whatzup2nite • Friday, October 31

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Things To Do

Truck or Treat Beer tent, DJ, Scarioke, photo booth, food trucks, candlelight procession, pumpkin drop and more, 5 p.m.-12 a.m. Friday, Oct. 31, Deer Park Pub, free, 432-8966

The Haunted Hotel Walk through the haunted Warwick Hotel’s 13th floor; every Thursday is Myctophobia night and a very small flashlight will be used to navigate through the hotel, 7-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Oct. 31-Nov. 1, The Haunted Hotel, Huntington, $12-$20, 888-932-1827

The Haunted Jail Haunted tour of jail where Charles Butler was hanged, 7-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Oct. 31-Nov. 1; 7-9 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 2; 7-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Nov. 7-8 and 7-9 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 9, The Haunted Jail, Columbia City, $13-$18,

Hysterium Haunted Asylum Haunted asylum, formerly the Haunted Cave, 7 p.m.-12 a.m. Friday-Saturday, Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 4410 Arden Dr., Fort Wayne, $12-$20, 436-0213

National Shows

Kansas w/Head East, Arc & Stones — Rock at Morris Performing Arts Center, South Bend, 7:30 p.m., $29-$59, 574-235-9190

Stewart Huff w/Brad Wenzel — Comedy at Snickerz, Fort Wayne, 7:30 & 9:45 p.m., $9.50, 486-0216

Music & Comedy

Big Caddy Daddy — Rock/variety at The Venue, Angola, 9:30 p.m., $3, 665-3922

Cougar Hunter — 80s glam rock at Beamer's, Fort Wayne, 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m., no cover, 625-1002

Dance Party w/DJ Rich — Variety at Columbia Street West, Fort Wayne, 10:30 p.m., cover, 422-5055

DJ TAB & Karaoke w/Steve Jones — Variety at Babylon, Bears Den, Fort Wayne, 10:30 p.m., no cover, 456-7005

Joel Young Band — Country/rock at Latch String, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m.-2 a.m., no cover, 483-5526

Kansas w/Head East, Arc & Stones — Rock at Morris Performing Arts Center, South Bend, 7:30 p.m., $29-$59, 574-235-9190

Medieval Brooklyn — Rock at Dupont Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., $5, 483-1311

Stewart Huff w/Brad Wenzel — Comedy at Snickerz, Fort Wayne, 7:30 & 9:45 p.m., $9.50, 486-0216

Tandem Acoustic Duo — Acoustic at Columbia Street West, Fort Wayne, 5 p.m., no cover, 422-5055

Karaoke & DJs

Dance Party w/DJ Rich — Variety at Columbia Street West, Fort Wayne, 10:30 p.m., cover, 422-5055

DJ TAB & Karaoke w/Steve Jones — Variety at Babylon, Bears Den, Fort Wayne, 10:30 p.m., no cover, 456-7005

Stage & Dance

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Art & Artifacts

America’s Spirit: Evolution of a National Style — Collection drawn from FWMoA’s permanent collection chronicling American art from 1765-1900, Tuesday-Sunday thru Jan. 25, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467

Contemporary Realism Biennial — National invitational highlighting the strength and innovation of America’s current trends in realism, Tuesday-Sunday thru Nov. 30, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467

Crafting a Continuum: Rethinking Contemporary Craft — Arizona State University Art Museum and Ceramics Research Center in the Herberger Institute’s comprehensive collection of craft holdings and new international requisitions in wood, ceramic and fiber, Tuesday-Sunday thru Dec. 21, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467

Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945 — Traveling exhibit on loan from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Tuesday-Sunday thru Nov. 5, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, 424-7195

Photography Show — Annual photo exhibition, daily thru Nov. 5 (public reception, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5), Clark Gallery, Honeywell Center, Wabash, 563-1102

Featured Events

Fort Wayne Dance Collective — Workshops and classes for movement, dance, yoga and more offered by Fort Wayne Dance Collective, Fort Wayne, fees vary, 424-6574

IPFW Community Arts AcademyArt, dance, music and theatre classes for grades pre-K through 12 offered by IPFW College of Visual and Performing Arts, fees vary, 481-6977,

Sweetwater Academy of Music — Private lessons for a variety of instruments available from professional instructors, ongoing weekly lessons, Sweetwater Sound, Fort Wayne, $100 per month, 432-8176 ext. 1961,


The Haunted Jail

Open 7-9 p.m. Thursdays & Sundays
7-11 p.m. Fridays & Saturdays thru Nov. 9
116 E. Market St., Columbia City

The Haunted Jail

Judge. Jury. Executioner.

There are haunted houses, and then there are haunted places. The difference? The former relies on special effects and cunning craft to scare the pants off of you for one month out of the year; the latter need only exist, with its history of part fact and part fiction – both equally nightmarish. A genuinely haunted place is volatile year-round, but it is especially active when people invite the darkness to come and play each Halloween.

The Haunted Jail in Columbia City is the real deal. You know it the moment you set eyes on the looming, old, empire-style building. The Grim Reaper and his pet vulture bid you ominous welcome from the perimeter of the property. Carved from a tree as old as the jail itself, they are harbingers of the rich history and sheer artistry that await those brave enough to enter. But Grim and his beaked companion aren’t the only gatekeepers you must pass to gain admittance.

  As we stood on the stoop of the jailhouse, fumbling around for our courage, a guide recounted the tale of Deimos and the damned soul of Charles Butler.

  “You are standing at the site of Charles Butler’s execution, an event that scarred this community forever,” our guide began. “Butler shot and killed his wife, Abbie, in a drunken rage one evening back in 1884. Abbie was simply trying to protect their son from Butler’s notorious beatings. She pushed the boy out the door, taking a bullet to the back. She died three days later in the hospital.”

A chill filled the air, carried by a somber wind. He went on to say that when police arrived, Butler surrendered without a fight and confessed to the crime but would later threaten to haunt the grounds forever. As the gallows were being erected for Butler’s execution by hanging, a curious figure known only as Deimos was seen about Columbia City. He had the air of a well-traveled aristocrat, someone who had seen a great deal of the world. But he had never witnessed a hanging, and he decided Charles Butler would be his first.

  “That warm June day, a remorseless Butler mounted the gallows,” our guide said. “As the executioners placed the noose around his neck and began reading last rites, the mysterious stranger pestered the guards with incessant questions. He was enraptured by this ritual. The guards did not take kindly to the onslaught of inquiries. They beat the stranger and placed him in a cell to resume Butler’s execution.”

