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| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018


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JANUARY 31–FEBRUARY 6, 2018 • VOLUME 48 NO 31 Dedicated to Free Times founder Richard H. Siegel (1935-1993) and Scene founder Richard Kabat Group Publisher Chris Keating Publisher Andrew Zelman

CONTENTS Upfront 7

Associate Publisher Angela Nagal Editor Vince Grzegorek

The Indians ďŹ nally agree to ditch Chief Wahoo, plus how CSU landed on its new president

Editorial Music Editor Jeff Niesel Senior Writer Sam Allard 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

Feature 15

Advertising Senior Multimedia Account Executive John Crobar, Shayne Rose Multimedia Account Executive Kiara Davis Events and Marketing Coordinator Maggie Lilac

Love and relationships with the Cleveland founder of FarmersOnly.com

Get Out! 21

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 Circulation Circulation Director Don Kriss

Art 28

Euclid Media Group Chief Executive OfďŹ cer Andrew Zelman Chief Operating OfďŹ cers Chris Keating, Michael Wagner VP Digital Services Stacy Volhein Digital Operations Coordinator Jaime Monzon

Waterborne images and unique views of the city at Eleven 2 Gallery

28

Christina Sadowski captures Cleveland from the water

Stage 29

www.euclidmediagroup.com National Advertising Voice Media Group 1-800-278-9866, voicemediagroup.com

The legend of Rosetta Tharpe is abused by too many unfortunate creative decisions in Marie and Rosetta

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

Eat 31 Top-notch delivery service but a mixed bag menu from ClusterTruck, plus the abrupt closing of Ivory Keys

Cleveland Scene Magazine is published every week by Euclid Media Group. VeriďŹ ed 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 37 Starset’s sci-ďŹ concept, our Band of the Week, plus all the shows to keep on your radar

Savage Love 49

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| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018


UPFRONT THE INDIANS WILL (FINALLY, RIGHTLY) DROP CHIEF WAHOO FOR 2019 SEASON

THIS WEEK

IT’S BEEN CLEAR FOR MORE than a year now that Chief Wahoo’s days were numbered. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred had said as much in multiple interviews — in January 2017 when he said he’d spoken with the Indians ownership about the racist red Sambo and hoped to continue the conversation, and in April 2017 when he explicitly said he wanted the team to drop the logo altogether. By August, owner Paul Dolan told attendees at an eastside event that the timeline was moving faster than he’d expected, though the two sides weren’t yet in total agreement. In October, Manfred told reporters that he intended to “deal with” the issue this offseason. Well, the offseason is almost officially over, and while Wahoo will indeed stick around for 2018, it will not be part of the Tribe’s uniforms — caps and jerseys — beginning in 2019, the team and Major League Baseball announced Monday. (That’s the same year that Cleveland will host the All-Star Game, incidentally. A source told us last year that the elimination of Wahoo prior to the signature weekend of the MLB season was a condition of Cleveland being awarded the game. An MLB spokesperson told us at the time that was not true. Paul Dolan, in an interview with the Plain Dealer on the decision, also denied that Manfred used the midsummer classic as a carrot or stick.) “Major League Baseball is committed to building a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the game,” Manfred said in a statement. “Over the past year,

Photo by Aaron Sechrist

we encouraged dialogue with the Indians organization about the club’s use of the Chief Wahoo logo. During our constructive conversations, Paul Dolan made clear that there are fans who have a long-standing attachment to the logo and its place in the history of the team. “Nonetheless, the club ultimately

THURSDAY NIGHTS ARE GONNA BE LIT University of Akron to eliminate virtually all Friday classes next year to encourage volunteerism, lab work and extracurriculars. Students puzzled by this new description of “three-day weekend.”

agreed with my position that the logo is no longer appropriate for onfield use in Major League Baseball, and I appreciate Mr. Dolan’s acknowledgement that removing it from the on-field uniform by the start of the 2019 season is the right course.” For his part, Dolan said in a statement: “We have consistently

O’HERMES In vengeful move, Hermes announces St. Pat’s Run one week after the St. Malachi’s Run they helped coordinate for decades. Hermes nabs Jameson endorsement, includes green beads and vomit bag with runner registration package, and now contends its event is more “authentically Irish.”

maintained that we are cognizant and sensitive to both sides of the discussion. While we recognize many of our fans have a longstanding attachment to Chief Wahoo, I’m ultimately in agreement with Commissioner Manfred’s desire to remove the logo from our uniforms in 2019.” Dolan took the both-sides tack

O-H! Ohio State will open a student recruitment area in the Global Center for Health Innovation. Armond Budish lauded potential drop-ins by Brutus the Buckeye as “worth every penny of the hundreds of millions of dollars” it took to build it.

QUALITY OF LIFE Amazon might have turned you down, but at least there’s a Dunkin Donuts downtown now.

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in the PD interview as well, going above and beyond to convey to Keep the Chief-ers just what an allegedly terribly hard time ownership had making the call. “This is the hardest decision we’ve had to make during our entire ownership,” Dolan told Terry Pluto, who noted that Dolan’s voice “cracked” with emotion during the conversation. Of course, by using language like that, by laying at least part of the blame at the feet of MLB and Manfred — “I’m ultimately in agreement with Commissioner Manfred’s desire” — Dolan is acting entirely in deference to the Keep the

DIGIT WIDGET $750,000 Fundraising in six months by the Matriots, a new Ohio political action committee supporting female candidates.

$150,858 Salary of Cuyahoga County Clerk of Courts Nailah Byrd, vastly more than her counterparts in Ohio’s three other largest counties: Franklin, $83,636; Summit, $93,089; and Hamilton, $101,009.

8.5% Increase in passengers through Hopkins airport from 2016 to 2017. The 9.14 million people represent the highest total since 2011, before United ended hub status in the city.

584,000 Pounds of waste per year produced by the Westin, according to an audit. Urban Farmer GM Andy Hata had requested the information to help identify solutions to reduce the number.

