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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 Fest Preview: See BalletMet live outdoors!

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BalletMet’s Friday night’s headline performance at 8:30 p.m. at the Arts Festival is sure to be a highlight of weekend. One of the nation’s top 20 largest professional companies, BalletMet consists of dancers hailing from across the nation and the world and boasts a premiere academy for aspiring professional dancers, one that’s been recognized as an institution of local and national stature.

Since 1978, BalletMet has brought incredible dance to theaters in Central Ohio and beyond and their commitment to bringing dance to the Columbus community, especially in underserved areas, is unparalleled.

Art of War Photo by Jen Zmuda

From in-school programs to theater field trips, scholarships and free performances, the company is dedicated to making dance accessible to all. More than 10,000 children attend the company’s Morning at the Ballet field trip performances each year. And thanks to a grant from PNC Arts Alive, BalletMet’s second company, BalletMet 2, has performed at free events at the King Arts Complex, Franklin Park Conservatory and more, throughout the 2018-19 season.

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In addition to the free performance at the Arts Festival BalletMet will perform at Dance on Dakota on Friday, May 10, from 5 to 8 p.m. in Franklinton. This performance is also free.

Dance on Dakota, co-hosted by Franklinton Arts District, is part of a weekend-long block party in Franklinton and features free food and drink and a collaborative performance with TRANSIT ARTS. The event will take place at Dakota Ave. and Town St.

Dancers Grace Anne Powers and William Newton Photo by Jen Zmuda

BalletMet’s Columbus Arts Festival performance will include a mixed repertoire of shorter pieces from its past productions and will be preceded by music from DJ Donnie M. of Damn Girl.

And if these performances capture your interest, the company recently announced its 2019-20 season, which includes ALICE, based on the later stories of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll, Twisted 3, a collaboration with the Columbus Symphony and Opera Columbus, and, of course, The Nutcracker.

More info at www.balletmet.org. For all your Arts Festival details visit www.colubmusartsfestival.org

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Arts Fest Preview: You wood hate to miss local crafter

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Woodworker and Art Makes Columbus featured artist Devon Palmer has been working with his hands since his upbringing in northeast Indiana. His mother a wood carver and his father a carpenter and cabinet maker, Palmer took a more mechanical route by obtaining his pilot’s license and attending Purdue University to pursue a career as an airplane mechanic.

But as his career transitioned from maintenance to the tech field, he yearned to work with his hands again. Originally he considered pottery, before a class he planned to attend got canceled. But a trip home the weekend before Thanksgiving led to his father introducing him to woodturning.

That was more than 15 years ago. And though he is largely self-taught, Palmer also credits local woodturners from the Central Ohio Woodturners (a chapter of the American Association of Woodturners) for taking him under their wing. In 2005, he opened his first studio just north of Downtown, and in 2007 he began teaching woodturning at Woodcraft Columbus.

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Today, Palmer does a bit of mentoring of his own. He teaches classes in blade and bowl turning, resin cast pen turning and more advanced projects like hollow vessel turning in his studio at the Idea Foundry. He is also adding a series of LGBTQ date night pen turning classes to his growing schedule of classes, shows and demonstrations.

Palmer says his work represents “family and connectedness” with work ranging from salad bowls and laser engraved pens to funerary urns and ornaments. The details in his hand-crafted tableware and home goods manage to invoke a warm sense of community, fellowship, and hospitality.

Devon Palmer works in internet technology and is also a pianist and ordained minister.

Make your own wood turned pen with Devon Palmer at the Columbus Arts Festival, June 7-9, at the Big Local Art Village located at the Festival’s Franklinton entrance. Learn more about Devon at www.columbusmakesart.com/stories/devon-palmer and get all your Arts Festival details at www.columbusartsfestival.org

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Arts Festival Preview: Dr. E uses voice to overcome adversity

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Dr. E, singer-songwriter and author Cleveland-born singer-songwriter Dr. Elaine Richardson — known by her stage name Dr. E — has used her voice to detail the incredible circumstances she encountered while overcoming great adversity. Born to a musician father and Jamaican immigrant mother, Dr. E begun tapping into her talent while singing in church, her school’s choir, and in girl groups.

Dr. E continued to sing despite the difficult path she faced. As a teen, she became a sex trafficking victim and fell into addiction. In her recovery, she pursued higher education at Cleveland State University and Michigan State University. During this time Dr. E also began performing as the frontwoman for a number of cover bands and placing her original music on various TV shows. She recorded her first album, “Elevated,” in 2010.

Dr. E’s introspective song lyrics reflect the often difficult process of healing while defending those who share her experiences or face exploitation and discrimination in other ways.

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On her sophomore album, 2017’s “Songs for the Struggle,” she gives a soulful retelling of her journey from sex trafficking survivor to university professor, Ph.D., author and advocate. Blending elements of soul, rock, funk, rhythm and blues, and jazz, Dr. E sings with an astonishing amount of hope and positivity; Though the album details the trauma and exploitation experienced by Dr. E during her teen years, her power message ultimately expresses affirmations of self-love and acceptance employed with an equally powerful and joyous voice.

Dr. E is currently a professor of literacy studies in the College of Education at The Ohio State University. She has written a number of books on African American literature as well as a memoir, “PHD to Ph.D.: How Education Saved My Life.”

See Dr. E. perform at the Columbus Arts Festival, Saturday, June 8 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on the Big Local Stage on Rich St.

For hours, artist listing and all Festival information go to www.columbusartsfestival.org

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