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INSIDE: UPSO at Bozarts n The Undeserving n Donny Osmond

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aug. 31, 2011

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EXHIBITS: Hostetler at Bozarts 4 COMIC BOOKS: Is DC pouring the ‘New Coke’? 7 ENTERTAINMENT BRIEFS: Johnny Knorr dies 8 PERFORMANCE: Harris gets ‘Bizarre’ at Grumpy’s 9 IN CONCERT: Donny Osmond in Cleveland 10 THE PULSE: Calendar of events 14 ON THE ROX: Martini on Renee Dion 18 POP GOES THE CULTURE: McGinnis and the angry nerd 22

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Donny Osmond in Cleveland • Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz in ‘Phineas Live!’ • UPSO at bozarts

AUGUST 31, 2011 • Episode 2 Chapter 35 • Toledo Free Press Star, Toledo, OH: “I know what we’re going to do today!” — Phineas, “Phineas and Ferb”

The Undeserving excited for album release By Mike Bauman Toledo Free Press Staff Writer mbauman@toledofreepress.com

When The Undeserving releases “Almost Alive” on Sept. 6, it will be the culmination of a journey that began nearly seven years ago for the Fremont-based band. “We’ve always been pretty confident we could have some sort of career,” The Undeserving bassist and background vocalist Jimmie Getty told Toledo Free Press Star. A 2007 graduate of Clyde High School, Getty joined the group in 2005. “We’ve always believed in the music, and our goal has always been just to write the best songs that we could and to play as much as we could. It actually feels more tangible now than it ever has before, now that we have this record coming out.” Comprised of Getty, Brennan Willis (lead guitar, background vocals) and brothers Clay (lead vocals, piano, acoustic guitar) and Kyle Kirchenbauer (drums, background vocals),The Undeserving started getting attention from multiple record labels in early 2005 with its song, “There For You.” After putting a small team together, the band did two years of showcasing from 2006 to 2008, playing in markets like New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago before landing a joint record deal with Warner Bros. Records and Cause for Alarm Records through Kevin Law in the summer of 2008. The Undeserving completed what was to be its major label debut in May 2009. The album was recorded in Nashville, Tenn., with producer Allen Salmon, mixed at the famed Elec-

tric Lady Studios in New York City by Michael Brauer (who worked with The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney) and mastered by Ted Jensen. However, the investor for Cause for Alarm Records pulled out that same year, and The Undeserving got absorbed by Warner Bros. Records completely. As the label went through multiple personnel changes, The Undeserving was worried about what would happen next. “We were kind of nervous that we made this record that had been mixed by Michael Brauer and mastered by Ted Jensen, and something we were really proud of and had worked on for a long time — we were afraid no one was ever going to hear it,” Getty said. Through the support of Lori Feldman, who is the senior vice president of brand partnerships and music licensing at Warner Bros. Records, The Undeserving was able to get its music out to millions last year when “Something To Hope For” was used in a promo for Season 9 of “American Idol.” In addition, the band’s music has been featured on the TV shows “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew,” “The Biggest Loser,” “Ghost Whisperer,” “So You Think You Can Dance?” and CNN’s Haiti Relief public service announcement, among others. “She was really passionate about the music and pitching it around everywhere she could,” Getty said of Feldman. “We owe a lot of gratitude to her. She’s responsible for all the syncs and stuff, and it was really just because she was passionate about the music and wanted to see it do well.” While The Undeserving is no longer with Warner Bros. Records, the label has since signed the record back to the band and allowed it to re-

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The Undeserving will play upcoming gigs in Fremont and Maumee. PHOTO COURTESY JIMMIE GETTY

lease “Almost Alive” independently. “It’s kind of cool to be back in the driver’s seat, and we can release it on our own,” Getty said. “We’re doing everything ourselves now.” Getty said the plan after the album’s release is to continue touring and promote the album. “Our main goal is basically just to keep going,” he said. “If we can support ourselves and keep doing it and be able to give back to our families some, that would be incredible.” Pre-orders for “Almost Alive” are available on

$$$$ $$$$$

the group’s website at theundeserving.com, and the album will also be available through online retailers like iTunes and Amazon on the official release date. The band will host a release show for “Almost Alive” at Grace Community Church in Fremont on Sept. 6, as well as an additional show at the Maumee Indoor Theatre on Oct. 14. Admission for the show in Fremont is $12, while the show in Maumee is $10. The price for each event includes a copy of “Almost Alive” and kids 12 and younger get in free at both shows. O

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4 n AUGUST 31, 2011 / TOLEDOFREEPRESS.COM

”The molten lava at the Earth’s core completely slipped my mind.” — Dr. Doofenshmirtz, “Phineas and Ferb”

I thought we’d have more time By Jason Mack Toledo Free Press Star Web Editor jmack@toledofreepress.com

Toledo resident Dustin Hostetler is balancing several careers — working as a commercial and creative graphic artist and co-owning a restaurant. He also publishes an art magazine called Faesthetic and runs the “Think Faest” blog. His work has been featured in art galleries across the globe, but his first Ohio exhibit — “I Thought We’d Have More Time” — debuted Aug. 26 at Bozarts Fine Art and Music Gallery. For his first show in Ohio, Hostetler decided to include the state bird in several images. “I love birds in general,” he said. “I love watching birds and have a bird feeder in my yard. We get a lot of cardinals. It being the state bird and this being my first Ohio show, I thought it made sense to do some pieces dedicated to cardinals. It’s the most badass-looking bird, especially when you get a bunch of them together. They have the spiked hair and are looking like they are ready to fight.” He also paid tribute to Ohio with a series of portraits with the backgrounds made up of small logos of the state. “I took the whole show-in-Ohio thing a little more literal than I would have for a show in New York or somewhere else,” he said. “I’m excited to be a Toledo artist and an Ohio artist and thought I would reference that as much as I could.” His work at the show also features several consistent themes, including crystals, skulls and images containing his own body parts. “Crystals are something that has been a repeating element in a lot of my work for several years now,” he said. “This is the first time I have played around with it being more three-dimensional. There are shadows under each of them so they pop off the walls a little.” Skulls have been a repeating theme in his work for more than a decade. “A friend of mine got a laser etching machine through Kickstarter.com and gave all of