As the gallows door dropped, the guilty man did not suffer the swift end of snapping his neck. No, Butler was too cunning, we were told. He would not go without a fight. He slowly slid down the trapdoor and began to strangle to death for the next 10 minutes. The crowd, horrified by this ghastly death, vowed never to have another execution by hanging again. But it was too late. Events were already set in motion that would change the town forever.

They brought Butler inside to discover the impossible: he still had a pulse. His heart beat faintly for another three minutes before he finally died. Make no mistake: this was not the end of Charles Butler. And as the sun went down, an even greater terror was growing in the depths of the jailhouse.

  “As Deimos’ anger grew, so did his power. The guards had no idea they had imprisoned a king of the Nosferato,” orated our guide. “Deimos was a king of the Le Masshar de la Nui, a very old and powerful clan of vampires. And the folks in Columbia City were about to find out that you never anger a vampire king – a lesson you are about to witness yourselves.”

  The doors creaked on their hinges as we were ushered inside. The air was thick with foreboding electricity. When you pass over the threshold, you’re immediately plunged into an immersive, interactive experience. You become part of the Deimos myth, like it or not. And there’s no turning back.

  The third floor is open as a VIP section, a first for the Haunted Jail. Previously forbidden, this is where the warden and his family spent much of their time (a jailhouse must include a house portion, after all). Among other perks, the VIP experience also includes a glow stick to help light your way. Keep it to use as a night light when you get home. You’ll need it.

For those familiar with the Haunted Jail, some favorite terrors are back this year: the snake pit, Giggles the Clown, Grinder’s Meat Market, Doctor James “The Cutter” Johnson, Chainsaw Larry and perpetually tortured Cain, to name a few. Of course, Butler has actively haunted the area for the last 130 years, but the real horror is Deimos himself, who may be lurking in the halls or waiting in his tomb. While it’s polite to knock before entering, you do so at your own risk. Your rap at the door echoes like a dinner bell.

  The jail cells and catacombs in what our guide called “the dungeon” are entirely authentic from the 1875 building. Prisoners were housed, beaten and even killed in these cells. 

“This is where we get a lot of activity. So many lonely and angry souls …” he said. “You’ll know when they’re around. You’ll feel it in the air with temperature changes. You’ll hear their whispers and screams. They might even follow you home.”

  As you travel deeper inside the jail, Deimos’s grip on your soul tightens. Your fear is with merit. The Nosferato king is infamously referred to as “The Soulkeeper,” and his appetite is never satiated. His minions track those who dare enter. They select the tastiest of humans based on the scent of their fear, delivering them into the clawed hands of Deimos, perhaps never to be seen again.

“You smell so much better when you’re awake,” a strange, arresting voice whispered in my ear. “Join our coven. Don’t fight it. We’ve been waiting for you …”

Ashley Motia

The Haunted Hotel

Checkout at Never O’Clock

Time erodes all things. Well, except for the spirits of those who meet an untimely death. Time, it seems, only makes them more potent and volatile.

Such is the case of Huntington’s Haunted Hotel. Built in 1889 and clad in beautiful architectural details, the building was a sight to behold in its day. Damian Warwick, the owner and architect after whom the hotel was named, loaded the towering marvel with amenities like a heated swimming pool, telephones in every room and electric light bulbs. He even had a motion picture theater installed to attract guests.

And it worked. The Warwick Hotel was a huge success – albeit a bit of an unlikely one. You see, Warwick himself was known around Huntington for being a bit, well, “off.” Rumors swirled in the streets that Warwick and his wife Anastaise practiced the dark arts. Several townsfolk reported witnessing and/or hearing about bizarre secret rituals on the hotel’s 13th floor and odd occurrences around the hotel grounds. Several people went missing in the area, but an overwhelming lack of evidence left investigators puzzled and helpless. Huntington residents were convinced that something wicked festered in the heart of their beloved, otherwise quiet downtown.

It wasn’t long before Warwick’s own daughter Lilith became a victim to the evil lingering in the hotel. Police were alerted late one night that the young girl was missing. Upon arriving on the scene, they discovered Lilith’s nursery had been torn apart in a frenzy, but no evidence of the girl was found. Several days later, her shredded nightclothes and doll were discovered in an area now known as Devil’s Backbone. No other sign of Lilith was ever found.

Mrs. Warwick was beside herself over the loss of her daughter. Police said they were still investigating her disappearance, but Anastaise felt the case had gone cold. About a month after Lilith’s doll and clothes were discovered, the lady Warwick was found hanged to death in one of the hotel’s bathrooms. Her death was labeled a suicide, likely out of the immense grief she felt regarding her daughter’s death.

On October 13, 1904, tragedy again struck the Warwick Hotel. A fire erupted, seemingly out of nowhere, and quickly consumed the building. All 302 sorry souls inside perished: men, women, several children, members of the traveling circus lodging in the hotel, hotel staff – the fire destroyed indiscriminately. Some witnesses reported hearing their blood-curdling screams, even after the fire had been extinguished. 

  The raging inferno incinerated the hotel and everything in it. Few bodies were recovered. Among the missing bodies was that of hotel owner Damian Warwick who was suspected of starting the fire. Some say he went mad after losing his wife and daughter. Others claim it was part of the dark rituals they practiced deep within the confines of the hotel, that the devil himself commanded Warwick to do it. No one knows for sure. Legend grew that Warwick’s sinister activities kept his soul chained to the hotel’s location, eternally ravenous for other spirits to join him and those who perished in that terrible blaze of 1904.

For reasons not exactly known (and much to the chagrin of the town), the hotel was rebuilt on top of the old location. Today, it is a haunted house celebrating the infamous legend of Damian Warwick and his hotel.

Whispers continue of things going bump in the night at the hotel, especially during October, around the anniversary of the Warwick fire and all those lives lost. Some even say they’ve seen Warwick himself, in a hotel window or taking a stroll nearby in the downtown streets. Perhaps most disturbing of all are the unexplained disappearances. People who enter the hotel’s front doors sometimes vanish, never to leave or be seen again.

  “That place is a gateway disguised as a haunted house,” one long-time Huntington resident warned as we waited our turn to ascend the stairs. “Spend enough time in there, and you’ll see what I mean. Things happen that you can’t explain … and some of them, you’re not even sure you’d want to.”

