now that the holidays are over, and most of us are so tired of black sequins, metallic or even the color red, it can seem painful to turn to holiday wear when we need something for a wedding or event in January or February. Most of all, we are ready for a change — not quite spring attire yet, but something fresh, LaUREN beautiful and glamorous. Dressing for a winter wedding or special event can really be quite fun. It’s an opportunity to mix and match colors with neutrals while mixing in some fun jewelry or shoes that we may already have. If you are feeling like you need a fashion pick-me-up, try a simple shift dress with sleeves in a bright color. A shift dress is flat-

tering on all shapes and is appropriate for all events. Best of all, this style of dress is very comfortable — and choosing one with sleeves will keep you warm. Bright colors like hot pink, blue or green are crisp and fun. H&M has an adorable hot pink option for only $34.95. Keep the overall look wintery and classic by pairing your shift dress with a pair of black opaque tights. Pair with a simple black pump and keep your jewelry feminine and light by layering a few gold or silver necklaces and a few simple bangles. If you want to try to incorporate items you already have without feeling too “holiday-ish” start with one of your little black dresses. Have fun with your little black dress by pairing it with a fitted blazer in a deep purple, blue, emerald green or cream. The blazer will add a layer of dimension and sophistication. n WINTER FASHION CONTINUES ON 15

What to wear to winter weddings and events.

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n WINTER FASHION CONTINUED FROM 14 Target, H&M and have a variety of fitted, flattering blazers starting around $50. Pair with fun, printed tights with polka dots or stripes, and finish the look with a pair of black velvet pumps, a statement necklace and simple stud earrings. This look is classic yet playful. For the ultimate classic look and a look that is so soft and feminine, go with lace. Lace is hot this season and is $ going to be even hotter into the spring. Avoid cream or white lace so that you don’t look like you are trying to compete with the bride. Instead choose colors like navy blue, royal blue, plum or even a light pink. has an incredible selection of beautiful lace dresses starting at around $50. Pair your lace dress with big gem stud earrings and a few simple bracelets stacked. This style of dress looks beautiful paired with a simple strappy sandal or a classic pump that you already own. This look is nofail, classic and beautiful. There is no other time when we can layer, mix and match like we can now. Try mixing and matching things you own with inexpensive finds that you don’t. The looks that you can create will look fresh and fun for any wedding or special event. O

0 440

Lauren blogs about fashion at www. Email her at lauren@ Tune in at 6:30 a.m. Mondays on Star 105 for weekly fashion advice.


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All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” — Helen Keller

Managing finances after you say ‘I do’


arriage has been poetically described as “two hearts that beat as one.” But navigating the management of financial issues makes the hearts of many married couples miss a beat. When planning a wedding and marriage, the financial component of marital life is often overlooked or avoided. Yet money issues remain the most often-cited reasons for divorce. It is not always “till death do us part” as it is “till debt do us part.” We often avoid talking about money because it is uncomfortable to do so in our society. There is a phenomDavid W. enon some relationships develop known as financial infidelity, which can be described as telling lies to your partner about what you spend money on or keeping him or her in the dark about stashes of cash you may have somewhere. Many people think something as innocent as saying that you have had an outfit for a long time even though the tags are still on it or not telling your partner about that special little account you have at the bank is alright, but really this is a form of financial infidelity. According to a Harris Interactive poll, it is estimated that one-third of all couples with combined finances have committed financial infidelity. Of those couples, 67 percent said they had a resulting argument, 42 percent said it caused less trust in the relationship, 11 percent said it caused a separation and 16 percent said it ultimately ended in divorce. This is why Bonnie Weil, a well-known New York psychologist and relationship therapist, refers to financial infidelity as the No. 1 relationship wrecker — even more than sexual infidelity. So what is so difficult about financial issues and why do so many problems stem from money matters? It largely comes from differences in spending styles. A lot of monetary behaviors are learned in formative years, from how our parents handled — or didn’t handle — money. There is a lot of correlation on how one was raised and their style of monetary management. Further, since many more people today

are marrying later in life, they bring more assets — as well as debt — to the marriage than in past years, which just adds to the complication. But fear not! Love will find a way — along with financial planning and management skills that can be learned and applied. All couples need to have a serious discussion on money matters, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. The first step is to examine your current financial state, asking what are your current assets and liabilities? You must be honest. And while you are at it, you might as well look at your individual credit scores as well. This will give an idea of your partner’s spending habits and financial management skills. Then, write down your joint short-term and long-term financial goals and make sure these goals are measurable. Step two is to develop a realistic budget. There is a website,, that can help you set up a budget and track your expenditures from your bank account, update your budget records automatically and warn you if you are going over a budget item. Be sure to look at expenses such as cellphones plans, health insurance and auto insurance as these may be cheaper if combined in a family plan or package. It is recommended that couples have one joint checking account, but keep their individual checking accounts. Decide on what you are going to pay for jointly and then each make a financial commitment to fund that account while maintaining the remaining funds for personal expenditures. Having your own “allowance” reduces the friction involved with individual expenditures that the other party may not approve if it were to come out of joint funds. For more helpful hints and basic financial planning for newlyweds, visit the website www. O




David W. Seeger is president and CEO of Great Lakes Federal Credit Union. He may be contacted at (419) 246-5905 or 1 (800) 442-3488 or via email at

Kurt Nielsen Photography

Dance lessons are fun way to improve skills

”Other men it is said have seen angels, but I have seen thee and thou art enough.” — George Moore

in lace photography


By Brigitta Burks Toledo Free Press Star News Editor

Many Toledo-area couples are learning to dance — and having fun while doing it— before their big day, said two local dance professionals. “It’s one part of your wedding that actually, it’s a life skill,” said Paulette, owner of Paulette’s Studio of Dance, 4853 Monroe St., in Toledo. “The flowers may die and the cake may be gone, but your dancing is something you can do together forever.” Some couples say they just want to look good for the first dance while others have something sillier in mind, said Alfredo Horna, owner of Alfredo’s Studio of Dance, 5224 Renwyck Drive, Toledo. “Some couples say, ‘I want to be good,’ and we have others who say, ‘I want to start with something serious and end with something funny,’” Horna said. n DANCE LESSONS CONTINUES ON 20


Paulette of Paulette’s studio OF DANCE said dancing is one wedding activity that CAN BECOME a life skill couples can do forever.

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n DANCE LESSONS CONTINUED FROM 18 Like, “Start with a waltz and end with hip hop.” Parents also take dance lessons, both Horna and Paulette said. “A lot of parents want to be able to dance at their children’s wedding. And it’s just as important for parents as the people who are getting married,” Paulette said, adding that many bridal parties learn dances they perform together such as “Gangnam Style.” Paulette said she has helped couples who have choreographed complex swing routines complete with flips and lifts. Others just want the basics. “They’ll come in and say, ‘I just don’t want to sway back and forth. I want to look good on the dance floor.’ My saying to them is not to be intimidated,” she said. “Everyone just says they have two left feet and they don’t. I think everybody can dance. They just need to learn the steps and the patterns.” At Paulette’s, most couples take between seven and 10 lessons, but some couples have started a year out from the wedding while others have far fewer lessons. Horna said many couples wait too long before taking lessons. He advised starting about three months before the big day. “Normally, the problem is that people call a month [away from wedding] at most,” he said. “You’re putting too much pressure on yourself. Give yourself time so you can relax. Enjoy yourself.” Paulette said couples can start out in group classes to save money and get private lessons closer to the wedding date. She also advised that couples “pick a song that has a special meaning to them, a song that inspires them, a song that

“Love me and the world is mine.” — David Reed

they maybe first heard when they first started dating … it can be any kind of song.” Horna recommended that during the first dance, brides, “look at [the groom] with the promise of forever and he’ll take care of you.” He also advised couples to just have fun with the dances. Paulette, whose studio also hosts bachelorette parties, said whether couples take lessons or not, they should practice their first dance before the wedding. “If you practice, you’re going to be more relaxed and confident during the first dance,” she said. Couples who have taken lessons report satisfaction after the wedding, Paulette added. And so do moms. In one case, “The mom was so darn excited, she had emailed me before midnight the night of one of the weddings,” Paulette said with a laugh. Olivia and Jordan Demchyna took about 14 lessons from Paulette for their 2012 wedding. The couple danced to Gwyneth Paltrow and Huey Lewis’ “Crusin.’” The couple took lessons because, “I could not seeing us getting married and dancing like seventh-graders,” Olivia said. The bride said that when her bustle accidentally came undone during the dance, the couple’s training helped them carry on — and no one noticed the malfunction. “[Taking lessons] was a lot of fun, more fun then I expected. I expected it to be a big chore,” Olivia said, adding that even her husband was comfortable with the lessons. “It was something really nice to do,” she said. For more information, visit and O

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How to obtain a marriage license in Lucas County In Lucas County, both the bride and groom must be present when filling out an application for a marriage license. Couples have the option of completing their marriage license application online, printing it and then bringing it into the court for further processing. A marriage license is valid for 60 days after it has been issued. An ordained or licensed minister of any religion within the state who is licensed with the secretary of state or a judge in municipal or county court may solemnize marriages. Marriage licenses can be obtained, first come, first serve, at the Lucas County Probate Court, 700 Adams St., Suite 200, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The cost is $50 and must be paid in cash. What you need: O Government-issued photo ID (driver’s license, state ID, passport or military ID) O Social Security number (requested but not mandatory) O Birth certificate for those younger than 21 O Copy of final Decree of Divorce, Dissolution or Annulment for those previously married O Copy of previous spouse’s death certifi-



cate for widows/widowers Ohio residents must obtain a marriage license in the county where either the bride or groom resides. There is no waiting period on marriage licenses and weddings may take place the same day. For more information, call (419) 213-4361 or visit O Source: Lucas County Probate Court

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Cake Pops from Lickety Split Heavenly Chocolates are a growing wedding trend.

