Written by Phil Cerroni
Valley Ranch Elementary third grade student artist Ted Hwang’s drawing won this year's state Youth Art Award. Youth Art Month is every spring and gives young artists across Texas a chance to share their talents with state leaders and the public.
Other Coppell Independent School District winners included: Austin Cariker/CHS-12th grade, Suraya
Javeri/CHS-10th grade, Abby Meyer & Cali Westervelt/ CMS West-8th grade.
Information from Feb. 22nd Supt's Scoop
Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 12:54
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Phil Cerroni
As Oscar season ends and the Tony Awards hide around the corner, the Column with John Garcia, a Metroplex theatrical publication, celebrated local artists during the 14th Annual Column Awards. The marvelous event was hosted in grand style at the Irving Arts Center on Feb. 25.
From the first bars of the ceremony’s opening number, a dazzling drag show called La Cage Aux Column, irreverent jokes were a constant companion as a cross-dressing John Garcia traded quips with his lovely co-host Orpheh, who has appeared on Broadway in such roles as Annette in Saturday Night Fever and as Legally Blonde’s Paulette.
A myriad of jovial hosts and musical numbers, performed by the contenders for best musical, set a whimsical tone for the evening as presenters handed out dozen of awards for actors, directors and designers.
This year witnessed new awards added to the Column’s core selection including the Special Recognition Awards, presented to individuals whose efforts do not fit into traditional awards categories. This year’s awards included selections in best work with wigs and best puppetry.
In honor of their 100th anniversary, the actor’s union, Actor’s Equity Association, was awarded with an honorary Column, which was accepted by a special liaison committee on behalf of the 300 union members in the Metroplex.
Every year, all proceeds from the Column Awards are donated to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. In a video address, the organization’s executive director, Tom Viola, congratulated the Column Awards for being the only event to do so every year for over a decade.
Garcia’s irreverent blend of risqué and pomp and circumstance was not allowed to continue at its breakneck course, however. Almost three hours into the evening, right before the Columns for best plays and musicals were given, the fire alarm exploded in the middle of Plaza Theater Company’s performance of Ragtime, forcing the audience to retreat into the chilly night. After the fire department turned off the alarm, the ceremony continued without further interruption with the presentation of Columns for Best Play, Non-Equity for ICT MainStage’s A Few Good Men; Best Musical, Non-Equity for Artisan Center Theater’s production of Big River; Best Play, Equity – The Farnsworth Invention at Theatre Three, Inc. – and finally, best Musical, Equity was a tie between Uptown Players’ The Producers and Plaza Theatre Company’s Ragtime.
ICT MainStage Column Awards (all non-equity)
1. Judd Vermillion, Urinetown for scenic design of musical
2. Ellen Doyle Mizener, A Few Good Men for scencic design of play
3. Sam Nance, Urinetown, best lighting design of musical
4. Ian Garland, A Few Good Men for lighting design of play
5. Tory Padden, Urinetown for best costume design of musical
6. Fernando Lara, A Few Good Men for sound design of play
1. A Few Good Men--best play
2. Chris Robinson, best director of musical for Urinetown
3. Mark Miller, best musical director for Urinetown
4. Eddie Floresca, best choreography for Urinetown
5. Gregory Hullett, best actor for A Few Good Men
6. Rachel Robertson, best actress for A Few Good Men
7. Rudy Seppy Volunteer Award – Binnie Tomaro
Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 March 2013 13:32
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Will Jukes
The Irving Black Arts Council hosted its annual celebration of Black History Month at the Irving Arts Center on Feb. 24. The national theme of this year's Black History Month, “Freedom & Equality,” was celebrated with a reception and a schedule of events that included an unveiling by Postmaster Rodney Malone of a new stamp featuring Rosa Parks and a presentation on 42, a new movie about the life of Jackie Robinson starring Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford, set to be released April 12.
The main portion of the event, however, focused on local art and artists, with a gallery exhibit featuring works contributed by local artists and a new play from a local playwright. The play, titled Grandma, I Don't Believe It, follows a woman who tries to teach her skeptical grandson and his best friend about the struggles of slavery, segregation, and the civil rights movement. The playwright, Cynthia Reid Wills, said she was inspired by her own difficulty communicating African American history to her grandchildren.
“Because I'm a grandmother, when I tell my grandchildren things that happened, even in my past, not so much as far back as slavery, they say 'Grandma, I don't believe it!' I felt like that was something I could at least teach the audience of teenagers a lot of young people here today, that would not believe what went on in the past,” said Wills. An Irving Black Arts Council member, the author of two books and several plays, Wills is also a local business owner.
“The whole goal is to promote African American culture here,” said LaNita Johnson, Vice President of the Irving Black Arts Council.
“Every once in a while an artist might drive in from San Antonio or Houston,” she said, referring to the gallery exhibit titled “Diaspora: From the Motherland to the Homeland,” which took a year to plan and featured sculpture, painting and photography, with an emphasis on the work from artists in the community. But she also emphasized the diversity of the event, which included work from Caucasian artist and UNT professor Murielle White.
