whatzup2nite • Tuesday, June 30

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Things To Do

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National Shows

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Music & Comedy

Chris Worth — Variety at Club Paradise, Angola, 7-10 p.m., no cover, 833-7082

KT & the Swingset Quartet — Blues at Latch String, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m.-2 a.m., no cover, 483-5526

Open Mic — Hosted by Dan Smyth at The Green Frog Inn, Fort Wayne, 8-11 p.m., no cover, 426-1088

Karaoke & DJs

American Idol Karaoke — Karaoke at Nick's Martini & Wine Bar, Fort Wayne, 8-11 p.m., no cover, 482-6425

Mantra Karaoke w/Jake — Variety at Wrigley Field Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., , 485-1038

Stage & Dance

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Art & Artifacts

20 Year Retrospective — Works from Jody Hemphill Smith, CW Mundy, Katy McMurray, Michael Poorman, Mike Kelly, Joey Frisillo, Diane Lyon, Doug Runyan, Susan Suraci, Terri Buchholz, Andrea Bojrab, Bill Inman, Terry Armstrong, Carolyn Fehsenfeld, Lori Putnam, Rick Wilson, Fred Doloresco, Forrest Formsma, B. Eric Rhoads, Robert Eberle, Pamela C. Newell, Shelby Keefe, Mark Daly and Maurice Papier, Tuesday-Saturday and by appointment thru Aug. 29 (artists reception 6-10 p.m., Friday, July 10), Castle Gallery Fine Art, Fort Wayne, 426-6568

American Brilliant Cut Glass — Highlights form the American Cut Glass Association Permanent Collection, Tuesday-Sunday thru Dec. 6, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467

Christina Bothwell: Spirit into Matter — Stone and glass sculptures reflecting the processes of birth, death and renewal, Tuesday-Sunday thru Sept. 13, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467

Dennis McNett: Legend of the Wolfbat — Woodblock Nordic mythological creatures inspired by the 80s skateboarding and punk rock scene, Tuesday-Sunday thru Aug. 23, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467

Exquisite Corpse — Writings and drawings inspired by Surrealist Movement dating back to the 1910s, Tuesday-Sunday thru July 15, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, 424-7195

Summer of Glass — 43rd Annual Glass Invitational Award Winners; solo, exhibit featuring Christina Bothwell, Tuesday-Sunday thru Sept. 13, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467

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, www.ipfw.edu/caa

Junior Rising Star Summer Camp — For grades K-2, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 3-7, Fort Wayne Youtheatre, 422-6900

Rising Star Summer Camp — For grades 3 and up, July 20-31, Fort Wayne Youtheatre, 422-6900

Sweetwater Academy of Music — Private lessons for a variety of instruments available from professional instructors, ongoing weekly lessons, Sweetwater Sound, Fort Wayne, call for pricing, 432-8176 ext. 1961, academy.sweetwater.com

Whitley County Farmers Market — Farmers market sponsored by Whitley County Chamber of Commerce, 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturdays thru Oct. 10, Courthouse Square, downtown Columbia City, free, 248-8131


