The Akron Beacon Journal from Akron, Ohio on March 18, 1982 · Page 41
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The Akron Beacon Journal from Akron, Ohio · Page 41

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Akron, Ohio
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Thursday, March 18, 1982
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Page 41
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Akron Beacon Journal D3 REVIEW Thursday. March 18, 1932 Anna Mussel! tickles the musical funny bones Anyone who has heard Anna Russell's analysis of Wagner's Ring Cycle might have a hard time sitting through the entire saga in an opera house without letting out a few healthy snickers. Miss Russell's version of the Ring certainly is much funnier than the original. The British comedienne, even on a bad night, also probably sings this music better than a lot of so-called Wagnerian singers. Miss Russell, who performed at the Cleveland Museum of Art Wednesday night with the impeccable assistance of pianist Frank Bartholomew, has been offering her succinct and exceedingly humorous interpretations of virtually every aspect of classical musical since, well, only she knows when. However many years have passed since she first began tickling musical Donald Rosenberg funny bones, Miss Russell or racon-teuse extraordinaire, as she is billed has lost little of her touch. She excels in musical parody because she deeply understands the inner workings of what she is ribbing so irreverently. Miss Russell also obviously adores everything she deflates. IF THE comedienne's program Wednesday had a few tedious spots, for some of the narratives went on somewhat too long, it also included some vintage Russell routines. The Wagner section, which closed the evening, is perhaps her most famous and successful bit. Some musical scholars, in fact, would be at a loss for words in the presence of Miss Russell, who not only makes the most profound (and profoundly funny) observations on Wagner's extravaganza, but also sings excerpts from the score while she accompanies herself at the piano. Miss Russell, a bulky, somewhat balmy woman whose timing and deadpan expressions are joys to behold, can be as outrageous as the operatic form itself. HER LESSON on How to Write Your Own Gilbert and Sullivan Operetta is another gem. Here, Miss Russell imitates with uncanny accuracy the G & S style both musically and dramatically. She undertakes every stock character in her creation, including that of the chorus, switching roles only by changing hats and daffiJy altering her vocal range. What also makes Miss Russell so special is her ability to pinpoint with such truth the various foibles and pretensions of concert singers and the music they perform. The texts of German and French art songs emerge as utter nonsense from Miss Russell's mouth, as they often do from the vocal cavities of serious artists (we hear such words as blintzes, gesundheit and souffle, which exist in no lieder I've ever heard). All the quirks that singers display onstage the overly earnest expressions, the little intimacies to the pianist are exaggerated to the brink of lunacy by Miss Russell. Her idea of Flamenco style is castanets, an Ole from the pianist and a lyric that ends with "Oy, vay." For contemporary music, she explains that the singer can sing anything since no one, possibly including the composer, will know if it's right or not. And in illustrating British folk tunes, she gets an entire audience to grunt and snort like some revolting farm animal. For Miss Russell, nothing in the world of classical music is sacred. Our hats should be off to her: She keeps us sane. TRAVEL WITH FRAN Puppets in Portsmou By Frances B. Marphey Beacon Journal staff writer Puppets and Portsmouth are going together these days. Tried-and-true puppetry fans are likely to cross the state to the city on the Ohio River in the next eight weeks. Some of the rest of us may figure out a way to be in the neighborhood, too. The reason: Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center will feature the traveling exhibition, Puppets: Art and Entertainment, Sunday through May 15. The show covers 800 years with 230 puppet-related items from pre-Columbian antiquities to the Muppets. Punch and Judy, the oldest folk puppets in Europe, will be represented, along with U. S. A. favorites, Howdy Doody and Charlie McCarthy. A section will be devoted to each of eight subjects ritual, cultural heritage, social satire, vaudeville, trick marionettes, theater, education and puppets on the screen. LIVE PUPPET presentations of Peter and the Wolf are scheduled for 1 and 3 p.m. for Sunday's opener and at 2 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday , thereafter. Weekday performances will be geared to tour reservations. Several special programs are planned which will feature Northeast Ohio puppeteers. , Rachel Redinger of Dover will lecture on The Versatility of Puppets, exploring the use of puppets in social services, at 2 p.m. Sunday. Mrs. Redinger is best known for her work with the outdoor drama, Trumpet in the Land, at New Philadelphia. George Latshaw of Macedonia will demonstrate puppetry as an art form at 1 and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 4. . On exhibit are six giant figures which were commissioned for Billy the Kid by the Detroit Institute of Art. Billy was first performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 1958 and later by the Cleveland Orchestra. A Cuyahoga County duo will conduct a workshop on Creating the Small Show at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 17. Roger Dennis of Chagrin Falls and Bob Vesely of Solon, who work as Poppinjay Puppets, will also , perform The Emperor's Clothes and Sorcerer's Apprentice at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. the same day. LATSHAW, Wisconsin-born and Akron-reared, participated in the exhibit's runs at the Dallas and Chicago historical societies. The display was created by the Puppeteers of America. It debuted in June 1980 at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D. C, in conjunction with the International Puppetry Festival. It has been on the road since, last at Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York City. The display is free. Its appearance in southwestern Ohio is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and Bank One of Portsmouth. Southern Ohio Museum is housed in a former bank building at 825 Gallia St. in the downtown. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. More information may be obtained from the museum at 614-354-5629 or the Portsmouth Visitors and Convention Bureau at 614-354-6580. They can arrange accommodations at a discount for tours, families or individuals going to the exhibit. Portsmouth is 230 miles from Akron. George Latshaw's Billy the Kid puppets in Portsmouth exhibit WHAT'S HAPPENING Convention will be fun and games By Jane Snow Beacon Journal staff writer Whether your passion is pinball, Dungeons and Dragons or plain old Monopoly, you can play all day and night this weekend at the Neocon I games convention at the University of Akron. Players of all skill levels can compete in the 40 board game tournaments, 30 role-playing game tournaments and 90 miniatures events that will take place throughout the weekend in the Gardner Student Center and other buildings on the Akron U campus. You can try your hand at Boot Hill, Assault and Assassinate and Gamma World. Or how about Monster Squash, Viral Vegetable Wars or Napoleonic Miniatures? For players with more traditional tastes, there will also be chess and backgammon tourna- . ments. About 25 game manufacturers will exhibit their wares, and feature-length films will be shown around the clock. Refreshments will be available. Gardner Student Center will be open all day and night during the convention for open gaming and films. The video game room will remain open also. Hours for other convention activities are 2 to 11 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $9 for the weekend, or $3 on Friday, $5 on Saturday and $4 on Sunday. , Entry fee for each event is $1. House beautiful If you're all thumbs when it comes to fix-up projects around the house, visit the 20th annual Akron Area Home and Garden Show beginning this weekend in Summit Mall. The show will feature demonstrations of all kinds of tricky maintenance projects, from plumbing to heating. More than .100 exhibitors will be showing their home improvement and gardening gadgets. In additional, a model of the $40,000 homes being built under federal guidelines in Akron's urban-renewal areas will be on display. The show opens Friday and continues through March 28. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Tours of the house cost 50 cents. Summer fun You're probably not planning on doing any sheep-herding this summer. But just in case you are, planners of the American and Canadian Sport, Travel and Outdoor Show included it in their what-to-do-in-the-great-outdoors extravaganza, which opens this weekend in Cleveland's Convention Center, 1220 E. Sixth St. Those with more traditional tastes in outdoor activities can browse through about 500 exhibits displaying items for hiking, canoeing, fishing, travel, boating and backpacking. There will also be exhibits to help you with your travel and vacation plans. The sheepherding demonstration will be part of the continuous entertainment presented on three stages. The show runs Friday through March 28. Hours are 4 to 11 p.m. on opening day; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. RECREATION It soon will be time to paddle your own canoe If it's spring, it must be time for the Sierra Club's much-in-demand canoe school. The weekend of on-the-river experiences with skilled instructors as well as lectures, movies and discussion will be held May 1-2 at Camp Yakewi on the Grand River in Austinburg in Ashtabula County. The basic river canoeing training school, open to the first 100 to register, will be held rain or shine. The cost is $39. Four meals will be provided to participants. Accommodations include cots with mattresses in unheated cabins. Canoes may be rented. Families are welcome. Daytime care of youngsters will be provided. Call 666-4026 or 321-3711 in the evening for additional information. Galen Rowell mountain climber, adventurer, photographer and author will narrate a dual-slide show, entitled In the High Peaks of China and Tibet this weekend. The 90-minute show will be presented at 8 p.m. Friday at Akron's Central-Hower High School, 123 Forge St., and 2 and 5 p.m. Sunday at the Colony Theater on Shaker Square in the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights. Rowell's appearance is being presented by the Sierra Club. Tickets are $5 in advance and $6 at the door. Call 434-2177 or 666-4026 in the evening for additional information. HIKES You can join a naturalist-led nature walk, sponsored by the Akron Metropolitan Park District, at 3 p.m. Sunday. Hikers should meet at the Tuscarawas shelter off Harrington Road in Firestone Metropolitan Park in Coventry Township. The Sierra Club is organizing a wildflower hike to Stumpy Basin near Peninsula. Hikers should meet at noon Saturday at Deep Lock Quarry Metropolitan Park off Riverview Road south of Peninsula. FILMS Bears, poison ivy, invertebrates and Chip and Dale will be the subject of Friday's four films, to be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the shelter at Goodyear Heights Metropolitan Park off Newton Street in East Akron. Admission is, of course, free. ET CETERA Waterfalls and the importance of snow and ice will be featured in a program by ranger Richard Vasquez of the National Park Service. It will be held from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Happy Days Information Center off Ohio 303 east of Peninsula in the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area. In addition, the park service is sponsoring an afternoon of orienteering on Saturday. You can learn how to orienteer (use a map and compass to negotiate a cross-country course) from 2 to 4 p.m., starting at the Octagon shelter off Truxell Road in Boston Township. Two courses will be laid out: one for beginners and one for intermediates. The world of frogs will be spotlighted in an illustrated nature program, sponsored by the park service, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Canal Visitors Center, 6699 Canal Road in the Cleveland suburb of Valley View. ML St. Helens: Before and After is the title of a slide show lecture by Dr. Thomas Render, to be presented at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Catholic Service league, 640 N. Main St. The show is being presented at the meeting of the Greater Akron Audubon Society. Planets of Other Stars is the subject of an illustrated astronomy lecture by Dr. C. B. Stephenson of Case Western Reserve University. He will speak at 8 tonight in the Murch Auditorium of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History on Wade Oval in the University Circle area. Admission is free. Following the lecture, the audience will weather permitting have the opportunity to observe astronomical objects through the museum's telescope. The great white shark will be the subject of a lecture by Dr. Thomas McCosker, director of San Francisco's Steinhart Aquarium. He will speak at 8 p.m. Friday in the Murch Auditorium at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Admission is $3.50 for adults, $2.50 for senior citizens and students and $2 for children. Call 1-231-4600 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday for further details. BIRD WALK You can join a bird walk, sponsored by the National Park service, on Sunday. The sessions, set to run from 2 to 4 p.m., will be led by ranger Jeff Mau-gans. Participants, who should bring bin-occulars and field guides, should meet in the Kendall Lake parking lot off Truxell Road in Boston Township. The Wilderness Center off U. S. 250 near Wilmot in southwestern Stark County will host a bird walk at 8 a.m. Saturday. Cleveland Metroparks' Brecksville Trailside Interpretive Center is presenting a bird identification workshop, which gets under way at 7:30 tonight. The center is off Ohio 82, east of Ohio 21.

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