by Sherry Lucas
Each year when the Governor’s Arts Awards comes around, I think of what artist Bill Dunlap — long a host of the ceremony — had to say about Mississippi’s creativity treasure chest: “So deep, it’s almost embarrassing.”
We’re still pulling from it, and will be for a long time yet.
This is a special ceremony — one that honors our best and brightest on the arts front in a celebration of achievement in arts, letters, music and community support and engagement. I enjoyed so many special moments at them, from Marty Stuart joining the Staples Singers on “The Weight” to the incredible spiritual presence as Rust College A Capella Choir circulated through the crowd, singing “Meet You in the Morning” and connecting with each and every spectator.
It’s always a pleasure. And a treasure. I salute the 2018 crop of honorees and can’t wait for the celebration, Thursday at the Old Capitol Museum.
Around town, plenty more folks are exercising creativity in all sorts of entertaining ways. Make sure you don’t miss that, either.
The touring production of “Wizard of Oz” comes to Thalia Mara Hall Wednesday night, and while the yellow brick road seems destined for a sellout, it looked like some seats were left earlier this week. For tickets, $60-$100-plus, check ticketmaster.com.
Exercise your social muscles and more at The Village Social: Bend & Brew, 6:15 p.m. Wednesday at Highland Village is a workout experience led by Crossfit 601’s Sean Cupit. All fitness levels are welcome, with a free beer or pop for those who attend, plus Jingle Coins to be won.
Celebrate the artistic contributions of this year’s batch of Mississippi Governor’s Arts Awards winners in a public ceremony, 6 p.m. Thursday at the Old Capitol Museum, and come early for a 4:30 public reception to meet and mingle. The 30th annual awards honor: Steve Azar (Governor’s Choice Award); David Keary (Leadership in Performing Arts); Joe Overstreet (Excellence in Visual Art); V.A. Patterson (Community Arts Leader); and, Yoknapatawpha Arts Council (Arts in Community). Mississippi’s Poet Laureate and author Beth Ann Fennelly will emcee the program. The ceremony is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. Doors open at 5 p.m. for public seating.
The 5th annual Art Lovers’ Soiree, 5-8 p.m. Thursday at The Dickies Building, 736 S. President St., puts a sweet red-hearted stamp on the evening in advance of Valentine’s Day, with art galore on the 1st and 4th floors at: Fischer Galleries (4th floor) with works by Steve Adair, Matthew Puckett and Sky Miles; Art Space 86 (1st floor), Jerrod Partrtidge’s pop up gallery showing work from Gulf Coast artists Allen Williams, Tony DiFatta, Sarah Qarqish, his own and more; Studio 402 (4th floor), the working studio of Alison Kelly and Susan Russell; WAS Design (1st floor), a landscape architecture firm with paintings by Thomas Wilson; Melanie’s Frame Shoppe (1st floor) with works by local artists; Kyomi Studio (4th floor), also celebrating a creative five years. Plus, the Lemuria Books, Mississippi Museum of Art and Greater Jackson Arts Council will have a presence, and Brazilian guitarist Leo Moriera will share beautiful ballads at the soiree.
Hear singer/songwriter Kerry Thomas live at The Flamingo, 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday. Drop in early for happy hour’s beer specials. There’s no cover charge.
Photography by Jay D. Johnson, photographer/multi-media coordinator for the city of Jackson, will be on view in the main galleries at the Arts Center of Mississippi through February in the exhibition “Rays of Hope in Mississippi.” An opening reception is 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday.
The Dixie National Rodeo kicks up the action at the Mississippi Coliseum, Thursday through next Wednesday (Feb. 14) at the Mississippi Coliseum. There, livestock plus live music plus cowboys and cowgirls and roping, riding and wrestling with the steers, broncs and bulls are all part of the arena fun. Grab some boots and scoot on over to catch the rodeo action, plus these performers: Josh Turner Thursday; Frank Foster Friday; Bellamy Brothers in two shows Saturday; John Michael Montgomery Sunday; Riley Green Monday; Corey Smith Tuesday; and, Brett Young Feb. 14. For tickets, $17-$32 and up, visit ticketmaster.com or the Coliseum box office.
And Gallery’s Black History Month Documentary Film Series starts Thursday with a screening of “Colored Frames,” a look back at the past 50 years in African American art that explores artists’ influences, inspirations and experiences from the state of the civil rights era to the present. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., with the film at 8 p.m.; it’s $5 at the door (free for gallery members).
