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Barry Courter

Stories by Barry

For husband-and-wife artists Eric Keller and Laura Willett, collaboration might have been a natural progression for their mixed-media works.

Few things can turn a homeowner’s emotions inside out more quickly than a major home improvement project gone awry.

Q: Dad, when should I start saving money for my future?

Last week in this space, I wrote that some people in town, folks who might have a say-so, have been discussing the fact that Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium might have outlived its purpose as the city’s civic center/concert hall/theater.

BARRY COURTER: There is a lot happening again this week, and much of it is under the umbrella of RiverRocks or, as we like to call it, October.

At some point, most parents know the feeling.

Q: Dad, I won’t graduate for another year and a half but is it too late to be thinking about what happens after that?

As little hands pound in nails at one work station, others build mini-robotic machines with Cubelets at another.

Being able to communicate a message is what makes most artists tick. Losing that ability can be frustrating, frightening, even devastating.

Last week was a fairly busy one in the arts community, or at least it seemed so in my world. Or maybe I just talked to more people than usual in the arts world last week. In any case, there were two themes that people wanted to talk about.

Once the music starts for the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera’s gala concert featuring Yo-Yo Ma, CSO Music Director Kayoko Dan will be her usual professional self. Until then, she might have a hard time being anything but a giddy fan.

The bio for the band The White Animals on has a line that reads: “Unlike a lot of bands at the time, the White Animals never took themselves too seriously. They had a good seven-year run, opening for bands like The Kinks, the Ramones and Talking Heads, but they always knew that adulthood and careers [lay] on the horizon.”

KELLEY: Our son had given us some venison that a friend harvested a couple of months back, and it’s been sitting in the freezer. I have hesitated to use it because the last time he brought some back from college, we cooked it and it was very gamey. Didn’t like the taste at all.

LISA DENTON: Barry, I have to say I'm pretty excited that Yo-Yo Ma is coming to town because he and I have something in common: the same birthday.

Nineteen art pieces are being installed this week and next week in unoccupied downtown office windows.

A new website,, was launched this morning to promote arts in Chattanooga.

Q: Dad, they had a career day here at school with a bunch of reps from businesses on campus. Any advice on standing out with the one I want?

Photographer Bradley Shelton just laughs when asked how he managed to capture an image of Joe "Dixie" Fuller when his lips weren't moving.

For 40 years after it opened in 1924, Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium served as this city’s civic center, trade center, largest concert hall, meeting place and auditorium.

Jason Norris knew back in 1989 that the band he hoped to put together would be heavily influenced by The Beatles. In fact, he wanted to choose its name based on the Fab Four’s hometown of Liverpool. So, just think, The Pool could have been called The Liver.

Members of Chattanooga's creative community are indeed interested in having a live work facility that would offer them affordable housing and a place to work, according to findings of a survey done last spring by Artspace Projects Inc.

Members of Chattanooga’s creative community are indeed interested in having a live work facility that would offer them affordable housing and a place to work, according to findings of a survey done last spring by Artspace Projects Inc.

Just stringing the words "faith-based horror film" together seems wrong.

BARRY COURTER: Lisa, why is it that whenever there is something I really want to do, it usually conflicts with another high-appeal event? Next Saturday night is such an evening.

Q: Dad, I know I'm the new person on staff, but how do I get more hours?

Bless her heart. Like thousands of others, Julia Fowler is living in Los Angeles, trying to find steady work as an actress with a resume that also lists writing, producing and directing skills.

What was the last event you attended inside the Bessie Smith Cultural Center? Or when was the last time you were inside the facility? For me, it was an ArtsBuild event last year.

Bands don’t normally do soundchecks at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn., but 15 minutes before their 12:30 p.m. show this past summer, the guys in St. Paul & The Broken Bones were in position on the Other Stage, giving the audience the impression they might start early.

LISA DENTON: Barry, I know $175 is a little more (well, about $170 more) than we usually can afford to spend on concert tickets, but I'm thinking we really must go to Cleveland, Tenn., on Friday for the Museum Center at Five Points' "Friday Night Fever" fundraising gala.

They share the same studio, use the same materials, have a similar education background and are a couple, but that doesn't mean Keetra Dean Dixon and J.K. Keller are joined at the hip when it comes to their artwork.

Q: Dad, what's the hardest part about having a child away at college?

It's 11:20 a.m. and Brad Grafton is in the middle of grilling up some tortilla shells at Boyd-Buchanan School.

News that the owners of the Chattanooga Choo Choo have planned a major renovation was accepted as great news. The place needs it.

When Lindy Smith found a dining room table and five chairs at a thrift store, she snatched them up with the idea that she would replace the old, tattered, non-matching fabric herself.

BARRY COURTER: Lisa, it's not often you get to mention Ramsey Lewis and Bret Michaels in the same sentence, so I jumped at the chance just now. Lewis is a jazz legend who performs at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on Tuesday for opening night of the Patten Performances series.

As children back in their native Cuba, brothers Rey and Cesar Gutierrez Montecristo used to head to the bus stop to sing and dance for change to add to the family's meager income.

Q: Dad, do you remember the event or moment when you felt truly independent or grown up?

Would you like to be able to see and hear a deceased relative one more time?

It looks like the hard work, patience, passion and belief in the project might be paying off for Jack Gray and Shock Theatre.

KELLEY SAYS: Late August is the only time you will find fresh Hatch chilies in your grocery stores. They are grown in New Mexico near the Rio Grande and Hatch, N.M. So when I discovered this recipe for Smoky Hatch Chile Cheesecake on the Internet, I was more than ready to try this savory dish.

Most parents who've dropped off their child at college know that Moving Day, especially freshman year, is about more than just moving furniture and clothes. It's moving out and moving on, too

BARRY COURTER: Lisa, not to imply that you've been around for a while, but I know you remember the old "Shock Theater" show.

Q: Dad, is there a big difference between working in the corporate world, retail and food services?

Why do some things catch on with people and some don’t?

LISA DENTON: Barry, you know one of my favorite reasons to get off the couch is to sit down to dinner, and this week I can do it for a great cause — ‘cause I’m hungry.

Like everyone else entering the Guest Camping area at a recent Bonnaroo, Adam and Monica Kinsey were stopped by a crew of three twentysomethings in “Staff” T-shirts who explained that they needed to search their vehicle, primarily for anything in glass containers.

Q: Dad, at what point do I become an annoyance when people don’t respond back, even though they said they would, and I keep trying to get in touch with them?

Sometimes you wonder how Warren Haynes keeps it all straight.

Funnyman Jon Reep laughs at the idea that an action thriller involving a giant tornado would have his name at the top of the casting list.

Every now and then, you find yourself in a surreal moment that makes you glad to be alive.

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