his supporters little bits of laser art,” he said. “I sent him a skull and he sent me back woodcuttings of skulls. He’s still learning how to use them, so the laser is a little rough on it. I kind of like that. With my work being so crispy, colorful and clean, to do some rough-cut wood ones brings some balance. I’m selling these for super cheap so if you can’t get a print, you can take a little skull home.” Prints are available at $250 for an 18-inchby-24-inch piece and $300 for a 24-inch-by-36inch piece. They are all editions of one, so like a painting they are one of a kind. All of the images were printed by Toledo’s SFC Graphics. “They do amazing art prints,” Hostetler said. “I’ve been using them for a decade. The color will last as long as a painting or anything else you buy.” One piece of art not for sale is a rainbow Hostetler spray painted on the white wall. Bozarts allows artists to paint on the walls and repaints between shows. “It was fun to go in here knowing I could paint on the walls if I wanted to,” Hostetler said. “You’re allowed to do whatever you want here. I only did the spray paint because I never get a chance to do that. I thought it was kind of funny to paint on the walls, and I have a lot of rainbow stuff in my work for the show anyway.” The exhibit includes a series of four paintings of Hostetler’s face with rainbows shooting out of the eyeballs or mouth. “I always use images of myself or reference myself in the work,” he said. “Whether it looks like me or not, it is me. It’s sort of the idea, jokingly, that I’m just sort of barfing out all this art, that it’s all I think about and all I do in my free time is barfing out art. I like to play with a little bit of humor in the art.” Beneath one painting of his face with empty eye sockets are replicas of his eyeballs made by a friend who works in the Miller Artificial Eye Laboratory. Hostetler has also used the image of his eyes for commercial projects. n UPSO CONTINUES ON 6

‘Cardinals 1’

Dustin ‘UPSO’ Hostetler exhibit debuts at Bozarts.

ILLUSTRATION BY DUSTIN HOSTETLER


‘Me,’ self-portrait by Dustin Hostetler

ILLUSTRATION BY DUSTIN HOSTETLER


6 n AUGUST 31, 2011 / TOLEDOFREEPRESS.COM n UPSO CONTINUED FROM 4 “If I get commissioned by somebody to do a commercial work and I’m able to include a body part of myself onto it, I kind of like the idea of that,” he said. “I did a Mountain Dew bottle a couple years ago for an artist series and it was covered in eyes. I love the idea that somebody living states away, who didn’t know me at all, would pull this bottle out of their fridge and have my eyeballs looking at them.” While Hostetler likes putting himself into commercial work, he prefers to keep his art separate from his other commercial project. Last November, Hostetler and his two aunts bought the restaurant Grumpy’s from his grandparents. “I love being involved with Grumpy’s, and I love making art, but I like having them be separate things,” he said. “Maybe someday I’d hang some of my art in the restaurant, but I’d prefer to just keep the restaurant its own special place. You have to give my grandparents credit for running it for 27 years prior to my involvement. I don’t want to slap my name over it. It’s its own beast. I’m just there helping out.” To view Hostetler’s exhibit, contact Bozarts owner Jerry Gray at (419) 464-5785 to set up an appointment. The studio, located at 151 S. St. Clair St., brings in a new artist every two weeks. Starting Sept. 9, Hostetler’s favorite Toledo artist Yusuf Lateef starts a new exhibition. “Most galleries do a show every month or couple of months,” Hostetler said. “Jerry is cramming more into the six months he’s doing it this year than most places would do in a year. He has a show coming up. Not only is he supporting the local arts scene, but he’s also an amazing artist himself. He’s definitely vested in local artists.” To view Hostetler’s work, visit DustinAmeryHostetler.com or UPSO.org. UPSO is a pseudonym Hostetler uses for his art. The name comes from a series of paintings he did in college. “At BGSU I was painting these little spacemen,” he said. “They had their own little NASA organization called United Planet Space Organization, so I was writing UPSO on their spacesuits a lot. I liked it so I started putting it into all my regular art. For about 15 years I’ve been using that as a nickname for my stuff, my brand I guess. I’ll get phone calls asking for UPSO now.” The rainbow on the wall at Bozarts isn’t Hostetler’s first experi-

”You mess with the bull, you get the horns, buddy!” — Isabella, “Phineas and Ferb”

ence with spray paint. The idea for using a pseudonym comes from his early days of doing graffiti. “My inspiration for art was graffiti,” he said. “That was a big part of my life back in high school and college. In those days I was used to putting fake names on my work, because you don’t do graffiti and sign your name and phone number and address on there. I got in trouble for doing graffiti in high school and I stopped doing it, but I always liked that idea of putting fake names on my work. I love the idea of being a little bit anonymous. My face appears in my work. It’s not like it’s an anonymous thing, but I love the idea of a fake name.” O

‘Ohio Lasers 4-2’ (above) and ‘Ohio Lasers 4-3’ ILLUSTRATIONS BY DUSTIN HOSTETLER

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“So this is how it ends, Ferb ... defeated by our own doppelgangers.” — Phineas, “Phineas and Ferb”

Is the new DC the ‘New Coke’ of comics? By Jim Beard Toledo Free Press Star Staff Writer star@toledofreepress.com

A venerable company that founded an entire industry feels the pain of rapidly shrinking revenues and an ever-growing rival firm. The company decides to reconfigure its aging product and reintroduce it to the world, despite the concerns of a vocal minority of its core consumer base. The new product is given a wide promotion and a splashy introduction and the company’s leaders tell its fans the evolution of the brand is necessary and that nothing should be considered so sacred as to be allowed to stagnate. The above story is the story of New Coke — but it is also the story, so far, of the new DC Comics. The similarities in the reasons behind the respective changes are amazing, but it remains to be seen whether DC’s new output — a company-wide relaunch of all titles — will follow the same route as Coke’s wholesale embarrassment in the 1980s. New Coke sits alongside the Edsel in the Hubris Hall of Fame; comics fans can hope that DC’s alterations will be remembered as an industry milestone and

not just another watershed. New Coke was replaced by its classic counterpart within three months of its introduction, the relapse reportedly prompted by an overwhelming backlash against the new formula. Diehard fans of “Coke Classic” shouted their displeasure and the company adjusted accordingly. Some said New Coke should have been simply another taste in Coke’s product line, but its powers-that-were demanded that the tried-andtrue formula of a hundred years just wasn’t good enough anymore. Fans of DC have also wondered why a separate new line couldn’t complement their classic books and looks, much as rival Marvel publishes a parallel “Ultimate” universe of titles. For whatever reason, DC drank the New Coke instead and dreamt of starting afresh; in with the new and out with the old. Today, in comic shops everywhere, “Justice League” No. 1 hits the racks, a surefire hit of epic proportions for an industry that’s seen much better days. DC’s sales should spike dramatically and for months to come — but whether ABC News will interrupt “General Hospital” to announce the return of “Classic DC” is any fan’s guess. O

TOLEDOFREEPRESS.COM / AUGUST 31, 2011 n 7

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”Hi, this is Mom. Leave your psychotic rant about the boys after the beep.” — Mrs. Flynn-Fletcher, “Phineas and Ferb”

