Thursday, June 30, 2005

AJ Cascio and the Two Tone Blues Band: acoustic set at Juri's Cafe, Fri, July 1, 7:30 pm

Winners of the recent Sonny Boy Blues Society Battle of the Bands and thus to perform at the prestigious King Biscuit Blues Festival of Helena, AR, is local group AJ and the Two Tone Blues Band.

Their schedule includes
* acoustic set at Juri's Cafe, 7020 Youree Dr, Fri, July 1, 7:30 to 9:30 pm.
* Camp Joy Marina, Lake Bistineau, Mon, July 4, at 4:30 pm.
* NSU Folk Festival, Fri, July 15, 2:15 and 4:30pm.
* Noble Savage Tavern, 417 Texas St, Sat, July 16, at 9:30 pm.

See more at

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Dance, paintings, sculpture, song and stories of African-Americans: NW Louisiana Black Arts Festival, July 9, 10, at Municipal Auditorium

African-American Folk Art of Louisiana will have a day in the sun at the NW Louisiana Black Arts Festival, to be held July 9 and 10 at the Municipal Auditorium. In a Times interview, organizer-artist Bill Scott told writer Jennifer Flowers, "African-Americans have large, extensive traditions that some people are not aware of," he said. "If you don't know where you came from, you can't go anywhere. It instills pride in our young people and encourages the development of the arts."
Please see more at SptBlog, June 5.

Saturday, July 9
Mainstage: corner of Milam St. and Elvis Presley Ave.
11:30 a.m.: Darrel Andrews, local conductor and composer, variety and old school music.
12:15: It’s That Shining 1, blues and hip-hop.
1 p.m.: Ena/Meschellaneous, poetry.
1:30 p.m.: First Baptist Dance Ministry, praise dance.
2 p.m.: The Essence — Jevon Miller and W. Washington, poetry.
3 p.m.: Showers of Blessings Dance Ministry, dance.
4:30 p.m.: The Grant Family, praise dance.
5 p.m.: Truth Universal, urban rap music.
7 p.m.: Kumaasi African Ensemble, African dance.

Inside the Municipal Auditorium:
11:30 a.m.: R.E. Henry film.
12:30 p.m.: lecture with quilt maker Carolyn Mazloomi.
1:30 p.m.: Thelma Harrison, storytelling.

All-day events at the auditorium include exhibits of works by Barbara Sidney, Sarah Albritton, The Toothpick Man and the New Orleans Museum of Art Iron Workers Exhibit.

An African bead painting workshop with Jimoh Buraimoh, Oshugbo, Nigeria Chief, also will take place at the Academy of Visual Arts, 605 Texas St.

Sunday, July 10
1:30 p.m.: Invasion, gospel music.
2:30 p.m.: Inter City Row Cultural Arts Institute, dance.
3 p.m.: New Dimension Brass Quartet, music.
4 p.m.: singer Neverlyn Townsel and the Fellowship Ensemble, music.
5 p.m.: Ena/Meschellaneous, poetry.
5:30 p.m.: G.C.R. Showband, variety music.
Inside the Municipal Auditorium:
8 p.m.: Bobby “Blue” Bland concert, with Freddie Pierson and Intimate Moments and local blues singer Jimmy Lynch. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Kid Zone: Chaka Zulu African ceremonial stilt-walker, waterslides and face painting will take place continuously throughout the day.

Painter and sculptor Dennis O Bryant: on the Louisiana / Texas axis

Dennis O' Bryant is a painter of enormous vitality and soul. Having been a painter and sculptor for decades now, his work, whether the subject is Texas, Caddo Lake, or the abstract world, is masterful.

O'Bryant's work and studio are in a historic house in East Texas - in Marshall - but he was once a denizen of Shreveport and of Artist Transit.

In August he will show work at Columbia Cafe and the Barnwell, with the Louisiana Artists. In the meantime, view more of his work at

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Running, cycling and reviewing: SciPort and Imax movies

The Imax movie Top Speed opens at SciPort on Saturday, July 2, says SciPort's whippet, Eric Gipson.

Examining every aspect of speed, from running to motorcycling, the movie might be considered "a big-screen fix for sports fans and thrill seekers," notes Gipson. But there's more: this flick examines "the mind, body, heart and science connections of pushing the envelope of speed in several sports."

More importantly to me, Gipson sent a note addressing the Imax as a sacred medium. He was responding to the recent dialogue on criticism begun by the Times' Alex Kent.

Gipson says of SptBlog, "I like the fact that you include views from your personal experience as a visitor and supporter--even if there is constructive criticism. It's always been my view that we need to be 'reviewed' more! As you said in your letter to The Times, reviews are healthy and make us all give that extra bit of umph, whether it be in the delivery of a program or, oftentimes in our case, the creation or selection of a program or event as well!

"We've been open for over 6 1/2 years, and no one (to my knowledge) has ever reviewed an IMAX film here!"

If you, dear reader, have critical remarks to offer re. SciPort or an Imax movie, please post it here. And in the meantime I'll sharpen my pen as I get ready for the large-screen Top Speed.

Final Centenary Summer Band Concert Th, June 28, 8 pm

The heat does bother those who like the Summer Band Series at the amphitheater, aka the Hargrove Band Shell, at Centenary College. But they bear it with equanimity.

The Centenary Summer Band was founded in 1957 by B.P. Causey. The series ran until 1987, and was re-engineered during the summer of 2000 by Dr. Thomas Stone, Director of Instrumental Music at Centenary College.

Dr. Stone's band is comprised of Shreveport Symphony musicians, Centenary faculty, local music teachers, retired military musicians, and Centenary students.

The final concert of 2005 - sponsored by AEP Southwestern Electric Power - will open with Richard Strauss’ Vienna Philharmonic Fanfare, followed by Nicolai's Overture to The Merry Wives of Windsor, Irish Tune from County Derry by Percy Grainger, and Gershwin's Second Prelude. The concert will conclude with Sousa's Semper Fidelis, says Dr. Stone.

The show commences at 8 pm. Don't feel bashful about toting seat cushions, lawn chairs and picnic baskets.

More info: the Highland Area Partnership, (318) 869-5706.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Downtown art center open 7 days for kid activities, gifts, food, meetings, meditation: Artspace

* How many days a week is Artspace open?
* On what days is it open til 9 pm?
* Are there guided art activities for kids every day of the week?

The answer to the above:
* Open 7 days.
* Late nights are Thursday through Saturday - til 9 pm.
* Yes. Kid activities 10:30 to noon and 2:oo to 3:30 Mon to Sat. Sunday: 2 to 3:30.

Over the weekend Artspace offered a scifi double-feature. Mimsy Borogroves, one of my downtown correspondents, reports: "Barbarella / Rocky Horror Picture Show drew over 50 people. Three awards were flung out: Best Audience Participator: Tony Reans; Best Time Warper: A young man in a white hat with a cigar, and Best Costume: A pretty young man from Austin named "Hooker." A good time was had by all. Dan Garner announced we'd be doing it every Friday night at midnight. However, he's crazy. He made that up. But we might just have to do it again."

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Dia de Los Muertos planning underway at SRAC; major art event opening at Artspace in September

Dia de Los Muertos, "Day of the Dead," is a major Mexican celebration of ancestors and of the living as well as the dead. Traditionally, few in Shreveport-Bossier knew or cared about this fascinating event. Today Pam Atchison, chief of Shreveport Regional Arts Council, is busily planning a Dia de Los Muertos event for Artspace. It will open in September with Mariachi music and scores of colorful shrines built to honor the deceased artists of the region.

On the planning and construction team is Sir Kevin Wolfe and wife Janet Wolfe. And here is a fighting flyer built by kite-maker and furniture maven Kevin. He explains " I finished the Mexican fighter kite today. It flies well. I did this one for the "Day of the Dead" celebration, upcoming. Because it is a fighter kite, I used a soldier motif. The kite made from rip stop nylon in three layer applique, with fiber glass frame. This particular shape of fighter kite is called a "Buka."

Those of you with ideas to offer or cultural background applicable to Dia should buzz me or SRAC (673-6500).

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Songwriter Tim Marshall Tues, June 28, Columbia Cafe at supper time

Songster Tim Marshall, playing Tuesday, June 28 at Columbia Cafe, brings several fine guitars, an excellent voice and a passionate sense of songwriting to his shows. Marshall can sing Beatles or Elton John but he shines with his driving originals.

Enjoy pianist Lisa Daye Wednesday night, says Columbia Cafe owner Matthw Linn, who says a special guest will play Thursday.

While Linn has Columbia dining specials all week the promo that catches my eye is "Thursday 20% off all Beer! We have the largerst Beer list in North West Louisiana!" I'm not going to dispute his investigations. But I have certainly enjoyed investigating his beers. Pleasantly, there's a 2 to 7 pm happy hour during which inspections of the beer list are encouraged.

Linn also writes "After stopping an attempted vehicular murderer with our building and fountain a few months ago we are now repaired and better than before. Leonard Service completed and installed the new " Rays of Light" fountain Thursday June 23. Icing on the cake: it's a better-than-the-original rehab of our old water works system. "

Emailing Linn for why he described the assailant thusly brought this response: "Person in stolen 71 Chevy pickup running from ten police cars tries to run over two people walking across the street in front of LSUMC. He crosses the double yellow to try and hit them; they run/jump out of the way and he misses them. He then hits three cars at Line avenue. Traveling east bound he does a 310 degree turn at Creswell avenue. Under full throttle he goes over my fountain and under my building, taking out three pier supports. He gets out and runs away. The passenger gets caught and says he was a hitch hiker with bad luck. They catch the driver a few days later and charge him with two counts of attempted vehicular homicide , three counts of hit and run and two counts of property damage. I pay for everything cause he has no insurance, no money."

Ah, the art of operating a fine dining establishment.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Shakespeare in July via Hooper, Peak, King, Folmer, Kirton and Shaw

July may not look so arid when there's a Shakespeare infusion on its way. Centenary College drama chief Don Hooper and director Heather Peak say to mark calenders thusly:

July 7 and 9
8 pm
July 21 and 23
8 pm
Comedy of Errors
July 14 and 16
8 pm
July 22 8:00 pm
July 17 and 24 2:00 pm

Plays are at Marjorie Lyons Playhouse, Centenary. Admission is $12 per adult; 10, senior and military; 5, students and 20 for 2 adults.

Behind the scenes, according to Hooper: "Patrick and Susan Kirton are playing husband and wife, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Andy Shaw, who was Russell Crowe's fight instructor for Gladiator (the
film) is doing our fight choreography."

An aside: "We are buying red food coloring by the gallon to make the blood for Macbeth."

Finally: "Comedy of Errors has Dick King and Richard Folmer onstage together, playing the leads. It should be a riot."

July 23: Art and goods auction benefitting Philadelphia Center

Art and other donations are warmly accepted by the staff of Philadelphia Center this month, says Bobby Darrow. Their annual fundraiser is an auction on Sat, July 23, at the Sam's Town ballroom. This year's theme is A Passage to India.

RappingRockoutDiscostylie at Lil Joes Sat, June 25, 9 pm

Saturday, June 25
Mars Vegas Dance Party @ 9pm @ Lil Joes Tavern.

Starring DJ Jalapeno Sutton,The Ra Ra's from Alexandria, King Hippo and Mars Vegas.

