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This Must Be The Place

Somewhere in thousands of homes across central Ohio, there’s a handful of ticket stubs lying around—maybe even a backstage pass or two—gathering more dust than nostalgia. And in her garage, sat at some industrial device, David Byrne and the Talking Heads blasting beneath two layers of ear protection, is Jennalee Cook, waiting to turn your [...]
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Somewhere in thousands of homes across central Ohio, there’s a handful of ticket stubs lying around—maybe even a backstage pass or two—gathering more dust than nostalgia.

And in her garage, sat at some industrial device, David Byrne and the Talking Heads blasting beneath two layers of ear protection, is Jennalee Cook, waiting to turn your music memories into a functional work of art.

Cook’s outfit, Seek and Sought, was born out of her own musical wanderlust, trailing her favorite bands all over the country, and crafting ways to turn those travels into trinkets for her and her concertgoer kin.

It all started with a lighter, that incidental icon of live music appreciation. Cook would  painstakingly slice up copies of ticket stubs and glue them one by one onto painted lighters into different patterns. They were such a hit with friends that the first few she gave away as gifts turned into more and more requests—eventually reaching 2,000 over a 10-year span. It gave her productions a reach on par with some of her favorite bands’ followings.

“I would hear stories about people who didn’t know each other—like two gents in an airport bar in Texas,” she said. “One looked down and blurted out to the other, ‘That’s a Jennalee lighter!’ and they realized how many friends they had in common and became fast friends themselves. People have ones they’ve held onto for a decade that still work, they’ve been used to light unity candles at weddings … everything I do has grown from that.”

Not unlike many musicians, Cook is self-taught and now her expansive and experimental catalog runs the gamut from the mosaic table featuring David Bowie in her own home to a lamp comprised of an old beat-up horn to a guitar body plastered with old ticket stubs. It’s one thing to put ticket stubs on a lighter or a flask—which she is still happy to do—but Cook can now boast bigger and bolder designs like a ticket stub bicycle with a cassette tape basket.

Which leads us to another facet of Seek and Sought that sets Cook’s work apart from other musical mementos. Like any good roadie, she wants to make sure her products look good and play well.

“Before I actually part ways with any of my creations I absolutely want to be confident in how they hold up and how practical they are,” she said. “Purses and jewelry—I toss ’em around and beat them up as much as possible, just to make sure they can take it. [The bicycle], I left the poor thing outside in the snow and sun for a year straight and let it get knocked around to see how well it could handle actually being out in the world. The same goes for furniture—I want to know that mosaic tables can be cleaned and lighting pieces will have long lives ahead of them.”

To that end, Cook also isn’t afraid to deconstruct, and in some cases, destroy her own pieces in search of new creative ground. Even the charming drum kit hanging light in her home isn’t safe from her mental sledgehammer.

 

“I think they are dramatic, and I love the look of them in my home, but honestly I can’t look at them without being a bit disappointed that I haven’t attacked them with saws and grinders to get more creative and expressive,” she said. “It’s hard to find junk instruments to work with, and once I do I don’t want to destroy them with ideas that might not pan out, but pretty soon I’d like to get more aggressive with the horns/guitar necks and have some fun with the concepts.”

That creative attitude spills over into every aspect of Cook’s home. While the overriding musical theme is evident and much of the space is dedicated to the Seek and Sought mission, her most treasured homemade item has nothing to do with a lyric.

“It’s my pergola,” she said. “I built that thing! My dad helped and coached me through it, and the floorboards are a bit wonky, it’s not half as nice as one built by a professional would be—but I did that! Setting the posts with pole-digging shovels, out there on a ladder in the sun each year staining it, screwing down loose boards, adding lights—I did that. Like a lot of the work I do, I didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing when I started, but taking it on anyway and learning as I went along has been incredibly gratifying.”

Okay, well maybe it’s not completely unrelated to music.

She definitely installed speakers, too. •

For more of Cook’s work, visit seekandsought.com or follow

@seekandsought on Instagram.

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Curbside Concerts brings live music, hope to those in need

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Can’tStopColumbus took a quick pause when the pandemic shut down the world and asked two questions:

  1. Are we sure we're solving the needs of everyone in our community during this time? 
  2. Are we not just coming up with ideas based on our own experiences?

Our elder community was one of the major demographics to have stricter socially distancing guidelines suggested to them. Holidays and birthdays went by without hugs from grandpa or grandma’s cookies.

Out of the need to fill that missing love in the life of American seniors, the idea of Curbside Concerts was born. Anyone is able to jump on the Curbside Concerts signup page and request a concert for an elder, sick people not able to leave the house, or a simple celebration.

Sending a concert telegram is free, and you can also leave a message for a loved one and suggest what type of tunes the organization-selected Columbus-area musician.

So far, the feedback has been inspiring. 

