Three Song Stories

An Arts, Music and Society podcast
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Jim Brock has been teaching poetry, literature, and writing at Florida Gulf Coast University since 1998, after having been something of an academic Kelly Girl before that, teaching at universities in Indiana, Tennessee, Idaho, Pennsylvania, and Miami, before landing in Fort Myers. Btw I had to google ‘kelly girl’ and you might need to, too.
My guest this episode is Angela Page: she’s frontwoman for the punk/post punk band, The Young Dead, and founder of the feminist arts collective “Love Your Rebellion” which works to empower marginalized populations through social education, community service and arts diversity. Angela is also the Marketing and Studio manager for the Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center in downtown Fort Myers.
My guests today are TWO names well known to local readers and lovers of storytelling: Amy Bennett Williams AND Roger Williams. That’s right, we’re trying out our first twofer today on 3 Song Stories, so hang in there, here we go.
My guest this episode is Amy Ware: it’s weird to say her name out loud with just two parts, because in my head she’s been Amy Wilkinson Ware since we reconnected via Facebook whenever it started becoming a thing. Amy grew up in Fort Myers with me so we’ve known each other since...back in the day. She’s in town for a bit from the great white north so I thought I’d bring her in and submit her to the pain of having to whittle the songlist down, because I strongly suspect it was as difficult for her as any of my guests thus far.
CLICK HERE for the FULL VERSION of the show. My guest this episode is Bob Grissinger - known best by many as the man behind Bennett’s Fresh Roast in downtown Fort Myers which, arguably, makes the best darn donuts on the planet. He’s also known by many listeners across southwest Florida as C. David Bennett, one of half of Bennett & Birch on Wink 96.9 FM - the two of them were heard weekday mornings for more than 14 years. Bob has a deep history with radio and music and so I figure he must have had just a heck of a time getting down to just three songs.
Our guest today is musician Bill Metts. Bill started playing finger-style guitar during the Country Blues revival of the 1960s when he fell in love with the music of Taj Mahal, Mississippi John Hurt, Doc Watson and others of that ilk. He says just about everything that he’s done since then has been in that down home finger-picking style, which he is a master of I assure you. Bill says he began to understand the power inherent in music while playing at senior centers and nursing homes in Massachusetts.
Megan Kissinger is an acrylic painter and artist who is interested in conservation and ecology. She grew up on Perdido Bay in the Florida Panhandle, and says she’s always been close to nature. Her background in scientific illustration informs her artwork, and she says drives her try to "make viewers aware of how everything in the world is connected in some way." She loves to find and portray wild places, and the beauty and magic they contain, and her compositions reveal her fascination with light and line.She’s also Museum Conservator at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers.
My guest this episode is Katie Haas. She’s Vice President and head of Florida Business Operations for the Boston Red Sox. That means she’s the big boss for all Red Sox business operations here in Southwest Florida. She’s also active in the local business and nonprofit communities. Katie lives in Fort Myers with her husband Danny, and their two young kids. And, while she’s one of my best friends’ best friends, and I’ve picked my kid up at her house more than once, we’ve never really talked.
Rob’s an airline pilot, with more than 25 years of experience in the sky. Predictably, he’s always on the move. I feel like every time I see him, he’s getting back from Chile, and on the way to Munich, or something like that. Also predictably, he makes the most of his time at home spending it with his family - that’s his wife Amy, and their kids Zach, Sydney, Noah, and Ava. He’s got one of the friendliest families I’m fortunate enough to know, and I’d understand if I only ever saw Rob in passing.
Eric Riemenschneider is an artist who makes large-scale oil paintings and mixed media digital designs. His works have been exhibited in the Robert Rauschenberg Gallery, Space 39, Tincture Gallery, Selby Gallery, Alliance for the Arts, Big Arts, Howl Gallery, Franklin Gallery, Yabo, Cru, and a solo show at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center.----more---- He’s been named Southwest Florida’s Best Up and Coming Artist, won an Angels of the Arts Award, was named Best in Show in an All Florida exhibit at the Alliance for the Arts, was a Lee County Golden Apple Teacher and Lee County Arts Teacher of the Year, and he received a Robert Rauschenberg Scholarship.
