A&e Briefs | NevadaAppeal.com

A&e Briefs

FIRST SPRING LECTURE features trains

The Churchill County Museum presents its spring lecture series on "Hobbies and Collectibles" beginning on Tuesday.

Rich Gent, president and CEO of Hot Rail LLC, will give a presentation on The World of Trains from 6:30-8 p.m..

On April 4 from 6:30-8 p.m., Harvey Edwards and David Geheringer of the Nevada Stamp Study Society will talk about stamp collecting.

The presentation on April 11 steps back in time as Michael Algeier and Cher Daniels, Battle Born Civil War Reenactors, offer a presentation on Civil War Reenactment from 6:30-8 p.m.

Bottle Collection is the topic for April 18 from 6:30-8 p.m. with Mike Polak, author and columnist, and Fred Holabird, Holabird Western Americana Collections.

All lectures are free and will be held at the Churchill County Museum, 1050 S. Maine St.

For information, call 775-423-3677 or visit ccmuseum.org.

WATCH NCAA FINALS AT FALLON THEATRE

Fallon Community Theatre, Inc, invites the community to join them downtown at the Fallon Theatre on April 3 to watch the final NCAA Championship game on the large screen.

They have added pizza to the concession stand menu to compliment the pretzels, nachos, soda and a wide variety of movie stand stacks.

The theatre will open at 5:30 p.m. and all are invited. Admission is free.

fallon artist's EXHIBIT

An artist who makes his own paint from natural earth pigments found in the West is showing work at Capital City Arts Initiative's Courthouse gallery.

"From the Ground Up" by Gil Martin runs through May 24.

Martin, who also teaches at Western Nevada College in Fallon, said when he was first studying painting, an artist friend gave him a box of art materials and assorted tools she no longer needed. In that box was a book on how to make paint from earth pigments. It sat around his studio for years until one day he picked it up and started reading. His interest piqued, he started driving around looking for colored dirt from road cuts.

Now he uses a starch paste made from cornmeal as a binder before adding water to create a viscous paint.

The artist said his Western landscapes mainly come about by working horizontal bands of color against one another until the painting unifies.

During his exhibition, Martin will give a talk about his work to art students at Dayton High School and Carson High School.

Chérie Louise Turner, a Bay-Area-based writer, art critic and copy editor, wrote the essay, "Plain Ole Dirt?" for the exhibition.

The Courthouse gallery is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at 885 E. Musser St.

Admission to the gallery and reception are free.

Additionally, CCAI has a companion exhibition of Martin's smaller works in the Sierra Room of the Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.

For information, go to CCAI's website at http://www.arts-initiative.org. To see examples of Martin's art, go to gilmartinpaintings.com.

STREMMEL GALLERY EXHIBITION

Stremmel Gallery presents an exhibition of new paintings by Miroslav Antic, and new sculptures by Roger Berry, on view from March 16 through April 15. The artists' reception will be from 5:30-7:30 p.m., March 16. Both the exhibition and reception are free to the public.

Miroslav Antic explores the power of memory by painting seminal and iconic characters,veiled by semi-transparent layers of color, polka dots, and paint splatters.

His abstracted backgrounds of drips, patterns, and phrases — and the peeling back of layers — provide a study in the impermanence of ubiquitous symbols. His large-scale paintings and installations aim to make the fleeting and nostalgic parts of American culture tangible.

Antic's work can be found in numerous public collections, including the Boston Public Library, the McDonald's Corporation, and the Museum of Art (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla).

Roger Berry, a prominent and highly respected Northern California artist, creates metal sculptures with arching shapes, evoking loosely intertwined knots. Looped forms twist around and curve back upon themselves in gracefully choreographed movement.

Berry has been commissioned to make over 30 site-specific sculptural works for municipalities and corporations from the West Coast to the United Kingdom. In Reno, Berry's work can be seen at Shopper's Square and Renown Medical Center.

For more information, or to schedule a private viewing of the new works by Antic and Berry, call Stremmel Gallery at 775-786-0558.

Stremmel Gallery is located at 1400 S. Virginia St. in Reno with gallery hours 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturdays

BLM SOLICITING ARTISTS

The Bureau of Land Management Winnemucca District (BLM) and Friends of Black Rock High Rock (FBR) are soliciting artists for this year's Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area (NCA) Artist in Residence (AiR) program.

