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SCENE & HERD — MARCH 16, 2000

BLUES NEWS: Anybody into the blues is probably already aware that The Butanes are in the midst of a Virgin Islands tour — but maybe not. Listen up, then: The group, which spent last weekend on St. Croix, will be at the Hard Rock Cafe Thursday night, and at Iggie's Beach Bar & Grill at the Bolongo Bay Beach Club Sunday afternoon.
Audiences and fellow blues artists tend to be surprised that The Butanes, who have cultivated a loyal following over 15 years, are based in Minneapolis. Band leader/guitarist Curtis Obeda started his musical career in the Twin Cities but did get some exposure to Chicago-style blues along the way. He's equally at home coaxing long Albert King-style double stop bends out of his guitar or playing rapid-fire single notes in the style of B.B. King.
Much in demand by top blues solo artists, The Butanes have played behind John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley and Percy Sledge. They were there with Fenton Robinson at Duluth's Bayfront Blues Festival when National Public Radio recorded him for its program "Blues Stage." The four-member group has played with guitar legend Earl King at the last 10 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festivals, toured and recorded with him, and even played with him four years ago at the first St. Croix Blues and Heritage Festival — it says so right there in their bio!
Also in the bio: "Grammy-award winning Zydeco accordionist Al Rapone has completed East Coast, West Coast, Midwest, Caribbean and Alaskan tours since 1992 with The Butanes disguised as the Zydeco Express" band. (It doesn't mention that one Caribbean stop was on St. Thomas last year for Beach Jam 1999 — or that Rapone and company played at the late Barnacle Bill's a few years back.)
Promotion materials typically include quoted snippets of praise from professional critics. What The Butanes offer is a pageful of "what they said" comments from blues headliners they've played with. Examples: Al Rapone, after people inquire what Louisiana town the band is from: "They're from the Northern bayou — it's not on any map." Earl King, when asked why he used Minnesota musicians at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival: "I do songs with them I wouldn't even try with other guys." And Bo Diddley, whose contract specified no encore, when the band agreed to do one on its own because the crowd refused to budge: "Do you mind if I play, too?"
The band's reputation is based on its technical ability combined with its soulfulness of spirit. When The Butanes play, as the bio puts it, "the dance floor stays crowded, the bartender stays busy, and all eyes stay fixed on the stage." The Hard Rock gig Thursday is from 8 p.m. to midnight. Sunday's beach jam at Bolongo Bay starts at noon and goes to sunset. There's no cover at either venue.
GREEN SCENES: The date in honor of Ireland's patron saint fortuitously falls on a Friday this year, so every watering hole that cares to rechristen itself an Irish pub is looking to attract patrons in the mood for St. Paddy's Day partying into the wee hours. The emphasis is on drink specials, with assorted pub crawls being promoted. Here's where there's more going on:
On St. Thomas. . .
The most ostentatiously Irish food and drink emporium (year 'round) these days is Molly Molones, owned and operated by the senior Frank Brittingham, who used to do the same thing in Philadelphia, then brought Irish pubbery to St. Thomas some years back in the personification of Finn McCool's. This will be the first Caribbean St. Patrick's Day celebration at Molly's, in the American Yacht Harbor complex, replete with a St. Thomas-style Paddy's parade.
Friday's lineup of live music kicks off at noon. The "direct from Ireland " musicians are Sean O'Neil from County Tyrone, Ritchie Dowling from County Claire and Cletus McBride and Company, who previously played at McCool's. O'Neill and Dowling will perform from noon to 3 p.m. Foxy Callwood, the most Irish musician in all of Jost Van Dyke, takes over from 3 to 5. Then Sun Mountain Fiddler Dick Solberg — who's been playing to appreciative audiences at Latitude 18 and a lot of other spots this winter — is booked from 5 to 6. The local folk group Harmony Dem will perform from 6 to 7.