Sit back and soak up some tunes at Hal & Mal’s in the dining room, starting Thursday with the bluegrass and folk of the D’Lo Trio at 7 p.m. (free), then with down home Southern blues from Johnnie B & Iretta Sanders at 7 p.m. Friday (free), Wolf Trap Trio with blues, swing and fiddle tunes at 6:30 p.m. Saturday (free), blues from the Central Mississippi Blues Society for Blue Monday, and Raphael Semmes and Friends jazzing up the joint, 6 p.m. Tuesday ($5).
If you’re tucking into Underground 119 this weekend, you’ll find Fred T & the Band Thursday, Lucky Hand Blues Band Friday and Good Paper of the Reverend Robert Mortimer Saturday night.
St. Richard Catholic Church’s Krewe de Cardinal, the annual Mardi Gras themed fundraiser, is Friday at The Railroad District at 7 p.m. Featuring New Orleans themed food and drink from Jackson area establishments, a silent auction and Southern Komfort Brass Band, there’s plenty of festive fun to go around for an entire evening. Tickets are $50/per person or $65 at the door.
At Martin’s Friday, Futurebirds teases laid-back country with a psychedelic twist, 10 p.m., with Neighbor Lady opening. On Saturday, Chicago-based Mungion brings the jam, and Betzenzo opens the night, 10 p.m.
Honky tonk country artist Whitey Morgan brings characters to authentic life in song, and once again, it’s something to hear. Do that, at 8 p.m. Friday at Duling Hall, with Channing Wilson opening. General admission tickets are $20 (discount for a 4-pack) at ardenland.net.
“S.T.E.M., Leaves, & Trees,“ a science celebration of Mississippi Arbor Day 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, includes hands-on, interactive fun for school groups and families, guided tree ID hikes, hardwood and pine tree giveaway with museum admission, a live animal program at 11 a.m. and much more.
Kids Club: Cookie Decorating, 1 p.m. Saturday at Whole Foods, offers sweet fun for the little ones, with cookies available to decorate with icing and sprinkles — available for children of all ages.
Lucky Town Brewing Company’s Sippin’ Saturday Concert Series February edition turns the tap on live music with Dolla Black BDE and John Causey with food by Capitol Coney Island. Doors open at 11 a.m. Saturday and the music cranks up at 1 p.m. There’s no cost to enter.
Charleston, S.C. folk duo Shovels & Rope — husband and wife Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst — bring the Americana, folk and alternative country to Duling Hall, 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $30 advance (ardenland.net), $35 at the door.
Mississippi Opera’s “Musically Ever After,” 7:30 pm. Monday at Duling Hall stars real-life married couple Mandy Spivak and Nicholas Perna in a funny, engaging show that digs into love and marriage via Broadway and musical theater favorites — just in time for Valentine’s Day fun. Admission is $25, $5 for students and active military. Visit msopera.org for advance tickets, and to get a Valentine’s discount on multiple events.
More in the mood for mystery? Catch the Murder Mystery Dinner, 6 p.m. Monday at Char, where a three-course prix fixe menu comes with an interactive dinner theater performance. It’s $49 (plus tax and gratuity) with seating and cocktails at 6 p.m., and dinner and the show starting at 7 p.m. in the restaurant’s private dining banquet space. For reservations, email email@example.com.
“Issa Love Thang! — A V-Day Show,” 7-10 p.m. Tuesday at The Flamingo, celebrates love with soul, bars and dope vibes, featuring hip-hop, spoken word and electro-soul from Clouds & Crayons, Yung Jewelz and Vitamin Cea (Charity Hicks). Amanda Furdge hosts. The cover’s $5.
“Silent Sky,” opening Tuesday at New Stage Theatre, puts a spotlight on Harvard ground-breaking astronomer Henrietta Leavitt, who, in the late 195th and early 20th century, developed techniques leading to the first discovery of galaxies beyond our own. The play by Lauren Gunderson has an ensemble cast exploring this true story of women’s place in society and scientific progress of the time. It runs through Feb. 25; performances are 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $30 and $25 for seniors/students; call 601-948-3533 or visit newstagetheatre.com.
Sherry Lucas, a features writer in Jackson for the last 34 years, is here on Wednesdays with “The Mix,” highlighting a sampling of creativity and culture from across the metro area. For additional events, see our online events calendar here. Reach Sherry at firstname.lastname@example.org.