Doobie Brothers

An Enduring Brotherhood

The Doobie Brothers are a band that really needs no introduction. Their hits through the 1970s and 80s continue to be a ubiquitous part of our collective musical history, and through numerous changes and reconfigurations, the Doobies have remained one of the most popular bands of that era. Among the original members, Tom Johnston’s role was key to the band’s early success. His vocals and guitar provided key elements to some huge hits, including “Listen to the Music,” “China Grove” and “Long Train Running.” He left the group for about a decade, during which time the Doobies brought in Michael McDonald who brought an entirely different vibe to the band and provided another set of hits like “Takin’ It to the Streets,” “What a Fool Believes” and “Minute by Minute.” But by the late 80s McDonald had left for a solo career, and Johnston returned, at first just for a few benefit concerts organized by Doobie drummer, the late Keith Knudsen. “It was kind of nuts at the time,” says Johnston. “We had 14 guys up on stage who all got together from all the different eras of the band. We had four drummers, four guitarists, a keyboardist and then Michael. We had a good time, and it was for a good cause. Keith had brought us all together to raise money for Vietnam Vets, and we enjoyed doing it.” That was 1987, and though it was originally intended to be a short-term reunion, their producer Ted Templeman suggested they make the reunion permanent. Since 1989, the group has been going strong, hitting the road every year and recording a few new albums along the way. What has always made a reunion possible was the goodwill which exists amongst the “Brotherhood.” “We’ve known each other so long, and we’ve always pretty much gotten along,” says Johnston. “People have been in and left, but there’s always been a pretty open door policy. Michael’s been doing his solo thing for years, but he joins us sometimes. He was on our last album we did, Southbound, which we did with a bunch of country artists. We don’t get to see all those guys much, so it’s nice when we get back together and see how they are and what their families are up to.” Between their reunion in 1989 and Southbound in 2014, the Doobies had recorded three other albums and may have more in their future. But Johnston acknowledges that things are much different now than they were during their heyday. Asked whether he prefers the music business of old or the way things are now, his response is very pragmatic. “It doesn’t really matter what I think, I just do whatever is required. Music has changed a lot over the years. Business-wise, it’s changed drastically. There really aren’t any labels anymore, and the ones that exist are all under some big umbrella. Basically now you have Warner, Sony and Universal; those are the only major labels left. In the past you would tour to support an album. Now you record an album to support the tour. It’s changed completely. And really you don’t sell albums anymore because of downloading and streaming. Radio is still there and has been good to us, but that’s not what it used to be either. So you have to be ready to go with the flow.” Lacking the consistent marketing boost during their most commercial years with Warner Brothers Records, they’ve managed to remain high-profile thanks to regular touring. Though Johnston estimates they were playing up to 200 nights a year – then using their downtime to record the next album – they now play under 100, with festivals providing some of their best crowds. When they visit Fort Wayne’s Foellinger Theatre July 1, Johnston won’t be the only family member to hit that stage. His daughter, Lara, herself an established singer both through solo work and as backup to artists like Don Henley, will be serving as the Doobie Brothers’s opening act. Unlike some performers who discourage their children from a career in show business, Johnston is clearly delighted with her success. “I’ve supported her all the way,” he says. “I did provide the caveat to her, long ago when she was first getting started, that it’s a tough business. There’s so much more competition now with shows like America’s Got Talent and The Voice, and of course the one that started it all, American Idol. There are a lot of people who see those shows and think they have a shot that never would have attempted a performing career in the past. And with everything we’ve already discussed about labels, it’s just a harder thing to get into. “But she’s been stalwart, and she’s been writing songs in Nashville and recording. She’s done dates with us before, and she did our whole Canadian tour awhile back. She knows she has to do anything she can do to get her foot in that door. She has an incredible voice, a great work ethic, and she puts on a great show. She knows there’s an element of luck to it, but she’s willing to give it her all.” Johnston can lead his daughter by example as he hits the stage each night with his bandmates of four decades. These days they’re more focused on live performance, and he says they all work hard to keep their voices in shape and continue to hone their musical chops. They focus on the songs that original members Johnston and Patrick Simmons have contributed with one notable exception. “We do one of Michael’s songs, ‘Takin’ It To the Streets’ each night as a nod to that era of the band. It always goes over well. People like it. But it wouldn’t sound the same if I tried to sing Michael’s songs, so we stick to our songs and try to mix it up to cover all eras of the band.” There’s little chance that the Doobie Brothers will disappear any time soon. It’s obvious that the group still enjoys playing music together and sharing it with their longtime fans. “At this point it’s about going out there and playing our music live. That’s the sturdiest part of what we do, and that’s never changed. It’s going extremely well. We’re fortunate that we still have tons of offers for gigs and get a lot of radio play. We’ve stood the test of time, and our live show is better now that it was in the 70s. We’ve lost some members unfortunately, but we still enjoy the band and each other. What more can you ask for that to get paid to do what you love to do?”

Michele DeVinney

Joe Bachman & the Tailgaters

Philadelphian Freedom

Joe Bachman might hail from Philadelphia, but he’s as country as they come. Just ask his fans, many of them active and former military, and take a listen to his music, which celebrates not only pretty girls and front porch beer parties, but patriotism, family loyalty, and the importance of having a place to hang one’s hat. (Bachman’s, by the way, isn’t cowboy. He seems to prefer the baseball cap.) “No one who lives in Nashville is from Nashville,” Bachman told me in a recent phone interview. “There are probably 10 or 12 straight-up redneck boys who grew up on a farm working in country music today. The majority of us come from different places, and I promise you, Philly is more redneck than most.” Bachman credits his strict upbringing with establishing his country cred. “I was a military son. Every day until I was 18, I went to bed at 8 p.m., and that was after all my chores were done. I’ve had jobs since I was 13. I went to church every Sunday. My father wasn’t a music man really, and there were only two artists played in our house – Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson.” “Country,” he added, “is a lot more about how you were raised than where you’re from.” Bachman and his band, the Tailgaters – Ryan Burdette (drums), Brian “B-Dubs” Walsh (piano), Chris “Oz” Ferrara (acoustic guitar), Tyler James (lead guitar) – will play a free show Friday, July 3 as part of Warren, Indiana’s FREEdom Festival. The show will start after the parade. When I caught up with Bachman, he was getting ready for a gig in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Known as a consumate road warrior, Bachman said he’s learned during his 15 years as a performing musician the secret to stamina when on tour. “The two most important things you need to do to maintain this crazy lifestyle and keep your body in check are exercise and sleep,” he said. “We’re musicians, right? So our job is to bring the party. But that doesn’t always mean that you get to party yourself. Don’t get me wrong. We like a few beers as much as the next person, but we just have to be smart about it.” Bachman grew up in Philadelphia, but spent much of his adult life in Key West, which is also where he got his big break. Literally. While performing at one of the island’s many clubs, he met Kenny Alphin of Big and Rich fame. A few years later he moved to Nashville where he recorded his debut album, One. The 10-tracker features several catchy, radio-friendly singles, including “Small Town Rock Stars,” “Like I’m Elvis” and “I Sell Em Out of Beer.” As is often the case with Nashville debuts, the songs on One were written by other, more established writers. That’s because Bachman and his producer at the time agreed to a simple song selecting strategy: they pitted a Bachman-penned song against a song from that of a better known writer. The best song won. “It’s very intimidating going to Nashville and waking up to an email that contains, say, a song by Lee Bryce,” Bachman said. “And I’m supposed to choose my song over Lee Bryce’s? Nah. That’s a no brainer.” Bachman is proud of One, and said recording it was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience, but his as of yet untitled second album, slated to come out sometime this fall, will consist entirely of songs he wrote himself. The five years that have passed since One dropped have boosted Bachman’s confidence, as has the fan response he’s gotten from sharing songs like the sweet pop hit “Lookatchu” and the more serious and melancholy ballads “The Way I Used to Be,” which explores Bachman’s father’s battle with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and “A Soldier’s Memoir.” “A Soldier’s Memoir,” which grew out of a marathon, four-hour performance following the announcement that American forces had captured and killed Osama Bin Laden, addresses the struggles of soldiers returning from conflicts in Iraq and Aghanistan. Bachman was inspired to write the song when a friend of his texted him in the middle of the night, saying, in effect, that countless songs had been written about soldiers dying for their country, but that none addressed the very real phenomena of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Bachman immediately began researching PTSD and TBI, and the resulting song gets roughly 4-6,000 shares a day on Facebook. More importantly, Bachman has been told by a number of veterans that they were on the verge of committing suicide and that it was his song that changed their minds. “It’s been a life-changing experience for me,” Bachman said. “What a feeling, to be told your work might have saved someone’s life. It’s the greatest gift I’ve ever been given.”

