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The positivity of laughter

In Children and Family, Entertainment, Local News, Media, Music, Opinion, psychology, Senior Lifestyle, sociology, Uncategorized on July 26, 2016 at 9:28 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGORecently the entertainment industry lost a legend in television comedy, Gary Marshall, who gave us hours of laughs with “Happy Days,” “Mork & Mindy,” and many other shows. I often wonder how someone can be so innately funny and creative and how that helps them cope with life’s down sides.

In plain black and white, a “sense of humor” is nothing more than one’s ability to perceive and appreciate humor. Some aspects of humor, however, don’t resonate with everyone. While a spit-take, for example, might be hilarious to one person, another (some would say with a more ‘refined’ sense of humor) individual would find it vulgar. As with beauty, humor is in the eye of the beholder.

To me, mimes and clowns aren’t funny at all. Actually, I find both kind of creepy. But then, I have one of those senses of humor that is all over the place. I’m never certain what’s going to tickle my funny bone.

My friend Jim Karns can make me laugh just by walking into a room, a fact I hope he’s never taken negatively. Jim and I started working together on stage in the late 1990s and he joined my family variety show, The Brothers & Co., in 2004. It’s part of our shared role to create comedy routines for the show, but they generally originate from an accidental punch line or a word that cracked us up.

We’ve known each other for more than two decades and we’re very different people. But our sense of humor aligns us to a level of craziness sometimes only we understand. Sometimes, all it takes is a word or phrase to set us off. Case in point – the casaba melon.

THIS is a casaba melon. Not all that funny by itself.

THIS is a casaba melon. Not all that funny by itself.

What’s so funny about a casaba melon? I’m not sure I’ve ever even seen one. All I know is that one evening at a rehearsal, one of us responded to a random question by saying, “… because casaba melons are out of season,” and that was it. Our sides were splitting the rest of the evening.

No, it’s not that funny by itself. But, to us, it was hysterical. Sometimes it hits so hard, I can’t breathe or, no kidding, I actually fall out of my chair laughing.

Not everyone loses it that way and I have only one theory as to why it happens to us in that fashion. William Shakespeare said that all the world is a stage and, clearly, life is a mixture of tragedy and comedy, as life is imitated in art.

We all experience our share of tragedy. For Jim and I, we share the common experiences of the long term caring for and loss of our mothers to early disease, painful divorce, and similar job stresses.

To us however, and the rest of my Brothers & Co. family, I think, humor relieves that stress in a positive way that benefits more than just us. Our audiences benefit from what comes out of it and finds its way into our show.

We are not drinkers or gamblers, nor do we spend money on elaborate vacations to unwind from life’s stressors. Instead, a laugh is our elixir, our tonic and our escape. When my brother became ill a year ago, and the outlook was grim, we laughed our way through it, regardless of what the result was going to be.

Thankfully, he recovered, and is, for the most part, his smiling self again. This is in no small part thanks to our resistance to the darkness that could have taken over our hearts and minds without our sense of humor.

Gery Deer & Jim Karns in Whips & Wands ...

Gery Deer & Jim Karns in Whips & Wands …

All of this begs the question: does a strong and natural sense of humor also imply an unusually high level of optimism? I’m not a psychologist but I’d have to guess there is something to that suggestion. I’m not always optimistic, but it’s tough to get me to buy into the negative.
Even though most people overestimate their sense of humor, who cares? Isn’t that up to you? If you think you’re funny, the only time it matters whether anyone else does is if you’re planning to become a comedian. Otherwise, laugh at whatever you want. But watch out for those casaba melons.

Gery L. Deer is an independent casaba melon thrower. Deer In Headlines is usually full of it, so why are you reading this? More at deerinheadlines.com

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GREENE COUNTY PERFORMERS HEADLINE WILD WEST SHOW AT ANNIE OAKLEY FESTIVAL

In Children and Family, Dayton Ohio News, Entertainment, history, Local News, Media, National News, Sports News, Uncategorized on July 26, 2016 at 9:15 am

Greenville, OH – Jamestown whip artist Gery L. Deer and Xenia thrown weapons expert, Kirk Bass, will lead a full troupe of whip artists, trick ropers, knife throwers and other Wild West arts experts during the 2016 American Western Arts Showcase during Annie Oakley Festival, July 29 and 30, at York Woods, 6129 Reed Road, Ansonia, OH 45303. The event is free and open to the public.