This project is sponsored by the BLM in partnership with FBR. Applications are due March 31.

Selected artists will schedule residencies for two weeks in May or June 2017. They will be required to create at least one piece of artwork inspired by the Black Rock Desert NCA that will be featured in an exhibition in the summer or fall of 2017. Artists will receive a $350 stipend from FBR for developing their work as well as room and board.

SCHOOL OF ARTS

The School of the Arts is bringing the world to the University of Nevada, Reno stages as internationally known guest artists and culturally diverse offerings highlight the event schedule.

The newest copy of the Arts 365 calendar is available by signing up at http://www.unr.edu/NVArts365. It is packed with art, dance, theatre and music events for the Spring 2017 semester.

Exploring the Comstock’s majestic churches

If you read some of the books about Virginia City, you might think the historic mining town was a rough and lawless place that was no place for churches and schools.

The reality, however, is a little different. As noted Nevada historian Ronald James has written, "the sinful distractions of the Comstock were certainly no more prevalent than in any other place in the mining West."

In fact, by the early 1860s Virginia City had grown into a fairly civilized community. In "The Roar and the Silence, A History of Virginia City and the Comstock Lode," James cited an 1865 report of the State Superintendent of Public Schools that indicates Storey County had no less than a dozen schools, including seven in Virginia City.

Additionally, Virginia City's citizen's built marvelous houses of worship. James wrote that the community's first congregation was a Methodist group that formed in the late 1850s.

In 1861, the Methodists built Virginia City's first church, a fine wooden, steepled structure located about a block west of the present-day St. Mary in the Mountains Catholic Church (corner of Taylor and E Streets). The Methodist congregation declined in the early 20th century and the church no longer exists.

Other congregations, however, have had more longevity. The Roman Catholic Church sent its first priest to Virginia City in 1860. While the first Catholic Church building, made of wood, was destroyed by heavy winds, a sturdier structure was soon built, which was named St. Mary in the Mountains.

In the 1870s, the Catholic congregation numbered between 3,000 and 5,000 and was the largest religious group on the Comstock.

There is even a legend surrounding the church that involves the Great Fire of 1875. According to the story, as the fire raced through Virginia City (it eventually destroyed more than 75 percent of the town), many of the Catholic parishioners fought to save the church by pouring water over it.

Mine owner John Mackay, a prominent Irish-Catholic in the community, however, was more concerned about the fire reaching his mine and spreading into the underground shafts. He allegedly told Father Patrick Manogue, pastor of the church, that if the priest would permit the parishioners to save the mines, he would help rebuild the church.

Whatever the truth, the fire did destroy the church, which was rebuilt between 1875 and 1877. The replacement church — still standing — was an impressive two-story, Gothic Revival brick structure with rosewood balconies and stained glass windows.

Another of Virginia City's churches is St. Paul's Episcopal Church, located one block northeast of St. Mary in the Mountains on the corner of F and Taylor Streets. Erected in 1876—an earlier Episcopal church, erected in 1862, burned in the 1875 fire—St. Paul's is entirely constructed of native pine.

St. Paul's has arched ceiling beams and walls that are actually held together with wooden pegs. The original pews and wood-paneled walls are also still intact.

Virginia City's third historic church is the Presbyterian Church on C Street, near the community firehouse. The Presbyterian Church, built in 1867, is the oldest in Virginia City and the only original church not to have burned down during the 1875 fire, although it did suffer some fire damage.

The church was financed from money raised by selling mining stocks that had been donated to the congregation. Additionally, the church operated two stores, on either side of the building, which provided money for church activities.

The Presbyterian congregation peaked in the 1860s, with about 750 members. In the 1930s, the building had been converted into the Union Sunday School, then was closed due to its bad condition in 1947. It has since been restored and is again used for religious services.

All three of Virginia City's churches are open to the public during selected times (or during Sunday services). For more information, contact the Virginia City Chamber of Commerce, http://www.visitvirginiacitynv.com/.

Rich Moreno covers the places and people that make Nevada special.

Hawaiian sounds and 70s America

There are still some seats available for the performance by Hawaii's Kings of Swing Kahulanui tomorrow evening at the Oats Park Art Center.