The hipsters will be wearing a costume, says Brett Roman, ringmaster, and will only pay $3 cover; those without will pay $5 . Lil Joe's is located on Kings hwy., directly across from Centenary College and next door to George's Grill.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Critics needed; inquire within / low pay, few friendships, but important role to play

As people file into Artspace, or any local entertainment center, should a critic be slipping in beside them?

In an ideal world, yes. A schooled writer, in a perfect world, would visit Artspace and analyze the use of the space and write about it. The show by local artists in Coolspace would also get its turn under the purview of a critic. Performances would br reviewed, too. How else to know, really, how well we're doing?

Times writer Alex Kent, a schooled critic who is sent out to write about plays and symphony concerts, has asked for feedback about the role of the critic. The Times has printed a goodly array of letters - see the June 23, editorial page - on the importance of critical reviews.

A year ago the Times killed all reviews after a long history of providing next-day feedback about a variety of arts performances. This year editor Alan English has brought reviews back. I applaud English for repairing the damage and for offering the community a high level of discourse.

** ** **

As much as I treasure the art of evaluation, it cannot be my role to write as a critic at SptBlog. The reasons are twofold: a) I want to make and display my own art. I want to participate. The ideal critic is one who is fully an observer. b) I have too many friends in the art community. A proper critic should not be inhibited by a plethora of connections.

That said, I would like to encourage readers to submit critical reviews to SptBlog. As a small example of what I'm thinking, please see my self-review of Cirque du Trudeau, my recent Coolspace production.

There's been a big outpouring of art lately. And much of the art being shown is not terribly worthy stuff. If there were a good critic writing about why certain pieces are accomplished and why other pieces are in need of improvement, we might see significant growth on the part of local artists.

Tipitina's to send Creole Catering Truck to Texas St for Music Co-op Office Grand Jete' Th, June 30

Napoleon Ave at Tchoupitoulas St.: site of the world famous Tipitina's night club. As you can see, it's not swank. A number of us have passed some very sweaty times dancing our liquid tails off in that building.

Tip's is one of the success stories of New Orleans. Somehow it has managed to beat the numerous curses that bonk businesses in the Crescent City.

Today Tip's has spawned a Foundation, and a Music Co-op. And of course they built a giant catering truck. Life in Louisiana might well become intolerable without Creole cooking.

Thursday, June 30, a bit of New Orleans comes to Shreveport via that catering truck, called Big Blue. It will serve diners out side of 700 Texas St, Shreveport's Tipitina's Foundation Music Office Co-op. It's the grand plie' of Tip's Co-op Shreveport.

Dan Garner, executive chef for the local office, promises free food and beverages, live music, and tours of the facility starting about 2:30 pm.

Tipitina’s Music Office Co-Op is a business
development and job skills training program for musicians, filmmakers, and other digital media professionals, says Todd Souvignier, Tip's NO-to-Spt bagman. Memberships are $10 per month.

More info: 934-0000.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Life Drawing session at Artspace Th, June 23, 7 to 9 pm; 2 models

Life Drawing
Thursday, June 23.
Facilitator: Cookie Garner.
7 to 9 p.m. $7.

Seven bucks gets you 2 models to share for 2 hours. There will be
contour and gesture drawing, plus an extended pose each hour, says Artspace.

Bring your own supplies and draw. Cell phones off. Jazz plays.

Designed for professionals, but emerging and student artists are
welcome, too.

Yes. They're nude.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Ice capades and Velvetron from Chicago via Minicine at Tipitina's Foundation, Wed, June 22, 9 pm

A Chicago film and video show will be presented by David Nelson and cohorts, Minicine?, followed by the tech noir trio Velvetron, Wed. June 22, at Tipitina's Music Co-oP, 700 Texas Street. It begins at 9PM / $5.

The Ice Capades Film and Video Series is a Chicago film and video artist project. Unlike many big league art nodals, they are endeavoring to present work "in a fun and intimate environment." They claim "We believe the monthly screenings encourage community and collaboration not only between filmmakers, but musicians, printmakers, and writers, as all these mediums have been a part of the Ice Capades experience. Chicago's Ice Factory, home of Fresh Produce Records, hosts the season's screenings between February and May. Additionally, the Ice Capades welcomes touring programs through the summer and fall."

Sounds like a model for Shreveport.

Video is to be followed by the trio Velvetron. No BBQ as far as I know. But the downtown garage streetcorner BBQ potential is enormous at Tip's.

Dirtfoot backs Buster Keaton film in beery benefit for Robinson Film Center at Lil Joes Friday, June 24, 8:30 pm

The Buster Keaton Beer Bust is a Robinson Film Center benefit taking place at Lil Joes Tavern, says the RFC's Chris Jay. It's Friday, June 24th, beginning at 8:30 pm.

Buster Keaton's silent comedy The General will be projected larger-than-life as Dirtfoot plays.

Admission: $15 donation to the Robinson Film Center; free Abita draft beer until it's gone.

Limited edition t-shirts by Rob Peterson & Katie Howell.

Adds Jay, "I wanted to do a Robinson Film Center fundraiser that didn't cost an arm and a leg, so my friends could come out and show their support. A lot of us want to support the arts, but we can't really afford to unleash our inner philanthropist just yet. That's why we put this together when Lil Joes offered us the venue."

Music on the lawn at Centenary College Tues, June 21, at 8 pm

From patriotic music to classical, from Broadway to jazz. The Summer Band Concerts are Americana, says Dr. Thomas Stone, Director of Instrumental Music at Centenary. He will conduct an ensemble comprised of Shreveport Symphony musicians, Centenary faculty, local music teachers, retired military musicians, and Centenary students.

Tuesday, June 21 the concert opens with the brass performing Fanfare by Paul Dukas, Malcolm Arnold's Four Scottish Dances, and Cole Porter's Begin the Beguine. Bass Trombonist Dr. J. Mark Thompson will be the featured soloist on Eric Ewazen's Concerto for Bass Trombone.

