High flyin’ Brian
One of the Whitewater Valley’s favorite performers Brian Keith Wallen nabbed second place in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, he reports in a recent email.
Brian said this 31st edition of the Challenge “featured 250+ musicians from all over the world” to compete for cash, prizes and industry recognition. It is promoted by The Blues Foundation as “the world's largest gathering of Blues acts.”
To get to this level, that is playing on Beale Street, Brian and all the other finalists had to win his regional challenge. He represented the Dayton Blues Society in the Solo/Duo category.
The International Blues Challenge is effectively an international search for the Blues band, or duo or solo “ready to take their act to the international stage,” according to The Blues Foundation, the Challenges producer for the past 31 years.
Wallen will receive a cash prize, promotional opportunities, and a performance at the Daytona Blues Festival in Florida.
“It’s a dream come true,” said the 22-year old Wallen. “I’ve been working for years to get here, and I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have this opportunity. I can’t wait to see where this takes me.”
We predict, Daytona for one.
February turns its face towards spring
It’s amazing, next Sunday is February first and we have yet to be beaten
to our knees by Old Man Winter. He’s probably still resting after last year’s
output. Winter-wise, it was prodigious. But we’ve gotten through half of the
bottom half of winter and we’ve been blessed with temperatures probably higher
And here is it February when Groundhogs and Valentines engage our
attention and the first serious efforts at next year’s garden traditionally
begin. There’s one thing you can do in February that you can’t do in January,
realistically consider spring.
The nowness of Tuesday
Meltdown Winter Festival is here and there’s lots of life in Richmond
this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The temperatures are warm enough not to be
unbearable for we humans, yet cold enough to sustain life studies carved in
Can you imagine Tuesday taking the light on the Guide calendar? Well,
today, the day of this publication, you could catch Joe Wilkins read from his
memoirs. He is an award winning writer from Eastern Montana and will be in the
Ronald Gallery of the Lilly Library at Earlham College this evening.
you might get some writing of your own, as in autographs of the ice sculptors
outside the Bard Room at Morrisson-Reeves Library. They will be carving ice
between signing autographs, so to be seasonally correct you might get them to
autograph a small block of ice which might also remind us of the ephemerality
A howl out to the whole state
Visit Indiana’s latest issue features a good reason for travelers to
enjoy the Whitewater Valley in winter. That reason is Wolf Creek Habitat &
Rescue. It tells us Wolf Creek Habitat is open year round but only on the
“There is no admission or parking charge to come see the wolves. Call us
and set up an experience with the wolves for a fee.” The habitat is located at
14099 Wolf Creek Road, near Oak Forest, Indiana. Phone 513 312-9143 to get up
close and personal with wolves.
An art fair with fare
Art Center artists are holding a fair of their wares and their ways in Eaton
this Friday evening. The object is to introduce an important art show, their
2015 Members Exhibit and Open Studio with a hands-on reception.
an open studio format a roomful of artists will work on their stuff and tell
you about it. There will be demonstrations in painting, pottery and other art
activities. You with your light fare in hand, will wander mostly overhearing
snippets of conversations while your eyes browse through the beautiful
creations in the process of being created. Fresh paint in the air and spinning
wheels of silvery mud slowly shaping itself between the potter’s hands, ah, art
The work of the Preble County Art Association members on hand represents
a range of mediums, we are told in a release from Vicky Fanberg, executive
director of the Visual Arts Center. Robert Coveney, Patty Emerson, Gary Glaser,
Andrea Furby, Vicki Rader and Judy Thaxton, are “only a few of the
She writes, “This is the perfect opportunity to see what is going on at
the art center before classes begin on February 2nd. This is a family friendly
event that will include light fare and lots of fun.”
Superstition and prayers
J&J Winery is snubbing its nose at superstition in favor of romance.
Odd oppositions romance and superstition, about as odd as Valentine’s Day on
Friday the 13th. But that’s your first opportunity to celebrate
Valentine’s Day at J&J; Saturday, the actual holiday, if holiday it is, is
The ‘day’ part I’ll grant you, but the ‘holi’ part, not so much. When it
comes to holidays, Valentine’s Day ain’t for saints even though it is prefixed
St. on the Catholic calendar or was, I’d imagine.
When it comes to the Catholic church and speaking from the pulpit of the
holiday of today, we hope the new pope, as Francis as he seems to be, gets into
micro-managing his American affairs and reverses the decision of the mighty
“Archdiocese of Indianapolese” which severed 27 churches in the Batesville
Deanery not so long ago.
And may Pope Francis support the wave of current Church energy focusing
on its flesh rather than its pomp and circumstance, and interpret that flesh
church by church throughout the Whitewater Valley. Then the prayers of the
parishioners of Holy Guardian Angel in Cedar Grove would certainly be answered
and mass again be heard there.
Follow me, follow you —
‘Along the Chocolate Trail on Valentine’s Day’ sounds like something
Hoagy Carmichael might have put to music, but it isn’t. It, like J&J
Winery’s offering above, is part
of Cuddle up in Richmond this Valentine’s Day which features free chocolate
tastings along the Chocolate Trail.
These chocolate drops are placed a little like the trail of bread crumbs
Hansel and Gretel once followed only instead of a gingerbread house in the deep
dark woods, the prize is three overnight packages at your choice of the Hampton
Inn and Suites, the Holiday Inn, and/or Phillip W. Smith or Martha E. Parry
still think someone should put ‘Along the Chocolate Trail’ to music. Where’s
Cole Porter when you need him?
Gary August Schlueter
January 27, 2015