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Pottery show displays historic pieces

By Collins Maroa

Staff Writer

The third annual Cleburne County Pottery show was held this past Saturday at Jacksonville State University’s Cleburne County Mountain Center in Heflin. The show was held to display the unique pottery that exists in Cleburne County.

An example of a sugar bowl, one of the many pieces on display at the pottery show.

There were close to 200 people in attendance, and Pete Conroy, director of the JSU Environmental Policy and Information Center (EPIC) called it a great success. He also said that preparations for 2017’s pottery show were already underway and that it looked promising.  This was the highest attendance number since the show’s unveiling in 2014.

In attendance this week was Joey Brackner of the Alabama State Council on the Arts and author of “Alabama Folk Pottery.” Mr. Brackner went into detail on the rich history of Northern Alabama pottery and echoed Conroy’s sentiments that, “[p]ottery in northeast Alabama is unique and full of history.”

Members of the public were encouraged to bring in the different kinds of pottery that they had in their household for study. The reason for this, as explained by Conroy, was to enlighten residents in the area on the importance of the pottery they had in their possession.

“Not too many people realize the amount of history that is within the pottery that they have,” Conroy said.

As for all the pottery collectors around the area, they were allowed to buy from others and sell whatever they had for sale. The pottery professionals were full of excitement as they studied the displayed pieces of art from jugs to flower vases all made in different pottery styles.

The professionals included contemporary potters Mike Williamson and Bobby Gaither who also sold some of their works.

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Some of artist Mike Williamson’s “face art” that was for sale at the Third Annual Cleburne County Pottery Show. (Kirsten Fiscus/The Anniston Star)

Despite the obvious success of this year’s event, Conroy told the Chanticleer that the biggest challenge in planning and hosting the event was acquiring new audiences.

“Getting new audiences every year has been a big challenge to us because not too many people even know that JSU has an environmental center in Heflin,” Conroy said.

He also stressed on how important it was for Cleburne County residents to gather with others in Alabama  and as a whole, learn the history of pottery in the state and its significance in the area.

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Pete Conroy, director of EPIC at JSU (photo from JSU)

The JSU Cleburne County Mountain Center was opened in 2012 and according to the Mountain Center Facebook page, it is, “a partnership between Jacksonville State University and Cleburne County.”

The aim was to provide diverse educational programs in the region.  The facility is open to the public on weekdays from 8 a.m to 4:30 p.m.

Planning for 2017’s Fourth Cleburne County Pottery Show is already underway, and Conroy expressed that he was hopeful that next year’s show would even be bigger and better.

“Hopefully we can get more people to know about pottery in the area and gain interest in it,” Conroy said.

Viewers, critics disagree on Batman vs Superman

Critics did not have very kind words for Batman vs. Superman: The Dawn of Justice, as it received two and a half stars on rating site, Rotten Tomatoes.

However, everyday viewers seemed to disagree with that as the DC comics movie is breaking records already and has a rather high rating on IMDB, 7.5 stars. Within the first weekend, the film had brought in a cool $172 million in domestic sales, a new record for a March and Easter weekend opener.

Ben Affleck stars as the black-suited, tech-equipped Batman, while Henry Cavill is the cap wearing, S-chested Superman. Jesse Eisenberg is not left behind, starring as Lex Luther, but this time, with unkempt hair and not the common bald head that Superman fans are accustomed to. The film pits the two beloved superheroes against each other and is considered a sequel of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel.

It begins by reminding the viewers of where the two heroes came from, re-enacting the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents and the destruction of Metropolis by Superman in Man of Steel. It is a slow-progressing movie that tries hard to achieve a climax, but for some, it may fail to do so.

‘The Dawn of Justice’ is a what could be considered a ‘graphic run movie’ as the CGI effects have no blemish and were definitely micromanaged to ensure no mistakes were made. The script is however, a bit clogged and may be a bit complicated for someone who is not fully into DC Comics and its vocabulary.

A lot of the actions in the movie seem to suggest a Justice League sequel in the near future, as several parts of the story line are left open and unanswered.

Some of the other DC comic heroes involved in the movie are Wonder Woman and Aquaman, played by Gal Gadot and Jason Momoa respectively. Gadot is known for her role in ‘The Fast and the Furious’ film series, while Momoa is known famously for his role as Khal Drogo in HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’.

This has proven to be the kind of film where professional critics and viewers are at loggerheads over whether the film deserves a high rating, or if it should be thrown to the trash.  Much of the fan base had strong concerns about Affleck coming into this role, and the opinions are just as scattered as the movie reviews. That being said, ‘Batman vs Superman: The Dawn of Justice’ may be a film that one has to see for themselves in order to judge.

Collins Maroa
Staff Reporter

Potter’s club creates pottery for funds, marketing

The JSU Potter’s Guild has been hosting events to raise funds for club activities and to market the club to students.

The hope is to host events that will involve the community and raise funds for the club activities.