Flutist Sally Horak will perform Night Soliloquy by Kent Kennan.

A group of ten musicians will open the second half of the program with Richard Strauss' Serenade, Op. 7.

The concert culminates with the final two movements of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.

The concerts, held round the cement seats (portable cushioning is not a bad idea) ringing the Hargrove Band Shell at Centenary College, are free and open to the public. Dr. Stone and ensemble will offer new shows on June 23 and 28.

Neil Johnson displays 50 photos in Louisiana Avenue studio Sat, June 25, 10 am to 5 pm

"Everyone is invited to my 25th anniversary open house," says Neil Johnson, rescuer of the appealing brick Italian grocery at Louisiana and Stoner. "The studio has been transformed into a gallery for an exhibit of 50 new works, which are for sale."

The all-day opening is Sat, June 25, from 10 - 5, at 1301 Louisiana, the same block as Monjunis.

"If the immediate building parking is full, please use Forest Park Funeral Home parking across Stoner. And If you miss the open house, the exhibit will be up through July 1, but call first," says Johnson.


BBQ smoker on the corner? I don't think so. Maybe in a photo. But all the lemonade you can quaff, yes.

Rocky Horror Picture Show lives; silly, sexy seventies schtick at Artspace Fri, June 24, 7 pm

Artspace is showing a sweet transvestite double-feature of Barbarella and Rocky Horror Picture Show on Friday the 24th, starting at 7 p.m, says Mimsy Borogroves. This scandalous night of SciFiSex, says Ms Borogroves, will be fun if tout le monde shows up. "So, don your drag, and give us some lips! It's FREE. Tell your friends."

All the paraphernalia -- cards, newspapers, toast, rice, etc. (everything but the water pistols, since water and art don't mix well...) will be available in cheap kits, says Artspace. Prizes? Yes. For the Best Costume, Best Performance and Best Time Warper.

Remember *audience participation*? Once the best young minds in America got flirty in hose and halter for a weekend trip to the mall theater so they could get silly and sing along with RHPS.

It's just a jump to the left

And then a step to the right

With your hands on your hips

You bring your knees in tight

But it's the pelvic thrust

That really drives you insane
Let's do the Time Warp again

Sunday, June 19, 2005

AJ Cascio and the Two Tone Blues Band win the Sonny Boy Blues Society Battle of the Bands and will play the King Biscuit Blues Fest October 6

This just in from Helena, AR, heart of the upper Mississippi Delta : the winners of the King Biscuit Blues Festival competition, the Sonny Boy Blues Society Battle of the Bands, is Shreveport's AJ Cascio and the Two Tone Blues Band.

"There were some 50 bands that applied to the competition," said AJ, "and 11 bands were chosen to perform on Friday, June 17. We made the top 5; after playing on Saturday we were named the winner. We'll be playing the big stage at the King Biscuit Blues Fest on Th, Oct 6, 2005." There's more: "That qualifies us to play at the International Blues Competition, the IBC, in January, in Memphis."

Helena, basically across the Mississippi from Memphis, is an undisputed home of the Blues. The KFFA King Biscuit Flour Time is the world's longest-running blues radio show. "The King Biscuit Flour radio show was hosted by Sonny Boy Wiliiamson for decades," pointed out AJ. "And the King Biscuit Blues Fest is one of the world's top ten blues fests."

"Dan Sanchez and the Kings of Pleasure, also from Shreveport," said Cascio, "took second in the Sonny Boy Battle of the Bands."

In the Dana McCommon photo above. l to r, are Bill Unverzagt, Rod Tompkins, AJ Cascio, Brian Putnam and Tony Cascio.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Texas St / Art St: Bill Scott's Kuumba Gallery and Academy of the Visual Arts

The streets of Chicago seem palpable at 605 Texas St. There painter-entrepreneur Bill Scott, native to Chicago, has his studio and Kuumba Gallery.

After studying graphic design at Portland Community College in Oregon in the early 90s, Scott won a Fine Arts degree from the Pacific Northwest College of Art in 1999.

In Shreveport, 2001, he founded Achievement Through Art, Inc, to serve disadvantaged youth. He was awarded the Shreveport Regional Arts Council Visual Arts Fellowship in 2003.

Today Scott is facing his newest adventure, management of the Northwest Louisiana Black Arts Festival 2005, to be held at the Municipal Auditorium, July 9 and 10.

"The idea for the Black Arts Fest was born at a cultural arts conference in New Orleans in December," he explained. "There are a lot of people across America who travel the Deep South in the summertime to visit their relatives. They need something nice to see and to do. And that's the genesis of the Northwest Louisiana Black Arts Fest."

More info: 213-8001.

Neil Johnson Photo Exhibit Saturday, June 25, 10 am to 5 pm, at 1301 Louisiana Avenue

Ideal beauty, symmetry, the difference between ads and reality, the eternal yearning we harbor for our youth, the differences / lack of differences between the sexes, our reproductive drives, the importance of cosmetic surgery. That's what I see in this clever capture; and what do you divine therein?

Photographer Neil Johnson has captured a lot of what it is to be American in the Summer of 2005 in this pre-opening moment from the Adidas Store at Louisiana Boardwalk.

Johnson is working on a major show of his work to be displayed in his Louisiana Avenue studio on Sat, June 25.

Texas Street has become Art Street

Texas Street has blossomed as Art Street, in my opinion.

A year ago that would have been an outrageous exaggeration. Today it's a valid title because of the following:

* Southern University Museum of Art Shreveport (SUMAS) at 610 Texas St.
* Tipitina's Foundation Co-op, a center for music and media types and Thurs evening shows of music and movies.
* Artspace exhibits and workshops at 710 Texas.
* CC Hardman Art Supplies at 712 Texas.
* The plans for establishment of the Robinson Film Center across Texas from these centers.
* First Methodist Performing Arts Center.
* 516 Soundstage, a regional center for original music and art from the rock'n roll point of view.
* Academy of Visual Arts, 605 Texas. Also known as Kuumba Art Gallery, the corporate name is Achievement Through Art, Inc.