  I felt a chill, blaming the October night air instead of my nerves.

“Don’t listen to him, friends,” a charming voice floated down from the stairs. “Come in, come in. Welcome to Warwick Hotel!”

Eldon, the hotel bellhop, offered an unassuming yet also creepy grin. His eyes seemed to look right through me.

“Good evening. I am Eldon, your host. Allow me to show you around,” he said while inching closer, seemingly without moving at all.

Our eager host explained that the hotel consists of approximately 30 rooms, some of them featuring the same amenities of the old hotel, like a theater screening room. Each year the staff upgrades the building and rearranges its furnishing to “keep things fresh for the guests.” For added enjoyment, patrons can purchase special glasses that really enhance the environment.

“Some of our residents and staff are rather sensitive to light,” Eldon said as we turned the corner into a dark corridor. “We accommodated them with black lights and coordinating paint. On Thursdays, we don’t even turn the lights on. Guests get around the hotel with a tiny flashlight to light their way. Oh, but do be careful. The walls, they move.”

“Don’t the guests get lost?” a member of my party inquired nervously.

Even in the almost pitch black of the hallway, you could see Eldon’s hungry grin. “Well, we haven’t had any complaints – yet.”

His unsettling tone hung about us, stunning our group into silence as we descended into the depths of the Haunted Hotel. That silence quickly turned into screams.

Ashley Motia


The Doctor Will See You Now

Oh, you mastered the Haunted Cave, did you? 

The creators have a new challenge for you. Located in the same sinister spot as the Haunted Cave, Hysterium Haunted Asylum is currently accepting new patients. And something sinister lurks deep inside the facility – something hungry for fresh souls.

The fun begins the moment you step into the waiting area. Unsettling elevator music pervades the air as you’re told that the doctor will be with you shortly. Patients and orderlies mingle with those waiting in line, whispering tales of what lurks beyond the lobby. There’s a strange sense of foreboding in the air. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea …

When it’s finally your turn to see the doctor, you board the elevator. There is no going back now. The elevator attendant mentions something about earthquakes, and you instinctively grab for the hand rails. “You might want to hold on,” she says with a sharp-toothed grin. “We wouldn’t want you to get … lost … now, would we?”

As you step out of the elevator, your feet shake with aftershocks. You find yourself in a sewer room of hand-carved bricks and running water. Follow the path, you tell yourself. Surely, this is the way out. A short tunnel leads to a biohazard area. It’s clear some of the sludge has escaped from the barrels, and you’re fresh out of hazmat suits. A downed power line crackles and pops in the distance. You must remain alert and on guard if you hope to survive.

You stumble into a long, dark corridor. As you peer into the darkness, you wonder what might be peering back. The corridor leads to a rustic doctor’s office, but the doctor doesn’t seem to be quite in at the moment. Some patients linger, waiting to be seen. They beg you to stay with them, but I wouldn’t advise it.

To further test your sanity and grit, you must pass through a claustrophobia-inducing fabric tunnel that leaves you nearly blind and incapacitated save for a few small steps at a time. With out-stretched hands you feel your way along; if you’re there with friends, holding hands might be a good idea. Strength in numbers, children. Haven’t you learned anything from the horror movies?

After being plunged into darkness, your eyes will need to adjust as you enter an optical illusion room with black lights. Don’t linger too long, though; the room comes alive, threatening to absorb you into the asylum forever. One member of our party exclaimed breathlessly, “I almost peed my pants!”

Do you still have your wits about you? Good. You’re going to need them to figure out the door maze and earn your freedom. (Note: if a door is marked “Emergency Exit Only,” it really is an emergency exit. It’s not a trick. Only use these doors if you can’t handle the maddening terror within the asylum or you have a medical emergency.) As your sanity slips away, it’s easy to get turned around. If you’re with a group, you may quibble about which direction you came from as you go in circles. Within the door maza there are guides, if you’d like to call them that. The choice is up to you whether you listen to them or not. They are, after all, patients in an asylum.

Once you find your way through the door maze, you come across a carnival, an all-new addition to the haunt. 

“What’s a circus doing down here?” you wonder. Hey, even patients in an asylum need some cheering up with balloon animals and clowns! Those who are afraid of clowns will have their mettle tested. And the clowns won’t tolerate misbehavior, so mind your manners.

You must board a second elevator to continue your journey out of the asylum. The elevator attendant latches the door behind you.

“There’s one person here who was admitted by the rest of you. Was it you? Someone will be staying here for rehabilitation,” he says as the lights go dark and the elevator rumbles with a jarring alarm. 

“Also, we apologize for the nuisance of the escaped patient. Security has assured me that he has been contained. The rest of you will proceed to the cafeteria to receive a complimentary meal for your troubles.” The elevator comes to a stop as everyone glances around to make sure their party is still intact.

Is it just your imagination or does Hysterium Haunted Asylum get more terrifying the deeper in you go? The cafeteria seems like a calm reprieve... until you hear the maniacal laughter on the other side of the kitchen door. And what is that smell? The filthy kitchen was one of the most original installations we had seen in a haunted house – one your eyes (and nose) definitely won’t forget.

If you make it out with your head intact, you run into a room of bloodied plastic curtains similar to a meat processing plant. You can’t really tell which way you’re going or, more importantly, which way is out. Wait, did something just move over there? You get the feeling you’re being followed, and you wonder if your head is the next one on the chopping block.

You wind around to what’s known as the “throwback room,” paying homage to the static room in the old Haunted Cave. It features a TV in the corner tuned to static and empty chairs waiting for asylum patients to return. If you have a fear of spiders, proceed with caution to the next room. The nice nurse will keep you safe, right? One look in her eyes tells you otherwise. “He bites!” she warns. Who bites? And what’s that growling noise?

The heart of the asylum holds an especially terrifying treat. But what would be the fun in spoiling it? This is your nightmare, after all. I’ll let you see for yourself.

To earn the right to leave, you must make it through the space-bending vortex room, a feature some may remember as the tunnel from the Haunted Cave. Be sure to hold on to the rails – and your sanity. You rush to the end of the tunnel, gasping the fresh air that surrounds you. You survived!

You made it out alive, but has Hysterium haunted asylum claimed a small bit of your sanity forever?

Ashley Motia

John Two-Hawks

12 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 2
Walb Student Union, IPFW, Fort Wayne
Free, 260-481-6269

John Two-Hawks


John Two-Hawks is an unlikely success story. A prodigy who began playing music at the age of five, he had to overcome years of setbacks and even childhood abuse at the hands of step-parents to get to where he is today. 