McBride and Company, Irish step dancer Chrissy Dunham, other local musicians and Irish videos will be featured anytime the other artists are not at the mike. Irish food and drink will be available throughout the day. Brittingham notes that he stocks "the most extensive line of Irish whiskeys anywhere around" — 18 varieties, including the top-of-the-line Midlands, which goes for $25 a shot. Also, he notes, his Irish coffee recipe "won awards 15 years in a row" back in Philly. The menu, in effect every day, includes not only corned beef and cabbage but also shepherd's pie, ham and cabbage, a farmhouse mixed grill and fodg, an Irish fried bread.
In good island style, the St. Paddy's parade will take place not on Friday, when folks with regular jobs mightn't be able to make it, but on Sunday at 1 p.m. The march around the main American Yacht Harbor parking lot and brickways will step off from and end at Molly's, "where you'll enjoy Irish grog and revelry," the publicity proclaims.
Elsewhere, the Hard Rock Cafe will be serving corned beef and cabbage for lunch and Solberg will be fiddling there from 1 to 4 p.m. before heading to the East End. And at Tickle's in Crown Bay, in the midst of the week-long guest chefs celebration that culminates in a culinary competition on Sunday, there'll be corned beef and cabbage from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and music in the evening by Stevie Legend on keyboards/vocals.
To mark St. Paddy's Day at the island's most English outpost, the Toad & Tart, proprietor Anna Clarke deadpans, "We'll be doing what we always do — Christmas dinner. Turkey and stuffing and all that." Um, why? "Just because we feel like it. We're not Irish." She promises the price will be "very affordable — under $20."
And on St. John. . .
Skinny Legs in Coral Bay will be serving corned beef and cabbage from 5 to 9 p.m. And, co-owner Doug Sica notes, Sun Mountain Fiddler Solberg, who "plays here once a year," will be doing so on Sunday from 5 to 8 p.m.
In Cruz Bay, the Quiet Mon Pub is organizing the third annual St. Paddy's parade. It's to start at noon between the tennis courts and the Texaco station and proceed the couple of blocks to the pub, where the kitchen offerings will include corned beef and cabbage and Irish stew from 11:30 a.m. There'll also be corned beef and cabbage at The Front Yard.
CEAP CALLS OFF MEMORIAL DAY JAM: Cause Effective Arts Program person-in-charge Steve Bornn has given up on staging a big-name world music event on St. Thomas over the Memorial Day weekend. Reportedly just back from an exploratory trip to Trinidad to check out talent, he says the not-for-profit CEAP was unable to mobilize the corporate backing needed to pull the event off.
The organization's first presentation was Beach Jam '99 on Magens Bay beach, held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day last year. Featuring Tito Puente with his band and Al Rapone and Zydeco Express, the day-long event was well attended but lost money, CEAP officials have said. CEAP's only other activity to date was presenting the Danish Polcalypso Orchestra in a round of local performances last summer.
Bornn had been promoting his plans to mount a day-long event on the date the Memorial Day holiday is observed this year — Monday, May 29 — at the Crown Bay dock, which he had yet to get permission to use. No confirmed performer bookings had been announced.
NO FUN FOR THE FUNKATEERS? Meantime, also unannounced are any plans by anybody to put together any sort of on-land music event on Tuesday, May 30, when the SS Norway wil
l bring a couple thousand "Old School funkateers" to St. Thomas on The Tom Joyner Foundation's private booking of the cruise ship for Fantastic Voyage 2000. This is what the territory is getting in lieu of a second annual week-long Sinbad Soul Music Festival (Sinbad canceled earlier this year, also citing lack of sponsorship).
The Norway is scheduled to be in port from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. Then it crosses to St. Croix, where it will be at Frederiksted from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 31. The ship makes no other ports of call on the seven-day cruise out of Miami except for a half day at a private island in the Bahamas owned by the cruise line. Aboard with Joyner will be Miss Dupree, J. Anthony Brown, Myra J and Sybil Wilkes — and more likely than not, Sinbad. Do no entrepreneurs in the territory — does not the Tourism Department — think thousands of fun-minded African-American tourists might enjoy getting off the ship to party for a reasonable price, as well as to shop? The Tuesday itinerary is made for staying ashore for night-time out-and-abouting. But if nothing's organized — and promoted — you know where they're likely to go: back to the ship.
