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Matt Monta & The Haymakers: New Albums & New Sounds

614now Staff



The thing I really like about Matt Monta & The Haymakers is it lives in an American timelessness, it sounds present but rests in a place that could be from any period of time from the last forty years. It is steeped in the same kind of blue/folk traditions that birthed similar storytellers like Dylan and Springsteen — but those guys aren’t from Columbus, and that’s what makes The Haymakers different.

They were kind enough to answer a few of my questions ahead of their Independents Day Fest show.


How do you guys get involved with Independents Day Fest, how does it compare to some of the other fests you’ve played.

This is the first time we’ve played Independents’ Day, though a few of us have been active volunteering as far back as the early days when it was on Gay Street downtown.

Each festival has it’s own vibe and idea. Independents’ Day in its way is exciting because it is constantly evolving to incorporate new and bigger events and activities driven by ingenuity and guts from all sides of the arts and music community. No two years are the same and you never know what you’ll see or hear next.

Is there a new album in the works since 2015’s Where you Find Love release?

Yes, we’ve been working hard on finishing and tightening up arrangements to begin recording a new full length album in the beginning of 2017. It’s exciting, there’s going to be some new sounds on this one.

We’re also finishing up a six song EP that contains some mean full band takes and rearrangements of tunes from my first solo record. We are planning to release that in November!

Is there any unexpected influences in your sound? Something people wouldn’t expect?

The fun thing about the band is that everyone comes from different musical backgrounds and preferences, from folk and classic rock to indie and jazz. We’re drawing from the Beatles, Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Wilco, among many. We experiment and sometimes things make it through and other times they don’t, but we find common ground and create something we can be proud of. Also, people often raise an eyebrow when I tell them my songwriting is influenced by Jeff Mangum (of Neutral Milk Hotel)

What’s on the horizon after Independents Day Fest?

After Independents’ Day we’re going to be doing shows regionally in the Dayton area and northwest Ohio. I’ll be performing solo outside the Columbus area as well, heading to Baltimore in early October.

Aside from that, releasing the new EP and getting started on the next album!

You can visit to find out about upcoming shows and also catch up with them on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

You can find the band playing on the Fantasy + Folklore Stage, Saturday at 1pm — Matt Monta & The Haymakers are: Matt Monta, Jamie Molisee, Bryan Kossmann, David Butler, Matt Paetsch.

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Arts & Culture

Ohio animator creates tribute, parody video of DeWine & Acton

Wayne T. Lewis, Publisher



Video at bottom of story

About three weeks ago, when the world was starting to fall apart, Dave Stofka was looking for something to take his mind off the stream of daily bad news. A freelance web developer and animator since 2007, Stofka had just the idea.

"I watched Governor DeWine and Dr. Acton's press conferences, and all the Facebook comments I was reading conveyed a sense of great appreciation of their leadership. At some point I jokingly thought to myself that all they need is a theme song. Growing up in the days when every show had a theme song, the "Laverne & Shirley" theme popped into my head for some reason, said Stofka.

With some encouragement from his wife, he dug into the project putting to work his previous experience making animated parodies. Stofka says he put about 100 hours over 2.5 weeks into the video project.

"I knew technically how to pull it off. The jokes started flowing the more I worked on it and bounced ideas off my family and a couple friends. It snowballed from there," said Stofka.

The 1:20 video offers a light-hearted take on the state government's efforts - led by DeWine and Acton - in combating the coronavirus pandemic. The video is based on a hilarious take on the "Laverne & Shirley" theme song, performed by Stofka's friend, Elisa Grecar.

"My goal in this was to bring smiles to people's faces. It's so easy to focus on the negative and difficult to focus on the positive -- not just in times like this but in life in general. I love that Ohio's motto is "With God, all things are possible" -- it made a perfect tagline at the end -- and personally it has given me a lot of hope to get through this," added Stofka.

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Arts & Culture

CCAD Spring Art Fair goes virtual

Mitch Hooper



The COVID-19 outbreak has all but canceled every event slated for April, but that isn't stopping the Columbus College of Art and Design from finding ways to safely move forward. Though there won't be an in-person Spring Art Fair this year, folks can still support these students and their artwork through the first ever virtual installment of the showcase.

Spanning April 10 to April 12, the CCAD Spring Art Fair will have its students projects, designs, and creations available for purchase online. The day kicks off on Friday at 5 p.m. and ends Sunday at midnight. All proceeds from the event will go directly to the artists, makers, and designers.

CCAD is also running a giveaway for anyone who makes a purchase during the Art Fair. If a visitor spends $50 or more and posts their receipt (without their personal information visible) to Instagram with the hashtag #CCADArtFair, they will be entered in to win a $50 gift certificate to CCAD’s Continuing & Professional Studies classes. Three winners will be selected randomly on April 13.

To find out more about the Art Fair, visit

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Arts & Culture

Now Streaming: Columbus entertainers find virtual ways to perform

Mitch Hooper



As Columbus entertainers prepared for warm weather and folks returning to the bars, COVID-19 came in and put it to a halt. The bars being closed indefinitely not only impacts owners, servers, and bartenders, it impacts the performers who rely on these places as a platform to showcase their talents. When folks can't come support local entertainers, what can they do?

What if they bring their talents to them? That's what many Columbus entertainers are doing during social distancing. While "work from home" wasn't much an option before this, comedians such as Amber Falter and Ian Miller are taking to Instagram Live and other streaming platforms to perform.

The first virtual show the two did was with Alexis Nelson of BarkBox, and admittedly, they were a little nervous about not having an audience for feedback.

"I was actually scared to start," Miller said. "Jokes don’t have what I call 'standalone timing.' You need a give and take with the audience, you build it into your jokes. The thought of telling jokes without immediate feedback was terrifying."

The two said the show went great and it didn't take long for both of them to enjoy streaming their comedy. Falter quickly did another virtual show, A Hamantha and Brisket Comedy Hours, with Samantha Sizemore and Bridjet Mendy themed around dating stories via Zoom. Miller, on the other hand, started a weekly story telling show on his Twitch channel Glass Cannon Comedy.

Falter, co-host of ACLU Stand-Up For Choice, says there's even been some silver linings to streaming her comedy.

"I was joking with one of my friends that is always like, 'Hey, I'm going to make it to the show! Can't wait to see you at the show!' and then they never make it out," Falter laughed. "Now you have no excuse, honey!"

As for the future ACLU Stand-Up For Choice comedy events, Falter said she and others involved, such as co-host Pat Deering, are figuring out how to do so through streaming.

Miller said he has seen many of his shows canceled due to the Coronavirus outbreak. He had six shows slated across 13 days, all of which have been canceled. Additionally, his monthly story telling show as well as Glass Cannon's quarterly-themed shows are suspended.

"It’s been rough. There may not have been of ton of Columbus comics “paying the bills” with comedy, but that doesn’t mean that we haven’t felt the impact," Miller said "Times are tough, and it’s really hard to have a side hustle of any kind when you know leaving your house could put yourself and other in danger."

And that's why he believes it's so important to support entertainers in anyway you can. Whether that be through a share or follow on social media, every little bit helps grow their platform.

Falter echoed this sentiment, too.

"I want this to become a source of income and I've been extremely, extremely grateful for the people that have even sent like $2," she said. "Or not even that, if they just followed me on Instagram or told me I had a good set. [By just] saying, "Hey that was really fun, thanks so much," that alone is making me super emotional."

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