Local bakers provide new dessert options By Jay Hathaway Toledo Free Press Star Staff Writer

Wedding parties and receptions are veritably rife with tradition — some long beloved, and others quite polarizing (“Chicken Dance,” anyone?). However, several local bakeries offer unique dessert ideas for those wishing to depart from the confines of confectionary custom. Cake pops — small round cake truffles often served on a stick — are one of the hotter

alternatives to traditional cake for all types of parties, including wedding-related events. Kate Theise and Colette Lundberg run Lickety Split Heavenly Chocolates, which specializes in personalized creations for wedding desserts. Cake pops are a large part of their business. “We do cake pops in a chocolate cup, then we customize [them] for whatever the bridal colors are,” Theise said. “They are served individually, perhaps with a little bit of chocolate or raspberry sauce. It’s a nice individual type of dessert, and they can be done in a variety of flavors.” n CAKES CONTINUES ON 23

“True love stories never have endings.” — Richard Bach n CAKES CONTINUED FROM 22 For those who are imagining their home creations made with the now-popular cake pop machines, Theise advised that a truly homemade cake pop is a cut above. “Ours aren’t the traditional cake pops. These taste a little bit different. They are moister than when they are made with the machine,” Theise said. Krystal Wallace, of Krystal’s Cake Stand, is another local baker who provides cake pops with or without the stick. The latter, she explained, are often referred to as “cake truffles.” She agrees that they are currently en vogue. “I’ve had people order a whole tower of truffles instead of a wedding cake,” Wallace said. “Right now, I’m doing 200 bride and groom cake pops. They look like little brides and grooms, and will be at the place settings.” Wallace and Theise agreed that one of the great advantages to using smaller desserts like cake pops is the personal touch. “It’s elegant, it’s personalized, and it’s something that guests can enjoy at your wedding,” Theise said. In addition to cake pops, Lickety Split produces chocolate–covered pretzel rods decked in caramel, as well as caramels coated in chocolate, then sprinkled with sea salt. With both of these, the colors are customized to match the wedding colors. “We really dress them up, so they look like edible pieces of art. [They] are also a nice compliment to a wedding cake.” Theise said. Wallace shared several other unique ideas, such as serving cookies or cake “push pops” as bridal or wedding party favors. “I’m doing cupcake towers, as well, which are a huge hit lately,” Wallace said. Cake in a Cup, 6801 West Central Ave., sells cupcakes exclusively. Co-owners Dana Iliev and Lori Jacobs were featured on an episode of Food Networks’ “Cupcake Wars,” which they won. “We were surprised at how many people were into doing cupcakes for weddings, because sometimes it’s a little hard for people to go away


from tradition,” Iliev said. Iliev explained that the presentation of cupcakes also provide advantages, because the displays maintain their integrity after the first few servings are taken. Conversely, wedding cake is often “completely destroyed” after it has been cut. “People take a few cupcakes, and it’s still beautiful,” she added. Iliev said the “homemade touch” is another aspect that makes a customized dessert special. “A lot of times, wedding cakes are not really homemade. They look beautiful, but they are not necessarily great-tasting. A lot of times they’re frozen, or the art on the cake table is not even the real cake,” Iliev said. “There are few things worse than bad cake. It’s just not worth it.” For those wanting something unique or quirky, but are not willing to break from the idea of a large wedding cake, Jeni Charles may be able to provide solutions. She owns Grand Elegance Cakes, and her creations truly live up to the name. Charles’ 3-D works of art range from simple, hand-sized individual cakes to grand, 3-foot tall giraffes. She said demand for her service is currently on the rise. “The brides are starting to say, ‘Well wait a minute, I can have my cake look more colorful than the traditional three layers of white stuff,’” she said. In addition to the actual wedding cake, Charles noted that brides and grooms may wish to have specialized cakes for their parties, too. “Groom’s cakes are one of the biggest things I’ve been doing. They tend to go a little wild with the personality in the design. People often have told me that the groom’s cake stole the show,” she said, adding that she has used Darth Vader, a Nintendo console and a large cellphone for cake designs. Though creating cakes can be arduous, Charles said quality trumps quantity when taking on orders. “I’m not worried about volume. I work out of my home, as a cottage baker. I do one or two cakes a week, max. They can take up to several days to make, but they are more personal,” she said. O

Local bridal show ‘Bridezilla Ball’ is Jan. 26 A local photographer is organizing “a new thought I’d just put it on myself. “We’re really looking to attract more of the crekind of bridal show” geared toward edgier brides ative, edgier bride,” Bowling said. “We really tried with outside-the-box thinking. The inaugural Bridezilla Ball is set for 5-10 to focus on getting vendors that don’t normally do p.m. Jan. 26 at The Toledo Club, 235 14th St., in bridal shows. Just a little more edgy, a little more Downtown Toledo. Admission is $5 with online fun, a little more creative than the norm.” The vendor booths will be smaller than those preregistration or $10 at the door. Ty Bowling of Ty Photography in Holland said typically found at a bridal shows, Bowling said. “We really want people to meet people rather he wants the evening — which will feature more than 50 vendors, live music from DJ Rob Sample than meet a booth,” Bowling said. “It’s a lot less and MAS FiNA, hors d’oeuvres, cash bar, contests of a trade show feel than a normal bridal show.” There will also be a lounge offering drinks and more — to feel more like “a crazy fun wedding and televisions for grooms or other attendees reception than a business card pushin’ trade show.” Designers • Diamonds • Custom Designs “I’ve been trying to get it going for quite a who want to take a break from the main event, while, but it wasn’t until The Toledo Club stepped Bowling said, adding he hopes attendees come Designers • Diamonds • Custom Designs up and wanted to do it with me that I had the away with new ideas. 4211 Talmadge Road•|Diamonds Toledo | 419.472.4480 “I hope they just expand their thinking a little proper venue for it,” Bowling said. “I didn’t want Designers • Custom |Designs to do it in a regular hall. I didn’t want it to feel like bit when it comes to the wedding and think outa bridal show. I wanted it to feel more like a party. side the box when it comes to vendors they want 4211 Talmadge Road | Toledo | 419.472.4480 | “It just comes from being frustrated and to hire or things they want to do,” Bowling said. Diamonds • Custom Designs TheDesigners Toledo Club, Leo•Marks Jewelers, Bartz bored with bridal shows in the area,” Bowling 4211 Talmadge Road | Toledo | 419.472.4480 | said. “Looking into things online, they are doing Viviano Flowers & Gifts and Mager Designs are much more exciting things out west and in other also sponsors. For more information, visit www. cities. I just didn’t see anything like that hap-!/theBridezillaBall. O Talmadge Road | Toledo 419.472.4480 | — Sarah|Ottney pening here, so rather than complain about it4211 I

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“Nobody has ever measured, even poets, how much a heart can hold.” — Zelda Fitzgerald


When Justin and Kristen Perkins of Rossford married in April in the Virgin Islands, Kristen knew she wanted to take advantage of their destination wedding’s beach locale to do “trash the dress” photos the next day. Her husband needed a little more convincing — and their families and the resort staff thought they were crazy — but Kristen said the resulting photos are worth it. “I told them once they saw the pictures, they would understand why I wanted to do it so badly,” Kristen said via Facebook. “I knew these pictures would be something I could have forever. To me, these pictures were just as much — or even more — anticipated than our actual wedding pictures! “The very first walk into the water — when it hit above the hem of my dress — did cause my stomach to drop for a split second, but after that it was a lot of fun,” Kristen said. “I figured if I wanted to ever do this, this was my chance and I wouldn’t have the same beautiful surroundings if we didn’t do it there in St. Thomas. I also figured that I spent a lot of money on a dress I was going to wear once, so I might as well wear it twice

and get really awesome pictures in it to cherish forever.” The Perkins’s photographer, Julie Paszczykowski of JP Photography in Holland, said “trash the dress” sessions give couples a chance to get more relaxed, artsy images in places or poses not feasible on their wedding day. Some couples want to do a session totally different from their wedding day while others are looking for an extension of their wedding portraits, Paszczykowski said. Beach photos were a natural choice for the Perkinses, but the possibilities are endless, Paszczykowski said. “It’s really all about making it personal to the bride and groom,” she said in an email. Paszczykowski calls her “trash the dress” sessions UNVEILED so as not to scare people away — especially mothers of the brides. Even so, “trash the dress” is somewhat of a misnomer. “In the past, ‘trash the dress’ sessions were all about just that,” Paszczykowski said. “Cutting it up, rolling in the mud, setting it on fire, working on engines and getting it full of grease, etc. But honestly, most dresses can be pretty well-cleaned after these sessions.” Kristen said her dress was “soaking wet and sandy” but salvageable after the session. n DRESS CONTINUES ON 27


‘Trash the dress’ sessions yield unique photos


A ‘trash the dress’ session in rhode island during hurricane earl in 2010.

