By March 3, 2021 Read More →

Unplugged View: Rip Tide

Unplugged View: Rip Tide
by Aaron Rowan

One weekend last month, a murder mystery game played out across Modesto – a detective adventure designed by CluedUpp Games and inspired by the infamous Jack The Ripper case. I missed out on that party, but that’s alright because I’ve gotten to enjoy plenty of entertainment provided by Modesto’s real Jack the Ripper. His name is Jack Douglass.

‘Ripper’ just happens to be an Australian slang word that means ‘awesome.’ I learned that from Margot Robbie not long ago. She’s got her own Youtube video about fanciful expressions from Down Under and the meanings behind them. It’s even more fun than that one movie scene where she explains the subprime mortgage crisis from the comfort of her bubble bath. What better word to describe a teen piano wizard such as Jack?

Jack’s journey began when hearing a video game tune inspired him to get serious about playing his keyboard. He’s largely self-taught, through watching online videos, but his creativity behind the ivories has earned him multiple talent show awards. In 2018, Jack took top prize at the Riverbank’s Got Talent contest, then went on to earn the Paul Tischer Classical Music Scholarship that summer at the Valley Talent Project with his rendition of ‘Tetris Ragtime.’ In August 2019, he was back on the Gallo Center stage for VTP with ‘Medley In C,’ an arrangement of pieces by Beethoven, Bach and Chopin, which netted him the Instrumental Talent prize.

A few months after the 2019 Valley Talent, Jack headlined my own Young Artist series at the Dragonfly art gallery on J St. For this program he brought in a special guest, fellow VTP winner Bennett Vickery (special talent award.) Bennett is a beatboxer, and he and Jack delivered a unique set of tunes ranging from video game music to ‘In The Hall Of The Mountain King.’ This ended up being one of my most well-received showcases of that year.

The last time I saw Jack, he had expanded into a different role – that of Mr Brooke in Gallo Center Repertory Company’s Little Women’ in early March 2020, right on the brink of the great culture collapse. I’ll reel him back in as the music starts to get going again at the Dragonfly Art For Life gallery, which I expect to happen by spring or summer. Until then, you might find Jack doing his ivory-tickling sometime at Columbia’s historic Jack Douglass Saloon (no relation…I don’t think…)

Next month, we’ll delve into the exploits of someone I consider one of the most fascinating Modesto creatives I know, plus some thrilling news of a project they’ve been working hard on. See you then, and hope to see you out supporting live music again soon.

Intimate performances. Infinite playlist. MODESTO UNPLUGGED.


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