“What we're trying to do here in partnership with the city is celebrate the diversity of the city. Irving is probably one of the most diverse communities in the Metroplex,” Johnson said.
Others see room to expand Black History Month's role in the broader community.
“It only just scratches the surface, in terms of the educational process in the entire community,” said Maurice Walker, a member of the community.
The event drew a larger crowd than in the past.
“We did have an overflowing crowd. This auditorium seats probably 200 people, and it was standing room only,” Johnson said.
Colbin Gibson, a representative for the Irving Black Arts Council, attributes it to changing the date.
“It's using a Sunday model. In the past we've used an evening model during the week,” Gibson said. He also suggested that youth involvement played a role. “It's always impactful when you have diverse age groups involved in the program, especially young kids. Parents are going to come. So you've got parents, you get young people, and we want that.”
Johnson offered several theories, but ultimately was happy to see the event succeed.
“I know they have a choice for when to celebrate, I'm just happy they chose this event to celebrate,” she said.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 March 2013 13:21
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Amanda Casanova
Musicians happily lugged in their favorite instruments to the First Methodist Church on for the Winter Festival of Acoustic Music Feb. 22-23
The festival, presented by the Lone Star State Dulcimer Society, has taken place for about 25 years, drawing aspiring acoustic music player and professionals to discuss playing techniques and showcase their talents.
The two-day event featured concerts from folk musician Stephen Seifert; dulcimer players Tina Bergmann and Mark Nelson; the band No Strings Attached; and percussionist Mark Shelton.
“The Winter Festival of Acoustic Music brings together musicians who share an interest in folk and acoustic music—primarily hammered dulcimer players and mountain (fretted) dulcimists although you can find guitarists, mandolin players, and a few fiddle players in attendance,” Shelton said.
The festival also offered about 60 hands-on workshops for musicians, including lessons on hammered dulcimer, mountain dulcimer, the autoharp and traditional instruments such as the piano.
“We assembled another first-class ‘local’ staff, many in demand as headliners at other festivals around the country,” organizer Linda Thompson said in a press document. “Put it all together and you have a weekend filled with informative workshops, outstanding concerts and good times.”
Musicians performed daily during the event with an event concert to cap each day.
“It’s a great opportunity to hear amazing instrumentalists and learn from them in workshops,” Shelton said. “I performed two concert sets and taught four workshops. Folks seemed to enjoy - and hopefully learned a bit.”
The Lone Star State Dulcimer Society will next meet at 6 p.m. on April 13 at the Senter building, 228 Chamberlain St.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 March 2013 15:38
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Matt Mungle
Title: Jack the Giant Slayer
What a giant journey this one turned out to be! Jack the Giant Slayer is the first full scale adventure to hit the big screen in 2013 and brings with it humor, royal romance, solid acting and of course Giants. Luckily audiences will not have to wait several more months and swim through a sea of blockbusters to find something exciting and enjoyable.
The story is familiar enough and follows the basic template of the fairy tale. A young, poor farm boy trades his horse for some “magic beans”. This produces a huge stalk that grows into the heavens opening a long closed portal between man and giant. This time the king’s daughter (Eleanor Tomlinson) gets involved and Jack (Nicholas Hoult) must join Elmont (Ewan McGregor), the leader of the royal guard, as they set out to save her. Added to the turmoil is a ruthless advisor to the king (Stanley Tucci) who has plans of his own when it comes to the giants.
Lots of fun moments in this one when it comes to not only the dialogue but the detailed creation of the giants. They are large, menacing, and at times disgusting; everything a good giant should be. They are all about crushing the bones of men and cooking them in pies. All of the recognizable attributes from the fairy tale are woven into the story line nicely. Still, the writing team did not rely solely on the look of the creatures but gave us some witty banter and human relationships to go along with it. Unlike most tales, this is not about a prince and a princess but instead a commoner who loves her. So Jack has to not only prove himself to everyone, but try even harder to win his true love.
McGregor and Tucci both try hard to give a good show. Actors of their caliber could have easily felt above the role and prepared only what was needed. Instead, these two throw themselves into the role 100 percent and seem to be having a blast with their characters. This of course bleeds over to the viewer, so we have a good time right along with them. Still it never feels cartoonish or campy.
One negative note; even though the action sequences are summer worthy and for the most part well executed, the 3D version does have a lot of fuzzy moments and fails more than succeeds. I am not sure the in your face moments outweigh the distractions. That is a shame too, because other than that, it is almost a perfect adventure story.
Jack the Giant Slayer is rated PG-13 for intense scenes of fantasy action violence, some frightening images and brief language. The main thing for parents to be concerned about is how menacing the giants will be to your pre-teens. They are constantly chasing and stomping humans which may give youngsters a few restless nights of sleep. Other than that it is a perfectly fun time for you and the older kids. I give it 3.75 out of 5 pigs in a blanket. If you get to see it in 2D you may even like it more.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 March 2013 13:19