Deborah Kennedy

Black Canyon

A Star on the North Side

Fort Wayne is a playground for foodies if you look beyond the chain restaurants. We have an adequate selection of locally-owned fine dining establishments, and now we can add another to the list: Black Canyon, located in the former Oyster Bar space at the corner of Lima and Dupont roads. While this is territory typically out of my bubble, after hearing rave reviews from several trusted sources, I ventured north to give it a try. Restaurants in strip malls usually do not hit my radar. I find their atmosphere lacking, and in most cases the food follows suit. Black Canyon bucks this trend. I have no idea how much money the owners invested in the remodel, but from a consumer’s perspective, it was worth every penny. The patio out front boasts ample seating and a beautiful stone fireplace. (Hooray for more outdoor dining options!) Once you walk through the front doors, you’ll forget you’re in a strip mall. The décor is upscale and modern, with a nice open floor plan with tables and large booths. The bar is my favorite area. It is located just to the left as you walk in and features seating in the round with a full view of the kitchen. I love watching the hustle and bustle that occurs in a busy restaurant kitchen. The décor isn’t the only thing that wowed me. The food and drinks are on point too. The cocktail menu features a nice selection of wine, bourbon and signature drinks, and while the food menu is on the smallish side, it offers a nice variety of salads, sandwiches, and entrees. Here are a few of my favorites: Appetizers Bao Steamed Buns ($7): Steamed buns stuffed with traditional Asian barbecued pork, Hoisin and oyster sauces, brushed with sesame. I love ordering steamed buns because they typically come to the table inside the bamboo steamer, as Black Canyon’s version did. It is kind of like unwrapping a gift on Christmas morning. I enjoyed this appetizer from presentation to taste, even though they were a bit on the sweet side. Tex Mex Egg Rolls ($6): Crispy egg rolls stuffed with chicken, peppers, corn, spinach, tomatoes and black beans, served with house made avocado buttermilk ranch and barbecue sauce. I would not have ordered this if it weren’t for my dinner companion, but I am glad that we did. I’ve had them on two separate occasions, and both times they were prepared impeccably: nice and crispy on the outside, fresh and tasty on the inside. I especially like the avocado buttermilk ranch sauce. Salads Avocado Kale Salad ($11): Kale, both fresh and grilled, tossed with house-made avocado lemon dressing with edamame, cashews, cranberries, cherry tomatoes, crispy carrots, avocado and crème fraiche. Including a combination of grilled and fresh kale is genius. It’s basically like summer in salad form. Thai Steak Salad ($14): Napa cabbage, udon noodles, mesclun greens and beef tenderloins, gently folded with peanuts, carrots, avocado, cherry tomatoes, scallions, toasted coconut and fresh mint. The flavors and textures in this dish are spot on and complement each other well. Tomato Mozzarella Salad ($11): Sliced heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil and red onions. Sadly, this salad failed to impress me. The tomatoes were mushy and small, and the dish was too salty overall. I’ll give it another try this summer when tomatoes are in season because I love tomato mozzarella salads, and based on how much I enjoy other dishes at Black Canyon, I am not going to rule this one out. Sandwiches & Entrees B&B Burger ($12)- An equal blend of in-house ground chuck and ground bacon topped with cheddar, blue cheese, chipotle mayo and avocado. One word: Yum! This tastes like a $12 burger should taste, and I love the salty, crunchy taste and texture of the bacon. This is a must try – and make sure you get it with the skinny fries. My only suggestion: ditch the pretzel bun. This would be much better on a fresh-made traditional hamburger bun. The pretzel bun was chewy and made it difficult to eat the burger. Fish Tacos ($14): Wild caught Mahi Mahi in a warm flour tortilla with avocado, queso fresco, chipotle crema, cabbage and diced tomatoes served with black beans and rice with jalapeno. While these aren’t my favorite fish tacos in town (Paula’s still holds the title), these rank right up there. The fish is mild and not too fishy and pairs well with the fresh avocado, cabbage, and tomatoes. Prime Rib ($25): 18-oz. bone-in, carved to order with a fully loaded baked potato and house-made beef au jus. I am a big fan of prime rib, and I’ve been on a mission to find the best in town. I don’t know if I am ready to bestow the title on Black Canyon’s version, but it is pretty darn tasty. Tri-Tip ($17): 9 oz. cut of marinated sirloin, in-house cold-smoked, finished to temp over hardwood, served sliced at a bias with a loaded baked potato and roasted cherry tomatoes. I didn’t know what to expect from this dish, and I was floored by the complex flavors presented in the meat. The smoky flavor comes through and finishes nicely with a hint of hardwood. It is the most unique steak I’ve ever had. Black Canyon is a welcome addition to the fine-dining options in Fort Wayne. If you’re interested in giving it a try, I suggest stopping in on Craft Beer Sunday or Martinis on Monday to enjoy discounts on drinks. The restaurant is also open for lunch Monday through Saturday. amber.foster@gmail.com

