39 E State St,
Columbus, OH 43215
Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
For as long as I can remember, it has been our family tradition to attend Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, performed by the Nebraska Theatre Caravan, the day after Thanksgiving. I have seen the play at the Ohio Theatre, the Palace Theatre, and the Southern Theatre in the past. In my opinion, the best place to see this play is at the Ohio Theatre, mainly because of the pipe organ sing along.
How long have you been opening for “A Christmas Carol” at the Ohio Theatre?
Around 15 years now.
How did you get the gig? (i.e. did you start off volunteering? Are you part of a club that plays the organ? Did the play seek you out? Did the Ohio Theatre administration recommend you to the play?)
I have been the Ohio Theatre's Resident Organist since 1992, so this is naturally one of the things that I do in addition to the summer films, etc. I was appointed to that post after playing a solo concert on the Morton in 1992. The organ is played only by professional theatre organists for public events.
What type of organ is located at the Ohio Theatre?
A Robert Morton pipe organ. It is one of the largest that company built, and a very fine and prestigious instrument. It is internationally known.
Tell me about your music background? (i.e. did you start off in piano lessons? Do you play other instruments? How did you transition to the type of organ you currently play?)
I started with piano lessons, church organ, the usual band in school, then theatre organ. I was at the farewell Roger Garrett concert at the Ohio Theatre in 1969 and was so taken with the organ that I wanted to play one. I had no idea that it would eventually be almost 100% of what I do - and on that very same organ.
Do you play different types of organs?
Only pipe organs - it doesn't matter what kind.
How is the type of organ you play at the Ohio Theatre different than playing a Hammond B3 organ?
Hammonds are electric instruments. This is a high-pressure theatrical pipe organ. There is little similarity, the pipe organ being by far the grandest, most versatile and colorful of musical instruments. Possessing percussions and traps, as well as pipes that are available in thousands of combinations, these are literally a one-man orchestra. Anything the symphony can do; an organist can reproduce on an organ like the Morton.
What is your favorite type of organ to play and where is it located?
The Ohio's Morton is certainly one! Also, the Kimball organ formerly in Milwaukee's Oriental Theatre, and the Chicago Theatre's Wurlitzer organ.
Do you give lessons? If not, can you give a referral?
I teach at the University of Oklahoma. Theatre organ is a private study for the most part. I know people who regularly teach based on geographical area.
Any advice for a young person to do what you do?
The solo theatre organ field is very limited, but silent picture playing is in full swing. There are only a handful of people who really understand this art form, so there is opening for young people who want to learn and perfect it as their craft. We teach the only silent film/organ scoring courses in the world at the University of Oklahoma in the organ department there.
What is your booking information?
Folks can go to my website (clarkwilson.net) for information and updates.
Sidebar: My favorite song of the sing along is the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah.
I love the play. I’ll just share a few of my favorite parts.
At this point in the play Scrooge is like many people, living only for himself, wanting to help no one.
At this point in the play, Scrooge is faced with everyone’s fate, death. Each year, this play reminds the audience the importance of living with the end in mind. We are here for a reason and a purpose and it is our duty to achieve that purpose.
In my opinion, the best performance of this play was several years ago. The man who played Scrooge was retiring after many years. The toy soldier and doll performed moving dances as scene transitions. I enjoyed hearing the Hallelujah Chorus sing along at the beginning of the performance instead of during the intermission. The sing along allows the audience to interact with those who they are seated near. This is a family tradition that we plan to continue. If you are planning to park at the underground at the State House, plan to arrive about a half an hour before the show to make sure you can hear all the songs in the beginning.
The Fort Hayes Shot Tower Gallery
546 Jack Gibbs Blvd.
Columbus, OH 43215
Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
I arrived at the retirement reception for Ron Anderson just in time for the program to start.
Students provided spoken word performances interpreting Ron’s 911 work.
Sidebar: I was not able to interview Mr. Anderson on the evening of the reception. We talked for 48 minutes later. He is passionate about his work, and I enjoyed viewing his work and talking to him about his work. I am including the parts of the conversation related to specific pieces.
Tell me about Pearls and Lace.
Well, you tell me what you think it is about, then I will tell you.
I thought it was about a seductive role reversal, but my guess is it is deeper than that.
I try to avoid thinking too much about what the piece is or isn’t. Then you lock into something and it becomes almost forced. I treat it almost like an essay where you give some clues, and put some facts in there, but also leave it open ended. You can come back and look at it repeatedly and see something different. The piece started with her in the chair. This was before the me-too movement. I thought about a woman with power. She may have owned this club. She is comfortable being who she is without caring what people think. She is in control of her femininity. She is not letting you define her, she is defining herself. “I am going to be just as doggish as a man, I own this place. If I want to cross my legs openly, I am comfortable with that.”