For more perspective, talk to Janie Landry of the Downtown Development Authority about what's called the West Edge.

And speaking of Artspace . . .

Summer hours for Artspace are
Mon to Wed: 10 am to 4 pm.
Th to Sat: 10 am to 9 pm.

Artspace Artist's Workshops are 10:30 to noon and 2 to 3:30 pm daily. Young artists may (there's a $5 fee but adults are free) take up the following:

* Make a bobble-head robot.
* Creat a body-bot.
* Sculpt a clay robot.
* Synthesize the 3 above!

See Michael Neal Phillips' witty painting of a nostalgic spaceman in the exhibit at Coolspace, downstairs at Artspace.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Artspace lecture Th, June 16: the art of nanotechnology

Artspace gets right with nanotechnology tonight, Thursday, June 16, at 7 pm.

After virtually ignoring nanotechnology for months, the folks at Artspace have scheduled a nanotechnology lecture. Nanotechnology may be expensive - we assume the price will tumble after WalMart bludgeons the nanotechers with an opening price point lecture - but tonight's introduction to it is free.

The Artspacers point out that La Tech has the first nanosystems technology degree in the nation. Tonight's lecturer is La Tech's prof Dr. Hisham Hegob.

Artspace is at 710 Texas St, half a block from the landmark spire of First Methodist Church. Details: 673-6535.

More artful classes for teens at Centenary College Summer Exploration Camp, June 20 - 24

Centenary Summer Exploration for high school students opens its second session next week, June 20-24, says Dian Tooke.

Offered during Session 2 are:
- CSI Centenary: Exploring the World of Biology
- Introduction to Screenwriting
- Shakespeare Through Performance and Acting

“Centenary Summer Exploration is an experience different than others,” says Professor Ross Smith, a second-year Summer Exploration faculty member, “It provides an opportunity for high school students to do something academic at Centenary.”

The session is one week long and students may take one course of their choosing as space is available. Classes meet from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with early drop off (7:30 a.m.) and late pickup (5:30 p.m.) available.

Parents seeking more enriched summer activities for their teenagers should register them for next week's session immediately. Deadline is Friday, June 17 at 4:30 p.m. The cost per course is $250, which includes instruction, lunch and supplies.

Each student's family is invited to attend a “Meet the Professor” reception at the end of the weeklong session. The reception will be held at 3 p.m. on Friday, June 24 in the Sam Peters Admissions Building. The profs include Dr. Jefferson Hendricks, screenwriting, Heather Peak, Shakespeare, and Dr. Scott Chirhart, biology.

For more information about Centenary Summer Exploration, visit or contact Dian Tooke at 318-869-5542

Let the Good Times Roll Festival, Shreveport's Festival Plaza, Fri, June 17, through Sun, June 19

If mid-June and the summer heat has arrived, it's time for Festival Plaza, downtown Shreveport, to showcase an annual and classic festival called Let the Good Times Roll. Joseph Odom, chairman of the board of Rho Omega fraternity, pointed me to the festival website,, for the schedule. While Rho Omega is known across the city as the Good Times festival host, the group has been a quiet but insistent cultural force since 1923.

Friday, June 17
5:00 Opening (Prayer, National Anthem)
5:15 Jabbo
6:30 Presentations
6:45 Freddie Pierson
8:15 All Funk Radio Show
10:00 Mel Waiters

Saturday June 18th
12:00 Opening- CD Music
1:00 Curly Taylor & Zydeco Trouble
4:00 Jackie Lewis w/Betty Lewis
5:45 High Five
7:00 All Funk Radio Show
8:45 Lyfe
10:00 Aaron Hall

Sunday June 19th
3:30 Opening - Gospel Showcase
5:30 Embrace
6:10 Rhythm Warehouse
7:40 Presentations
8:00 Zapp

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Roadhouse Quintessential new album from Gypsy Mountain; see them at Lil Joes Tavern Friday, June 17

Will Maranto and Wes McKinney front a rockin', singin' quintet called Gypsy Mountain. Listening to their new cd, Roadhouse Quintessential, I keep finding songs that make blackberry pie out of the moldy hashbrowns of my rock and roll memories.

Catch them Friday, June 17, at Lil Joes Tavern.

"Racina, wearing those high heels and sexy hose," is the story of a pixillated woman composed in a style that evokes the Doobies, the Beatles and the Association. As I review the album I keep going back to Racina and floating on the harmonized vocals and twin guitars of McKinney (Retroverb) and Maranto (EST, Retroverb) and the thick organ of Mike Gauthier (Stepping Stones). Bryan Shelby and Don Echols, to be sure, are doing their part. But the guitar/organ/vocals scheme of Gypsy Mountain is evocative of all the best pop/rock I know.

Quintessential Roadhouse is immediately listenable.
"Lonely lover" is a channeling of the Eagles and LynrdSkynrd. The Steve Miller Band is all over "Back side of the way." "Lady of the night," has Van Morrison energy. Some of the compositions start off clunky and literal-minded and a bit stiff, such as "Not giving up" and "Melanie makes a choice." Somehow partway through each song the Gypsy sound has wrapped me up and I'm getting up to move round the floor.

"I like them!" exclaims my excitable partner and connoisseur of 60's rock, Talbot, as I turn up my favorite cut, "Racina."

You are not going to wrap your arms around "Racina" unless you buy the album. But you can audition four nice cuts at

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Teeth and Mars Vegas Th, June 16, at Lil Joes Tavern, about 9:30 pm

Start your weekend early, writes Brett Roman, with The Teeth
(Philadelphia) at Lil Joes Tavern on Thursday night. Representing the southern end of the galaxy in this show will be Mars Vegas.

