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November 9, 2012

A Byrd’s Eye View N











Despite A Brilliant Cast, Flight Takes A Cinematic Nose Drive By Art Byrd

A Quote By

The most successful movie are the ones where you really like the lead character. As a moviegoers, we sympathize with a character as they go through the bad to the good. With the movie, Flight, starring screen icon, Denzil Washington as Whip Whitaker, a commercial airline pilot whose daring skills saves passengers involved in an airline crash. Hailed as a hero, Whip has some hidden demons such as drugs and alcohol, that come to the surface as the investigation into the crash starts to reveal. The movie starts with Whip in bed after a night of drinking and cocaine with flight attendant, Katerina Marquez played by Nadine Velazquez (My Name Is Earl). He is on the phone with his ex-wife who is asking for tuition money for a son who he doesn’t see. After doing a line of coke, a fully dressed Whip heads for the airport. Once aboard, the plane, Whip meet his co-pilot Ken Evans, played by Brian Geraghty (True Blood) who is nervous. He assures Ken that things will be alright. The plane is taking off in rain. While in the air, the plane starts shaking violently. The passengers are frightening. Whip uses a technique to get the plane to clear skies. So, we know that he is a great pilot.

“For me, it's always just been about finding material that I think is creative and interesting and fun and something that can expand me and that I can hopefully do something with.” Actor, Don Cheadle, currently co-starring with Denzil Washington in the movie, Flight, in theaters now.

November 9, 2012

After the situation, Whip talks to the passengers in person, holding the intercom, while with his other hand, he is pouring vodka into orange juice bottle. As the flight continues, the plane starts to nose dive. The situation is very serious. Whip does an inverted maneuver, which means flying the plane upside down to slow down its rapid descent. Then, he brings the plane upright again. Despite this, the plane crashes in an open field where six people die and 92 survive. Whip’s world is turned upside down at first after the crash, he doesn’t take another drink and pour all the alcohol, he can find, down the drain. With the heaviness of the investigation, Whip starts his downfall as alcohol enters his life again. This is where the movie starts to fade or nose dive for me. Every time, Whip would starting drinking, the audience would sigh. I felt like I wanted to see Denzil, the hero, not Denzil, the drunk, the spiraling out of control man. Strangely, Washington’s performance is amazing but I didn’t like his character who was lying and blaming others. Flight was directed by Robert Zemeckis who helmed Forest Gump and Cast Away. His cast is excellent starting with under appreciated Bruce Greenwood as an Union Representative, then Don Cheadle as the Union attorney and an outrageous but needless role for John Goodman as Whip’s friend and drug dealer. A welcome surprise was Kelly Reilly, a british actress who starred in the recent Sherlock Holmes movies, had a southern accent playing Nicole, the recovery drug addict who befriends Whip. She was warm and sincere in her performance. It has been hard for me not to like Flight. The movie has great performances, the flying sequences were amazing and tells an complete story. Yet, watching the downfall and redemption of a man usually is a cinematic hole-in-one for me. The more Whip drank, the more, I disliked his character, because he was given so many chances to recover and he didn’t take them. It seemed the audience that I watched the movie with felt the same way as they sighed out-loud every time he tipped the bottle. For me, Flight landed in a cinematic sand-trap with no way of making it to the green.

The House on the Wrong Side of the Tracks Will be Shown on Saturday. A movie about found film footage that was shot entirely on the West Side of Youngstown will be screened at Calvin Center For The Arts on Saturday, November 10. The House on the Wrong Side of the Tracks storyline is about three low-lifes that go out looking for trouble and they find it when they commit a home invasion on a seemingly harmless family. The movie was directed and written by Arthur Leo Collins and with Mike Petrucci as co-writer. The doors open 6:00 p.m and the movie starts at 7:00 p.m. The cost is $5.00 which includes refreshments. Everyone attending will get a free CD copy of Bleeding Soul's Working Class Re-run. All the songs from the the House on the Wrong Side of the Tracks soundtrack and then some. The Calvin Center is located at 755 Mahoning Ave, Youngstown.