I was drawn to “Heaven and Hell” because of the man playing the piano. I thought it might be a spin off from the whole church thing. Were you saying if you go to a club it can turn into heaven or it can turn in to hell based on your experience/choices that night?
Sometimes the paintings get their titles after they have been painted. I haven’t heard your interpretation before, but it makes sense. It is about that small line between what is good and what is bad. Sometimes you can have secular music. For example, they trashed Ray Charles for taking church music and turning it into the devil’s music (blues). When I was painting this piece, I think I was listening to Ray Charles, “I Got A Woman”. The woman in the painting is the woman on the other side of town. The guy with the match is kind of like satan. This piece is about a loose interpretation of good and evil. The battle in our own heads.
Sidebar: In my blog and all communication satan will always be lower case. Enough said.
Tell me about “Blues in the Key of C.” My understanding is the key of C is one of the primary blues keys, but it is not one of the primary keys E, A, and G. So, I reasoned he must be making a statement with even the title. Like it’s a path but not the main path that people would stay on.
That is why I like other people’s interpretations. I throw things out there even if they don’t make any sense, but someone will make some sense out of it. It doesn’t have to be a blues piece. She could be singing opera and he could be playing a classical piece.
The blues might not have been a connotation to the type of music it could be associated to how someone is feeling.
A lot of my work starts with a feeling. The music is just in the back of my head, because I play it. The music just becomes part of the painting. Then you know better than I why someone would start with the key of C.
It’s the easiest key. No sharps or no flats.
See, that could be a metaphor for easy.
We stumbled on something. You play music while you paint. Is there a genre that you play while you paint?
Most of the pieces that were part of that exhibit were part of my jazz period. I am a huge fan of Myles Davis, Coltrane, Felonious Munk, and Billie Holiday. I try to stay away from music that has lyrics because then I am listening to the words instead of the music bouncing around in my head. The sounds create visuals in my mind. Occasionally, I will listen to a song with lyrics. For example, “She Just Loves to Dance.”
It’s the picture where there is a woman in a red dress dancing in a juke joint where all these guys are watching her as she is dancing by herself. That was based off the work of an artist named Keb-mo. He is a delta blues singer. The song is called “She Just Loves to Dance”. The painting came to be as I listened to that song repeatedly. You can imagine how many hours I listened to that song repeatedly. It created a visual that was very easy to see.
It is basically the report taking notes before or after the fight. The boxer has tape on his hands. The boxer himself is my older son who was the model for that. My younger son is the trainer with the red shirt. He is also the one taking the report. The guy with the green shirt with his back to you and the guy with the red shirt is my son painted twice. China White is the one with her back to you.
It looks like music and boxing seem to be common themes in your work. Is that correct? If that is not correct, do you have any common themes for your work?
I try not to settle on one. Whenever I get excited about something, that is when I paint it. For example, the Obama painting is not necessarily a portrait. It is more a promising of the first black president. It was painted when he was running against Hillary.
Formula 44 was/is a good cough syrup from back in the day. President Obama was the 44th president. It was a formula for change. So, I tied the two together and made the title “Formula 44”. The painting is also tied into and inspired by John F. Kennedy when he brought his family into the public viewing by bringing the cameras in the white house. In the 1950s and early 1960s, look of the American family was like the old tv show (Father Knows Best). You will see some things that sort of don’t quite make sense. For example, the breed of dog isn’t the dog they ended up with. I didn’t want to select breeds of dogs that a typical black family might have like a Doberman pinscher, rottweiler, or pit bull. I wanted them to have a smart, black dog. That is why I chose a black Labrador. He did look at a Labradoodle. The bust in the background on the table behind him would usually be the bust of Churchill. I thought if he were in the white house like all the other presidents, he would change the décor. So, I changed it to a bust of Dr. Martin Luther King and he ended up putting that in there. Also, there is a Kenyan sculpture in there too. Sasha which is probably the more outgoing of the two girls is on the floor playing with the dog. Malia was allergic to pet hair. Michelle has a newspaper that tells when the picture was completed, July 23, 2008. This is one of the moments that I felt very strongly that he would become president because Barak Obama had all the passion and credentials. You may see the three Obama paintings in a future exhibit. There is a painting of him during his second term.
McConnell said he was only going to be a one term president. I said no, he is not.
If you look at the piece, it is a slight halo. McConnell has his finger in the wounds of Obama.
You will see the other figures in there too, like John Boehner, Paul Ryan, and Mitt Romney. At that time, Obama was running against Romney. That painting was not in the exhibit, but it was on the poster.
I heard you play a few bars on the trumpet. Is that another one of your passions? If so, have you been playing long? Do you play for a group?