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| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018

Chief sect, and by design: It’s them that wanted it gone, he’s saying. It’s them that forced our hand. It was long past time for someone to force the Indians to do something, because they certainly weren’t going to do anything on their own. And even this long overdue move — the simplest and the most obvious one — has to be couched in both-side-isms and overwrought emotions. Wahoo will get a season-long curtain call, and the Indians will still be able to sell Wahoo merch going forward, though it will not be available on MLB’s site (the merchandising portion will go forward to satisfy legal requirements, so the team maintains the trademark on the garish, racist caricature), but it’s about time we said good fucking riddance. — VINCE GRZEGOREK

CSU Names New President, Search Firm Violated Contract Terms Cleveland State University announced Monday afternoon that Harlan Sands, the 54-year-old CFO of Pennsylvania University’s Wharton School of Business, will be CSU’s next president. Sands was selected from a pool of 17 candidates furnished by the executive search firm Wheless Partners. Eight candidates were interviewed by a presidential search committee. Three finalists were then interviewed by the university’s board of trustees. All interviews for the publicly funded position were conducted at the Jones Day law firm, which volunteered space. Sands, who has only been at Wharton since March, 2017, will replace current president Ron Berkman in June. In comments Monday, Sands said that CSU was “uniquely positioned to transform lives” and that he was humbled to accept the position. The announcement comes during ongoing reporting by Scene about Wheless Partners, the Alabama-based executive search firm with whom Cleveland State University contracted to find Berkman’s replacement. Though Scene cannot say so conclusively — we have outstanding records requests with the University — Wheless Partners appears to have violated the terms of its contract. Documents already obtained via public records requests show that Wheless billed CSU for nearly $27,000 in reimbursable expenses,


Photo courtesy CSU

though the contract allowed for a maximum of only $15,000. Wheless also failed to include important details in its itemized invoices, including hours worked, which were required in the contract’s language. Furthermore, Wheless sought and received reimbursement for travel expenses incurred before the contract term began and for those that may have not been expressly pre-approved by the university, as required by the contract. The agreement in question, effective July 31, 2017, was signed by both Mike J.R. Wheless, the division president and managing director of Wheless Partners, and Stephanie McHenry, CSU’s VP for business affairs and finance. The contract’s term is officially up on July 31, 2018, but CSU chief marketing officer Robert Spademan confirmed to Scene that the Wheless work was complete as of mid-January, and that the University would likely make an announcement about its next president “in February, March at the latest.” Ronald Berkman has been president of CSU since 2009. He announced last year that he would retire this June. Like other university presidents nationwide,

Berkman is the recipient of lavish pay and perquisites. In addition to his $450,000 annual base salary, he has received an annual $60,000 “retention bonus,” and a merit-based bonus worth 25 percent of his base salary each year (now good for $112,500). Berkman also received, at taxpayer expense — CSU being a publicly funded university — residence at an $800,000 Cleveland

Heights 13-bedroom colonial, where he relocated after an initial residence in Shaker Heights and an aborted foray into urban living at The 9. The widely circulated explanation for Berkman’s relocation from downtown to Cleveland Heights, in 2016, was that the apartment was too small for entertaining. CSU’s Rob Spademan said that Harlan Sands will occupy the

Cleveland Heights home as well. According to the terms of the presidential search contract, CSU was to pay Wheless a total amount not to exceed $114,000, $99,000 of which would be a flat fee paid in three installments. Up to $15,000 would cover reimbursable expenses, which would include travel, communication and candidate development expenses. Three of the four invoices that Wheless submitted to CSU were for $33,000 each, in accordance with the outlined flat fee structure. The fourth sought a remittance of $26,754.17 in reimbursable expenses, the bulk of which was an $18,206.59 charge for “Candidate Sourcing / Resource Services.” The contract stipulated that each invoice “shall contain an itemization of the work performed, including dates the work was performed and total hours worked.” Though it is the costliest item on the reimbursement invoice, the “Candidate Sourcing / Resource Services” charge includes neither. The invoice additionally includes seven dated travel expenses, one by Michael J.R. Wheless and six by senior partner Lisa Marks. Two of Marks’ trips, one on July 13, 2017, and one on July 17, 2017, occurred before the contract term began. The

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contract stipulated that “only travel expenses that are pre-approved in writing by [the] University will be reimbursed.” CSU has not yet filled records requests that we filed seeking correspondence related to the Wheless travel, so we cannot report conclusively how many, if any, of the trips were pre-approved. Lisa Marks’ two July trips, however (one for $479.90, and one for $901.34), could only have been retroactively approved by the University. It’s also unclear if CSU failed to enforce the contract in another way. The contract states specifically that if reimbursable expenses near the $15,000 threshold, “the parties shall have a conversation regarding such expenses and amend the agreement, if necessary, in writing.” CSU has not yet provided documentation of a contractual amendment. The presidential search committee was chaired by Bernie Moreno, the local auto sales magnate who also chairs CSU’s board of trustees and who made news, last week, for a $1 million donation that will establish the “Bernie Moreno Center for Sales Excellence” at the university. Despite reported Skype interviews conducted by the Moreno-led search committee, the hunt for Berkman’s replacement was conducted in secret. This is troubling, because public funds were used to pay the search firm, and public funds will be used to pay the salary and benefits of the university’s top executive. It’s unknown which candidates made the shortlist, for example, and what methods were used to check the backgrounds and otherwise vet possible finalists. Last month, in Georgia, Kennesaw State University’s president Sam Olens departed after only 14 months on the job. He was the only candidate considered for the position, despite having no higher education experience. He was hired by an executive search firm. In an op-ed for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution responding to the situation, attorney Frank LaMonte argued that public universities were joining a “shortsighted race to the bottom” in competing to see who could be the most secretive in filling their top positions.

“The reason for this secrecy stampede is the dominance of executive search firms,” he wrote, “which reap six-figure windfalls for placing candidates from their stockpile of resumes. The less public scrutiny, the better these headhunting firms like it. When only the name of the winner is announced, no one knows which candidates were turned down — which leaves the headhunters free to peddle the rejects to other universities ... You’d put more diligence into hiring a dog-sitter than colleges put into hiring presidents.”— SAM ALLARD

Richard Spencer’s Lawyer Threatens Lawsuit Against Kent State In unsurprising news, the lawyer for Richard Spencer’s tour organizer has told Kent State that he will file a federal lawsuit against the university if it doesn’t provide an acceptable time and place for the white nationalist to speak on campus. Spencer had previously requested to rent space at the university for a speaking engagement on May 4, 2018 — the anniversary of the Kent State shootings in 1970. KSU quickly denied the request, citing the busy academic calendar in the weeks before and after the solemn date. They now have until Feb. 9 to provide an alternate date before facing a lawsuit. Other colleges and universities that have declined to have Spencer appear on their campuses have faced both threatened and actual lawsuits, including Michigan State, which just came to a settlement agreement allowing Spencer to speak after a lawsuit filed by his lawyer Kyle Bristow, and Ohio State, which is reportedly in talks with Bristow to settle a similar lawsuit. — GRZEGOREK

Quicken Loans Arena Construction to Begin Next Week Barriers will be installed on downtown’s Huron Road on Feb. 5, the Cleveland Cavaliers announced Wednesday. The barriers will establish a perimeter for the vast arena construction project that is scheduled to begin by the middle of the month and last for two years. Initially, the north (Huron) and south (Gateway Plaza) facades will


be subject to largely exterior work. The north expansion will add a 42,530-square-foot atrium space along Huron that will be enclosed by a glass facade. The south expansion will add 6,350 square feet to the main concourse. The Q will still host all scheduled Cavs and Monsters games for the next two seasons, but will be closed entirely during the summers. The Arena Football League’s Gladiators will be taking a two-year hiatus. Due to the construction zones on Huron, the two eastbound lanes closest to the Q will be closed. During non-event times, the current two westbound lanes will be split into one eastbound lane and one westbound lane. During events, both lanes will convert to one-way: east toward the Gateway garage before the event, west toward Huron immediately after. —

treasured landmark — stocks a slew of hard-to-find toys from both the past and present. Recognized here and across the country as one of the coolest stores around, Steve Presser’s funhouse of games and more will soon be riding off into the sunset, no doubt accompanied by sound effects from a whoopee cushion. The owner on Monday announced the store will close after a remarkable 27-year run. Beginning Friday, Presser will sell everything at a 50 percent discount. His lease extends to the end of June, and he plans to keep selling inventory until the end of May. Get there while you can. — JEFF NIESEL