The nine-member ensemble, plus a Hawaiian dancer, will offer up a rousing mix of traditional Hawaiian sounds with a horn section similar to those found in the Big Bands of groups like Count Basie and Glen Miller.

The group will hold a free conversation on Hawaiian musical styles at 3 p.m. in the Center's Art Bar. Doors to the evening performance will open at 7:00 p.m. and the show will begin at p.m. Tickets are $17 for CAC members, $20 for nonmembers, so if you'd like to grab one of then remaining seats you can call Churchill Arts at 775-423-1440.

READINGS: Joan Didion is one of our most intelligent AND perceptive authors and among her many books are the the novel "Play It As It Lays" as well as several collections of diverse essays including "The Year of Magical Thinking" and "The White Album," perhaps the definitive collection of pieces on the 1960s and '70s.

Her latest offering is "South and West: From a Notebook" (Knopf). The slim volume is comprised of two excerpts from her notebooks. "Notes on the South" retraces a trip she took in 1970 with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, through the deep South region of the U.S.

The other piece, "California Notes" began as an assignment to write a piece for Rolling Stone on the 1976 trial of Patty Hearst. She never did write the piece on Hearst, but it did become a meditation on her thoughts about the American West and her own childhood growing up in Sacramento. As in all her books, the prose crackles with eclectic insight.

In the piece on the American South, Didion notes that "the idea was to start in New Orleans and from there we had no plan." She suggests that she thought if she could actually understand the South, then she might be able know more about California as a lot of recent settlers came from the south to California.

The South, probably more than any other region in our country, is awash in notions of the past that no one can, or is willing to, forget. The West, in particular California, couldn't be more different, a state of mind she characterizes as thinking that "the future always looks good," even if it was patently untrue.

Using these two "states of mind" as counterintuitive poles of the American experience, Didion conjures a divided nation which — one side longing for California dreaming, the other group yearning for, clinging to the old ways, days when things were supposedly better. It's a situation that eerily mirrors much more recent events in our political history including the 2016 election.

Kirk Robertson covers the arts and may be reached at news@lahontanvalleynews.com

Country singer/producer Gurf Morlix to stop in Silver City

A country crooner whose more than 40-year career includes collaborations with Lucinda Williams, Blaze Foley, Robert Earl Keen, Warren Zevon and others is stopping in Silver City on a tour in support of his new album.

Gurf Morlix will perform at 7 p.m. April 13 at the Silver City School House in a fundraiser benefitting the venue's arts programs.

The singer, songwriter and producer got his start in the mid 1970s when he moved to Texas to play with Blaze Foley. In 1981 he joined Lucinda Williams and her band in Los Angeles and produced two of her records, "Lucinda Williams" and "Sweet Old World." Producing credits also go to Morlix on albums by Slaid Cleaves, Mary Gauthier, Robert Earl Keen and Ray Wylie Hubbard.

Now, the New York born and Texas bred musician is touring following the release of his ninth record, "The Soul and the Heal."

The album, recorded at his home studio in Texas, is another chapter in a song book that thrusts the human condition into the limelight.

The record was inspired, the artist said, by the unexpected death of his musical partner, rock keyboardist Ian McLagan, in December 2014.

On the album is drummer Rick Richards, who shares Morlix's straightforward aesthetic and whose rhythms Morlix echoes with two foot drums during his almost 100 solo gigs a year.

Doors for the Silver City performance open at 6 p.m. Beer, wine, coffee, tea, soda and water will be for sale.

The suggested donation of $15-25 will go to Morlix as well as the historic schoolhouse at 385 High St.

The one-room schoolhouse was built in 1867 to accommodate the growing Comstock community. After a south wing was added, making room for as many as 166 students.

The building continued as a school for almost a century. In 2004 the schoolhouse was destroyed by fire, and in 2007 it was rebuilt in the same architectural style, using many materials salvaged from the original structure.

Today, managed by the Silver City Historic Preservation Society, the site hosts town meetings, soup socials, holiday gatherings, a children's summer camp, sock hops, art shows and concerts.

Morlix's performance is sponsored by father-daughter team Robert Elston of Yellow Truck Productions and Evangeline Elston of Evangeline Presents.

For information and to RSVP, go to http://www.facebook.com/events/192357907923474/, or send an email to SilverCityLive@gmail.com. sz.