Big band leader Johnny Knorr dies

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Toledo bigband musician Johnny Knorr died Aug. 28 in his home at the age of 90. Knorr celebrated his 90th birthday as well as the Johnny Knorr Orchestra’s 51st season in June. PBS aired a documentary this KNORR year celebrating the band’s 50th anniversary, “Satin Dolls: The Johnny Knorr Story.” Knorr’s son Jerry is also in the band and took over for Johnny at the start of the year as the band’s director. Visitation hours will be from 4-8 p.m. Sept. 1 and 2-8 p.m. Sept. 2 at Walker Funeral Home at 5155 Sylvania Ave. Funeral services will be held Sept. 3 at 11 a.m. at Christ Presbyterian Church at 4225 Sylvania Ave. O — Zach Davis

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The Stamp Collectors’ Club of Toledo is hosting its annual “Back to Stamps” meeting Sept. 1. In an attempt to attract more people to the hobby of philately, the club is offering free membership to new members for the first year. The Sept. 1 meeting will serve as an introduction to the hobby. There will be refreshments

available and new members will receive free stamps to get their collections started. The meeting is at 7 p.m. in the Wernert’s Corners Civic Association Hall at 5068 1918 ‘Jenny’ stamp Douglas Road. Meetings are held on the first and third Thursday of every month, and new members are welcome to join at any time. For more information contact Steve Heaney at (419) 467-4695 or Gene Stutzenstein at (419) 764-3213. O — Jason Mack

Metropark photo exhibit

The National Center for Nature Photography in Secor Metropark is opening three new exhibits which will be on display in September and October. The three exhibits are “Western Exposure: A Journey of the Spirit,” “Nature in All Directions” and “Celebrating 15 Years Of Nature In Northwest Ohio And Beyond.” Guests can meet artist Rance Rogers at the center Sept. 3 from 2-4 p.m. at a reception. Steve Pollick and Jeff Bastings will be at the center Sept. 11 from 1-3 p.m. to sign copies of their book. The exhibits are on display Saturdays and Sundays from 12-5 p.m. and admission is free. O — Jason Mack

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“Before I was evil, I was a little less than evil: I was a bratwurst street vendor!” — Dr. Doofenshmirtz, “Phineas and Ferb”

Grumpy’s hosts ‘Bizarre’ Harris Grumpy’s Deli welcomes back Toledo playwright Larry Dean Harris on Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m. for a new show, “Witness to the Bizarre.” Harris performed at Grumpy’s in 1989 with “Oh, No! Not Toledo!” and the show continued for years with cast and location changes. Harris left in 1997 to live in Los Angeles where he pursued playwriting. He has been nominated for Ovation and LA Weekly theater awards. “Witness to the Bizarre” is a solo role and will be the first time in his career that Harris has had a starring role. “A few years ago, I discovered the storytelling scene in Los Angeles, and I thought ‘I can do that,’” Harris said in a news release. Before long, he was getting booked into prominent venues like the Comedy Central Stage and The Hotel Café, sharing his autobiographical adventures with audiences. “I’ve lived in three pretty colorful cities: New York, Los Angeles and Toledo. And my path has — on occasion — taken a twisted turn that makes for a good yarn. My job is to spin that yarn in an entertaining and hopefully enlightening way.” “It’ll be dinner theater Grumpy’s style just like the old days,” said Dustin Hostetler, Grumpy’s co-owner, in a news release. “We’ll have a buffet of sandwiches and cookies. And we’ll enjoy a show by an old friend.” Admission for the performance, including a buffet dinner, is $25. To reserve a spot, email GrumpysDeli@gmail.com. O — Jason Mack

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”It’s curry. It’s not inherently evil.” — Baljeet, “Phineas and Ferb”

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By John Benson

Toledo Free Press Star Staff Writer star@toledofreepress.com

The Bieber-fever zeitgeist looks very familiar to singer-actor-entertainer Donny Osmond, who exactly 40 years ago was the pinup pop star of the ’70s. “It’s amazing when you put our two pictures together when we were both 14 years old and it’s like we’re brothers,” Osmond said, calling from his Utah home. “He even stole my color purple and my haircut. It’s like, ‘Come on buddy, get original.’” Getting original with what he believes is a first-of-its-kind show is exactly what Osmond is doing with the inaugural run of his “Donny’s Basically Yours Tour,” which comes to Cleveland on Sept. 2 at the House of Blues. The multimedia stage show is a living, breathing “Behind the Music”-style event documenting the 53-yearold’s entire career through music and video. Conceived years ago, it was only recently that Osmond decided the technology existed to bring the concept to fruition. If it’s a success, the singer said he hopes to tour it in theaters. “This is a show I never did before,” Osmond said. “It’s not totally improv, there’s a structure to it, but there will be Q-and-A in the show and

whatever they want to hear, I’ll do. In fact, I have hundreds of songs ready to go. It all depends on what the audience wants. Obviously they’re going to call out ‘Puppy Love’ and ‘One Bad Apple’ and things like that. Then like for ‘Bad Apple,’ I’ll show the cartoons that we used to have. “For instance, if someone asks about the ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic video I did, ‘White & Nerdy,’ boom, it’s on the screen behind me almost instantaneously. Or if somebody mentions ‘The Donny & Marie Show’ when Lucille Ball was a guest, boom, there it is on the screen. I have this braniac guy with me who is so fast on the keyboard. Whatever they want to hear or see, it’s right there.” In looking back at his four-decade long career, Osmond has enjoyed the rollercoaster of fame. His numerous comebacks (1989 hit song “Soldier of Love,” early ’90s lead in the stage production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and 2009’s “Dancing with the Stars” winner) have kept him in the public eye, but he’s never stopped working. Not only are Osmond and sister Marie headlining a Las Vegas show, but the popular singing duo released a self-titled new album of material earlier this year that, not surprisingly, was a little bit country and a little bit rock ’n’ roll. n OSMOND CONTINUES ON 11

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“I hate fun.” — Candace, “Phineas and Ferb”

TOLEDOFREEPRESS.COM / AUGUST 31, 2011 n 11

OSMOND

n OSMOND CONTINUED FROM 10 The album features material written by Richie Sambora, Carole King, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, David Foster, Richard Marx and more. Excited to be once again on the road, Osmond thinks back to one of his first shows in Northeast Ohio when, as a bored teenager stuck in a hotel, he decided to have fun at the expense of his screaming fans many stories below. “We were on the 12th floor, and we had three or four full pizzas we didn’t eat so I threw them like a Frisbee out of the window,” Osmond said. “The funny thing about it is they loved it and wanted

more. So I found some balloons and filled up some water balloons. They thought, ‘He’s throwing us a ball’ and when it was coming down they realized it’s not a ball and tried to scatter but it was too late.” Naturally, the question to ask is, should fans expect to be pelted with pizzas and water balloons at his upcoming show? “No, I don’t think so,” Osmond laughed. “I really don’t know where this show is going to take me but I’m ready to go on the journey.” Osmond will play at 7 p.m. Sept. 2 at the House of Blues, 308 Euclid Ave., Cleveland. Tickets are $49.50 to $136. For information, call (216) 2415555 in Cleveland or www.ticketmaster.com. O