Two-Hawks, a member of the Lakota tribe, is a survivor, not only of a very difficult background but of the fickle music business as well. Prior to picking up the flute, Two-Hawks played in several rock bands that split up just as they were about to get their big breaks. Shortly after these professional disappointments, Two-Hawks’s parents died. You might think that such heartbreaking circumstances would send him reeling, make him drop out of music all together. Think again. In 2000 Two-Hawks took up playing the Native American flute, and it was clear to everyone that he’d found his voice. Grammy and Emmy nominations followed, as did the chance to play for sold-out crowds around the country.

Now Two-Hawks is headed our way. He’ll be performing and telling stories from 12-1:15 p.m. at IPFW’s Walb Student Union Tuesday, November 4 as part of the university’s annual celebration of Native American Heritage Month. Mark your calendars and get your horizons expanded.

Roger Hodgson

Accepting the Limelight

Don’t feel bad if the name “Roger Hodgson” doesn’t mean anything to you. As a founding member and main songwriter for the 1970s progressive rock band Supertramp, it was Hodgson’s idea to disappear into the group. It was a noble thought.

Bands are made up of individual personalities, and it was not normal then (it still isn’t) to avoid promoting those personalities. Even as Supertramp grew to be one of the biggest bands in the world, the names of the individual members weren’t exactly household. But anybody who was listening to the radio between 1974 and 1983 knew the songs. “Dreamer,” “School,” “Give a Little Bit” and “The Logical Song,” to name a few, were instantly recognizable as Supertramp songs. 

Hodgson wrote eight of Supertramp’s 10 biggest hits, but only diehard fans knew who he was. Hodgson, who left Supertramp in 1983, has spent a good part of the last 30 years trying to make a name for himself.

Hodgson and his band bring their Breakfast in America tour to the Honeywell Center in Wabash on Tuesday, November 4 at 7:30 p.m.

Hodgson’s wanting anonymity within Supertramp grew from his desire to let the songs speak for themselves. And they did. Drawing on personal experience, Hodgson wrote from his heart about where those experiences took him emotionally and spiritually.

Hodgson grew up in Portsmouth, England, and when he was 12 his parents divorced. His father left behind an acoustic guitar which Hodgson immediately began playing with. When he went to boarding school, a teacher taught him some chords, and within a year Hodgson was performing his own songs.

Shortly after he left school, Hodsgon recorded a song called “Mr. Boyd” with a group of session players that included a pianist named Reginald Dwight, who later became known as Elton John. Hodgson later met Rick Davies, and the pair began writing songs and eventually formed Supertramp.

After an eponymous release, Hodgson started writing songs on his own. He would write all the parts and arrangements before bringing them to the rest of the band. Their next record, Indelibly Stamped, garnered about as much response as their first, which was very little. Then in 1974 Crime of the Century came out, and the song “”Dreamer” became a hit in the U.K., the U.S. and Canada. The B-side of “Dreamer” was “Bloody Well Right” which became a bigger hit in the states. The band went on to record Crisis, What Crisis?, Even in the Quietest Moments, Breakfast in America and Famous Last Words, all of which (except for Crisis) were propelled to the tops of the charts by Hodgson-penned tunes.

But by the end of the tour for  Famous Last Words  in 1983, Hodgson had reached a decision. Rather than continue touring and recording, he decided to drop out of the band and leave Los Angeles to live with his young family in Northern California. Hodgson in 2010 told a German interviewer that he didn’t want to be one of those guys who gave up his family for growing personal fame, which didn’t seem to interest him in the first place.

From early in his songwriting career, Hodgson had been searching for meaning in his life. He had nurtured a spiritual bent in his songwriting all along. In “The Logical Song” he pleaded someone to “tell me who I am.” “Even in the Quietest Moments” found him singing “I wish I knew / what I had to do.” In moving away from fame toward family, nature and spirituality, he found his answer. But he didn’t stop writing songs.

In 1984 he released his first solo record,  In the Eye of the Storm. A reviewer at called the record, on which Hodgson played every instrument, “easily the best synthesis of pop and progressive rock since, well, prime Supertramp.”

His next album, Hai, Hai, came in in 1987 and was poorly received. A decidedly new turn toward the pop-styles of the 80s, Hai, Hai marked a low point in Hodgson’s career, a nadir made worse by a fall in which he broke both of his wrists. Following surgery his doctors told him he’d never play guitar again. His doctors were wrong.

After nursing himself back to health, Hodgson recorded 2000’s Open the Door. In 2001, he went on tour with Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band. By 2004 Hodgson was back to touring on his own, and he hasn’t stopped. His current shows include all of the hit songs he wrote while with Supertramp (in an agreement with Davies, Hodgson retained the rights to his songs while the name Supertramp and the songs Davies wrote remain with him) as well as a growing number of his solo songs.

Hodgson’s voice and playing are as strong as ever. And he’s achieving the name-recognition he shunned for years. His songs and his voice are his own, and he’s making the most of them. 

Mark Hunter

Jerry Seinfeld


What can we say about Jerry Seinfeld that hasn’t been said already? That when his wildly successful sitcom ended in 1998 he made the unusual decision to go back to his roots, performing brand new material at small clubs and even bombing once in a while like a humble rookie? That he now has a web series entitled Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee? That his net worth is up to $820 million? Nope. All of that is already a matter of public record and common knowledge. The dude is simply the definition of a household name. He just might be the guy equivalent of America’s sweetheart. Although, why does America’s reigning sweetheart always have to be a woman anyway? What. Is. Up. With. That?

We digress. The point is that Seinfeld, now in his 60th year of life, will be at the Embassy Theater Thursday, November 6, treating audiences to his unique, everyday life-based brand of comedy. If you want to see a man still in his prime take the most mundane facts of your existence and spin them into comic gold, you might want to get your tickets now. They’re going fast.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

An Evening with
Heather Headley

The City Claims a Star

On the evening of Sunday, June 4, 2000, many theater fans in the Fort Wayne area were glued to their televisions for the annual bestowing of Tony Awards given to the elite performers on Broadway. While that may be true of every Tony broadcast, interest was particularly keen on that evening as Heather Headley, a graduate of Northrop High School, was nominated for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for her star-making turn in the Elton John musical Aida. Having already made a name for herself in the blockbuster musical The Lion King, based on the Disney film (also with music by Elton John), Headley had become one of our city’s favorite daughters, and her win on that evening was cause for celebration for those who had seen her early days in high school as well as those who followed her along the way.

