Author: Kevin Lee

Centre for the Living Arts announces new board officers

The Centre for the Living Arts sent word out recently that a new slate of officers is set to oversee their board of trustees and the name at the top of the list is very familiar to Mobilians. The new Executive Committee consists of former mayor Mike Dow as chair, Tammy Smith as vice chair, Lucy McVay as secretary and Chris Lee as treasurer. They take office in January 2014. “If we all do our jobs, we will realize the vision of our founder Palmer Bedsole, that the CLA, through its internationally competitive arts programming and community outreach and involvement, will become a major cultural force in the Southeast,” Dow said in the press release. “There is no question in my mind that through our community leaders and citizens investing more interest, time and money in such quality, programs such as the CLA’s recently successful Memory Project and Futures Project exhibitions, we will realize our strategic goals to become a recognized and appreciated ‘safe and sociable city’ for our citizens, and will become nationally competitive as a travel and tourism destination.” Current board chair Mike Rogers who has served in that capacity for that last couple of years will remain on the board. A pair of new names also joined the body: Edward C. Mathes and Holle Briskman. Mathes is a New Orleans architect who has served on several...

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It’s tricky making all of autumn’s arts treats

As problems go, it’s not a bad one to have. But that doesn’t make it any less annoying. Regular readers of this space have heard my past observations on the cycles of our cultural calendar and how things tend to bunch together in a couple of months. I’m not special in this observation, as any arts-active, longtime Mobilian can attest. Come April, suddenly those who longed for more choices are left bedraggled for lack of available time to get to everything piquing their interest. October is the same. Just look at the date of this Lagniappe issue, Oct. 17. On that one day, there’s the opening of “Night Watch” at Theatre 98 in Fairhope. As highlighted in last issue’s Art Gallery section, this thrilling play is a perfect accompaniment to Halloween season. There’s a good chance theatre supporters have youngsters on whom that love rubbed off and they’re likely to be involved in another premiere. Sunny Side Theater is opening “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” the same evening. Directed by Azalea City Center for the Performing Arts Director Chris Paragone, the show boasts 39 actors on a cast that will tread the boards at the Moorer Center for the Performing Arts at St. Luke’s High School (1400 University Blvd.). The production only runs three nights. Meanwhile, the Historic Mobile Preservation Society has its monthly educational program that same evening...

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ARTIFICE by Kevin Lee: Bohemians battle in ART Works: The Throwdown 2

Alright art lovers, let’s get ready to rum-buuuuhle! Lower Dauphin Street will be abuzz October 17 when the Mobile Arts Council rings the bell on the return appearance of a fall fundraising idea that exceeded expectation in 2012 — ART Works: The Throwdown 2. Taking a cue from the popularity of televised competitions, the event pits volunteer artists in a head-to-head race against time and each other to create works from a grab bag of materials. Last year’s version featured not only the battling creative personnel but a silent auction and live band providing a soundtrack for it all. The event spilled over from MAC’s cozy confines at 318 Dauphin St. with most of the action in the more expansive slot next door, graciously donated by the church that normally employs it. The Don King of this downtown donnybrook, otherwise known as Mobile Arts Council Executive Director Bob Burnett, believes things are trending upward. He’s set his sights accordingly. “Last year, off the top of my head, we raised a little over $15,000,” Burnett said. “We met the goal last year and this year we raised it, I think, to $17,000 to push it a little.” Early signs are favorable on all fronts, no doubt fueled by last year’s glowing reports. They have more sponsors and more interest from attendees. “We’ve got Iberia Bank; we’ve got Thompson Engineering,” Burnett...

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One-woman play at USA dramatizes fight against breast cancer

When Life Doesn’t Turn Out the Way You Expect Where: University of South Alabama, Laidlaw Performing Arts Center (5751 USA Dr. S.) When: Oct. 10, 6 p.m. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and one group of Mobilians are putting their talents to dramatic use for the cause. “When Life Doesn’t Turn Out the Way You Expect” tells of a single woman’s fight against this dreaded disease. The one-woman play was authored by Alabama Poet Laureate Sue Brannan Walker and will be brought to life by Katie Anderson under the direction of Ivan Davidson. As part of the play, there will be a panel of medical and social service professionals skilled in breast cancer treatment and support. The emcee is WKRG’s Devon Walsh and a reception will follow. The event benefits the Joy To Life Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on promoting early detection and breast cancer awareness. They also provide free mammograms and other breast cancer screenings when necessary to medically underserved women in Alabama. Tickets for the play may be purchased through the Joy to Life website for $100. Each ticket will be considered a charitable donation with a nominal value of $25 and $75 deductible for tax purposes.  For more info, go to www.joytolife.org. Night Watch Where: Theatre 98 (350 Morphy Ave., Fairhope) When: Oct. 17 – 27 Recovering from a nervous breakdown, Ellen claims to see...