Jen Ray is a New York artist whose work has been exhibited primarily throughout the U.S. and Germany, where she used to live. Her art includes drawing, painting, performances, and sound works that celebrate female power and self-determination. She’s in town for a show called Blind Date at the Wasmer Art Gallery here at FGCU featuring both her work, and the work of artist Neil Bender.----more---- I came across a great quote from a review of a 2013 show of hers in Berlin that I thought did a good job of describing her work: “Her large-format colored drawings impress with their obsessively meticulous execution and are characterized by motifs from a variety of pop-culture sources. Women are the center of attention, whose power, beauty and cruelty are presented in the midst of an apocalyptic fantasy world.”
Charlie Whitehead was born in Ohio, but raised in Tennessee and Kentucky with three siblings and what he describes as first-class parents. He went to college in Kentucky and South Dakota, playing football and basketball. He never graduated, but says he knows a lot of uneducated folks who did. Charlie worked in the ag business in northern Colorado for a few years – everything from truck-driving to equipment operator to working the pickle docks.  ----more---- He later lived in Phoenix with his girlfriend Debbie working construction before moving to Fort Myers Beach in 1985 to take a job with then weekly newspaper Beach Bulletin. He married Debbie in 1989 – smartest thing he ever did, he says. Went to work for the Bonita Banner, then the Naples Daily News until the newspaper industry, “started circling the bowl” and his job was eliminated in 2010 when the paper stopped covering Lee County. After, “farting around with freelance and a couple of other publications” he went back into construction full-time. Charlie ran unsuccessfully for a Lee County commission seat in 2010 with no party affiliation. He’s got four grown kids, ranging from 40 to 21. And he’s been umpiring since he a middle teenager, and has been a Little League coach and was a high school softball coach when his daughters were in school. These days he says he’s laying low fixing his Irma-broken house.  
My guest today is Tom DeMarchi, he’s a writing professor at Florida Gulf Coast University and Director of the Sanibel Island Writers Conference, which marks its 13th year in November. We don’t normally use our guests official bio statements because they tend to be rather…drab. But not Tom’s!----more----Here we go: “When not writing short stories, restaurant reviews and essays, teaching, sleeping, or cataloguing his CDs, you’ll find Tom reading biographies of jazz musicians and dead presidents, bouncing up and down on an elliptical glider, or meeting with colleagues to discuss the Sanibel Writers Conference, which he directs. Because of his haircut and monochromatic fashion sense, he is often mistaken for a police officer.” I don’t know Tom super-well, but via our Facebook connection I have a strong sense that music plays a fundamental role in his life and approach to, well probably just about everything, so here we go down the path of musical memories
To call my guest today a woman about town would be an understatement. She is probably the very definition of that phrase in Fort Myers. Stephanie Davis – better known as the Downtown Diva – has been a fixture on the southwest Florida social scene since the 90s.----more----Her Diva Diaries is featured weekly in Florida Weekly, but it dates back further than that. She’s written for many other publications over the years, including the News Press and Gulfshore Life. If you’ve ever picked up a Florida Weekly you’ve seen countless photographs she’s taken with her iPhone. She’s also been a radio personality dating all the way back to the early 90s. Let’s just say the Diva gets around, and I’m proud to say she’s been one of my friends since we first crossed path at a 99X remote in downtown Fort Myers sometime around 1996.
My guest today is Justin Anderson. He’s the son of the late and Honorable Judge Isaac Anderson Jr. and Audrea Anderson, who played a key role in the foundation and formation of Florida Gulf Coast University, where we record this show. Justin graduated Fort Myers High School in 1996, he then earned English Literature and Women & Gender Studies degrees at Princeton University.----more----He also got a degree in American Studies from Florida State University, and his law degree from University of Florida. He spent the first 15 years of his career in secondary education as an English teacher, administrator, and coach.Justin has lived all over the US, as well as South Africa, and most recently China. He’s currently living back in Fort Myers running a consulting business. I didn’t know Justin in school but I, too went to Fort Myers High. Justin came highly recommended as a 3 Song Stories guest from one of previous victims, Amy Ware…after her episode she was like, you gotta get Justin Anderson on the show!
Since the the ways music connects to memories is right in Angel Duncan’s wheelhouse we asked her to stick around for a bit after we wrapped up the 3SS session to dig in a little deeper. Just a reminder, Angel is self-professed brain nerd who is also Director of Education and a clinician at the Neuropsychiatric Research Center of Southwest Florida; Executive Arts Director at the Cognitive Dynamics Foundation; and she’s on the Research Council Committee at the American Art Therapy Association.
