Near Misses, Tight Squeezes And Canned Food Catastrophes: Mom’s Motorized Cart Odyssey

By Andrew Jenner

I can’t have been the only child who dreamed of commandeering one of those motorized shopping carts that sit tantalizingly unattended at grocery stores entrances. And I’m surely not the only adult who still, somewhere in his heart of childish hearts, would kill for the opportunity to go joy-riding down the frozen foods aisle, spinning donuts on the shiny waxed floor, veering madly around corners Mario Kart-style. Wouldn’t it be fun?
By age 28, though, I’d pretty much accepted that this wasn’t going to happen, that firsthand knowledge of self-propelled shopping carts will only come once I’m sufficiently withered and broken down to actually need one, that I will probably never be able to muster the necessary chutzpah and disregard for basic decency required to pull off such a stunt.
And then, a fortunate thing happened: my mother developed severe and terrible plantar fasciitis, and in September, underwent an invasive and painful foot surgery requiring many weeks of recovery – and entitling her to full operational privileges of any and all motorized shopping carts throughout the land. Continue reading “Near Misses, Tight Squeezes And Canned Food Catastrophes: Mom’s Motorized Cart Odyssey” »

Upd8: The Super Gr8 Film Festival

The Super Gr8 Film Festival to take place November 16th at 7:30 at The Court Square Theater in Downtown Harrisonburg.

The Super Gr8 Film Festival is coming together one splice at a time.  After talking with all of the filmmakers who are making the 20 films that will be presented, I can tell you it will be an intriguing show of local talent.  Nearly half of the filmmakers are visual artists who have exhibited and sold their artwork.  Others are professional photographers or play directors or SMAD students or video editors, the list goes on. The experience of all the filmmakers will enhance their filmmaking ambitions and abilities in different ways, making each film a unique exploration of form.

After the meeting with the filmmakers in September, where they were given a crash course in Super 8 filmmaking, Continue reading “Upd8: The Super Gr8 Film Festival” »

This post was submitted by Paul Somers.

John Bell’s New Art Show: August 6 at the Artful Dodger

Long time artist and Valley resident, John Bell has an upcoming show of artwork at The Artful Dodger in Downtown Harrisonburg. Bell, who has had a large impact on The Valley’s art scene as an artist as well as a teacher of other artists, will be exhibiting a wide array of works on canvas.

Turning Point by John Bell

After earning a BFA from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and an MFA from JMU, John Bell began teaching Art at Blue Ridge Community College in 1990 and has been there ever since.

Back in 2001, I was a student at Blue Ridge and when deciding my electives, chose John Bell’s Art History course. It was quite an introduction to the history of human creativity since the Renaissance. I found his lectures to be inspiring and incredibly knowledgeable. Most of my knowledge of Art History I attribute to Mr. Bell, but more importantly, my interest in the arts that continues to this day is largely of his doing. Continue reading “John Bell’s New Art Show: August 6 at the Artful Dodger” »

This post was submitted by Paul Somers.

Olé Blah-Dee, Olé Blah-Da

The fifth and final part in a series by Andrew Jenner about the South Africa 2010 World Cup and the meaning of life in Harrisonburg, Virginia (Part I, Part IIPart III, Part IV).

For nearly a week now, the Spain v. Netherlands World Cup final has been weighing on my soul. It doesn’t have anything to do with my own feelings about the game’s outcome. It’s just that I’m supposed to be finishing up this series and, given how the whole tournament ended with a whimper, not a bang, I’ve got nothing much to say.

It had all the makings of a big-deal kind of thing in Harrisonburg. Continue reading “Olé Blah-Dee, Olé Blah-Da” »

This post was submitted by Andrew Jenner.

This All Might Be A Little Too Much

Part III in a series about the South Africa 2010 World Cup and the meaning of life in Harrisonburg, Virginia (Part I and Part II).