November 9, 2012

Creator of The Hot Topix Book Club Writes and Directs His Second Stage Play The stage play, I Was Fine Before I Met You will be performed on Nov 24 at 8 p.m at Powers Auditorium. Mike Forney, the creator of The Hot Topix Book Club is the writer and director of the play. His first stage play was He Loves Me, She Loves Me Not was performed earlier this year at the DeYor. He talked with us about the new play. Tell us about I Was Fine Before I Met You. I Was Fine Before I Met You is a story about family and the value of it. Everyone is getting ready to come home for the holidays to visit Mama who's health is in question leaving her to have a live-in nurse to provide care.  However, before her only son and daughter arrive, her daughter Michelle receives an interesting phone call that could destroy her family and even her marriage.   Was there an inspiration behind the story? The inspiration behind this story was, of course, my Grandmother who passed away suddenly during the progress of putting on the show in November, I buried her this past October 1st.  Also, I wanted to extend inspiration back to family values. Families' are in nowadays torn through circumstances and life but is the Root to happiness and purpose.   Did you find the writing process easier the second time around? The writing process was a lot easier this time. I learned a thing or two about using "pictured words” which helped me feel the emotions in some of my characters in this story. I also was little more patient with myself in creating the story and its twist, so I look forward to seeing people on the edge of their seats.   How did you approach the casting of the play? I really didn't have a primary approach to the casting except for selecting actor's who had heart before skill. I believe my production company provides the skills necessarily needed for any actor/ actress but heart is an important recipe for a successful actor.  

November 9, 2012

Creator of The Hot Topix Book Club Writes and Directs His Second Stage Play ª (cont’d)

What do you hope the audience gets or takes away from I Was Fine Before I Met You. At the finale of this stage-play, I want the audience to 'Think" and "Feel" the characters, the story. I want the audience to talk about this story in their beds and at their dinner tables.   What is the status of the Hot Topix Book Club? The status is the Hot Topix Book Club LLC has reached a New Level- Next year the organization will be Regional, visiting Detroit, Cleveland, Columbus & Pittsburgh with our Book Clubs, Social Events and Theater stage plays. I am very excited about this along with working with Celebrity Actors/Actresses as we tour this Midwest region.

I Was Fine Before I Met You-The Stage Play on Nov 24 at 8 p.m at Powers Auditorium. For tickets call 330-744-0264

Guitarist Joe Bonamassa Coming To Youngstown Joe Bonamassa is considered one of the world’s greatest guitarists as well as a singer-songwriter with depth and emotion. He is bringing his tour to Youngstown on November 14 at the DeYor Performing Arts Center at 8 p.m. Tickets can purchased at the box office by calling 330-744-0264. Check out Download Bonamassa’s the song, “SLOW TRAIN” from the New DVD for free at http:// The DeYor is located at 260 W. Federal Street, Youngstown.

November 9, 2012

YOLO Offers Taste of Mediterranean Editor's note: To read the full version of this review, visit My husband Jack and I are fond of having lunch at The Phoenix, which is located in a strip plaza just north of Canfield. But every time we go there we see YOLO, a restaurant at the opposite end (the name is an acronym for “You Only Live Once�). When we learned the place specializes in Mediterranean food, we vowed we'd get there one day. Finally, rounding up our usual Niles friends Jerry and Barb, we headed out for dinner. Inside, it's very cozy and comfortable; there's free WiFi, and a live singer/ guitarist in a corner added to the overall ambience. The appetizer list gave us pause immediately; one list offers several for $5.77 each (or a tapas platter of any three for $10.97). Or, we could choose "jumbo" appetizers big enough to share for $9.97 each. Our friends opted for the Hummus - roasted and chilled garlic and chick peas pureed with sesame and olive oil, lemon and Mediterranean seasoning. Jack and I went with tapas, choosing Baba Ghanoush (mesquite eggplant puree with sesame, garlic and lemon, YOLO Fungi (garlic and port roasted wild mushrooms) and smoked hot peppers in olive oil. As for entrees, Barb quickly decided on the grilled lamb platter, or lamb cubes over Syrian rice with roasted peppers and onions, garlic paste and pita bread ($14.97). Jerry didn't take long either, picking the Shish Tawouk platter, or chicken breast cubes marinated in garlic and sumac chargrilled over Syrian rice with peppers, onions, garlic paste and flatbread ($12.97). Jack and I took a longer, until he spotted the crab-and-shrimp stuffed chicken breast with asiago cream sauce ($18). Once I found the Ahi tuna steak topped with charcoal sesame seeds, green onion, ginger and Wasabi with Syrian rice ($14.27), I was hooked. The salad dressings are both unusual and unusually tasty, and here, too our choices varied; Jack wanted strawberry vinaigrette, I opted for Greek-style ranch, Jerry chose tropical sweet and sour and Barb couldn't resist the lemon pepper gorgonzola. We agreed we could make meals out of the appetizers (both came with pita triangles). The hot peppers weren't very hot, but they were delicious, and everyone raved about those mushrooms. The rice was perfectly cooked and moist but all not stuck together. It was the main part of our meals, though, that were so wonderful. The portions were sizable, although we plowed through them and left nothing to bring home. The lamb, Barb said, was especially good. Jerry loved his choice, and Jack said the asiago cream sauce was exceptionally flavorful. My Ahi tuna steak was perfectly cooked, and the Wasabi added a flavorful bit of zest. If you go: YOLO Grille & Spirits 5231 S. Canfield-Niles Road Canfield, Ohio 44406 (330) 286-3866 Open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