Dr. Sharon Isern is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at FGCU. She's a scientist, an educator, and an artist - her cool website is Besides teaching Cell Biology, doing research, and making visual art, she recently turned to theater.   She earned her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University, then worked in industry as an engineer for Exxon designing equipment for oil refineries, and a production manager making soap for Procter & Gamble.  
Tessa LeSage is the Director of Social Innovation and Sustainability at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation for the past five years or so - she works to establish partnerships with government and businesses to encourage collaboration, innovation, and measurable impact around this region’s most pressing issues.She also assisted with amendments to the Lee County Comprehensive Plan, earned several grants, and led the county’s effort to create a community-wide sustainability assessment, and a nationally recognized comprehensive and measurable sustainability plan.
  If you’ve ever been to FGCU, Mr. Robert William Green, Jr. is the Campus Greeter who’s usually in the information booth who enthusiastically greets everyone who enters campus...and I do mean everyone. And if you ever stop to get a parking permit or directions, he is sure to tell you that you are his friend. Mr. Green graduated from Green Oaks High School in Shreveport, Louisiana with a full football scholarship to Morris Brown College in Atlanta. He transferred and received a Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Master’s degree in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary, in Pasadena. He came to Florida in 2003, and taught 7th grade World Geography at Bonita Springs Middle School before coming to Florida Gulf Coast University in 2005 as Parking Services Representative, and then Welcome Center Representative in 2011.
Shawna Caspi’s a Toronto-based singer-songwriter who’s doing a swing through Florida to play a few gigs. Tonight will be her first live performance after taking some time away from the road to write and attend the Banff Centre’s Singer-Songwriter Residency in Alberta. She says she loves the landscapes of her travels, weaving them into her songs, and that she also portrays them on canvases as a painter. Her fourth album “Forest Fire” is described as a collection of songs about burning things down and building them up again. 
Mike is creative services manager here at WGCU, where we make this show. That pretty much means he’s the station’s graphic designer – although I’m pretty sure he’s got more on his plate than just design. Formerly a newsroom graphics editor for Gannett newspapers in Florida and California, Mike also teaches visual storytelling in Florida Gulf Coast University’s journalism program. ----more----He’s a native of Southern California, is married to Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau Communications Director, Francesca Donlan, and has a son in college and a daughter in her senior year in high school. I’ve got to know Mike a bit around the station and like his laid back vibe (which resonates with mine) and I hear he does quite the robot German accent for the D&D game he’s in with Richard.
John Loscuito has been director of the FGCU Art Galleries since 2014. Before that he was Registrar of the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Over the years he’s taught art and design, curated art exhibits, reviewed exhibits and theatre productions, and juried exhibits (that’s the person who picks which pieces wind up in group shows), and he worked at Theatre X in Milwaukee for about a year.----more---- He’s also an artist himself and has had a number of solo exhibits, and participated in many group exhibits over the years. The fact that this intro has the word exhibit in it so many times is definitely indicative of John’s career – he is immersed in the world of art, and the support of it both personally and institutionally.
Berry van Boekel is known for his ongoing annual Top 100 project that started in the Netherlands while he was still a teenager. In more than thirty-five years, he has charted millions of songs and painted thousands of musician's portraits. He also teaches studio art and art history at Florida SouthWestern State College and has exhibited with the prestigious White Columns in New York; Skylab in Columbus; Reed Gallery at the University of Cincinnati; Country Club Projects in Cincinnati, Peel Gallery in Houston, and with the NADA Art Fair in Miami. Recently his work was shown at Tempus Projects in Tampa, curated by Jade Dellinger, director at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery in Fort Myers.
Kyle Anne Duggan is a southwest Florida-based singer, songwriter, guitarist, composer and arranger. She's a “Berklee drop out with a penchant for hollow body guitars and writing songs about boys, and she says, "Pedal Steel makes me swoon. Please 'Like' my Facebook page and buy my music, I really want to quit my day job."   This episode is supported in part by a City of Fort Myers Arts & Culture Grant.
Barbara German is the real name of WXNX's afternoon DJ, Sadie. She’s a music lover/nerd (she got a record player for her First Communion) and she wanted to be in the media. She’s been in radio professionally since 2002 and she also promotes animal fostering through "Sadie's Puppies" on 93X.
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Podcast Details

Feb 19th, 2018
Latest Episode
Mar 27th, 2020
Release Period
No. of Episodes
Avg. Episode Length
About 1 hour

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