No, I don’t play for a group because I don’t practice enough. I don’t want to insult musicians or embarrass myself. They wanted me to bring my trumpet. I polished it that morning. I used to play well, but if you don’t practice it will take some time to find yourself back. I usually play late at night in my studio when there is no one in the building.
Are any of your pieces for sale?
All of them are. I think it is a big mistake for artists to hold onto their work. When they do, that just means they are stuck on their work, and they never move forward. You gave it your best shot at the time. The story was strong at that time. But then a new story comes along. A new idea pops into your head and you are ready to move to the next journey. If I sell all the pieces that I do, it allows me to move on and let go of them. I have done that before, when I have sold a piece for a decent amount of money. As an artist, you miss them when they are gone because you can’t go and see them again, especially if they leave the city.
As I was walking around Red seemed to be a common color in a lot of your work. Have you noticed that? If so, why do you think that is?
I think red is such a powerful color because you don’t have to use much of it for it to be effective. The color red sometimes is symbolic of power and danger. It also electrifies a piece. If you use red in a piece, it lightens the piece up. I have done a lady in red before. I thought that if a woman has on red there is something powerful about that. It is sexy, and dangerous. I play a lot with symbolism. Color is a good way to do that. If you put on a red dress, you have a lot of confidence, because not everybody can wear red and get away with it. Sometimes wearing red says I got this, I want to stand out from everybody else.
How does someone get in contact with you?
Ronandersonstudio.com. On Instagram: Tanner1697.ra
I have paintings 6 at the Ohio Supreme Court on the 11th floor, “The History of Law.” I have two paintings of George Washington Williams at the State House. He was the first black politician in Ohio. These paintings were commissioned by Ray Miller when George Taft was the governor.
These paintings are permanent. They will be there long after you or I will be around. They are there if the building stands. Also, if you go all the way back in the Elevator (a restaurant downtown) where the billiard table is located, there is a huge painting (about 13 feet) of a boxer at the turn of the century, that is also my painting.
Tell me about the piece.
“Man, with flute” is a bronze piece originally carved in stone. I broke the piece because I didn’t want to do a limited edition. I just wanted one piece in bronze.
What is the general process of working with bronze?
First, you make a silicon and rubber mold. Then, you do white which paints over the mold. Once the mold is done, you melt the bronze, you pour it in the mold. Then, you bury it in the earth or in sand if you are inside. Once it cures, you break the mold open and chase it which means you clean it up. It might take you months to chase it. It took me about 6 months to chase this piece to get it to the point where you can begin to see what it is. It might take longer that that. You are not dealing with just you. You are dealing with a foundry. A foundry has a lot of other artists who caste with them, so you must get in line.
If someone wants to view your art and/or purchase your art, where would we do that?
Go to a gallery downtown, or put sculpture by Omar in your internet search engine.
How long have you been sculpting?
I have been sculpting stone and bronze for about 25 years. What you see here is left over from a show I did in Kansas City in 2000 called “the shapes of jazz” in stone and bronze. It was a great show about jazz in the early 1920s.
Do you have a favorite piece?
The last piece that I finish is always my favorite piece.
Do you have a primary theme for your work?
Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. It depends on the series. I just did a series for a gallery downtown on high street called “broken pieces,” which reflects on people and how they are broken. Life itself is broken. I broke each piece that was part of the exhibit, then redid it. You can see where it was broken. I wanted to express how we are broken people. For example, heartaches, death, all the things that happen in life to break us. It took me about 2 years to put the pieces together.
Any advice for those coming behind you?
You must be dedicated. You must want to do this. If it doesn’t come naturally, don’t do it. You will not carve bronze or stone, if you don’t love it. It is just not going to happen. It is too hard.
I love creating art. It is my life line and without it, I am nothing. I love stone because once it is broken, that is it, ain’t no turning back. It presents a challenge and I love a challenge.
Sidebar: I enjoyed learning about the bronze process in producing works of art. Omar Shaheed gave real practical advice. His passion bled through his comments.
Tell me about the piece.
This is one of Ron Anderson’s students. Her look determined a lot. Through her eyes you can read the soul of this world. Who am I? I love being a black woman.
If someone wants to view your art and/or purchase your art where would we do that?
You just give me a call, 614-298-0028. My studio is at the King Arts Complex. I am on Facebook and Instagram (talleart), and my website is talleart.com.
What is your primary medium?
Oil on linen.
What are the challenges with working with oil and linen?
I have an old school process. I must stretch the linen.
Do you have a favorite piece?
Asking me which is my favorite piece is like asking me which my favorite child. All of them are precious to me.
Is there a common theme in your work?
Yes, the calabash.