November 9, 2012

5 stars

Casual Vacancy Hits Adult Market Bullseye By Monnie Ryan This book isn't for kids; rather, it's J.K. Rowling's first attempt at writing a novel for adults. But as a died-in-the-wool fan of the Hogwarts clan - I've devoured every single page of every single Harry Potter book, seen all the movies and bought all the DVDs - I figured if she can work her magic that superbly on books that appeal to just about all ages, her new one is bound to be pretty good at the very worst. To be sure, reviews have been mixed; some folks think it's great, and others have given it so-so ratings. So from the git-go, I tried to keep an open mind and, of course, banish wizards and Muggles from my thoughts. That said, after just a few chapters, Rowling's writing style came through loud and clear. Maybe it was my unconscious mind trying to make an end run, but I could tell who wrote this book almost from page one. The setting is the small English town of Pagford, and the book opens with the unexpected death of one of the town's council members (thus creating the title for the book). From there, it explores the backgrounds of the town and its rival neighboring village of Yarvil and a number of the residents of both - peccadilloes and all. Throw in a very competitive search for a council replacement -- the winner, it seems, will have the power to effect changes that will be welcomed by some but not others -- and the plot becomes both more interesting and complex. Early on, it's a big of a chore to keep all the characters straight. Rowling does a terrific job of introducing them and providing background information. But perhaps because my aging brain doesn't have the recall ability of my younger years, I tended to be a little foggy on who's who in a until about a third of the way through, when new characters stopped coming and I was comfortable in knowing the good, the bad, and in some cases, the ugly, of each. Yes, it takes a bit of slogging to get through the book - at 512 pages, it's hardly a piece of fluff (but if you think this is long, try wading through the 739-page Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final book in her HP series). But just as with the Potter books, it is character development, and well-crafted words and phrases to show how they're all intertwined, that is Rowling's strong suit here. Described by some as a black comedy of sorts, this book is not a cliff-hanger that will have you on the edge of your seat; there are no ax murders or kidnappings and nobody falls off a broom during a Quidditch match. Rather, it's an in-depth look at life that touches the emotions on many levels. Worth reading? Absolutely!

November 9, 2012

What’s Happening Around The Valley: Nov 10th-17th Saturday, November 10 Youngstown Model Railroad Association Open House The Youngstown Model Railroad Association will have open houses Nov 10 and 11and Dec.1, 2 and 8 ,9 from 12 to 6 p.m. at the club location at 751 N. Four Mile Run Rd. $3 per person, under 12 with an adult is free. For more information please check out our web site at Old Fashioned Christmas Old Fashioned Christmas happens at The Western Reserve Antique Shop in Canfield. There will be early country anitque, primitiives, candles, feather tress, snowmen, wreaths and santas. The event takes places: Nov 10, 11 from 10 a.m to 5 p.m and Sunday, Nov 11 from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. The Western Reserve Antique Shop is located at 4206 Boardman-Canfield Road, Canfield.

Sunday, November 11 Veterans Day Concert. The W.D Packard Music Hall will present the The W.D Packard Concert Band in free Veterans Day concert. The concert will feature soloist James Logan of the U.S Navy Band. The music will ranges from Benny Goodman to Dixieland. Veterans in attendance will be honored and recognized during the performance of Armed Forces Salute. The concert starts at 3 p.m at W.D Packard Music Hall at 1703 Mahoning Ave, NW in Warren.