Amber Foster

Diane Groenert

Painting Houses into Homes

Nestled in the heart of Fort Wayne’s beautiful West Central neighborhood is the studio and home of local artist Diane Groenert. Her studio is drenched in sunlight that pours through windows, portals to the world she paints. Singing birds, a cup of tea and soothing music set the tone for a productive day of painting. Groenert needs a clear head, peaceful surroundings and slow-moving hours to get in the flow she requires to work through her paintings. “I like to have a long period of time to paint because it takes me a long time to get in the flow. Once I get there, I want to stay there,” she says. On painting days, she likes to spend at least eight hours standing in front of a canvas. Her current work is that of a charming home, lit up and glowing on a Halloween night. The canvas rests on an easel adjusted to a height that requires Groenert to stand as she works. “I’m afraid if I start sitting I’ll get stiff and grow wide hips,” she says. Groenert paints portraits of homes. She captures the essence of families and illustrates the houses they live in with details that reflect both history and personality. She uses curved lines and bright, bold colors that catch the eye. Viewers can’t help but imagine the type of people who live inside these homes and what they might be up to. Her work invites you to spend time with it, look for details and imagine yourself crawling inside a window to snoop around while the owners are out. “I try to get in the mind frame of the owner and the stories they have told me,” she says. Research for each painting begins with an interview. Before her first sketch, Groenert sits with the family and listens to its stories. She looks at family photos and takes new photos of her own. She captures all angles of the house, the front, back and sides. She takes photos of the family and mounts the collection of information on a reference board that sits in her studio on a table just behind the space where she paints. Take a look at her work and you will understand the need for such a comprehensive collection of information. Groenert fills her paintings with details that tell about the most personal aspects of a family’s life. “This family has roots in New Mexico,” she explains, “so I placed cacti all around. Their bicycles are here because they do a lot of biking, and the cloth with shamrocks on it is there because his wife does Irish dancing.” These details are often so small that, unless pointed out, a person would likely never notice them. A hat rack inside a window, a family pet or an Air Force fighter flying through the background all require a tiny brush and a skilled hand. Groenert focuses on perspective, line and color when she paints. “I use burnt sienna for the undercoat that gives the painting a warm feeling,” she explains. “I have a commercial art degree, so I have a good black and white foundation. That informs the light colors and the dark colors. I know how to bring certain colors forward to get people’s attention.” Her use of line brings life into each of her works. She curves and bends lines that in reality are straight. By doing so, ordinary houses seem to come to life, as if they breathe and dance. “I use the fish eye lens to bring more excitement to the scene. It’s all done in my head, not with a real camera.” Moving things around inside her head is something Groenert has mastered. She can paint from a bird’s eye view without having seen a house from above. “This one had an interesting backyard and I wanted to include it so I went up and over,” says the artist, describing a piece that resembles something that popped out of a fairy tale. She can paint a home as it is or she can create a retro version, capturing historic homes before the renovations that modernized them. Living in the West Central neighborhood, Groenert is surrounded by inspiring architecture. Each day she sees homes that people make a point to drive past just to admire the charm and individuality of the neighborhood. She has been commissioned to paint a total of 48 homes in West Central, and they will all be included in a book she plans to release on September 10 at the Paradigm Gallery inside the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. The book will be a collection of full color images, a collection of West Central homes. In addition to her house portraits, Groenert has painted most of the downtown Fort Wayne landmarks. She makes the city look alive and vibrant – bustling with activity and high energy. She incorporates the people who are making things happen in Fort Wayne by painting them into her works as tiny people, perhaps sitting in front of JK O’Donnell’s or piling through the back door of Henry’s on Main Street, or even the Stoner family peeking out from their storefront doorway. “Fort Wayne needed some lively images of downtown,” says Groenert. She created a series of 18 paintings, each one showing people interacting and enjoying good times shared in the city. As Groenert flips through her portfolio, she identifies names of people as if they were part of her own family. She remembers details of stories told by the homeowners of each of her paintings. She points out Betty Fishman, painted into one of her pieces, appropriately hanging a piece of art on the wall. Groenert knows this city’s history well. “I’ve been in the neighborhood since ’74,” she says. Inside her head are clear memories of the lives of those who live and work in the city. She’s dedicated to celebrating the efforts of those who strive to make our city better and through her paintings has preserved pieces of history that are no longer with us, such as the Tiny Tim Diner. “I blunder my way through each piece,” she says. “I can’t do much planning. I put a blob on the canvas and move it there, then move it over there, and move it again until it’s just right, and then I move on to the next blob. It takes a lot to get all the stuff in,” she continues. “I have to move things around and rearrange until it all fits. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle; I have to figure it all out.” Groenert is an artist who has seen and studied the pieces of Fort Wayne; but beyond that, she has enjoyed getting to know the people behind the businesses and the families who live inside grand homes. She paints the details that make up people’s lives. She’s like the secretary who sits by the water cooler collecting stories and sharing them through her paintings. The rest of us look through the windows of her dancing houses and wonder what it all means. Each brush stroke tells a story but the stories are for Groenert to know and for us to discover. “I like to get a feeling about the place,” she says about her work. An outsider looking at one of her paintings is sure to think of our city as a place of vibrancy and bustling energy. Through her eyes, our city is a place like no other.

