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Dead Celebrity

Chuck Lamb clutched his mother’s hand as the steady stream of mourners approached his father’s casket. He recognized a few faces from the family’s infamous backyard poker parlor, attracting traveling card sharks eager to ante up with the local gambling legend and sometimes moonshiner. Even Chuck had his own side hustle since the age of [...]
J.R. McMillan



Chuck Lamb clutched his mother’s hand as the steady stream of mourners approached his father’s casket. He recognized a few faces from the family’s infamous backyard poker parlor, attracting traveling card sharks eager to ante up with the local gambling legend and sometimes moonshiner. Even Chuck had his own side hustle since the age of six, running sandwiches and chips to the players for tips long into the night.

For someone as fabled as his father, the funeral still had way too many folks for just family and friends. Reverend Billy Graham himself was there to deliver the eulogy, but it was the guys in fitted suits and fedoras that stood out in rural North Carolina—each passing by the casket in suspicious silence. Chuck whispered into his mother’s ear wanting to know why they were there. Her reply was almost prophetic.

“They’re here to make sure he’s really dead.”

Columbus seems to inspire unlikely celebrities, from a long-shot boxer named Buster to a guy whose penchant for potato salad nearly broke the Internet. Lamb may not have the same name recognition or notoriety, but you’d be hard-pressed to find any actor more committed to character. He’d moved here to his mother’s hometown as a wide-eyed kid from the foothills of Appalachia, but always dreamed of something a bit bigger. Without the looks or chops expected by an industry built on image and experience, this everyman turned a singular skill into a career as a corpse.

Chuck Lamb is the “Dead Body Guy.”

“It was always on my bucket list to see my name in the credits for a movie or television show,” he explained. “I loved the beginning of Law & Order. Every episode opened with Jerry Orbach standing over a dead body making some smart-ass remark.”

Chuck and his wife Tonya hatched a plan. Posed in creative states of comical demise, she photographed her husband for the newly registered website, which he’d whipped together on a whim. (Television crime dramas must always be looking for victims, right?)

“She came up with several clever ways to kill me and we posted the pictures. Tonya made up the blood and everything,” Lamb quipped. “Within six weeks, we were on the front page of the New York Times.”

That’s when macabre soon became surreal. Eager to land the first morning television interview, the major networks each angled for Lamb’s exclusive attention.

“I was on the phone at home with both the Today Show and CBS, clicking between the two, and Good Morning America on my cell phone—at he same time,” Lamb recalled. “They all wanted me to do their show first.”

NBC ultimately came back with the best offer, a promised appearance on one of their series, and CBS was still ready to send a limo to pick him up at Rockefeller Center to immediately do their show the same day. ABC wasn’t interested in third place and passed altogether, or so it seemed. 

“I was at Port Columbus getting ready to catch my flight to New York and a camera crew from ABC tried to ambush me for an interview to air on Good Morning America before I could get to the Today Show,” he revealed. Lamb was having none of it. “When I got there, NBC actually booked my hotel room under an assumed name to keep the other networks from finding me.”

Forget slasher movies—network television is cut-throat.

Numerous notable and also-ran roles followed, but never quite ignited demand for a well-seasoned stiff. Expectations were high for an appearance on an episode of the sitcom What I Like About You, but most of Lamb’s cameo was left on the cutting room floor.

I went out there for two days, sat for hours and hours, and all you see is me slumped over and my bald head. They never showed my face,” Lamb lamented. “That was supposed to be my breakout performance. But if you blinked, you missed it.”

There was also that time the Dead Body Guy bumped into the Terminator.

Schwarzenegger happened to be walking into Hollywood Casino at the same moment as Lamb. It turns out Chuck had worked on a TV pilot with Arnold’s old acting coach and introduced himself. The two shared memories of working with their mutual friend while someone from Schwarzenegger’s entourage ran out to the parking lot to grab a copy of his autobiography, Total Recall, which Arnold personally inscribed.

Lamb’s most recent television work was his most animated to date, an upcoming appearance on the game show reboot of To Tell The Truth, featuring Denise Richards, Kal Penn, Ken Marino, and Theresa the Long Island Medium. Celebrity contestants ask a panel of three guests questions and try to guess who are the imposters, and who is telling the truth. Chuck’s delivery was, of course, deadpan.

“The producers contacted me about doing the show. We shot it months ago, but it hasn’t aired yet,” he noted. “Theresa came over and asked to see all of our hands and immediately said she knew who it was. I fooled two of the four.”

Celebrity, living or otherwise, was at best a stunt that seemed to outlast its original intent, and Law & Order. Following a few unfortunate injuries, and multiple back surgeries, Lamb realized retirement was in his cards. (Save maybe a casting call from The Walking Dead; a dying wish, if you will.)

“After more opportunities and laughs than I ever expected or deserved, I need to stop before it actually kills me.” he explained, suggesting he’d like to pass on the legacy and namesake of the Dead Body Guy to the right person, like Zorro or Batman handing the mask to the next anonymous hero. “I don’t want this dream to die with me.”

Lamb has appeared in such films as Horrorween, ThanksKILLING, and Stiffs. For more, see

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Arts & Culture

How Bazaar: Popup arts fest shines a light on local creatives

Mike Thomas



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.

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





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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Arts & Culture

Be Square: Changes coming to arts community at 400 W Rich

Mike Thomas



If you haven't visited the thriving arts community at 400 West Rich street in awhile, you might be surprised to see how much things have changed. Now, the minds behind the city's hub for the arts are changing things up to better reflect the area's evolution.

400 Square is the new collective moniker for the array of concepts that currently occupy the buildings on the 400 block of Rich street in Franklinton. The rebrand seeks to unify the community of artistic innovators who call the area developed by Urban Smart Growth their creative home.

Promo art for 400 Square by Anthony Damico

Spaces encompassed in the rebrand include Strongwater, The Vanderelli Room, and Chromedge Studios, and of course, the studios at 400 W. Rich. While the name may be changing, the group remains committed to providing and sustaining a thriving hub for creatives through education, resources, and entertainment opportunities in the area.

With the launch of 400 Square, Urban Smart Growth Director of Operations Seth Stout has led his team to develop new offerings for each of the growing spaces. Food and Beverage Director Lauren Conrath and Events Director Molly Blundred have taken the lead with changes to the Strongwater brand, while Community Director Stephanie McGlone and Art Director AJ Vanderelli are facilitating programming for all ages and abilities on the artist side.

Through all of the changes on the way, the staff at 400 Square are committed to bringing the public the same high quality of workshops, events, exhibitions, and more that have always been part of their unique creative community.

Stay tuned for more info—the new 400 Square officially rolls out during the weekend of Columbus Arts Fest 2019, June 7-9.

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