I attended Fort Hayes many moons ago. I graduated from the Battelle Math/Science program. I am not sure if the gallery was around then. The gallery is very nice. They had live music, students performing spoken word, and China White’s dancers interpreting some of the pictures through dance. Two of the common themes I noticed concerning Ron’s work, were music and boxing. That might be because I enjoy gospel and jazz music and boxing. Ron was very gracious to those that came to celebrate his departure from teaching. He played a few bars on the trumpet.
While taking pictures, I heard many people tell Ron the impact he had on their lives. A few times he really seemed surprised. Observing the number of people who attended the event and waited around for an opportunity to talk to him, I concluded that Mr. Anderson made a lasting impact on those around him.
Columbus College of Art & Design
60 Cleveland Ave
Columbus, OH 43215
Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
The parking was less than a block away and free. The location was very nice. I was surprised that there were many people taking pictures and videotaping the event.
Tell me about this event? How often does it happen?
This event today was part of the City of Columbus yearlong celebration of the Harlem Renaissance at its 100th anniversary. This is just one of many events that has occurred in the city all year long.
In observing your performance, it appears you incorporate then and now. Tell me about the influence of then (Harlem Renaissance) into your work now.
The Harlem Renaissance was a time period where you had a lot of black artists concentrated in one area. They were trying to define themselves for themselves. I am African American and we are still doing that today, 100 years later. They were writing about what is wonderful about African Americans, what is not so wonderful, things we need to work on, the impact of their experience in dealing with racism, and poverty in every day lives of black people. They were celebrating the creativity of black people. I see that as my responsibility as a poet today to do those same things.
How long have you been on this journey?
I wrote my first poem 26 years ago. By the time I wrote my third poem, within a month I had my first poetry reading. Sharing my poetry orally as well as written form has been side by side. A few months later I was organizing my first poetry reading, so other poets had a place to come and share. Those things for me are intertwined.
I really enjoyed the performance, and the fact that you share your life experiences. How is that a platform to reach others?
I have no shame in writing about my personal experiences, or the experiences of my family. Everything that I write about is something that I have experienced, seen, heard, or read about. I have poems that are about things that are happening in other countries, where I do not live, but there was something about those experiences that spoke to me. I write a lot about women. I see women as my primary audience. I think I am writing primarily to black women, then to all people and for isolated poems maybe black men. In general, most times to black women, because I am a black woman. Every poem that I write, I am not mentioning black women, but that is the perspective from which I see the world and that is going to permeate whether I am using those specific words or not.
Sidebar: I didn’t hear all her performance. I was really moved by her work about the interaction she had with one of her female relatives experiencing sickness, then death. I felt the emotions associated with the situation. It was clear to me, based on the content and the way the work was presented, that she is extremely passionate about her work. Her delivery reminded me of a preacher or minister.
How do you impact the next generation? Not only from a peer perspective, and those who have come before you, but those who are coming behind you?
I really must pay homage to those who came before me. That is the reason I was excited to participate in this event today. It is a way to honor all those writers and poets in the Harlem Renaissance. There are poets from Columbus that have come before me and served as my role models both in terms of poetry and in terms of creating space for poets to share. Issaid was an older gentleman who was a large part of the poetry scene in Columbus. When I got dismayed by my experiences at some of the more academic readings from people who didn’t look like me, I found him. He said, “Come along young sister, let me introduce you to some poets, and show you some places where you can go and read”. None were consistently weekly or monthly but if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t know what would have become of me as a poet in this town.
In terms of the next generation, I love to work with other poets. I have had the honor to help other poets find their voice, edit their work, and just talk poetry with them. For the last 3 or 4, years I have served as the creative writing teacher at the King Arts complex summer camp. I am doing a project at Barack Recreation Center based on the Harlem Renaissance. I am teaching little kids’ poetry and the art teacher is teaching painting that will all come together in a program at the end of the year. I love doing that. I must give a shout out to Columbus City Schools. They have a district poetry slam that is open to all the middle and high school students. I have been associated with that from the beginning (about 10 years ago). I am the MC (Mistress of Ceremony) and I help bring this event to life. It is so important to help young people find their voice and ways to express themselves. Art is a wonderful way to do it.
What is a poetry slam?
Poetry slam is a performance poetry competition. It was started almost 30 years ago in Chicago by a construction worker named Mark Smith. He wanted to take poetry out of the academics and put it in the streets and the communities. He started an open mic reading at a bar in Chicago. Then, he started inviting the audience to judge the poetry as a way of including the audience in the show which grew into national and international competitions. It is great. I call it a fake competition. At a true poetry, slam judges are randomly selected by whoever is in the room whether they know anything about poetry or not. At the national events, depending on where the competition is located, it is a tiered competition, sort of like March madness. It starts with about 200 plus poets then whittles down to about 10, by the end of the week. The competitions take place in art galleries, in bars, and in libraries. When it is in a bar, sometimes the judge is not even sober. In some of the major cities, we have had tourist who don’t even speak English selected to be a judge. It is a fake competition, but at the same time it is bragging rights. It’s community and a way to engage audiences. Those in the audience who were not selected to serve as judges get to respond to the judges with approval or boo. It is a way to bring poetry and people together.