Heather Miller

Jon Gillespie

Saving the World's Music

For the past 15 years, Jon Gillespie has been immersed in a project that could go on forever. A composer and ethnomusicologist by training, Gillespie is better known as a recording engineer. His work at the mixing board can be heard on scores of records made by local musicians. And while he continues to do that work to a certain degree, his main focus has turned to his own vision of what music is and can be. He calls the project Dream Rodeo, and his goal is to record vocalists singing in different languages. There are around 6,500 distinct languages spoken in the world today. Gillespie would like to record them all. But to even approach that goal would require several lifetimes and a global battalion of intrepid travelers armed with microphones. In Nigeria alone, for example, there are more than 500 distinct languages arising from a few basic language families. So rather than focus on the languages themselves, Gillespie has divided Dream Rodeo into geographical groups that align with the continents. And thanks to the internet, trotting the globe can be done with a mouse click. Through serendipity and active searching, Gillespie has managed to record vocalists from roughly 25 different countries from Asia, North America, Europe and Africa. To date, he has nine finished albums, with a couple dozen more in various stages of completion. Gillespie works as a sales engineer at Sweetwater where on any given day top-notch musicians from around the world drop in to record. That’s where Gillespie met the vocalist Amadhia Albee. Amadhia, as she is known, collaborated on an album called Catala: Songs of the Catalans. It is Dream Rodeo’s most recent release and a good example of the ambient, dream-like style of the project – and the mechanics of it as well. “She lives in Arizona,” Gillespie said. “All of the vocals and the flute were done in her closet in Arizona, and she drop-boxed them to me. I’d send mixes of the arrangements back to her. She said ‘no’ to a jazz interpretation of one, and I had to start over.” The songs tend to be long (seven or eight minutes is about average) and packed full of sounds. One piece on Catala has more than 80 separate tracks. If Gillespie can’t create the sounds he needs on his own, he hires local musicians and those he meets through work or online. He works with a drummer from Uganda on a regular basis, trading audio equipment for tracks. He got Bakiti Kumalo, who played bass on Paul Simon’s Graceland, and Spin Doctors drummer Aaron Comess to play on songs. Fort Wayne musicians Mimi Burns and Fernando Tarango both are featured on a Dream Rodeo albums, one of Celtic songs and one of Gregorian chants. It all begins with the vocalists. The concept for the Dream Rodeo project came to him on a day in 2000 in the form of Jeff Britton. Britton and Gillespie have known each other for years and have worked together on numerous ventures in the past. This day, Britton dropped by Gillespie’s studio with his niece Lydia Brown, who is a cantor in her Greek Orthodox church. Britton wanted Gillespie to record her singing and then put music to it. Brown sang three parts, two harmony and one melody, with only a metronome and drone note. Gillespie then had her sing each part two more times without hearing what she had already sung. “They have some really cool chants,” Gillespie said. “After all the parts were triple-tracked, I spread them out in a nice stereo image and played it back, and it was amazing. The sound was just full and rich and gorgeous.” Gillespie and Britton brought in keyboard player Eric Clancy to play some drum loops on a synthesizer; they threw in some other sounds, and Gillespie added some spoken lines and voila. They both thought it was pretty cool. They decided to do an album of Brown singing Greek Orthodox chants with Gillespie’s compositions added later. One recording session with Brown took seven hours. “So it’s a pretty involved process,” Gillespie said. “But my method was developed that first day.” He tends to work spontaneously, using whatever sounds right at the time. As long he keeps things interesting, freaky even, he’s happy. Britton moved on to other things after that first album, but Gillespie was hooked. Gillespie, who is 52, grew up in a musical family. His father played the violin, his mother, the piano. His grandfather was a traveling evangelist whose wife played the piano. His father had a large record collection, mostly classical and jazz. The only pop music Gillespie remembers hearing from that period was Bob Dylan’s Slow Train Coming, which he listened to and then discussed with his family. Later some friends came to live with his family and they brought Beatles records. “They weren’t horrible,” Gillespie recalled thinking of the Beatles at the time. At Wheaton College in Illinois Gillespie studied composition and ethnomusicology, later earning a masters in recording. It’s also where he first began to appreciate rock n’ roll. “At that time I really just didn’t pay attention to popular music, and then somebody played the Police for me,” he said. “Zenyatta Mondata. And it was like, bing! I had been studying the minimalists like Stephen Reich and Philip Glass, people like that, and here was a band that took the best of the minimalist movement and created these soundscapes in which there would be an ostinato guitar and it wouldn’t change, but the bass would change under it and shift the entire harmony, and the melody would create the other part of the harmony and it was brilliant, you know. I found it intellectually fascinating and from that point on that was like the gateway drug to rock n’ roll.” From 1985 to 1992 Gillespie played keyboards in a Christian rock band called Juso, a nonsense word they made up. The band toured the country and nearly made it big, besting 42 other bands in a nationwide battle of the bands in St. Louis. But when the time came to make the jump to hyperspace, his bandmates got cold feet. “We had record people talking to us, and man, once the possibility of the band becoming something big, that was it. I have never seen so many people scuttle the same ship.” That’s when he decided to steer his own course. Dream Rodeo is his dream project, his life’s work. It allows him to use whatever he can get his hands on, whether it’s snippets of Bob Marley skanking from the master tapes or the sound of an early morning rainstorm. He pays for the rights for what he uses and does what he can to help collaborators when they need it. Recently through Facebook he met a 15-year-old Ukrainian girl who sings old Russian folk songs and plays a type of lute her father makes. It’s perfect for Gillespie. “Here’s a bunch of these folk songs, and they’re being played by two or three people in the world, and when those folks stop playing them nobody will hear them ever again,” he said. “These songs need to be saved somehow. They’re not recorded. It’s an oral tradition. Nobody’s buying records of this stuff. So I said, ‘Do you want to do this?’ And she’s like ‘yeah, I’ll ask my dad.’ And her dad is like ‘how will we record this?’ And I said, ‘Well, let me help you.” Through his connections Gillespie was able to get a professional vocal mic and interface to the girl and her father, even in war-torn Ukraine. “I’ve gotten the files for one song so far. Got seven or eight more to go. I’m really pumped about this.” Gillespie does not see an end to Dream Rodeo. “I want to keep doing this till I keel over. So if there are other people out there who can sing in other languages, get in touch. There is just so much to do.”

