Archive for May, 2012

Storier Jim Pfitzer Brings work of Aldo Leopold to Stage in One-Man Show

May 27, 2012

Reporting: Monessa Guilfoil

Jim Pfitzer spent the night in Aldo Leopold’s shack last October.   This was part of his research on forest ranger, naturalist and author of, “A Sand County Almanac,” published in 1949.   Pfitzer has built a partial replica of that shack for his one-man play about the life work of the author.    Hanging on the wall are old tools, like a two-man hand cut saw.    There is a cast iron pot on the floor and a bench that looks like the one that Aldo Leopold built for his cabin in the woods.

Pfitzer has created an hour-long play based on the work of Aldo Leopold.    Pfitzer will perform his play on Thursday, May 31st at Barking Legs Theatre.  Chattanooga favorite Butch Ross will open the show with an acoustic set of new songs from his forth coming CD.    Pfitzer will also travel to Bonaroo Festival for two performances the following weekend.

Jim Pfitzer

Here’s more from the press release:

Aldo Leopold– A Standard of Change
A New One-man Show by Jim Pfitzer
with Special Guest Butch Ross
THURS, May 31 @ 7 pm
$10 at the door

Don’t miss the final performance of Jim’s new show before it hits Bonnaroo!

Jim Pfitzer is best known for his personal storytelling that has been called “old fashioned and avant-garde at the same time.” Tonight’s play, Aldo Leopold – A Standard of Change , takes Pfitzer out of his usual role, casting him as the lone character in his first endeavor as playwright. Set in one evening in and around his famous Wisconsin Shack, Aldo Leopold–A Standard of Change explores the influences and challenges that led Leopold to penning his beloved book A Sand County Almanac.

More on Jim Pfitzer at

Special guest Butch Ross, accompanied by an acoustic band, will be previewing selections from his forthcoming album “People, Places, Things.” Long before Butch was well-known in folk and dulcimer communities for his innovation and virtuosity on the Mountain Dulcimer, he was being compared to Woody Guthrie and James McMurtry for his wistful and richly detailed songs. Butch’s new work showcases his immense talent as a storytelling songwriter.

More on Butch Ross at

Doors open at 6:30

Show begins promptly at 7:00

Listen to the story with Jim Pfitzer:

Chattanooga Public Library Hosts Internet Genealogy Workshops

May 20, 2012

Here’s more about the upcoming workshops from the Chattanooga Public Library:

1940 U.S. Census Released
To highlight the extensive Internet genealogy resources made accessible through the Chattanooga Public Library, the Local History and Genealogy Department is holding a series of free workshops.  To the delight of genealogists, the eagerly awaited 1940 U.S. Census has been released.  Because many of the 1940 records have not yet been indexed, Mary Helms, Head of the Local History Department, will guide participants through step-by step search methods.

Subscriptions to leading genealogical databases have been purchased by the Chattanooga Public Library for use by library patrons.  These include Ancestry Library Edition, HeritageQuest Online, Fold3, World Vital RecordsAmerican Ancestors by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and the Tennessee Sanborn Maps.  The use of these and other Internet resources will be covered in the workshop.

Downtown Library:  Saturday, May 12, 10:00 a.m.  (423) 757-5317
Eastgate Branch:   Saturday, May 26, 10:00 a.m.  (423) 855-2685
Northgate Branch:  Saturday, June 2, 10:00 a.m.  (423) 870-0636

Pre-registration is required.  To reserve your place, please call the branch where you will attend or email  If you would like to receive the workshop handouts electronically, please give your email address.

Reporting: Monessa Guilfoil

Listen to the Story with Head of the History and Genealogy Department of the Chattanooga Public Library Mary Helms:

Vaudeville Cafe Hosts ‘Mouth of the South’ Comedy Competition

May 13, 2012

Reporting: Monessa Guilfoil

This comedy competition has attracted upwards of 60 comedians from the Tennessee Valley and beyond, reports Vaudeville Manager Sandra Moses.    Each Tuesday night 9-10 comedians will be given 7 minutes of stage time to show what their made of.   Comics will be judged based on originality of material, stage presence and timing.    Three judges will give scores between 1 and 25 points for each act.   Three comics from each night will advance to the semi-finals.    And finalists will compete for cash and future bookings with Funny Business Comic Agency.

Listen to the story with comedians Kristine Kinsey and Chad Rosser and Vaudeville Cafe Manager Sandra Moses:

‘Who Fest’ Brings Folk Art and Bluegrass to Coolidge Park

May 6, 2012

Here’s the latest news from the ‘Who Fest’ blog:

Big news from Chattanooga. After five years at Renaissance Park, Who-Fest has tentative approval from the City of Chattanooga to move to Coolidge Park for 2012. For those who don’t live here, Coolidge Park is the most popular park in Chattanooga. We will also be moving the date back from Memorial Day Weekend to the middle of May.

As with any major changes, there is a lot to consider (lots of pros and cons). We consulted a number of officials and artists before making the change. All involved unanimously agreed this move will be a big step up for the festival.

So what are the pros and cons?

1) More exposure. As mentioned before, Coolidge is the most popular park in Chattanooga, daily attendance in the summer numbers in the thousands. The park sits directly between the Walnut St and Market St Bridge, directly on the Tennessee River. The Carousel, the Fountain and the Delta Queen make up the “corners” of the park.

2) Earlier date. This was done for a number of reasons. First, we are gambling on somewhat cooler weather (the record high 96 on Sunday was a festival killer this year) Another bonus about Coolidge Park are the taller and more numerous trees create a lot more shade. Second, with the popularity of Coolidge Park for hosting events, it was the best weekend available for April or May. Third, less competition than Memorial Day Weekend (there are a number of major events in the Chattanooga area that weekend). Fourth, better media exposure (more about that in the coming weeks).