Music will start around 9:30 pm.

Make sure you are 21 or size 21+.

Only $5 from your sleeping roommate's wallet, snorts Roman, the wily bassist for MV.

The Philadelphia-based band The Teeth have been, says, unofficially declared “the toast of the town” (Philadelphia weekly) and termed “defiantly original” (Morning Call). Their music is an eclectic brand of rock and pop stylings.

Who has influenced this dentalist group? Not the Who, but the Kinks, Talking Heads, Radiohead, The Velvet Underground, The Beatles, Sly Stone, Nirvana, and Elvis Costello.

Jayson Bales performs at Fairfield Studios Th, June 16, at 7 pm

"The devil has a summer home in Houston," is a line from Jayson Bales' recent album, Broken Furniture. Listening to Bales's songs on, I get the distinct feeling that he'll pick up new friends in Shreveport. His music is smart country-folk rock. With witty lyrics and comfortable melodies, the mid-tempo music is easy on the ears.

Catch him solo at Fairfield Studios Th, June 16, at 7 pm, as part of the House Concert series. It's a great gig; music, sandwiches and beverages, comfortable chairs and pristine acoustics - and it's all happening early. Highly recommended, based on my sampling. Your host is the terrific owner, Dana McCommon, as well as Alan Dyson and friends from Red River Radio, KDAQ. More info: 220-0400. Or email

And there's a bonus this week: the art of Rebecca Nesbitt will be on display. Please see more below.

Rebecca Nesbitt to show collages & paintings at Fairfield Studios

With a degree in mechanical engineering and a career as a science teacher, Rebecca Nesbitt uses painting and dance to escape from logic, she writes. Her considerable talent at dance was displayed this weekend at Artspace. This week her paintings and collages will go on display at Fairfield Studios.

Nesbitt is a largely self-taught painter. Spring landscapes, patterns, and relationships inspire the paintings and collages in this Fairfield Studios show.

This young woman is a cultural whirlwind; she has participated in community art events such as the Revel, Montessori Art Auction, Arts on the Edge, and Artport. As a dancer she is associated with Missy Hornbeak's center, Danceworx. See more about Nesbitt's dance side at

And I must say that adding an art show to the musical offerings at Fairfield Studios is a cool idea. Catercorner from Sizer Yerger's artful tattoo shop, the Body Electric, Fairfield Studios is a nifty audio-video center with comfortable parking.

The corner of Fairfield and Jordan is becoming an art node. Close to downtown and part of a pleasant and historic section of the city, it may yet grow to include more art facilities.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Reflections on a Sat night of downtown art and performances

The downtown art scene was buzzing Saturday night with a reformatorium for 5 artists at Bistineau Gallery and performatorios by 3 groups at Artspace. Happily, a fair number of people arriving at Artspace said they'd begun their path at Bistineau Gallery.

Some 100 people attended Cirque du Trudeau (with about 80 people present at the max), according to Chris Fowler-Sandlin, Artspace manager. And a diverse group they were. Additionally, numerous people told me they were seeing Artspace for the first time.

Observations about what I did right and what I could have improved:

* My idea of combining video documentaries of each performer along with their live performances was a dud. My version of the comparison was linear. Maybe someone will tweak the idea. As for me, I'm going to present one or the other.
* Reaching out across racial and class boundaries is virtuous. Verily, I challenge every arts producer in the region to include people from both sides of the racial divide in their programming.
* Artspace/Coolspace is a delicious venue. Art on the walls, stimulation everywhere, intimate size, fairly good acoustics.
* Technical items always bedevil and eternally need upgrading; with that in mind ...
SRAC supplied me with an adequate sound system, excellent video projector and a tech whiz, Duane Rousseau, who set things up on time and built a giant video screen for Coolspace.
The room lights at Coolspace really need a dimmer switch. The performers' spots could be upgraded to lovely effect.
Backup items are important. The mic - which had worked well at rehearsal - failed. Happily, I had a back-up mic ready to go.
I should have performed at least one more tech check. Miscues and awkward transitions could have been reduced.
* One more rehearsal would have ultimately served everyone well. My bad.
* Wine or beer would have been appropriate; Artspace is a restaurant, after all. Inadequate planning on my part.
* Asking an electric band to perform an acoustic set was smart. It helped Mars Vegas expand their palette and the audience was pleased.
* Putting on variety shows is beneficial in general. With this exposure Port Belly Project has been asked to be in a movie and encouraged to offer their own Coolspace show, says Kathy Fontaine.

In regards this whole business of evaluating art shows, please read Alex Kent's arts criticism article from Sunday's Times. It is quite an important meditation for both artists and sentient consumers.

Friday, June 10, 2005

See belly dance by Kathy Fontaine & Rebecca Nesbitt at Artspace Sat, June 11, 8 pm

Please come to Cirque du Trudeau, my 3-ring circus, at Artspace Saturday night:

* Big Mama's Kidz with Ron Hardy: game dance by kids from Hope St in Allendale.
* Port Belly Project: high energy belly dance and tribal costumes from Nesbitt and Fontaine.
* Mars Vegas acoustic: Brett Roman, Chadwick Leger and Josh Coker spin out 6 tunes in an intimate, almost-unplugged setting. Including a new tune, Zombie Party, written for their next album.
* videos and soundtrack by your host, Robert Trudeau.

From 8 to 10 pm or thereabouts.
It's an all-ages show.
Purchase supper or snacks from Loftspace, the cafe upstairs.
$5 per.
Details: 673-6535.