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”Here’s my credit card. You have our permission to ruin us financially.” — Dad, “Phineas and Ferb”

Action hero platypus By Jason Mack Toledo Free Press Star Web Editor jmack@toledofreepress.com

Tiffany Westfall left home four years ago as a college student studying physical therapy. On Sept. 3, she’ll return as a secret agent platypus when “Phineas and Ferb Live!” plays at the SeaGate Centre. “My family and I have been counting down the days for more than a month,” Westfall said. “Even though I’m only home for about 12 hours, it’s exciting to get to see my family. We’re going to be in Fort Wayne next month, and I’ll get to come home for a couple days before we’re back out on the road again.” Westfall plays Agent P, also known as Perry the Platypus, who leads a double life as Phineas and Ferb’s pet and as a secret agent. Perry frequently battles with mad scientist Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz. “Agent P is an action hero who performs acrobatic stunts throughout the show to foil Dr. Doofenshmirtz’ plans,” she said. “He scales buildings and picks on ninjas. It’s really exciting.” The show includes many flips and other stunts as well as 14 songs from the show and one new song. “They have high-energy shows,” Westfall said. “It helps keep my high energy focused somewhere. I get to use the talent I learned in school with gymnastics in the shows. It’s exciting to be able to use those talents after high school.” Westfall is used to the stunts after studying at the Northwest Ohio Gymnastics Academy in Napoleon. She also coached there and continues to coach gymnastics during breaks from performing. After attending Liberty Center High School, Westfall studied physical therapy at Owens Community College before heading to Orlando. “I was looking for college scholarships after I graduated high school and saw Disney had a program called the college program where you

fourth contract. I think I’m going to stop saying that. I’ll just wait and see where life takes me.” Westfall has performed in “Mickey’s Magic Show,” “Playhouse Disney Live!” and “Disney Live! Winnie the Pooh” since joining Feld Entertainment. “I feel really blessed to have a job I love where I get to play dress-up and make people happy every day,” she said. Another role model in Westfall’s life is Sallie Rego, her performance director from “Winnie the Pooh Live!” “She is one of the most amazing people I have ever met,” Westfall said. “She also has amazing work ethic, and her happiness is contagious. Having a little bubble of happiness running around the building as your boss is really inspirational.” Since Westfall started working for Disney, her family has taken a special interest in Disney shows, WESTFALL particularly “Phineas and Ferb.” She is trying to convert her nephew into got scholarships for working at Disney,” a fan, but he is too young to truly she said. “I applied for that, but it was too appreciate the show, she said. late to get involved for that semester. My AGENT P “After I started working at Disney, dad suggested going down and seeing if I could work there anyway. I hopped on a plane, my family started paying attention to the Disney Channel a little bit more,” she said. “My younger went down and got hired.” Westfall often follows her dad’s advice and sister is 16, but I have a nephew who is 5 months old, so we’re trying to get him started young. It’s said she views her parents as role models. “Both of my parents have really strong work a good show for the whole family.” Westfall said the most difficult part of ethic,” she said. “Because they both work really hard, I have learned that putting dedication into touring nationally and internationally is being your work will get you places. Having good work away from her family. However, she enjoys the experience and loves to go sightseeing when ethic rewards you.” After working at Disney for a few months, there is time. “It’s exciting getting to travel around the Westfall was rewarded with an audition with Feld Entertainment for Disney Live. After country and the world,” she said. “You go to four months with no response, she returned sleep on the bus, and you wake up the next day home to go back to college before getting in a different city. Sometimes you don’t even know what state you’re in. You have to check hired in 2008. “I’ve loved every minute,” she said. “When I the license plates nearby to see where you’re first started, I was one of those people that said at. I’ve been to plenty of countries thanks to I’d just do one contract. Here I am signing my Feld Entertainment. You get to know your co-

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workers really well. They are sort of a family away from home. I have friends and adopted family from all over the world now.” This sense of family has caused Westfall to delay her dream of performing in Cirque du Soleil. “I really have put the Cirque du Soleil dream on hold, because this job is exciting for me,” she said. “I really like what I’m doing. If something comes along in the future I’d love it, but for now, this is really making me happy.” While she is happy to be performing, Westfall plans to eventually continue her education and become a physical therapist. “When my body decides it is done performing, that is something I would like to do,” she said. Another native Toledoan, Alyson Stoner, lends her voice to the recurring character Isabella on “Phineas and Ferb.” Stoner told Toledo Free Press in December that working in an animated role, she gets to surrender all her inhibiSTONER tions and act wacky, often jumping around the studio. “It’s so neat to tell a story through your voice. On camera many actors try to tell a story without speaking. [For ‘Phineas and Ferb’] there’s only a microphone to capture what you share,” she said. Stoner said she enjoys watching the shows after they’re completed to see how all the components came together. “I’m one small minuscule detail of the show. I love to see the animators work. They make magic with their hands each and every day,” she said. “Phineas and Ferb Live!” plays shows Sept. 3 at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the SeaGate Centre located at 401 Jefferson Ave. Ticket prices range from $14 to $45. O

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TOLEDOFREEPRESS.COM / AUGUST 31, 2011 n 13

Editor’s Note

Selecting pieces for this edition was very difficult, as we received so many great ones. As always, send submissions, comments and concerns to glasscitymuse1@yahoo.com Thank you!

The Eloquence By Matt Sradeja, Toledo

It seems so simple The idea illuminated In the mind Like dust fluttering In the waning sunbeams Stretched across the dining room At the end of the day Real long thoughts But, I have to pause  The smell of banana bread Baking makes the cut up Watermelon Blush I begin to wonder Do I have the eloquence? To put the idea out there In the mosaic air Where  Some will see sky colored mortar and cloud colored stones While others will see cloud colored mortar and sky colored stones And I might never know

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Compiled by Whitney Meschke Events are subject to change.

MUSIC This small venue offers a showcase for lesserknown acts. 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. (734) 761-1451, (734) 761-1800 or www.theark.org. O The Fishtank Ensemble: 8 p.m. Sept. 1, $15. O Orpheum Bell, the Red Sea Pedestrians: 8 p.m. Sept. 2, $15. O Chris Thile, Michael Daves: 8 p.m. Sept. 8, $25.

