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AUGUST 8-14, 2018 • VOLUME 49 NO 6

Dedicated to Free Times founder Richard H. Siegel (1935-1993) and Scene founder Richard Kabat Group Publisher Chris Keating Publisher Andrew Zelman

Upfront

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Judge Russo draws national criticism for duct tape incident, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play comes to small(ish) town Ohio, and more

Associate Publisher Angela Nagal Editor Vince Grzegorek

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CONTENTS

Editorial Music Editor Jeff Niesel Senior Writer Sam Allard Staff Writer BJ Colangelo Staff Writer Brett Zelman Web Editor Laura Morrison Dining Editor Douglas Trattner Stage Editor Christine Howey Visual Arts Writers Dott von Schneider Copy Editor Elaine Cicora Interns Rebecca Goldfarb, Sarah Parr

Feature

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The 30 essential Cleveland restaurants

Advertising Senior Multimedia Account Executive John Crobar, Shayne Rose Multimedia Account Executive Kiara Davis

Get Out!

Creative Services Production Manager Steve Miluch Staff Photographer Emanuel Wallace

All the best things to do in Cleveland this week

Business Sales Assistant/Receptionist Megan Stimac Controller Kristy Dotson

Stage

Circulation Circulation Director Don Kriss Euclid Media Group Chief Executive Officer Andrew Zelman Chief Operating Officers Chris Keating, Michael Wagner VP Digital Services Stacy Volhein Digital Operations Coordinator Jaime Monzon

National Advertising Voice Media Group 1-800-278-9866, vmgadvertising.com

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Despite a few flaws, the classic Oklahoma! shines at Porthouse Theatre

Film

www.euclidmediagroup.com

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The tricky humor in Spike Lee’s BlackkKlansman

Cleveland Scene 737 Bolivar Rd, #4100 Cleveland, OH 44115 www.clevescene.com Phone 216-241-7550 Retail & Classified Fax 216-241-6275 Editoral Fax 216-802-7212 E-mail scene@clevescene.com

Eat

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Fat Heads is set to debut its massive new brewery, beer hall and restaurant, plus an opening date for the new Geraci’s

Cleveland Scene Magazine is published every week by Euclid Media Group. Verified Audit Member Cleveland Distribution Scene is available free of charge, limited to one copy per reader Copyright The entire contents of Cleveland Scene Magazine are copyright 2018 by Euclid Media Group. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher is prohibited. Publisher does not assume any liability for unsolicited manuscripts, materials, or other content. Any submission must include a stamped, self-addressed envelope. All editorial, advertising, and business correspondence should be mailed to the address listed above. Subscriptions $150 (1 yr); $80 (6 mos.) Send name, address and zip code with check or money order to the address listed above with the title ‘Attn: Subscription Department’

Music

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Dashboard Confessional and All Time Low bring co-headlining tour to town, our chat with Alkaline Trio’s Dan Adriano, plus all the shows to catch this weekend

Savage Love

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Apres pill, le deluge 248-620-2990

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Photo courtesy Fox8

UPFRONT MOTHER OF SANIYAH NICHOLSON WANTS PARENTS HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR CHILDREN’S CRIMES NINE-YEAR-OLD SANIYAH Nicholson was sitting in her mother’s car near Lee Road and Cloverside Avenue on June 20 when she was hit and killed by a stray bullet during a gun battle between six men, three of whom were juveniles. Along with the newly-formed Black Women Commission of Cuyahoga County (BWCCC), her mother, Marshawnette Daniels, is drafting state legislation that would hold parents accountable for the actions of their children with “Saniyah’s Law.” The proposal was introduced Saturday morning, urging a change in the law that would require the parents of a child who commits a crime to be given a possible penalty of jail time, as well as subject the parents to the financial burdens of the crime including paying for crime scene clean up, property damage and losses, medical bills, funeral expenses and counseling. The proposal also states that children ages 13 and up who commit murder would be bonded over as adults. “When do parents become parents? Parents are not parenting their children. I was parenting mine. I was with all three. This still happened. Their children commit murder? Well, they should go to jail. You should. I believe something like that will help parents become more accountable for their children,” Davis said. Debate over parental responsibility for the crimes of children has been ongoing across the country, as many parents claim they are not responsible for the actions of their children, especially when they are unaware of their children’s activities. These situations tend to target families of color in poor socio-economic situations, where parents are working long hours in order to provide for their children and are unable to monitor them as closely as they’d like.

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In Ohio Revised Code section 3109.10, a person is entitled to compensatory damages in a civil action, in an amount not to exceed $10,000 and costs of a suit in a court of competent jurisdiction, from the parent of a minor if the child willfully and maliciously assaults the person by a means or force likely to produce great bodily harm. The current code includes assault, but murder and wrongful death are not specifically outlined. The unveiling of the proposed legislation also served as the launch of the Black Women Commission of Cuyahoga County, a social advocacy group comprised of women of color. The BWCCC has also collected signatures from people living in Ward 1 to add a secondary name to Cloverside Ave. in honor of Saniyah. Social worker and BWCCC member Kimberly Brown hopes the proposal will be introduced at the next city council meeting. The proposal has already been submitted. -BJ COLANGELO.

Judge John Russo Drawing National Criticism After Ordering a Defendant’s Mouth Duct-Taped Shut Last week, Cuyahoga County Judge John Russo ordered a disruptive defendant’s mouth ducttaped shut during a sentencing hearing. Video captured by Fox 8 showed the 32-year-old Franklyn Williams, who was ultimately sentenced to 24 years for aggravated robbery and other charges, repeatedly interrupting Russo. “I’m the judge in the matter,” Russo told Williams at one point in the video. “Shut your mouth and I will tell you when you can talk. You got it?” “You tryna take my life, and you not letting me tell you what’s going on,” Williams replied.

| clevescene.com | August 8 - 14, 2018

Franklyn Williams’ mouth was ordered duct-taped shut by Judge John Russo.

When Williams did not relent, Russo told the six bailiffs in the courtroom to gag the defendant. The bailiffs did so, applying a piece of bright red duct-tape across Williams’ mouth. Legal scholars and commentators have expressed differing interpretations of Russo’s unconventional decision. The consensus seems to be that Russo’s actions, while demeaning, did not violate Williams’ constitutional rights to be present at his legal proceedings. The Ohio ACLU’s staff attorney Elizabeth Bonham, however, said that “everything about [Russo’s decision] is wrong.” “We cannot regard this as normal,” she said. “It is humiliating. It doesn’t just deprive this person of the opportunity to speak before his life is taken away, it steals his dignity.” Russo told Fox 8 that he gave Williams more than a dozen warnings over the course of the 30-minute sentencing before ordering his mouth taped shut as a last resort. “Everyone has the opportunity to make the record with my court reporter,” he said. “But we can’t do it at the same time. We can’t do it yelling over each other. My intent was never to silence Mr. Williams.” Bonham told Cleveland.com that the spectacle of six armed white

security officers carrying out the order of a white judge and ducttaping shut the mouth of a black man for repeatedly speaking out of turn before he was sent to prison offered a glimpse into a “deeply flawed criminal justice system.” CNN, HuffPost, Fox News, the McClatchy news network and the London Independent, along with local and regional outlets, have all covered the story. Meanwhile, Russo recused himself from the case on Monday afternoon. -SAM ALLARD

Pulitzer-Prize Winning Broadway Play ‘Sweat’ Launches Timely Tour of Smaller Towns, Including Ashtabula and Akron New York’s Public Theater, which debuted Lynn Nottage’s Sweat in 2016 before it went on to Broadway in 2017, has announced that its Mobile Unit — which until now has been focused solely on New York — will launch a tour of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play to 18 upper Midwest (mostly) smaller cities and towns between Sept. 27 and Oct. 13. The play, set in a Pennsylvania factory town, “tells the story of a group of friends who have spent their lives sharing drinks, secrets and laughs while working together on a factory floor. But when layoffs and picket lines begin to chip


away at their trust, the friends find themselves pitted against each other in the hard fight to stay afloat,” according to the Public Theatre website. The Ohio stops for Sweat include Ashtabula on Sept. 28, Akron on Oct. 2 and Ravenna on Oct. 3. It begins in Erie, Penn. on Sept. 27 and goes on to visit Meadville, Pennsylvania.; Macomb, Marshall and Albion, Saginaw and Eaton Rapids in Michigan; Janesville, Kenosha, Columbus, Viroqua, Sauk City and Hayward in Wisconsin; and Mankato, Rochester and St. Cloud in Minnesota. On its website, the Public Theater said the purpose of its Mobile Unit is to “break down economic and geographic barriers to the arts by meeting our communities where they are,

DIGIT WIDGET 68 Motorcyclists killed on Ohio roads since May 1, according to ODOT. The agency has launched an awareness campaign to “look twice for motorcycles” when changing lanes.

$8 MILLION Estimated annual operating cost of LeBron’s I Promise School in Akron. While LeBron’s foundation will contribute millions, the city of Akron will cover between 50 and 75 percent of the costs out of its regular budget.

300+ Number of “active shooter” insurance policies Fairview Parksbased McGowan Companies has written for schools and businesses since 2016.

529 Preliminary estimate of Ohio meth overdose deaths between January and August, 2017. That’s more than the total Ohio meth overdose deaths between 2007 and 2016.

staging free professional theater productions in local neighborhood venues such as libraries, homeless shelters, and community centers across all five New York City boroughs.” And it said this expansion of the program, which will include special engagement activities at each stop, is designed to “amplify the voices of local communities in the Rust Belt and Midwest, and to powerfully connect their stories to a larger national narrative.” While it isn’t directly stated on that website, The New York Times — in reporting the announcement — noted the tour is happening, before midterm elections, in upperMidwest counties “where the 2016 election was closely contested; all but four swung toward President Trump.” In that article, Oskar Eustis — the Public’s artistic director — replied that “Our job isn’t to change anyone’s vote. It’s to open a dialogue and do our part to remind all Americans of what we have in common.” The Times also reported the tour’s funding was provided by the Ford Foundation and the Andrew Mellon Foundation, with additional support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. -STEVEN ROSEN

BETALAND OR BLOCKLAND? CHOOSE YOUR OWN AUDACIOUS ADVENTURE Charles Stack, a local tech CEO, penned a column that appeared in last Sunday Plain Dealer’s Forum section advocating yet another “big audacious plan” for the region. While luxury car salesman Bernie Moreno attempts to corral local leaders around a “Blockland” initiative, (Moreno’s vision of making Cleveland the “national epicenter for all things blockchain”), Stack is now proposing a “Betaland” initiative, his vision of transforming the region into a “vast proving ground for innovation.” What that means and how it will take shape is still unclear. Stack proposed a series of City Club forums to plan and implement this vision. But the pitch is basically that Cleveland should lure startups to the region not with funding but with consumers, local guinea pigs who would be selected to test fledgling products and services; and with a bountiful supply of free and/or cheap labor, courtesy of the “world’s largest startup intern program”

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UPFRONT Speaking as if the program already exists, per local custom, Stack writes that the Betaland intern program “leverages our 200,000 regional university students to assist startups and simultaneously prevent brain drain.” The hope would be that these local interns go on to staff the new start-ups or start their own. What’s ironic about Stack’s column is his suggestion that his vision is more “all-encompassing” than the others that have been circulating in the months since Amazon declined to name Cleveland a finalist for its second headquarters and leaders have been scrambling for something new and grand and unprecedented to get excited about. Even the economic development conversations themselves have been unprecedented, in Stack’s view, which is why he says the region has a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to change its trajectory. “The outgrowth of these [economic development] conversations is a flurry of great but

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largely disconnected ideas,” Stack writes. “All these great concepts are largely based on recruiting and cultivating more startups.” Stack proceeds to introduce a disconnected idea based on recruiting and cultivating more start-ups. Maybe Blockland and Betaland can co-exist, but the impression one can’t help receiving is that these two grand and all-encompassing visions are in competition with each other. Incidentally, Stack’s column appeared alongside another — all part of a lively ongoing discussion grouped under the header, “Cleveland’s Future” — by Brad Whitehead. Whitehead is the Executive Director of the Fund for our Economic Future, which put out the Two Tomorrows report earlier this year. Two Tomorrows presaged Jon Pinney’s now-infamous City Club talk in many ways. But it had concrete plans attached: It suggested that the region should prioritize job creation, job preparation and job access as pathways to economic progress. It also, (uniquely, if I’m not mistaken), emphasized the importance of racial equity in all economic development discussions moving forward. In his piece Sunday, Whitehead

| clevescene.com | August 8 - 14, 2018

seemed to anticipate Stack’s column. He said that good ideas were important, but that acting on them — “greater civic alignment and commitment to implementation at scale” — is what’s needed most. Big audacious ideas mean jacksquat, in other words, if we don’t bother to follow through. “Perhaps what we really have,” Whitehead writes, “is a cultural problem masquerading as a strategy question.” -ALLARD