Friday, November 16 Joy of Christmas Holiday Light Show This drive-through holiday light display in Columbiana has been greatly expanded for 2012. 6o displays featuring one-million lights. Hours: 6:00pm-9:00pm every Thursday through Sunday --Â November 16th through December 23rd, plus Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Admission is $10 per carload. A $5 discount coupon is available at The Light Show will be at Firestone Park, E. Park Avenue, Columbiana, Ohio. Holiday Garage Sale Upton Association's Annual Holiday Garage Sale will be Friday, November 16 and Saturday November 17 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Christmas decorations, toys, housewares and jewelry are some of the items needed. Donations are welcome and will be accepted Monday, November 12 from 9 a.m. to noon or November 15 from 1 to 4 p.m at the Upton House. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the care of Upton House, home of suffragette, Harriet Taylor Upton. Upton House is located at 380 Mahoning Ave NW in downtown Warren, Ohio near the Warren-Trumbull Library and Warren City Hall.

November 9, 2012

What’s Happening Around The Valley: Nov 10th-17th (cont’d) Tuesday, November 13 The United States Army Field Band The United States Army Field Band has a mission to carry into the grassroots of our country, the story of the Army. In performances across the USA, the Band takes great pride in reflecting the excellence of all soldiers. The band will perform at Powers Auditorium’s DeYor Performing Arts Center in Downtown Youngstown. Admission is free, however tickets are required. General Admission seating. Get tickets by calling the box office at 330-744-0864.

Thursday, November 16 Coats for Kids! DJ Hairy George and the Heels’n Wheels Ladies will have music, games and more to support The Lube in Austintown as they accept new coats, hats, gloves and scarves for local children. Each donation will have a chance at a door prize. The event happens from 7 p.m and 10 p.m. Call 330-550-4000 or 330-349-9464 for additional information.

Friday, November 17 Home Show and Home Made Shopping Event Niles Catholic Women’s Club is ready with a one-stop shopping event. The Home Show and Home Made Shopping Event is a collection of local vendors and crafters, selling hand made items and one of a kind gifts. Independent sales consultants will also be in attendance representing home party products. The event takes place from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., in St Stephen’s School Hall at 129 W. Park Ave in Niles. For more information or to reserve a vendor space call Cathy 330-394- 0186.

Holiday Open Studio and Art Sale Showcases Local Artists Artists of the Mahoning Commons will hold its annual Holiday Open Studio and Sale featuring area artists in their working studio spaces which will be open for viewing and shopping. The event will take place at Ward Bakery Building on Sat. Nov 17, Sun. Nov 18 and Sat, Nov 24 from noon-5 p.m. Ward Bakery is located at 1024 Mahoning Ave, Youngstown.

November 9, 2012

On Stage YSU Bliss Hall: Rent The Ford Theater inside Bliss Hall presents Rent. Based loosely on Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Boheme, Rent follows a group of friends for a year, as they struggle to achieve their goals — and keep the lights on. Rent ran for 12 years on Broadway more than 5,100 performances and lives on in touring productions. Advisory: An audience advisory has been issued for coarse language and intense depictions of affection. Rent plays Nov. 9, 10, 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Nov. 11 and 18. Tickets are $10 ($5 for seniors, YSU faculty, staff and students). Call 330-941-3105 for reservations. Ford Theater is located in Bliss Hall on the YSU campus.

Powers Auditorium, DeYor Performing Arts Center: Annie Easy Street Productions presents Annie, a family favorite at Powers Auditorium. Annie is a Broadway musical based upon the popular Little Orphan Annie. The original Broadway production opened in 1977 and ran for nearly six years. For Easy Street Productions, these Annie performances are special because their very first production was nearly 25 years ago and many of the original cast are returning. The performances will be November 9 at 7:30 p.m, November 10, 11 at 2:30 p.m. For tickets call 330-744-0264. The DeYor is located at 260 W. Federal St. Youngstown.