While that level of success is hard to capture, it is but one of the dreams of those who take classes at Fort Wayne Youtheatre, a program which is celebrating 80 years of sharing a love of theater and performance with kids whose aspirations may vary from stardom to making friends and having a good time. Although Headley did not arrive in Fort Wayne in time to partake in the Youtheatre classes, she supports any avenue to sharing her passion with a new generation and is demonstrating that by returning to her adopted hometown for a fundraiser on Saturday, November 8 at a unique Evening with Heather Headley which includes music, conversation and even photo ops with the star. (Tickets remain on sale through November 5.)

All of the acclaim and the support of Fort Wayne was far from her mind when her family arrived in Indiana from her home in Trinidad when Headley was only 15. She admits now that the transition was a difficult one because, while she had a great deal of musical experience, she was unfamiliar with many of the opportunities that awaited her at Northrop.

“I had been singing in church and school, but what I came to here was on a whole different level. I had never heard of show choir in Trinidad, and there were musicals that I was able to perform in for the first time. Coming to the States opened another door, though I admit that if I could have walked back to Trinidad that first year, I would have! The first year was hard, and I was in the freshman girls choir which, with all due respect, I hated. But eventually I became part of the theater and show choir performances, and I became part of that clique and was able to feel more part of things. And for someone like me that enjoyed singing and acting and dance, all those doors were flying open.”

Headley concedes that the changes that came with the move – weather, culture, accents – were all part of the difficult transition, but she says now in hindsight that coming to Fort Wayne was a good move for her family. And she credits her performance experiences as well as the Northrop faculty and staff for helping her with her next move – from high school to Northwestern University.

“I chose Northwestern because it was a Big Ten university, because it was closer to home than someplace like California and because of its reputation. I saw that it was a great university, and I thought if I couldn’t make it as a performer I could become a lawyer. I mean, if it didn’t work out in music, I figured even with a degree in basket-weaving, if it was a degree from Northwestern, I’d be okay. I really credit my teachers and counselors at Northrop for helping me at the time because I really didn’t know about colleges. I just knew that I wanted to go, but they helped me see what I should be looking for.”

Her time at Northwestern proved pivotal. Although she left early to go to Toronto for a role in the musical Ragtime, it was there she met her future husband, Brian Musso, who played football for the Northwestern Wildcats. Additionally, the role she accepted in Ragtime proved to be what propelled her into the role that would change her life in The Lion King. She realizes now that she didn’t fully appreciate how meteoric her rise really was.

“I was 20-something, and I just didn’t realize how amazing The Lion King was going to be. I had been in Ragtime and auditioned for [The] Lion King, but I thought it probably wouldn’t work out. But they found a loophole in my contract, and I just went to do the show. I was really just keeping my head down, not aware of the magnitude of what was happening. I was living in this little prism of me.”

The night The Lion King was debuted for the press was when she had her first inkling of what was happening. 

“On that night Disney had brought in the press to see the show, and the cheetah came in and then the elephant came down the aisle, and the audience went crazy. [Director] Julie [Taymor] and I just grabbed each others’ hands. Tears were coming down her face, and it was then that I thought, ‘We’re part of something big here.’ It all kind of went from there.”

Her Tony win for Aida just a couple years later was a surprise for her, and she says that she didn’t realize then that maybe Fort Wayne was a little bit invested that night, too.

“Now that I’m older, I get that the city was watching. It didn’t cross my mind at that point that anyone would care. And I had so many other thoughts going through my mind that night. My award was one of the last of the evening, and if I could have just fallen asleep for the couple of hours before, that would have been great because I was so nervous. It didn’t seem possible that I could win against so many other great actresses. My mother was my date that night, and I had already given her a long speech about how she was to behave. No praise dancing or anything like that.”

The years since that Tony have been busy, including a stay in London and recording albums. Now juggling a family (she and Musso are raising two boys, one almost five years old and one born in August of this year, in Chicago) and weighing the options, which may include uprooting the family if she chooses to do another Broadway show, Headley is happy to include a stop in Fort Wayne in her travels, anxious to share some of what she’s learned along the way, both with her fans back home and the kids who are now part of Youtheatre.

“I really look forward to talking to those kids. Although I wasn’t part of Youtheatre, because by the time we came to Fort Wayne I had a lot of things I could do at Northrop, I love that there’s a program like that. I love knowing that a girl like me, or a young boy, can experience things artistically as well as physically. That they can learn about performing, but also about being backstage or directing. It’s good for people to have these things like I had school. And I want to tell the kids that you can’t take it for granted. For many of them, these may be the last chances to perform, and they shouldn’t take it for granted. And for those who want to go on, they need to know it isn’t easy. Kids see The Voice or American Idol and think that’s all you have to do, but there’s a lot of work involved. It’s great for kids to do that work and be able to look back and say ‘I did that.’”

Michele DeVinney

A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas

all for One productions
7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Nov. 7-8 & 14-15
2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 9 & 16
ACPL Auditorium
900 Library Plaza, Fort Wayne
Tix.: $10-$18, 260-622-4610

A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas

A Pioneering Spirit

We ran through the big woods and dangled our toes in the waters of Plum Creek. We trundled along in a covered wagon from Minnesota to Missouri and all around the Midwest with Ma and Pa. Many of us grew up with the stories of the little pioneer girl whose bravery and adventurous spirit have been an inspiration for decades.

Laura Ingalls Wilder is one of the most beloved figures in American history. Her heartwarming tales have shaped our ideas of early American life and colored our perceptions of the rugged landscape of a largely unsettled land.

But look past the sunsets on a golden prairie landscape and you will see there is another, darker side to Wilder’s tales. The children’s series that we know and love today was developed with the help of her daughter, but only after Wilders’ original memoirs were rejected for publication on the grounds that they were too dark.

After too many years of neglect, Wilders’ original autobiography, Pioneer Girl, is set to be released later this year. In it she chronicles stories and spectacles that were glossed over or left out entirely from her children’s series. One such instance is the time that the Ingalls family spent in Burr Oak, Iowa where they ran a hotel on a bustling trade road.