ON THE WALLS: Donald Laurent Dahlke's new show at Mango Tango is what art appreciators have come to expect from the former St. Croix artist, who has been exhibiting twice yearly of late at the Raphune Hill gallery: more of the same, but a bit different.
There are nine oils of his airborne characters creating their own traffic jams a hundred feet or so above clapboard shacks on the beach below. The usual suspects — musicians, market women, dinghy rowers, a bicyclist, umbrella holders — populate the deep blue skies. Six of the works are larger than those he usually does in this genre.
And there are eight portal paintings, Dahlke's signature views from outside a shadow- dappled structure through an open door or window, across the murky interior, and out again into the sunlight through a window on the opposite wall. Here, viewers find a distinct variation on the theme: While five of the pieces look typically Caribbean, three of them clearly convey a Hispanic setting — through painted tiles, flagstones, religious imagery and, in once case, a bold use of red and yellow for the building's exterior. And the exterior vista seen through the far windows of these three is not the typical Caribbean sea, but landscapes of rolling green hills with cactus or trees in the foreground.
Granted, these architectural images could be from Old San Juan or Santo Domingo, but it turns out that they are not. Their inspiration is from Mexico, where Dahlke has recently been spending a lot of time painting — specifically in San Miguel de Allende. The Mexican environment has also inspired the artist's five oil monochromes on white-painted canvas. Called "Aztec Visions," the pieces are figurative designs incorporating mostly curved surfaces.
Part of the appeal of a Don Dahlke exhibition is its variety of mediums and styles — all the artist's own, yet all very different. In addition to the airborne characters, the portals and the Aztec designs, this show has five colorful pop computer-art pieces that picture bizarre human-ish images that come across as mostly amiable aliens, not much like you or me, but not threatening or disturbing, either. Rounding out the show are eight pencil and/or pen-and-ink drawings that do give the viewer pause — to ponder the significance of bodies with multiple heads, an inchworm being with a human foot at one end and a full-face mask at the other.
Dahlke through years of continuing growth within the realm of recognition has earned a loyal following. His largest piece, an almost-life-size portal priced at $11,000, didn't sell at the opening reception Sunday. But his third-largest, tagged at $5,200, did. Other works range from $125 (for the computer art) to $5,800 (for another large portal). The show will hang through April 8.
THE EAT BEAT: Tickles at Crown Bay winds up its guest chefs week Sunday with a day-long "Ticklefest" from 11 a.m. until that includes competitions for best drink and best food, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Victim Advocate program, and lot of music.
The best drink contest is at 3 p.m. An hour later, chefs from the luxury yachts and charter vessels at the marina will submit their entries for the culinary competition. Among those taking part are Kevin Rico of the Lady Allison, Christoph Scherer of Daybreak, Scott Schwaner of Excellence II and "Dan" of Belle Rhonda. "The dishes they will enter that day are a secret," Tickles general manager Peter Zachko says.
Confirmed for the entertainment line-up are musicians Erin Alain, Paul Borghi, Greg Certo, Sonny G., Greg Greer, Stevie Legend, Mar, Bob Meadows, Public Nuisance and Lee Whalen; plus juggling and a magic act by Steve Prosterman.
BIG SCREEN SCENES: The three scheduled showings this weekend of Speaking in Strings, the Academy Award-nominated documentary feature film produced by St. Thomas daughter Lilibet Foster, turns out to be a double feature. Sharing the bill is another film screened last month at the Reichhold Center for the Arts as part of the premiere International Film and Video Festival, La petite vendeuse de Soleil, which translates to "The Girl Who Sold the Sun." The 45-minute video documentary, the last work directed by the late Senegalese filmmaker Djibril Diop Mambety, focuses on a paraplegic girl who sells newspapers (The Sun) in a bustling Dakar marketplace. While the premise might sound like a downer, the picture conveys the resilience and resourcefulness of "the little people" in a world of corrupt authority and mean- mindedness.
Speaking in Strings, a 75-minute film, documents the art and life of flamboyant classical violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg. It is one of five contenders for the best documentary feature Oscar at the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, March 26.
