Staff Member Leads Ghost Tours, Cooks Up ‘Spunky Bowl of Noodles’
The last week of October means several things for Kristen Jones — an assistant to the registrar at Southern Virginia University — more crowds when she leads the Haunting Tales ghost tours of nearby Lexington, Va., and a new zombie-themed episode of “Spunky Bowl of Noodles.”
Jones produces, films, directs and acts in “Spunky Bowl of Noodles,” a public access T.V. show that she started four years ago. Each episode blends a B-movie with other clips including animated cartoons, educational films, and original scenes by Jones, which add both humor and commentary.
To create her cast of characters ranging from the undead to gorillas and Hollywood impersonators, she has asked many of Southern Virginia’s faculty and staff members, as well as students, to participate. Episodes also have featured groups such as The Fading Point and the Southern Virginia University Dance Company.
“They do a brilliant job,” said Jones. “There’s so much talent in this area. I’m always open if people want to be a part of it because I’ve been amazed at the talent I’ve found. I’m very grateful that people are willing to give up their time to do this.”
Jones also co-hosts the public access T.V. show, “Theater of Fright,” and hosts another show called “Forgotten Cinema.” Even before becoming involved with public access television, she was active in the community, participating in a wide variety of activities — including leading ghost tours in Lexington. Last week, Jones led a ghost tour for a group of students during a Southern Virginia Travel Study day trip.
“I’ve lived all over the U.S., and I have done more in this area than anywhere else,” said Jones. “I’ve led Lexington ghost tours for 8 years. I’ve been able to do art in a chapel out in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I’ve been in locally produced movies — most recently I played a zombie in ‘Deadlines.” We do karate as a family. I’ve been able to go to historical sites and festivals.”
This weekend, Jones’ latest episode of “Spunky Bowl of Noodles,” titled “Night of the Living Dead,” is slated to air on Valley Vision T.V. — Comcast Channel 7.
For Jones, creating public access television is an amazing artistic outlet and “a lot of fun to film.”
“My favorite part is editing — to watch my ideas come together,” said Jones. “And then to see people’s reactions once they see something that was just in my head and is now on the screen.”
Creating “Spunky Bowl of Noodles,” however, is even more than an artistic outlet — it’s a family activity. Jones said that she continues to make T.V. episodes because the show is a great opportunity to spend time with her family — her two sons, Erik and Tait, and her husband, Dr. Jan-Erik Jones, associate professor of philosophy at Southern Virginia.
“The whole thing has been a family project,” said Jones. “They’ve been my soundmen, my cameramen, my production assistants; they’ve been actors. Erik is in every episode: he’s the gorilla, he’s also the opening voice — he’s a very talented voice actor. Tait produces his own videos now and he’s really good at it. It’s been fun because I can see [Erik and Tait] growing up in the episodes, and hear their voices change.”