Sidebar: This is the first I have heard about a poetry slam. I know many would say that I have led a sheltered life. The poetry slam sounds like something I would enjoy, so if you hear about one in the Columbus area, contact me via Facebook (614whats2love) or hit the link to send me an email (Doreen.Dawkinsphoto@gmail.com).
Have you ever performed with multi-media? For example, putting your work to jazz or performed while someone is painting?
I have done events in the past where we have had a painter create visual art live over the course of the event. When it comes to music, I am not a musical person. I have had moments where I have performed with a band. As a poet, I have been asked to perform and when I got there they wanted me to perform with the band. Luckily, because I am an artist, I know a lot of musicians in town so usually when that happens there is usually 1 or 2 musicians in the band that I know, and they know I don’t know music. I say, “Listen, either I start then you come in, or you start, and you give me a nod when I am supposed to start.” Even though I love listening to music, I am not a musician.
I think everybody has one good poem in them. I say let it out.
I love poetry because it is so assessable to people. Anybody can write a poem, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be good. What is good is a slippery slope. It is a wonderful form of expression. It can usher you into community with other people, writers, and artists who are expressing themselves. As an African American poet, it is incumbent upon me to say something. I have an opportunity to have my voice be heard whether it is in written form, published or standing in front of an audience like tonight. I do not have the luxury of creating poetry for poetry sake or art for art sake. I have a responsibility to say something that matters about my existence, about the existence of all of us, or the experience of black people.
Tell me the impact that the Harlem Renaissance has had on your current work.
For my own personal poetry, the legacy of Harlem Renaissance, the art that it produced is as elemental as what I am trying to do on the page and in my poems as anything. From a larger standpoint as a person of color just living in America, the Harlem Renaissance taught us how to be our complex beautiful selves and still be resilient and find new ways to maintain happiness and expression. I think that we can still learn a lot from it, with the political vortex that we are in. It is a way that is physically dangerous for us than it has been in other points in history. With guns and police violence it is a scary time. One of the ways we can survive it is to celebrate what we have in art, and in our daily interactions.
Tell me about your background.
I am originally from Toledo, Ohio. I completed my undergrad at the University of Toledo. I went to New York for my Master of Fine Arts (MFA). I was in New York for 8 years and then I came back to Ohio 4 years ago.
Full time writer? Full time performer?
I teach in the Master of Fine Arts program at Ohio State. I guess I write full time if you can call some of the failed drafts that I kick around daily. It’s full time.
Do you primarily write poetry?
Yes, unfortunately. I don’t know how to write a novel.
Come on it is not unfortunately. It’s what makes you unique right?
Yeah, I’m a poetry fiend and that is about all I can write.
Any suggestions for the next generation who wants to do what you do?
In Columbus City Schools and a lot of the public city schools throughout Ohio, the state Poets Laureate each year will generally recruit full time poets or professional poets to conduct workshops and work on drafts with high school students. Reach out to your teachers. The good thing now days is there are tons of poetry performers in Columbus or close to Columbus. Because of social media, it is easy to get in contact with people. It is not how it used to be. We would have to track people down by mail or see them in person. If you hear and or see a performer on YouTube and they are local, reach out to them and try to make it happen. Poets are usually very generous people. We love to work with young folks. We didn’t get a chance to do that much when we were growing up.
Enjoy the beautiful autumn weather.
You have some books. How can people contact you?
I have a new book out called “Pardon My Heart” on Northwestern University Press. You can purchase it on Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. My website has some sample poems. My full bio and contact information is: poetymarcusjackson.com
How has the Harlem Renaissance influenced your work?
When I think about my influence from the Harlem Renaissance, it is more about the questions they were asking and the answers they were coming up during that time and how they reflect what is happening now. I use my position as a millennial a lot in my work. Can I ask these same questions about blackness? What is it like to be black in this digital era? What is it like having this violence reoccurring now, but it is happening in a different kind of way then back then? I am looking at the parallels and influence of those two and asking those same questions and trying to see if the answers are the same or different from what they were talking about back then.
How long have you pursued this path? Have you encountered a lot of resistance along the way?