Presented by the brand-new V.I. Film Society, the pictures are being shown in the Westin Resort ballroom on Friday and Saturday starting at 7:30 p.m. and at the Sugar Bay Resort on Sunday at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 for all showings, with proceeds to benefit the society. Tickets for the St. John showing are available in advance at Connections. Those for St. Thomas are being sold at Color of Joy and the Draughting Shaft in Havensight.
Note: There's no "Cinema Sundays" film at the Reichhold Center this weekend, because the theater is booked for a UVI Humanities Festival program.
ONE CAMPUS, TWO PLAYS: In the coming week, two locally produced plays will open on the St. Thomas campus of the University of the Virgin Islands, for overlapping three- and four-day runs — one on Reichhold Center stage and the other in the Little Theater.
Thursday, March 23, will bring the world premiere of Eddie Donoghue's musical drama "Jankombum," a play about the universal human traits of love, jealousy and betrayal that is set in plantation times in the Danish West Indies and has its focus on the free and enslaved Africans of the time and place. Produced by St. John's Carabana Ensemble Theater Company and directed by Carabana's Clarence Cuthbertson, the play will be presented at the Reichhold. It will have performances as well on Friday and Saturday, March 24 and 25. Tickets are $25 (all seating is in the covered section) and are being sold on St. Thomas at Crystal & Gifts Galore, Modern Music in Havensight, Parrot Fish Music, The Draughting Shaft in Sub Base and on campus at the UVI bookstore and Reichhold box office. On St. John, they're available at Connections.
Friday, March 24, will bring the opening night of Trinidadian playwright Mustapha Matura's "Play Mas." According to UVI theater professor Rosary Harper, the play, situated in Trinidad, is full of "fun and merriment" and focuses on the relationship between an East Indian tailor and his African-Caribbean apprentice
. It also, she says, "deals with the important role that annual carnivals play in the various Caribbean cultures — regardless of limited funds and political disturbances, you can't stop carnival!" The play will continue Saturday, Sunday and Monday, March 25-27. Tickets are $10 general admission and $5 for students; they're available at Dockside Bookshop, Education Station and Nisky Pharmacy and on campus at the UVI bookstore and Humanities Division office.
LUNAR TUNES: There are two full-moon music events on tap on St. Thomas.
On Saturday, Island Blitz is doing its monthly thing at Coral World, from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., featuring music by St. John's Cool Sessions Brass and Kary "Starman" Williams with his telescope. Admission is $10 at the door.
And on Sunday, Rotary East is sponsoring a Full Moon Jazz evening starting at 7 p.m. on the Marlin Deck of the main American Yacht Harbor building. Joining keyboardist/singer Sally Smith will be friends Rhett Simmonds on bass, Louis Isaac on percussion, Rusty Vellek on saxophone, and Jerry Harris and "maybe" Joan Bennett on vocals. The emphasis will be on a sambista beat. There's a $5 cover, with desserts and hot and cold drinks available.
CAMPUS CONCERTS: The UVI concert band, concert choir, jazz ensemble and steelband share the Reichhold stage Sunday night for the annual UVI Charter Day concert — this one marking year No. 38 for the land-grant school. The music begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 general admission and $5 for students with I.D.
The following Sunday, March 26, jazz ensemble director and trombonist Martin Lamkin and friends will present Jazz on the Green from 4 to 8 p.m. on the Herman E. Moore Golf Course. Admission for this one is free. Take a blanket or folding chairs and a picnic if you like, along with a container to take your trash away afterward.
GOTTA GET DANCERS: The Reichhold Center is looking for a few good dancers for STARfest 6, which is to have performances May 13-15. The requirements are that you be at least 12 years of age, be a good modern dancer able to take direction, and be available for the required rehearsals and performance dates.
Auditions will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 25, at the V.I. Institute of Performing Arts studios in the Kronprindsens Gade complex. Those wishing to try out are asked to come in dance attire and be on time. For more information, call Malissa Neille at 775-6393 or the Reichhold Center office at 693-1550.
TO BE SEEN BY THE HERD: Scene & Herd appears weekly in the Source, previewing arts and entertainment events open to the public on St. Thomas and St. John. To have material considered for inclusion, submit it in writing by the Monday preceding desired publication date. Fax to 776-4812 or e-mail to jetsinger@viaccess.net.

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BLUES NEWS: Anybody into the blues is probably already aware that The Butanes are in the midst of a Virgin Islands tour -- but maybe not. Listen up, then: The group, which spent last weekend on St. Croix, will be at the Hard Rock Cafe Thursday night, and at Iggie's Beach Bar & Grill at the Bolongo Bay Beach Club Sunday afternoon.
Audiences and fellow blues artists tend to be surprised that The Butanes, who have cultivated a loyal following over 15 years, are based in Minneapolis. Band leader/guitarist Curtis Obeda started his musical career in the Twin Cities but did get some exposure to Chicago-style blues along the way. He's equally at home coaxing long Albert King-style double stop bends out of his guitar or playing rapid-fire single notes in the style of B.B. King.
Much in demand by top blues solo artists, The Butanes have played behind John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley and Percy Sledge. They were there with Fenton Robinson at Duluth's Bayfront Blues Festival when National Public Radio recorded him for its program "Blues Stage." The four-member group has played with guitar legend Earl King at the last 10 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festivals, toured and recorded with him, and even played with him four years ago at the first St. Croix Blues and Heritage Festival -- it says so right there in their bio!
Also in the bio: "Grammy-award winning Zydeco accordionist Al Rapone has completed East Coast, West Coast, Midwest, Caribbean and Alaskan tours since 1992 with The Butanes disguised as the Zydeco Express" band. (It doesn't mention that one Caribbean stop was on St. Thomas last year for Beach Jam 1999 -- or that Rapone and company played at the late Barnacle Bill's a few years back.)
Promotion materials typically include quoted snippets of praise from professional critics. What The Butanes offer is a pageful of "what they said" comments from blues headliners they've played with. Examples: Al Rapone, after people inquire what Louisiana town the band is from: "They're from the Northern bayou -- it's not on any map." Earl King, when asked why he used Minnesota musicians at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival: "I do songs with them I wouldn't even try with other guys." And Bo Diddley, whose contract specified no encore, when the band agreed to do one on its own because the crowd refused to budge: "Do you mind if I play, too?"
The band's reputation is based on its technical ability combined with its soulfulness of spirit. When The Butanes play, as the bio puts it, "the dance floor stays crowded, the bartender stays busy, and all eyes stay fixed on the stage." The Hard Rock gig Thursday is from 8 p.m. to midnight. Sunday's beach jam at Bolongo Bay starts at noon and goes to sunset. There's no cover at either venue.
GREEN SCENES: The date in honor of Ireland's patron saint fortuitously falls on a Friday this year, so every watering hole that cares to rechristen itself an Irish pub is looking to attract patrons in the mood for St. Paddy's Day partying into the wee hours. The emphasis is on drink specials, with assorted pub crawls being promoted. Here's where there's more going on:
On St. Thomas. . .
The most ostentatiously Irish food and drink emporium (year 'round) these days is Molly Molones, owned and operated by the senior Frank Brittingham, who used to do the same thing in Philadelphia, then brought Irish pubbery to St. Thomas some years back in the personification of Finn McCool's. This will be the first Caribbean St. Patrick's Day celebration at Molly's, in the American Yacht Harbor complex, replete with a St. Thomas-style Paddy's parade.
Friday's lineup of live music kicks off at noon. The "direct from Ireland " musicians are Sean O'Neil from County Tyrone, Ritchie Dowling from County Claire and Cletus McBride and Company, who previously played at McCool's. O'Neill and Dowling will perform from noon to 3 p.m. Foxy Callwood, the most Irish musician in all of Jost Van Dyke, takes over from 3 to 5. Then Sun Mountain Fiddler Dick Solberg -- who's been playing to appreciative audiences at Latitude 18 and a lot of other spots this winter -- is booked from 5 to 6. The local folk group Harmony Dem will perform from 6 to 7.
McBride and Company, Irish step dancer Chrissy Dunham, other local musicians and Irish videos will be featured anytime the other artists are not at the mike. Irish food and drink will be available throughout the day. Brittingham notes that he stocks "the most extensive line of Irish whiskeys anywhere around" -- 18 varieties, including the top-of-the-line Midlands, which goes for $25 a shot. Also, he notes, his Irish coffee recipe "won awards 15 years in a row" back in Philly. The menu, in effect every day, includes not only corned beef and cabbage but also shepherd's pie, ham and cabbage, a farmhouse mixed grill and fodg, an Irish fried bread.