City Will Paint Over ‘Compliments of Ken Johnson’ Logo on Cleveland Service Trucks Cleveland.com’s Mark Naymik has written a scathing series of articles on Ward 4 Cleveland City Councilman Ken Johnson and the controversial use of federal community development dollars in Buckeye-Shaker. Among the more bizarre tidbits unearthed by Naymik’s reporting was the fact that several city-owned vehicles are used exclusively by the Buckeye-Shaker Development Corporation (Johnson’s pet CDC) and all bear the councilman’s name: “Compliments of Ken Johnson,” the

six vehicles say. But the vehicles, Naymik has confirmed, were all purchased with city dollars. (Not out of Johnson’s pocket, as the councilman told the reporter. Johnson said he was authorized to use the vehicles that he did not personally pay for by Mayor George Voinovich ... back in the eighties.) Cleveland’s COO Darnell Brown said that he intends to send a crew to paint over the six vehicles that bear Johnson’s name. Johnson has been a city councilman since 1980. And his questionable behavior has long been an open secret. (In our 2017 election coverage, Johnson’s challenger in Ward 4, Gail Sparks, said that the incumbent was exploiting seniors and “holding them captive.” He sent out messages that if he were defeated, all programs designed to help seniors — snow removal and grass cutting, namely — “by law, must end.”) Naymik has tracked other behaviors — including Johnson’s relationship with the Buckeye Shaker CDC — that should continue to give residents pause. -ALLARD

scene@clevescene.com t@clevelandscene


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A RTS i n A UGUST freeartsprogrammingin Tremont’sLincolnPark

Presented in Partnership: cleveland COUNCIL MEMBER

Kerry McCormack WARD 3

PUBLIC

theatre

Arts in August is a special time of year in Tremont. The community gathers in Lincoln Park for artistic performances using professional lighting and sound to bring magic to Tremont. All Arts in August events are FREE and are held in Tremont’s Lincoln Park. Please visit tremontwest.org for up to date information, rain locations/dates and program details, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @artsinaugust Bring a picnic, order take-out from one of our Tuesdays in Tremont participants listed below. You definitely want to bring a chair or a blanket to sit and remember you are in a park at dusk, so you might want to bring bug spray too!

THIS WEEKEND

tremontwest.org *7:45pm - OnStage*

A creative movement class with performance improvisation, for KIDS of all ages, will take place on the stage prior to the performance!

Inlet Dance Theatre’s Dominic Moore-Dunson and Erin Pennebaker performing “imPAIRed,� photo by Suzanne Sherbundy.

Inlet Dance Theatre* on Friday, August 10th at 8:30pm Come early Friday for

Verb Ballets*

on Saturday, August 11th at 8:30pm

5pm throughout Tremont!

Fri | Aug

17 | Tony Mikhael | 7pm Sat | Aug 18 | Cleveland Jazz Orchestra |7pm Fri | Aug 24 | ContempOpera | 7pm Sat | Aug 25 | Papo Ruiz Y La Dulzura de la Salsa | 7pm Fri | Aug 31 | INDY Music | 7pm The Village Bicycle | By Light We Loom | The Ohio Weather Band

Carolyn Bentley (216) 470-1502

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Photo by Emanuel Wallace

FEATURE THE 30 ESSENTIAL CLEVELAND RESTAURANTS By Douglas Trattner EVERY FEW YEARS WE TAKE A step back to do a sort of heat-check on the Cleveland dining landscape. Our motivation is to survey the bounty that we have at our fingertips and call attention to the places that we’re excited about at this particular moment in time. Some of these restaurants make the roster year after year, while others are brand new to the scene, bumping colleagues off the list by their arrival. Whatever label you choose to bestow upon them – Best, Essential, Top Toque, Golden Spoon, Primo Piattos – the meaning is the same. These are the restaurants that stand out in a very crowded field for a variety of reasons, many of them intangible. When it’s time to answer that ubiquitous question of “Where should we eat?,” the answer very likely can be found below.

MABEL’S BBQ 2050 E. 4th St., 216-417-823, mabelsbbq.com There are restaurants that we enjoy and then there are restaurants that we can’t stay away from. Mabel’s is one of the few Michael Symon restaurants that succeeds largely independent of the star chef’s renown. We go there not for the scene, but for the meat, amazingly savory, wood-kissed and consistent. Here, slow-smoked pork ribs, beef brisket, turkey and kielbasa act like siren songs to hungry carnivores. The logistics of feeding this many people this much great food aside, this bustling meat-and-bourbon hall always manages to exceed our lofty expectations.

FIRE FOOD AND DRINK 13220 Shaker Sq., 216-921-3473, firefoodanddrink.com There seem to be fewer and fewer gimmick-free farm-to-table bistros, the types of places that simply do in place of try. For more than 20 years, chef-owner Doug Katz has weathered every conceivable trend, challenge

and calamity in this unpredictable business, responding with an eversteady hand on the wheel. Diners can always count on Fire to deliver reliably delicious food trimmed with seasonal foodstuffs and served by a professional staff in a crisp, cool setting. Fire’s sunny weekend brunch can make a morning person out of Rip Van Winkle.

SALT 17625 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, 216-221-4866, saltcleveland.com “Nobody orders small plates in Cleveland.” Since the birth of the turnip, that has been the conventional wisdom in these parts. Of course, at her whip-smart Lakewood bistro Salt, chef Jill Vedaa continues to upend that old saw by composing exceptional dishes that focus on a single theme. In place of a meat-and-three, diners zero in on carrots three ways, or earthy beets blasted with sparkle, or a savory lamb ragu over a few supple gnocchi. Mix and match your way to the perfect meal; variety, after all, is the spice of life.

THE PLUM 4133 Lorain Ave., 216-938-8711, theplumcafeandkitchen.com If you aren’t pleasing every Cleveland diner then you’re probably doing something right. This edgy American bistro is fearless when it comes to food, pushing out items that are so bold in conception that they can seem like a dare. But in the hands of chef Brett Sawyer, dishes like raw pork tartar or a whole fried chicken served General Tso style are revelatory, stunning and singular. Here, humble ingredients like beets and carrots or chicken skin and lake fish are transformed into artistic seasonal creations that manage to tickle as much as they do satisfy. It’s all presented in a sleek, contemporary interior by people who actually seem to care. And was

Fat Cats.

that barbecued pigeon we spotted on the menu?

USHABU 2173 Professor Ave., 216-713-1741, ushabu.com Diners who settle in for a tasting menu at this wee Asian bistro will be taken for the ride of their lives. Chef Matthew Spinner’s obsessive take on regional Japanese cuisine is a deep dive with more twists and turns than a thrill ride. Enjoyed as part of a seven- or 13-course excursion, or on their own as a la carte appetizers, the dishes are stirring seasonal still-lifes that simultaneously embody home and away. For shabu-shabu fans, Ushabu excels thanks to high-caliber ingredients, top-notch technology and an impressive sake selection.

THE BLACK PIG 2801 Bridge Ave., 216-862-7551, blackpigcle.com The Black Pig seemed to really come alive following its move away from W. 25th Street. More neighborhood haunt than arbitrary destination, this is the rare type of place where you can visit once or twice a week and never grow bored. In-house butchers are all the rage, but this kitchen knows nose-totail better than most. Well-raised

pigs come in the back door and enter the dining room as Old World charcuterie, crispy pork rinds, gently braised flanks and juicy grilled chops. But this tony brick-trimmed boîte also crushes the pasta, beef and seafood games, which is precisely what keeps us coming back for more.

L’ALBATROS 11401 Bellflower Rd., 216-791-7880, albatrosbrasserie.com Given that University Circle is the epicenter of Cleveland culture, you’d think it wouldn’t be so damned hard to find a great meal. Fortunately there’s this French-themed gem, the crown jewel of the Zack Bruell kingdom. While we could happily live on the wine and cheese alone, it’s nearly impossible to skip the garlicky snails, the mussels frites, and the textbook skate with browned butter. Do yourself a favor and order the pied de cochon, goosed with the silkiest béarnaise. What’s left to say about the service and setting other than they serve as polestars for others to pursue.

BANTER 7320 Detroit Ave., 216-801-0305, bantercleveland.com Banter is the antidote to serious food in somber settings. It’s county | clevescene.com | August 8 - 14, 2018

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FEATURE fair food with a bowtie, where fries, sausages, and hotdogs are spruced up for a clever crowd. You won’t ďŹ nd a better corndog to drag through the mustard, and the crispy, melty fried cheese curds will vanish quicker than the Statue of Liberty at David CopperďŹ eld’s abracadabra. But most folks come for the poutine, and who can blame them. Perfect fries drip with rich gravies made with real stock, while pert cheese curds slowly weep into the mix. Banter’s tightly curated list of draft beer and wines by the glass is always on point.

XINJI NOODLE BAR ĂŽ"?*/-?Ă€$&?-0$ ??? *?Ă€? 3?*-?!''?*/???Ă€$&$)?!0)"/-. ĂŽ*".??Ă€$&.E?'*" $) >?!..*-$.?ON SALE

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4211 Lorain Ave., 216-465-2439, xinjinoodle.com Places that keep the moving parts to a minimum generally have a leg up on those that complicate matters. Start with great broth, fresh noodles, and quality meats and you should wind up with a bowl of delicious ramen. That’s the formula here, where bowls of bouncy comfort are ladled up in a hip-enough storefront. Toss in a few knockout starters like crispy-spicy Korean fried chicken, supple steamed buns and delicate pork-ďŹ lled dumplings, pair them with cold beer and sake, and you’ve made a fan of us.

ZOMA ETHIOPIAN RESTAURANT 2240 Lee Rd., Cleveland Hts., 216-465-3239, zomacleveland.com Despite what that one guy on Yelp said about the “bread,� we’re slightly obsessed with Zoma. We love the communal atmosphere of the experience, where diners sit around a platter of colorful, savory stews, pinching off bites with stretchy injera. Rare is the place that hungry vegetarians and omnivores can so peaceably coexist thanks to items starring chopped greens, chickpeas, lentils, beef and chicken. The housemade Ethiopian hot sauce, fueled by an exotic berbere spice blend, is righteous.

IL RIONE PIZZERIA

CLEVELAND GARLIC FESTIVAL AUG 25-26 Shaker sq. clevelandgarlicfestival.org 12

| clevescene.com | August 8 - 14, 2018

1303 W. 65th St., 216-282-1451, www. ilrionepizzeria.com Il Rione might be “just a neighborhood pizza parlor,� but it elevates the genre thanks to warm lighting, stylishly weathered

interior, and a killer playlist from the golden age of rock. While the menu is spare, the New York/New Jersey style pizza exiting the open kitchen is amazing, with the clam pie taking the cake. Diners can choose from a half-dozen predesigned pies or can build their own from the crust up. Beer, wine, and cocktails round out the fun.

LARDER DELICATESSEN 1455 W. 29th St., 216-912-8203, larderdb.com At its heart, Larder is a Jewish deli, with matzo ball soup, thick pastrami sandwiches, and aky fruit-ďŹ lled rugelach. But there’s so much more going on here than that. Chef-owner Jeremy Umansky utilizes techniques like koji (a Japanese mold) curing, foraging for wild edibles, cold and hot smoking, and fermentation and pickling to produce an ever-shifting roster of seasonal plates. On special might be a housesmoked whiteďŹ sh salad sandwich, wild-cherry blintzes, or chicken of the woods mushroom “pastramiâ€? sandwich. Neighbors already have worn a path to its door for housebaked loaves, chocolate-swirled babka, dark and chewy chocolate chip cookies, and aky potato knishes.

LJ SHANGHAI 3142 Superior Ave., 216-400-6936 LJ Shanghai, a relative newcomer in Cleveland’s Asiatown neighborhood, has been absolutely besieged by diners who recognize quality xiao long bao—or soup dumplings—when they see and taste them. We’ve been making habitual pit stops for those amazing dumplings, but also the growing roster of satisfying soup, noodle, and meat dishes. Tops in our book is the plump shrimp wonton soup, spicy beef noodle soup, Shanghai-style scallion noodles, and soy-braised duck.