Mark Hunter

Left Lane Cruiser

Dirty Spliff Blues

Left Lane Cruiser have been making solidly dirty, crunchy two-man blues for 10 years now. Each time out they upped the ante a bit, adding a little more grit and grease. Now that guitarist and vocalist Freddy J IV is the only remaining original member, he’s changed things up a bit by taking that two-man dynamic and making it a three-piece with drummer Pete Dio and bass and skateboard (yep, stringed skateboard) player Joe Bent. The result is the balls to the walls Dirty Spliff Blues. There’s no denying that Clarksdale, Mississippi by way of Fort Wayne, Indiana by way of Hades death blues vibe. It’s blues as heavy as anything you’ll hear on Relapse or Tee Pee Records. Has the sound changed that much? A little more low end and a little more growl, but it’s still the straight up blues you’ve grown to love. Maybe a little hazier and stickier. “Tres Borrachos” blows out of the speakers like a unholy mixture of Corrosion of Conformity and Jas Mathus and his Knockdown Society. It’s low down boogie-woogie from the fires of hell or an ash-covered car seat. “Elephant Stomp” is soggy from dank water and the spirit of RL Burnside. It crawls and creeps. Giving the LLC sound some low end in the form of bass does nothing but make their sound that much better. That point is proven by this song. “Whitebread N’ Beans” moves steady and solid like a muscle car through downtown looking for action. “Tangled Up In Bush” and “Heavy Honey” falter in their own chugging pistons and pedestrian lyrics, but side two opens with title track “Dirty Spliff Blues” and erases any mediocrity we may have heard previously. Elsewhere “Skateboard Blues” goes old school with some great skateboard guitar slide and Chicago-style blues, while album closer “She Don’t Care” blows some powerhouse blues right into our faces, leaving us buzzing long after the album ends. Left Lane Cruiser have been a staple in the two-man blues scene for a decade now. Even with that two-man operation becoming a three-man outfit, the mission statement still seems to be the same: keep it authentic and keep it loud. Freddy J IV and his new cohorts are indeed keeping things authentic and loud. Dirty Spliff Blues is another fine installment in the Left Lane Cruiser canon.

