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So Far Away

Out on tour, Julia Knitel finds groove portraying young Carole King Rumor has it that if you played Carole King’s chart entries back to back, you’d be listening to about five hours of music. Just the hits. For five hours. So it’s difficult to think that a musical of her life would be anything but [...]
Laura Dachenbach

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Out on tour, Julia Knitel finds groove portraying young Carole King

Rumor has it that if you played Carole King’s chart entries back to back, you’d be listening to about five hours of music. Just the hits. For five hours. So it’s difficult to think that a musical of her life would be anything but reductive. But Beautiful—The Carole King Musical, nominated for a Tony for Best Musical in 2014, has broken box office records and has sparked talk of a film adaptation, proving that even a small number of King’s songs can shape a big idea.

“People love her. They want to love her,” said Julia Knitel, who plays King in the national tour of Beautiful, coming to the Ohio Theatre this month. “The people that I meet at the stage door are all just so grateful to have had some time to listen to this  music, to be impacted by her again.”

Part jukebox musical, part biomusical, Beautiful tells the story of Carol Klein, a rebellious 16-year-old musical prodigy growing up in Brooklyn who becomes Carole King, one of the most expansive and timeless songwriters and performers of the latter half of the 20th century. Along the way, she emotionally and musically collaborates and competes with fellow artists Gerry Goffin, Cynthia Weil, and Barry Mann. Together, they write “the soundtrack of a generation.”

Knitel, a New Jersey native and lifelong performer, also began her professional Broadway career at 16 in Bye Bye Birdie and now plays Carole in Beautiful’s touring cast. At 24, she is the youngest woman who has played the role. But despite being a member of a generation hooked on Justin Bieber and Rhianna, Knitel feels a deep, if not genetic, connection to the music of the ’60s and ’70s.

“I grew up on the music,” explained Knitel, whose parents are both actors, musicians, and die-hard Carole King fans who raised their daughter on James Taylor, The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, and The Monkees. “It was part of my DNA, growing up…so I’m spoiled growing up with really, really wonderful music.”

Beautiful spans from 1958 to 1971, focusing on the emotional journey King took to release Tapestry, her first solo album. The journey contains many of the darker moments of King’s life, particularly in her marriage to Gerry Goffin, a relationship that produced more than two dozen chart hits, but also ended in heartbreak.

“It was a challenge for her,” said Knitel, referring not only to King’s tumultuous relationships, but also the way that her career was hidden, either by songwriting for others or by putting her career aside to take care of her children before she became a solo performer in her own right. “But at the same time she persevered, and she forged a path that I am fortunate enough to follow. I think it’s important for women my age especially, to hear her story and to be thankful for what she’s done for us.”

Young and musical and thrilled to be on tour, sharing music with different cities each week, Knitel has fallen quite easily in the footsteps of King’s younger self.

“I think I bring a different perspective to Carole. She was a dork,” Knitel laughed. “She was a kid who was obsessed with music and obsessed with playing music and writing music and dissecting music. And I think I’m a little bit of a dork, too. So it’s fun to bring out that side of both of us every night.”

On portraying a character who has a real, living, legendary counterpart, Knitel seems unfazed by expectations or potential comparisons. If anything, Knitel welcomes the parallels drawn between her and King with a certain eagerness; King is, in Knitel’s words, “still rockin’ and rollin’” through her music and activism.

“It’s a fine line because her voice is so iconic,” explained Knitel, who dug into the vast amount of video, audio, and reading material available about King in preparation for the role. “If I didn’t sound anything like her, I think there would be an uproar. But at the same time, she wasn’t a singer first and it’s about her music and…the creators have been very clear with me that it’s not about doing a note-for-note impersonation. It’s about my own interpretation.”

That interpretation has been garnering Knitel some spectacular reviews, as well as a stamp of approval from the show’s renowned inspirational figure. King stopped in to visit  the Broadway company of Beautiful, of which Knitel was a member at the time, to celebrate its 1,000th performance.

“But then she came to see me play her in Boise, Idaho because she’s got a farm outside there. I got to meet her before the show, which was overwhelming because I knew she was in the audience,” said Knitel with a bit of understandable giddiness to her voice.

“But she was very kind and seemed to be very proud, and liked my take on it.”

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Weekend Roundup: 5/29 – 5/31

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With Ohio slowly starting to fully reopen, initial in-person gatherings have trickled into our news feeds.

Below are a few things you can check out over the weekend if you’ve been itching to leave your house and are capable of following COVID-19 guidelines.

Friday

Fair Food Weekend @ Oakland Nursery

One of the most disappointing summertime cancellations was the axing of the Ohio State Fair. For those still wanting to get their elephant ears or deep-fried oreo fix, Chester Foods will be bringing a pop-up food truck to the Oakland Nursery. Corn dogs, funnel cakes, fried oreos, fresh-cut fries, and lemonade shake-ups will all be on the menu. Fair food will be set up on both Friday and Saturday.

Time: 12 p.m. - 8 p.m. | Address: 4261 W. Dublin Granville Rd.

Saturday

Sonic The Hedgehog/Jumanji: The Next Level and The Hunt/The Invisible Man @ South Drive-In

With movie theaters in Ohio still closing their doors, the drive-in revival has been sweeping the state, nation, and world. Once drive-ins were given the go-ahead by DeWine, South Drive-In began to provide the double feature experience to eager moviegoers. Admission is $9.50 on Friday/Saturday and $7.50 on Sunday for those 12+, $2 for ages 5-11, and free for those under 4.