VERO PIZZA 12421 Cedar Rd., Cleveland Hts., 216-229-8383, verocleveland.com It might just be pizza to us, but to owner Marc-Aurele Buholzer, it’s a way of life. First you make the dough, then you stoke the ďŹ re, and ďŹ nally you feed the neighborhood. There’s only so much of that naturally leavened dough to go around, so admiring diners know to get here early to secure one or three of those


fly pies. They exit the wood-burner with a textbook puffy, chewy, tender crust spotted like a leopard with slightly bitter bits of char. Those bits provide the perfect foil to the sweet, rich Milk ‘n Honey pie topped with garlic, mozzarella, egg and bit o’ honey.

garlicky pieces of meat into cold lettuce wraps, dragged them through sauce, popped them in our mouths, and washed them down with ice-cold OB beer. We never stood a chance, but at least we went out with a smile.

MENTION SCENE RECEIVE

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FAT CATS FLOUR 34205 Chagrin Blvd., Moreland Hills, 216-464-3700, flourrestaurant.com Is it just us or does Flour get better and buzzier over time? We’ve been fans of the Italian restaurant since the start, lured out to suburbia by the four skilled hands belonging to Paul Minnillo and Matt Mytro. This tag team of tagliatelle put the panache back in pasta, elevating the genre from dependable gut-buster to captivating, elegant cuisine. The perfect pairings of noodles and sauce, like rigatoni with lamb neck gravy, are memorable to the very last bite. Throw in a fistful of creative starters, crisply tailored pizzas, and a great steak and fish dish and what else does one need (apart from a stellar wine list, which is covered)?

EL RINCONCITO CHAPIN 3300 Broadview Rd., 216-795-5776 To tabletop adventurers like us, half the fun is in the hunt. We first discovered the joys of Guatemalan street food at a tidy little storefront in Old Brooklyn, where the owner turned out amazing pupusas, dobladitas, chuchitos and garnachas, texturally satisfying stacks of corn pancakes, shredded beef, cool salsa and salty cheese. We were sad to see him go, but happy when El Rinconcito Chapin resurfaced a couple miles away at a bigger, brighter and better equipped new home. An expanded menu includes all of our favorites plus a laundry list of equally gratifying large plates and weekend specials.

RISING GRILL 3709 Payne Ave., 216-465-3561, risinggrill.com It was right around the time our server wheeled a cart up to the table that we regretted not inviting more friends to dinner. Our combination platter had enough beef short rib, ribeye, pork and chicken to feed half the dining room. But we persevered, cooking up tasty bits of Korean BBQ on Rising Grill’s trusty new gas-powered grill tables. Hot off the grate, we bundled up the charred,

2061 West 10th St., 216-579-0200, coolplacestoeat.com Fat Cats is neither new nor flashy. For more than 20 years, this earlyera Tremont bistro has lured diners to the far end of a quiet residential street by offering a cozy alternative to special occasion restaurants. We always find something on the menu that suits our mood, from a perfectly grilled off-cut chop to a fresh, seasonal pasta. Never one to coast on classics, owner Ricardo Sandoval floats fun fliers like Korean steamed buns, Filipino lumpia, or Mediterranean grilled octopus. Servers here treat everybody like regulars and have the knowledge to recommend a great bottle of wine.

BOILING CRAWFISH SEAFOOD 2201 Lee Rd, Cleveland Hts., 216-459-7777, boilingseafoodcrawfishoh.com The seafood-in-a-bag trend rolled into town with a bang, with three spots devoted to the concept opening in a few short years. You don’t have to explain why to the diners who crowd this small, boisterous storefront by the Cedar Lee Theatre. Digging your hands deep into a bag of spicy, saucy steamed seafood might be the most fun one can legally have in a restaurant. The aptly named Handful is a Santa-sized sack filled with shrimp, crawfish, clams, andouille sausage, corn and spuds, all lolling about in a mouthwatering gravy.

GREENHOUSE TAVERN 2038 E 4th St., 216-443-0511, thegreenhousetavern.com Over the years, the Greenhouse Tavern has always come through for us as the Swiss Army Knife of restaurants. Few places have the culinary range to span the bridge between every day and special occasion, from burger-and-beerat-the-bar to blow-your-mind at the chef’s counter. It’s always tough to veer away from chestnuts like hand-ground steak tartar, Ohio lamb burger with “stinky cheese,” Animal-style frites and Tabasco fried chicken. But we do so in

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13


BALATON

FEATURE order to ďŹ nd new favorites like the summery salads, seasonal pastas and special seafood dishes that will vanish before we can return.

MOMOCHO 1835 Fulton Rd., 216-694-2122, momocho.com Since he opened this jumping bean of a bistro a dozen years ago, Eric Williams has been deďŹ ning and reďŹ ning his unique brand of modern Mexican food. Every move seems designed to inject more avor, texture and visual interest into the kinds of dishes we thought we knew. We grew up on chips and salsa – but nothing like the nutty sikil pak salsa served here. Guacamole is heavenly just the way it was, but stir in some smoked trout and bacon and boom! Tacos ďŹ lled with seasoned ground beef are pretty awesome, but how can we go back after trying the adobo-braised pork with chile chipotle mojo? For tequila fans like us, Momocho is the foggy Promised Land.

13133 Shaker Sq., 216-921-9691, balaton-restaurant.com Talk about underappreciated. When Balaton opened a halfcentury ago on Buckeye Road, the primary language spoken in the dining room was Hungarian. But word of the modest restaurant’s remarkable goulash, Weiner schnitzel, and paprikash wriggled out, at ďŹ rst to the immediate neighborhood, and later to the city and region as a whole. Come to the lovely restaurant at Shaker Square, where Balaton has now resided for 20 years, and you won’t be awash in Old World shtick. Instead, you’ll enjoy expertly prepared dishes like that Frisbee-sized schnitzel, and golden-brown fried chicken livers, and portly stuffed cabbages, and gravy-soaked spaetzle, all of it lovingly handmade to order and sold well below market value.

COLLISION BEND 1250 Old River Rd., 216-273-7879, collisionbendbrewery.com Mega-restaurateur Zack Bruell has a bushel of restaurants around the city, and this one isn’t even our

favorite. But that doesn’t mean we don’t adore being down here by the river, soaking up the history of the 150-year-old brick building in the Flats while enjoying riotously avorful food and beer. The sprawling menu is hard to pin down, but can’t miss items include wood-ďŹ red pizzas, lamb tamales, ďŹ sh tacos, Moroccan-spiced lamb ribs, and burgers. Tack on a ight of the house-brewed beer and watch the freighters and kayaks oat by.

SPICE KITCHEN 5800 Detroit Ave., 216-961-9637, spicekitchenandbar.com Ben Bebenroth is regarded as one of the region’s leading farmto-table chefs for good reason. He puts his money where his mouth is when it comes to sourcing food by managing a working farm just south of town. While the dishes change with the calendar, diners can count on options built around local produce, pork, chicken, and beef and sustainable ďŹ sh and seafood. The cheery, owertrimmed Detroit Shoreway bistro makes weekend brunch all the better.

SOHO CHICKEN + WHISKEY 1889 W 25th St., 216-298-9090, sohocleveland.com If Soho literally served nothing but chicken and whiskey as its name suggests, we would totally be down with that. What more do you need when the fried chicken is this good and the bourbon list is this long? But wait, there’s more! Meals start with airy biscuits, butter and jam. Stellar snacks like deviled eggs and pimiento cheese and chips are required eating. And to go with that magical, crackle-crusted yardbird are Southern suppers like shrimp and grits and the always frog-free Frogmore Stew. If you can handle the heat, shower on Soho’s famous hot sauce.

FLYING FIG 2523 Market St., 216-241-4243, theyingďŹ g.com As Ohio City continues to change at hyper-speed, we’re increasingly grateful for Karen Small and her unpretentious bistro. While concise, the locally sourced seasonal menus offer enough variety for everybody at the table, and that includes the vegetarians.

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| clevescene.com | August 8 - 14, 2018

15


Photo by Emanuel Wallace

FEATURE 2018

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| clevescene.com | August 8 - 14, 2018

Nora.

Fresh, creative salads, savory small plates, meaty mains and just the right kiss of dessert is all a diner ever requires. For 20 years, the happy hour has remained one of the best in the biz, and summer sidewalk dining along picturesque Market Avenue is the epitome of urban chic.

of tender wine-poached octopus, veal and ricotta meatballs, pizzas, and grilled lamb chops. On the weekend, the brunches here draw reliably enthusiastic crowds.

NORA

Because pho is an essential part of a balanced diet, not to mention one’s sanity, noodle shops like this one hold a very important place in our lives. Winter or summer, a bowl of pho is more than food; it’s a restorative elixir that sets us on a brighter path. Crispy spring rolls, citrusy cabbage salad, and meaty banh mi sammies also make us happy, so it’s a good thing that the versions served at this perfectly acceptable dining room are as delicious as the noodle soup.

2181 Murray Hill Rd., 216-231-5977, noracleveland.com Nora upends the Little Italy stereotype of the spag-and-ball joint by applying classic French technique to Italian ingredients to come up with dishes that are in synch with the season, if not the surrounding restaurants. While you won’t be dabbing red sauce off your shirt, you will be awash in the Old World charm that attracts us to the Hill in the first place. Beneath a pressed-tin ceiling and behind a wall of windows, diners dig into creamy burrata, crunchy polenta fries, wild mushroom stuffed agnolotti, and fettucine carbonara topped with crispy matchstick potatoes and a buttery poached egg.

ASTORIA MARKET AND CAFÉ 5417 Detroit Ave., 216-266-0834, astoriacafemarket.com Astoria manages to put a smile on our faces morning, day or night. The retail market keeps our pantry flush with gourmet foods like imported cheeses, cured meats, olives and wine. The large bar is an ideal place to meet up with a friend over cocktails, glasses of wine and a fully loaded meat and cheese platter. The animated dining room is where we land for full meals

SUPERIOR PHO 3030 Superior Ave., 216-781-7462, superiorpho.com

GINKO 2247 Professor Ave., 216-274-1202, restaurantginko.com A wise man once said, “If the sushi is cheap, run.” That sounds like solid advice given the logistics of flying fresh fish around the globe. Since opening this edgy Asian den beneath his eponymous bistro, Dante Boccuzzi has avoided shortcuts and cost-cutting measures in the pursuit of crafting the city’s best sushi experience. Grab seats at horseshoe-shaped bar and dig into spotless sashimi, sushi, and rolls. The kickass room makes everybody feel like a rock star and the astute staffers always help unearth the perfect bottle of sake.

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| clevescene.com | August 8 - 14, 2018

17


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| clevescene.com | August 8 - 14, 2018


GET OUT everything you should do this week Photo by Jeff Niesel

WED

08/08

FILM

The Big Lebowski Released in 1998, the Coen Brothers’ flick The Big Lebowski has become a cult classic that regularly makes appearances in the Cedar Lee Theatre’s Late Shift film series. The film centers on the Dude (Jeff Bridges), a slacker/ bowler who becomes the victim of mistaken identity when he is assaulted. The movie features a slew of cameos by actors including John Turturro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Elliott, Tara Reid and David Thewlis. To mark the movie’s 20th anniversary, it screens today at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Cedar Lee Theatre. Regular admission rates apply. (Jeff Niesel) 2163 Lee Rd., Heights, 440-528-0355, clevelandcinemas.com. THEATER

Hamilton Since making its Broadway debut three years ago, Hamilton, the hip-hop musical that tells the story of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, has been a smash hit. It traces the life story of Hamilton, referred to in the play as “a bastard, orphan, son of a whore,” as he joins the Revolutionary War and then plays a key role in writing the Federalist Papers and serving in President George Washington’s Cabinet. There’s plenty of drama in Hamilton’s life, which ends in a duel, and the play exploits every bit of it with a superb soundtrack of catchy songs that tell his remarkable story. Tonight’s show takes place at 7:30 at the State Theatre, where performances run through Aug. 26. A few tickets still remain. (Niesel) 1519 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.

Social Distortion performs at the Rock Hall. See: Saturday. THEATER

Menopause the Musical A musical parody set to songs from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, Menopause the Musical tells the story of four women at a lingerie sale with nothing in common but a black lace bra and the perils of menopause (you know, hot flashes, night sweats, etc.). A perennial favorite, the play is back at the Hanna Theatre tonight at 7:30, where performances continue through Aug. 12. Tickets start at $10. (Niesel) 2067 East 14th St., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org. MUSIC

SPORTS

Indians vs. Minnesota Twins When the Minnesota Twins came to town last month, they took two of three games from the Tribe and had no trouble hitting Indians’ pitchers. While they’re not good enough to make the playoffs this year, they might give the Indians some trouble. They play tonight at 7:10 as part of a four-game series. Tickets start at $15. (Niesel) 2401 Ontario St., 216-420-4487, clevelandindians.com.