John Hubner

Phillip Colglazier

Still Happy After All These Years

Phillip Colglazier’s life in theater came from a somewhat surprising direction. A gymnast through his school days, he was regularly demonstrating his prowess as a Lane Middle School student. That’s not to say that other kinds of performance hadn’t begun to take shape long before that, however. “As a little kid I used to dress up as a clown and would balance on oatmeal boxes,” he says now with a laugh. “I was hanging curtains in my basement and wrote plays. My family was always supportive and nurturing my creativity.” But it was definitely gymnastics which held his focus for many years, even being part of the men’s gymnastics team while he attended Ball State University. He just knew he wanted something more. “As a male gymnast at that time, there were few outlets where I could utilize my skills, things I could do that could nurture my soul. Theater gave me a place to develop friendships and gave me a broader sense of the world. So I decided to switch my major to theater at Ball State.” After getting his first paying job in theatre in the summer of 1979, Colglazier “knew I had the bug,” and after three summers at Opryland, he completed his degree in speech and theater education. But he knew he had to take a leap of faith to assure he’d have no regrets. “I knew I had to go to New York City. I knew if I didn’t, I would regret it. I had a passion for theater, and you just need to let yourself go down that path and see where you can take it. I knew I had to do it. There was no choice.” Ironically, most of the jobs he got while in New York took him to places around the globe – Italy, Austria, Korea. Theater was indeed providing him with a broader sense of the world, but injuries were taking their toll, and Colglazier says, “I decided to start listening to my body.” Thus began a journey that would ultimately bring him back to Fort Wayne. That journey started with a year spent at the Old Indiana Fun Park in Thorntown, a place where he was able to learn more about the behind-the-scenes work that would one day fill his life. He also took on a variety of jobs, teaching gymnastics among them. Along the way he worked at Fort Wayne Ballet and gained further experience teaching dance and applying for grants as their education director. And one more interesting job helped put him in touch with community and business leaders. “The only paying acting job in Fort Wayne was as Happy the Hobo, and I played Happy for three years. What people don’t realize about that kind of thing is that I was producing the show too, so I had to write the skits, create the material, schedule the guests who were going to be on. I met a lot of people in the community through being Happy the Hobo.” Choreography also became a big part of his résumé, working with the Fort Wayne Fury dance team as well as the Civic Theatre, where he eventually accepted a position as education director and, for a time, interim director. A year spent as managing director for Indianapolis’s Edyvean Repertory Theatre was the final piece to the puzzle. In 2000 he was offered the position of executive and artistic director for the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre. On the surface, juggling executive and artistic duties sounds pretty right brain/left brain, calling upon business savvy and creative inspiration which don’t always coexist. But for Colglazier, it’s that very thing which has made the job so fulfilling for the last 15 years. “I would definitely say I get the same pleasure of opening night applause when I receive a grant approval check! Really, the two roles are not that different. A good director is organized, and you really have to bring the best out in people. Those things carry over. The palate may be different, but the skill set is very similar, at least in the way I approach the position.” Colglazier points to the Civic’s two signature fundraising events – Celebrities Act Up and the Northeast Indiana Playwright Festival – as ways that he’s brought creativity to the administrative side of the organization. His own years as a playwright inspired his desire to provide a forum for local talent to get their words on a stage, before an audience. He continues to direct some of the Civic’s productions and can be seen on stage from time to time (recently in the Fort Wayne Ballet production of Don Quixote), providing him further opportunities to explore his creative side. Having gotten his start in theater in Fort Wayne with a production of South Pacific at age 15, Colglazier is happy to have returned home to share his love of theater with others. “I think the Civic Theatre is a true gem in this community. Having the background that I have, this is not a stepping stone position. This job is bigger than me. I look at kids that are doing our plays, and I’ll ask them ‘How old are you?’ and if they say 15, I say, ‘You could be in this job one day.’ Because I didn’t imagine when I did my first play at that age that I would one day be here doing this. “I want to strengthen the Civic’s place in the community so one day, when I pass it along, it’s in good financial order.” Above all, Colglazier has seen enough to keep some perspective, and it’s that mind set that allows him to enjoy all aspects of his long run at the Civic. “I try not to take myself too seriously. There’s enough stress in the world, and the job can be stressful. If you don’t have a sense of humor, it’s hard to keep your perspective. It’s not brain surgery.”