Michael Symon Among Celebrities Who Purchased Twitter Followers

ALLARD

So Long, Old Pal Big Fun regularly won the “Best Toy Store” category in Scene’s annual Best Of issue, and for good reason. Located in Cleveland Heights’ Coventry neighborhood, the independent store — a true and

In a scorching New York Times report this weekend (“The Follower Factory”), Michael Symon was among the named celebrities who had purchased fraudulent Twitter followers from a shadowy company peddling social media influence Duvemi, the company, reportedly has a stock of at least 3.5 million automated accounts,

and sells them repeatedly. It has provided more than 200 million Twitter followers to celebrities looking to expand their digital reach. Symon, the local celebrity chef, now has nearly 1 million followers. The Times investigation revealed that he’d purchased 100,000 followers from Duvemi in 2014 and an additional 500,000 in 2015. He’d also purchased bots in bulk in 2013. “I thought it would drive traffic,” said Symon. “I thought it was going to be influencers and people in my field. It’s embarrassing.” — ALLARD

Anniversary Alert: Three Years Since Austin Carr’s Jersey Stolen from Q Rafters Three years ago Saturday, sometime either during or after the WWE’s filming of Monday Night Raw at Quicken Loans Arena, someone made their way through the catwalks in the upper reaches of the Q without being noticed, removed the ceremonial banner celebrating Austin Carr’s retired number, and absconded with the memorabilia without being caught. What’s more, the person or

persons responsible for the audacious heist have managed to go three years since that day without being identified. There haven’t been any, as far as Scene can tell, stray online pics, posts, tweets or comments that suggest anyone has any idea who the culprits are, let alone anyone claiming firsthand possession of the artifact. It’s a stunning clean break for the thieves, and one of the most interesting unsolved mysteries of Cleveland sports; the identities of the couple allegedly caught having sex in the upper deck of Progressive Field during a game is another, while we’re on that topic. We’re endlessly fascinated with Le Affair de Carr and have long wondered if there had been any developments or tips since that daring night three years ago so, because we’re dutiful reporters, we reached out to Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and team spokesperson Tad Carper. To our utter shock, neither one returned our messages. But the hunt’s not done. If you or someone you know has any information, we’d love to hear it; get in touch. — GRZEGOREK

scene@clevescene.com t@clevelandscene

| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018

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| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018


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FEATURE A ROLL IN THE HAY Talking love and relationships with the Cleveland founder of FarmersOnly.com By Sam Allard ON JAN. 3, ESPN BUSINESS reporter Darren Rovell tweeted that the “Cleveland-based dating site FarmersOnly.com” had joined Excedrin as a sponsor for the “perfect season” Browns parade. “You don’t have to be 0-16 to join FarmersOnly.com,” read an ad included in the tweet. “Cleveland fans do get it.” Observant Twitter users might have jolted, initially, at the sight of Rovell’s offhanded “Clevelandbased.” They might have struggled to square this new intel with perceptions of the oft-parodied site and its oft-parodied jingle and its oft-parodied commercials as something remote and maybe Iowan. This was a site, after all, launched in 2005 as a hub for “ farmers and ranchers to meet likeminded people.” (Italics added.) Those Twitter users might be stunned to learn that the guy who launched FarmersOnly.com does indeed live in Cleveland’s eastern suburbs. He’s a former marketing executive who was and is deeply troubled by the plight of loneliness and lovelessness in America. He’s a sentimental golf pro who’s been happily married for 40 years. He is an unrelenting promoter of his online products and an unrepentant teller of bad jokes. His name is Jerry Miller. “There are maybe a million farmers in the United States, and half of them are married,” Miller told Scene by phone, two days before the Browns parade. We’d contacted FarmersOnly.com after Rovell’s tweet in an effort to confirm the site’s location and were surprised to be put in touch, almost immediately, with the site’s founder. “The other half have never been on a computer,” he said. Nevertheless, FarmersOnly.com currently has an estimated six million users and continues to grow. (The site surpassed 200,000 users in 2012 and one million in 2014.) So why, we wondered, given the site’s success, would FarmersOnly bother to sponsor the parade? Why associate with the Cleveland Browns? “Chris McNeil is a guy like

Ad announcing sponsorship of the perfect season Browns parade.

me,” Miller said, speaking of the parade’s organizer and teeing up a line he’d use more than once in our subsequent conversations. “He thinks outside the barn.” Miller said he was entirely on board with the premise and spirit of the parade. He thought it was an effective way to let the Browns’ ownership and front office know that fans were concerned. But it wasn’t (and shouldn’t be construed as) a “protest,” a word that Miller knew from his marketing experience had negative connotations. If anything, it should be seen as a reminder to players that the true fans were still behind them, 100 percent. Plus, it was for a good cause. FarmersOnly agreed to donate $8,000 to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, a donation that Miller presented in person via giant check later in January. That donation will eventually translate to 32,000 meals for hungry families in Northeast Ohio. And beyond that, the parade sponsorship was a valuable

marketing opportunity. While FarmersOnly had received significant media coverage years back, there weren’t many fresh angles. Its most recent mention was in an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians in which Kim and Khloe sign their sister Kourtney up on the site as a joke. Miller himself did appear on ABC’s To Tell the Truth last year; only TV’s Sherri Shepherd correctly picked Miller as the founder of FarmersOnly, he said. But Miller was eager to promote another site, CurvesConnect.com, one which he’d “soft-launched” in 2016 using FarmersOnly servers and tech and which was now “really getting going,” he said. CurvesConnect.com was designed, in Miller’s words “for people with a few extra curves,” a phrase he’d later illustrate by jiggling his own gut. In fact, Miller was pleased to reveal by phone a promotion that he and his marketing team had cooked up in the last hour. The gimmick was, if you could prove

that you attended a Browns game in 2017 — maybe a photo of your ticket? — you’d get a free six-month membership to FarmersOnly or CurvesConnect. “It’s going to be a technical nightmare. But look,” Miller said, summing up his thoughts, “we just want to give back to Cleveland and have some fun.” On the polar-vortexian day of the parade, Miller could be spotted in a FarmersOnly hoodie. He later said that he wore it over two layers of alpaca, a fabric he swears by in cold weather. Next to a truck looping FarmersOnly commercials on its huge digital display, Miller was passing out promo cards for CurvesConnect.com: “We often hear ‘don’t judge a book by its cover,’ but 99% of online daters do just that! … Now real people can be accepted just the way they are,” the cards read. He passed out the cards until his fingers froze, an interval he pegged at “less than 60 seconds” after he made the mistake of taking off his gloves. Then he

| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018

15


Photo by Sam Allard

FEATURE hopped into the truck to warm his fingers on the defroster. The wind chill, he swore, had to be 20 below. “Look, if we get one new member to FarmersOnly today I’ll be happy,” Miller said. “But there’s a bigger need for CurvesConnect.” He gestured vaguely to the rabid Browns fans who’d assembled for the event, about 3,000 total, according to police estimates. “Half of Cleveland should be on CurvesConnect.com.” Outside, two grown men in snowsuits hoisted their anti-JimmyHaslam signs aloft and bounced with recognition when they spied the passing truck. Impromptu and off-key, they belted out the jingle that they both knew by heart: “You don’t have to be lonely, at FarmersOnly.com.” The roving billboard at the parade.