Summer in the City Each Wednesday through Aug. 22, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame hosts a free concert as part of its Summer in the City series. Tonight’s event, which begins at 7 p.m., features Screaming Females. The band’s dynamic new album features quivering vocals and heady time signature changes as it alternates between punk outbursts and proggy jams. It’s good stuff. Local rockers Forager open the show. Admission

is free. (Niesel) 1100 Rock and Roll Blvd., 216-515-8444, rockhall.com. FESTIVAL

Wade Oval Wednesdays A summer tradition continues tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. at Wade Oval in University Circle. It’s Wade Oval Wednesday, and there will be local food vendors, a beer and wine tent, a farmers market and free kids’ activities — all laid out on the Wade Oval lawn, adjacent to Cleveland Botanical Garden, the Cleveland Art Museum, and the Cleveland Natural History Museum. Some museums will be open late. Tricky Dick & the Cover-Ups perform tonight. Hidden Figures, a terrific drama about black women who worked at NASA in the 1960s, screens at 9 p.m. (Niesel) 10820 East Blvd., universitycircle.org. FOOD

Walnut Wednesday Walnut Wednesday is one of summer’s great traditions. Today it continues, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Perk Plaza at Chester Commons — at East 12th and

Walnut streets — as food trucks gather to serve up lunch to area residents and employees. Check out the Downtown Cleveland Alliance website for weekly updates on vendors, entertainment offerings and more. The series continues through Sept. 26. Admission is free, but the food will cost you. (Niesel) downtowncleveland.com. FILM

We Are Triathletes The documentary film We Are Triathletes follows six triathletes from the United States, China, Germany, and Australia as they train for the Challenge Roth, the world’s largest long distance triathlon race. Ironman legends also show up in the movie to tell stories about the early days of competing in races that require biking, running and swimming skills. The movie screens tonight at 7:30 at the Capitol Theatre. The screening will include a Q&A with Bob Babbitt, an Ironman historian and Hall of Famer. Tickets are $9.75. (Niesel) 1390 West 65th St., 216-651-7295, clevelandcinemas.com. | clevescene.com | August 8 - 14, 2018

19


GET OUT THU

08/09

FILM

Saving Brinton A 2017 documentary film from directors Tommy Haines and Andrew Sherburne, Saving Brinton centers on Iowa farmboy William Franklin Brinton who, from 1897 until his death in 1908, traveled the American heartland and showed his silent films to anyone he could, becoming “America’s greatest barnstorming movieman” in the process. Former history teacher Mike Zahs gets the credit for finding Brinton’s original nitrate show reels in the basement of an Iowa farmhouse and then restoring them. One film even includes footage of President Teddy Roosevelt and another is a previously lost Georges Méliès short. The film screens tonight at 8:50 at the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque, where it shows again at 7:30 tomorrow night. Admission is $10, $7 for Cinematheque members and those age 25 and under. (Niesel) 11610 Euclid Ave., 216-421-7450, cia.edu.

FRI

their poor dad to play Barbie dolls for hours on end. His drunken-dad shtick can be alarming at times, but he’s really funny and obviously loves his family. If you have kids, you’ll cringe but relate. If you don’t have kids, he’ll probably convince you to delay that decision a little longer. He performs tonight at 8 at Hard Rock Live. Tickets start at $29.50. (Liz Trenholme)

personality and humor will be enough to keep you laughing the entire time. He also previously hosted the BET series Comic View, where the show achieved its highest ratings ever. You can catch Bruce at the Improv tonight at 7:30 and 10; performances are scheduled through Sunday. Tickets are $25 to $35. (Martin Harp) Improv Comedy Club & Restaurant,

JON LANGFORD

COMEDY

Mike Armstrong A former officer of the law, Mike Armstrong has now decided instead to make a living making people laugh. Besides telling tales about his time on the force, he talks about his family; those stories are mostly about his wife and how she has to put up with him in public as he messes with total strangers. You can hear more about his life and times tonight at 7 and 9:30 at the Hard Rock Rocksino’s Club Velvet, where he also performs tomorrow night. Tickets are $10 and $15. (Niesel) 10705 Northfield Rd., Northfield, 330-908-7793, hrrocksinonorthfieldpark.com.

Jim Breuer Things are tough for Jim Breuer. He’s got three adorable kids who torture him and make his hangover unbearable. The second one was born with a broken volume control and their favorite antics are conducting parades with pots and pans at 6 in the morning. Poor dude. As if that wasn’t enough, they never want to be part of family pictures and they force

20

MUSIC

Legacy Live One of Northeast Ohio’s most popular free concert series, Legacy Live has become a tradition that families and couples look forward to each summer. The concerts, which take place on the Legacy Village lawn at 6:30 each Friday and Saturday night throughout the summer, feature local bands that play everything from blues to jazz and rock. Tonight’s entertainment comes from the Latin band Saborit. Tomorrow, Light of the Two Moons will play acoustic rock. Admission is free; the series continues through Aug. 31. (Niesel) 25333 Cedar Rd., Lyndhurst, 216-382-3871, legacy-village.com. FESTIVAL

08/10

COMEDY

treats, beverages and other outdoor entertainment. Tonight’s Flat Out Friday runs from 6 to 10 p.m. and features music from Carlos Jones and the Plus Band. Admission is free, and you can find the details on the website. Free. (Niesel), 1055 Old River Rd.

BOYS FROM THE COUNTY HELL ARCHIE AND THE BUNKERS

Walkabout Tremont During this month’s Walkabout Tremont, you can stop by any of the Tremont art galleries to see their current and/or new exhibits. Of course, there are plenty of bars, restaurants and specialty shops in the neighborhood, too, that participate in Walkabout Tremont, so don’t overlook them, either. The stroll takes place from 5 to 10 tonight; this month’s theme is “let’s luau.” Check out the website for a schedule, maps and a listing of food and drink specials. (Niesel) ENTERTAINMENT

PART OF

tickets at: rockhall.com/onstage

BAR & FOOD TRUCKS OPEN FOR EVENT 10705 Northfield Road, Northfield, 330-908-7771, hrrocksinonorthfieldpark.com.

1148 Main Ave., 216-696-IMPROV, clevelandimprov.com. FESTIVAL

COMEDY

Bruce Bruce A larger-than-life personality makes comedian Bruce Bruce a hard act to forget. Even with his adult humor, Bruce prides himself on not relying on vulgarity to get a laugh out of the crowd. His

| clevescene.com | August 8 - 14, 2018

Flat Out Fridays The East Bank of the Flats features a slew of great bars and restaurants. To take advantage of the terrific riverfront location, the venues have partnered for Flat Out Fridays, a summer music series by the waterfront that includes sweet

Whiskey & Women The second Friday of every month this summer, Prosperity Social Club will serve up bourbon-and-whiskeybased cocktail and dinner specials that go with the local female artists who will perform. It’s all part of its Whiskey & Women music series. The drink menu includes a Dark Rye Manhattan, Kentucky Mule, Bourbon Ricky and Blackberry Mint Lemonade. Food specials include blackened bourbon chicken with whiskey cream corn and rustic mashed potatoes, bourbon glazed salmon with maple brown butter sweet corn and lemon dill potatoes, and peppered sirloin with whiskey and mushroom pasta. Local “mountain pop” singer-songwriter Jen Maurer performs at 8 tonight. Admission is free. (Niesel) 1109 Starkweather Ave., 216-937-1938, prosperitysocialclub.com.


SAT

08/11

THEATER

Cabaret Nights Revue Cabaret Nights Revue tells the story of Parisian dancers who performed on the sultry Las Vegas Strip. The show features live music, “daring choreography” and authentic costumes as the performances reference the Lido de Paris and the Follies Berger shows. The Cabaret Nights Revue cast features five professional dancers with strong roots in Cleveland: Madison Yankovich, Serena Celeste, Brian Cleveland, Alyssa Watson and Dana Hall. A musical trio featuring Christopher Berge on tenor sax will play everything from French Latin jazz to disco classics and pop tune favorites. The performance takes place tonight at 7:30 at Kennedy’s Theatre. Tickets are $26. (Niesel) 1501 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org. FESTIVAL

Celebration of Trees An outdoor living museum located on 3,500 acres, Holden Forests and Gardens that promotes “the beauty and importance of trees and other woody plants.” Today and tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the arboretum will host Celebration of Trees, a weekend event with family-friendly activities centered around trees and their vital role in our community. There will be guided tree climbing for children, chainsaw carving demonstrations and a Great Lakes Timber Show that stresses the importance of lumberjacks for forest and tree management through selective harvesting. There will also be log rolling, axe throwing, cross cutting sawing and springboard chopping. Award-winning chainsaw artists Pat Holbert, owner of Sugar Ridge Carving, and partner Jack Riese, will be on hand. Food and beverage concessions will be available for purchase. Admission to the event is free for members, $10 for nonmember adults and $4 for children ages 6-18. Children age 5 and under are admitted free. The Murch Canopy Walk and Kalberer Emergent Tower will be open during the event. Tickets to those attractions are free for members, $4 for nonmember adults and $2 for children ages 6 to 18. (Niesel) 9500 Sperry Rd., Kirtland, 440-946-4400, holdenarb.org. FESTIVAL

The Cleveland Flea A self-described “small business

incubator” that draws thousands of local shoppers to Tyler Village, the Cleveland Flea features a range of unique items you won’t find at the typical retail store. As much a social gathering as a shopping experience, the Flea also serves as an excellent hang, a place to meet and make friends while supporting your local creatives. It runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and continues monthly through Oct. 13. Admission is $1. (Niesel) 3615 Superior Ave., theclevelandflea.com.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 10 | 8P-12A

VELVET SHAKE

MUSIC

Klipsch Fest The veteran punk band Social Distortion will perform as part of Klipsch Fest, a day-long celebration happening today from 3 to 11 p.m. at the Rock Hall. The event will also include various live performances, DJ sets, demos and giveaways on the PNC Rock Hall Live! stage. Social Distortion will headline and play at 9 p.m. The event is free with the purchase of a general admission ticket to the Rock Hall. A VIP ticket priced at $75 includes access to an exclusive “Under the Influences” talk with Social D singer-guitarist Mike Ness that takes place at 3 p.m. that day. Ness will discuss his career as a songwriter and musician, share stories behind some of Social D’s hits and chat about the albums that influenced him. (Niesel) 1100 Rock and Roll Blvd., 216-515-8444, rockhall.com.

SUN

SATURDAY, AUGUST 11 3-7P

TED RISER 8P-12A

JERSEY BAND SUNDAY, AUGUST 12

08/12

FOOD

Gospel Brunch The monthly Gospel Brunch has been a spiritual Sunday staple for years at the House of Blues. The recently reinvigorated show puts a bit more emphasis on the music. As for the food, the all-you-caneat musical extravaganza features Southern classics like chicken jambalaya, biscuits and gravy, and chicken and waffles. Seatings are offered at 11 a.m. Tickets are $40 and are available online, by phone or at the box office. (Niesel) 308 Euclid Ave., 216-523-2583, houseofblues.com. MUSIC

Yo-Yo Ma Plays Bach Always a big draw, cellist Yo-Yo Ma joins the Cleveland Orchestra tonight at 7 at Blossom to play a special program featuring compositions by Bach. Yo-Yo Ma has spent two years working on this project that he’ll

3-7P

SUMRADA 9P-12A

JiMILLER BAND SUMMER HOURS: Mon - Thurs. 4pm - Close | Fri - Sun. 11am - Close

www.facebook.com/whiskeyislandstillandeatery www.whiskeyislandstillandeatery.net | clevescene.com | August 8 - 14, 2018

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TALK

GET OUT perform on six different continents. The New Yorker described his powerful performance by saying, “It was as if music had stilled the world.” The evening is presented without intermission with the performance ending at approximately 9:20 p.m. Consult the orchestra website for ticket prices. (Niesel) 1145 W. Steels Corners Rd., Cuyahoga Falls, 216-231-1111, clevelandorchestra.com.

MON

08/13

TRIVIA

Lunch Hour Live Trivia Last Call Trivia, a live hosted trivia game during which teams compete for prizes by answering oddball questions, takes place every Monday throughout the summer at 12:30 p.m., at U.S. Bank Plaza on Playhouse Square. Designed to be “a spirited competition,” the contest lasts an hour. Admission is free. (Niesel) East 14th St. and Euclid Ave., 216-771-4444, playhousesquare.org.

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TUE

08/14

Science Cafe Tonight, and the second Monday of every month, Music Box Supper Club hosts Science Cafe, an informal lecture series that brings scientists from throughout the region to the club to talk about science topics. Tonight at 7, Brooke MacNamara, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, Case Western Reserve University, talks about mindset theory. The talk is free, but bring some money for the bar and the restaurant. (Niesel) 1148 Main Ave., 216-242-1250, musicboxcle.com.