Bar 145

This new venue features burgers, bands and bourbon, if its slogan is to be believed. 5304 Monroe St. bar145toledo.com. O DJ J Wayne: Sundays. O Jeff Stewart: Tuesdays. O Rocket Men: Aug. 31. O Hip Kitty: Sept. 2. O The Personnel: Sept. 3. O Killer Flamingos: Sept. 8

Basin St. Grille

Named for the birthplace of American jazz, this standby has more than 20 flavors of martinis and live, local music. 5201 Monroe St. (419) 8435660. O Don Binkly: Aug. 31. O Tom Turner: Sept. 1. O Johnny Reed: Sept. 2-3. O Jeff Stewart: Sept. 7. O Suburban Soul: Sept. 8. Catch local acts while taking in the pub’s modern Irish and American fare. 601 Monroe St. (419) 418-2339 or www.theblarneyirishpub.com. O Rick Whited: Sept. 1. O Venyx: Sept. 2.

OSU

O Tru Brew: Sept. 3. O Jeff Stewart: Sept. 8.

Howling Summer of Fun

Blind Pig

The Ark

The Blarney Irish Pub

“I reckon herding cattle ain’t for city folk.“ — Ferb, “Phineas and Ferb”

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 blindpigmusic.com. O Okwerdz, Marv Won, S.A. the Abolitionist, 2 Worlds Apart, Trample the Weak, Shaun Esko, Konfusion: 9:30 p.m. Aug. 31. O Steppin’ in It, Appleseed Collective: 9 p.m. Sept. 1. O Ann Arbor Soul Club, Robert Wells, Brad Hales: 9:30 p.m. Sept. 2. O Child Bite, Zoos of Berlin, Congress: 9:30 p.m. Sept. 3. O Royce Da 5’9”, Casper Da Ghost, DJ Amf: 8 p.m. Sept. 6. O Final Cue, Space Cadet, New Arbor: 9:30 p.m. Sept. 7. O Boombox, Eliot Lipp, Superdre: 9:30 p.m. Sept. 8.

Bronze Boar

Be sure to check out this Warehouse District tavern’s namesake, overhead near the entrance. 20 S. Huron St. (419) 244-2627 or www. bronzeboar.com. O Open mic night with Chris Knopp: Mondays. O Luke James: Tuesdays. O DJ Jerod: Wednesdays and Thursdays. O Beg to Differ: Sept. 2. O Dave Carpenter & the Jaeglers: Sept. 3.

Caesars Windsor

If you have your passport, consider hopping the Detroit River for this casino’s entertainment offerings. Ticket prices, in Canadian dollars, are for the cheapest seats; attendees must be 19 or older. Caesars Windsor Colosseum, 377 Riverside Dr. East, Windsor, Ontario. (800) 991-7777 or www.caesarswindsor.com. O Gino Vannelli: 9 p.m. Sept. 3, $20.

As Ohio State enters 2011 without former coach Jim Tressel, the rest of the nation appears to be counting them out. The Buckeyes still return a ton of talent but must figure out who will replace the departed Terrelle Pryor. The competition appears down to two finalists including the senior veteran, Joe Bauserman, and the highly-touted freshman, Braxton Miller. Key games on OSU schedule. Road games against Miami Hurricanes, Michigan State, Nebraska and Michigan.

on 107.7 the Wolf and 1077wolf.com! The Howling Summer of Fun sponsored by FOX Toledo continues: Visit the 107.7 the Wolf Touring Studio at the Fulton County Fair!

Centennial Terrace

This venue next to a quarry hosts dance parties, swing bands and rockers. 5773 Centennial Road, Sylvania. (419) 882-1500, www.centennialterrace.org or www.ticketmaster.com. O Night Session Big Band: 7:30-11 p.m. Sept. 3, $10. O Labor Day Weekend Tejano Fest: 5:30 p.m. Sept. 4, $15-$25. Information: (419) 283-1495 or tejanofm.com. O Toledo Symphony Orchestra’s “Movie Memories”: 7 p.m. Sept. 8, $15-$25. Box office: (419) 246-8000.

Cheers Sports Eatery

This family-friendly eatery dishes up live performances … and Chicago-style pizza. 7131 Orchard Centre Dr., Holland. (419) 491-0990. O Chris Shutters: Sept 2.

Cheetah’s Den

A different band performs each week. 702 E. Broadway St. (419) 754-1903. O DJ Lamont: Tuesdays. O Devious: Thursdays (also open mic night)Saturdays.

Club Soda

This university hot spot from back in the day hosts entertainment Fridays and Saturdays. 3922 Secor

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Wolf Mornings are howling with Cliff Smithers’ “Impossible Question” — answer it correctly to win Fulton County Fair event passes! O Road. (419) 473-0062 or www.toledoclubsoda.com. O MAS FiNA: Sept. 9-10.

Dégagé Jazz Café

Signature drinks, such as pumpkin martinis, plus live local jazz performers. 301 River Road, Maumee. $5 weekends for cafe seating. (419) 794-8205 or www.degagejazzcafe.com. O Gene Parker & Friends: 7-10 p.m. Aug. 31 and Sept. 7. O David Lux: Sept. 1. O Eric Dickey Trio: Sept. 2-3. O Eric Dickey & the Zoar Musicians: Sept. 6.

The Distillery

Karaoke is offered Tuesdays, but paid entertainers rock out Wednesdays-Saturdays. 4311 Heatherdowns Blvd. (419) 382-1444 or www. thedistilleryonline.com. O Gregg Aranda: Tuesdays. O Meaghan Roberts: Aug. 31. O Knopp & Shutters: Sept. 1. O Moving to Boise: Sept. 2-3. O Nicole & Mic: Sept. 7.

Fat Fish Blue

Serving blues and similar sounds, as well as bayou-style grub. Levis Commons, 6140 Levis Commons Blvd., Perrysburg. (419) 931-3474 or fatfishfunnybonetoledo.com.

Michigan and new head coach Brady Hoke will try and fix a porous defense which allowed 450 yards per game last season. The Wolverines lost just one starter on both offense and defense and return Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Denard Robinson. If the junior quarterback can remain healthy he can make a strong run at the Heisman trophy. Key games on the Wolverine schedule. Hosting Norte Dame, Nebraska, and Ohio State.


“You guys are so busted.” — Candace, “Phineas and Ferb” Fat Fish Blue (cont.)

O Bastard Love Child, Lesbian Commotion, My O Cloud Rat, Shoppers: 8:30 p.m. Sept. 4.

French Quarter J. Pat’s Pub

Mutz @ The Oliver House

Live entertainment after 9:30 p.m. FridaysSaturdays. Holiday Inn French Quarter, 10630 Fremont Pike, Perrysburg. (419) 874-3111 or www.hifq.com. O Green Eyed Soul: Sept. 2-3.