This holiday season, all for One productions brings us the tale of the Ingalls family in Burr Oak in A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas. Though they are poor, grief stricken and out of their element, in this story the Ingalls’ still manage to find strength and solidarity within the sanctuary of  family. 

Despite its sometimes serious subject matter, A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas is softened by the perspective of a very young Laura.

“It’s a simple enough story that kids will understand and appreciate it, but there are ideas that will resonate with adults. Things like issues of loss and family dynamics, and change, struggle, and sacrifice,” director Lauren Nichols says. “I think it will be a very satisfying show to watch cross-generationally. I would love to see kids and parents and grandparents go to see it together because they will all have a slightly different perspective.”

This story begins at the end of a life. With several years of bad crops behind them, Pa had made the difficult decision to leave the prairie for the busy crossroads of Burr Oak where he could work as a hotel manager. The Ingalls family had had little to celebrate in quite some time save for the birth of their son Freddy. But tragedy struck on the road from Minnesota to Iowa, and little Freddy died before they made it to their new home.

A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas follows the months spent in Burr Oak and the struggles each family member faced. Scrambling, along with her sisters Mary and Carrie, to help around the hotel and keep up with school, Laura is acutely aware of the changes in lifestyle her family has undergone. She soon becomes preoccupied with the idea that she is a financial burden and will be given away to a wealthy and lonely woman to adopt.

The show’s clever, poignant and often humorous storyline, told from Laura’s perspective, is the picture of a heartwarming tale.

Helping to bring the tale to life will be the Hearthstone Ensemble, a group of pioneer-era musicians who specialize in the music of Wilder’s day. The nine different musical segments will delight audiences with historical music they’ve never heard as well as some well known classics and Christmas carols.

“There’s a Christmas song from the 1900s, ‘Merry, Merry Christmas,’ that we’ll sing,” Nichols said. “It’s always fun to hear a piece of historical music that’s not really part of our cultural awareness. These are also historic songs [like] ‘In the Sweet By-and-By.’  We’ve got lovely voices in the cast; the two girls playing Laura and Mary sing in the Fort Wayne Children’s choir and have for a few years.”

Much like the pioneer instinct to take very little and make it into more, the set and stage will be minimalist. The cast will create each scene on stage with a few select set pieces.

“We have transforming boxes. It’s a set of seven boxes that all together form a four-by-six playing area, and those boxes then become everything else on stage. There’s no stick of furniture; it’s all these boxes,” Nichols said. “This show’s got a little bit of everything; it’s got pantomime, it’s got live music and it’s a very creative show.”

This newly revealed chapter of the Ingalls family story will be as warm and sentimental as the chapters we already love. Nothing could be more fitting in the holiday season than remembering the struggles of a family who had little to give each other but love and strength.

Kathleen Christian-Harmeyer

Darby LeClear

Preparing for Bigger Things

Fort Wayne’s community of actors continues to grow and excel with every year, thanks in part to the world-class education provided at IPFW Department of Theatre.

One of the university’s many star students is Darby LeClear.

Having overcome academic struggle, teenage insecurity and stage fright, LeClear embodies how the arts – both as a participant and an observer – can improve lives.

“I was a very enthusiastic child,” she says. “I loved things that were bright and filled with laughter. My mother would style my long hair into crowns of braids or curls. But I loved to run and play hard and I would come home with my hair an absolute mess.”

As much as she loved playing outdoors, she discovered she also loved performing onstage. Her first role was in an elementary school production written by the mother of a classmate. “I can’t recall what the show was about,” LeClear says, “but I believe it involved space and fairy tale characters.”

She enjoyed the attention she received onstage but she also recognized at that early age her own talent for performing.

But then she hit the ’tween years, and she became shy about being in front of people.

Still, determination to perform led her to her first audition early in her sophomore year at North Side High School. She tried out for the role of a feisty Italian woman in the play Lend Me a Tenor. 

“I have always had a knack for dialects,” she says, “so I read well and had a lot of fun doing it.” However, because the cast was small and there were plenty of experienced upperclassmen at auditions, she did not get the part. But even as a young teenager she had no regrets, and the experience gave her the confidence to audition for the school’s musical production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast later that year.

She auditioned for Belle, the lead role, and it marked one of the first times she had ever sung in front of other people. Nerves, coupled with illness that day, hampered her audition.

However, her innate talent and passion for character creation shone through, and the director asked her to read for Babette, the sexy French maid-turned-broom. 

“I instantly felt that was the part I should have,” she says. “Everything about it, from the dramatics to the French accent, was so much fun and so completely different from who I was at the time.”

Nevertheless, she was still suffering from shyness. “I had terrible stage fright,” she recalls. “But playing a character so over-the-top helped me begin pushing past it in a way I am thankful for every day.”

LeClear would do four more shows at North Side, and with each role she not only grew as an actor, but she grew in maturity as well.

She played the title role in Hello, Dolly! and calls it one of her most challenging so far. “Dolly is so smart and determined and comfortable with who she is, and at the time I felt the complete opposite,” she explains. “That role taught me how to be confident in many aspects of my life.”

By the time she was a junior she realized theater was her calling – “but I didn’t really know what to do about that,” she says. The following year she “began to panic” as she struggled to find the right path toward higher education. Her drama director, Michael Morris, encouraged her to look into IPFW scholarships with the advice that she work a little harder in her classes and get her attendance up. 

“He really pushed me,” she says. “I am so thankful he was there to help me, or I would have been completely lost.”

She graduated North Side in 2012 and won a scholarship to IPFW. But the old feeling of insecurity reared its head before classes even began. She worried about making friends, about getting cast in shows and about making a good impression on her professors, she says. “I had built it up so much in my head that when I got there and found out that everyone was warm and friendly and extremely welcoming, I felt absolutely silly [for having worried].”

She is now a junior and just completed her fifth role at IPFW. “The close-knit community of the IPFW theatre department has been incredible,” she says. “The department’s small size gives its students some unique advantages that bigger programs do not. I don’t think I could have found a better place to further my education.”

Her education has given her a good basis for audition prep work, including researching roles and choosing audition material. She chooses her songs or monologues well in advance so she has time to connect with the material, and then she constantly rehearses it. For vocal auditions she begins warming up the moment she wakes up in the morning and in the car she sings along to a playlist of songs in the same range as her audition piece to stretch her voice beyond the song’s requirements.

As prepared as she is, she still finds auditions to be nerve-wracking. “Positive thinking goes such a long way for me,” she says, “so I try to keep myself in that mind set, reminding myself that ‘I can do this.’”