Shorts with Jon Rothell at Centenary College Sat, June 11, 1 pm

Short Film Screening and Q&A with Jon Rothell,
Third-Year Film Student at USC Film School
Saturday, June 11th, 1:00 PM
Turner Art Center Classroom

Jon will screen a selection of short films that he has completed as
assignments for his film professors at USC before opening the floor
for discussion and questions, says Robinson Film Center's Chris Jay. The RFC is hosting
this event in hopes that aspiring filmmakers who are interested in
attending film school will attend. Jon's experiences in the
highly-competitive filmmaking environment of USC will definitely help
prepare student filmmakers for the challenges they will one day face.
Also, says the enthusiastic Jay, "he's just a cool guy from Shreveport making outstanding short films that everyone - filmmaker or not - will enjoy."

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Pottery & painting: Art Camp 2005 at Caddo Magnet High School, June 20 - 24, 9 am to 3 pm

Caddo Magnet High School art teachers Shirlene Alexander and Holli Hennessy offer their instruction to tout le monde in 2 weeks. Art Camp 2005 is open to youngsters in 1st through 8th grades; it will happen from 9 to 3 the week of June 20 - 24. A handful of openings remain, says Hennessy.

The cost is $200, says Alexander. The fee includes all supplies, but kids must pack their own lunch.

"Each student will complete a clay pasta bowl, tile painting, mosaic, Majolica platter, Venetian glass slump bowl, still life painting, drawing in colored pastel & oil pastel, and a project in printmaking and batik," says Hennessy.

Registration: call Shirlene Alexander at 938-7283.

For art instruction on a daily basis don't forget the downtown oasis called Artspace, at the head of Texas St. There you will find artists' workshops Monday through Saturday, from 10:30 to noon and from 2 to 3:30 pm. There's a session Sunday from 2 to 3:30. The admission fee for young artists is $5, which defrays the cost of instruction and materials. Artspace remains free for those age 17 and older.

Artspace summer hours are 10 to 4 pm Monday to Wednesday. Thursday to Saturday it's open late: 10 to 9 pm. Sundays: 1 pm to 5 pm. Details: 673-6535.

And in regards a broad array of summer programs, the Times has kept a useful listing online.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The art of sailing - and of bird watching - pursued at Shreveport Yacht Club

While heat descends upon the city, the sizeable Blue Herons of Cross Lake seem to know that relief lies in the shade of a giant cypress tree hard by the water. Here we have a matriarchal Great Blue who favors the docks of the Shreveport Yacht Club.

Find out more about the art of sailing and the community of sailors at the SYC by visiting the colorful web site generously maintained by member Gary Montcalm, says current SYC commodore Richard Eglin. Both fellows are avid sailors.

Times writer Mary Jiminez visited the SYC junior sailing camp this week. There's another week-long session junior sailing camp coming up July 11, according to SYC instructor David McCary and his assistant, Amanda Baker.

Mars Vegas unplugged at Artspace/Coolspace Sat, June 11; show begins at 8 pm

Mars Vegas, rock trio, tries something new at Artspace/Coolspace Sat, June 11. They're performing without twisting the volume knobs on all their amps up to 10.

Says bassist Brett Roman: "We did out first acoustic practice today and it is working out really well. I am sure that it's going to be entertaining."

There will be a video of a recent session of Mars Vegas at Lil Joes Tavern followed by an unplugged set of some 6 tunes.

The show, which includes belly dance duo Port Belly Project (Rebecca Nesbitt, Kathy Fontaine) as well as Ron Hardy and dancers from Playaz and Playettes, begins at 8 pm. $5. Info: 673-6536.

Also available: Ghost Town Flood, the trio's recently-released album.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Artspace/Coolspace show Saturday, June 11, at 8 pm: Hope St dancers, Port Belly Project, Mars Vegas

Young dancers from Hope St, Allendale, will dance to music by their mentor, musician and art center founder Ron Hardy, at Artspace. The group from Playaz and Playettes Inc, an award-winning arts institution, will dance at 8 pm in the basement at Artspace, a gallery known as Coolspace.

There will be videos and music by Robert Trudeau, a Middle Eastern dance show by Port Belly Project, Rebecca Nesbitt and Kathy Fontaine, and an unplugged show by rock trio Mars Vegas.

Admission is $5. More info from Artspace, 673-6535. For more info from the producer, please see the email address at top of page.

In the photo above: Jasmine Gaston, Moeneshia Turner, Nakeita Gaston, Jemesha Gaston, Myeshia Turner and Darrell Turner with Ron Hardy - at 720 Hope St.

The art of the cooking of Northern India: Utsav, contemporary Indian cuisine

Reeta Karmarkar grew up in Delhi. Today she resides in Shreveport; her husband is Dr. Milon Karmakar. And she has brought Shreveport a bit of Delhi via her new restaurant, Utsav. "The recipes represent a fusion of the cooking of Northern India with other international influences," she explained. Her chef was cooking in Germany until March.

The cool interior was designed by Cindy Alford. "And we bought the fabrics and beads and art in India during Spring Break," said Karmakar.

Hours are 11 am to 2:00 pm for lunch and 5:30 to 9:30 (10:30 weekends) pm for supper. Utsav is located at the corner of Fern and Bert Kouns. More info? 629-0726.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Art from the Feminine Perspective at Bistineau Gallery: reception Saturday, June 11, 6 to 9 pm

Diane Pecnik ia a potter-sculptor who creates sconces, plaques, medallions, busts and divers vases in a swirl of textures and colors. Her web home,, is quite illustrative.

See her work at Bistineau Gallery, Shreveport, beginning on Saturday, June 11. A reception will take place at Bistineau - located in the Arodasi Dance Center, 327 Market - from 6 to 9 pm June 11.

The Bistineau show, entitled Art and the Feminine Perspective Through the Generations, also features artists Deborah Buchanan Engle, Karen Guerin, Joyce Linde, Robin Rothrock, Terry Hershey, Autumn Frazier and Dorothinia, says Bistineau Gallery owner Rebecca Hudsmith.

