Some Food Adventures are inspiring. Take the case of local artist, scenester and zinester, Tom Watson III. In March 2005, he survived a brain stem stroke. What did he do next? He used art to recover his motor skills and heal his mind. Today some of his collection adorns the walls of Ha Ha Pizza in Yellow Springs for a limited art showing. Tom’s art show, titled “Entropy & Reclamation” will be running though March 2014. The event is named for his initial decay and chaos from the stroke, and his eventual reclaiming of a normal life.
We have actually eaten with Tom at HaHa Pizza a couple of times, since his first art show in 2007. We will get into the pizza in a bit, but first some history.
Tom’s story is one of overcoming obstacles, and never giving up. Since his stroke, his life has changed. He used the artwork not only to recover, he finished his degree, he married a loving wife, and has two wonderful sons. Again, an inspiration and not bad for someone who wasn’t expected to live through the massive stroke. He not only lived, he turned the entire ordeal into a learning experience. He tackled his nightmare head-on, using scans of his brain stroke in many of his paintings.
Tom exhibits his art locally from time to time but in 2011, it received NATIONAL attention, when Tom was awarded the first annual RAISE Award from the National Stroke Association. Watson received the Outstanding Individual Award in recognition of his efforts to advocate for stroke awareness and prevention through his artwork. The awards ceremony was held at the Denver Natural History museum in Denver, Colorado, and Watson was honored with the award by Henry “The Fonz” Winkler of Happy Days fame.
Tom’s art is unique and takes you through his mind and recovery. We asked why he uses cardboard instead of canvas for his paintings. His answer was that it all about recycling. Tom had to learn how to recycle certain uses of his brain and muscles, so the cardboard is a message passed down from his struggle. Today, Tom announced he is facing another hardship, as he was diagnosed with cancer in his tongue. With his positive attitude, he is certain to conquer this challenge as well.
So if you want to support an incredible story of a local man beating the odds, please take some time to visit Ha Ha Pizza this Friday or visit TOM’S WEBSITE HERE. You may find a piece you like. It is more than art, it is a symbol of perseverance.
WHAT: Art Reception Event “Entropy & Reclamation” at Ha Ha Pizza at 108 Xenia Ave in Yellow Springs
WHEN: Feb 21st, 5:30pm – 10pm
WHY: Showcasing local artist and stroke survivor Tom Watson’s artwork.
MORE INFO: http://www.facebook.com/tomwatson3rd.art
UPCOMING ART: Tom will also be the featured artist for April 2014 at North South Studios in Wilmington, Ohio.
Want to support Tom? Then check out the art show or buy some hand-printed, silk-screened T-shirts, available at Urban Handmade store in downtown Yellow Springs.
Now about our FOOD ADVENTURES to HA HA PIZZA with Mr Watson…………
******HA HA PIZZA******
HERE’S THE SKINNY:
— Iconic pizza joint located in Yellow Springs since 1971
— An Urban Legend says the name “Ha Ha” Pizza came from the sprinkling of a certain wacky weed on the pizza and the effects on customers. Other rumors swirl about “magic mushrooms” being used on 70’s pizzas.
— All pizza dough is made daily from scratch. Crusts choices include a Whole Wheat Crust option or a Traditional Flour Crust in 9 inch, 12 inch or 16 inch pies
— Causal atmosphere, also offering Calzones, Subs and a Full Salad Bar
— THE SALAD BAR: We recommend the one trip salad bar deal, it will fill you up for sure ! No iceberg lettuce here, just some fresh Romaine Greens. Grab some of the many toppings including Tofu and Garbonzo Beans ! Ohh did we mention incredible in-house dressings too ??? Yeah … they got that.
— THE LUNCH SPECIAL: Your choice of a slice of pizza with 2 toppings and one trip to the salad bar for $5.99. Tasty and filling!
— THE EGGPLANT SUB: Perfectly broiled slices of Eggplant, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, and Ha Ha pizza sauce. Served with Mikesells Groovy chips, how appropriate !
— THE FALAFEL CALZONE:An interesting Garbonzo Bean mix, with green peppers, onions, HaHa Pizza Sauce and Mozzarella Cheese. This has to be a one of a kind, right?
— ARTICHOKE, SPINACH, PESTO, GARLIC and TURKEY SAUSAGE PIZZA: Want to try a delicious flavor combo? Try these 5 toppings on your pizza pie.
The bottom line, is this place is not a legend for nothing. Want a real Food Adventure? Try unique topping choices like bananas, water chestnuts, zucchini and falafel.
The Big Ragu and Crew are gonna try an anchovy and smoked oyster topping pizza next time for sure! Won’t you join us for a bite and a laugh at HA HA PIZZA???
Remember, we are not food critics, we are just 2 guys that love to eat. Want more from FOOD ADVENTURES? Then check out these “Miami Valley Foodies” and like them on Facebook HERE !
Check out our photo gallery below, showing off some of the numerous tasty meals we have had at Ha Ha Pizza. Have you been to Ha Ha? What is your take on local artist Tom Watson’s journey? Please comment below and be heard.
If you are interested in his artwork or a T-shirt feel free to contact the man, the myth, the legend, Tom Watson HERE ON FACEBOOK
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