The showings for this weekend are as follows: 

Screen 1:

  • 9:05 p.m. Sonic The Hedgehog (PG)
  • 10:53 p.m. Jumanji: The Next Level (PG-13)
  • 12:56 a.m. Sonic The Hedgehog (Friday/Saturday only) 

Screen 2:

  • 9:25 p.m. The Hunt (R)
  • 11:05 p.m. The Invisible Man (R)
  • 1:09 a.m. The Hunt (Friday/Saturday only)

Check out the South Drive-In website to see what social distancing guidelines need to be followed.

Time: Arrive 1-2 hours prior to first showing | Address: 3050 S. High St.

Sunday

Reggae on the Patio @ Skully’s Music-Diner

If you’re in search of a relaxing Sunday, look no further than Skully’s. The music venue/bar will be opening its patio for those to have socially distance hangs, drinks, and wings. Skully’s will be setting the mood perfectly for a chill Sunday by spinning reggae music all night long. Get yourself out of the house and go catch some island vibes.

Time: 7 p.m. - 2 a.m. | Address: 1151 N. High St.

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SoHud Collective provides fresh, stylish open-air experience

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The fear of ever going back inside of a building that’s not your home has become a general widespread worry. Open-air markets and garage sales are going to be a hot commodity this summer, and one new company has already taken a proactive and stylish approach to fill that need for consumers.

SoHud Collective is one of the first Columbus-based companies to corner this emerging market. The boutique pop-up shop, founded on the principle of friendships formed around fashion, art, and plants, hosted their first event on Saturday, May 23. 

And oh yeah, free lemonade.

An assortment of deep vintage finds at an incredibly reasonable price will leave you walking away with at least one purchase. The first installment took place on the corner of Hudson and Summit, across the street from Evolved Body Art.

The idea of a pop-up shop at this corner may be a new idea, but the format has been around for ages. Why SoHud Collective is important right now boils down to the consumers’ desire for an out-of-house experience and the employees’ obvious shared compassion for each other and thrifting.

“Fashion has been the glue to our friendship,” said the SoHud Collective, made up of Taylor, Connor, and Hayden. “We thrift together, we borrow each other’s clothing, and we send each other pictures of our outfits before we leave the house.”

A company formed on friendships in the SoHud region, the group behind this passion project has a specific goal in mind when passing down their used goods: keep the SoHud community stylin’. 

“Some of us have lost our jobs due to Covid-19, and this was a great way to keep our spirits up and redirect our attention to something that truly fulfills us,” the SoHud Collective said.

The items featured in the monthly pop-ups are passed down from an assortment of thrifting havens. Closets. Basements. Other thrift stores. Grandmas.

From shoes to shirts, Atari systems to board games, SoHud Collective is elevating the thrifting experience in the time of coronavirus.

“Currently, our focus is on elevating our display and merchandising technique to really give the people an experience and a fierce outfit and home decor to create that perfect photo for Instagram, the SoHud Collective said.”

SoHud Collective would like to thank Evolved for letting it use its parking lot for May’s edition of the pop-up. With a goal to have an installment of SoHud Collective once a month, the pop-up shop will return to the same location on June 27 (11 a.m. until 7 p.m.) and 28 (11 a.m. until 4 p.m.). 

A charity table where all proceeds will go to clothing the homeless LGBTQ youth in Columbus will be present as well. 

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Loop Daddy invades Columbus with first-ever drive-in tour

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The return of live music is going to be one of the trickiest industries to transition back into business as usual, if that will ever be the case. We’ve seen people getting creative, building concert stages within their own homes via live streaming. Some have participated in virtual festivals, probably the sector of live music to take the biggest hit.

But when an industry made up of innovative creatives always trying to come up with the next big idea is faced with incredible hardships, they respond with quick-witted imaginative solutions.

One of the first trends that popped up in the revolution of bringing back live music was the implementation of drive-in lots. Luckily for Columbus, the darling of the internet DJ scene Marc Rebillet aka Loop Daddy will be taking his first-ever drive-in tour through the Buckeye state in mid-June.

Captivating audiences with his participatory DJ scratching and immature antics, extremely goofy sex appeal, and sleazy porno stache, Rebillet was an act poised for a breakout summer before the pandemic shut music concert venues down. If you have access to a car, though, you’ll still have a chance to catch the wild virtual sensation.

On June 14, Rebillet will be pulling up to the South Drive-In for the third stop of his Drive-In Concert Tour. Rebillet will also be showcasing short films as part of his drive-in experience.

As far as sound is going for these events, a lot of drive-ins are opting to go the radio transmission route to encourage people to stay inside of their vehicles.

A very few grouping of tickets remain, which include three-person and four-person car passes. Tickets are running $40 per head (plus additional fees), which seems to be the average across the new wave of drive-in concerts. Two-people/one-car tickets have already sold out.

If you don’t want to miss out on this unique opportunity, act right now. Tickets can be purchased at:

https://nightout.com/events/marc-rebillet-drive-in-tour-columbus-ohio-south-drive-in-presented-by-hotbox/tickets.

Social distancing guidelines are outlined at the point of purchase.

The South Drive-In is located at 3050 S. High St. Doors open at 8 p.m. with the show beginning at 9 p.m. Attendees need to arrive before 8:45 p.m. A portion of ticket sales will be donated to the Coronavirus Relief Fund.

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