Carson City area live entertainment for March 23-29, 2017

Gary Douglas from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at Js' Old Town Bistro in Dayton.

The Kid and Nic at 7 p.m. today and 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Carson Valley Inn in Minden.

Live music from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Bella Fiore Wines, 224 W. Third St., Suite 8.

Tip-C at 8 p.m. Friday at Buckaroo's Saloon, 1435 Highway 395 N. in Gardnerville.

Mudd Bonz at 8 p.m. Friday at Genoa Bar, 2282 Main St., Genoa.

Brian Lester from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Js' Old Town Bistro in Dayton.

Live comedy by Brad Bonar at 8 p.m. Friday at the Carson Nugget, 507 N. Carson St. Tickets for $15 are at carsoncomedyclub.com or the casino's guest service center.

An open mic night open to all ages and skill levels at 7 p.m. Friday at A to Zen, 1801 N. Carson St.

John Dawson at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Casino Fandango, 3800 S. Carson St.

Trippin' King Snakes from 8 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Max Casino, 900 S. Carson St.; and 9-11 p.m. Sunday at the Hard Rock Cafe inside Harveys Lake Tahoe in Stateline.

Live music with Terri Campillo and Craig Fletcher from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. through Saturday at Glen Eagles, 3700 N. Carson St. Campillo and Fletcher are joined by Mick Valentino today and Rocky Tatterelli on Friday and Saturday.

Karaoke at The Y-Not Saloon, 152 E. Long St., from 8 p.m. to midnight Friday.

Tom Miller from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at Sassafras, 1500 Old Hot Springs Road.

Corky Bennett from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday at La Posada Real, 3205 Retail Drive.

Karaoke at Beercade, 1930 N. Carson St., adjacent to Carson City Inn, from 8 p.m. to midnight Saturdays.

Live comedy by Rio Hillman at 8 p.m. Sunday at Wink's Silver Strike Lanes, 1281 Kimmerling Road, Gardnerville.

Rock River at 6 p.m. Sunday and Monday at the Carson Valley Inn in Minden.

CW and Dr. Spitmore at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at Comma Coffee, 312 S. Carson St.

Daniel Gaughan from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Genoa Lakes Golf Course & Resort, 1 Genoa Lakes Drive.

Tyler Stafford at 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at the Carson Valley Inn in Minden.

Ev Musselman from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Max Casino, 900 S. Carson St.

Dave Leather's acoustic Americana music at noon Wednesday at Comma Coffee, 312 S. Carson St., and 6-8 p.m. Thursday at Sassafras, 1500 Old Hot Springs Road.

Billy Starr at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Red Dog Saloon, 76 N. C St. in Virginia City.

Send live music and entertainment information to jmcmanus@nevadaappeal.com by end of day Tuesday for inclusion.

The Young Irelanders to bring traditional Irish music to Minden April 7

The sounds of the Emerald Isle will fill the CVIC Hall in Minden when a Celtic band takes the stage on April 7.

The Young Irelanders will perform at 7 p.m. as part of the Carson Valley Arts Council's 2016-17 concert series. The sound the band creates is described as eclectic, where traditional Irish, Celtic, folk, world, jazz, country and popular music blend to give rise to a unique and multi-faceted sound.

Each year the Irish Cultural Academy brings together some of its finest performers of Irish traditional music, song and dance as part of one sensational group known as The Young Irelanders, whose members have traditional Irish music, song and dance running through their veins. Although still in their 20s and 30s, the performers are unique among their peers in Ireland; they're world and Irish national champions in their disciplines while some also hold master's degrees in music.

Members of the Irish Cultural Academy have performed across six continents and for many heads of state, Irish and American presidents and royalty such as Prince Albert of Monaco. Members also have performed at Beijing Opera House, Sydney Opera House, Kremlin State Palace in Moscow, the U.S. Capitol Building, the Kennedy Centre and Lincoln Center among other venues.

The Young Irelanders are Eoghan O Ceannabháin, flute, concertina and vocals; Jayne Pomplas, fiddle; Laura Callaghan, flute, whistles, bodhrán, snare and vocals; Barry Lyons, bodhrán, guitar and vocals; Hugh Kennedy, accordion; Ian Kinsella, guitar and vocals; and dancers Cameron White and Kendal Griffler.