I have been writing since I was in middle school seriously. Then, I started writing all the time in high school. I went to college for English and I received my MFA after that in English. So, for a long time, people do not think you should have a career in art. I have hit the Why do you want to be a writer? Right now, I teach, so I’m obviously doing something. A lot of people ask what is your plan? Are you going to write a book? What are you going to do with the economy especially under Trump? It is a weird space because no one thinks you can make it. We need art. Especially now.
Where do you teach?
I teach at CCAD (Columbus College of Art and Design) as an adjunct, First Year Writing.
I didn’t know they taught English at CCAD. I thought it was art-based majors.
They have an English minor, but you must take a basic writing class as a core course.
Anything else you would like to add to help those coming behind you or possibly those who have not yet developed their voice.
Follow your gut. It is a risk but, usually what is supposed to happen will happen. If you follow your gut and something happens where you are not supposed to do art, then you are not supposed to do art. Get out of the bubble. Yes, traditional rules are cool, but once you learn those rules break them, start making the art that you want to make, start exploring the topics that you want to explore and start saying the things you think people need to hear instead of what they want to hear.
Are there many opportunities for you to perform prose?
If I am asked to do a reading, I do it. I either pick a piece that I haven’t read or that I love to read, and I do it. When I lived in Chicago, I did a lot of readings. Usually, I was the only essayist or prose person. Sometimes, a fiction writer would read a short story, but I have these long chunks of work. I treat it as if I am in theatre and I’m on the stage performing. I am a different character. I am who that essay was written by rather than who I am every day.
Writing is art. It just does not have to be words on the page. It can go off the page, it can be a performance, a gallery space, a collage, or a picture. Always remember writing is a form of art.
My take: All the presenters were great and have carved out their own specific lane. Clearly, they all have different voices, much like ice cream flavors. My favorite might be vanilla chocolate chip and your favorite might be chocolate. It is just personal preference. I like how all seemed to light up when I asked about the next generation. I love to interact with people who are pursuing their passion and making it a profession.
The Actual Brewing Company
655 N James Rd
Columbus, OH 43219
687 N James Road
Columbus, OH 43219
Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
What is going on today?
This is our fourth annual 24-Hour Board Game Marathon for Nationwide Children’s Hospital. It is part of Extra Life which is a global game day. It is held first Saturday of November. There are people all over the world video gaming and board gaming that raise money for local children’s hospitals. We are a board game club, so we are playing board games today.
We have raised over $20,000 for Children’s Hospital since we started. Our goal for this event today is to raise $10,000. We are already at $5,000 which include the door charge, silent auction, and what the Brewery and food trucks are donating, I’m feeling pretty good that we will reach our goal of $10,000 tomorrow.
Do you want to do a shout out to the food trucks that will be participating today?
Yes. Pitabilities, Ajumama, and Pingweeni’s. They are donating 10% of food sales. The Actual Brewing Company is donating $1 for every beer sold. Uprising Meadworks is donating $1 for every mead sold. We had dozens of businesses donating over $3,000 in stuff for our silent auction. A lot of people help to make this event happen.
So, people just pay the $10 cover, come in and start playing board games?
Yes. We do this event every November. We do other small fundraisers throughout the year, but this is our main fundraiser.
Is there a time when you just come and play board games without it being a fundraiser?
Yes. Every Wednesday at Smokehouse Brewery in Grandview from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm and every second Sunday of the month. It is free to show up and is open to anyone 21 and older. They have good food and beer specials.
Our club has been around for 5 years. We have about 1,400 people in the group. There are anywhere from 30 people to 200 people at a large event. It is a pretty diverse group of people. We have people who are 21 and we have people who are 65. It is not all the game nerds that some people would expect. We do have a few of those and I am one of them. It is a fun way to socialize and it is good for creativity and intellectual development. It is also a healthy thing to do. It helps to fight off Alzheimer’s because playing games uses parts of your brain that most adults don’t use after they stop playing.
My partner, Raymond Chandler III and I, are launching our game “City of the Big Shoulders” on www.kickstarter.com.
What is kickstarter?
Kickstarter is one of the best places to launch a board game. It is a crowd funding resource. Anybody who is an independent gamer or independent publisher will usually launch their games on kick starter.
It is a heavy economic Euro game set it Chicago around the turn of the century. We are excited about it because it combines 18xx game mechanics with heavy euro games.
What are you talking about?
It’s a heavy game. Anyone who is interested in economics or heavy euro games would love it. It is the first game that we are launching.
How can you be contacted?
Parallelboardgames.com and we are on Facebook as parallelgames and on twitter at parallelspiel.
Check us out on kickstarter. We would love for you to watch our video and check out our game. We would love to hear your feedback.
Sidebar. I thought he was the DJ
Why are you a member of this club and why do you support this event?