“People cried. I cried. We cried. It was beautiful,” said Zach Friedman, one of the service’s founders and creators. “We had a powerful idea on our hands, and the amazing power of the #Can'tStopColumbus community to scale it and bring it to life.”

To date, Curbside Concerts has had over 50 volunteers. Their job is to drive around a Columbus musician and their equipment with trucks provided by Ricart Automotive. It’s a road trip around the Columbus area, delivering concerts to those who may just need their spirits lifted. It’s like a non-depressing version of Inside Llewyn Davis.

Support has come from all ends of the Columbus creative community, including The Columbus Foundation, Greater Columbus Arts Council, Streetlight Guild, and What? Productions. Through these organizations, musicians are able to be paid for a route that usually lasts five to six hours. 100 percent of the donations they receive on their route also goes to the musicians.

Friedman is asking people to keep requests to older audiences.

“Working with local musicians to perform curbside at people's homes is the vehicle or medium, but the real thing we are doing here is connecting those to older people they love, with an authentic and emotional experience to send love over,” Friedman said.

We found out pretty quickly how much as a collective that we take live music for granted. Live streams have been a temporary, dulled-down replacement. You realize how long people have been robbed of the experience when you see a musician pull up in a pickup truck, set up in five minutes, and serenade neighborhoods with songs like “Lean on Me” and “What A Wonderful World.” It starts off with a message to one house and then resonates down the street, like the citizens of Gas Town rushing to The People Eater for even a drop of water.

Photos by Zak Kolesar

For most people, it was their first taste of live music since mid-March. While we may want concerts to return as soon as possible, its productions like Curbside Concerts that display the emotional power of music.

To request to send someone a concert, follow the link here: https://sendaconcert.herokuapp.com/request

To volunteer for Curbside Concerts, follow the link here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040b45abaa22a4fb6-curbside

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Arts & Culture

Live music allowed again in restaurants and bars: how will these establishments respond?

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A major step forward in the return of live music in Ohio took place over the weekend. The Ohio coronavirus guidelines were updated to reflect the new COVID-19 Dine Safe Ohio Order.

The order outlining the guidelines on live music in restaurant and bars is as follows:

Musicians and bands may perform in restaurants and bars as long as the individuals who are performing maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from all other people including, but not limited to, fellow performers and restaurant and bar patrons and staff.

DJ's are included along with musicians and bands in the order.

Something that was on the mind of a lot of musicians with the reopening of restaurants and the indefinite closing of large venues was how restaurants and bars were going to respond to the immediate venue demand. Places like Woodlands Tavern that already have an infrastructure for live music will have no problem complying with the updated order, but will restaurants and bars that depended on jukeboxes before pivot to a live music model?

With a lot more space available in restaurants due to capacity cuts, does this leave more room for a live music set up? Or will restaurants have to get rid of even more tables if they want to make room for a performer?

The thought of live music in a venue setting is alone enough to get excited about. How these places that now have the ability to host live music execute freeing up space for a band to set up or a DJ to bring his rig in while practicing social distancing is what makes this situation a tricky one.

Not being able to get down in a MojoFlo Soul Train line will be pretty tough, but it’s a tradeoff we’ll have to accept for the return of live music.

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Arts & Culture

(614) Music Club: Sarob

Julian Foglietti

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Every week (614) Music Club teams up with your favorite local artists to build a playlist of what they’re listening to, and what’s inspiring them. This week’s playlist is brought to you by the R&B artist Sarob.


Photo by: Wyze

Tell me about some of the songs you’ve selected.

"The first one is Sobeautiful by Musiq Soulchild. So every week with my vocal coach, I have to learn a song. And I've been trying to figure out how to do vocal gliding. Which is not a strong point for me, and I remember hearing that song and being like, OK, this is it. The song is just beautifully written and composed, so when you add the technique to it, it’s just great. The other song was Workin On It by Dwele, who is one of my favorite artists of all time. Workin On It uses this J Dilla beat that just feels really timeless."

Have the past few months changed the direction or mood of the music you're creating. 

"So I have been making stuff here and there, and then I'll go into something creative for like two days. I'll just be making like a bunch of songs and then I'll stop for two weeks, not even want to look at a microphone or anything. I mean, it's a lot more inward, so I’m learning how to better communicate the things I'm experiencing, and set the scenes for people and talk about what is going on. Also not having my band has been a challenge. I’m more of a thinker, I play the keyboard, and I can build a song, but I’m not the most gifted musician so having to build a lot of it on my own is tricky."

Do you have any plans or releases coming up? 

"Yeah, so I had a song Pleasures U Like that was made for my last album, but it didn’t quite fit the story of the album. So I just forgot about it until recently and I finished the vocals just before the lockdown, and now I’m releasing it on Bandcamp as part of a fundraiser for The Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio. All of the proceeds from the song are going to go to support their Pandemic Emergency Fund, and it just felt like a good way to do something that would impact everything going on."

Sarob's Playlist

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