Additionally, the reception will include performances by the Arodasi Dancers, says Arodasi's Isadora, Dorothinia.

More info: 318-464-1142.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

July 9 and 10: Northwest Louisiana Black Arts Festival, Municipal Auditorium and Plaza

Paintings by esteemed Nigerian painter Chief Jimoh Buraimoh - as well as his 2-day workshop for children - will be a highlight of the 2005 Northwest Louisiana Black Arts Festival.

The fest will take place in Shreveport July 9 & 10.

More info at Achievement Through Art, Inc.: 213-8001.

Fresh paintings by Randy Hedgcock on view at Columbia Cafe during June

New paintings by Randy Hedgcock, a master of still lifes, have been installed at Columbia Cafe, says restaurant owner Matthew Linn. Dr. Robert McVie and wife Marybeth bought one of the oils posthaste. "It will go quite nicely with another Hedgcock painting that we own," said Marybeth McVie.

Said Betty Black, "Randy's work flows perfectly with this neat restaurant."

Hedgcock's niece, Marion Frierson, talked shop fluently at the artist's reception. "I've just graduated with a degree in art from Washington and Lee," she explained.

Enjoy Randy Hedgcock's colorful work both at Columbia Cafe, 425-3862, and at Naders Gallery.

Robert Rauschenberg exhibit in Lafayette at the ULM Hilliard Museum through August 8

Texan Robert Rauschenberg is one of modernism's greatest painters and collagists. At age 79, and despite illness, Rauschenberg is doing work that the New Yorker's Calvin Tomkins calls "the strongest, most lyrical pictures he has produced in a long time." While the New Yorker profile from May 23 is no longer online it is a captivating and stimulating story.

Better than a profile, however, is a show of Rauschenberg work in Lafayette at the ULM's Hilliard Museum. The has more on the ULM show, which has companion exhibits by Chris Rauschenberg, the artists' son, and Darryl Pottorf, the artists' companion and collaborator.

ArtSpace at the head of Texas St: art to view, artful gifts to purchase

Artful things to purchase reside both upstairs and downstairs at ArtSpace on Texas St.

Upstairs one finds the island called Giftspace; among the numerous items offered at Giftspace - at all price points - is the baroque work of artist Teresa Mormino. Seen above is her Madama Butterfly, one of a charming, densely textured series of small sculptures.

Visit Artspace, half a block from the white-spired landmark of First Methodist, from 10 am to 4 pm everyday. Sundays are 1 to 6 pm. Additional detail: 673-6535.

SciPort: SkyCycle debuts; the art of rocketry and parachutes is demonstrated

Two liter plastic bottles became sky-splitting rockets at SciPort this weekend. Filled with hydrogen and oxygen molecules and Werner Von Brauned with pumps operated by the young onlookers, the missles spurted some three 3 stories into the blue. Some of the projectiles found a new home atop the roof; others tumbled through the stratosphere til they scattered the onlookers on re-entry.

Several styles of rockets were demonstrated. Mini pop rockets, for instance, were fired inside the building. To their credit, the SciPort techies have built the rockets and launchers from easily-scavenged materials. And SciPort's guides were adept at answering questions about whether one might Do This at Home (we plan to).

The SkyCycle debuted this weekend. We found it a marvelous concept and grand piece of work but anticlimactic in the performance. Riders, by the way, must be 5' tall to operate the SkyCycle.

SciPort has the enviable position of placement beside the river. The serpentine sidewalks and dancing fountains of Riverside Park beckon as a bonus for those who are so virtuous as to visit the science center.
See more at

Friday, June 03, 2005

West Edge Artists Co-op being founded; are you interested?

In response to the growing need for retail gallery space, studio space, and marketing assistance for local artists, writes Debbie Engle, a group of local artists/business people are forming an artists’ co-op for Northwest Louisiana.

In an effort to gauge interest among the arts community, we would like to know if you would be interested in joining in this venture as a member, associate member, consignment artist, investor, donor, etc. Membership fees will be minimal, and co-op members will enjoy benefits such as:

· Upscale retail gallery space
· Professional marketing and promotional assistance
· The opportunity to rent studio space
· The opportunity to share ideas and techniques with other artists in a creative environment
· The opportunity to participate in workshops with nationally-known artists
· Participation in co-op events such as group shows and sidewalk arts events
· Continual exposure within the tourism and business sectors

Please respond to

Toni Jo Henry, the only woman to perish in Louisiana's electric chair! Meet the authors of four regional books at Shreve Library Sunday, June 5, 2 pm

A reception and joint book signing by four Shreveport writers has been announced by Sarah Pierce, Ritz Publishing. The authors are Debi McMartin, Lyn Morgan, Eric Brock, and James Gardner.

Their books include

Stone Justice: the tragic story of Toni Jo Henry, the only woman ever to perish in Louisiana's electric chair, by Debi McMartin & Lyn Morgan. Stone Justice includes a new introduction by Eric Brock.

Angel Agnes, a novel of the great yellow fever epidemic of 1873, by the late 19th century novelist Wesley Bradshaw. Angel Agnes includes a new introduction and supplemental materials by Eric Brock.

James Gardner and Shreveport: Memoirs by former Mayor and City Councilman James C. Gardner.

Says Pierce, "Come meet the authors! Copies of the books will be available for purchase."

Downtown Shreve Memorial Library
424 Texas Street
Eaves Room
Sunday, June 5, 2005, from 2 to 3 p.m.

For more information call Ritz Publications at
318-996-0419 or log onto

Christian Simeon: singing & strumming at Moxie Java's, Friday, June 3, 8 pm

Moxie Java's, a coffeehouse opposite Pierre Bossier Mall at 2001 Airline Drive, will offer the singing and playing of Christian Simeon Friday, June 3, 8 to 10 pm. More info: 318-752-0650.

And see Simeon in the context of his band at Outlaw Nation.