You are not the first person to think I am the DJ. I brought video games. One way to get more people to come out is to offer a variety of things that they can do. We have all the arcade games like pin ball, card games, and board games. One of the things missing was a video game station. Since bitzcon is going on today, I brought out the suite of blizzard titled games. Anybody can come up and play or watch. There is no donation involved in this, because if you pay the $10 up front, that gets you anything inside.
What is Blizzard?
Blizzard is a game developer. They make some of the most popular games in the world, including world of war craft. What we have here is overwatch. It is their first-person shooter. I was playing Heroes of the Storm when you walked up, which is their multi player online battle arena or amoba. All these games are available for people if they want to play. They are online games; but you can play them with one device. I have the laptop and the controller, and anybody can just throw down.
How did you become a member of the group?
Cheryl (who you interviewed earlier) is my girlfriend’s best friend. We do a weekly event. I was going to all of those for a while. Normally everyone is playing board games. I will either paint or do video games.
Nope, just let me know when you want to get beat in Mortal Combat.
Sidebar: The competitor in me knew not to agree to play Mortal Combat. I haven’t played in YEARS. Mr. Collins, I might have given you a run for your money back in the day…
I’m going to be honest. When I saw this event online, I thought people would be playing Monopoly, Clue, etc. I didn’t recognize any of the games people were playing.
We have a wide variety of the types of games that we like. If you think about it, what restaurant is going to be better; McDonald’s or the local restaurant that you never heard of before? The local restaurant you never heard of before. A lot of these games are made by independent developers. Some of them are popular. Sorry, Trouble, and Monopoly are like your Parker Brothers, main brand games. And they are fun games. These games are often more complex, have a higher skill level and have more going on with them. Sometimes we will support local board game makers like “The City of the Big Shoulders.” Emily and some of her friends made that game from scratch. We not only support the local charities but also each other.
Settlers of Cantan is one of the most popular board game that there is. It requires you to have some board game knowledge to be familiar with. It is one of the games that has one of the highest tournament rating. If you are only familiar with Sorry and Monopoly, that is a game that you never heard of. There are mainstream games that are deeper in the board game community; but there are plenty of games where only 100 copies exist and one of them is here.
Why do you participate?
I participate because my son has been helped by Nationwide Children’s hospital. They are great for making children feel at ease. He was in there for a sensitive issue. He had to have a minor surgery and they were able to calm him down. They allowed him to have whatever flavor he wanted on the anesthetic mask. He was being strong until they started to wheel him back and he started missing mom and dad. They were able to calm him down. Ever since the surgery, he hasn’t had any complications. We didn’t have to pay anything on the bill. It was a teaching situation for the hospital. I have been attending events for Beer and Board games for about 3 years. It is a great way to mingle, get with like minded people, and learn different board games. There is always something new out there.
If you have never been here for an event, come, participate and get involved in the auctions. Don’t tell Cheryl I out bid her… There are plenty of things to choose for in the auctions and it all goes to great cause.
Why do you participate in this event?
I like kids, I like playing board games, and I like to drink. Doing all those things together to help the kids is a really good cause.
Have you been here all four years? Will you be here all 24 hours?
I have been here all four years. I was the one who brought the idea to Cheryl 4 years ago. I wanted to do the whole 24 hours the first year, but then I got pregnant and couldn’t. Since then, I have always done between 13 and 16 hours each time. I usually come back in the morning to help everybody get pumped up for the last couple of hours.
Tell me about this game. I bet you are going to tell me you are winning.
I am so not winning…. This is Twilight Imperium, the 4th edition. This is a world domination game. Everybody is trying to have the most power in this world. They are placing their ships down and they are working with the other races to try to have the most influence in the world. Sometimes that means they are fighting other races and sometimes that means they are working with other races to get resources and build their power. At the end of the game, whoever has the most points wins. It doesn’t always mean that you were the one who beat up people the most. Sometimes it is, you have worked with everyone the best.
It looks like this is a passionate game. This seems to be the game where people are arguing, raising their voice, etc. What is up with that?
I don’t want to fight you in the beginning of the game; we are going to be cool. But half way through the game, well now, I must punch you in the face. It is that sort of feeling.
Somebody somewhere said it takes about 8 hours to play this game. Were they exaggerating?
No. It takes 4 to 10 hours depending on the number of players and how experienced the players are with the game.
Why do you participate in this event?
I have been modern game boarding for 8 years. We came out today to support Extra Life to give money for Children’s Hospital. We can come, play some games, drink some beer, and have some fun. It’s all for a good cause.
What game are you playing?
Rajas of the ganges is where we play princes and princesses in India, expanding our kingdoms, cutting through the jungle and creating trade routes to other princes. We are trying to build the temples in India while we increase our own wealth. The first person to make their wealth, their richness and their fame meet on the track wins. It is sort of a race game, where we try to make temples, build them up and make more as we increase our own wealth. Whoever does that first, wins.