In good island style, the St. Paddy's parade will take place not on Friday, when folks with regular jobs mightn't be able to make it, but on Sunday at 1 p.m. The march around the main American Yacht Harbor parking lot and brickways will step off from and end at Molly's, "where you'll enjoy Irish grog and revelry," the publicity proclaims.
Elsewhere, the Hard Rock Cafe will be serving corned beef and cabbage for lunch and Solberg will be fiddling there from 1 to 4 p.m. before heading to the East End. And at Tickle's in Crown Bay, in the midst of the week-long guest chefs celebration that culminates in a culinary competition on Sunday, there'll be corned beef and cabbage from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and music in the evening by Stevie Legend on keyboards/vocals.
To mark St. Paddy's Day at the island's most English outpost, the Toad & Tart, proprietor Anna Clarke deadpans, "We'll be doing what we always do -- Christmas dinner. Turkey and stuffing and all that." Um, why? "Just because we feel like it. We're not Irish." She promises the price will be "very affordable -- under $20."
And on St. John. . .
Skinny Legs in Coral Bay will be serving corned beef and cabbage from 5 to 9 p.m. And, co-owner Doug Sica notes, Sun Mountain Fiddler Solberg, who "plays here once a year," will be doing so on Sunday from 5 to 8 p.m.
In Cruz Bay, the Quiet Mon Pub is organizing the third annual St. Paddy's parade. It's to start at noon between the tennis courts and the Texaco station and proceed the couple of blocks to the pub, where the kitchen offerings will include corned beef and cabbage and Irish stew from 11:30 a.m. There'll also be corned beef and cabbage at The Front Yard.
CEAP CALLS OFF MEMORIAL DAY JAM: Cause Effective Arts Program person-in-charge Steve Bornn has given up on staging a big-name world music event on St. Thomas over the Memorial Day weekend. Reportedly just back from an exploratory trip to Trinidad to check out talent, he says the not-for-profit CEAP was unable to mobilize the corporate backing needed to pull the event off.
The organization's first presentation was Beach Jam '99 on Magens Bay beach, held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day last year. Featuring Tito Puente with his band and Al Rapone and Zydeco Express, the day-long event was well attended but lost money, CEAP officials have said. CEAP's only other activity to date was presenting the Danish Polcalypso Orchestra in a round of local performances last summer.
Bornn had been promoting his plans to mount a day-long event on the date the Memorial Day holiday is observed this year -- Monday, May 29 -- at the Crown Bay dock, which he had yet to get permission to use. No confirmed performer bookings had been announced.
NO FUN FOR THE FUNKATEERS? Meantime, also unannounced are any plans by anybody to put together any sort of on-land music event on Tuesday, May 30, when the SS Norway wil l bring a couple thousand "Old School funkateers" to St. Thomas on The Tom Joyner Foundation's private booking of the cruise ship for Fantastic Voyage 2000. This is what the territory is getting in lieu of a second annual week-long Sinbad Soul Music Festival (Sinbad canceled earlier this year, also citing lack of sponsorship).
The Norway is scheduled to be in port from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. Then it crosses to St. Croix, where it will be at Frederiksted from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 31. The ship makes no other ports of call on the seven-day cruise out of Miami except for a half day at a private island in the Bahamas owned by the cruise line. Aboard with Joyner will be Miss Dupree, J. Anthony Brown, Myra J and Sybil Wilkes -- and more likely than not, Sinbad. Do no entrepreneurs in the territory -- does not the Tourism Department -- think thousands of fun-minded African-American tourists might enjoy getting off the ship to party for a reasonable price, as well as to shop? The Tuesday itinerary is made for staying ashore for night-time out-and-abouting. But if nothing's organized -- and promoted -- you know where they're likely to go: back to the ship.
ON THE WALLS: Donald Laurent Dahlke's new show at Mango Tango is what art appreciators have come to expect from the former St. Croix artist, who has been exhibiting twice yearly of late at the Raphune Hill gallery: more of the same, but a bit different.