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Dauphin Island Art Trail returns Oct. 12

While Anton Arenesky was a Russian from the Romantic school and Maurice Ravel was a French Impressionist, both are known for chamber pieces of sweeping brilliance. Both are also know for falling under the sway of previous Russian composers, Arensky of Tchaikovsky and Ravel of Rimsky-Korsakov. Pianist Robert Holm, violinist Gosia Leska, tenor Thomas Rowell and guest cellist Hovhannes Alanakyan will bring their compositions to life in the pitch-perfect confines of Laidlaw’s Recital Hall. Entrance is $8, $5 for USA faculty, staff and students, youths under 18 and senior citizens. For more info, call 251-460-6136 or go to www.southalabama.edu/music. Music of Ravel and Arensky Where: University of South Alabama, Laidlaw Performing Arts Center When: Sept. 19, 7:30 p.m. The Mystic Order of the Jazz Obsessed (MOJO) will mark its dozen years of life with a special appearance from local musical luminary John “Jabo” Starks. The legendary drummer famous for backing up James Brown, Bobby “Blue” Bland and B. B. King will trot out his considerable jazz chops for the hometown crowd. In April, Starks lifted the combo of keyboardist Sean Worrell, saxophonist Rebecca Barry and bassist Joseph “JoJo” Morris, Jr. to magical heights and this month’s show promises to be just as wondrous. The subtle musicality and expressiveness Starks showed during the previous affair – dedicated to highlighting drummer Papa Jo Jones – was enthralling, and this time around,...

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ARTFICE – McClory’s new book recalls Civil Rights era in one Mobile school

History has taken center stage in Alabama this year. In a land where “the past is never past,” commemorations of the Civil Rights Movement have magnified in a way that once seemed impossible but is now unforgettable. Though not associated with violence, the Azalea City had its share of barriers breached. A timely pair of books revisit that era in Mobile. One, a biography of civil rights champion John LeFlore penned by Murphy High School teacher Ken Robinson named “Port City Crusader,” debuted earlier this year. It’s now joined by another work that focuses on changes within the parochial school system and the lasting influence one diligent group of educators had on a key generation of African-American Mobilians. “From the Back of the Pews to the Head of the Class” from ACTA Publications highlights the work done at Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic High School on Davis Avenue (now Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue), just inside what is now the Henry Aaron Loop. Though religious in origin, the book doesn’t reach the reader in a “preachy” manner, but lets the anecdotes within speak for themselves. Founded at the onset of Jim Crow’s codification, the segregated school was taught by Sisters of St. Francis who moved to Mobile from Pennsylvania. The lessons of self-determination and resolute fortitude the sisters passed on to their students proved vital as both...

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10th annual Greater Mobile Art Awards spotlight community

On the surface it was handshakes and camera flashes. At its core was something less tangible but far more valuable. The occasion was the tenth version of the Greater Mobile Art Awards, an honor established by the Mobile Arts Council that has provided a great boost to this town’s creative community. To mark the 10-year milestone, some particulars were changed. Normally presented in Cathedral Square during the September LoDa Artwalk – to coincide with the beginning of a new “arts season” – the setting was moved to the 1927 Room next to the Saenger Theatre on Joachim Street. It was also scheduled two weeks prior to its normal date, in order to give it a night all to itself, when cultural players wouldn’t be distracted by Artwalk responsibilities. The scheduling shift worked in that regard. Turnout was good and people seemed compelled to dress a bit fancier than is customary for Artwalk. A lone saxophonist subtly riffing in an elevated corner of the room gave the evening a very urban and cosmopolitan vibe, as if he were warming up for a night’s performance and his exercises were bleeding through the walls of the apartment building. All that was missing was the elevated train. When Mobile Arts Council Executive Director Bob Burnett stepped behind the podium, the crowd obediently hushed to accommodate the lack of a microphone. The award winners...

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Shows at Joe Jefferson and Mobile Theatre Guild; Pianist Alon Goldstein and more

“Noises Off” Where: Joe Jefferson Playhouse, 11 S. Carlen St., Mobile Sept. 6-8; 13-15; 20-22 Times: 8 p.m. Fridays & Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays The esteemed Joe Jefferson Playhouse will present its rendition of “Noises Off,” a “comedy where everyone gets caught in the act.” It’s a British farce in which slammed doors, missed cues and even plates of sardines add to the fun. There are more than 164 entrances in the last 40 pages of the script, so the audience should be kept on its collective toes. Tickets are $20; $15 for seniors and military; $10 for students with I.D. For information and reservations, call 251-471-1534. Pianist Alon Goldstein Where: University of South Alabama, Laidlaw Performing Arts Center, 5751 USA Drive S. When: Sept. 8, 3 p.m. Mobile Chamber Music begins its 53rd season in stylish form with a performance from Israeli classical pianist Alon Goldstein. This gifted prodigy made his debut at the tender age of 18 with the Israeli Philharmonic guided by the illustrious baton of Zubin Mehta. A winner of several competitions both Israeli and American, he is also the recipient of the 2004 Salon di Virtuosi Career Grant and the America Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarships. His Mobile program will consist of Bach, Schubert, Liszt, Beethoven and Ginastera. The New York Times described his show as an “irresistible, powerhouse performance.” Tickets are $20, $10 for...

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