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Justin and Kristen Perkins of Rossford did a ‘trash the dress’ session after their April destination wedding on St. Thomas, in the Virgin Islands.

n DRESS CONTINUED FROM 26 “I would be able to wear it again and nobody would be able to tell — minus the sand in some of the seams,” Kristen said. “It depends on the dress and how crazy you get, but mine is just fine. I hung it over our balcony for several days to dry and shook out the massive amounts of sand a few times. The bustle — which was already broken from the reception — broke some more, but never ripped my dress. I don’t want to get it preserved because I like the sand in it and want to remember that day.” Some brides buy inexpensive dresses to use for the sessions so they don’t have to wear their original dress, said Kurt Nielsen of Kurt Nielsen Photography in Sylvania. Nielsen said couples are drawn to “trash the dress” sessions because they are unique. “It’s something different. Not all their friends are going to have it,” Nielsen said. “They’re fun to do because you’re not locked into anything. It’s not like the wedding-day photos. It’s something completely different; more carefree and fun. There’s lots of possibilities. It just really depends how far they want to go.” Kim Koluch, owner and senior photographer of Considering Lilies Photography in

Perrysburg, keeps wedding dresses on hand for brides to wear during “trash the dress” sessions if they don’t want to wear their own dresses. “Clients love it because then they don’t have to worry about their dress,” said Koluch, who buys dresses off sale racks and has also had dresses supplied by Atlas Bridal Shop in Toledo or donated by former clients. “We have different sizes, different cuts and we try to find something that matches the original cut of their dress. Honestly, in photos you can barely tell it’s a different dress. “It’s an interesting thing here in Toledo because you have a really, really sentimental, traditionally minded people and yet you have daughters who want to do something different. So that’s been my compromise,” Koluch said. “Buy dresses so we can get as crazy as they want, be as dramatic as they want, and I don’t care if they totally trash it. If I use it again, I do. If I don’t, I don’t.” Koluch said she approaches a “trash the dress” session the same way she approaches any other session. “We photograph relationships, not just people,” Koluch said. “So to just put somebody in a wedding dress and put them in a crazy spot is not going to be a great picture. What’s going to be a great picture is when they get playful and

they have that real emotion going. It’s still about the people no matter what.” The trend of “trash the dress” photography is often attributed to Las Vegas photographer John Michael Cooper, Koluch said. “He’s done things like pose a bride and then light a dress on fire and then superimpose the picture so it looks like the bride is on fire,” Koluch said. One of Koluch’s favorite “trash the dress” sessions took place the day before a destination wedding in Rhode Island, with the bride wearing one of Koluch’s spare dresses. “It just so happened the day we flew in, Hurricane Earl was making its way in to New England,” Koluch said. “It was the Friday night before their wedding and we went out on the beach. The photos are very dramatic. The sky just got worse and worse. Of course, the wedding the next day was gorgeous sunshine, but it was crazy fun.” Koluch stressed she would never put couples in unsafe situations. “We didn’t go out in the water too much because it’s not safe,” Koluch said. “We stayed at the edge. What you can’t see in the photos is there is a road and there were cop cars lined up all along the road. The cops were right there and they were

fine with what we were doing. When we shoot in the street, we take spotters with us to make sure there’s no traffic.” In August, a Canadian bride drowned during a “trash the dress” session while posing in a river when her dress became waterlogged and the weight pulled her under. “That kind of woke everybody up,” Koluch said. “Safety is definitely a factor. We would never put our brides in a situation that wasn’t safe.” Kristen said she has no regrets about her UNVEILED session — and even Justin was won over. “He agreed the session was one of the most fun moments from our wedding and he was really happy we decided to do it,” Kristen said. “That morning was so much fun and it was so worth it. I would highly recommend this to anyone.” Her advice to other couples is to find a photographer you can trust and have fun. “Don’t talk yourself out of it once you decide to do it,” Kristen said. “It can be scary, but the images pay off and they are something you can look back on for years to come.” If nothing else, the photos will be a conversation piece, Kristen said. “People will talk about those pictures whether they think it’s crazy or cool,” she said. O


“Tell me who admires you and loves you, and I will tell you who you are.” — Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve

By Brigitta Burks Toledo Free Press Star News Editor

Owner of Belle Amour Bridal Boutique Michelle Menningen has loved the bridal industry since she was a little girl. “When I was young, girls would subscribe to Teen and all that. I had a wedding magazine [subscription],” she said with a laugh. Menningen has owned the boutique at 927 N. Summit St., Toledo, since September. Before the store was Gallippo’s Bridal and Formal, where she previously worked for two years. Since taking over, Menningen has streamlined the inventory, gutted the front bathroom and has plans to transform the backroom where the store’s seamstress works and the dressing rooms are. “Before when it was Gallippo’s, there were over 2,000 gowns. I did a whole inventory of it and I kept 400,” she said. “The Gallippo’s brides, we’re servicing them, and they can’t believe how different it is. They think we put in skylights; they think we added a bar and I’m like, ‘It was all here’,” Menningen added of the space that used to be the Miller Country Store. Belle Amour carries Gallippo’s top six designers, including Allure, Watters and Justin Al-

exander. The store also stocks bridesmaid, flower girl and mother of the bride dresses in addition to shoes and accessories. The designers that the store carries are what separate Belle Amour from other bridal retailers in the area, Menningen said. “The quality of the gown for the price is the big thing. I know the designers that other stores carry and what their quality is comparatively to the designers that we carry. And I’ve heard, not just my own opinion, from brides that the quality [at Belle Amour] is much better for the price,” Menningen said. The average gown at Belle Amour is about $1,400. Erica Brindley, a Fremont resident getting married Oct. 26, said she appreciated Belle Amour carrying unique items like colored gowns. She decided to shop at Belle Amour after finding that a Watters dress she wanted was stocked there. “I’ve been to David’s Bridal and I just think everything looks the same,” she said. “I didn’t see any reason to go elsewhere.” Menningen said colors like champagne and café are big this season. Lace and intricately detailed backs are other trends, she added. The storeowner got her start working at Lace & Elegance in Tiffin and she later worked at Atlanta Apparel Mart’s bridal department. When

she was engaged, Menningen became familiar with Gallippo’s after she learned that the wedding dress she wanted was available at the Toledo store. Unfortunately, the dress was too expensive and Menningen couldn’t purchase the gown right away. After later returning to the store to see if her dream dress was on sale, Menningen got two surprises. “[The owner] came out and said, ‘Honey, you don’t need to worry about the price of this gown because I’m hiring you,’” Menningen said. Menningen said she would like to open a second location where she could sell discontinued gowns in the next two years. Discontinued gowns are on sale at Belle Amour until March 30. “I’ve been thinking about a lot things. I would love to see this area grow because this building (where the store is located) is just beautiful and they’re talking so much about developing this end again and that would be wonderful,” Menningen said. Menningen said she also hopes that Toledo eventually develops a bridal district like the Cincinnati area has. “I would love to get a bridal district. I would love to do something just on the small scale in Toledo where it would be one stop. Girls could go see a coordinator; they could see a florist, see invitations; they could go have coffee talk about

in lace photography

Belle Amour offers unique trends, designers

MICHELLE MENNINGEN things,” she said. Belle Amour employs five sales associates including Menningen. Brides can choose what associate they wish to work with based on their biographies at http://www.belleamourbridal. com. Store hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. O

“My Creed is Love and you are its only tenet.” — John Keats


Photos come with help from Instagram, Pinterest Toledo native Christine Marker booked Kurt Nielsen as her wedding photographer only a month after getting engaged. “I knew I wanted him so I called him right away,” Marker said. Marker married her husband Jon on June 16 after a year-long engagement. Even though she didn’t have engagement photos done, she said Nielsen personalizes his photos by getting to know the couple. “He makes you feel special,” Marker said. “He makes you feel like your day is your day.” Nielsen, owner of Kurt Nielsen Photography, said the first thing a bride and groom should do once they have their date and location is to hire a photographer. Nielsen said his company is taking an innovative step locally, using green screens as his version of a photo booth. He believes his is the only company in Toledo doing so. “We can replace different backgrounds,” Nielsen said. “We can tailor to a certain theme or a party.” Nielsen has been taking photos professionally since 1989. Usually, he does up to 30 weddings a year. He once did 53 in one year, but said he never wants to do that many again. Nielsen said he takes close to 100 photographs at a wedding. His clients receive both the unaltered versions of the photos as well as the ones with effects. “Part of my style is I like to do special effects,” Nielsen said. Those special effects are popular right now, thanks to the smartphone application Instagram, which allows users to added filters like Valencia, Mayfair and Sierra to their photos.

Another local photographer Jennifer Hamilton of JH Photography weighed in on the app. “Photographers can look at that in two ways,” Hamilton said. “I look at it positively. It keeps me on my toes.” Hamilton and Nielsen said they welcome new trends in photography. “The downside is the quality isn’t really professional,” Nielsen said of Instagram. “It’s good if you’re at a bar … but it really hasn’t hit the wedding market as of yet.” Nielsen said a new trend at weddings is creating an Instagram station, where guests at weddings can post photos using hashtags to create a collection of photos. Nielsen hasn’t utilized this feature yet. Both photographers said a bigger trend in wedding photography is Pinterest, a website that allows members to “pin” images, videos and other content to collect it in one place. “It’s probably the biggest trend right now,” Nielsen said. “They want to have their own Pinterest wedding.” Hamilton agreed. “I hear [Pinterest] over and over again,” Hamilton said, who is a bigger fan of the site than Instagram. She mostly likes the idea of the public becoming so interested in photography. “It’s something new, just like when Facebook started,” Nielsen said. “And before that it was Myspace. You [have to] be able to roll with it. If you don’t, there’s going to be someone else who will. When things started to go digital, I still knew photographers who are still doing film.” O — Matt Liasse


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“I love you right up to the moon — and back.” — Sam McBratney


In an economy inspiring many couples to choose staycations instead of vacations and cookouts instead of banquet halls, many brides and grooms are opting for casual, cost-conscious wedding catering alternatives. Restaurants like City Barbeque, Smokey Bones and even Tony Packo’s have established successful reputations as wedding caterers. Instead of choosing between the standard chicken and steak, families now have the opportunity to offer guests backyard favorites like barbecue ribs, chili, cabbage rolls and gourmet hot dogs — often at a much cheaper cost than a traditional wedding caterer.

Tony Packo’s

Known for its legendary hot dogs and personal endorsement from Toledo native Jamie Farr, Tony Packo’s has been a Northwest Ohio staple for 80 years, serving “authentic Hungarian food” since 1932. Co-owner Tony Packo III said the catering business has grown rapidly the past few years. The restaurant currently caters about 15 events a month, ranging from corporate events and parties to rehearsal dinners and wedding receptions. “We started the catering business many, many years ago,” Packo said. “We’ve been doing

special events for many years, but over the last eight years or so, we’ve really made the catering business a priority and we’ve spent a lot of time developing this business.” Now that catering is a more integrated part of the business model, Packo said his restaurant has a trained catering staff as well as an in-depth menu that can be altered to suit whatever clients want for their big day. The restaurant offers fan favorites like hot dogs and cabbage rolls as well as items not traditionally associated with the Tony Packo’s name. “We cater much more than Tony Packo’s hot dogs,” he said. “We carry in-house favorites like chicken and dumplings, cabbage rolls or the chicken chili. We also carry some dishes not in the restaurant like fresh salad and fresh fruit for when the bride and groom want something fresh for a side.” Tony Packo’s offers a buffet-style setup with a variety of packages that can be mixed and matched. Packo said the business’s reputation, combined with competitive prices and great customer feedback help make his restaurant a heavy-hitter amongst local catering companies. “As I look at the landscape of the catering business in Toledo, an advantage we have is that we’re very unique and well-known with a name that people love and we’re extremely price competitive,” he said. “Also, all of our food is cooked fresh daily, which makes customers happy knowing they’re getting something fresh and new every day.” n CATERING CONTINUES ON 31

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Local caterers offer cost-conscious alternatives


Local caterers offer a variety of options at lower prices.