Here I am, alone, in the cool, comfortable dim of a booth in the Harrisonburg edition of Buffalo Wild Wings, basking in the electric glow of, like, 20 televisions. It is just after 10 a.m., early for a Saturday trip to my friendly local sports bar, and I am the only patron in the restaurant section. The staff are engaged in a relaxed and practiced weekend morning routine: cutting lemons, wrapping napkins around cutlery, updating the markerboards, Windexing glass surfaces.

On the biggest of the big screens, centered along the south wall, Uruguay and South Korea are playing the first game of the 2010 World Cup’s knockout stages. The vuvuzela cacophony, beamed across the world through the digital ether, blares through the house sound system. Continue reading “This All Might Be A Little Too Much” »

This post was submitted by Andrew Jenner.

Denise Kanter’s Talent and Vision

Denise Kanter is a local artist and graduate from JMU; her medium is oil and her show is up at The Artful Dodger. To say it is a fine display of talent and vision only leaves me wanting to say more, but I do so with trepidation. I’ll try and explain.

Denise’s stylized oil paintings depict people or beautifully abstracted realities, and sometimes they depict both on the same canvas. Many of her figure paintings in fact seem to be emerging out of some abstract world or emotion. Stirring our curiosity with such subject matter, she further draws us in by the precise execution of her own unique style. Continue reading “Denise Kanter’s Talent and Vision” »

This post was submitted by Paul Somers.

Help Support Local Student in Design Competition!

Have a passion for color or home design? Third year Virginia Tech interior design student and Harrisonburg native, Jessie Oliver, does! Jessie has recently entered a home office design into the 2010 Benjamin Moore Envision Color Contest, and needs the community’s help to become one of the top ten finalists!
From the top ten, 3 entries will be selected to win the following awards: 1st Place-$10,000, 2nd Place-$5,000, and 3rd Place-$2,500! Jessie is competing against 134 other interior design students from all over the nation and Canada. Voting is quick, easy, and will be open until 11:59 PM on May 30, 2010. All you need to do to vote is follow these few steps:

  1. Follow this link to Jessie’s entry
  2. Click the purple “Like it?” paint swatch in the upper right hand corner of the entry.
  3. Register to vote and click “submit and start voting.” (They ask for a minimal amount of information in order to keep track of the voting).
  4. It will bring you back to Jessie’s entry. Now click the same “Like it?” purple paint swatch until it changes to a pink “I like it!” paint swatch.

Thank you so much for helping support a local student!

This post was submitted by Jessie Oliver.

Art Exhibit: Heart To Heart

Sam Hunter's art exhibit is inspried by a heart attack. See her exhibit at Sawhill Gallery through April 21, 2010.

That art makes manifest an artist’s inner dialog with their personal demons is a well accepted notion. The exhibit by Sam Hunter, now on display at James Madison University’s Sawhill Gallery, is a prime example of just such a revealing dialog, this time between an artist and their body.

Ms. Hunter, a recent transplant to Virginia by way of Southern California and originally England, presents us with an array of thoughtfully arranged and interestingly displayed fiber and mixed-media works that explore her response to a recent heart attack, and more importantly, her subsequent struggle to recover.

How Do You Mend a Broken Heart by Sam Hunter

As Ms. Hunter put it, the “heart attack robbed, but it also gifted me something in return.” What the heart attack gifted appears to have been a new and conceptually powerful outlet for her art. Coping with the sudden shock of dealing with a heart that was no longer trustworthy, and the ongoing medical concerns of how best to move forward in life, Ms. Hunter shares “art has always saved me” and the work on display bears witness to that salvation.

Titles of work such as Apical Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and Median Sternotomy might seem strange and medically remote, but the sensitive handling of the collected two and three-dimensional images and forms invite us to empathize and reflect on our own physical fragility. As the late, great Robert Arneson once shared “all works of art are a self-portrait.”

The self-portrait Ms. Hunter presents us with is a brave and interesting new vista to which we can all relate. Just listen to your heart beat. “Wearing My Heart on My Sleeve” Trough April 21. (Sawhill Gallery, Duke Hall, James Madison University, 800 S. Main St., Harrisonburg, VA., 540-568-6918.)

Written by Cole H. Welter

This post was submitted by Cole Welter.