Among some of the activities this year have been a pottery sale held during the fall of 2015. Proceeds from that sale went to purchasing tickets for the students in the Potter’s Guild to attend the Alabama Clay Conference in February.

They plan on holding another sale on April 14 and a “Paint your own pottery” event where the pottery will be sold for the benefit of the Potter’s Guild.

With the aim of marketing themselves, some of the students have begun creating ceramic works that would be displayed in different parts of campus.

A good example is a work created by Allison Wood, who has a ceramic serving tray and cup set on display in President Beehler’s home, along with other works of art selected by the President and Mrs. Beehler.

John Oles, supervisor to the club, showed great passion for what lies ahead for the JSU Potter’s Guild. The group had several ideas on how to improve their activities saying, “We’ve been talking about some ideas like chili bowl sales, or a coffee mug event for future fundraising as part of fall and spring sales. 

“And maybe something along the lines of an Empty Bowls fundraising event to benefit a charitable organization.” Since 1998, the JSU Potter’s Guild has been a major aspect in supplementing the ceramics program. The club led by associate professor, John Oles is mostly made up of students from upper level ceramics and some alumni.

“The Potter’s Guild had been dormant for a few years so we’re taking this year to really rebuild and get the JSU community aware of what we’re doing over here in the Carlisle Fine Arts Facility,” said Oles through an email.

The Guild meets during the Monday and Wednesday afternoon 3-6 p.m. class since that’s when almost all of the current members are present. However, “anyone is welcome,” said Oles.

If interested, people may contact the treasurer Annabelle Borrow or Mr. Oles. Among some of the future plans for the Potter’s Guild, they would like to use some of the funds gained from the pottery sales to invite visiting artists and get the student community more involved.

Collins Maroa
Staff Reporter

JSU Music Department hosts a capella concert

The JSU A Cappella Choir and the Calhoun County Civic Chorale, in conjunction with the JSU Brass Choir, performed March 6 at the First United Methodist Church in Anniston.

Members of the local community, family and friends of the performers
attended the concert.

The concert included several classical pieces. Choir Director Patricia Corbin led the group as they performed.

Dressed in black and white regalia, the choir resembled a professional opera set. The men wore black tuxedos and the women wore black suits with white blouses.

The group used two platforms in the church to create a surround effect; one of the stages was situated behind and above the congregation with the bass singers creating vibrating waves around the building. The performances included choruses, quintets, quartets and recitatives among others. Solo performances by soprano singer Noya Levy, and quintets by Levy, David Dempsey, Christopher Serrano, LaRue Bowman and Matthew Palmer, stole the show, receiving great applause.

The show lasted around two hours and ended with a standing ovation from the crowd.

“Jacksonville State University students and faculty alike need to attend these events. It is a way to improve student life,” said Sebastian Mendez, a graphic designer at JSU.

“It was my first time attending such a function and it was as if the opera had been brought to me. I’ll be attending more of the music department events for sure.”

The Music Department will host several events this year. For more information, visit the JSU events calendar on the university website.

Collins Maroa
Staff Reporter

After years of waiting, DiCaprio gets an Ocsar

The 88th Academy Awards Oscars were filled with the same pomp and glamour that the world sees annually, but there was definitely an elephant in the room that had to be dealt with. #OscarsSoWhite was the nickname for the controversy over the alleged one sided nominations, and Chris Rock did not waste time diving into that pool.

Using his wit and humor he gave a fairly lengthy monologue explaining his view on the issue that had been in contention since the announcing of the nominees.

As the night went on, it became clear that the Academy Awards organizers had decided to use comedy to bring down the tension while at the same time entertaining the audience both at home and at the Dolby Arena in Los Angeles California.

Despite all the comedy, a lot of serious issues were discussed but the pinnacle of the night was on sexual abuse. Vice President Joe Biden spoke on the issue, urging Hollywood to “change the culture” on sexual abuse. This message was echoed by Lady Gaga who performed an emotional rendition of her song, “Till it happens to you” joined by survivors of sexual assault leading to tearful standing ovation in the arena.

Online chats were blowing up on who would win what category, but the big category of the night was “Actor in Leading Role” which so many wondered if Leonardo DiCaprio would get or be snubbed for another year. This was finally the year for DiCaprio who accepted the award thanks to his role in The Revenant and used the opportunity to speak on the environment and important global issues. He said, “If you don’t believe in climate change, you don’t believe in modern science or empirical truths.” DiCaprio has been an active ambassador for climate change.

Other big winners of the night included Alicia Vikander who scooped the best actress for a supporting role in The Danish Girl, Brie Larson who went home with the best actress in a leading role in  Bloom, and Spotlight, which was awarded the best picture. The biggest winner of the night was Mad Max: Fury Road which took away six Oscars. It won Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Production Design and Best Costume Design.

There were a larger number of categories  for potential winners. Some of these categories include Best Directing, Best Original Song, Best Original Score, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Live Action Short Film and Best Animated Feature.

Collins Maroa
Staff Reporter