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“I would rather share one lifetime with you than face all the ages of this world alone.” — J.R.R. Tolkein n CATERERS CONTINUED FROM 30 Another restaurant has also garnered a reputation for full-scale catering services. Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill has been in the catering business for eight years, but is fairly new to the wedding scene. Carrie Gerke, general manager for Smokey Bones in Maumee, said the restaurant started catering weddings two months ago, mainly rehearsal dinners. “We have a bulk menu with pulled pork and ribs and it is all buffet style so it can be done more efficiently,” Gerke said. “If you have a need to feed people, we’ve got you covered.” Featuring everything on the traditional menu, Gerke said Smokey Bones caterers work with clients to provide food that is both tasty on the palate and easy on the wallet. Cost ranges from $4.99 per person with pulled pork to a full rack of ribs at $16 to $17 per person, she said. Gerke said Smokey Bones doesn’t advertise its catering services, but the restaurant is always open to catering an event.

City Barbeque

City Barbeque is another local barbecue restaurant providing brides and grooms the option of a backyard-style wedding. The business has offered full-service catering options for five years, featuring a wide array of dining options and meal packages. Karen Bryant, co-owner and catering manager for City Barbeque, said the restaurant caters two to three events per week, mainly rehearsal dinners and wedding receptions. City Barbeque offers a full menu of homemade, traditional bar-

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Smokey Bones

beque dishes, including barbecue ribs, pulled pork, barbecue chicken and many sides. City Barbeque offers the option of a live grill or a buffet-style setting. The meat grilled on-site runs from $16.95 to $19.95 per person and consists of a mix of meats, sides, cornbread and a dessert. The traditional, more popular buffet option offers a choice of meats, sides and a dessert made fresh in-house and delivered to the event, Bryant said. “We have high-quality barbecue at a very reasonable price,” Bryant said. “People can afford it and it’s something they’re going to remember. We make everything homemade and we have enough food that we always have enough for seconds.” Just weeks before her July 7 wedding, Cherie Jarvis lost her caterer after an ill-timed miscommunication. Wanting to complement her laid-back backyard nuptials with family barbecue, she and her fiancé made the call to City Barbeque. “I wanted to stick with the backyard barbecue theme so I immediately started thinking about how much I love City-Q,” Jarvis said. “They have good ribs, pulled pork, chicken. I’ve never had anything there I didn’t like.” Jarvis said cost was not her main motivation for thinking of an alternative catering option. “I don’t like the whole stuffy wedding where everybody has individual salt and pepper shakers. We just wanted something that was going to be just a party with everybody getting together because we were getting married,” she said. “Everybody is getting together for the bride and groom and celebrating a marriage.” O

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“There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

Tips for keeping your wedding budget-friendly I

t used to be that you graduated from school, married a nice chap or lady, settled into a home, worked the 9 to 5 and raised a happy family. Mom and Dad threw you a nice soiree of a wedding reception and afterward you started playing house. It sounds so easy! Well, things have changed and so have the order in which we do them. Today’s couples are getting married older and choosing to climb the corporate ladder before marriage. And saying “I do” is no longer just on their parents’ tab. Couples are contributing to the wedding and simultaneously house-hunting for the first time. So budgets are tight and spending is down from prerecession averages to an average wedding cost of $26,989. Here are some ways to keep yourself sane and your wedding budget-friendly. The first is obvious — set a budget and lock it in. This will be one of the hardest parts of planning a wedding. It’s like being on a diet. You cannot cheat or you will only be cheating yourselves. The budget will help you make decisions because it will either fit your budget or not. More brides are wearing in-season preowned wedding dresses than ever before. Brides are putting their gowns on the market

as soon as the week after their wedding to make tents, tables, linens, etc., in addition to food. a return profit. But whether choosing a gently Know exactly what you are paying for and make sure you can’t do better. used gown or a new one off the Set limits on DIY (do it rack, be very conscious of yourself) projects. The best the alterations. A simple way is to create a sample to hem can cost $200 and see how much time and cost taking it in, moving it really takes to get it done. the zipper or altering the Don’t be afraid to ask for bodice can be as much as help from friends and family. $500. So make sure there is Most importantly, don’t feel really a savings to be had. like you have to do one. Get all your costs itemDIY is trendy but it’s not ized. Simple charges like for everyone. Use your talcake cutting and corkage ents wisely. fees can add up. Event the Small and intimate “all inclusive” deals have weddings under one roof hidden costs. have many advantages. One-stop shopping at Large groups require more vendors that supply a multiBRITTANY spending: more food and tude of services does not aldrink, more tables, more ways save you money. Often centerpieces, more space, you will find yourself giving etc. Smaller receptions in on what you really want allow couples to interact and spending more to make more with their guests, up for it. Ask for a price often making that DIY breakdown from caterers project useless because the and facilities that supply




time spent with people has a greater impact than some craft you made. Having your ceremony and reception at the same location omits added transportation costs and can save you fees on churches and ceremony locations. Additionally it saves on décor and entertainment. The flowers used in your ceremony are easily transferred to your reception with no added delivery costs and your musicians can go right from your recessional music into lively cocktail tunes. And what kind of wedding professional would I be if I didn’t tell you that hiring a wedding coordinator does, in fact, save you money? Yes, there is a cost for our services. But our expertise and exclusive cost-saving relationships with other professionals makes up for it. There is no greater savings than the stressrelief and peace of mind that a professional wedding coordinator offers. Being smart with your money starts with hiring one. O Brittany Craig is the principal event designer and coordinator for Crowning Celebrations. She specializes in weddings and social celebrations. Follow her at

“Love makes you do the wacky.” — “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”


La Boutique Nostalgie provides vintage styles for weddings By Brigitta Burks Toledo Free Press Star News Editor

Not many wedding planners started their own faith, specialize in vintage-style weddings or spent 15 years as a psychiatric nurse — but Heather Zeller is unique. She started the Genoa-based La Boutique Nostalgie in December 2011. About two weeks ago, Zeller moved her wedding planning business, which offers full design and day-of coordination, from her home to her French-styled studio nearby. Although vintageinspired wedding are popular now, the theme doesn’t ZELLER go out of fashion, Zeller said. “Vintage is timeless. It’s classic; it never goes out of style and it exudes romance,” she said. “Clients that come to me have an appreciation of history.” Zeller, who offers to go on appointments with clients and has recommended vendors, has been told that she is the only vintage wedding planner in Ohio. She said many vintage weddings have a 1920s feel, but vintage can also mean pre-Victorian or all the way up to the 1950s. In addition to providing floral services, Zeller can customize and perform ceremonies for couples. She and a friend started the Divinitist Order, which honors the divine in each

person. Zeller called it, “more of movement than a religion.” The Order primarily does weddings, but Zeller said people have expressed interest in monthly meetings. Zeller, who was ordained in 2001, performed a commitment ceremony at Toledo Pride last year for 10 same-sex couples. “It was like a utopia. It was a real show of unity in the Toledo community,” she said. She has traveled to other Ohio cities for other same-sex ceremonies and has plans to attend the Youngstown Pride event in March. “The only way we’re going to start getting to the point where we can live in peace is respecting that everyone is on their own path,” she has said. Through La Boutique Nostalgie, Zeller can also arrange for antiques to be on the wedding site and she has several decorative items like lanterns and mercury glass available. In addition, she offers customized “memory tables” with black-and-white pictures of the couple’s family in vintage frames to be displayed at the wedding. Zeller has 12 weddings currently booked and big plans in the works for her studio, including painting it from red to green. She hopes to grow an English garden where couples could have outdoor ceremonies by her studio and maybe build a gazebo as well. In the future, she and her husband of eight years may also “join forces” and open a winery on the property. “I learned a lot this past year with what we do,” she said. Zeller also recently hired new assistants for La Boutique Nostalgie, which was a Wed-

Your special day deserves special flowers.

dingWire Bride’s Choice for 2013 honoree and featured in The Knot Ohio wedding magazine. For full wedding design, Zeller recommended contacting her about nine months to a year before the wedding. For day-of coordination or for the Order’s services, she advised getting in touch about three months before the big day. Zeller, a Wharton, W. Va. native, moved to the Toledo area at 22 to work at Mercy St. Charles Hospital. The self-taught planner got into design when friends noticed her knack for floral and interior design. She said her work as a psychiatric nurse helps her in her new role. “Things that maybe would get other people really upset or flustered, I can handle the stress,” she said. Juli and Keri Samiec used La Boutique Nostalgie for their Sept. 29, 2012 wedding at Stone Oak Country Club in Holland. Juli said she appreciated Zeller’s “one-stop shop” approach. She said she and her husband have always loved the vintage look. For their wedding, Juli wanted to mimic an Ethan Allen commercial that interwove indoor and outdoor elements. “[Zeller] put her Midas touch to everything,” Juli said of her big day. “It was a full moon that night. It was extraordinary. She had these chandeliers hanging over this roaring fireplace outside.” La Boutique Nostalgie’s rates are flexible, but design/planning starts at about $1,500 and day-of coordination starts at about $800. For more information, visit O

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“To the church the parties went, At once with carnal and devout intent.” — Alexander Pope

