The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 26, 2014

Jo Ellis: Buffett-style show brings paradise to Carthage square

CARTHAGE, Mo. — We may have had a nice weekend for January, but this week promises some more of the same cold, blustery conditions we’ve experienced for most of this winter.

Very few like to be out and about in that kind of weather, but if you’re properly clothed, it isn’t all that bad, and we need a break from the safe harbor of home and hearth. Several events are on tap to help Carthage residents get that break.

This Friday, you can imagine yourself in a tropical paradise if you show up at The Woodshed inside Cherry Babcock’s Art Emporium on the Square. It’s Jimmy Buffett night with guitarist Jim Graham who, Cherry tells me, “puts on quite a show.” Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and the show begins at 7 p.m.

You may make reservations for one of the bistro-style tables where wine or beer is served, or sit up front in one of three rows of theater seats that Cherry has retained. A new concession stand should be completed by Friday. If you want more substantial fare, Mother Road Coffee, located just down the street, is serving cheeseburger sliders beginning at 5 p.m.

Always innovative, Cherry has much grander plans for the Emporium. In April, a dance floor will be added to The Woodshed for those who find toe-tapping to the Friday night music just isn’t enough. She is taste-testing pizzas using all homemade crusts and sauces made by her son, Isaac, who has had experience in pizza restaurants. Once she has decided on the menu and a pizza oven is installed, these will be available at the Friday night musicals.

She also has purchased 15 round tables. Covered with elegant, floor-length, white linen tablecloths, the tables will seat 150 people, allowing her to transform her main gallery into an event center. Wine and beer will be available, but food will have to be catered.

Cherry is excited about the exposure the event center will provide to guests who normally might not visit an art gallery. Some of the best dinners and receptions I’ve attended have been in art museums. What could be better than sitting down to a good dinner and wine surrounded by beautiful art?

Other events warming these cold winter days are two productions at Stone’s Throw Dinner Theatre. “Up the Down Staircase,” based on a book by Bel Kaufman, opens Friday. It is the story of a committed, idealistic teacher who clashes with the school bureaucracy that stands in the way of good teaching. A large cast is directed by Tom Brown and Dee Hubbard.

The theater’s special Valentine’s Day performance, “Jump, I’ll Catch You,” will open for the night of Feb. 14 only. Billed as a “wacky comedy,” it stars Melanie and David Kloppenborg as the main characters. The cost of $25 covers dinner and valentine treats. Details: 417 358-9665.

Master gardener training

Applications for the Master Gardener program are now available from the University of Missouri Extension Service in the Jasper County Courthouse.

The seven-week program begins Feb. 18 and continues from 1 to 4 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday through April 8. Classes on home lawn and turf, plant growth, soils and plant nutrition, ornamentals, plant disease, insects, fruit production, vegetables and perennials are taught by extension specialists and horticultural professionals.

The cost is $150, but accepted applicants will receive a $50 scholarship. To be active Master Gardeners, graduates must volunteer 30 hours of community service. Details: 417-358-2158.

The weather still may be chilly while you’re attending classes, but remember, it’s only 53 days until spring.

ADDRESS CORRESPONDENCE to Jo Ellis, c/o The Joplin Globe, Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802 or email

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