welcome to Artspace online! JUNE   2000 
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"When we are young, what happens is not nearly as important as what we think happens.
Perhaps that is true even when we are not so young."

- from Robert Ebert's 1995 review of the film "Hope and Glory"
Sunday Best Fishing Outfit
Linda Rae's Mama.
Left, Easter 1955. Right, Fishing Outfit.


  • Go Fish
  • Dickie Medaris Threw It At Me
  • The Wheelchair
  • Port Arthur or Bust
  • Rosemary and Theodore
  • Not Far From Dallas
  • Two Dimwit Cousins
  • Uncovering Santa
  • Monopoly at Twelve

    Ms. Johnson graciously acknowledges
    and thanks the following:

    Marian Hollowell for her creative spirit, encouragement and vision
    John Bailey and Doug Hayes
    The members, artists and performers of Artspace Gallery
    The Nimrod writers and our Cowpasture River guru, Charlotte Morgan
    Dorothy Ricketts, a true friend and fan
    High tech genius Dennis Robertson and his CD burner for the music and especially to
    The Sweet Inspirations, Mama and my three sisters who are:
    Phyllis Freeman
    Cathy Hall
    Janice Galyen
    Sharon Saloutos

    The glow of the candle this evening is in loving memory of:

    Dallas Freeman (1924-1987)
    Birthplace: Ruston, Louisiana

    Visit Linda Rea online at: www.ouachitagirl.com

    Also showing:

  • Jorge Miguel Benitez Sagol: Killing America: The Legacy of the Second Amendment
  • David Bromley and Jim Hall: Art in Shambles
  • Brian Bernhard: Video Artist
  • Art 180: Photographic Expressions by young urban artists
  • Linda Rae Johnson
    "Southern Discomfort, Louisiana Style"
    Reading from her "Ouachita Girl" series
    an evening of childhood memories

    Saturday, June 10, 8 p.m., $5 admission
    in the Main Gallery

    Ms. Linda Johnson has taken her childhood memories, southern fried them and serves them up in a ten-course complex narrative that walks us down the paths of her childhood. She evokes the bittersweet humor of a small Louisiana town as seen through a child's eyes. The vignettes are embellished where names and events have faded from her memory and to protect the innocent and not shame the guilty. The stories are voiced by "Linda Rae" from age nine to thirteen, the sassy know-it-all personification of Ms. Johnson's reflections. They are depicted in tones of innocence tainted by darkness, but kept alive by her offbeat humor.

    Ms. Johnson credits her first summer in 1997 at the Nimrod Writers Retreat in Bath County Virginia, where she wrote "Monopoly at Twelve," as the beginning of her "Ouachita Girl" series, now totaling sixteen vignettes. In the time since, she has enjoyed reading and performing her stories throughout Virginia. In November 1997 she won first place in the semifinals at the Open Stage Theater competition in Richmond. She performed these serio-comic monologues for two weekends in November 1998 at Windy River Winery and was a featured reader at Borders Books and Music that year. In May 1999, Ms. Johnson launched her yearly performance at Artspace Gallery where she is a member. She was also an interviewed guest on WCVE Public Radio's "Gallery" with John Porter. Ms. Johnson especially enjoyed her engagement at the Greenbrier Resort during the 1999 Christmas holiday. Her most recent appearance was in April at Roanoke's Mill Mountain Theater sharing the stage with two other Virginia storytellers.

    In July of 1997 at a family get-together, my three sisters and I got into a lively, heated and humorous discussion about our childhood in Louisiana. We laughed about the craziness of it all, recalling incidences that had buried themselves in the subconscious of our minds. In that evening of discussion, we came back to the one argument that had been going on for years, "Who really cheated at Monopoly?"

    There we were, grown women in our forties still defending our innocence and as always, trying to pull Mama into it, appealing to her to be the arbitrator. She has refused in our adult life to play that role.

    That evening I returned home and wrote "Monopoly at Twelve," the beginning of "Ouachita Girl." From the first work, I became Linda Rae again and knew I had discovered a voice within myself that had something to say. As I slowly embarked on recreating those days in Lousiana filled with humor, spirit and dark tones of what I refer to as "Southern Discomfort" the voice became a part of me. In the editing process, as I read and re-read each story aloud, I realized I had reconnected to that child within myself.

    Never would I have believed that July evening would lead me to where I am tonight. I love the creative process of writing these vignettes but sharing them in this storytelling form has brought me such delight.

    I welcome you this evening and my hope is that Linda Rae will touch that child within you, recalling some of your own childhood memories with fondness. I celebrate the child within us all because it gives us hope, belief in ourselves and keeps us forever young.


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