Unveiling a more glamorous version of yourself B

rides are my forte, my niche, my cup of tea — I love wedding makeup! I fell into doing makeup for brides more than 11 years ago, but I have been doing makeup for 14 years. Recently, I did a “Makeup Monday” on “WNWO Today” — where I am lucky enough to give out some beauty advice every week — all about wedding makeup. The show also featured hair and fashion advice from Salon 180, located in Sylvania, and Belle Amour Bridal, a fabulous new bridal boutique in Downtown Toledo. I also frequently share tips for makeup that seem to be a hit with photographers. Here are a few: O The first rule of wedding makeup is to look like you! Your wedding is not the time to try out new and trendy looks. Keep it classic and simple and a look that brings out the most glamorous side of yourself without being uncomfortable. O Consult a professional (even if you do not hire one) to make sure you have all the right products in your makeup bag for the day. O Consider your skin type. For brides with oily skin and a wedding in July, seek out a great matte foundation, setting spray and finishing powder. Better yet, go with airbrush. Brides

with normal, combination or dry skin should use a liquid foundation, setting spray and a very light dusting of finishing powder. A luminous finish is fine, but stay away from a dewy finish. A luminous matte, such as Chanel PERFECTION LUMIÈRE or Make Up For Ever Professional HD Cover Invisible Foundation or airbrush would be great alternatives. Natalie O Use a primer. Foundation primer can address concerns such as oil control, dry areas, shininess, pores and fine lines — all things that need to be “fixed” in photos. Let your natural beauty shine through in your pictures. O Try not to be too trendy. Go classic with your choices. You don’t want to look back on photos in 10 years

and wonder why you wore so much glitter. Smokey eyes are fine, but do it with neutral tones and keep it a nice toned-down version. Again, you want to look like yourself — just the slightly glammed-up bridal version of yourself. O Consider matte shades and soft shimmers. That doesn’t mean no shimmer; it just means no glitter. There is a difference between a soft sheen and large chunks of glitter. O Lips should be similar to what you normally do. If you use lipstick, pick a shade that complements the rest of your makeup. If you are a chapstick/gloss wearer, choose a color to complement your choices. Either way, choose a lip liner to help keep the lipstick or gloss




on longer. And be prepared to reapply — even all-day wear will need a touch-up. O False lashes look amazing on everyone. Even if you are not a makeup person, your pictures will be amazing with this glamorous touch. They come in several sizes so they do not need to look like a costume party — just a little extra volume to add that “pop” to your eyes! O Mineral powders and SPF are great for daily use, but the day of your wedding or for engagement pictures, those products should be left at home. All the extra minerals reflect with the light and flash and can make you look ghostly when in fact you have a gorgeous airbrush tan. Remember, you picked your photographer because they are great and a ton of extra makeup is not needed — just a bump up from your usual to make sure you put your best face forward. O Natalie Pohorecki of Bridal Makeup By Natalie is a beauty writer for and an on-air beauty expert for WNWO with a featured weekly segment “Makeup Mondays.” She can be reached at

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Weddings at the Winery features expert area wedding vendors and complim entary hors d’oeuvres. At the Bridal Expo you have a chance to win bridal prize s and one-of-a-kind Bridal Attire. It’s a on see e-stop shop to plan the Wedding of your dreams.

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“Desire looks clear from the eyes of a lovely bride: power as strong as the founded world.” — Sophocles

Hot wedding trends for the new year E

ach year weddings get more trend-specific. But as the trends increase, the sizes of the weddings are decreasing. Doing more doesn’t necessarily mean spending more or inviting more. Wedding guest lists are being trimmed as carefully as the details are planned out. Here are some ways to create a fabulous 2013 celebration. You can’t plan a 2013 wedding and not talk texture! It’s growing year after year and it’s bigger than ever. We have seen it in bridal bouquets that have a varying selection of flowers and uncommon greeneries to bridal gowns with appliques, rosettes and flowers that pop right off the fabric. Cakes are mimicking these fabrics with ruffled layers and large sugar petals cascading down. Modern patterns like chevron and polka dot are some of the most popular. They are gracing the papers of invitation suites and adding an extra punch to tablescape linens. We are seeing a hint of pattern on bridal gowns under traditional overlays like lace and they are also giving groom’s ties a playful look. Color gives even the most traditional affair an added punch. Bridesmaids dresses are bright and festive. We are still seeing a trend toward variable design in each maid’s attire from

top pick,” Fork said. “It defigradual shades of ombre dresses nitely gives that extra wow to the same fabric in countfactor to a veil versus just the less styles. The bride’s standard tulle.” bouquet has strayed Grooms are taking an from all white and now active role in the planning. includes a multitude of hues Not only are they attending and colors. But probably the meetings and playing a role most noticeable color change in the decisions, they are this year is the blush-coladding in details of their ored wedding gown. Bright own. From groom’s cakes white is a thing of the past and dessert bars to special as brides are choosing softer signature beers and menu hues for their skin tones. selections, grooms are Kate Middleton’s lace-style finding their voice. gown still reigns, but with a Vintage is not necesnew twist. BRITTANY sarily decorating with an“We are seeing a different tiques and it’s often confused take on lace with the Guipure with shabby chic. Vintage is pattern. It’s a larger pattern a style all its own and the and less traditional,” said vintage trend in 2013 is the Stacy Fork of The Gown Shop roaring ’20s. Popular shows Ann Arbor. like “Downton Abbey” and Another trend, acmovie “The Great Gatsby” cording to Fork is the provide inspiration for wedhorsehair-trimmed ding style and theme. bridal veil. “Our clients are enamored with ‘nostalgic “The stretch nylon that now adorns some of the most modern and romantic veils has been a vibes’ that are unique to them,” said Heather




Zeller, owner of La Boutique Nostalgie. “Shimmering candlelight, garden roses and hydrangeas, lace, birdcage veils and chandeliers in equal measure are popular, key elements in completing the vintage vision.” One of the hottest wedding trends this year has gone to the birds — literally! The bird theme surfaced in 2012 and is taking flight in 2013. Birds are being seen on wedding invitations, on the top of cakes and they are bringing little accents like nests and twigs to centerpieces. Feathered accessories will also be popular on veils, purses and bridal sashes. Incorporating yummy goodness you can only find street side will be the icing on the cake for your wedding guests with a food truck! “Late night snacks” or “afterthoughts” have been a hit of weddings for years with selections like minisliders, homemade doughnuts and pizza. But for that crowd that parties hard and gets hungry, why not treat them to their favorite guilty pleasure with gourmet hot dog truck or ice cream truck? O Brittany Craig is the principal event designer and coordinator for Crowning Celebrations. She specializes in weddings and social celebrations. Follow her at

“A bride at her second marriage does not wear a veil. She wants to see what she is getting.” — Helen Rowland


Northwest ohio’s Dream GarDeN weDDiNG VeNue! Schedel Arboretum & Gardens offers an elegant and beautiful setting for outdoor weddings and receptions. an indoor facility is also available that accommodates small weddings, receptions and rehearsal dinners. this facility also is available for other activities, such as parties, retreats, workshops, training sessions and other such events.



ARBORETUM & GARDENS 19255 w. Portage-river south road elmore, oh 43416 (419) 862-3182


“Unless I’m at a wedding, I don’t like veiled threats.” — Jarod Kintz

“You have made a place in my heart where I thought there was no room for anything else.” — Robert Jordan


((((((((((((( THE PULSE

JAN. 16-23, 2013

What’s what, where and when in NW Ohio

Compiled by Whitney Meschke Events are subject to change.


This intimate venue showcases acts from the A-list to the lesser known. 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. (734) 761-1451, (734) 761-1800 or www. O Gemini: 8 p.m. Jan. 16, $12. O Dala: 8 p.m. Jan. 17, $15. O Kelly Joe Phelps: 8 p.m. Jan. 18, $15. O AJ Swearingen and J Beedle: 8 p.m. Jan. 19, $22.50. O Maura O’Connell: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 20, $25. O The Suitcase Junket: 8 p.m. Jan. 22, free.

Arnie’s Perrysburg

This 30-year Toledo tradition has spread south. Live entertainment is offered WednesdaysSaturdays without cover charges. 25818 Dixie Hwy., Perrysburg. (419) 931-6590 or www. O Dave Carpenter: 8-11 p.m. Jan. 17. O Jeff Stewart: 8-11 p.m. Jan. 18. O Captain Sweet Shoes: 7:30-10:30 p.m. Jan. 19. O Shane Piasecki: 8-11 p.m. Jan. 24.

Bar 145

This new venue features burgers, bands and bourbon, if its slogan is to be believed. $5 cover. 5304 Monroe St. (419) 593-0073 or O Tricky Dicks and the Cover-Ups: Jan. 18. O Kim Buehler Trio: Jan. 22.

BGSU concerts

The university’s ensembles, choirs, quartets and more — and their friends — will present the music they’ve been perfecting. Halls are located in Moore Musical Arts Center, Willard

Drive and Ridge Street, Bowling Green. (419) 372-8171, (800) 589-2224, (419) 372-8888 or O Kevin Bylsma, piano: 8 p.m. Jan. 16, Bryan Recital Hall. O BGSU Wind Symphony: 8 p.m. Jan. 18, Kobacker Hall. O Concert Band: 2:30 p.m. Jan. 19, Kobacker Hall. O David Bixler, jazz saxophone: 8 p.m. Jan. 23, Bryan Recital Hall. O Praecepta: 8 p.m. Jan. 25, Bryan Recital Hall.

The Blarney Irish Pub

Catch local acts while taking in the pub’s modern Irish and American fare. 601 Monroe St. (419) 418-2339 or O Steve Kennedy: 8 p.m. Jan. 17. O Toast & Jam: 8 p.m. Jan. 18. O Noise Pollution: 9:30 p.m. Jan. 19. O Kyle White: 8 p.m. Jan. 24. O Arctic Clam: 9:30 p.m. Jan. 25-26.

Blind Pig

trict tavern’s namesake, overhead near the entrance. 20 S. Huron St. (419) 244-2627 or O Open mic: Thursdays and Mondays. O Stonehouse: Jan. 18. O Crucial 420: Jan. 19. O Last Born Sons: Jan. 25.