Dancing Under the Stars As a part of the 13-week outdoor dance series at Playhouse Square, local dance instructors lead Dancing Under the Stars tonight, and every Tuesday night through Aug. 28, at U.S. Bank Plaza. Tonight at 6, teachers from Viva Dance Studio will teach the salsa; Papo Ruiz provides the music. The dancing begins at 6:30 and continues until 9 p.m. Admission is free. (Niesel) East 14th St. and Euclid Ave., 216-771-4444, playhousesquare.org.

KARAOKE

MUSIC

Shit Show Karaoke Local rapper/promoter Dirty Jones and Scene’s own Manny Wallace host Shit Show Karaoke, a weekly event at the B-Side Liquor Lounge wherein patrons choose from “an unlimited selection of jams from hip-hop to hard rock,” and are encouraged to “be as bad as you want.” Fueled by drink and shot specials, it all goes down tonight at 10 p.m. (Niesel) 2785 Euclid Hts. Blvd., Heights, 216-932-1966, bsideliquorlounge.com.

Open Turntable Tuesday Tonight from 6 to 9, the Winchester hosts its weekly Open Turntable Tuesday. DJ Kris Koch offers 20-minute slots to people who want to bring their own vinyl and spin their favorite songs or deep tracks. Turntables are provided; you can play three to five songs during your time slot; and a mic is available to talk about the selections. (Niesel) 12112 Madison Ave., Lakewood, 216-600-5338, facebook.com/ TheWinchesterMusicTavern.

| clevescene.com | August 8 - 14, 2018

DANCE

FILM

Retro Tuesdays Sometimes, there are experiences worth going the extra mile for, like the Aut-O-Rama Twin DriveIn Theatre in North Ridgeville. As audiences grow increasingly frustrated with people talking, texting or bringing their young children to movie theaters with $15 popcorn, the drive-in is a perfect way to catch a new film without having to worry about any of the hubbub brought on by other people ... or yourself. Visiting the Aut-O-Rama is a magical experience. Built in 1965 by the Sherman family, the drive-in is still owned and operated by the family’s third generation. You can catch the latest films on the weekends, but the Aut-O-Rama also offers classic double features for Retro Tuesday. Tonight’s features: Friday and Next Friday. Check the website for times and ticket prices. (BJ Colangelo) 33395 Lorain Rd., North Ridgeville, 440-734-1786, autoramadrivein.com.

scene@clevescene.com t@clevelandscene


GO TO the clevescene.com giveaways tab For Your Chance To Win A Pair Of Tickets To

INCUYA! | clevescene.com | August 8 - 14, 2018

23


STAGE OH, WHAT A BEAUTIFUL SHOW Even with a couple flaws, the classic Oklahoma! shines at Porthouse Theatre. By Christine Howey IT’S BEEN ALMOST 75 YEARS since Oklahoma! by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein opened on Broadway, yet it still manages to exert a pull on the average audience. The reasons for this are manifold, beginning with the undoubted brilliance of the master song craftsmen Rodgers and Hammerstein. But in addition to all those wonderful tunes (“Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’,” “People Will Say We’re in Love”), there are structural aspects of this show that you just don’t see anymore. Among the most notable are the dance numbers. And since director Terri J. Kent is adept at staging all varieties of the American musical, she gets virtually everything right in this production. Take the dancing. Choreographer John R. CrawfordSpinelli creates a fluid and evocative metaphorical ballet that closes the first act in a way that seems odd these days. It is a quiet and reflective moment instead of a bombastic vocal volley, and it is entrancing as performed by this young cast. In fact, all the dance numbers lift this play out of the ordinary and the Porthouse company is earning a well-deserved reputation for dancing excellence in many of their productions. Aside from the hoofing, surprises still abound in this oft-seen show, including how richly drawn the characters are. After all, Oklahoma! was staged originally during World War II, and was meant, among other things, as a pro-America tonic for a population battered by a war whose outcome was still in doubt. But instead of writing an up-withthe-USA propaganda screed, R&H fashioned a play that contained heroes you could root for and a three-dimensional villain who was more than just a scary figure in the night. Indeed, the ranch hand Jud is a coarse and blunt man. And when he develops a liking for Aunt Eller’s niece Laurey, it’s definitely a cringe-worthy situation. And Laurey leads Jud on, just enough to make the apple of her eye Curly, another ranch hand, jealous

24

Photo Courtesy Porthouse Theatre

enough to make a move. It’s clearly an unfair battle between Curly and Jud, but Jud isn’t hip enough to see that, and that leads to tragedy. That conflict between Jud and Curly is not as powerful as it should be, due to an imbalance in acting styles. Sam Johnson creates a fearsome Jud, from his stalking posture and stride to his menacing facial expressions. Johnson resides deep in Jud’s lonely persona, and that triggers the fear and insecurity of those around him. So when he sings “Lonely Room,” Hammerstein’s lyrics hit home: “The floor creaks/The door squeaks/There’s a fieldmouse nibblin’ on a broom/And I set by myself/Like a cobweb on a shelf/By myself in a lonely room.”

self-congratulatory performance of a guy who saw what he did a second ago, liked what he saw, and wants you to know he liked what he saw. This doesn’t allow the audience to discover Curly’s personality in the moment, and that steals some of this iconic show’s impact. As Laurey, Rebecca Rand sings sweetly and handles her character’s flashes of angry, whether feigned or not, with reasonable aplomb. But she could stand to make Laurey a touch more interesting so that the yearnings of both Curly and Jud would be better motivated. In supporting roles, Joey Fantana has a nice comedic slant as Ali Hakim, the Persian peddler who gets in too deep with Ado Annie Carnes, the town pushover.

OKLAHOMA! THROUGH AUGUST 12 AT PORTHOUSE THEATRE, CUYAHOGA VALLEY NATIONAL PARK, 3143 O’NEIL RD., CUYAHOGA FALLS, 330-672-3884, HTTPS://WWW.KENT.EDU/PORTHOUSE

Unfortunately, that intensity is not matched by Matthew Gittins, who plays Curly. Of course, Curly is a substantially different character, bright and upbeat with an impish sense of humor. But instead of spelunking that person, Gittins acts with the knowledge of what he’s doing instead of just doing it. It is a

| clevescene.com | August 8 - 14, 2018

Samantha Russell is almost a bit too young and fresh to play Ado Annie, who long ago said “ado” to her virginity, as she explains in the classic “I Cain’t Say No.” If what she sings is true, there should be a bit more tread worn off Annie’s romantic tires than it appears. The show is anchored splendidly

by Lenne Snively, whose Aunt Eller not only owns the ranch but owns the stage whenever she’s on it. In a similar way, Christoopher Tuck lends a bit of snap and sass to Will Parker, who vies for the attention of the aforementioned Annie. And as always, the hysterical laugh of Gertie Cummings is an auditory torture, this time delivered by KelliAnn Paterwic. In one misstep, director Kent extends the freeze after the “Yeow!” at the end of the penultimate song ”Oklahoma,” leading the audience to think, understandably, that the show is over at that point. It’s an unnecessary way to cadge additional applause for a show that doesn’t need to fake out the audience to curry approval. Even with a couple wrinkles, it’s always good to revisit the genius of Rogers and Hammerstein that is on display in Oklahoma! Out of all the musicals that have appended an exclamation point to their title, this is the one that truly earned that particular punctuation, by changing how musicals were done by fully integrating book, music and dance. That deserves a “Yeow!” all by itself.

scene@clevescene.com t@christinehowey


MOVIES BLACK COPS MATTER The tricky humor in Spike Lee’s BlackkKlansman By Sam Allard THERE’S A SCENE LATE IN Spike Lee’s BlackkKlansman, which opens Friday, when a young David Duke (played pitch-perfectly by Topher Grace) travels to Colorado Springs to welcome new recruits to the KKK. His bumpkin disciples are arrayed before him at a banquet – they are not yet in their white hoods – and Duke says that it’s time for America “to show its … greatness again.” It’s only one of several explicit references to Donald Trump and the MAGA crowd. The film takes place in the 1970s and is based, as the opening title card declares, on “some fo’ real, fo’ real sh*t.” (A black cop actually did infiltrate the Klan in Colorado and strike up an acquaintance with the Grand Wizard himself, and wrote the book on which the screenplay is based.) And yet the film’s portrayal of racism is intended to show its durability. When our black protagonist, Ron Stallworth (John David Washington, son of Denzel) is told by his police sergeant that one day, Americans might elect a person who embodies horrid racist ideals, Ron doesn’t believe it. But the audience giggles and nods in recognition. (They sure will!) Likewise when the KKK turds begin

chanting “America First! America First!” during the Duke festivities. In fact, there’s an awkward tension throughout the film – especially, I presume, for white audiences – where you’re not sure if you’re supposed to laugh or be sickened. (Maybe it’s both?) But the film is very, very funny from the getgo. The opening scene, after a clip from Gone with the Wind, is a 1950s PSA, delivered by Alec Baldwin, about the dangers of integration. Baldwin is lit in a Wonka-esque progression of projector-room shades and shadows that amplifies the racist terror of his language. But he also keeps screwing up his lines and barking at his assistant. The juxtaposition is extreme – and hilarious -- and Baldwin, who’s about as nonserious a presence as Will Ferrell, deflates what would otherwise be tremendous discomfort. This happens many times. Once Stallworth is promoted to the Colorado Springs PD’s intelligence unit, he cold calls the local KKK chapter and manages to gain membership by using a white body double – his cop colleague Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver). But the KKK dudes are all caricatures of hick racism. One is played by

John Walter Hauser, the delusional criminal loser from I, Tonya, to give you an idea. They use the N-word liberally and are all fat and hyper-uneducated. They say “circumstanced” when they mean “circumcised.” They certainly don’t look anything like the enlightened liberal audiences who enjoy Brooklyn, New York-based auteur Spike Lee! The point is, these racists never seem all that threatening, and that makes laughing at them possible. These aren’t the neo-Nazis of American History X, for example. But the film becomes dead serious when Stallworth’s story concludes. Lee has appended footage of the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally, including remarks by Trump and Duke and the brutal car attack that killed Heather Heyer. It casts the film in a darker and more uncompromising light. And it exposes the dangers of trying to battle racism by merely laughing at it. Lee is a master stylist whose films – at least in my experience – are a lot easier to appreciate than they are to enjoy. Not so with BlackkKlansman.

Its humor and structure (a traditional story arc!) should make it more appealing to mainstream audiences. Also, it’s two hours and 15 minutes, not two hours and 32. The performances, too, are some of the strongest of the year. Not only Washington and Driver, who are often spellbinding in their unique personal conflicts, but Topher Grace and Laura Harrier ( Spiderman: Homecoming) in supporting roles. Harrier plays Patrice, the leader of the Colorado College black student union and Ron’s girlfriend. She’s a lot less concerned about the KKK than she is about the other racist outfit with which Ron is directly affiliated – the police. One of the more gripping sequences in the film is the KKK initiation ritual, intercut with remarks by Harry Belafonte, who describes an incident of horrendous brutality to the black student union. The police, Belafonte tells his rapt audience, did nothing to stop the lynching.

sallard@clevescene.com t@scenesallard

SPOTLIGHT: CINEMATHEQUE ANNIVERSARY SINCE 1986, THE CLEVELAND Institute of Art Cinematheque has been the go-to place to catch classic, indie and foreign films that the mainstream theaters don’t give a crap about. This week, the theater celebrates its 32nd anniversary with a series of special screenings. Three of the six flicks are exclusive Cleveland premieres, and two will be shown in old school analog 35mm film. One of only four venues in greater Cleveland that still has the capacity to project actual film, the Cinematheque regularly makes use of that ability. It would make Quentin Tarantino, a renowned advocate for the format, proud.