Doors of the CVIC Hall will open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $24 in advance and $28 at the door. Kids under 18 are free.

Tickets are available at http://www.cvartscouncil.com or by calling 775-782-8207, or in person at the Copeland Cultural Arts Center, 1572 US Highway 395, Minden, and Douglas County Community and Senior Center, 1329 Waterloo Lane, Gardnerville.

To hear music and see videos of the Young Irelanders, go to http://www.theyoungirelanders.com/.

Recipe: Marinara sauce by Sierra Chef’s Cynthia Ferris-Bennett

I know, you had a double take on that title. Let's face it, to get the good stuff you have to have the right connections. Whether it's Aunt Nellie's sauce or my little Sicilian mother-in-law Grace's gravy, the right marinara can make or break a dish. Not only does the right sauce enhance just about anything it's paired with, it has health benefits as well.

Let's start with those beautiful red globes … tomatoes are chock-full of a vital antioxidants called lycopenes. This amazing antioxidant helps to fight cancerous cell formation as well as other health complications and diseases. The body doesn't produce lycopene naturally and looks for sources such as tomatoes to make this powerful antioxidant.

We move on to garlic. Consuming this powerful little root vegetable not only helps lower cholesterol levels due to the antioxidant properties of allicin but it also regulates blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

Now for oregano. The strong antioxidant present in oregano is rosmarinic acid which supports the immune system health. Oregano also contains beta-caryophyllene (E-BCP) which inhibits inflammation.

The next piece of our marinara puzzle is the humble onion. This nutrient-dense food isn't only low in calories but high in beneficial nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Bay leaf, oregano, thyme, parsley and extra virgin olive oil round out the antioxidant and immune system potpourri.

Put all of these wonderful ingredients together and you get a perfectly legal, antioxidant, immune boosting, blood pressure lowering culinary delight! So I will say it again … legalize marinara!

Marinara

Ingredients:

1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 bay leaf

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon finely chopped curly or flat-leaf parsley

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Put tomatoes and their liquid into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Set aside.

Heat oil in a four-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, bay leaf, and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes along with the oregano and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly and its flavors come together, about 20 minutes. Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper. Serve over pasta, chicken or just about anything else.

Cynthia Ferris-Bennett, a Nevada native and owner of the Sierra Chef Culinary Center in Gardnerville, manages the Sierra Chef Farmers Market at Lampe Park and is the event manager for East Fork Ranch. SIERRA CHEF: Expressing the Language of LIFE Through Food, Home and Garden, http://www.SierraChef.com.

Play makes ‘Bus Stop’ at Carson City’s BAC

If you're familiar with "Bus Stop" only through the Marilyn Monroe movie, don't expect to see it replicated exactly at the Brewery Arts Center's MHJ Black Box Theater the next two weekends.

"I do find the play more enjoyable than the film," said Joseph Bly, the director of the Proscenium Players Inc.'s (PPI) production of William Inge's 1955 play at the BAC.

The difference, said Bly, is in the telling.

"Movies are show, don't tell. In the theater there's a lot of tell because you can't show," he said.

With "Bus Stop" on stage, that means confining the action to a single set, a Kansas diner where the eight-member cast is stuck overnight during a snowstorm.

The story revolves around Cherie (Christina Dietlein), a young lounge singer from Kansas City and Bo Decker (Joe McClure), a cowboy who's kidnapping her to Montana to get married when their bus is sidelined by the storm.

There's also Dr. Gerald Lyman (Ron Shoup), a college philosophy professor, who spends the time flirting with Elma Duckworth (Annalise Sanders), the diner's teenage waitress.

The play was written as a comedy, said Bly, despite some of the dark plot points.

"Back then it seemed very droll," said Bly. "Fortunately, audiences are more sophisticated now and they don't think kidnapping is a good thing."

The rest of the characters are Grace Hoylard ( Theresa Martin), the diner's owner; the local sheriff, Will Masters (Ron Flesher); Virgil Blessing (Jeff Basa), an older cowboy and father figure to Bo; and the bus driver, Carl (Kevin Gallegos).

To better tell the story of strangers trapped together, Bly decided to move the set closer to the audience.