ICE Restaurant & Bar

This local, family-owned enterprise offers food, drinks and music in a sleek atmosphere. 405 Madison Ave. (419) 246-3339 or icerestaurantandbar.com. O Jesse Coleman: 6 p.m. Sept. 1. O Dan and Don: 7 p.m. Sept. 2. O Chuck Loeb, Nelson Rangell: 6 and 9 p.m. Sept. 8, $20.

JJ’s Pub

Live music is on Saturday’s menu; the genre varies, along with the cover charge. Karaoke is on tap 9:30 p.m. Thursdays, and a DJ starts spinning at 9 p.m. Fridays. 26611 N. Dixie Hwy., Perrysburg. (419) 874-9058 or jjsperrysburg.com. O John Barile and Bobby May: 8 p.m. Sept. 6.

Kerrytown Concert House

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. kerrytownconcerthouse.com. O Howard Fishman Quartet: 8 p.m. Sept. 9.

Manhattan’s

This “slice of the Big Apple” in the Glass City provides entertainment most weekends. 1516 Adams St. (419) 243-6675 or www.manhattanstoledo.com. O Open mic hosted by Meaghan Roberts and Jason Quick: Monday nights. O Jam session hosted by Tom Turner & Slow Burn: Tuesday nights. O Lisa Lynn & Jason Quick: 6 p.m. Sept. 1. O Meaghan Roberts: Sept. 7. A variety of genres to wash your drinks down with. Open mic nights, 9 p.m. Wednesdays, no cover; $5-$7 cover other nights. 602 Lagrange St. (419) 246-3466 or www.mickeyfinnspub.com. O Rock the Stage, featuring local bands: 9 p.m. Thursdays, free.

Patio Now Open

This pub offers handcrafted brews … and live entertainment. 27 Broadway St. (419) 243-1302 or www.oh-maumeebaybrewingco.com. O Open mic hosted by Breaking Ground: 10 p.m. Wednesdays. O Karaoke: 10 p.m. Thursdays. O DJs Aaron Brown and Nate Mattimoe: Saturdays. O The Eight-Fifteens: 10 p.m. Sept. 2.

One2 Lounge at Treo

Live music starts at 7:30 p.m. 5703 Main St., Sylvania. (419) 882-2266 or treosylvania.com. O Might Have Ben: Sept. 2. O Old West End Records jazz ensemble: Sept. 3.

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Ottawa Tavern

Casual meals with weekend entertainment. 1815 Adams St. (419) 725-5483 or www.otavern.com. O Summer People, HotChaCha: 10 p.m. Aug. 31. O Manray: 10 p.m. Sept. 5.

Best

Our Brothers Place

Take in a movie with margaritas on Mondays, or laugh at Thursday comedy nights … but music takes center stage most nights. 233 N. Huron St. www.ourbrothersplace.com. O Wayne: Wednesdays. O DJ Keith Success: Fridays. O C.J. Manning & Friends: Saturdays. O Karaoke with Walt McNeal: 4 p.m. Sundays. O Andre Wright, Soul Creation: Tuesdays.

Party at the Park

The track hosts concerts before the evening’s harness races. 5 p.m. Saturdays, Raceway Park, 5700 Telegraph Rd. $2. (419) 476-7751 or www. racewayparktoledo.com. O The Chris Brown Band: Sept. 3.

Pizza Papalis

Get slices with a topping of entertainment. 519 Monroe St. (419) 244-7722 or www. pizzapapalis.com. O Chris Knopp: Sept. 2-3.

Spicy Tuna

This sushi bar offers occasional entertainment to accompany the fishy dishes. 7130 Airport Hwy. (419) 720-9333 or spicytunasushi.com. O DJ Jimmy James: 10 p.m. Fridays.

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TOLEDOFREEPRESS.COM / AUGUST 31, 2011 n 15

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“We’re gonna need a blowtorch and some more peanut butter.” — Phineas, “Phineas and Ferb” Spicy Tuna (cont.)

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The Village Idiot

Tunes combined with pizza and booze, some would say it’s a perfect combination. 309 Conant St., Maumee. (419) 893-7281, (419) 740-2395 or www.villageidiotmaumee.com. O Old West End Productions: Wednesdays. O Bob Rex: Sunday afternoons. O The Eight-Fifteens: Sunday evenings. O Mark Mikel Band: Tuesdays. O Andrew Ellis & the Setting Sons: Sept. 3. O Polka Floyd: Sept. 9.

Webber’s Waterfront Restaurant

This Point Place eatery hosts weekly entertainment on its patio with a river view. 3 p.m., 6339 Edgewater Dr. (734) 723-7411 or www. webbersrestaurant.samsbiz.com. O Junkanoo Brothers: Sept. 4.

Wesley’s Bar & Grill

A huge variety of beers helps wash down the entertainment. 1201 Adams St. (419) 255-3333 or wesleysbar.com. O DJs Folk, Mattimoe and Perrine: Fridays. O Todd Perrine and guests: Sept. 3.

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Some of the city’s most talented performers entertain museum-goers during TMA’s It’s Friday events. 6:30-9:30 p.m., Cloister, 2445 Monroe St. (419) 255-8000 or toledomuseum.org. O Kentucky Chrome: Sept. 2.

Swingmania

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 www.swingmania.org. O Swing Revival Party: 8 p.m. Thursdays, South Briar Restaurant, 5147 S. Main St., Sylvania. (419) 517-1111 or (419) 708-0265. O Big-Band All Stars: Dancing is encouraged. 8-10:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Trotter’s Tavern, 5131 Heatherdowns Blvd. (419) 3812079 or (419) 708-0265.

UT Music Fest

Zia’s

Fulton County Fair concerts

Lunch at Levis Square concert series

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Club Friday

The place to go for an eclectic mix of people and music. 224 S. Erie St. (419) 241-3045. O Karaoke: Wednesdays. This Italian restaurant hosts magician Andrew Martin on Sunday nights. The restaurant is open 4-9 p.m. Sundays, The Docks, 20 Main St. (419) 697-7138, (888) 456-3463 or www. ziasrestaurant.com.

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Take in some swing and smooth tunes among the swaying flowers. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursdays, July 7-Sept. 8, Toledo Botanical Garden, 5403 Elmer Dr. $6-$8; $48-$64 for season pass. (419) 536-5566 or toledogarden.org. O Urban Jazz Collective: Sept. 1. O Gene Parker Quintet: Sept. 8.

Everyone is invited to rock out before UT’s first football game of the season with performances by Abigail Stauffer, Glen Templeton, Alexander Zonjic, Ohio Players and Cartel. A pep rally, food, games and fireworks will complete the party. 2 p.m.-midnight Aug. 31, UT Centennial Mall, 2801 W. Bancroft St. (419) 530-5716 or www.utoledo. edu/musicfest.