There are nine oils of his airborne characters creating their own traffic jams a hundred feet or so above clapboard shacks on the beach below. The usual suspects -- musicians, market women, dinghy rowers, a bicyclist, umbrella holders -- populate the deep blue skies. Six of the works are larger than those he usually does in this genre.
And there are eight portal paintings, Dahlke's signature views from outside a shadow- dappled structure through an open door or window, across the murky interior, and out again into the sunlight through a window on the opposite wall. Here, viewers find a distinct variation on the theme: While five of the pieces look typically Caribbean, three of them clearly convey a Hispanic setting -- through painted tiles, flagstones, religious imagery and, in once case, a bold use of red and yellow for the building's exterior. And the exterior vista seen through the far windows of these three is not the typical Caribbean sea, but landscapes of rolling green hills with cactus or trees in the foreground.
Granted, these architectural images could be from Old San Juan or Santo Domingo, but it turns out that they are not. Their inspiration is from Mexico, where Dahlke has recently been spending a lot of time painting -- specifically in San Miguel de Allende. The Mexican environment has also inspired the artist's five oil monochromes on white-painted canvas. Called "Aztec Visions," the pieces are figurative designs incorporating mostly curved surfaces.
Part of the appeal of a Don Dahlke exhibition is its variety of mediums and styles -- all the artist's own, yet all very different. In addition to the airborne characters, the portals and the Aztec designs, this show has five colorful pop computer-art pieces that picture bizarre human-ish images that come across as mostly amiable aliens, not much like you or me, but not threatening or disturbing, either. Rounding out the show are eight pencil and/or pen-and-ink drawings that do give the viewer pause -- to ponder the significance of bodies with multiple heads, an inchworm being with a human foot at one end and a full-face mask at the other.
Dahlke through years of continuing growth within the realm of recognition has earned a loyal following. His largest piece, an almost-life-size portal priced at $11,000, didn't sell at the opening reception Sunday. But his third-largest, tagged at $5,200, did. Other works range from $125 (for the computer art) to $5,800 (for another large portal). The show will hang through April 8.
THE EAT BEAT: Tickles at Crown Bay winds up its guest chefs week Sunday with a day-long "Ticklefest" from 11 a.m. until that includes competitions for best drink and best food, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Victim Advocate program, and lot of music.
The best drink contest is at 3 p.m. An hour later, chefs from the luxury yachts and charter vessels at the marina will submit their entries for the culinary competition. Among those taking part are Kevin Rico of the Lady Allison, Christoph Scherer of Daybreak, Scott Schwaner of Excellence II and "Dan" of Belle Rhonda. "The dishes they will enter that day are a secret," Tickles general manager Peter Zachko says.
Confirmed for the entertainment line-up are musicians Erin Alain, Paul Borghi, Greg Certo, Sonny G., Greg Greer, Stevie Legend, Mar, Bob Meadows, Public Nuisance and Lee Whalen; plus juggling and a magic act by Steve Prosterman.
BIG SCREEN SCENES: The three scheduled showings this weekend of Speaking in Strings, the Academy Award-nominated documentary feature film produced by St. Thomas daughter Lilibet Foster, turns out to be a double feature. Sharing the bill is another film screened last month at the Reichhold Center for the Arts as part of the premiere International Film and Video Festival, La petite vendeuse de Soleil, which translates to "The Girl Who Sold the Sun." The 45-minute video documentary, the last work directed by the late Senegalese filmmaker Djibril Diop Mambety, focuses on a paraplegic girl who sells newspapers (The Sun) in a bustling Dakar marketplace. While the premise might sound like a downer, the picture conveys the resilience and resourcefulness of "the little people" in a world of corrupt authority and mean- mindedness.
Speaking in Strings, a 75-minute film, documents the art and life of flamboyant classical violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg. It is one of five contenders for the best documentary feature Oscar at the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, March 26.