The schedule includes Saving Briton, a documentary about the long-lost films that Iowa farm boy William Franklin Brinton screened throughout the American heartland from 1897 until 1908. It screens at 8:50 p.m. on Thursday and at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. That Summer, a foreign film from the guy who directed the terrific documentary The Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975, offers a portrait of Jackie O’s aunt and cousin Edith and Edie Beale (of Grey Gardens fame). It screens at 9:20 p.m. on Friday and at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. At 5 p.m. on Saturday, the Cinematheque offers a special

35mm screening of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Manon, a drama about a young woman accused of being a Nazi collaborator. At 7 p.m. on Saturday, another 35mm film, The Smallest Show on Earth, screens. The comedy centers on the shenanigans that take place at a run-down British theater that needs some serious renovation. Tale of Cinema, the sixth film from revered South Korean filmmaker Hong Sang-soo, screens at 9:05 p.m. on Saturday and at 8:15 p.m. on Sunday. It’s about two men who get involved with the same woman. And finally, a new digital restoration of the obscure 1946

film That Brennan Girl, screens at 4:15 on Sunday. The movie centers on an unloved teenager (Mona Freeman) who picks up some pretty lame life lessons from her prostitute mother before she falls for a con man (James Dunn) and winds up becoming a bad mother herself. All the films will show in the Peter B. Lewis Theater of the Cleveland Institute of Art. Check the Cinematheque website, cia.edu/ cinematheque, for more information, including ticket prices. — JEFF NIESEL

jniesel@clevescene.com t@jniesel

| clevescene.com | August 8 - 14, 2018

25


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EAT THE HOUSE THAT HEADHUNTER BUILT Fat Head’s set to debut its new, massive production brewery, beer hall and restaurant By Douglas Trattner IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO MISS FAT Head’s massive new brewery while travelling along I-71. The cluster of eight towering stainless steel tanks, visible even at 65 mph, is as clear a signal as to the building’s purpose as the iconic “fat head” logo emblazoned on the façade. Inside each of those silos at any given time is approximately 30,000 pints of beer, give or take. And those eight tanks represent just half of the brewery’s capacity, which is twice that of the previous production facility. “We essentially doubled our brewing capacity from 30,000 barrels to 60,000 barrels,” says owner and brewmaster Matt Cole. Everything about this new facility is big, from the price tag to the dining room to the brewery. At a glance, the $13 million compound has gobbled up approximately 75,000 square feet in Middleburgh Heights. Located less than a mile as the crow flies from the former production brewery, this ambitious venture ups the ante in every conceivable way. When it opens at 11:00 a.m. on Monday August 20, Fat Head’s Brewery, Beer Hall and Restaurant (17450 Engle Lake Dr., 216-8980242) will join the 10-year-old brewpub in North Olmsted, the brand new brewpub in Canton, and the 25-year-old tavern in Pittsburgh. The first thing that strikes a visitor upon arrival is the scale of the space. That sensation is accompanied by the pleasant aromas of wood smoke and hops. While fresh beer will be the primary attraction here, the barbecue likely will be a very close second. A few steps in lands a diner in the cavernous dining room, a 260seat wood-trimmed beer hall. In an attempt to bring the room down to human scale, the folks at Richardson Design employed techniques like blacking out the soaring warehouse ceilings, suspending barn beams and lighting fixtures at middling heights, and drawing one’s attention to the suspended brewhouse with the sky-blue backdrop. Acres of sounddampening panels should dim the clatter. Outfitted with hints of teak, ash, maple and oak, the dining room

Photo by Doug Trattner

offers seating at booths, tables, high-tops, communal benches, and the mile-long bar. A pergola-shaded patio, still under construction, will provide seating for another 75 on the other side of a series of glass garage doors. A more intimate barrel-aging room will allow groups of up to 70 people to dine among bourbon barrels filled with Battleaxe Baltic Porter and slowly slumbering holiday brews. At the bar, 20 taps will dispense award-winning Fat Head’s creations like Head Hunter IPA, Bumble Berry Blueberry Ale, Sunshine Daydream Session Ale and Goggle Fogger Hefeweizen along with pub-specials from a smaller R&D brewhouse on site. Another 10 taps will be set aside for guest beers, ciders, meads and nonalcoholic beverages like root beer. Directly above the bar is the main brewing platform, the command center of the operation. The state-ofthe-art German-built system literally can be controlled from grain to glass via a smartphone. In back, a spiffy new $1.5-million

canning line joins a new keg line that can clean, sanitize and fill a keg in 60 seconds. Those two systems join an existing bottling line, the three of which make up the backbone of Fat Head’s sizeable distribution network. Folks can enjoy a cold Head Hunter as far afield as Pennsylvania, Indianapolis and all corners of Ohio. And New York, Kentucky and Michigan might not be far behind. But Cole says the real push is to sow deeper roots right here at home in the region, where the brand already is well regarded. If you’ve ever stepped into a hotel kitchen, you can picture what lies behind the swinging doors here. The 3,000-square-foot galley is equipped to feed large crowds. Executive chef Derek Wilson and chef Nate Sieg have at their disposal a live-fire wood grill that will add a seductively smoky flavor to chicken wings, kielbasa and burgers. A strictly hardwood-fueled Oyler Pit smoker from J&R will do sweet justice to beef brisket, pulled pork, St. Louis ribs, whole chickens, and pastrami,

which appear in items scattered throughout the meaty menu. “The menus are largely similar from place to place, but we’re going heavy on the barbecue here,” reports Cole, a competition barbecue champ himself. Appetizers include pretzels paired with cheese sauce and honey mustard, panko-breaded and fried pickles, and smokehouse nachos loaded with pulled pork, cheddar cheese sauce and jalapeños. In the sandwich department is a Philly cheesesteak made with smoked and shaved top round, peppers and onions, a Reuben starring housesmoked pastrami, and the nowfamiliar roundup of Headwiches, those intimidatingly large creations. Rounding out the menu are salads and stone oven pizzas. Training for the 125 employees who will work in the restaurant and brewery is wrapping up now.

dtrattner@clevescene.com t@dougtrattner

| clevescene.com | August 8 - 14, 2018

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clevescene.com 28

| clevescene.com | August 8 - 14, 2018

IT SEEMS LIKE THERE’S BEEN news of a B Spot burger bar closing almost daily lately. The lone Columbus location shuttered its doors this past week, shortly on the heels of the closure of the Michigan outpost in the Detroit suburb of Rochester Hills. This past spring, the sole Indianapolis location closed with little warning. The question for Clevelanders is: Are the locations in Woodmere, Strongsville and Westlake also on the chopping block? “Hells no!” says Symon. “The Cleveland stores do tremendous numbers.” Symon added that the numbers at the out-of-town spots were fine, but flat. To succeed, the company had to make a decision about whether to grow or go. “For us to be successful in other markets, we would have to commit to opening three to five B Spots to get into the fabric of the community,” he notes. While numerous locals adore Symon and his B Spot brand, the battle for burger bucks grows increasingly harder with each passing mile. “Something we might have overlooked when we decided to grow the brand is: we’re one of Cleveland’s favorite burgers. And when you go to another city, they already have their favorite burger joints. So, you not only have to have a great product, but you also have to change their habits.” Given the success of Angeline at the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, Roast in Detroit, the impending opening of his new BBQ concept at the Palms in Vegas, and the business of running three successful B Spots here in town, along with Mabel’s BBQ and Lola, the move just made sense.

As for the old Lolita spot in Tremont, because we know you’re asking, there’s no news to report.

Geraci’s Restaurant in Pepper Pike Opens on August 13 For more than 60 years, fans of Geraci’s pizza, pasta, and Italianthemed entrees have been driving to University Heights (2266 Warrensville Center Rd., 216-371-5643) to get their fill. Come Monday, August 13, the iconic Italian eatery will begin serving meals at its second location in Pepper Pike. Located on Chagrin Blvd. across the street from Beechmont Country Club, the new location offers management, staff and guests a number of amenities not present at the original shop. “One of the main reasons we went there was because all of the things we don’t have here [in University Heights],” explains Greg Spoth, who runs the business with his wife Marti Geraci-Spoth and three of their five children. Following some “pretty extensive remodeling,” the former XO Seafood space now sports a Tuscan cottage theme. There’s seating for 40 in the bar, another 75 in a pair of dining rooms, and an additional 50 on the front-side patio. A private dining room will be able to accommodate groups up to 50. As for the food, diners can expect the same menu and pricing, with the likely addition of more specials. And that annoying cash-only policy will be scrapped in favor of a more progressive system that welcomes plastic.

dtrattner@clevescene.com t@dougtrattner


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| clevescene.com | August 8 - 14, 2018

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| clevescene.com | August 8 - 14, 2018


MUSIC EMOTIONAL RESCUE Dashboard Confessional and All Time Low bring their co-headlining tour to town By Jeff Niesel EARLIER THIS YEAR, INDIE rockers Dashboard Confessional released Crooked Shadows, their first album in more than eight years. The result of “a near decade-long period of immense self-examination,” the album finds frontman Chris Carrabba writing highly personal songs and delivering call-andresponse anthems such as “We Fight” and “Heart Beat Here,” as well as tender pop ballads like “Open My Eyes.” Last year, the pop-punk band All Time Low returned with Last Young Renegade, a collection of righteous punk tunes propelled by the band’s sharp power-pop impulses. It’s another triumph for the group, an Alternative Press favorite. This summer, the two bands have teamed up for a co-headlining tour that comes to Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica on Friday. In separate phone interviews, All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth and Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba talked about the tour. HOW DID THIS TOUR COME TO BE? GASKARTH: We’ve crossed paths

through the years. I grew up as a Dashboard fan when I was high school and [when] my band was just getting started. I’ve seen them play through the years. As my band got more well-known, we wound up on the same label all these years later. The band was working with my friend Colin [Brittain], who mentioned he was working on a record with Chris. I heard some of the music, and I loved the progression of what they were doing. I thought it was cool they were making a comeback; it had been years since they had done anything. It felt like the perfect culmination of events. They were putting a record out, and we were putting a record out. We are labelmates now, and it made sense that we should take this thing on the road. Why not? We worked it out. Sometimes, it’s tricky working out coheadlining tours. There can be pride involved. It can bubble over, but these guys are awesome, and everyone made it happen. It’ll be a lot of fun. It’ll be a really good vibe. CARRABBA: I think last summer

or maybe the summer before, [drummer] Rian [Dawson] and I were talking and he was saying that the only band they wanted to coheadline with was us. I said, “What! That would have been the most fun.” That was the first seed planted, and we’ve been talking about making this happen since then. They’re so supportive of the band. Whenever we come through town, they’re there. Whenever we’re in the same town, we’re together. They’re just great guys. It’s going to be a fun time.

Photo by David Bean

HOW WILL THE BANDS COMPLEMENT EACH OTHER? GASKARTH: At the end of the day, it’s all about songwriting. We love big ol’ hooks. It’ll be a lot of sing-alongs. Dashboard brings a lot of energy with these big choruses and hooks. It should be a good balanced night. It makes for a good all-around show. CARRABBA: I don’t know exactly.

There’s some stylistic overlap. I know we have an overlap in our fanbase. I can’t even tell you the pieces that make up our music, let alone how the parts will work with the two bands, but both bands have big singalongs and we’re guitar driven in a time when that’s less popular. WHAT INFLUENCES DID YOU DRAW UPON EARLY ON? GASKARTH: It’s all over the place. I grew up in the ’90s and early 2000s. Nirvana and Green Day and NOFX and the Foo Fighters and Third Eye Blind were big impactful bands. They showed me the raw energy

GASKARTH: I don’t know. It’s an interesting one. I’ve always resented that label. I think all music is emo and it’s kind of a ridiculous premise. Does that mean all other music doesn’t come from an emotional place. I don’t really care. Some people think of us a punk band and some people think of us as rock band. As long as people like what we’re doing and want to see us play, I don’t mind. It’s all rock ’n’ roll. I don’t know that All Time Low even came from that emocore world. We don’t have a ton of hardcore influence. It’s an incredible genre, and it’s progressed in interesting ways over the years. You had bands like Dashboard and bands like All Time Low that some people put in the same category and some people don’t. CARRABBA: Yeah. I think it applies.

Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba.

the live show and capturing that energy. These bands showed me that. CARRABBA: It’s a serious mish-mash.

That would be normal now because we all listen to Spotify and make our playlists. It’s the Cure and the Misfits and hip-hop and country and whatever is in between. Before, if you were a metalhead and you wore a Morrissey T-shirt, your other metalhead friends would punch you in the shoulder. I listened to hardcore and post-hardcore. I’m heavily influenced by the Cure more so than any other band. I listened to a lot of hip-hop growing up and then stopped and became obsessed again in the early 2000s. I think the

It applied to a genre that existed before I was around. When my band got successful and writers were calling us emo, I thought they were misappropriating the term. I became comfortable with it when I got a nod from those bands. There was a period where two things happened. The scene itself got watered down and the term became an insult. It became the new term for “wimp.” That holds sway a little bit still. I’m personally okay with that term; some friends from my era who never liked it don’t like it now. Some of them liked it then, but don’t like it now. I always bring up Sunny Day Real Estate because they were like the quintessential emotional band. It was like listening to R.E.M. and U2 rolled up into one. HOW HAS THE BAND EVOLVED OVER THE COURSE OF ITS CAREER?