Tell me about your game.
Blood on the clock tower is a social deduction game. It shares a lot of DNA with Werewolf. The game has been in development for about 4 years. We are going to kickstart it in January.
Let me stop you what is Werewolf?
Social deduction is a style of game in which every person has information or a secret role. Your job is to glean the correct amount of information to help your team win or to help your player survive until the end of the game. There are a lot of examples like Werewolf, Secret Hitler.
The biggest stylistic differences is in Werewolf there is an individual winner. With Blood on the Clock Tower your team wins. There is a good team and an evil team. Every win or loss is done as a team, which is a lot of fun. Also, there is no player elimination, which means that even if you get killed, you are still able to participate in the game. It keeps everyone involved until the very end. Hopefully, nobody will end up really bored. Every person has some type of role and information that has an impact on the game. The minimum number of players is 5 plus the story teller. I have run 20 player games before.
Let’s say you have 6 people of average or above average intelligence. How long should the game take?
Each game can last between 45 minutes and 2 hours. If you have a 5-player game, it can last about 30 to 40 minutes, a 10-player game can last about an hour, and a 20-person game can last about 2 hours or more. It depends on how much they talk.
I don’t see a lot of parts to the game. Is the game different each time it is played?
Yes. There are 20 different roles and no set script. The storyteller can determine which roles go into the game.
How much will the game cost?
It is not finalized, but we are hoping to offer it for about $100.
Anything else you want to tell me?
You are not going to necessarily get accurate information from all the roles.
So, people just lie in the game?
They could be lying, or the storyteller can give them false information. For example, there is a character called the drunk. You think you are a towns folk, but the storyteller tells you inaccurate information because you are a drunk. Your job is to glean whether you are drunk or not. At some point in the game you will utter the phrase, “I’m not evil but I might be drunk.”
Is this a local product?
I am from Columbus originally. Most of the design team is in Sydney Australia. Hopefully most of the production will be done in the US.
How can we find you?
We are on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: Blood on the Clock Tower. There are copies of the game in Seattle, Columbus, San Francisco, New York, Boston, various places in Europe, and in Sydney. We have been at every convention over the past summer. We have people in Essen.
What is Essen?
It is a giant major gaming convention in Germany. We were at Origins here in Columbus. We were at Gen Con in Indianapolis. We are trying to build up by word of mouth. Everyone who has played this game raves about it.
Sidebar: I watched the game played. It was fun to watch and looked like it was fun to play. He didn’t exaggerate about the drunk. There was also a character (I can’t remember which one) whose function was to try to save the major players from being eliminated. So, that character was lying. Seems like if you loved the Perry Mason show from back in the day and you can lie with a straight face that you would be great at and enjoy this game.
How long have you been associated with the group?
Have you attended all 4 events?
Do you stay all 24 hours?
I have not, and I don’t intend to.
You were telling me about some of the categories of all these new games that come out. What are they?
It would be hard to name all of them, but off the top of my head there are: social deduction games, euro games, and deck building games. Euro games are going to be about buying, trading and selling. Social deduction games are going to be about trying to figure out things with other people. Deck building games, you collect cards to build a bigger and bigger deck to win your thing.
Do you have a favorite or do you play them all?
I like Euro games the most. They tend to be longer, and usually they take an hour or two. The social deduction games usually take around 30 minutes, which on a limited time schedule, can be a little nicer.
Is it difficult to play some of these games with a little “liquid” in you?
Yes. It is also more fun and entertaining.
There are probably 4 different game board clubs in Columbus.
Which club do the older people, older than 50 go?
There are some people in our club over 50. CABS would be more for people over 50. Our average age would be in the 30’s and you do have to be over 21 for our club.
Are there places other than the club meetings where people go to play board games?
My favorite is Table Top Game Café in Clintonville. They have a minimum that they ask you go buy, then you have access to their entire game library. I believe the first one in Columbus is called Kingmakers Board Game Parlour which is in the Short North. You pay a library fee (I think it is $5) then you can play as many games as you want. There are other places like cafes and bars that will have a decent game library.
My take: It is wonderful that like-minded people come together to hang out, play the games with passion, but no real arguing. This reminded me of the times we would stay up most of the night playing spades. I love the concept of playing until you are too tired to play anymore. They were playing new games when I expected to see several tables of monopoly, taboo, right, left, center, and Mexican Dominos. I did not expect to be exposed to new games where the designers were in attendance and participants were playing games not yet on the market. They have developed a great social club where people can come, hang out and have a good time. It is a bonus that they can play, have fun and donate to Nationwide Children’s hospital.