TO SAY THAT FARMERSONLY. com is Cleveland-based is a little misleading, because only Jerry Miller is based in Northeast Ohio. He used to have an office on Chagrin Boulevard, from which he ran another marketing outfit,

16

but these days he oversees his scattered FarmersOnly employees digitally. “There’s no giant FarmersOnly building,” Miller confirmed over coffee a week after the parade. “We’re all over the country, people

| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018

handling the servers and tech and stuff like that.” Along with its active membership, the company has grown. It wasn’t until a few years after the site launched that it started getting serious traction

in the press. But once the media recognized that a niche dating site geared toward country folk made good copy, it became an instant darling both locally and nationally. The Plain Dealer and Newsweek published feature stories on


consecutive days, Miller said. A Yahoo news writer as tanned and maned as Fabio flew from L.A. to interview him. Miller appeared on CNN, Good Morning America , the Today Show. “It was the most insane thing. It was like the O.J. Simpson trial,” Miller said. “I had network TV trucks lined up outside the office building. Then the print publications. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was almost any magazine that you could possibly name: People, National Enquirer, everything. Money magazines, Playboy ! And then — I’m most proud of this — the Old Farmer’s Almanac. It was wild. Then I started getting calls from overseas ... .” The coverage presaged an overwhelming growth in visitors and members. Miller said that the Yahoo news story — which was published before Google occupied its current position as search engine monolith and overlord — literally broke their servers. “They called me the ‘Country Cupid,’” Miller said, recalling the story. “I think it was 1 p.m. when it went live. I remember my staff said, ‘Hey the story’s up!’ And by the time I walked down the hallway, they said, ‘The site’s down!’ We had something like 250,000 visitors in 30 seconds.” The story Miller told Yahoo about how he started the site is the same story he has told many other print and TV journalists. It’s the same one he told Scene. And it goes like this: Miller was doing agricultural marketing nationwide in the early aughts. By his own estimate, his livestock-farming clients numbered 5,000. One of them was a divorced woman who opened up to Miller, one day, about how meeting someone new was going to be a massive headache. She lived in the middle of nowhere, and was busy on her farm all day, every day. How was she supposed to find love? While Miller tried to soothe her — “She was such a nice person!” — the woman insisted. She lived in a small town. She knew everyone from church. And she just wasn’t compatible with them. She said she was going to try online dating. A month later, Miller checked in on her. Any luck? The woman responded with frustration: “These city boys don’t have a clue,” she said, (a phrase which Miller later co-opted and modified for the site’s memorable tagline, “City folks just don’t get it.”) “They want to meet me at Starbucks at eight o’clock at night. First of all, there’s no Starbucks anywhere

near me. Second of all, I go to bed at eight. I’ve got to be up at 4:30 to take care of the animals.” This was conveyed to Miller in the style of a horror story. It piqued his interest. He assumed there was a dating site for everyone and assured his client that he’d find her an appropriate one. But extensive Googling yielded no helpful results. When he stumbled on dating ads that seemed more specifically tailored to a certain demographic (online dating for dentists!), he found that he was merely funneled back to the major national sites. And so he started asking his other clients similar questions — Are you married? How’d you meet your spouse? — and found similar stories all across the country. Married farmers were by and large from small rural communities and hitched to their high school sweethearts. A small minority had met their partners at agriculture school. “But there were a lot — and I mean a lot — who’d been single forever and just couldn’t find anybody,” Miller said. “I said to myself, ‘I know nothing about online dating, but I’m gonna start a dating site for farmers.’ I started it because there was a serious need.”

ON-BRAND INDEED, JERRY Miller moved to Cleveland for love. But he’s not, nor has he ever been, a farmer himself. He did grow up in exurban Cincinnati, near both Indiana and Kentucky, in a house built by his father next to a dairy farm and a horse farm. “When I was asked on the Today Show what I meant by the slogan, ‘city folks just don’t get it,’ I asked them if they knew what a volunteer fire department was,” Miller joked. “That’s what we had. You could be in a dentist’s chair and an alarm would go off, and the dentist would say, ‘I’ll be right back!’ Does that happen in New York City?” Jerry Miller believes in fate, and he interprets online dating not as an insult to or abrogation of fate, but merely as another platform upon which fate can work its magic. He acknowledged that “meeting online” may once have been disparaged as a less authentic or less romantic relationship origin story, but he said he thinks those days are gone. “So many people have met online, it’s crazy,” Miller said. “Even my mailman.” That said, Miller did not hesitate to express revulsion for newer trends in online dating, especially

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Miller said he was surprised that for several years on FarmersOnly, the ratio actually skewed female, something like 60-40. He’d assumed that the site would attract far more males than females. (It’s

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those sites and apps that facilitate hookups based on split-second physical attraction as opposed to those, like his, that are aimed at long-term companionship. “I ďŹ nd Tinder totally disgusting,â€? he said. “It’s a real shame. People have gotten to the point where they look at someone’s photo for one second and make a decision. They go, ‘No. No. No. No. No. Oh, she’s hot! Swipe to the right!’â€? In fact, Miller said, CurvesConnect was conceived, in part, as an antidote to the judgingbooks-by-covers extreme that Tinder represents. He said that Hollywood has brainwashed all of us into thinking that beauty (for women) means being leggy and anorexic, but that most people don’t look anything like what Hollywood says we’re supposed to. “Curves,â€? Miller said, is a word that women respond to. For men, he says the site is for people with a few extra “pounds.â€? Like FarmersOnly, CurvesConnect enjoys an almost perfect 50-50 male/female split.


online dating. If they are, she says, it’s because Hollywood has taught us that we’re all supposed to look a certain way. The cardboard is removed, and the woman’s true body is revealed. It is … totally average-sized. “The reality is, most of us have a few extra curves,” she says. (Miller is proud of his commercials, for both CurvesConnect and FarmersOnly. He said that he’s involved in almost every aspect of production. Some he writes, shoots and edits locally. Others are produced out in L.A. A recent spot, which will likely remain a YouTube exclusive, was the first Miller ever made without a script, he said. It’s reportedly going viral in the horse community. FarmersOnly briefly made news, in early 2016, when it was sued by former Bachelor star Chris Soules for using his likeness in a commercial.) In some ways, the thesis that underpins CurvesConnect.com — you don’t necessarily have to be overweight; you just have to value the idea that people should be accepted for who they are — is the same sort of thesis that led to FarmersOnly’s massive success. Miller’s marketing strategy has been to make the site a destination for people with certain country values — even if they’re not actually farmers.