Caesars Windsor

If you have your passport, consider hopping the Detroit River for this casino’s entertainment offerings. Starting ticket prices, in Canadian dollars, are for the cheapest seats; attendees must be 19 or older. Caesars Windsor Colosseum, 377 Riverside Drive East, Windsor, Ontario. (800) 991-7777 or O The Temptations Revue featuring Dennis Edwards: 9 p.m. Jan. 18, $25.

Cheers Sports Eatery

This family-friendly eatery dishes up live performances … and Chicago-style pizza. 7131 Orchard Centre Drive, Holland. (419) 491-0990. O BOFFO: Jan. 19.

A variety of rock, soul, pop and alternative acts perform at this bar. 208 S. First St., Ann Arbor. $3-$20 unless noted. (734) 996-8555 or O Lucy’s Brown Seville, Racecaracecar, Emilio Basa: 9:30 p.m. Jan. 16. O Match by Match, Teenage Octopus, the Finer Things, Bochnasty: 9:30 p.m. Jan. 18. O Terrible Twos, Bad Indians, Kommie Kilpatrick, K9 Sniffies: 9:30 p.m. Jan. 19. O Mare Crisium, Beyond and Back, Wizard Union, BerT: 9:30 p.m. Jan. 23. O DJ Pigpen, Ripple 3ffect, Park Boiz: 9:30 p.m. Jan. 24. O Family of the Year, Misty Lyn & the Big Beautiful, the Turnips: 9:30 p.m. Jan. 25.

Another drinking-and-dining option has opened up near Fifth Third Field and will feature occasional musical performances. 9 N. Huron St. (419) 244-2855. O Open mic with Breaking Ground: 9:30 p.m. Wednesdays. O Captain Sweet Shoes: 9 p.m. Thursdays. O John Barile & Bobby May: 6 p.m. Fridays. O Danny Mettler: 8:30 p.m. Sundays. O John Barile Band: 9:30 p.m. Jan. 18. O Pilot Radio: 9 p.m. Jan. 19. O Chris Knopp: 9 p.m. Jan. 22. O The Rivets: 9:30 p.m. Jan. 25.

Bronze Boar

Dégagé Jazz Café

Be sure to check out this Warehouse Dis-

Cock n’ Bull Tavern

Signature drinks, such as pumpkin martinis,


Every Day until 11 a.m. 3 Toledo locations to serve you!

6945 W. Central Ave. Toledo, OH

26555 Dixie Hwy. Perrysburg, OH

@ CharliesRestaurants antss @ charliestoledo

12407 Airport Hwy. Swanton, OH

Sponsored by:

plus live local jazz performers. 301 River Road, Maumee. $5 weekends for cafe seating. (419) 794-8205 or O Gene Parker & Friends: 7-10 p.m. Jan. 16 and 22-23. O Michael Peslikis: 7 p.m. Jan. 17. O Chris Buzzelli: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 18-19. O Mike Whitty: 7 p.m. Jan. 24. O The Silverbacks: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 25-26.

The Distillery

Karaoke is offered Tuesdays, but paid entertainers rock out Wednesdays-Saturdays. 4311 Heatherdowns Blvd. (419) 382-1444 or www. O DJ Mark EP: Thursdays. O Velvet Jones: Jan. 18-19. O Nathan Cogan: Jan. 23. O The Bridges: Jan. 25-26.

Doc Watson’s

Named in honor of the owners’ forefather, this bar and restaurant serves a variety of dishes and entertainment. 1515 S. Byrne Road. (419) 389-6003 or O Chris Millimen: 10 p.m. Jan. 18. O Gypsy Luvin: 10 p.m. Jan. 19. O Stephen Woolley: 10 p.m. Jan. 25.

Dorr St. Café

Grab a reuben or some fish while bobbing your head to some tunes. Southwest corner of Dorr Street at Reynolds Road. (419) 531-4446 or O Rance: Jan. 25.




“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.” — Mother Teresa

8 p.m. Jan. 20, $15-$18.

STAR @ the movies

French Quarter J. Patrick’s Pub

Live entertainment after 9:30 p.m. FridaysSaturdays. Holiday Inn French Quarter, 10630 Fremont Pike, Perrysburg. (419) 874-3111 or O Breaking Ground: Jan. 18-19. O The Late Show: Jan. 25-26.

‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Greektown Casino-Hotel

James A. Molnar, TFP film editor:

”A gritty and harrowing tale of the decade-long search for Osama bin Laden by Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow. Jessica Chastain gives an Oscar-worthy performance as CIA operative who is new in the field, tired of sitting around a desk in Washington, D.C. The first part of the movie is almost too intense with grueling torture scenes. The thriller builds toward the end as the U.S. gets closer and closer to bin Laden.” Watch James discuss movies on “WNWO Today” around 5:50 a.m. on Fridays. Also, listen to James discuss movies on “Eye on Your Weekend” on 1370 WSPD every Friday at 6 p.m. For more:

Three stages — at Shotz Sports Bar, Eclipz Ultra Lounge and Asteria — offer competition for gamblers’ attention. 555 E. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit. No cover charge, unless noted; guests must be 21 or older. (888) 771-4386 or www. O Karaoke: 9:30 p.m. Thursdays, Shotz. O DJ Nick Nader: 9:30 p.m. Saturdays, Shotz. O DJ Lee J: 9 p.m. Sundays, Shotz. O Daniel Harrison and the $2 Highway: 5-9 p.m. Wednesdays, Asteria. O Laura Rain: 8 p.m. Jan. 18, Asteria. O Motor City Mix: 9:30 p.m. Jan. 18, Shotz. O That Band: 8 p.m. Jan. 19, Asteria. O LaiLani & the Triple Impact Band: 8 p.m. Jan. 25, Asteria. O Athena & Friends: 9:30 p.m. Jan. 25, Shotz.

H Lounge Serving blues and similar sounds, as well as bayou-style grub. Levis Commons, 6140 Levis Commons Blvd., Perrysburg. (419) 931-3474 or O Elixer: 8:30-11:30 p.m. Jan. 25-26.

The newly opened Hollywood Casino offers musical distractions from all the lights, noise and jackpots. 777 Hollywood Blvd. (419) 661-5200 or O 56 Daze: 9 p.m. Jan. 18. O Jedi Mind Trip: 9 p.m. Jan. 19. O Hoozier Daddy: 9 p.m. Jan. 25.

The Flying Joe

Kerrytown Concert House

Fat Fish Blue

A coffee house with wings? Maybe you’ll feel like soaring after a signature mocha. And sometimes … they add a shot of music. 2130 Preston Parkway, Perrysburg. (419) 931-0273 or www. O Tom Evearitt: Jan. 19.

Frankie’s Inner City

Toledo’s venue for rock. 308 Main St. $5$15, unless noted. (419) 693-5300 or www. O B. Wills, #OE, Infamiss: 9 p.m. Jan. 18. O Black Mask, React, Endeavors, Dismantle, Bad Luck: 9 p.m. Jan. 19. O Chris Webby; Lowe, Nicco & Willie Green:

This venue focuses on classical, jazz and opera artists and music. 415 N. Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor. $5-$30, unless noted. (734) 769-2999 or www. O “Aguanko”: Alberto Nacif’s Afro-Cuban Jazz Project. 8 p.m. Jan. 18. O Wine, Women and Song caberet: 8 p.m. Jan. 25, Feb. 1-2 and 4 p.m. Jan. 27, $20-$50.


This “slice of the Big Apple” in the Glass City provides live entertainment most weekends. 1516 Adams St. (419) 243-6675 or www. O Captain Sweet Shoes: 7 p.m. Jan. 16.

O Zac Kreuz Trio with Clifford Murphy: 6-9 p.m.

Sylvania. (419) 882-2266 or

Jan. 17. O Alan Smith & the Blues All Stars: 9 p.m. Jan. 18. O Buddy Boy Slim & the Blues Rockers: 9 p.m. Jan. 19. O Cynthia Kaay Bennett: 6 p.m. Jan. 21. O Stephen Woolley: 7 p.m. Jan. 23. O Quick Trio: 6 p.m. Jan. 24. O Frostbite: 9 p.m. Jan. 25. O John Barile & Bobby May: 9 p.m. Jan. 26. O The Rivets: 7 p.m. Jan. 30. O Quick Kreuz Murphy Trio: 6 p.m. Jan. 31.

O Skip Turner Band: Jan. 18. O Wilbur & Sneaky Pete: Jan. 19. O John Barile & Bobby May: Jan. 23. O Microphonics: Jan. 25.

MGM Grand Detroit

Live music rings out over the slots and croupiers on the weekends in the Int Ice lounge. 1777 Third St., Detroit. (877) 888-2121 or O Gwen & Charles Scales: 9 p.m. Fridays. O Phase 5: 9 p.m. Jan. 19.

Mickey Finn’s

A variety of genres to wash your drinks down with. Open mic nights, 8 p.m. Wednesdays, no cover; $5-$7 cover other nights. 602 Lagrange St. (419) 246-3466 or O Open mic: 9 p.m. Wednesdays. O Transmission (Goth night): 10 p.m. Fridays, $8. O The Toasters: 8 p.m. Jan. 23.

Motor City Casino/Hotel

This casino’s Sound Board offers big names, big sounds and a big experience. 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit. Guests must be 21 or older. (866) 782-9622 or The casino’s Chromatics Lounge also features live performances. O Dave Hamilton: 7 p.m. Jan. 16. O Phase 5: 7 p.m. Jan. 17. O Cancel Monday: 5:15 p.m. Jan. 18. O Big Will & 360 Band: 10 p.m. Jan. 18. O Nightline: 5:15 p.m. Jan. 19. O Kimmie Horne: 10 p.m. Jan. 19. O Lil Stubby & the Disappointments: 3:30 p.m. Jan. 20. O Reefer Men: 7 p.m. Jan. 21. O 80’s Inc.: 7 p.m. Jan. 22. O Fabulous Soul Stirrers: 7 p.m. Jan. 23. O Dal Bouey: 7 p.m. Jan. 24. O Ani: 5:15 p.m. Jan. 25. O Serieux: 10 p.m. Jan. 25.