ALL TIME LOW, DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL, GNASH 7 P.M. FRIDAY, APRIL 10, JACOBS PAVILION AT NAUTICA, 2014 SYCAMORE ST., 216-622-6557. TICKETS: $35-$39.50, LIVENATION.COM.

that can go into songwriting and live performance. To me, it was about being on stage. The recording was secondary to getting out there and playing for people. Sometimes, bands operate the opposite way. I love recording music, but for All Time Low, it was always about facilitating

two that had the biggest influence were the Streets and Wu-Tang Clan. Though that’s not easily evidenced in my music, it might show in the spitfire nature of my lyrics. DOES THE TERM “EMO” APPLY TO YOUR MUSIC?

GASKARTH: Fifteen years ago, we were genuinely poor kids in a basement writing loud-mouthed fast music. There wasn’t much organization or structure to what we were doing. It wasn’t done with a plan. It was just energy, raw and untapped. Over the years, we learned to rein it in and put more focus on it. Not only that, but our influences have shifted and molded as we’ve gone along. You hear us wearing different hats. Some bands stay brand centric and don’t | clevescene.com | August 8 - 14, 2018

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deviate from what they do, but we’ve tried different things. Our fanbase has given us permission to do that without blowing up in our faces. That’s a nice gift. We can explore the rock ’n’ roll side of things and then be synth-y and mellow or anywhere in between. CARRABBA: It’s almost old enough to vote. We evolved in was that are obvious and less obvious. It used to be just me as the only person in the band, playing acoustic guitar or playing the other instruments poorly. We evolved into a band, and our songwriting evolved and the prowess that you gain over years of trial and error has helped us. More than anything, we’ve grown as people, and that informs the kind of music you make. That’s hard to quantify. I think we’ve become better people. Music is helpful for that. it’s almost like meditation and self-reflection and exploring who you are. You show people this window that lets them see who you were for those two months. WHAT KIND OF RESPONSE HAVE YOU GOTTEN TO YOUR MOST RECENT ALBUM?

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GASKARTH: It was interesting. We took some chances and it sounded different. I think it threw some people off. When the songs started to come out, it was polarizing. There were people loved it and people who vehemently didn’t. It’s a kneejerk culture we live in. People want to have a loud and polarized opinion. What was cool was watching it progress. As it sat with people, it changed. I remember people tweeting at me, “What have you done?” Later, people started to get it and make playlists so they knew how the songs fit together. That was the ultimate reward. It’s important to let these songs find a place. It’s cool to see that come around with our fanbase.

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| clevescene.com | August 8 - 14, 2018

PROUD ENTERTAINMENT PARTNER OF THE

CLEVELAND INDIANS

memories. In 2007, it was the first year we did it on a tour bus. It was one of the first tours we did on a tour bus, and it felt very real. We were the young kids on the tour. There were so many veteran bands like New Found Glory and Less Than Jake and all these bands we grew up listening to on punk compilations. It was pretty daunting and we didn’t want to step on any toes. We were driven to make our mark. That was the first year we started cracking into the scene. CARRABBA: I never did it. I begged

to be on it for a long time. All my friends were on it. I didn’t have a band at the time, so that made it difficult. When I did start Dashboard, one of the first big hopes I had was that I would get to do Warped Tour, but they weren’t interested for the first couple of years, and they weren’t wrong. Then, I got some success, and they asked, but I was doing my own thing at that time. It was like ships in the night. I’m sad to see it go as a fan. I don’t think I’ve missed one. I went to the first one. I had to be dropped off, and I told my mom I was going someplace else because it was in a bad part of town. I walked a couple of blocks to get there, and that night was a game-changer for me. How many great bands started because some kid went to the Warped Tour? WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT PLAYING IN CLEVELAND? GASKARTH: Cleveland has been a great city for us. I hosted the Alternative Press Awards show there, and I have fond memories. That’s not to mention the football rivalry. I’ve been there for a Ravens game. CARRABBA: There’s a long tradition

of embracing bands there, and it’s one of the more interactive crowds, which I love. That’s a big deal for us as musicians. We get instant feedback, and I like the energy we get there from the crowd.

CARRABBA: The reception has been

08/10 SHADY DRIVE 08/11 MICHELLE ROMARY TRIO 08/17 ARETIFEX 08/18 JUKE HOUNDS BAND

FIND YOUR RHYTHM

GASKARTH: I have so many good

great. It’s been somewhat mixed. We must have done a few things that our original fans didn’t like. The triedand-true diehards have had some kind things to say. What I usually hear is that fans are excited that I’m making music and they want us to make another one. I’m already working on the next one, which feels more Dashboard than Crooked Shadows did. WARPED TOUR CAME TO AN END THIS SUMMER. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY FROM PERFORMING ON THE TOUR?

NAME ONE BAND ELIGIBLE FOR INDUCTION THAT ISN’T IN THE ROCK HALL BUT SHOULD BE INDUCTED ASAP. GASKARTH: Let me think. I’m not sure who’s in and who’s not but chalk me up for the Cure. They should definitely be in. CARRABBA: The two I would pick

would be the Cure and Fugazi.

jniesel@clevescene.com t@jniesel


| clevescene.com | August 8 - 14, 2018

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Photo by Jon Weiner

MUSIC A GROUP EFFORT Akaline Trio took a different approach on its forthcoming album By Halle Weber ALKALINE TRIO, A VETERAN post-punk band whose roots date back more than 20 years, came through Cleveland in 2015 for the Past Live tour, on which it played eight albums over the course of four nights in a series of cities. (The live recordings have recently been released to Spotify, if you want to check them out.) The idea was brought to them by management. Singer-bassist Dan Adriano says he and his bandmates were intimidated by the concept at first. “When the idea was presented to us we thought, ‘That sounds like a lot of work and a lot of lyrics to remember and a lot of songs to learn,’” Andriano says of the 96 songs included on the tour. “At first, it was a little daunting and we only did Los Angeles, Chicago and Brooklyn. While we were in Brooklyn playing the last few shows, we talked about doing a bunch more cities. We did eight more, and that’s when we threw Cleveland in.” The band came to the Grog Shop because it wanted a “cool, intimate” vibe for the tour. As much as the band enjoyed revisiting its past, Andriano says the forthcoming album, Is This Thing Cursed, takes things up another notch. “I really think it’s our best, and I know that’s what everyone says, but I’m really excited about it, and I really think everyone’s gonna really, really enjoy it,” he says. “It’s super fun, it’s weird. It sounds like Alkaline Trio. The lyrics are great.” The energy of the band and the chemistry they shared during the creative process make this project so very close to Andriano’s heart. The writing and recording was more of a group effort than anything the band had ever done. The band recorded the disc in April, and the guys kept it a secret until they knew that they liked what they were creating and felt

34

confident about sharing it with the world. It’s set to come out Aug. 31. “Blackbird,” the Smiths-like melodic first single that features an undulating guitar riff and soft vocals, is out now. “We wrote most of the album in the studio, but we wrote [‘Blackbird’] a little differently,” Andriano says. “I had written the music for it, and I sent it to Matt [Skiba], and he wrote the lyrics and melody. Normally, Matt and I will write the skeleton of the song and then we will finish it when we get together, but on this record there are actually a few songs that came about very differently. We decided pretty quickly that we were gonna do this, and we were there within weeks working on it. We maintained that spirit through the course of it. We wrote quickly, we wrote in the studio together and we didn’t try to beat any dead horses. We just wrote and got excited about something and once we were excited, we moved on.” When asked about how covering such heavy topics affects the mood

why in some songs the music is so fun, and the lyrics are such a downer. We don’t want to always be morose. We’re fun people,” Adriano says, “These things that I’m writing about, I don’t want to be sad about those things forever.” It’s not all darkness all the time, however. Songs like 2013’s “Kiss You To Death” show the softer side of the trio and let them display love instead of pain for a moment. “We write pretty heart-on-yoursleeve kind of shit. We base a lot of things in metaphor. Sometimes, people might think we are writing about a girl when we are really just writing about a friend and vice versa. If we’re writing something we are going to be all in either way. If we’re writing a sad song, that might be a total drag, but if we’re writing a love song, that’s what we’re feeling and that’s what we’re trying to convey. So I would hope there’d be a different sentiment,” says Andriano. “The catalyst for the song has to be real. If I’m feeling something, I like to get it down. I need to always be working on

ALKALINE TRIO, TOGETHER PANGEA, OGIKUBO STATION 8 P.M. THURSDAY, AUG. 9, AGORA THEATRE, 5000 EUCLID AVE., 216-881-2221. TICKETS: $2751.50 ADV, $31-$51.50 DOS, AGORACLEVELAND.COM.

in the studio, Adriano shrugged it off as a necessary evil. “[Matt and I] both are pretty sensitive people. We both take things pretty hard. When we’re writing, it’s a way to get it off of our chest. A lot of people have asked

| clevescene.com | August 8 - 14, 2018

something. Even if I’m not gonna use it, I want to finish it and make it a song. If I don’t pick up the guitar and mess around for a few minutes a day, I feel different.” The 13-track album came together over the course of two

months. On it, Adriano says the band sought to stay true to itself. “If the three of us make an album, it’s gonna be an Alkaline Trio album,” he says. “I don’t think Matt and I are capable of writing the Beatles’ White Album or [Kendrick Lamar’s] To Pimp a Butterfly. It’s gonna sound like us.” The first new record in five years is also bringing the first tour that we’ve seen from the band in a while. “We haven’t toured or put out a record in a long time. So I’m hoping to see some new faces in the crowd and say hello to our longtime fans. I just miss [the band],” says Andriano. “We live spread out around the country, with our families or wherever we want to be. That makes the chance to get together that much more special.” Andriano credits the fans as well. “We’re really lucky to be able to say that we have a lot of fans that have been coming to see our shows for a long time and that means everything to us. That’s the main reason why we still do it [after 20 years],” he says. “The fact that we’ve been able to see a lot of these people grow up with us, that are still coming and now they’re bringing their kids… that’s insane to me and beautiful. But I still see younger faces that are coming out, and that means the world to us because we want to keep doing it as long as we can. I know a lot of people thought we were done, but I don’t think we’re ever going to be done.”

scene@clevescene.com t@clevelandscene


| clevescene.com m | August 8 - 14, 2018

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LIVEWIRE

all the live music you should see this week Photo by Mike Pfeiffer

WED

Bad Boys of Blues Jam: 9 p.m., free. Smedley’s. Boy George and Culture Club: 7:30 p.m., $67.50-$89.50. Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park. The Lighthouse & the Whaler/ By Light We Loom: 7 p.m., free. Music Box Supper Club. Mourn/Chastity/Soundproof: 8:30 p.m., $12 ADV, $14 DOS. Beachland Tavern. Nikki’s Wives (in the Supper Club): 6 p.m., free. Music Box Supper Club. Sunny Sweeney & Ward Davis/ Tennessee Jet: 8 p.m., $20-$100. Beachland Ballroom. Uncle Spudd/Joey Sprinkles/ Chimps: 9 p.m., $5. Now That’s Class. Vacation/The Lindseys/Xanny Stars: 9 p.m., $6 ADV, $8 DOS. Mahall’s 20 Lanes. Wino/Xasthur/Ancient VVisdom: 8:30 p.m., $12 ADV, $15 DOS. Grog Shop.

THU

08/09

Alkaline Trio/Together PANGEA/ Ogikubo Station: 8 p.m., $27-$51. Agora Theatre. Jim Chappell: 8 p.m., $20. Nighttown. The Fixx: 8 p.m., $30-$40. The Kent Stage. FreeByrds Musician’s Night: 10 p.m., free. Smedley’s. The Grass is Dead: 8 p.m., $12 ADV, $15 DOS. Beachland Tavern. Chris Hatton’s Musical Circus (in the Wine Bar): 8 p.m., free. Brothers Lounge. Kristine Jackson Album Release Party/Thomas Reed Smith (in the Supper Club): 7 p.m., $8. Music Box Supper Club. Jam Night with the Bad Boys of Blues: 9 p.m., free. Brothers Lounge. Sweet Crude / Mister Moon / The Katy: 9 p.m., $8. Grog Shop. Therapy Thursdays Songwriters Night: 8 p.m., free. CODA. Lee Ann Womack/Sam Lewis: 8 p.m., $35 ADV, $45 DOS. Music Box Supper Club.

FRI

and you’ll realize how much technically is crammed into the track, but no matter how complex all it makes you want to do is move. Since April, the much-buzzed-about artist has released a new song a month, and tonight’s show represents his first headlining gig at the Beachland Ballroom. (Laura Morrison), 8:30 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Beachland Ballroom.