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A corner bar-type hangout with DJ-provided tunes on Saturday nights. 702 Monroe St. (419) 241-1118. O Open mic with Jason Kelley: 9 p.m. Thursdays. O Hip-hop night: 9 p.m. Fridays.

Jazz in the Garden

Downtown Toledo Improvement District conspires to set lunch to music. Noon-1:30 p.m., Levis Square, North St. Clair Street and Madison Avenue. (419) 249-5494. O The Dan & Don Show: Aug. 25.

Classic rock and down-home country will be the main attractions at this fair’s grandstand. 8514 Route 108, Wauseon. (419) 335-7469 or www. fultoncountyfair.com. O REO Speedwagon: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 4, $5-$20. O Vince Gill: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5, $5-$22.

Toledo Zoo Amphitheatre concerts

Performers take the stage near Cheetah Valley. 2700 Broadway St. (419) 474-1333 or ticketmaster.com. O Darius Rucker: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 8, $27.50$42.50.

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“Curse you, Perry the Platypus!’ — Dr. Doofenshmirtz, “Phineas and Ferb”

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BOWLING GREEN

ArtTalks

Various artists will discuss their work, techniques and topics in the world of art. BGSU Fine Arts Center (unless noted), between Ridge and Wooster streets, Bowling Green. (419) 372-8525 or art.bgsu.edu/galleries. O Photographer Marcella Hackbardt: 7-8 p.m. Sept. 9, Room 1101.

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 www.bgsu. edu/colleges/music. O Faculty artist series: Dean Cooper and Jane Schoonmaker Rodgers, vocal. 8 p.m. Aug. 31, Bryan Recital Hall. O Faculty artist series: Charles Saenz, trumpet. 8 p.m. Sept. 7, Bryan Recital Hall.

Grounds for Thought

This BG coffeehouse serves a mean brew of blues, jazz, rock and more by the world famous and locally renowned in an intimate setting. 174 S. Main St., Bowling Green. (419) 354-3266 or www.groundsforthought.com. O Black Swamp Arts Festival: Sept. 9-11.

Grumpy Dave’s Pub

This venue offers humor-fests (maybe to make up for the crankiness) on Tuesdays, and the occasional musical diversion. Above the Easy Street Cafe, 104 S. Main St., Bowling Green. $3$5, unless noted. www.grumpydavespub.com. O Claude Stuart: 9 p.m. Aug. 30.

The Happy Badger

This shop features fair trade foods and natural products, including talent, which will be featured in a series of musical brunches and dinnertime entertainment. 331 N. Main St., Bowling Green. (419) 352-0706 or www.happybadger.com.

Wood County Historical Center & Museum

Check out this rural jewel’s exhibits and tour the buildings to see demonstrations using historic equipment. 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. TuesdaysFridays and 1 to 4 p.m. weekends through Oct. 30 (closed holidays), Wood County Historical Center & Museum, 13360 County Home Road, Bowling Green. $1-$4. (419) 352-0967 or www. woodcountyhistory.org. O The Secret World of Chickens: Learn about these favorite cluckers at a tea program. 2 p.m. Sept. 8, $3-$12. Reservations advised.

FOCUS High School Exhibition

Northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan student artists will show off their best work. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays (plus 6-9 p.m. Thursdays) and 1-4 p.m. Sundays

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TOLEDOFREEPRESS.COM / AUGUST 31, 2011 n 17

through Sept. 18, Dorothy Uber Bryan Gallery, BGSU Fine Arts Center, between Ridge and Wooster streets, Bowling Green. (419) 3728525 or art.bgsu.edu/galleries.

for blooms. 6:30-7:30 p.m. Sept. 7, W.W. Knight Nature Preserve, 29530 White Road, Perrysburg. Register: (419) 661-1697 or reservations.woodcountyparkdistrict.org.

Mark Dvorak

“Fresh Ohio”

This folk artist will devote himself to “Songs My Grandma Used to Sing.” O 7:30 p.m. Sept. 3, Pemberville Opera House, 115 Main St., Pemberville. $12. (419) 287-3274, (877) 287-4848 or www.pember villeoperahouse.org. O 2 p.m. Sept. 4, Grand Rapids Opera House, Grand Rapids. $12. (419) 832-5326, (419) 2874848 or www.grandrapidsartscouncil.org.

Paddle the Pond

Beginners to experienced canoers are invited to give the pond a try with provided equipment. 4-8 p.m. Sept. 6, W.W. Knight Nature Preserve, 29530 White Road, Perrysburg. (419) 661-1697 or wcparks.org.

Wildflower Wednesdays

Native plants color our world, inviting butterflies (and us) to explore fields and prairies

Art by Ron Anderson, Andy Buck, Gary Pettigrew, Marcella Hackbardt, Abner Jonas, Bob Lazuka, Joe Lombardo, Ellen Price, Francis Schanberger, Leslie Shiels, Aimee Sones and Kim Vito will be shown. Opening reception, 8:30 p.m. Sept. 9; exhibition, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays (plus 6-9 p.m. Thursdays) and 1-4 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 18, Willard Wankelman Gallery, BGSU Fine Arts Center, between Ridge and Wooster streets, Bowling Green. (419) 372-8525 or art.bgsu.edu/galleries.

Black Swamp Arts Festival

More than 100 artists plus music, entertainment and food are all part of this event, which aims to connect community and creativity. 5 p.m.-midnight Sept. 9, 10 a.m. to midnight Sept. 10 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 11, Main Street, downtown Bowling Green. (419) 354BSAF or www.blackswamparts.org. O


18 n AUGUST 31, 2011 / TOLEDOFREEPRESS.COM

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come across many people trying to “do this music thing,” but I rarely meet a true upand-coming music artist. Originally from Youngstown, residing in Columbus, Renee Dion is what’s next in alternative soul music; she performed Aug. 26 at The Peacock. The soul in Dion’s voice is infused with soft tones sprinkled with the hunger to make it and a beautiful vibrato that complements the end of her phrases. Adding to her style is her unique ability to freestyle a song, expressing her talent and originality. Her journey in the music industry started with the influence of her father, a jazz DJ, and memories of her grandmother playing the organ in church with a young Dion on her lap. “My mom is a teacher and she kept a pen and a pad near me so that I could write. She encouraged me to write,” Dion said. Although music consumed her early life, Dion did not see it as her calling until much later. A few moths ago, neo soul super-producer B Jazz

reached out to tell me about Dion, a new artist he had been working with, and immediately I knew she was a force bringing talent back to the forefront of music. In 2001, Dion moved to Chicago to attend Columbia College to study music and English. While there, she formed a band and after performing a few times, she realized singing was what she really wanted to do. Restless and eager for a change, she had been hearing the buzz about Atlanta and in 2008 made the move to Georgia. Atlanta proved to be a learning experience, as it put her in touch with like-minded musicians with great talent who wanted to succeed just as much as she did. “It was intimidating at first. I was just coming from college, still green, [I] didn’t understand the hard work it took to really pursue a career in the industry,” Dion said. “Atlanta was kind of training ground for me. I got a chance to see people in [music] boot camps, in the studio 24/7. I learned a lot ... a whole lot.” n MARTINI CONTINUES ON 19

