Plus, Jazz Arts Group high school awards and a Nina West album update
Earlier this year, Columbus drag queen Nina West played Ursula in the Pleasure Guild of Nationwide Children's Hospital production of “Disney's The Little Mermaid.” Now, she aims to win the hearts of kids everywhere with her new children's album, Drag is Magic, featuring songs that encourage and empower young people. West (the drag persona of Andrew Levitt) is “focused on doing content material that is really family-friendly-specific, for queer parents and their children or for queer children and their parents,” she says. “You get such an honest response. It's not forced or fake at all by children. They're very very honest, and there's something really amazing about that—being told what they like and what they don't like,” West says. “Kids accept everybody. There's no judgment there.”
After this story, featured in our Summer 2019 issue, came out, Levitt was named the winner of the city of Columbus' 2019 Steven Shellabarger Illuminator Award for his “outstanding activism” to promote a more inclusive city.
The Jazz Arts Group of Columbus has presented two Central Ohio students with the 2019 Hank Marr High School Jazz Award—the first time in its 16-year history that more than one honoree has been named. The winners: saxophonist Devin Coons, 18, of Worthington Kilbourne High School, and trumpeter Miles Smith, 18, of Hilliard Davidson High School. Both plan to study music this fall at Ohio State University. The award, which recognizes excellence in musicianship and performance, has a $500 prize and the chance to perform with the Columbus Jazz Orchestra at the Aug. 2 JazZoo concert.
A reading app dreamed up by a Dublin dad and author landed in the national spotlight as a 2019 Webby Award nominee. StorySnacker features more than 50 children's stories illustrated with time-lapse animation that can be read aloud in 60 seconds. StorySnacker competed against four other nominees, including Random House Children's Books and Nickelodeon, in app/mobile/voice ideas for kids and family. Co-creator Erik Slangerup is the father of five children and the author of several children's books. Find the app in iTunes and at storysnacker.com.