3) Fixed Stage. Coolidge Park has permanent stage. This will be great for focusing all our music into one area.

4) More fun for the family. As mentioned above, Coolidge Park has a large fountain that kids can play in and a wonderful 100 year old Carousel.

5) Free Electric Shuttle. Carta has a free shuttle that runs from the Tennessee Aquarium to the NorthShore and right by Coolidge Park.

1) Less “funky”. Along with the step up in moving to Coolidge Park, the “professionalism” of the show will step up too. Renaissance Park was a self-contained park and allowed us to have a little more of a party atmosphere, Coolidge has a few more rules, but don’t worry, we have some great plans to make sure it is still fun for the artists. Who-Fest might be “growing up” a little bit, but that doesn’t mean we are “growing old” (aka boring).

2) Cost. Coolidge Park costs 3x as much to rent at Renaissance (it is so popular, there is a waiting list for events to be scheduled there). Also, with the higher traffic volume (including into the night), we will have to employee quite a bit more security. However, we have done a preliminary budget and we promise that the booth fee will not be increased by more than $30. This is the first time since Who-Fest was moved to Chattanooga that we have increased the entry fee. We work very hard to keep the fees as low as possible.

3) Load In/Out. The best thing about Renaissance was the ability for artists to pull right up to there booth to unload. Unfortunately that is not possible at Coolidge Park. However, the way we have proposed to set up the event will at Coolidge, most of the booths will be within 50 feet of the main road next to the park. We are also working to rent some “Gators” (think: big golf carts with loading beds) and will have extra volunteers to help the artists load and unload. This was one of our biggest concerns (after rental costs), but we feel we will have a great plan of action to make load in/out as easy as possible for the artists.

So, that’s all we have right now. Over the next two months we should have some other major announcements that will help ensure that Who-Fest [12] will be the best Who-Fest ever!

New Binkley Brothers

With almost 70 artists and 7 bands, this year’s professional, outdoor folk art festival promises to be a blast!     Winder Binder Gallery and Bookstore owner David Smotherman has been organizing ‘Who Fest’ since it began in Chattanooga.    Most of these artists have also shown in his gallery at one time or another.    The festival runs from 10-6 PM on Saturday and Sunday.    The Shaking Ray Levi’s will headline musically on Sunday afternoon and the New Binkley Brothers will close out with down-home bluegrass on Saturday.

Here’s more from the press release:

A two-day outdoor celebration of folk, outsider, visionary and self-taught art.

Winder Binder Gallery is proud to present the Who-Fest [12] Folk Art Festival on May 12th and 13th at Coolidge on the NorthShore of Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Celebrating it 6th year in Chattanooga, the Festival is produced by Winder Binder Gallery & Bookstore in collaboration with the Who Ha Da Da Artist’ Fellowship and the Shaking Ray Levi Society.

Originally produced in Atlanta, Georgia, Who-Fest moved to Chattanooga in 2007.  The festival normally attracts 70 local, regional and national artists and provides the unique opportunity to meet and purchase directly from artists that specialize in folk, outsider, visionary, and self-taught art.  Fields of study include painting, glass, metalworking, sculpture, jewelry, pottery, furniture, photography and textiles.

After 5 years at Renaissance Park, the festival committee decided to change the venue to the much more visible Coolidge Park.  An earlier date in May was also secured to help avoid the typical Memorial Day Weekend heat.

Festival organizers are also pleased to announce that the music director Tina Torrance, with the support of the Shaking Ray Levi Society, will once again host two days of diverse musical offerings from local performers.  A complete list of performers, and schedule, are available at

Reporting: Monessa Guilfoil

Listen to the Story with ‘Who Fest’ organizer David Smotherman:

Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House’ adapted for Ensemble Theatre Production

May 3, 2012

Reporting: Monessa Guilfoil

Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga producers chose ‘A Doll’s House’ as this year’s classic stage play because it addresses marriage conventions.    Producer and actor Christy Gallo says that Henrick Ibsen’s play written in the late 1800’s has some, “Great commentary on marriage.”    As such, ‘A Doll’s House’ fits into the ETC theme for this season of exploring social norms.

Kelly Lapzynski directs this ETC production.    The cast will be working from an adaptation of this Ibsen tragedy written by Lapzynski who worked with four different translations of ‘A Doll’s House’ seeking agreement between them.

The following comes from ETC’s press release:

“First and foremost, Ibsen wrote a tragedy.   The story is based on the true life events of one of Ibsen’s friends, author Laura Smith Petersen,” explains director Kelly Lapczynski.   “When Laura’s husband contracted tuberculosis, doctors advised that he go south to recuperate and Laura participated in a forgery to acquire the money.  When he discovered the forgery, he divorced Laura and threw her out of the house.  Within a few years, Laura was sent to a mental hospital and Ibsen began to write A Doll’s House. “

“I love the way it addresses marriage conventions,” says actor John Thomas Cecil. “Ibsen’s classic delves into issues that are so mainstream today, yet were so controversial in his time. It has been fun to explore the contrast between the life we live today and Ibsen’s world.

A Doll’s House is directed by Kelly Lapczynski.  Cast members include Brandi Alexander, John Thomas Cecil, Evie Durant, Christy Gallo, Jamie Goodnight, Karen Keith and Doug May.  The stage manager is Eric “Red” Wyatt.

For more information about the production, check out

Christy Gallo and John Thomas Cecil, ETC’s ‘A Doll’s House’

Listen to the Story: