Arts & Culture

Southern author Janie Dempsey Watts has written two novels: Moon Over Taylor's Ridge​ and Return to Taylor's Crossing. Both were set in North Georgia, the area where she resides. But she’s also spent decades in California and traveled globally. Her newest work is a collection of short stories, Mothers, Sons, Beloveds, and Other Strangers​, and the collection is divided, geographically, into three sections: stories set in the South, stories set in California, and stories in Europe.

This Saturday, Chattanooga will have its first all day Hip Hop Festival featuring music, an open-air market, a sneaker expo and a range of classes covering everything from the history of hip hop to music production and a hip hop dance class. Hip Hop Cha, the organizers of the festival, have been in Chattanooga for less than a year. Headed by Cameron Williams, their goal, he told Richard Winham, is to bring everyone in the Chattanooga Hip Hop Community together for a day long showcase.

This Friday October 20th, Reflections Gallery on Lee Highway is hosting a reception for four of the artists whose work is currently on display in the gallery. Richard Winham stopped by last week to talk to one of the artists, Melissa Gates, whose work has already been widely acclaimed.

The Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga’s current production is Beth Henley’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, Crimes of the Heart. A Southern gothic comedy set in the small town of Hazlehurst in Mississippi in the late 1970’s, it centers on the three McGrath sisters, Lenny, Beth and Babe.

In his review of the play, The New York Times’ theatre critic, Charles Isherwood, described the play as “a little bit Chekhov and a little bit Eudora Welty.”

Leah Weiss's debut novel If the Creek Don't Rise features an unusual storytelling structure: each chapter is told from one character's point of view, so the story is revealed through ten different voices. Set in 1970s Appalachia, it's about Sadie Blue, a pregnant teenager who must free herself from an abusive marriage, and about others in town--especially women--who help her. 

Mark A Herndon

In 2009, photographs of Wayne White's art were collected in a 400-page hardcover book, Maybe Now I'll Get The Respect I So Richly Deserve. White had worked for years behind the scenes at children's shows such as Pee Wee's Playhouse, designing puppets and sets. He was also the art director for music videos such as Peter Gabriel's "Big Time."

His artistic sensibilities influenced many young viewers. But few knew his name.

Nathan Kilpatrick creates custom frames for customers’ paintings at Reflections Gallery on Lee Highway. He’s also a painter and sculptor. He likes to work with found objects—pieces of wood that have washed up on the shore or that he finds discarded in trash piles.

He has an exhibition of his work opening at Reflections Gallery this Friday, September 15th. Richard Winham stopped by the gallery to look at some of his work and to talk to him about his unusual approach to framing and sculpture. 

Prairie Home Productions

Although he's retired from hosting the radio version of A Prairie Home Companion, Garrison Keillor is bringing his live (non-broadcast) Prairie Home "Love and Comedy" Tour to Chattanooga's Tivoli Theatre on Saturday, September 9, 2017. This live performance features musicians Richard Dworsky and The Road Hounds and Heather Masse, and sound-effects wizard Fred Newman.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was reportedly Tennessee Williams’s favorite of all his plays. The Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga’s production of the play opens this Friday evening at 7:30. Richard Winham talked to the director, Garry Posey, who told him it’s a play about mendacity.

The River Gallery in Chattanooga's Bluff View art district is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a month-long show featuring three of the artists featured in the gallery’s first exhibition in 1992.

Richard Winham talked to Mary Portera, who together with her husband, Dr. Charles Portera, has developed the artisanal complex on the bluff above the Tennessee River in downtown Chattanooga.

This summer the Signal Mountain Playhouse is mounting a production of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Many community theater groups may have found just building the sets for this show to be more than they wanted to handle, but the Signal Mountain Playhouse has a group of set designers who relish a challenge. Last summer they built a flying car for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. This year they’ve built Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

“Are we really done with windows?” asks one of the characters in Courtney Maum’s new novel Touch.

He’s not talking about the operating system.

“I mean the architectural component that lets in light,” he says. “I mean, if I have a window, then—and this is really modern—I can just look through it and decide all by myself how to dress. I don’t need my home automation system to send me a text.”

CBS

Mimi Kennedy was destined for fame; as a child, she wanted to be an actress, and throughout her career, Broadway, the big screen and TV have served her well, making her face familiar to almost everyone. She's also an author and activist, and she's chatting with WUTC about her on- and off-stage roles in life, starting with her portrayal of Jan in both the original Broadway and National Touring productions of Grease.

The song “Change” explains why people around the nation are leaving coins at the graves of soldiers, sailors, and other military service members. 

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Why don't people sing together anymore? During the Civil Rights movement, marchers used songs to bond with each other, but modern protest movements don't necessarily unite the same way. 

Dr. Ysaye Barnwell encourages people to put down their phones and make real-world connections through the power of group singing.

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