Youngstown Playhouse: Our Lady of 121st Street Our Lady of 121st Street tracks the next 24 hours in the lives of over-the-top characters, kids from a tough neighborhood who have an unscheduled reunion as adults at a nun’s funeral. Performance start November 9, 10, 16, & 17at 7:30 p.m. A matinee on November 10 will be at 2:30 p.m. This show is rated R due to language. Tickets are $12.00/$15.00 if purchased pre-show and $14.00/$17.00 if purchased at the door. For more information, call the box office at 330-788-8739 to reserve your seats. The Playhouse is at 600 Playhouse Lane, Youngstown.

Oakland Center for the Arts: Spring Awakening A cast of well-known local musical performers are bringing to the Oakland stage. Spring Awakening. The play is about teenagers discovering their sexuality, and it explores various sexual themes. The play is based on the 19th century writing of Frank Wedekind, the twist is the rock infusion of fantasy rock and dance numbers. Spring Awakening runs from November 9- November 18, 2012 Friday, Saturday, and Sunday — all shows at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults/$12 for seniors/$10 for students.The box office’s number is (330) 746-0404. The Oakland is located at 220 W. Boardman Street, Downtown Youngstown

November 9, 2012

On Stage (cont’d) Stambaugh Auditorium: Nunset Boulevard Laverne and Shirley star Cindy Williams comes to Youngstown in her lead role as Mother Superior in the Broadway hit Nunset Boulevard. The Little Sisters of Hoboken have been invited to sing at the Hollywood Bowl. They are thrilled at the prospect until they arrive and realize that they are booked into the Hollywood Bowl-A-Rama, a bowling alley with a cabaret lounge - and not the famed "Bowl" they were planning on. Nunset Boulevard takes to the Stambaugh Auditorium stage on Saturday, November 10 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets information at 330-259-0555 or at .

Upcoming Das Dutch Village Inn: George & Henry Save Christmas In this all-new laugh out loud comedy, George can't hear, Henry can't see, both "old guys" bring you a notso-silent night. Performed by the always-entertaining, award-winning 34west Theater Company. George & Henry Save Christmas will play Nov 23, 24, 28, 29 and 30Â at 7:00pm; Nov 27 and 29 at 12:00 noon (also December dates) at Das Dutch Village Inn. Das Dutch Village Inn is located at 150 E. State Route 14, Columbiana, OH

The Youngstown Complaints Choir Hit The Road With A Mini Tour Youngstown Complaints Choir (YCC) is singing the woes and complaints of many people. The YCC is part of the international movement of Complaints Choirs.

Performances will be Sunday, November 11. 11am service Universalist Unitarian Church, 1105 Elm Street, Youngstown and Saturday, November 17- Holiday Open Studio and Sale, Ward Bakery Building, 1024 Mahoning Ave, Youngstown.

November 9, 2012

PRIVACY POLICY Some of you on A Byrd’s Eye View newsletter mailing list came to us from other e-mails sent to us regarding stories about Arts events in the area. We thought you would be interested in reading about additional Arts-related information of interest in the Mahoning and Shenango valleys, and added you. However, if you no longer wish to receive the newsletter, simply send a blank e-mail to with UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line.

The e-mail addresses we have are NEVER shared in any way with anyone, nor are they sold. All copies of the newsletter are sent as blind carbon copies, so that no one receiving the newsletter knows the addresses of anyone else receiving it. If you have received this free newsletter as a forward and would like to subscribe, please send a blank e-mail with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line to

Excerpts from A Byrd’s Eye View can be read in The Review, Newspaper, available throughout the Valley and online at

Movie reivews from A Byrd’s Eye View can be read in The Buckeye Review Newspaper, available throughout the Valley at various newstands.

Art Byrd Jr. has won awards as a filmmaker and journalist. After working many years as a videographer and director for WFMJ TV News, he retired from broadcasting to share his experience and insight with students as an instructor at Youngstown State University. Art has written and produced numerous Indie films, which have been shown at prestigious film festivals. In addition to teaching and writing/ producing A Byrd’s Eye View newsletter, Art also does freelance media work. He is based in Youngstown, Ohio.

Monnie Ryan retired in 2003 after 14 years as managing editor of The Business Journal in Youngstown, where she continues to contribute to the print and online editions. Articles she has written have appeared in more than 20 national publications and at several travelrelated Web sites, and she has won numerous awards for photography. Contact her at

A Byrd's Eye View- Nov 10, 2012  

A newsletter about Movies, TV, Arts and things to do in the Valley