Presented in the spirit of the stage-style Wild West shows of the late 19th Century, each production will include some detailed history about how these arts came to be and who still practices them today. In addition to performing, Gery Deer is also the show’s producer and chief backer.

“This is a one-of-a-kind show in this region,” Deer says. “We have some of the best Wild West arts entertainment anywhere in the Midwest with real practitioners of each skill,” says Deer, who started the event in Jamestown, Ohio, in 2002. “These are talented performers with genuine ability, no fakery, no tricks. Everything you see in our show is real and all of our shows are in 3-D and high definition!”

Champion knife thrower Kirk Bass, of Xenia, Ohio, is co-producer of the event. He and his daring wife Melodee are among the performers to take the open-air stage for two shows on Saturday, July 30 beginning at 1 p.m. with a series of western arts perform the suspenseful Bass Blades impalement show, and much more.

Whip marksmanship competitions headline the afternoon show beginning with the National Whip Speed and Accuracy Exhibition Competition, the world’s only Bullwhip Fast Draw contest. Plus, there is a brand new contest taken straight from the big screen.

AOF_3_GLD

David Crain vs. Luke Taylor in the American Western Arts Showcase “Bullwhip Fast Draw” competition at Annie Oakley Festival at York Woods.

In 1981, a fedora-wearing, leather-clad archaeologist threw the crack heard round the world when he “whipped” a pistol from the hand of a jungle guide. At the beginning of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Indiana Jones demonstrated his skills with the holstered fast-draw of a 10-foot bullwhip, all while having to spin around to take aim first.

In the spirit of Dr. Jones’ proficiency, this year’s Showcase competition will include a special “blind fast draw,” where whip artists must mimic the move used in the film to turn, draw their holstered whip and shoot at a target with speed and accuracy.

“With the popularity of Indiana Jones among western performers, particularly whip artists, it’s odd this hasn’t been done before,” says Deer, who holds multiple, national whip speed and accuracy titles and is the director of The Whip Artistry Studio, the only permanent whip training facility in America. Contests begin at 1 p.m., followed immediately by a matinee performance at 2:30.

At 5:00p.m., visitors to the festival will see the Grand Western Showcase hosted by AOF_5_GLDthe music and comedy of Greene County’s own, The Brothers & Co. Variety Show. “We pull out all the stops on Saturday evening,” says Deer. “The Brothers & Co. Variety Show is an Americana-styled musical variety show from a by-gone era, full of comedy, magic, and some of the best four-part music on stage today. There will be nothing else like this anywhere at the festival!”

The event is sponsored by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd., The Brothers & Co. Variety Show, and the Annie Oakley Festival Committee. All performances are family friendly and presented on the grounds of the Annie Oakley Festival. For links to the festival and sneak previews of the performers plus more information go online to ohiowesternarts.org.

Support your local county fair.

In Children and Family, Entertainment, Local News, National News, Opinion, Uncategorized on July 26, 2016 at 9:09 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

Photo courtesy Jack Delano, a county fair in Georgia Taken in October 1941.

Photo courtesy Jack Delano, a county fair in Georgia Taken in October 1941.

As summer winds down, county fairs are an institution prominent since the middle 19th Century. For some families, the county fair is the highlight of the summer. It represents the culmination of the agricultural year in crops, livestock, and education.

As I was growing up, the fair signaled the end of summer and provided what was, for lack of a better description, my vacation. I spent my summers in 4-H, working on every type of project from beef cattle and bicycle rodeos to first aid and rocketry. The weeks leading up to the fair were always packed with activity for me and the benefits are farther reaching than just the immediate event.

Most regional organizations exhibit at the fair including Boy and Girl Scouts, Rotary and Grange, and, most notably for youth, 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA). The junior fair events were designed to showcase these organizations and meet the needs of farm families to help provide educational opportunities.

What most children love is the opportunity to get close to live farm animals. Youth exhibitors have their livestock boarded at the fair through the week either awaiting show times or auction. During that time, visitors can see and often pet the animals, with the permission of the owners, and ask questions about them.