IT TURNS OUT SCENE ’S prompt connection to Miller himself was not unusual. Miller said that for years, he had his personal cell phone number directly on the FarmersOnly site, which allowed for direct engagement with his customers. (He now extends the same courtesy to CurvesConnect users.) Miller viewed those frequent interactions not only as market research, but as continual opportunities for education and growth. They also made for great stories. In one of his favorites, a 65-year-old woman called him, desperate to set up her profile. Her name was Martha. “She said, ‘I’m looking at my picture here in my hand, and I’m looking at these pictures on the computer. How do I get mine up there? Is there a slot?’” Miller told her to mail her photo to him. He’d scan it and put it on the site for her. A week after he’d done it, he got a call from Martha. She was overjoyed to tell him that she’d just gotten married.

Miller thought he’d misheard. Married? To someone she met on the site? How was that even possible? It turned out a 72-year-old rancher from North Dakota named Al had seen her profile shortly after she’d put it up and happened to be heading to Ohio to pick up a trailer. He asked to meet, and she agreed. They had such a lovely time that Al invited Martha to drive back with him to North Dakota. He’d pay for her to get back to Ohio, but he’d sure love the company. By the time they arrived in North Dakota, 20 hours later, they realized they were meant for each other. They tracked down a preacher, who found the situation unusual, but ultimately didn’t object. ‘At your age, I think you know what you’re doing,’ he said. Miller said he knew many people have found love on his sites — people like Rachel and Paul, from Oklahoma and Missouri, respectively, who just celebrated their one-year anniversary — but he wouldn’t hazard a guess as to an official “success rate.” He said he was at a farmequipment convention in Kentucky a few years back, and 20 people came up to him individually to thank him. They’d all met their partner on FarmersOnly. Miller asked each of them if they’d let FarmersOnly know about the wedding. Only two had notified the site. Miller shrugged. “If I go to CVS for Advil, I don’t run back the next day to let them know it cured my headache,” he said. That’s why he’s skeptical of sites that brag about the percentage of their memberships that result in “successful marriages.” But he’s less concerned with the number of marriages than he is with people finding happiness. Loneliness, he said repeatedly, is a serious problem, and he’s just trying to do what he can to keep it at bay. “Look,” he said, fishing out his phone to reveal a message he’d received earlier that day. It was an email, to the FarmersOnly site, in all caps: “I FOUND SOMEONE SPECIAL.” Miller smiled. He didn’t know who on earth this person was. He didn’t know if this person had found their special someone on FarmersOnly, CurvesConnect or out in the real world. And honestly, he didn’t care.

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GET OUT everything you should do this week Photo by Luzena Adams

WED

01/31

SPORTS

Cavaliers vs. Miami Heat Cavs stars LeBron James and Dwayne Wade take on their former team, the Miami Heat, tonight at the Q in a match-up between two teams that appear headed to the playoffs. The Heat isn’t loaded with superstars like it once was, but the guys still somehow manage to grind out wins. The game begins at 7:30, and tickets start at $20. (Jeff Niesel) 1 Center Court, 216-420-2000, theqarena.com. FILM

Vertigo and Cocktails The locally owned and operated Capitol Theatre, in the Gordon Square Arts District, regularly presents special screenings of cult classics and oddball flicks that don’t receive wide distribution. Tonight at 6, the venue presents its Happy Hour Classic Film series, a monthly screening of a classic film that includes a happy hour cocktail party in the lobby before the feature. Tonight’s featured film is Vertigo, the Alfred Hitchcock thriller that stars James Stewart as a detective with a debilitating fear of heights. Admission is $10. The price of admission includes a mini-cocktail (or soft drink if you don’t fancy the hard stuff), appetizers and live music. (Niesel) 1390 West 65th St., 216-651-7295, clevelandcinemas.com. THEATER

Marie and Rosetta Now a Rock Hall inductee, the late Sister Rosetta Tharpe is the subject of Marie and Rosetta , a musical presented by the Cleveland Play House, that pays tribute to “the Godmother of Rock ’n’ Roll” who influenced rock icons such as Elvis Presley and Jimi Hendrix. You can catch a performance tonight at 7:30 at the Allen Theatre; additional performances continue through Feb. 11. Tickets are $25 to $105. (Niesel) 1407 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org. COMEDY

Daniel Sloss Young comedian Daniel Sloss sounds like he has had years of experience, and he looks and feels more comfortable on stage than some comedians who have been in the game for twice as long. With three

performances on Conan already under his belt, Sloss has a bright and hilarious future ahead of him. His act focuses on his personal life and what it is like being a young comedian. He performs tonight at 8 at Hilarities and has performances scheduled for Friday and Saturday too. Tickets start at $18. (Niesel) 2035 East Fourth St., 216-241-7425, pickwickandfrolic.com. FILM

The Square Elisabeth Moss and Terry Notary star in The Square, the latest effort from writer-director Ruben Ostlund ( Force Majeur). The satirical film centers on a Swedish art curator (Claes Bang) who stages a controversial art exhibit. Winner of the Palm d’Or at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, the movie screens at 7 tonight at the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque. Tickets are $10, or $7 for Cinematheque members and students. (Niesel) 11610 Euclid Ave., 216-421-7450, cia.edu.

THU

02/01

&),-

Cinema Novo Director Eryk Rocha helms Cinema Novo, an impressionist documentary about the new-wave movement of the ’60s and ’70s that changed Brazilian filmmaking forever. The movie, which won the award for Best Documentary at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, includes interviews with some of the genre’s best-known directors. It screens tonight at 6:45 at the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque. Tickets are $10, or $7 for Cinematheque members and students. (Niesel) 11610 Euclid Ave., 216-421-7450, cia.edu. COMEDY

Kathleen Madigan: Boxed Wine and Bigfoot A veteran comic whose career stretches back nearly 30 years, Kathleen Madigan spends about three-fourths of the year on the road. Dubbed Boxed Wine and Bigfoot, her current tour brings her to town tonight for a performance at the Ohio Theatre. Madigan, who’s made 25 appearances on The Tonight Show, recently rode around with fellow comic Jerry Seinfeld in his internet series, Comedians in Cars

Comedian Kathleen Madigan comes to Playhouse Square. See: Thursday.

