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Chapter and Verse

If you’re a music fan of a certain age, you know the feeling: that moment you realize one of your favorite bands is coming to town and the show starts too late for you to go. What to do? Five years ago, Deejay Mark Dantzer found himself wondering about this. “How can I be a [...]
Linda Lee Baird

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If you’re a music fan of a certain age, you know the feeling: that moment you realize one of your favorite bands is coming to town and the show starts too late for you to go. What to do?

Five years ago, Deejay Mark Dantzer found himself wondering about this.

“How can I be a music fan who’s not 22? I’m not going to be at the bar seeing the newest band until 2 a.m. on a Thursday, so how are you a dad music lover who doesn’t want to listen to his Led Zeppelin album for the millionth time?”

He thought he had an answer: if you can’t see all the bands anymore—read about them.

And treat the books like you treat your favorite bands, that is, get your friends excited about them too. Dantzer reached out to musician Pat Buzzard about starting a music-themed book club, who quickly agreed to do it only on the condition their first book could be Motley Crue’s The Dirt. Musicians Ryan Smith and Chuck Johnson joined the group, and the Rock and Roll Book Club was born.

Initially, the it was an excuse to meet monthly with music buddies.

“Honestly my thought was, maybe we’ll even read the book,” Dantzer said. “And then, lo and behold, we got together the first time and everyone had read the book!” A few months later, they tried recording their conversation and liked what they heard. “I worked in radio where they would spend six figures trying to put shows together with three people who have the right chemistry. It’s really hard to do. And I feel like we lucked out there somehow.”

The Rock and Roll Book Club’s first podcast came out in 2014, and they’ve released one monthly ever since. Any book about music is fair game: in addition to rock, they’ve covered genres from jazz to skiffle, and artists from Portishead to Cyndi Lauper to David Bowie. Still, “we haven’t even scratched the surface,” Dantzer said.

Putting the podcast together requires more than just reading the book. Johnson said he watches “…documentaries, interviews, You Tube clips, I go real deep with it… I feel like we owe our listeners something,” adding that he also reads other books and listens to bands that influenced the subject. They also ask a monthly Facebook question related to the book, and anyone who’s response is read on-air receives a Rock and Roll Book Club T-shirt. Each episode comes out with an accompanying Spotify playlist, with every member contributing three songs inspired by the reading.

At the end of each episode, members take turns rating the book either shelf (meaning they recommend adding it to your bookshelf), borrow, or skip.

“We’re not like a book review show,” Smith said. “I hope no author ever hears our ratings and is like ‘I’m terribly offended because they just gave us a ‘borrow.’”

Though the guys in the Rock and Roll Book Club may be going to fewer shows these days, the podcast connects them to music in other ways.

“This reminds me of my first band,” Buzzard said. “There’s no money in it, there’s no accolades… it’s not like we get recognized walking down the street. We do this show purely for the love of it, you know, and it’s been nothing but 100 percent received [with] joy.”

Four Track

Shelf” these Rock and Roll Book Club favorites:

Mark Dantzer: Life by Keith Richards and James Fox. “It’s kind of universally considered one of the best [music books ever written]. I agree with that assessment. It was the life that he has lived… These guys [the Rolling Stones] lived some pretty interesting lives and he’s got the most interesting… He’s my favorite, so that’s a home run.”

Pat Buzzard: Whores: An Oral Biography of Perry Farrell and Jane’s Addiction by Brendan Mullen. “It’s the first oral history I’ve ever read, which is all in quotes, and it was fantastically done. Like, now that we’ve read a few, I realize how good that was. At the time I thought it was incredible, and now that we’ve read other oral histories… that book is strong. It was fun to go back and listen to all the music again.”

Johnson: Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Ben Greenman. “I really enjoyed the way he kept time by using the albums he was listening to that year. At the end of each chapter, he lists his playlists of the era, and they are dope!”

Smith: The Trouble Boys, the True Story of the Replacements by Bob Mehr. “[It’s] really good… it’s only 400 pages so it’s long enough to be a proper book but not so long that [there’s an unnecessary level of detail]… it’s a story, and you can read it and not care about the Replacements, I think, and like it.”

The Rock and Roll Book Club will host a live recording and discussion of Waiting to Derail: Ryan Adams and Whiskeytown, Alt-Country’s Brilliant Wreck by Thomas O’Keefe and (Columbus native) Joe Oestreich June 19 at Gramercy Books in Bexley. For more, visit rnrbookclub.com.

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Arts & Culture

Nina West makes TV History with Emmys appearance

Mike Thomas

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Hometown hero Nina West is having a big year. Following her "Miss Congeniality" win in season 11 of RuPaul's Drag Race, West has released of a children’s music album, Drag Is Magic, and a comedy EP, titled John Goodman.

Now, the Columbus drag icon can add a moment of television history to her impressive list of accomplishments.

According to Deadline.com, West is the first person in Emmys history to walk the purple carpet in full drag.

Season 11 of Drag Race, which airs on VH-1 and has been renewed for a 12th season, took home 4 Emmy wins, including the trophy for "Outstanding Reality Show." The long running competition was nominated for 14 awards in all—the most of any VH-1 show in history.

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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

614now Staff

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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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