08/08

08/10

Agent Orange/Fea/Wild Wings: 9 p.m., $13 ADV, $15 DOS. Grog Shop.

SAT

Psychedelic Furs return to the Kent Stage. See: Sunday.

All Time Low/Dashboard Confessional/gnash: 7 p.m., $35$39.50. Jacobs Pavilion. Horns & Things: 8:30 p.m., $20. Nighttown. Joan Osborne/Lisa Loeb/Diana Chittester: 8 p.m., $25-$85. Cain Park. The Prince Experience: 8 p.m., $20$25. Music Box Supper Club. Rally for RAICES Benefit Concert with Making Movies and Aku Aku: 8:30 p.m., $10. Beachland Tavern. Theo’s Loose Hinges/Orange Animal/Vanishing Shores: 9 p.m., $5 ADV, $8 DOS. CODA. Bill Toms & Hard Rain (in the Supper Club): 8 p.m., $12 AD, $15 DOS. Music Box Supper Club. The Trades/Cook Bag, We Finished Last, Tender Slap, Hogan’s Last Smash, Fuzz Aldrin: 7 p.m., $10. Mahall’s 20 Lanes. Keith Urban/Kelsea Ballerini: A stellar songwriter and one of the best guitarists in the Nashville, Keith Urban is what country legends are made of. On his new album, Graffiti U, Urban goes more pop country than he’s ever gone before. On“Coming Home,” his collaboration with “Issues” singer and a big player in the pop songwriting game, Julia Micheals, Urban creates a catchy, heartfelt, perfect-for-radio track with cool bluesy guitar riffs.

“Horses,” another collaboration, this time with the Canadian crossover country diva Lindsay Ell, goes even softer. It’s an anthem for finding the strength to let go of what’s holding you back and letting yourself run free. Opener Kelsea Ballerini is the fastest rising female in country music and with the impressive lyrics and perfectlyassembled pop-country singalongs on her sophomore album, Unapologetically, it’s easy to see why. The title track is a beautiful love song for her husband and fellow country music artist, Morgan Evans. “High School” is another highlight about a boy who can’t let go of his teenage glory days. “Get Over Yourself” is the embodiment of who Ballerini is as an artist: confident, honest and unapologetic. Ballerini has all the makings of becoming the next Taylor Swift; she won’t be opening shows for long. (Halle Weber), 7:30 p.m., $37-$116.50. Blossom. Marcus Alan Ward/Captain Kidd/ Red Rose Panic/The Dropout: Marcus Alan Ward aims to melt your mind with his progressive and powerful arthouse pop. But he wants you to dance your ass off too. Take, for example, “BodyFeelGood,” which melds groovy beats, goopy bass and techno. Listen to it long enough

08/11

Mimi Arden’s Album Release Mimi Arden’s Album Release/Maura Rogers and the Bellows/Emily Keener: 8 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Beachland Ballroom. De Lux/TRAPS PS/Key To The Mint: 9 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Grog Shop. First Offenders: 8 p.m., free. CODA. Florida Georgia Line/Morgan Wallen/Chris Higbee: 7 p.m., $45$125. Stambaugh Stadium. The Permanents/90’s Kids, Third Floor Underground, Soundproof, Fair Weather Friend: 7 p.m., $10. Mahall’s 20 Lanes. Bobby Selvaggio Quartet: 8:30 p.m., $15. Nighttown. The Vital Organs/Leaf Borbie & the Family Tree/Oregon Space Trail Of Doom: 9 p.m., $8 ADV, $10 DOS. Beachland Tavern.

SUN

08/12

Free Cake For Every Creature/ Amy O/Biitchseat (in the Locker Room): 8:30 p.m., $8 ADV, $10 DOS. Mahall’s 20 Lanes. Happy Together Tour with the Turtles/Chuck Negron/Gary Puckett/The Association/Mark Lindsay/The Cowsills: 7:30 p.m., $44.50-$57.50. Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park. Juice Wrld/Lil Mosey/YBN Cordae and Blake: 8 p.m., $35-$145. Agora Theatre. Larry Patch Quintet: 1 p.m., free. Cain Park. The Psychedelic Furs/Liz Brasher: A cross between the Cure and the Cars, the Psychedelic Furs are also very much their own band. With ‘80s electro pop production infused with British accents and the sort of dance rock that can’t be easily replicated, the band has made its mark on the music industry. “Pretty in Pink,” a track | clevescene.com | August 8 - 14, 2018

37


LIVEWIRE originally released in 1981, then re-recorded for the soundtrack of the 1986 John Hughes film named after it, is the band’s trademark song. Upbeat but also cool and edgy, the song represents how ‘80s production can go right when the corniness is avoided. “The Ghost in You” is one of those songs that stays with you long after the first chord. It’s somehow cheerful and haunting at the same time. “Heaven” is another of the band’s highlights with a dreamy wistful vibe to it, blended with electric guitar and keyboards to jazz it up a bit. (Weber), 8 p.m., $42-$52. The Kent Stage. Reggae Sundays: Umojah Nation (in the Supper Club): 4 p.m., free. Music Box Supper Club. Second Sundays with Xanny Stars: 4 p.m., free. Now That’s Class. Sparta/Sound & Shape/Bummed Out: 8:30 p.m., $16 ADV, $19 DOS. Grog Shop. State/The Gills/Kill the Hippies/ God on Drugs: 9 p.m., $10. Now That’s Class. Tacocat/Gym Shorts/Cotton Ponys: 9 p.m., $12. Mahall’s 20 Lanes.

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08/13

The Mentors/Femsickliver/Knight Terror/Hep Z: 9 p.m., $10. Now That’s Class. Skatch Anderssen Orchestra: 8 p.m., $7. Brothers Lounge. Songwriters in the Round with Joshua Jesty/Jon Rogers/ Matthew Moore: 8 p.m., $5. Beachland Tavern. Velvet Voyage (in the Wine Bar): 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge.

8/13 | 7PM | $10

NEO JAZZ COLLECTIVE 8/15 | 7PM | $15

POST BOP GYPSIES 8/16 | 7PM | $12

TUE

08/14

Copper Thieves Int’l Vanishing Shores/Micah: 8 p.m., $5. Beachland Tavern. Dick Dale/Falling Stars: 8:30 p.m., $35. Grog Shop. duo Anime & Friends: 7 p.m., free. Cain Park. Morning In May/Complexions/ Blindside Avenue/As Time Fades/ Pangea: 7 p.m., $10. Mahall’s 20 Lanes. Today is the Day/Between the Witches/Persistent Aggressor: 9 p.m., $10. Now That’s Class.

38

| clevescene.com | August 8 - 14, 2018

scene@clevescene.com t@clevelandscene

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BAND OF THE WEEK

TACOCAT MEET THE BAND: Emily Nokes (vocals), Bree McKenna (bass), Lelah Maupin (drums), Eric Randall (guitar) FRIENDS UNTIL THE END: The Tacocat

bandmates live in an old Seattle house together. There, they write feminist party punk songs and collect way too many clothes from thrift stores, says bassist Bree McKenna. The four-piece has been together since 2007 after meeting through friends and art school. At ďŹ rst, the band thing wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t serious; it was just about learning their instruments and playing house shows. Then, they started booking bigger gigs like Sasquatch! Music festival after signing with the Hardly Art record label, and then the Washington state punk scene started paying attention. Cross country tours and albums followed â&#x20AC;&#x201D; 2014â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s NVM and 2016â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Lost Time â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and now theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re back on the road with new songs in tow. CLEVELAND FRIENDS: McKenna recalls

the last time she can remember her band rolling through Cleveland. It was a house show, and she says it was a mistake to try and play the theme song from Friends. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Maybe people donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t like that show in Cleveland?â&#x20AC;? she wonders. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t go over well.â&#x20AC;? Taking the time to chat at home last week before heading out on tour, McKenna says that after a decade together, they know how to travel together well â&#x20AC;&#x201D; like when to let one another sleep and which taco joints to hit up in certain cities.

WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: Tacocat makes songs that are snarky and smart but will also make you want to dance and yell along. Songs like â&#x20AC;&#x153;Men Explain Things to Meâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Crimson Waveâ&#x20AC;? bring a refreshingly female perspective to an often maledominated genre. But other tunes like â&#x20AC;&#x153;Bridge to Hawaii,â&#x20AC;? a brilliant idea which McKenna says the band is still in favor of building, and â&#x20AC;&#x153;You Canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Fire Me, I Quitâ&#x20AC;? serve up a surfy, good time. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We identify as feminist for sure,â&#x20AC;? McKenna explains. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We believe in empowering young women and all those who are marginalized. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important to the band. But we are a feminist band because we are feminists. At the end of the day, we are just musicians making music.â&#x20AC;? That also means continuing to grow in their songwriting, including with a fresh album. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We recorded a new album thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s almost done, but thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nothing to be announced with that yet,â&#x20AC;? she says. In the meantime, McKenna says sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s thrilled to bring some new material to Cleveland. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And I promise we wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t play anything from Friends,â&#x20AC;? she says. WHERE YOU CAN HEAR THEM:

tacocatdotcom.com. WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: Tacocat

performs with Gymshorts and Cotton Ponys at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 12, at Mahallâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. â&#x20AC;&#x201D; LAURA MORRISON

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SAVAGE LOVE APRÈS PILL, LE DÉLUGE By Dan Savage I’m a 27-year-old woman and I’ve been sexually active and on birth control since I was 16—almost always on the pill. I recently switched to the NuvaRing, which I had a bad reaction to: I had no libido at all and extreme mood swings/bouts of depression I could not live with. My boyfriend and I decided it would be a good idea to go off hormonal birth control for a while, just to see what would happen. We’ve been together for almost four years, so we agreed condoms would be fine, and I would try the route of no more supplemental hormones. I stopped a couple of months ago, and it’s been a mix of good and bad. The good is that my moods are more even. Another good thing is I feel like I’m having a sexual awakening. But the bad thing is… my libido came back in a way I wasn’t expecting. My sexual appetite is insane. I want to have sex with everyone! Men, women, friends, colleagues, acquaintances. My boyfriend has been amazing through all of this. He’s agreed to let us open up our relationship under specific terms. I agree with the terms we placed, but I still feel like my urges are going to get me in trouble. My question is one you get a lot: Is this normal? Can removing a cocktail of hormones from my life really change me this much? I don’t want to blame it all on the birth control, but I can’t help but feel it to be true since it was the only variable in my life that changed in the last couple of months. I want to be faithful to my boyfriend, who has been great and understanding— allowing us to open our relationship to casual encounters with strangers. But I’m feeling sexual connections to so many more people now, and often to people I’ve known for a while. I see this all as mostly positive, but the adjustment to the new sexual hunger has been strange and difficult to wrap my head around. Suddenly Horny And Going Gaga Isn’t Normal “I’m so glad to hear this woman sees the increase in her libido as positive,” said Dr. Meredith Chivers, an associate professor of psychology at Queen’s University, a world-renowned sex researcher. “At the same time, I understand how overwhelming these

urges can feel, especially when they are new.” Luckily for you, SHAGGIN, you’re with someone who’s secure enough to let you feel the fuck out these new feelings. Whether or not you act on them is one thing, but not having to pretend you aren’t suddenly interested in fucking men, women, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances is a real gift. “It’s difficult to say what is and isn’t normal when it comes to the effects of hormonal contraception (HC) on women’s sexual interest,” said Dr. Chivers. “To my knowledge, researchers have not specifically examined the question of what happens to women’s sex drive after stopping HC.” But lots of women have stopped using hormonal contraception for the exact same reason you did. Since you definitely experienced an increase in sexual desire after you removed your NuvaRing and started using condoms, SHAGGIN, Dr. Chivers was comfortable saying… that you definitely experienced an increase in sexual desire and that might be related to going off HC. “Given that she has been using some form of HC since she became sexually active, my guess is that she’s never had the chance to experience her sexuality while naturally cycling,” said Dr. Chivers. “Part of her process could be learning about her unmedicated hormonal cycle, her sexuality, and the variations in her sex drive. For example, does her sexual interest fluctuate over her cycle? She might want to consider collecting some data with a cycle tracker app like Flo, Clue, and Period Tracker. This might help her notice patterns in her libido, attractions, and sexual pleasure—and help her to develop strategies to manage, and perhaps even capitalize on, her sexual desires.” As for your boyfriend, SHAGGIN, and your desire to be faithful to him: So long as you honor the terms of your openness agreement, you are being faithful to him. But check in with him more than once before you fuck someone who isn’t him.

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| clevescene.com | August 8 - 14, 2018

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Scene August 8, 2018  
Scene August 8, 2018