For three years, Savannah's arts community has lived with the security blanket of Muse Arts Warehouse. JinHi Soucy Rand and her husband Mark opened the converted rail line facility to give theater, music, dance, spoken word and the visual arts a consistent nest in a city where good nests are anything but consistent.
(Yours truly just finished a run of the play Shadowlands at Muse, and like most all my other theater and musical adventures in town, it was comforting and fun to work in a place that's become something of a second home to a lot of us.)
You can be sure, however, that renting and operating a performing arts space isn't cheap. The Rands' overhead is pretty, well, over their heads.
That's why a new organization, Friends of Muse Arts Warehouse, has combined forces with the Historic Savannah Theatre (the popular, tourist-friendly musical revue space on Bull Street) for "Show Me the Love," a benefit for Muse Monday, April 8.
Jazz singers Huxsie Scott and Kim Polote will perform, as will Trae Gurley, Sandra Nix, Jeff Hall and others. The second half of the show will showcase most — if not all — of the regular Savannah Theatre cast.
How nice to see one theater group going to bat for another theater group.
Things begin at 5:30 p.m. with a "social" at Bryson Hall, on Chippewa Square a few doors south of the theater. Cash bar, food and drink from cool local restaurants, all profits to Muse.
The "Show Me the Love" show starts at 7, on the Savannah Theatre stage (that's 222 Bull Street).
Tickets are $20 at the door, and there'll be door prizes, along with a silent auction of snazzy stuff from all sorts of local merchants.
Call (912) 441-6152 to learn more.
Meet Nora Jane
Until 2008, Nora Jane Struthers taught English in the New York City school system. Two years after kickstarting her music career, she and her ensemble the Party Line were named Best Band at the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival.
Struthers is a startlingly original singer/songwriter whose songs read like sweet little vignettes; on Carnival, her soon-to-be-released second album, she and the Party Line give clear-eyed, almost literary readings of musically adventurous songs like those of Gillian Welch (with whom Struthers shares a preference for old-time Dust Bowl dresses), the Lumineers and the late, lamented Civil Wars.
"I'm really passionate about the stories in the old ballads and story-songs," she says. "I'm trying to bring that element of traditional music forward into a contemporary sonic space. I want story-songs to live on in a way that will be accessible to more people. That's my artistic mission. When we hear another person's story, we gain perspective and are changed; we're able to see our own lives through new eyes."
Nora Jane Struthers and the Party Line perform at the Landings Club Thursday, April 4. Admission to the 7:30 p.m. show is $15.
Landings Club performances are open to the public.
Check her out at norajanestruthers.com
• The Atlanta hard rock band Barrel House plays the Foxy Loxy courtyard on Bull Street from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 5. Well, it's a "stripped-down" acoustic version of the band, with just lead singer Cherri Swan and songwriter/guitarist Scott Mitchell.
• Let's welcome back the wonderful Walter Parks and Swamp Cabbage for the Rivers Rock! Kickoff Party, Saturday, April 6 (2-6 p.m.) in the beer garden at Moon River Brewing Co. It is, of course, a benefit for the Ogeechee Riverkeeper.
• A heads up about the upcoming Savannah Urban Arts Festival (April 21-28): 2013 is the "Year of the DJ," and there'll be all kinds of DJ-related stuff at SUAF, including a workshop with Basik Lee, Maf and Kenny Watkins, a DJ Battle, and a workshop and performance by Jeffrey Tonnesen, the acclaimed New York fashion DJ and dance music producer. See savannahurbanartsfestival.com
• Singer/songwriter James McMurtry is coming back to Savannah; he'll play the Wormhole Friday, April 26. Tickets are $13-$15e.
• Kylesa has a new one, Ultraviolet, coming May 28. The band returns to its hometown with a June 22 Jinx show, supported by Blood Ceremony, White Hills and Lazer/Wolf.
Additional upcoming record releases from Savannah artists include the debut EP from Charlie and the Foxtrots; another platter from singer/songwriter Lauren Lapointe; a bold new full-lengther from Word of Mouth's Electric Grandma; the recording debut of Georgia Kyle & the Magical Flying Machine.
Elevated Basement Studio reports tracking work currently being done by A Nickel Bag of Funk, the Royal Noise, Eric Culberson and Jeff Beasley, among others.
• The Train Wrecks, still hard at work on album No. 3, will play for the annual Second Harvest Food Bank "Jewels and Jeans" fundraiser, April 18. See helpendhunger.org.