Before the play starts, the audience will actually walk across the set, through the diner door, to be seated.

"My concept was to make the audience feel claustrophobic with the actors," he said.

That presented challenges, too.

"The set is tricky. It has to be a functional diner," said Bly, with real donuts and real coffee. "They're eating so close to the audience that we can't use any theatrical fakery."

Bly first encountered the play as the assistant lighting director on a production at Ithaca College, where he received a degree in scenic, lighting, and sound design and worked after graduation.

"It has been a joy and an incredible honor to guide and nudge this cast and watch them develop into a ensemble capable of finely-tuned nuance and character development. I would be proud to see this cast perform on any stage in the world," Bly wrote in the Director's Note to the BAC program.

"Bus Stop" performances are March 24, 25, 31 and April 1 at 7 p.m. and March 26 and April 2 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $13 for BAC and PPI members, $15 for seniors and students, and $18 for general admission.

Tickets are available online at breweryarts.org, the BAC Artisan Shop or by calling 883-1976.

The BAC is at 449 W King St.

Chuck Berry’s influence on rock ‘n’ roll was incalculable

Rock 'n' roll was more than a new kind of music, but a new story to tell, one for kids with transistor radios in their hands and money in their pockets, beginning to raise questions their parents never had the luxury to ask.

Along with James Dean and J.D. Salinger and a handful of others in the 1950s, Chuck Berry — who was 90 when he died Saturday at his suburban St. Louis home — helped define the modern teenager. While Elvis Presley gave rock 'n' roll its libidinous, hip-shaking image, Berry was the auteur, setting the narrative for a generation no longer weighed down by hardship or war. Well before the rise of Bob Dylan, Berry wedded social commentary to the beat and rush of popular music.

"He was singing good lyrics, and intelligent lyrics, in the '50s when other people were singing, 'Oh, baby, I love you so,'" John Lennon once observed.

"Classic rock" begins with Chuck Berry, who had announced late last year that he would first new album since 1979, called "Chuck," sometime this year. His core repertoire was some three dozen songs, but his influence was incalculable, from the Beatles and Rolling Stones to virtually every garage band or arena act that called itself rock 'n roll.

In his late 20s before his first major hit, Berry crafted lyrics that spoke to young people of the day and remained fresh decades later. "Sweet Little Sixteen" captured rock 'n' roll fandom, an early and innocent ode to the young girls later known as "groupies." "School Day" told of the sing-song trials of the classroom ("American history and practical math; you're studying hard, hoping to pass …") and the liberation of rock 'n' roll once the day's final bell rang.

"Roll Over Beethoven" was an anthem to rock's history-making power, while "Rock and Roll Music" was a guidebook for all bands that followed ("It's got a back beat, you can't lose it"). "Back in the U.S.A." was a black man's straight-faced tribute to his country, at a time there was no guarantee Berry would be served at the drive-ins and corner cafes he was celebrating.

"Everything I wrote about wasn't about me, but about the people listening," he once said.

"Johnny B. Goode," the tale of a guitar-playing country boy whose mother tells him he'll be a star, was Berry's signature song, the archetypal narrative for would-be rockers and among the most ecstatic recordings in the music's history. Berry can hardly contain himself as the words hurry out ("Deep down Louisiana close to New Orleans/Way back up in the woods among the evergreens") and the downpour of guitar, drums and keyboards amplifies every call of "Go, Johnny Go!"

The song was inspired in part by Johnnie Johnson, the boogie-woogie piano man who collaborated on many Berry hits, but the story could have easily been Berry's, Presley's or countless others'. Commercial calculation made the song universal: Berry had meant to call Johnny a "colored boy," but changed "colored" to "country," enabling not only radio play, but musicians of any color to imagine themselves as stars.

"Chances are you have talent," Berry later wrote of the song. "But will the name and the light come to you? No! You have to go!"

Johnny B. Goode could only have been a guitarist. The guitar was rock 'n' roll's signature instrument and Berry the first guitar hero. His clarion sound, a melting pot of country flash and rhythm 'n blues drive, turned on at least a generation of musicians, among them the Stones' Keith Richards, who once acknowledged he had "lifted every lick" from Berry; the Beatles' George Harrison; Bruce Springsteen; and the Who's Pete Townshend.

