Author: Kevin Lee

Mobile fest founder feted for jazz award

By all means, look behind the curtain. The Mystic Order of the Jazz Obsessed’s Jazzalea Awards honor behind-the-scenes personnel who make stage magic possible. The 2016 award went to entertainment reporter Lawrence Specker, whose work magnified Azalea City jazz for more than 20 years. Bob Spielmann’s numerous decades of service in various jazz organizations earned him the 2017 award. This year’s Jazzalea goes to J.C. McAleer III, Mobile Jazz Festival founding member and initial executive director. He guided the event from its 1965 birth, then handed the reins to Spielmann in the late 1980s. McAleer was executive director of...

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Fairhope Ballet stages French classic

The ballet “Coppelia” premiered in Paris 17 years before the Eiffel Tower was begun and six years before the French gifted us the first part of the Statue of Liberty. Combining Leo Delibes’ music with Arthur Saint-Leon’s choreography, the comedic work traces a small-town boy smitten with a life-size dancing doll and the antics of his forsaken girlfriend. Bay Shore Ballet brings the work to life at Fairhope Civic Center (161 N. Section St.) on April 27 and 28 at 7 p.m. each evening, with a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee. Directed by Janet Carole, it features principal dancers Abigail...

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Identity, immigration center stage at Mobile Theatre Guild

Who are you really? How much perspective is generated internally and how much is shaped by those around you? How much is from your community? Nathan’s professor, Dr. Pearson, poses this short question with deep implications, and what follows is a dive into identity that swims through the psychological and into the topical. Welcome to “The Pot.” Glenn Hutchinson’s timely 2015 stage play comes to Mobile through personal acquaintance. Director John Richards was in Miami for a training conference and occupied his free Sunday with community theater. “It’s only been performed about three or four times. I really enjoyed...

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Festival seeks visual artists

The Gulf Coast Ethnic and Heritage Jazz Festival is seeking a design for its 20th annual event in early August. Alabama artists living in Mobile or Baldwin counties are invited to participate. The winner will receive $300 cash. The guidelines are as follows: • Original, unpublished, two-dimensional work featuring a jazz theme in any medium. One entry per artist. • Entry must include the words “Gulf Coast Ethnic & Heritage Jazz Festival,” “Mobile, Alabama” and “20 Years of Jazz: 1998–2018”. • Entry should be 24 inches by 18 inches, in a vertical format and mounted on white foam core....

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Visual, physical arts meet at Sway Downtown

Marrying mind and soul, the visual and the physical was as simple as signing a lease. Then came the elbow grease. “My husband and I always wanted something downtown, an art gallery, but weren’t quite sure how,” Noel Hanley said. A principal dancer with Mobile Ballet for six years, Hanley also taught yoga, an avocation with the potential for greater cash flow. She mixed dream with pastime to form the hybrid space Sway Downtown. Finding the spot was crucial since Hanley knew rents and price tags were rising steadily amidst rejuvenation. They found a Conception Street location last summer,...

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Bienville Books may be on the block

A downtown Mobile cultural cornerstone might be up for grabs as Bienville Books (109 Dauphin St.) owner Russell Adams contemplates selling his business. He opened the independent store near Bienville Square in 2002. Adams has battled health issues “for a year and nine months” and recuperation from a pair of imminent procedures will make his presence at the business tenuous. “I may not be able to move around a lot. I’ve told employees I might not be there after late June,” Adams said. Since he also owns the building, Adams has mulled selling both but would prefer to sell...

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Colleges combine for MAC show

Mobile Arts Council (318 Dauphin St.) hosts a juried show aptly composed of student work from the area’s five colleges. From 90 submissions, judge Wendy DesChene of Auburn University chose 60 pieces by 34 artists: three apiece from Bishop State Community College and the University of Mobile, six from Spring Hill College, 10 from Coastal Alabama Community College and 12 from the University of South Alabama. The exhibition will be in place April 2–27. An opening reception will be held April 13, 6–9 p.m. during the LoDa Artwalk. Prizes will be announced and awarded that evening. The exhibition is...

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MMoA show plugs Mobile into global act

Ingenuity is art’s most daunting challenge. Want to kill some hopes? Utter the words, “It’s been done.” Reputed curator Hans Ulrich Obrist sought to negate and embrace that hobgoblin in resourceful fashion. Combined with artists Bertrand Lavier and Christian Boltanski, he compiled a perpetual exhibit entitled “do it” that has wound the globe for more than 20 years and manifested in well over 50 institutions. Now Mobile is added to that list. The exhibit isn’t shipped in crates. It’s a compendium of 250-plus written instructions from artists to future collaborators for works shaped by personality, place and time. Mobile...

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Contest for first-district high schoolers

Congressman Bradley Byrne announced details of the First Congressional District Art Competition for area high school students residing in the First Congressional District. All entries must be an original concept, two-dimensional, no larger than 26 inches high, 26 inches wide and 4 inches deep when framed. They can weigh no more than 15 pounds and must fall within the following categories: • Paintings: oil, acrylics, watercolor, etc. • Drawings: colored pencil, pencil, ink, marker, pastels, charcoal (charcoal and pastel drawings should be fixed) • Prints: lithographs, silk screen, block prints • Mixed media: use of more than two mediums...

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Midtown gallery puts conscience, community first

If there’s one thing that can be said about the namesake of Marnée’s Studio near the Loop it’s that she’s determined to do things her way. It’s in the portmanteau on her sign. “My name was Margaret Renee but it never really suited me and this is the name I should have always been called by. I legally changed it,” Marnée Edwards said. Open less than a year, the gallery at 2353 Airport Blvd. is earning a reputation for concern far beyond its doors. Edwards has plenty of causes she’s ready to help. “I’ve done some benefit paint parties...

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