While strongly focused on rural interests, the fair isn’t only about farming. Music and variety entertainment is in no short supply on the fairground. Multiple stages and grandstand events offer everything from local garage bands to big-name entertainers. And those with an artistic eye have plenty to see as well!

While some people might believe that the only artwork to be seen at a county fair consists of macaroni pictures, they’d be incredibly wrong. If it’s art you’re interested in, some of the most amazing hand crafted artwork hangs on the display walls at the fair. Fine art buildings on the fairground become temporary museums to local artisanship.

Anyone may submit for judging hand artwork, needlepoint, quilting, photography, pottery and a myriad of other artistic work. Contestants need not be part of the 4-H, FFA or other organized groups, in order to enter. The resulting exhibits are diverse and eye-catching, on display from hobbyist and professional alike, judged equally.

Those familiar with the PBS series, “Antiques Roadshow,” might enjoy a tour of the antiques exhibit. Each year, the fair hosts a contest of antiques from every category, including glass, metals, wood and rare items. As with art, the exhibitors are local residents, hoping for a little notoriety out of a family heirloom or favorite antique or collectable – all on display for the enjoyment of the patrons.

Strolling through all of these exhibits, visitors may notice colored ribbons. Each one represents the achievement level of the participant in his or her category of judging. The awards may not be the ultimate goal, but for someone who plans on a career in livestock demonstrating an award-winning history can go a long way towards securing a professional establishment later.

But the fair is certainly not just for the exhibitors. What good is all this effort if no one comes to visit? Offering everything from food and rides to shows and educational opportunities, the family entertainment value of the county fair is tough to beat.

Generally, admission runs under $10 for adults, less for kids, seniors and veterans, and weekly passes are often available at a discounted rate. Often, the gate ticket allows access to everything on the grounds, although there is generally an additional fee for high-profile grandstand events.

My home fair in Greene County, Ohio, opens July 31 this year and runs until the following Saturday. Having started in 1839, it is has moved locations several times, but remains the longest running county fair west of the Alleghenies. If you’re in the area, check it out. You can learn more at greenecountyfairgrounds.com.

If you have a county fair near you, take the time to spend the afternoon there this year. In addition to getting a great day of family-oriented fun, you are supporting the local community. Get out and enjoy the fair.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. More at deerinheadlines.com

DMS ink celebrates new facility with ribbon cutting

In Business, Dayton Ohio News, Economy, Local News, Media, State News, Technology, Uncategorized on July 15, 2016 at 12:37 pm

Yellow Springs, OH – July 12, 2016 – The management and staff of DMS ink celebrated the grand opening of their new headquarters in Yellow Springs this week with an exclusive, invitation-only ribbon cutting and reception. Guests were treated to a tour of the new facility and the opportunity to network and enjoy refreshments in the building’s architecturally stunning atrium.

DMS ink (formerly Dayton Mailing Services) has thrived in the direct mail, digital print, and data management industries for more than 30 years. The company purchased the facility at 888 Dayton St. earlier this year and began moving corporate operations and subsidiaries from the original Dayton, Keowee St. location in April.

In her remarks, owner and president, Christine Soward noted, “It is my sincere hope that our expansion into this new facility will continue to inspire our creativity and innovation to benefit not only our financial security, but also contribute to fulfilling the lives of our employees, customers, vendors and anyone else affected by what we do here.”

DMS ink provides innovative, cutting edge solutions using the latest technology to increase capabilities, improve efficiency and reduce costs, while maximizing consumer response and meeting the needs of the client. DMS ink is a minority and woman owned certified business serving clients nationally. In order to demonstrate the speed of production at DMS, each visitor received a personalized memo book and a mock newspaper featuring a photo of the actual ribbon cutting ceremony that was printed during their tour.

While some production operations will remain in the downtown Dayton facility, most have been relocated and expanded in Yellow Springs. This includes The Bricks Agency, the company’s creative strategy firm and Barrett Brothers Legal Publishing. More information is available online at dmsink.us.

Here is a photo gallery from the event. Photos by Kris WellsThe Bricks Agency  www.thebricksagencyohio.com