One2 Lounge at Treo

Live music starts at 7:30 p.m. 5703 Main St.,


Toast & Jam

601 Monroe St.

Right Across from Fifth Third Field For music listings, drink specials & weekly dining specials, go to:

Saturday, January 19th

Noise Pollution H Happy Hap appy ap ppy py H Hou Hour our our ou Mon-Fri 4-7 pm


Casual meals and bingo and trivia nights with weekend entertainment. 1815 Adams St. (419) 725-5483 or O Nathan Mattimoe: 10 p.m. Jan. 17. O Break Anchor, Unsinkable Molly Brown, NRR: 10 p.m. Jan. 18. O Phantasmagoria, DJ What the Bleep: 10 p.m. Jan. 19. O Bikini Babes: 10 p.m. Jan. 25.

Potbelly Sandwich Shop

What began as an antique store in Chicago turned into a string of more than 200 eateries nationwide, including Toledo. All of the shops feature live music. 4038 Talmadge Road. (419) 725-5037 or O Jaime Mills: Noon-2 Fridays.

Shawn’s Irish Tavern

Founded in 1968, this Celtic-style bar and eatery offers entertainment at its three locations. 4400 Heatherdowns Blvd., (419) 3811281; 105 S. Third St., Waterville, (419) 4411081; and 7436 W. Bancroft St., Sylvania, (419) 724-7981. O Johnny Rodriguez: Jan. 16, 18, 23 and 25, Toledo; Jan. 17, Waterville.


Nouveau cuisine gets a helping of music Thursdays through Saturdays. 104 Louisiana Ave., Perrysburg. (419) 873-8360 or www. O Eddie Molina: Jan. 17. O Kyle White: Jan. 18. O Pete Fetters: Jan. 19. O Eddie Molina: Jan. 24. O Meaghan Roberts: Jan. 25.


Anyone curious about this charcuterie can check out the menu while also sampling some music Tuesdays through Saturdays. 219 Louisiana Ave., Perrysburg. (419) 873-6224 or www. O Kristin Gramza: Jan. 17. O Meaghan Roberts: Jan. 18.


St. Patty’s Day COUNTDOWN

LLive ive iiv vee Ent EEn Entertainment nte tert rtai aainm inm nmen entt Thurs - Fri - Sat

Ottawa Tavern

— SuNdAY — BLOOdY SuNdAY VVoted BEST Irish Pub & Downtown Ba in Toledo! r

28 South Saint Clair Downtown toleDo


“What will survive of us is love.” — Philip Larkin Table Forty 4

Upscale dining plus live entertainment is a welcome combination. Music starts at 9:30 p.m. and concludes at 1:30 a.m. 610 Monroe St. (419) 7250044 or O John Barile: Jan. 17. O Nine Lives: Jan. 18-19. O Mike Fisher: Jan. 24. O Captain Sweet Shoes: Jan. 25.

Trotters Tavern

5131 Heatherdowns Blvd. (419) 381-2079. O Ragtime Rick and Chefs of Dixieland: Jan. 16. O Madison Binkley: 7-9 p.m. Jan. 18. O Andrew Ellis: 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Jan. 18. O Jeff McDonald Big Band: Jan. 22.

The Village Idiot

Tunes combined with pizza and booze, some would say it’s a perfect combination. 309 Conant St., Maumee. (419) 893-7281 or O Old West End Records: 8 p.m. Wednesdays. O Bob Rex Trio: 6 p.m. Sundays. O Frankie May and friends: 10 p.m. Mondays. O John Barile & Bobby May: 8 p.m. Tuesdays. O The Zimmerman Twins: 9 p.m. Jan. 17, $5. O The Nu-Tones: 8 p.m. Jan. 18, $5. O Reese Dailey Band: 8 p.m. Jan. 19, $5. O S***DangMonsterTrucks, Dooley Wilson: 10 p.m. Jan. 24, $4. O The Homewreckers: 8 p.m. Jan. 26, $5.

Ye Olde Durty Bird

A full bar featuring frozen drinks and multiple happy hours (4-7 p.m.) on weekdays, plus salads, soups and sandwiches, accompany live

entertainment four nights a week. 2 S. St. Clair St. (419) 243-2473 or O Jaime Mills: 7 p.m. Jan. 16 and 24. O Barile Jazz Trio: 7 p.m. Jan. 17. O Ronn Daniels: 8:30 p.m. Jan. 18. O John Barile and Bobby May: 8:30 p.m. Jan. 19. O Chris Knopp: 7 p.m. Jan. 23. O Jeff Stewart and the 25s: 8:30 p.m. Jan. 25-26.


With its focus on swing music, Jeff McDonald’s group of musicians provides a peek into another era, with music from bandleaders such as Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, the Dorseys and more. With combos from trio to full orchestra, the performers provide music for all occasions. (419) 7080265, (419) 874-0290 or O 8-10:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Trotters Tavern, 5131 Heatherdowns Blvd. (419) 381-2079 or (419) 708-0265.

Jazz on the Maumee

The Art Tatum Jazz Society will provide smooth, cool “Twilight Jazz” along the river, appetizers included. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Grand Plaza Hotel’s Aqua Lounge, 444 N. Summit St. $5-$15. (419) 241-141 or www. O Chris Buzzelli & Co.: Jan. 16. O Estar Cohen Project: Jan. 23.

Kronos Quartet

For nearly 40 years, this group has explored and expanded the world of music for string quartets. 7:30 p.m. Jan. 17, Valentine Theatre, 400 N. Superior St. $39-$50. (419) 242-2787 or



to northwest ohio


Gabriel Kahane & yMusic

This pianist/composer spans diverse genres, including modern and folk. 7:30 p.m. Jan. 17 and 8 p.m. Jan. 18, University of Michigan’s Arthur Miller Theatre, 1226 Murfin Ave., Ann Arbor. $35. (734) 764-2538 or

Kathy Mattea

Perhaps best known for hits such as “Where’ve You Been?” and “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses,” Mattea’s latest effort, “Coal,” strikes close to home with its musical stories about her home state of West Virginia. 7:30 p.m. Jan. 18, Meyer Theater, La-Z-Boy Center, Monroe County Community College, 1555 S. Raisinville Road, Monroe. $25-$35. (734) 384-4274 or

An Evening of Symphonic Dance Music

Stefan Sanderling will lead the Toledo Symphony in performances of works by Brahms, Dvorak, Liszt, Bartok and more. 8 p.m. Jan. 18-19, Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle Theater, 2445 Monroe St. $22-$52. (419) 246-8000, (800) 348-1253 or

Mozart Birthday Bash

The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra will perform works by the master in honor of his birthday anniversary. 8 p.m. Jan. 19, Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor. (734) 768-8397, (734) 668-8463 or

The Wanna Bees

This band is dedicated to career development for the elementary school set, singing songs about days in the life of various professionals. 1 and

2:30 p.m. Jan. 20, Toledo Zoo indoor theater, 2700 Broadway St. $5.50-$7 (half-off zoo admission). (419) 385-4040 or

The Final Frontier

The Ann Arbor Concert Band, with conductor James Nissen, will present “Music of the Cosmos”: “Mars” from “The Planets” by Gustav Holst; “Voyager” by John Stout; “Music of the Spheres” by Philip Sparke; and more. 2 p.m. Jan. 20, Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor. $5-$10. (734) 4787515, (734) 768-8397, or

Music for Piano and Strings

SonoNovo Chamber Ensemble principals Cecilia Johnson and Jim Anderson will team up with pianist Wayne Anthony in a program of works from the chamber trio repertory. 7 p.m. Jan. 25, Trinity Episcopal Church, 1 Trinity Plaza. $5-$15. (419) 243-1231 or

Ann Arbor Folk Festival

Celebrating its 36th year, this festival “includes a selection of the world’s finest traditional and contemporary performers.” University of Michigan, Hill Auditorium, 825 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor. $35-$47.50 a night or $60-$85 for both. (734) 763-8587 or O 6:30 p.m. Jan. 25: City and Colour, Rodriguez, Trampled by Turtles, Delta Rae, Carl Broemel, Frontier Ruckus, Brown Bird and Colin Hay. O 6:30 p.m. Jan. 26: The Head and the Heart, Lucinda Williams, Dar Williams, Frank Fairfield, the Steel Wheels, Brother Joscephus and the Love Revolution, Drew Nelson and Colin Hay. O

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“We aim to please.” — E.L. James, “Fifty Shades of Grey”

Comic book retailer foresees bright 2013 By Jim Beard Toledo Free Press Star Staff Writer

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$20 worth of food for just $10.00 at River Diner (Alexis Road Location)


Support Your LocaL reStaurantS

“Local restaurants are the lifeblood of any community. The personal touch and individual attention we provide our guests make your dining experience unique in a way that all chain restaurants unsuccessfully strive to emulate.”

The comic book industry has its ups and down like any business, but a recent string of successful superhero films and TV shows and the ever-increasing presence of “graphic novels” on bookstore shelves indicates a positive trend for the medium. But inching towards a century of providing entertainment to children and adults alike, comic books have also been their own worst enemies and can just KATSCHKE as easily skew too insular, clichéd and meandering for the growth they need to survive. But all is not rainclouds. Ed Katschke, manager of Toledo’s own Monarch Cards & Comics, said he looks forward to “bigger and more exciting stories” from DC Comics and Marvel Comics in 2013, including Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron miniseries and the debut of DC’s new Justice League of America. “Small-press books will also continue to

Black Pearl

make greater penetration into the volatile comic marketplace,” he said, “as exemplified by Saga, Massive, Mara, Comeback, Manhattan Projects and Revival.” Katschke said digital comics will also prove themselves to be “more of a help than a hindrance to comic book retailers as they continue to make the material available to a larger and more tech savvy audience.” And, he continues, “one can neither predict nor discount the effect that the surfeit of new comic book related movie projects will have on the industry as well, particularly in regards to ‘Iron Man 3’ and the new Superman movie,” he said. But what of those comics that might serve to bridge the gap between the ever-shrinking consumer base and the so-called “public?” What could 2013 bring on that score? “The first two projects,” Katschke said, “that come to my mind as being both important and likely to bring in more ‘civilian’ traffic into the comic shops are the announced, but not yet solicited, Sandman miniseries by New York Times best-selling author and creator Neil Gaiman and brilliant artist J.H. Williams, and the upcoming new monthly Star Wars title written by fan favorite Brian Wood with covers by modern comic master Alex Ross. The former will be Gaiman’s first foray into new Sandman territory in years while the later promises to be great fun for long time ‘Star Wars’ fans as it deals with the cast of the original trilogy of films.” O


Trotters Tavern

Loma Linda Celebrating 57 years.