Once cast, LeClear buys a small notebook that stays with her during the rehearsal process. “I write down things I have questions about or impressions I get of the character and their relationships with other people,” she says.

As a theater student she also enjoys the benefit of table work with the other cast members. “We all discuss our opinions and feelings about certain elements of the show,” she says. “I love figuring out what a character wants, what they dream of, what they’re afraid of, who they love, who they hate. Things like that make a character feel alive to me.”

She says she approaches her character study as if she were getting to know a new friend. “In that way, the characters stay with you for the rest of your life,” she says, “because you have invested so much of yourself in learning who they are.”

Her education at IPFW has also included a variety of different performance techniques. “They all influence the way I view rehearsal and performance,” she says, “but I’m not sure if my acting style falls neatly into one category or another. I believe it’s my job to take a character and tell her story, and I want to do that story as much justice as I can.”

She takes this responsibility more seriously than she did before college. “My interest in theatre has evolved into more of an interest in human emotion,” she says. “I am fascinated by the idea that an actor can tell a story in a way that moves an audience into feeling many different things.”

She understands that characters suffer the same difficulties and face the same obstacles that audience members themselves may be dealing with. “I want to make sure I tell that story correctly,” she says. “It’s important to me to find the truth behind a character and live in the moment of the scene. I work very hard to make connections to the audience.”

LeClear also loves the connection between actors onstage. “Creating relationships between characters on stage is one of my favorite aspects of acting,” she says. “Working with actors who are willing to open themselves up and allow your words and actions to affect them in a profound way is so rewarding. When you get two people on the stage together doing the thing they love the most in the world, there is nothing like it.”

While performing Hello Dolly! LeClear learned the power of characters to help her face her own struggles. A later role – Georgeanne in the IPFW production of Five Women Wearing the Same Dress – became almost a therapeutic role-playing session to finding inner strength. “Georgeanne allowed me the opportunity to be absolutely, unapologetically an emotional mess onstage,” she says. “She suffered from some of the same insecurities that I have, so it was nice to be able to sort of confront them through that character.”

Her most recent role was perhaps her most challenging – and most exhausting: Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie. “She is such a complex, intricate and beautiful character,” says LeClear. “I had such a wonderful time developing her, but after every rehearsal, I was so tired. She is a physical and emotional hurricane, and she sweeps through the space with so many different emotions, either genuine or manipulative. Playing her is an incredible honor, and I worked my hardest to do the role justice. Our director, Jeff Casazza, told me before we began rehearsals that he was going to push me to dive deeper into this character – not just emotionally but physical – than I have other characters in the past. I’m grateful for that, because I’ve learned so much from this process.”

In addition to her acting and singing, LeClear has just completed writing her first play (a drama about dealing with mental illness), and she has plans to write others. And she is already making plans to begin the process of professional auditions after she graduates. 

“There are so many options for actors,” she says. “Ultimately, I would like to make it to Broadway and win a Tony Award, but I can also see myself continuing with playwriting or maybe even voice acting or dialect coaching.”

LeClear gives a great deal of credit to her family and friends for supporting her unconventional career goals. “Without them, I don’t know where I would be,” she says. “They push me to work hard and create a bright future for myself.”

Where does she see herself in five to 10 years? 

“I would like to see myself with a cat and a steady acting job in New York City,” she says. “In 10 years, I would honestly be happy with the same thing.”

Above all, she wants to keep connecting. “The journey a performer and an audience go on together,” she says, “is a beautiful thing.”

Jen Poiry-Prough

Nick D'Virgilio

From Genesis to The Fort

Tears for Fears. Genesis. Spock’s Beard. Giraffe. The Mike Keneally Band. Fate Warning. Amaran’s Plight. Mystery. Cosmograf. Strattman. Thud. Big Big Train. That’s just a short list of the bands Los Angeles native Nick D’Virgilio has played with during his more than two decades-long drumming career. And now the man friends affectionately call “NDV” has landed in Fort Wayne, working as a studio percussionist and web content writer for Sweetwater Sound. 

A move to the heartland has, admittedly, proved a major life change for D’Virgilio who, just prior to signing on with Sweetwater, was touring the world as part of Cirque du Soleil’s Totem show, but he said he and his family are glad to call Fort Wayne home.

“My kids are happy, my wife’s happy, we have land around us,” he said in a recent phone interview. “Plus, everyone is so kind and we’ve discovered some great restaurants and coffee shops. We realized a while ago that L.A. isn’t the only place to live, and Fort Wayne’s nice. It’s between a lot of big cities, so if we need that fix, we can get it. Overall, it’s turning out to be pretty comfortable.”

D’Virgilio started playing the drums at the tender age of four when his father, apparently tired of his son’s habit of pounding on pots and bands, brought him home a drum set and a pair of sticks. A few years later he picked up the guitar, thanks to his older brother, and he also taught himself how to sing. As a teenager he attended the Dick Grove School of Music in L.A. and, like many rockers before and after him, began playing out wherever he could – at weddings, events, clubs. 

“I hustled around for a few years,” he said. “Then in 1994 I got my big break. I met Kevin Gilbert, just randomly, and everything sort of fell into place from there.”

Gilbert was at the time fronting popular Southern California band Toy Matinee. He was also working as a musician, songwriter and composer and was dating Sheryl Crow. It was through Gilbert that D’Virgilio met the members of the songwriting collective Tuesday Night Music Club, as well as the dudes from Tears for Fears and Genesis. From 1995 to 2008, D’Virgilio worked as drummer for Tears for Fears, and in 1996 he took Phil Collins’s much-coveted spot behind the kit to help Genesis record their final studio album, Calling All Stations.

The Genesis gig was a dream come true for D’Virgilio who grew up idolizing Collins.

“That was totally surreal,” D’Virgilio said. “Phil Collins was my favorite drummer as a kid, so never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d get a chance to work with Genesis. It was a trippy experience, to say the least, hanging out in the studio with the guys and all their Gold records. And they’re all so easy-going and mellow. It was just one of those once in a lifetime surprises you never expect to happen.” 

Around this same time, D’Virgilio joined the now legendary prog-rock band Spock’s Beard and toured and made albums with his mates – Dave and Alan Morse, Ryo Okumoto, Jimmy Keegan and Ted Leonard – for the better part of 20 years. It was a wild, successful and growth-filled ride that came to an end for D’Virgilio in 2010 when he joined Cirque du Soleil, working first as a drummer and later as a frontman and still later as band leader.