Presented by the brand-new V.I. Film Society, the pictures are being shown in the Westin Resort ballroom on Friday and Saturday starting at 7:30 p.m. and at the Sugar Bay Resort on Sunday at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 for all showings, with proceeds to benefit the society. Tickets for the St. John showing are available in advance at Connections. Those for St. Thomas are being sold at Color of Joy and the Draughting Shaft in Havensight.
Note: There's no "Cinema Sundays" film at the Reichhold Center this weekend, because the theater is booked for a UVI Humanities Festival program.
ONE CAMPUS, TWO PLAYS: In the coming week, two locally produced plays will open on the St. Thomas campus of the University of the Virgin Islands, for overlapping three- and four-day runs -- one on Reichhold Center stage and the other in the Little Theater.
Thursday, March 23, will bring the world premiere of Eddie Donoghue's musical drama "Jankombum," a play about the universal human traits of love, jealousy and betrayal that is set in plantation times in the Danish West Indies and has its focus on the free and enslaved Africans of the time and place. Produced by St. John's Carabana Ensemble Theater Company and directed by Carabana's Clarence Cuthbertson, the play will be presented at the Reichhold. It will have performances as well on Friday and Saturday, March 24 and 25. Tickets are $25 (all seating is in the covered section) and are being sold on St. Thomas at Crystal & Gifts Galore, Modern Music in Havensight, Parrot Fish Music, The Draughting Shaft in Sub Base and on campus at the UVI bookstore and Reichhold box office. On St. John, they're available at Connections.
Friday, March 24, will bring the opening night of Trinidadian playwright Mustapha Matura's "Play Mas." According to UVI theater professor Rosary Harper, the play, situated in Trinidad, is full of "fun and merriment" and focuses on the relationship between an East Indian tailor and his African-Caribbean apprentice . It also, she says, "deals with the important role that annual carnivals play in the various Caribbean cultures -- regardless of limited funds and political disturbances, you can't stop carnival!" The play will continue Saturday, Sunday and Monday, March 25-27. Tickets are $10 general admission and $5 for students; they're available at Dockside Bookshop, Education Station and Nisky Pharmacy and on campus at the UVI bookstore and Humanities Division office.
LUNAR TUNES: There are two full-moon music events on tap on St. Thomas.
On Saturday, Island Blitz is doing its monthly thing at Coral World, from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., featuring music by St. John's Cool Sessions Brass and Kary "Starman" Williams with his telescope. Admission is $10 at the door.
And on Sunday, Rotary East is sponsoring a Full Moon Jazz evening starting at 7 p.m. on the Marlin Deck of the main American Yacht Harbor building. Joining keyboardist/singer Sally Smith will be friends Rhett Simmonds on bass, Louis Isaac on percussion, Rusty Vellek on saxophone, and Jerry Harris and "maybe" Joan Bennett on vocals. The emphasis will be on a sambista beat. There's a $5 cover, with desserts and hot and cold drinks available.
CAMPUS CONCERTS: The UVI concert band, concert choir, jazz ensemble and steelband share the Reichhold stage Sunday night for the annual UVI Charter Day concert -- this one marking year No. 38 for the land-grant school. The music begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 general admission and $5 for students with I.D.
The following Sunday, March 26, jazz ensemble director and trombonist Martin Lamkin and friends will present Jazz on the Green from 4 to 8 p.m. on the Herman E. Moore Golf Course. Admission for this one is free. Take a blanket or folding chairs and a picnic if you like, along with a container to take your trash away afterward.
GOTTA GET DANCERS: The Reichhold Center is looking for a few good dancers for STARfest 6, which is to have performances May 13-15. The requirements are that you be at least 12 years of age, be a good modern dancer able to take direction, and be available for the required rehearsals and performance dates.
Auditions will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 25, at the V.I. Institute of Performing Arts studios in the Kronprindsens Gade complex. Those wishing to try out are asked to come in dance attire and be on time. For more information, call Malissa Neille at 775-6393 or the Reichhold Center office at 693-1550.
TO BE SEEN BY THE HERD: Scene & Herd appears weekly in the Source, previewing arts and entertainment events open to the public on St. Thomas and St. John. To have material considered for inclusion, submit it in writing by the Monday preceding desired publication date. Fax to 776-4812 or e-mail to jetsinger@viaccess.net.