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n MARTINI CONTINUED FROM 18 It was an eye-opener for Dion, showing her what and how much it actually takes for even the most talented artists to make a mark in a highly congested industry. Feeling as though she had gotten all she could from her Atlanta experience, Dion was ready to move on. A call from her cousin in LA gave her a place to process the Atlanta experience until she was ready to return to music. Feeling open and refreshed, Ohio was calling her back home and after 10 years away, Dion made the decision to return. So many artists consider home the last place to return when pushing a music career but Dion said, “Coming back home was the best move I could have ever made in my life! Columbus, Ohio, is the last place I thought my career was going to take off.” She moved to Columbus and started doing shows and reconnected with her longtime friend and business partner Alexis Williams, the videographer responsible for translating Dion’s lyrics into artistically visual treats. Dion created a buzz loud enough to get the attention of the incomparable neosoul singer/ songwriter Eric Roberson who is now her mentor and collaborator on her much anticipated upcoming album. Her mixtape, “The City That Sleeps,” will be available Sept. 12. You can hear her jazz/soul/hip-hop/R&Binfused music at reneedion.bandcamp.com/. For more info, visit www.facebook.com/ reneedion1. As we continue on ... O

Dwain Thomas photography

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TOLEDOFREEPRESS.COM / AUGUST 31, 2011 n 19

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In praise of a nerd I

A publication of Toledo Free Press, LLC, Vol. 2, No. 35 Established 2010. Thomas F. Pounds, President/Publisher tpounds@toledofreepress.com Michael S. Miller, Editor in Chief mmiller@toledofreepress.com EDITORIAL

Mary Ann Stearns, Design Editor mastearns@toledofreepress.com James A. Molnar, Lead Designer jmolnar@toledofreepress.com Brandi Barhite, Associate Editor bbarhite@toledofreepress.com Sarah Ottney, Special Sections Editor sottney@toledofreepress.com Chris Schmidbauer, Sports Editor cschmidbauer@toledofreepress.com Jason Mack, Web Editor jmack@toledofreepress.com ADMINISTRATION

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t’s virtually impossible to quote the subject of this column in a family newspaper. It seems like every other sentence he utters is laced with some form of profanity, with a variety and creativity that approaches a vulgar art form. He is ranting about what he hates, which is much. He always wears a white, buttondown shirt and glasses, with JEFF a front pocket jammed to the brim with Sharpies. He is a nerd. In fact, he is the Nerd. The character’s name is the Angry Video Game Nerd. As portrayed by creator/filmmaker James Rolfe and loved by thousands of fans on the Internet, the Nerd is both an embodiment and parody of the world of retro video gaming. His Web show is dedicated to analyzing old games (his subjects are almost all from the ’80s and early ’90s), finding all the flaws inherent in their construction, then ripping them to shreds in as funny and profane a way as possible. The first question is obvious: Why would anyone spend so much time harping on the flaws of a product now decades out-of-date? But that’s part of the joke, of course. His over-the-top criticisms are based in reality, sure, and anyone who played the titles he discusses will spend much time nodding in agreement. But the level and longevity of his anger push his commentaries from simple criticism into outright absurdity. The character was born out of accident. Rolfe, as he has discussed in numerous interviews and documentaries, has been a filmmaker for most of his life. He was always trying new ideas and seeing what happened. One day in 2004, he made a video where he verbally ripped apart the classic Nintendo game “Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest.” The goal was not a franchise, but simply a joke for friends. Two more angry reviews followed, and for years, almost none outside of Rolfe’s circle would see what became known as the “Angry Nerd Trilogy.” Finally, in 2006, Rolfe’s friend and frequent collaborator Mike Matei (known to fans by a nickname which also cannot be printed here) convinced him to post the videos to YouTube. The titles struck a chord with gamers. Before he knew it, Rolfe was at the center of one of the most popular franchises on the Web. He still ranks among the 100 most subscribed channels of all time on YouTube, despite the fact that new episodes have been exclusively posted to GameTrailers.com for years. The show recently celebrated the release of its 100th episode. How can a show built seemingly on one joke maintain popularity for more than 100 installments? A number of reasons. For one thing, Rolfe is first and foremost a consummate filmmaker.

James Rolfe demonstrates filmmaking and gaming diversity.

The Nerd’s escapades are not as simple as constantly showing him ranting about an old game. The episodes frequently feature action sequences, sight gags, visual effects, an overarching storyline, guest stars and more. Though Rolfe’s core concept is relatively simple, he doesn’t take that as a cue to be lazy. Rolfe has also used his platform to do more than simply bash the bad of the gaming world. He also takes time to celebrate the good, reviewing classic games and analyzing their impact, as well as explaining to fans unfamiliar with gaming history the story behind some of the most rare and fascinating titles. Beyond simply poking fun at the industry’s failings, the Nerd also reminds his fans why they love games in the first place. The series is influential in another way, as well. Rolfe has made more than 300 films, by his

mCGINNIS

POP GOES THE

CULTURE

count. Like many on the independent scene, he has struggled with the issue of distribution — how can you get new material made outside of the studio system? Rolfe’s amazing success in posting his videos online, ROLFE both on YouTube and his own website, cinemassacre.com, reaffirms the possibilities of the new era of entertainment. If an artist wants to find an audience, he or she is no longer constrained by the shackles of conventional distribution. Artists can take their work to the people directly. The channels are there, and they’re open to everyone. If someone wants to see what you do, you can find an outlet to deliver it to them. This is the greatest lesson to be taken from Rolfe’s success. His most famous creation is vulgar, hilarious, obscene, insightful, occasionally childish — and an inspiration to creative minds everywhere. O Email Jeff at PopGoesJeff@gmail.com.

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“The Internet is forever.” — Ferb, “Phineas and Ferb”

TOLEDOFREEPRESS.COM / AUGUST 31, 2011 n 23


24 n AUGUST 31, 2011 / TOLEDOFREEPRESS.COM

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Toledo Free Press STAR – Aug. 31, 2011  

The cover for this edition features cartoon characters Phineas and Ferb, who will be featured in a concert at SeaGate Centre on Sept. 3. For...

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