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Boyz II (Angsty) Men

Calling all of you who occasionally dust off your CDs and your pipes to Dashboard Confessional. Those who crank up the Brand New in the car, even if you’re simultaneously rolling up your window. The ones that don’t want to wait another 11 months to embrace their inner Gerard Way at Halloween. You have a safe [...]
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Calling all of you who occasionally dust off your CDs and your pipes to Dashboard Confessional. Those who crank up the Brand New in the car, even if you’re simultaneously rolling up your window. The ones that don’t want to wait another 11 months to embrace their inner Gerard Way at Halloween.

You have a safe space now. You have a home.

Sad Boyz is the place where, once a month, hundreds of people can be found getting down to being down.

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T

he true inspiration behind the name of the popular Skully’s event isn’t any of the aforementioned emo heroes.

It’s actually Santa.

Around this time last year, Varun Ramanujam and Chase Clymer were doing a pretty typical thing for the two pals—playing old Taking Back Sunday, New Found Glory, and Blink-182 records at his Short North apartment. Finding themselves desirous of a way to head out on the town without changing soundtracks, they couldn’t help but brainstorm whether an “emo night” would work in Columbus—beyond just them and their friend circle.

“At that exact moment, someone dressed in a Santa outfit walked into the bar and we laughed, and said, ‘Wow, isn’t Santa just the saddest boy? No one ever gets him a gift.’ And then it just clicked,” Ramanujam said.

That sense of humor mixed with a sense of loyalty to the music permeates the event, which is now one of the most well-attended in the city.

Now, hundreds of people flood the dance floor at Skully’s, a scene that must be witnessed in person to gather the full mania of it all: people rejoicing—nay, reveling—in the music of their misunderstood youth.

“There’s a nostalgia factor to it,” Ramanujam said. “Some of these albums and bands got people, including ourselves, through the awkward high school years and beyond. Being able to belt them out in the comfort of a bar with a couple hundred others makes those angsty years feel justified.”

Ironically, added Clymer, jumping back into the past is a little cathartic.

“Fast forward 10 or so years and all of those people are out of college, starting jobs, starting their lives—this event gives them the opportunity to get in touch with that weird teenager they once were,” he said. “Sad Boyz is like time traveling back to a time and place where life didn’t weigh so heavily on you.”

Both admit that the night started with little expectations, but it didn’t take long to realize they’d found a vein in the now somewhat crowded scene of dance parties. The first time they hit capacity at Ace of Cups, aided by the guest DJs they’d acquired for the evening—members of Cartel and Hit the Lights—was a double shot of validation, said Clymer. Now, their on-stage visuals from Alex Trimpe and images of the crowd from Anne Dies are as much a part of the event’s personality as the music.

No question, the marketing day gigs held by both founders have helped push the brand at a brisk pace. This summer they served as the Official Fan Afterparty for the Alternative Press Magazine Awards that were held in the city. But mostly, it’s that they’ve clearly recognized a giant crowd of people who are beyond thrilled to come to the Short North and let their sad, sullen teenager out—albeit wearing a look of palpable joy.

“Anytime you can grab your best friend and belt out the chorus to your favorite pop punk anthem—you’re going to have a smile on your face,” Clymer said.

For more about the next Sad Boyz (11.30), visit facebook.com/sadboyzcolumbus.

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Arts & Culture

How Bazaar: Popup arts fest shines a light on local creatives

Mike Thomas

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While cultivating a newfound sense of personal fulfillment might be as simple as picking up a paint brush or instrument, earning a living through your art is a more complicated prospect. As longtime friends, collaborators, and Columbus art-scene hustlers Dustin Bennett and Zak Biggard will tell you, making it as an artist sometimes comes down to who you know.

Having met years ago as coworkers at a local printmaking shop, Bennett and Biggard have gone on to individual success with their own creative design firms. For Bennett, part of this work entails curating the art displayed at Clintonville’s Global Gallery, a cafe and art space that is committed to promoting fair trade handcrafted products from around the world.

When an exhibition Bennett was planning for the space fell through, he reached out to Biggard to fill the vacancy with his work. The resulting show was a hit, with Biggard selling several pieces in one of Global Gallery’s most successful exhibitions to date.

Biggard and Bennett outside of Global Gallery (Photo: Brian Kaiser)

His reputation with the venue established, Biggard approached Amy Palmer, Global Gallery’s manager, with an idea for a large-scale show. She gave him the thumbs up, and Biggard again partnered with Bennett to help bring his vision to light. The result is a show spanning three weekends in the month of August that the duo have dubbed Bazaar Ritual.

“The idea was a bazaar, this sort of Middle-Eastern marketplace where you walk in and it’s just a feast for the senses,” says Biggard. “All of these different sights, sounds, smells—everything packed together.”

As mutually beneficial as their collaborations had been, the Bennett and Biggard hope to open the doors of opportunity wide to other artists. Through this new exhibition/festival, the two aim to shed a light on creators who may not know how to navigate the sometimes complicated process of getting work into a conventional art show.

“Most of these people have never been involved in the gallery scene or never been able to show their work off,” Biggard explains. “They are just so excited to be a part of something, and the stuff I’ve been seeing from people, I just can't wait to have everything together in one place.”