“Even a pain in the ass needs someone to care about them.” — E.L. James, “Fifty Shades of Grey”


Estar Cohen Project to perform at Happy Badger Saturday Supper Club


he Estar Cohen Project will perform on Saturday, Jan. 19 at the Happy Badger Saturday Supper Club in Bowling Green. The quintet consists of pianist Josh Silver, bassist Steven Knurek, percussionist Travis Aukerman, tenor saxophonist A.J. Shank and is led by vocalist/composer Estar Cohen. The band made its debut on the Toledo scene in 2012, making appearances at the Crosby Festival of the Arts, Old West End Festival, Black Swamp Arts Festival, and Maumee STACY Bay River Festival, according to a news release. It is refreshing to see such a talented group of young musicians continuing the tradition of creative, original jazz in the Toledo area. “It isn’t every day that you find a group of musicians that are committed to growing together as a band,” Cohen said. “We work consistently together — not because we have to, but because we have established a musical relationship in which we can explore original composition and arranging, as well as make some really great jokes along the way.”

Exclusive live jazz dinners are a rare pleasure in the Toledo area. Food and music of this caliber seal the deal. The Happy Badger began Saturday Supper Club dinners late last fall. The menu changes each week depending on the seasonal selection at the farmer’s market and the chef ’s evolving culinary inspirations. The menu for the Estar Cohen Project Supper Club Performance on the 19th has not yet been announced, but you can anticipate simply prepared and beautiful food with a focus on quality ingredients. Previous Supper Club menus included the James Beard Burger (a hormone-free burger with sharp cheddar, aioli, apples and bacon), A Cheddar Herb Scone Pot Pie, Grilled Syrian Honey Chicken with Mashed Purple Potatoes and Kale, and Maple Glazed Pork with Caramelized Apples and Sherry Mushroom Stuffing. Details are listed online at The last dinner performance at the Happy Badger by Inland Traveler from Brooklyn generated a full house and sold out dinner tables. Call




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ESTAR COHEN Visit to (419) 352-0706 for reservations for select seating in the recently renovated dining and concert hear the Estar Cohen Project. The Happy Badger is located at 331 N. Main room. Dinner services will begin at 6 p.m. and St. (at Clay) in BG. O the band will perform two sets from 7 to 9 p.m.

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Owens to present ‘America’s Music’



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Owens Community College has news that just might be music to your ears. It recently earned the distinction of being chosen as one of only 50 organizations nationwide to participate in the prestigious “America’s Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway” program. The grant funded program was created by the American Library Association’s Public Programs Office and the Tribeca Film Institute, in consultation with Tribeca Flashpoint and the Society for American Music. “America’s Music” is a series of public programs which examine different periods of music through the film. Films being used as part of the program include “Say Amen,” “Somebody,” “Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues,” “Latin Music USA,” “Ken Burns’ Jazz,” “International Sweethearts of Rhythm,” “The History of Rock and Roll,” “High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music,” “From Mambo to Hip-Hop: A South Bronx Tale” and “Broadway: The American Musical.” “I was thrilled when I received notification that we had received both the programming grant from the American Library Association, Tribeca Film Institute and NEH grant (America’s Music) and the support from the Ohio Humanities Council grant for the exhibit, ‘Rock On,’”,” said Wynn Perry, Owens coordinator of the Walter E. Terhune Art Gallery. “The two grants made our spring programming possible. Receiving this support also helped me understand

on a personal level how important these institutions are to our continued ability to present and support the arts and how important it is to thank them publicly as much as possible. Thanking our funders keeps the community aware of the importance of public funding. The program continues at 7 p.m. Jan. 29 in the Way Public Library, with the film, “Broadway: The American Musical” and musical performances by Jodi Jobuck, Lynda Dunn and Jo-Anne Chrysochoos. At 7 p.m. Feb. 12 in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts Mainstage Theatre, the film: “Ken Burns’ Jazz” and “International Sweethearts of Rhythm” will be followed by a musical performance by the Owens Jazz Ensemble. At 7 p.m. Feb. 26 in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts Mainstage Theatre, the film “High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music” will be followed by a musical performance by Hand String Band. At 7 p.m. March 12 in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts Mainstage Theatre, the film, “The History of Rock ’n’ Roll” will be followed by a musical performance by MAD 45. At 7 p.m. March 26 in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts Studio Theatre, the films, “Latin Music USA” and “From Mambo to Hip Hop: A South Bronx Tale” will be followed by a musical performance by Price of the Ticket. For more information, call (567) 661-7956 or visit O — John Dorsey


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Catch “Jedi of Pop Culture” Jeff McGinnis on Tuesday mornings on 92.5 KISS-FM.

Ohio has talent

N A publication of Toledo Free Press, LLC, Vol.4, No.03 Established 2010. Thomas F. Pounds, President/Publisher Michael S. Miller, Editor in Chief EDITORIAL

Mary Ann Stearns, Design Editor James A. Molnar, Lead Designer Sarah Ottney, Managing Editor Brigitta Burks, News Editor Jeff McGinnis, Pop Culture Editor ADMINISTRATION

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Toledo Free Press Star is published every Wednesday by Toledo Free Press, LLC, 605 Monroe St., Toledo, OH 43604 • (419) 241-1700 Fax: (419) 241-8828 Subscription rate: $100 /year. Reproduction or use of editorial or graphic content in any manner without permission is strictly prohibited. Copyright 2012 with all rights reserved. Publication of ads does not imply endorsement of goods or services.

BC’s hit variety competition “America’s Got Talent” will host open talent auditions Jan. 19 and 20 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in the state capital. And Jason Raff, the show’s executive producer, really wants you to audition. Yes, you. The one reading this article. He wants as many folks JEFF as possible to come out. Can’t sing or dance? No problem. The show takes acts of all types, and the more unusual, the better. Heck, once a contestant was a stylist who cut hair as their talent. Raff has seen it all — then again, no, he hasn’t. Every year brings something even more outrageous. And he loves that about his job. “The bar has been raised. So each year, you’re looking for better, better, better. Or more unusual. I’m also looking for things I’ve never seen before. It’s always exciting to go — be in an audition, be in Columbus, and someone comes into the audition room and does something you’ve never seen before,” Raff said in an interview with Toledo Free Press Star. “The thing that keeps me doing this is, it is the only show on TV — there’s not another talent competition on TV that I’m aware of that’s open to any age and any talent. Like, it is open to anyone. ‘X-Factor,’ they have all these age restrictions — and it’s not singers, it’s dancers, it’s bands, it’s duos, it’s trios. “If I was on a singing competition for eight years, I would go crazy.” Raff has been with “Talent” since it debuted stateside in 2006, and has come to believe fervently in the importance of casting a wide net for potential stars. “There is no TV show without finding the talent. Finding judges and all that, nothing matters until we actually find the talent. There’s no show without that. So my main job right now is to travel around the country and find as many talented people as possible.” With variety in mind, the show has expanded its audition process to more places than ever before — the stop in Columbus will be “Talent”’s first-ever audition stop in Ohio. “We doubled the cities that we normally do, in part because there is no show without the people coming out. And the more people we see, the better odds that we’re gonna find people that we think are interesting to put in front of the judges when they start doing their job.” The Ohio visit also comes in a year where even more unusual acts may be inspired to auditions. Last year’s winners, the Olate Dogs, were the first nonsinging act ever to take home the show’s coveted grand prize. “It used to be, ‘Oh, I don’t wanna try out for the show, because all the singers win.’ But when

Hit NBC show to host auditions in Columbus.

you look at the semifinals last year, there were no singers. It was all artists and dog acts,” Raff said. “If you’re a singer, dancer, anything that you have a passion for — it is an opportunity to try something different, to push yourself to audition for something. If you’ve never auditioned for anything in your life, just to come out and give it a shot. Even if you don’t make it, I guarantee anyone who comes out is at least gonna have a good story to tell.” The auditions also come at a turning point for “Talent,” which Raff confirms will be making some slight alterations to the production in its eighth season — not least of which being the still-vacant space on the judges’ panel left by Sharon Osbourne’s departure. But Raff assures viewers that — just like last year, even with the controversial addition of Howard Stern




to the judging table — the core of the show will remain unchanged. “We’re looking at how we tell the story, how you tell the story of the auditions and the people, we’re always trying to tweak that. Obviously with the judges, with Sharon leaving, will be kind of tweaked a little bit, which will add a different dynamic to the show. But I think the fans of the show, the people who like the show — they’re still gonna see what they see. “Howard did that last year for us. There was a lot of talk of, ‘Oh my God, you’ve ruined the show with Howard.’ And then those same people who thought they hated Howard, or at least hated his radio persona, thought he was quite a good judge.” And what advice does Raff have for auditioners who come out on Jan. 19 and 20? Simple: Be unique. “There’s gonna be a lot of people coming out to audition. How do you stand out from the crowd? Is it how you dress? Dress a little differently, dress up, or dress in something unusual — be noticed. Don’t be boring. “And be fearless.” O Email Toledo Free Press Star Pop Culture Editor Jeff McGinnis at

“It’s very hard to grow up in a perfect family when you’re not perfect.” — E.L. James, “Fifty Shades of Grey”


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Toledo Free Press STAR – January 16, 2013  

HERE COMES THE GUIDE: The cover for this edition features a bride and groom dancing along the Maumee River; read our special bridal guide be...

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