When NASA launched the unmanned Voyager I in 1977, an album was stored on the craft that would explain music on Earth to extraterrestrials. The one rock song included was "Johnny B. Goode."

Country, pop and rock artists have recorded Berry songs, including the Beatles ("Roll Over Beethoven"), Emmylou Harris ("You Never Can Tell"), Buck Owens ("Johnny B. Goode") and AC/DC ("School Days"). The Rolling Stones' first single was a cover of Berry's "Come On" and they went on to perform and record "Around and Around," "Let it Rock" and others. Berry riffs pop up in countless songs, from the Stones' ravenous "Brown Sugar" to the Eagles' mellow country-rock ballad "Peaceful Easy Feeling."

Some stars covered him too well. The Beach Boys borrowed the melody of "Sweet Little Sixteen" for their surf anthem "Surfin' U.S.A." without initially crediting Berry. The Beatles' "Come Together," written by Lennon, was close enough to Berry's "You Can't Catch Me" to inspire a lawsuit by music publisher Morris Levy. In an out of court settlement, Lennon agreed to record "You Can't Catch Me" for his 1975 "Rock n' Roll" album.

Berry himself was accused of theft. In 2000, Johnson sued Berry over royalties and credit he believed he was due for the songs they composed together over more than 20 years of collaboration. The lawsuit was dismissed two years later, but Richards was among those who believed Johnson had been cheated, writing in his memoir "Life" that Johnson set up the arrangements for Berry and was so essential to the music that many of Berry's songs were recorded in keys more suited for the piano.

He received a Grammy for lifetime achievement in 1984 and two years later became a charter member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with Presley, Buddy Holly, Little Richard and others. In the 1990s, Berry began giving monthly concerts in the intimate setting of the "Duck Room" of the Blueberry Hill club in St. Louis, drawing visitors from around the world. At times he was joined by his son, guitarist Charles Berry Jr., and daughter, Ingrid Berry Clay, on vocals and harmonica. He married their mother, Themetta Suggs, in 1948. They had four children.

Charles Edward Anderson Berry was born in St. Louis on Oct. 18, 1926. As a child he practiced a bent-leg stride that enabled him to slip under tables, a prelude to the trademark "duck walk" of his adult years. His mother, like Johnny B. Goode's, told him he would make it, and make it big.

Berry studied the mechanics of music and how it was transmitted. As a teenager, he loved to take radios apart and put them back together. Using a Nick Manoloff guitar chord book, he learned how to play the hits of the time. He was fascinated by chord progressions and rhythms, discovering that many songs borrowed heavily from the Gershwins' "I Got Rhythm."

He began his musical career at age 15 when he went on stage at a high school review to perform a cover of Jay McShann's "Confessin' the Blues." Berry would never forget the ovation he received.

"Long did the encouragement of that performance assist me in programming my songs and even their delivery while performing," he wrote in "Chuck Berry," a memoir published in 1986. "I added and deleted according to the audiences' response to different gestures, and chose songs to build an act that would constantly stimulate my audience."

Influenced by bandleader Louis Jordan and blues guitarist T-Bone Walker among others, hip to country music, novelty songs and the emerging teen audiences of the post-World War II era, Berry signed with Chicago's Chess Records in 1955 after hooking up with Johnson three years earlier. "Maybellene" reworked the country song "Ida Red" and rose into the top 10 of the national pop charts, a rare achievement for a black artist at that time. According to Berry, label owner Leonard Chess was taken by the novelty of a "hillbilly song sung by a black man," an inversion of Presley's covers of blues songs.

Several hits followed, including "Roll Over Beethoven," "School Day" and "Sweet Little Sixteen." Among his other songs: "Memphis," "Nadine," "Let it Rock," "Almost Grown" and the racy novelty number "My Ding-A-Ling," which topped the charts in 1972, his only No. 1 single.

Berry didn't care for hard drugs and spoke of drinking screwdrivers "without the driver." But he knew too well the outlaw life.

His troubles began in 1944, when a joy riding trip to Kansas City turned into a crime spree involving armed robberies and car theft. Berry served three years of a 10-year sentence at a reformatory.