Michele DeVinney

Ricky Kemery

Painted Sky

If you think life is easy and uncomplicated, you need to listen to Ricky Kemery’s Painted Sky. The singer/songwriter’s second album is an ambitious testimony to the difficulties of making it through this world, all of it wrapped in an appealing cloak of folk-country good-naturedness. It’s no slight album, either. Kemery gives us well over an hour of songs about people figuring out how to handle things, whether that means running away from their troubles or making peace with the way things are, thinking about life’s big questions or just bumping up against the conflicts of interpersonal relationships. Even when it seems like the mood could be set to lighten up a bit, as in “Drinking Song,” Kemery puts a wry twist on the tradition of odes to alcohol. Kemery is supported on Painted Sky by multi-instrumentalists Gwendra Turney (violin, keyboard) and Tommy Myers (bass, flute, accordion, percussion); Kemery himself provides guitar, mandolin and percussion, and Austin Putt contributes rhythm guitar to the album’s opening track. For the most part, Turney and Myers stay in the background, providing a gentle bed for Kemery’s vocals, although Turney’s violin does occasionally bring a floating melody to the fore, and the pair’s harmonies broaden the choruses. In general, it’s all Kemery up front, his gravelly voice just the right combination of weary and warm. And that’s what Kemery’s songs leave you with in the end: a warm weariness, the comforting idea that even though the journey through life can be a tough one, on most days it’s worth it.

Evan Gillespie

Janet Piercy

From Ingenue to 'Mom'

Before she even knew what it meant, Janet Piercy was a performer.   “I wrote plays as a kid and organized the neighborhood kids doing shows,” she says. “I’d also play ‘priest,’ giving communion or marrying other kids. When we weren’t putting on a show or doing cheers, we would do ‘gymnastics’ on the swing set – hanging upside down, doing flips over the bars, jumping off the swings. It seems like I was always performing.” When she wasn’t faking her way through gymnastics or the functions of a Catholic priest, young Janet Ankenbruck was singing along to show tune record albums. “I loved Julie Andrews,” she says. “I learned every song from Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, Oklahoma!, all the classics.”   It wasn’t until her eighth grade year that she took the next step and made it real. “A neighbor girl took me to see Sing Out, Fort Wayne [a local subgroup of Up with People] perform at the outdoor Foellinger Theatre at Franke Park,” she says. “I wanted to sing and dance like those kids did, so I joined that summer. We learned all the songs and choreography, made our costumes. I eventually got to sing some solo numbers with the group.” Then her parents took her to see My Fair Lady at the Wagon Wheel Playhouse, and that opened her up to a whole new aspect of performance. Shortly thereafter, she used one of the show’s signature songs, “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” at her first community theater audition. “My sister Margaret took me,” she says. “We auditioned at the Jefferson Center for the park board’s summer production of Mame at the Foellinger Theatre. I really had no idea what to expect. I sang my audition piece a cappella. The show starred Ann Colone, a local TV celebrity. Margaret and I were cast in the chorus. I loved every minute of that experience. I met wonderful people who I later did other shows with.” Her experience in Mame got her hooked for life. Two years later she was appearing in North Side High School’s production of Oklahoma! She was cast in the chorus, but she was also asked to understudy Laurey, the female lead, who was played by an upperclassman. A pretty big deal for one of only a few sophomores in the cast. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in music at Indiana University and a master of science in secondary education from IPFW. While in school, she performed extensively in theatrical productions, recitals and summer community theatre. She sings professionally for weddings, funerals, concerts and in musical revues. Overall, she has performed in over 50 stage productions to date, mainly in ingénue roles. “Doing theatre takes a big commitment of time and energy,” she says. “Juggling your job and family commitments and still finding time for yourself is not easy.” She did manage to find time for herself after the birth of her first child, playing Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance. “That role was very special to me,” she says. “I have also been blessed to get to do several shows with my husband or children, such as Lily in The Secret Garden, Marian in The Music Man and Edith in Never Too Late.” Her entire family appeared together in the 1999 Civic Theatre production of State Fair, for which Piercy won an Anthony Award. Piercy has been a music educator for the past 37 years, teaching kids kindergarten to high school and directing choir concerts and mini musical productions. Her three children are grown now, and her oldest daughter, Elizabeth, has followed in her footsteps, having performed professionally for Disney Entertainment and Celebrity Cruise Lines and teaching voice in her own music studio. Onstage, Piercy has graduated from ingénue roles to comic roles. “It seems like these days I’m [playing] everybody’s mom,” she says. She has enjoyed her most recent acting challenge, Marlee in Touch & Go by Rebecca Cameron with the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre’s 6th annual Northeast Indiana Playwright Festival this summer. It was the “most serious and dramatic role” she’d ever played, she says. As an accomplished musician and singer, she said she enjoyed stretching her acting muscles as Marlee. “What is always fun is taking words from a page and bringing them to life,” she says, “communicating with the other actors and with the audience through action and voice and facial expressions.” Characters in musicals can sometimes be a bit over-the-top. But no matter what role she is performing, Piercy says she puts a lot of focus on genuineness. “No matter whether it’s a big musical or a small, personal play, I want the character I play to be a real person,” she says. “There has to be an honesty to them.” Piercy also appreciates the opportunity to perform, acknowledging the wide range of competition in this city. “There are many talented actresses in Fort Wayne,” she says. “I would love to see more great roles for mature women written and performed.” Nevertheless, she says, “I’m grateful that Fort Wayne has such a vibrant arts community. While I don’t get into every show I try out for, I am still able to enjoy performing on stage with some regularity.”

Jen Poiry-Prough


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