When the exhibitors do come together for the popup-style event on August 3rd, 17th, and 31st, they will bring with them works across a diverse range of media.

“We’ve got people who make jewelry, clothing, glass blowers, painters and performance artists,” says Biggard. “It’s really the diversity of the work that’s the theme.”

As diverse as the work on display in the show will be, the exhibitors themselves hail from various disparate walks of life—everyone from nurses to dog walkers, printmakers to salespeople, as Bennett explains. In addition to the work shown during the recurring weekend events, each artist in Bazaar Ritual will have the opportunity to display one piece in Global Gallery throughout the month of August. Artists will keep 100% of the proceeds sold throughout the month and during the weekend events.

https://www.instagram.com/p/By0yi8xhuPE/

Along with providing a platform, the Bennett and Biggard hope that Bazaar Ritual will serve as a networking hub where creatives can meet and form collaborations of their own. Response from artists interested in taking part has already been building organically, with those involved telling their friends, those friends bringing more friends, and so on.

In addition to the prospect of hanging out with artists and perusing the exhibitions, the organizers of Bazaar Ritual have a number of surprises in store for attendees. Food trucks will be on hand, as well as live local music on Global Gallery’s spacious patio.

Though Bennett and Bigard are working diligently to bring this fledgling event to fruition, the two seem calm in the lead up to the show. Their artist-first approach lends a communal feel to the event, with creatives joining forces to put on an organized yet laid-back experience that shirks the corporate mold of some traditional gallery settings.

“We’re trying to do what art is meant to do and bring people together,” says Bennett. “We’re trying to bring together as many friends and strangers as we can—motleys and misfits alike.”

Global Gallery is located at 3535 N High St, in Clintonville. You can visit Bazaar Ritual there from 1:00 PM to 8:00 PM on the 3rd, the 17th, and the 31st of August. For more information, check out @bazaarritual on Instagram.

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Arts & Culture

Arts Fest Preview: Kate Morgan, 2D mixed media artist

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Kate Morgan began developing her ghostly, layered two-dimensional portraits after going back to school at the Columbus College of Art & Design in 2005. She already had some background in visual arts through her work in fashion and commercial photography, so the transition to drawing and painting was organic.

Morgan’s textured collages are inspired by folklore, mythology and a variety of artistic periods — especially Byzantine art. The 2011 Columbus Arts Festival Emerging Artist alum and 2019 exhibiting artist welcomes a wide array of complex themes into her pieces — including symbolic, cultural, historical and spiritual themes — while utilizing layers of vintage paper and original drawings to create visual depth and a sense of mystery.

Her pieces are purposely vague, leaning toward more minimalistic ideas to allow for wider interpretation by audiences. Largely her art depicts the female form, with as many layers and stories to tell as that of every human being. This is done with an eclectic assortment of materials — including sheet music, German Biblical pages, newspaper and maps — to add detail in both a topical and textural sense.

And yet, Morgan still continues to look for a challenge. From venturing away from her familiar blue hues to exploring different mediums like ceramics, her work knows no creative limits.

Morgan has exhibited at the Columbus Arts Festival nearly every year since 2011. She has gone on to win two jurors’ choice awards in the 2D category at the Columbus Arts Festival, as well as sell and have work juried at other major festivals across the country. In Columbus, her work can be seen as part of the Columbus Makes Art and Donatos Pizza collaborative mural “Every Piece Is Important” at the John Glenn Columbus International Airport.

Morgan has a BFA from CCAD and currently works out of her Franklinton studio in Columbus. Experience this stunning work first hand when you visit her at booth M572 on the Main Street Bridge during the Columbus Arts Festival from June 7-9 at the downtown riverfront.

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Arts & Culture

Be Square: Changes coming to arts community at 400 W Rich

Mike Thomas

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If you haven't visited the thriving arts community at 400 West Rich street in awhile, you might be surprised to see how much things have changed. Now, the minds behind the city's hub for the arts are changing things up to better reflect the area's evolution.

400 Square is the new collective moniker for the array of concepts that currently occupy the buildings on the 400 block of Rich street in Franklinton. The rebrand seeks to unify the community of artistic innovators who call the area developed by Urban Smart Growth their creative home.

Promo art for 400 Square by Anthony Damico

Spaces encompassed in the rebrand include Strongwater, The Vanderelli Room, and Chromedge Studios, and of course, the studios at 400 W. Rich. While the name may be changing, the group remains committed to providing and sustaining a thriving hub for creatives through education, resources, and entertainment opportunities in the area.

With the launch of 400 Square, Urban Smart Growth Director of Operations Seth Stout has led his team to develop new offerings for each of the growing spaces. Food and Beverage Director Lauren Conrath and Events Director Molly Blundred have taken the lead with changes to the Strongwater brand, while Community Director Stephanie McGlone and Art Director AJ Vanderelli are facilitating programming for all ages and abilities on the artist side.

Through all of the changes on the way, the staff at 400 Square are committed to bringing the public the same high quality of workshops, events, exhibitions, and more that have always been part of their unique creative community.

Stay tuned for more info—the new 400 Square officially rolls out during the weekend of Columbus Arts Fest 2019, June 7-9.

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