Getting Coffee. She also just filmed Bothering Jesus, her fifth hour-long standup special. The concert begins at 8, and tickets are $45. (Niesel) 1501 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org. SPORTS

Monsters vs. Grand Rapids Griffins The Monsters kick off a three-game series against the Grand Rapids Griffins tonight at 7 at the Q. It’s College I.D. Night too, so there will be $6 admission for college students with proper ID. Tomorrow night, as part of the Monsters’ 1-2-3 Fridays promotion, there will be $1 Pepsi products, $2 Sugardale hot dogs and $3 beers. For Sunday’s game, which takes place at 1 p.m., the first 2,500 kids 14 and under will receive a Fathead growth chart, and the first 2,500 kids 12 and under will receive a Castaway Bay Kids Day Pass. Tickets to the games start at $10. (Niesel) 1 Center Court, 216-420-2000, theqarena.com.

COMEDY

Rodney Perry Comedian Rodney Perry likes to joke that his favorite Jackson is Joe Jackson because he drove his kids to success. “Those kids wouldn’t have been shit without an ass whopping,” he jokes in one popular skit. “He’s still whopping people to this day.” He also likes to joke about relationships and advises women to do what their men tell them to because, “It’s hard being a black man.” Consistently irreverent, Perry currently serves as co-host on BET’s The Mo’Nique Show and he also played Harold in the hit Tyler Perry movie Madea’s Big Happy Family. He performs tonight at 7:30 at the Improv, where he has shows scheduled through Saturday. Tickets are $20. (Niesel) 1148 Main Ave., 216-696-IMPROV, clevelandimprov.com. COMEDY

Colin Quinn Comedian Colin Quinn doesn’t come to town often. His current standup

| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018

21


THEATER

GET OUT tour brings him to Hilarities tonight and represents his first traditional standup tour in more than seven years. He’s been a busy man as his Broadway and off-Broadway one-man show, Colin Quinn: The New York Story, has been a huge hit. Expect the opinionated comedian and actor to weigh in on Pres. Trump and other timely topics for tonight’s performance. The show begins at 8 p.m., and tickets are $25 to $30. (Niesel) 2035 East Fourth St., 216-241-7425, pickwickandfrolic.com.

FRI

Flanagan’s Wake No one knows grief and mourning like a Catholic, let alone an Irish Catholic. Now in its sixth year running in Cleveland, Flanagan’s Wake transports the audience to a wake in Ireland where villagers tell tales and sing songs for their dearly departed Flanagan. Finding

through April 28. Tickets are $26. (Patrick Stoops) 1501 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org. THEATER

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, Live! Based on The New York Times No. 1 best-selling book of the past decade,

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02/02

Hall of Fame Series

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ART

Castles in the Air Today, Art on Madison, a new art gallery in Lakewood, celebrates the opening of Castles in the Air, a new solo exhibition by local artist Timothy Gaewsky. According to the press release announcing the opening, the show explores “Gaewsky’s personal nostalgia for the retro 8-bit video games that he played growing up in the 1980s and early ’90s.” His “colorful and whimsical” paintings appropriate and manipulate design elements and visual cues from some of his favorite games. (Niesel) 13703 Madison Ave., Lakewood, 419-345-8980. NIGHTLIFE

Vodka Vodka Now in its fifth year, Scene’s Vodka Vodka event takes place tonight from 7 to 10 at Red Space. At the event, you’ll be able to taste an assortment of local and international vodkas. There will also be a fashion show featuring local designers, stylists and boutiques. Brand ambassadors will be on hand to talk about the many different products too. Tickets are $35. (Niesel) 2400 Superior Ave., scenevodkavodka.com.

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FILM

Faces Places The United Labor Agency and North Shore Federation of Labor co-sponsor this evening’s screening of Faces Places, a 2017 film about two people who travel across France and conduct a series of interviews along the way. The movie screens at 7 p.m. at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Tickets are $10, or $7 for CMA members. (Niesel) 11150 East Blvd., 216-421-7350, clevelandart.org.

22

the humor in life and death, the wake acts as a dark backdrop to an otherwise hilarious show in which alcohol fuels the humorous reminiscing. A sort of tragic Tony ’n’ Tina’s Wedding, the interactive and improvised show engages the entire audience as the guests are treated as the friends and family of the deceased. The show starts at 8 tonight and plays again tomorrow night at 8 at Kennedy’s Theatre. Performances continue weekends

| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018

the off-Broadway hit comedy Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus offers light-hearted fun as it explores the gender differences that emerge when men and women try to have relationships. A one-man fusion of theater and standup, tonight’s performance takes place at 8 at the Hanna Theatre, where performances continue tomorrow at 4 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $59. (Niesel) 2067 East 14th St., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.

NIGHTLIFE

Mix at CMA The first Friday of each month, the Cleveland Museum of Art hosts its popular Mix at CMA event. The museum stays open later than normal for the occasion. Tonight’s theme is Zodiac. Tarot card readers will be on hand, and tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. CMA members get in for free. The event runs from 6 to 10 p.m. (Niesel) 11150 East Blvd., 216-421-7350, clevelandart.org. THEATER

My Favorite Murder, Live Hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark have turned their podcast My Favorite Murder into a hit since conceiving the program two years ago. The show has broken download records and the duo has attracted an enthusiastic, interactive “Murderino” fan base. Expect those fans to be on hand for tonight’s live performance that takes place at 8 at Connor Palace. Tickets start at $29.50. (Niesel) 1615 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org. SPOKEN WORD

Poetry Reading: Lee Chilcote, The Shape of Home The founder and executive director of Literary Cleveland, local author Lee Chilcote will join local singer Jen O’Leary to “perform” poems from their new poetry chapbook, The Shape of Home. Chilcote’s writing has appeared in Vanity Fair, Next City, Planning and other publications. The performance takes place at 7 tonight at Visible Voice Books. Admission is free. (Niesel) 2258 Professor Ave., 216-961-0084, visiblevoicebooks.com.

SAT

02/03

MUSIC

22nd Annual Tri-C High School Rock Off When the annual High School Rock Off launched some 20 years ago at the Odeon, the promoters at the local Belkin Productions (now Live Nation) saw it as a way to reach out to area high schools and provide students with the kind of musical outlet that they might not have. Two decades later, the event, which takes place again this year at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on four Saturdays, before concluding with a “final exam” on Saturday, Feb. 17, continues to thrive. Tonight’s concert begins at 6 p.m., and tickets are $10. (Niesel) 1100 Rock and Roll Blvd., 216-515-8444, rockhall.com.


| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018

23


SPORTS

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Cavaliers vs. Houston Rockets Early in the season, it looked as if the high-scoring Houston Rockets might be the best team in the league. The Rockets even handed the Cavs a loss when the two teams faced each other earlier in the season on the Rockets’ home court. But injuries have since brought the Rockets back down to earth. The two teams play tonight at 8:30 at the Q. Tickets start at $108. (Niesel) 1 Center Court, 216-420-2000, theqarena.com. MUSIC

5,000 Years of Civilization Reborn

Cleveland Pops, Under the Streetlamp: Music of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s Carl Topilow conducts the Cleveland Pops Orchestra tonight at 8 at Severance Hall as the male quartet known as Under the Streetlamp performs an “electrifying evening of classic hits from the American radio songbook.” Consult the Cleveland Orchestra website for ticket prices and more information. (Niesel) 11001 Euclid Ave., 216-231-1111, clevelandorchestra.com. FILM

ALL-NEW PROGRAM WITH LIVE ORCHESTRA

Holy Air In the satirical comedy, Holy Air, a Christian Arab man living in Nazareth decides to try to make more money by selling air; but first he must receive the blessing of all the city’s religious leaders. The film serves up some biting commentary on religious tourism. It screens at 5 p.m. today, and at 8:25 p.m. on Sunday, at the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque. Tickets are $10, or $7 for Cinematheque members and students. (Niesel) 11610 Euclid Ave., 216-421-7450, cia.edu. FILM

A FABULOUS HOLIDAY GIFT TO ALL!