He said his four-and-a-half-year stint with Totem was an incredibly enriching cultural experience for him and his family. He got to take his wife Tiffany and children, Sophia and Anthony, on the road with him, and together they traveled all over the U.S., Canada and Europe.

“It turned out to be a wonderful gig. Cirque schooled my kids and provided us with apartments every time we moved. It was pretty amazing, playing this big rock show and going to work with my family nearby. 

“And there were people on the tour from 19 different countries, so my kids had the chance to meet people from very different walks of life and see parts of the world they might not otherwise get to see.”

You might think that the transition from L.A. musician and world traveler to resident of Fort Wayne would be a rough one, or at least one filled with culture shock, but D’Virgilio said he’s excited to be a part of the Sweetwater family and to throw himself into the recording of a new original album with friends Randy McStine and Jonas Reingold and an all-ukulele project with Bakithi Kumalo, Paul Simon’s former bassist and the man behind that now famous bass line on Simon’s hit “Call Me Al.”

“I’m really glad to be at Sweetwater and grateful to my friend Mark Hornsby for bringing me on board,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of opportunity for me to grow here along with the company and be creative as well.” 

Deborah Kennedy

Alexandra Hall

Characters on Canvas

As a student schlepping drinks to earn her way through college, Alexandra Hall watched her patrons carefully as they slipped into topsy-turvy conversation and sometimes on to sloppy oblivion. Hall entertained herself by attaching a variety of cartoonish traits to hobbling drinkers. Anthropomorphic characters lived in her mind, each one a reflection of a customer. Most became images of juicy, high-society frogs, the first growing from a particularly well-dressed woman adorned with a hat, heels and pearls. Hall collected the images in her mind, then set to work on canvas where she released bold colors with broad brush strokes, capturing the energy of her characters with a sense of humor spiked with sarcasm. 

A self-taught artist, Hall studied Russian and biology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She was all set to head to medical school when her own brother threw her a curve ball. Knowing Hall had been a “closet artist for a very long time,” Hall’s brother asked if he could purchase all the paintings she had ever produced. When she questioned his motives, she learned that her brother had booked a show for her work at the Dash-In on Calhoun Street. 

That was one year ago. Since that first surprise show which pushed Hall out of her closet, her hobby has turned into a full-time operation, and at least for now she has put med school on hold. It seems that when Hall commits, she commits 100 percent, and she has proven that – with thoughtful focus and drive – an artist can make it. 

Hall learned early on that building a network is key to making any business endeavor a success. She joined the Fort Wayne Artist League, a group known for more conservative and seasoned artists, and was quickly swooped up and supported. Hall gleans knowledge from the group’s experience and feels supported by them as she works to broaden her client base. In turn, they welcome her youthful spirit and enjoy the knowledge of technology that she shares.

“People from the guild always make a point to show up at my openings and artist meet-and-greets,” says Hall, who is appreciative of the relationships that have developed within the guild. 

By participating in local shows and art fairs, Hall quickly developed a reputable client base in Fort Wayne. Clients enjoy working with Hall on commissioned pieces that represent and capture the quirks of their own family members. Many ask for nods to college themes or a favorite food or drink. “People get a kick out of seeing their loved ones depicted as frogs,” says Hall. “People are looking for fun art that makes them smile.”

Hall’s head for business led her to reach beyond the local scene and into a broader market to include larger cities like Chicago and even places farther away such as Leesburg, Virginia. Breaking into the regional art fair circuit proved to be a challenge, as part of the process involves sending quality photos of an artist’s booth space – quite a task when no such booth exists. 

“I put all my energy into everything that I do,” says Hall, who set up her first booth in her backyard and filled it with nothing but drinking frogs in order to photograph the setup to send off with her inaugural juried show application. It was a longshot, but her efforts met with success and she now finds herself turning down invitations to art fairs. 

Hall credits her success to family. Five siblings provide a supportive network led by two parents who have coached her along the way. Her mother works in real estate, and since Hall’s childhood, has modeled successful business practices that the artist continues to follow today. Hall proudly claims that her mother taught her to set goals in order to move precisely and effectively forward.  

“My mom is a realtor, raised five kids and kept us all alive,” says Hall. “That required constant organization. When we were younger she made us keep planners for school and helped us make lists for each day. You achieve more when you have things listed.”

Hall has lists of where her pieces are and when to pick them up. 

“It’s a constant juggle when you have a show,” says Hall. “You have to shuffle pieces, make sure they will be available for specific shows and keep track of everything in between.” 

Hall relies heavily on social media to promote her work. Facebook and Twitter have helped her sell pieces. 

“To have so many avenues to use, it is difficult to keep track of them all,” says Hall who also keeps on top of regular mailings to clients. She claims she would have not thought to do those things if she hadn’t seen her mother gain success from them. 

While she has a head for business, Hall isn’t all work and no play. Her work clearly reflects her high-energy passion for life. She often paints while listening to music, which is evident in her guitar series that directly channels blues and classic rock. 

Hall limits her color palate to the primary colors: red, blue, yellow and white. She mixes all her colors as she goes along. 

“All my colors are very unique,” says Hall as she describes her style as “loose, fun and colorful.” Her drinking frog pieces have starry eyes and slack faces. Sizes are large, averaging 30 by 40 inches. Each piece has a personality which she constructed inside her own mind as she daydreamed while handing drinks to patrons. 

Whenever possible Hall hand-delivers her work to clients. She once presented a painting as a Fathers Day gift to a client,

“He cried,” says Hall. “People are somehow mystified by meeting the artist. I think it is funny.”

Drinking frogs are certainly beyond the traditional barn and sunset paintings that many have come to expect from this region. Luckily for artists, the market is expanding to include a broader range. Hall says there are young people in town who want more out of the art scene. 

“Young people want art from a local artist. They are part of what is making downtown different and they are turning things around. It is all very interesting to watch.”

Hall is proud to be part of the movement to bring more contemporary and unusual art to the city. She recently held her first solo show at Northside Galleries and plans to keep moving forward with the momentum she has gained. For now, med school is still on hold. 

“I took a year off to pursue the art thing,” she says. “I hit the ground running.” With a show schedule packed to capacity, Hall’s plans to attend med school may have been permanently derailed by singing guitars and drinking frogs.

Heather Miller


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