In the early 1960s, his career was nearly destroyed when he was indicted for violating the Mann Act, which barred transportation of a minor across state lines for "immoral purposes." There were two trials: the first so racist that a guilty verdict was vacated, and the second leading to prison time, 1 1/2 years of a three-year term. Berry continued to record after getting out, and his legacy was duly honored by the Beatles and the Stones, but his hit-making days were essentially over.

"Down from stardom/then I fell/to this lowly prison cell," Berry wrote in his journal as his jail time began.

Tax charges came in 1979, based on Berry's insistence he receive concert fees in cash, and another three-year prison sentence, all but 120 days of which was suspended. Some former female employees sued him for allegedly videotaping them in the bathroom of his restaurant. The cases were settled in 1994, after Berry paid $1.3 million.

Openly money-minded, Berry was an entrepreneur with a St. Louis nightclub and, west of the city, property he dubbed Berry Park, which included a home, guitar-shaped swimming pool, restaurant, cottages and concert venue. He declined to have a regular band and instead used local musicians, willing to work cheap, wherever he performed. Springsteen was among those who had an early gig backing Berry.

Berry and his duck walk were seen in several teen exploitation flicks of the '50s. In the 1980s, Richards organized the well-received documentary "Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll," featuring highlights from concerts at St. Louis' Fox Theatre to celebrate Berry's 60th birthday that included Eric Clapton, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, who recalled being told by his own mother that Berry, not he, was the true king of rock 'n' roll.

Burned by an industry that demanded a share of his songwriting credits, Berry was deeply suspicious of even his admirers, as anybody could tell from watching him give Richards the business in "Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll." For the movie's concerts, he confounded Richards by playing songs in different keys and tempos than they had been in rehearsal. Richards would recall turning to his fellow musicians and shrugging, "Wing it, boys."

Berry also was the subject of countless essays and histories of rock music, but he was his own best biographer. In "Go, Go, Go," one of many songs to feature Johnny B. Goode, he celebrates his magic on stage, an act irresistible to young and old, boy and girl, dog and cat.

Duckwalkin' on his knees, peckin' like a hen

Lookin' like a locomotive, here he comes again

Meow said the kitty, puppy bow, wow, wow

Go and pick your guitar, Johnny don't stop now,

oh baby

———

Kings of Hawaiian swing breeze into Fallon

The talented, eclectic ensemble Kahulanui will bring their Hawaiian big band sounds to the Barkley Theatre in the Oats Park Art Center on March 25.

During the 1920s and 1930s you could hear a number of orchestras, including the Royal Hawaiian Band, playing Hawaiian Swing and these jumping performances were wildly popular.

Kahulanui, and its director, Lolena "Lena" Naipo Jr., draw upon and borrow from these influences—his grandfather was a member of the Royal Hawaiians. Their resulting sound presents some classic island songs in a highly syncopated style and has led to them becoming known as the Kings of Hawaiian Swing.

These musical sounds were captured on the group's debut album "Hu;a Ku'I," which went on to garner a Grammy nomination for Best Regional Roots Album, for the nine-member ensemble.

It is a truly contemporary take on this vintage musical style. The band's name translates roughly as "The Big Dance" and the Wall Street Journal suggested that their music will make you want to dance the Hula and do the Jitterbug at the same time."

Members of the group will talk about the history and traditions of island musical styles in a free and open to the public, informal conversation at 3 p.m. in the Center's Art Bar. These casual conversations are a great way to learn about diverse musical traditions and talk with the performers in an up close and personal setting.,

Doors and the Art Bar for the evening show will open at 7 p.m. and the show will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $17 for CAC members and $20 for nonmembers and you can get yours at Jeff's Copy Express on Maine Street, at ITT @ NAS Fallon or by calling Churchill Arts at 775-4123-1440.

Coming up on April 8 will be the opening reception for the new visual art exhibition in the galleries at the Art Center.

The show, "CollAssemblage" will present the works of more than 36 regionally and nationally acclaimed artists working in the media of collage and assemblage. The reception will be held from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

The strategies of collage and assemblage, which can be traced to early twentieth century innovations by artists such as Picasso and Kurt Schwitters, enable the creation of compositions by combining found or disparate objects and images. The invitational exhibition will survey the works of contemporary working in these media and we'll have a closer look the artists included in the show in the coming weeks.

Kirk Robertson covers the arts and may be reached at news@lahontanvalleynews.com