February 3 & 4 | Playhouse Square Tickets: 216.241.6000 I ShenYun.com/Cleveland 24

| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018

Mad Max Fury Road 3-D Cleveland Cinemas’ Late Shift series, a program dedicated to the nostalgic cult and camp cinema that we love and cherish even though it’s certainly not Oscar-worthy material, has been a fixture at the local chain of theaters since 2006. The 2018 schedule continues tonight with the terrific Aussie action flick Mad Max Fury Road. It screens tonight at 9:30 and midnight and tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at the Cedar Lee Theatre. Tickets are $6. (Niesel) 2163 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights, 440-528-0355, clevelandcinemas.com. FILM

Rocky Horror Picture Show It’s the first Saturday of the month again, so tonight the Cedar Lee Theatre hosts a midnight screening

of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the 1975 cult classic that still draws an exuberant, costumed crowd that likes to throw rice and dry toast and sing along to the songs in the movie. Tickets are $9.50. (Niesel) 2163 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights, 440-528-0355, clevelandcinemas.com. DANCE

Shen Yun 2018 The visually dazzling Shen Yun is a truly unique performance troupe that brings to life 5,000 years of Chinese civilization through classical Chinese, folk and story-based dance. Shen Yun was founded in 2006 to revive ancient Chinese culture, which had been nearly destroyed by the Chinese communist government. Now with four companies, Shen Yun has given more than 400 performances in over 100 cities around the world. (Ironically, the dance troupe has yet to perform in China or Hong Kong.) Expect beautiful, vibrant costumes and exotic music you won’t hear anywhere else. Performances take place at 2 and 7 p.m. today and at 2 p.m. tomorrow at the State Theatre. Tickets are $80 to $150. (Niesel) 1519 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.

SUN

02/04

MUSIC

Apollo’s Fire Sneak Peeks Apollo’s Fire’s Jeannette Sorrell, Debra Nagy and René Schiffer discuss Bach’s personality and play his music as the local classical ensembles prepares to play his Wedding Cantata and virtuoso concertos. Today’s event at Nighttown features a 50-minute peek behind the scenes as WCLV Ideastream’s radio personalities interview the artists. The program begins at 12:30 p.m., but arrive earlier to order your brunch-time food and drink. Tickets are $20. (Niesel) 12387 Cedar Rd., Cleveland Heights, 216-795-0550, nighttowncleveland.com. FILM

Early Summer The Cleveland Museum of Art continues its tribute to director Yasujiro Ozu with a screening of his 1951 film Early Summer. The movie focuses on the members of a Japanese family who try to marry off an “old maid” daughter who doesn’t care for their tactics. It screens at 1:30 p.m. today and at 1:45 p.m. on Tuesday. Tickets


are $10, or $7 for CMA members. (Niesel) 11150 East Blvd., 216-421-7350, clevelandart.org. MUSIC

Molsky’s Mountain Drifters A Grammy-nominated artist, Bruce Molsky brings his band, the Mountain Drifters, to the Happy Days Lodge for tonight’s show. Each member of the trio brings something different to the old-time musicobsessed band. The concert begins at 7, and tickets are $10 to $21. (Niesel) 500 West Streetsboro Rd., Peninsula, 330-657-2909, conservancyforCVNP.org.

MON

02/05

Tremont has adopted that slogan, calling its wing night Wing Ding Doodle. The weekly event features specials on Buffalo wings and cold brews. Prosperity will not only serve up substantial, $1 whole wings, but it’ll also offering meatless Monday “wing” baskets for vegans. Discounted drafts and a playlist of vintage-electric blues and soulful R&B curated by local musician Clint Holley will be on tap as well. Wing Ding Doodle takes place every Monday from 6 p.m. to midnight. (Niesel) 1109 Starkweather Ave., 216-937-1938, prosperitysocialclub.com.

TUE

02/06

MUSIC NIGHTLIFE

Monday Night Trivia Do you have tons of obscure music knowledge? Are you a student of fast food menus and their nuanced histories? What say you about the geographic evolution of Scotch whisky? Tonight’s your chance to wow your friends, make yourself instantly more desirable to someone you’re newly dating, and hang with Cleveland’s headiest hipsters and hot dog lovers. It’s the Happy Dog Monday Night Trivia. Starting at 8 p.m., expect themed rounds and general knowledge questions that seem considerably trickier than some of the other live trivia locales in town. Obviously, have a hot dog and a craft brew while you’re at it. And arrive early. Seats fill up fast. (Sam Allard) 5801 Detroit Ave., 216-651-9474, happydogcleveland.com. FILM

Movie Mondays Every Monday, Cleveland Cinemas hosts $5 Movie Mondays, where film fans can catch up on the latest Hollywood flicks for significantly reduced prices. Bring your friends and family and make Movie Mondays a weekly tradition — many theaters even offer discounted concession stand items. Participating theaters include Apollo Theatre, Capitol Theatre, Cedar Lee Theatre, Chagrin Cinemas, Shaker Square Cinemas and Tower City Cinemas. Unfortunately, additional charges apply for 3-D movies. (Alaina Nutile) clevelandcinemas.com. FOOD

Wing Ding Doodle Blues icon Howlin’ Wolf famously covered “Wang Dang Doodle,” the old blues tune penned by Willie Dixon. Prosperity Social Club in

Classical Revolution Cleveland The first Tuesday of every month, Classical Revolution Cleveland brings chamber music to the Euclid Tavern. Performers like the Trepanning Trio, Anime Duo, students of Cleveland Institute of Music and even Cleveland Orchestra members grace the stage in these exciting concerts. Tonight’s free, all-ages performance starts at 8. (Stoops) 11625 Euclid Ave., 216-231-5400, happydogcleveland.com. MUSIC

Open Turntable Tuesday Tonight from 6 to 9, the Winchester hosts its weekly Open Turntable Tuesday. DJ Kris Koch offers 20-minute time 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 allotted time; and a mic is available to talk about the selections. (Niesel) 12112 Madison Ave., Lakewood, 216-600-5338. MUSIC

Stomp Stomp, a U.K. percussion group that dates back to the early ’90s, won all sorts of awards when it first toured the world after a successful run on London’s West End theater district. The group, which makes instruments out of matchboxes, wooden poles, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters and hubcaps, continues to tour the globe and arrives in Cleveland tonight for a series of Playhouse Square shows. Tonight’s performance starts at 7:30 at the Palace Theatre, where the show goes on through Feb. 11. Tickets start at $10. (Niesel) 1615 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.

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| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018

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| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018


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ART BIG RIVER Christina Sadowski captures unique, waterborne views of city in Reflections of Cleveland at Eleven 2 Gallery By Dott von Schneider DAYBREAK, ON A BITTER January morning in Cleveland. People are bundled up and the sun is just beginning to grace the sky, though it’s not doing much in terms of warmth. All in all, not a real favorable time to skim out onto the water and imbibe new views of our fair city, most of us would agree. “Not getting out on the lake is killing me right now,” confesses photographer Christina Sadowski. We are at the Eleven 2 Gallery as she installs Reflections of Cleveland, her first concise solo exhibition. The artist has mounted her work around the gallery on what resembles a filmstrip, in what you could call “Cleveland gray,” after the winter skies that envelop the city during the cold months. Sadowski entered the art world while attending Baldwin Wallace University for HR and business administration. After taking a digital photography course, “that was the end of that,” she says. “I had a great instructor who pushed me and I just kept going.” While at BW, she met Rich Cihlar and invited herself to be a partner at Eleven 2, along with Billy Naininger; they celebrated their four-year anniversary in November 2017. The photographs of Cleveland from the Cuyahoga River that make up this exhibit were born from diving into another passion: kayaking. “I don’t like water, I don’t like swimming, I don’t like boats, but I decided that I was going to do something out of my comfort zone,” she says. “I went out with artist Natalia Dale in one of her kayaks. When they went on sale in May, I pulled the trigger on buying two of them. Once I got to a certain comfort level, I brought my camera out with me and began incorporating these two things I love.” The photographs stem from personal images of what Sadowski calls the Mermaid Squad: the name of her two kayaks, and a reflection of her love of mermaids. “I dubbed myself a mermaid because of my purple hair and

28

Photo by Christina Sadowski

my purple kayaks and attitude, so whoever wants to come out for the day becomes a part of the squad.” These original, smaller images are reminiscent of 1970s Polaroids. We found it to be a very modern nostalgia. In fact, each image is romantic, showing what the city

from Whiskey Island and make her way around the bending, winding Cuyahoga River out to the four- and-a-half mile marker (Sadowski submitted artwork for the Cuyahoga mile-marker sign near Kingsbury Run, which is apparently a thing) and capture

REFLECTIONS OF CLEVELAND ON VIEW THROUGH FEB. 16 ELEVEN 2 GALLERY, 1300 WEST 78TH ST., SUITES 111 & 112, 440-724-9261. 78THSTREETSTUDIOS.COM

looks like as she rustles from her slumber. These photographs tell a succinct story of beauty within the symmetry of skyline and water. They are crisply printed on cold press paper. We can see the detail of windowpanes silently indenting the buildings, like a paper punch that hadn’t quite achieved its purpose. Sadowski would launch

| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018

the majestic old Coast Guard Station, now restored to its former glory by the Metroparks, Within the exhibition, Sadowski has snapped both the Buffalo and the Ashtabula, two of the many impressively massive barges that navigate the river’s difficult turns. “The Buffalo on its side is as tall as the Terminal Tower,” the artist says. “They were docked at the

time. Sailors will give warning to boaters. It’s impressive how tiny one is in comparison.” In one particular photograph, clouds look like orange sherbetcolored cotton candy. The lighting certainly reflects the sleepiness of the city as it prepares for the day ahead. There are rowers in the background. The artist confesses that she won’t be back out on a Sunday, as the rowers who dot the river do not like to share the water. The rapid transit train passes by with a certain moodiness and we can virtually smell the possibility of rain. Sadowski’s first exhibition is unique in its storyline and viewpoint. The pieces are much like film stills, portraits of a peaceful hour that furthers our affection for our beautiful city. Gallery hours are 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. during the Third Friday artwalk at the 78th Street Studio, or by appointment.


STAGE ROSETTA, STONED The legend of Rosetta Tharpe is abused by too many unfortunate creative decisions in Marie and Rosetta at the Cleveland Play House By Christine Howey THERE ARE MANY REASONS why Sister Rosetta Tharpe deserves a show of her own. This African-American gospel singer and musician was a seminal influence on rock and roll — a fact confirmed by her impending installation in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, slated for this year. Back in the 1930s and ’40s, she infused irresistible rhythms into inspirational songs that connected with folks on a vibrant, visceral level. It’s a shame that this play, Marie and Rosetta , doesn’t do justice to the force that Tharpe was: on stage, in recordings, and on the lives of countless performers who came after her. As fashioned by Cleveland playwright George Brant, the play attempts to capture the outsized personality of Tharpe while relating her budding relationship with Marie Knight, a young, black backup singer for Mahalia Jackson who Tharpe took under her wing and installed as a co-equal performer for a few years in the late 1940s. Brant makes some good decisions about the structure of the play, eschewing the tired musicianbio trope of chronologically charting each blip on the artist’s career. And he wisely defers to a lot of music, as the two performers present more than a dozen of Tharpe’s signature songs. Miche Braden, as Rosetta, brings a powerful set of pipes and some stirring vocals to the effort. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much where the good news ends. The 105-minute one-act is set, supposedly, in a funeral home in Mississippi where famous Rosetta is getting to know Marie (Chaz Hodges), informing the younger woman that she will no longer be singing backup, she’ll be side by side with the gospel luminary herself. As Marie helpfully applies makeup to Rosetta’s face, they are surrounded by coffins in this back room of the parlor. The women contemplate having to sleep there since they won’t be welcomed in any of the local hotel establishments.

Photo by Roger Mastroianni

Chaz Hodges (Marie Knight) and Miche Braden (Sister Rosetta Tharpe).

There are several reasons why the play doesn’t fully come alive. For one, neither Braden nor Hodges actually pound the onstage keyboard or pluck the guitars. The real musicians (Katreese Barnes on piano and KJ Denhert on guitar) are tucked away behind an upstage scrim. While the actors do their best to mime playing the instruments, there’s something missing since Braden never turns

such a powerful presence on stage by linking her audience to her dynamism, those small turns and feints eventually suck the energy out of the performance. Add to that the dialogue between the two women that never rises above being selfcongratulatory and banal. It’s clear that Marie respects Rosetta and Rosetta thinks Marie is beautiful, but the women’s widely rumored

MARIE AND ROSETTA THROUGH FEB. 11 AT CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE, 1407 EUCLID AVE., 216-241-6000 CLEVELANDPLAYHOUSE.COM

to face the audience and wail, as Rosetta did (and every star guitarist does) when playing her axe. Instead, Braden has to face sideways or upstage to hide the fact the sounds aren’t coming from her hands. That little trickery wouldn’t mean much in some shows. But when you’re trying to capture the essence of a woman who created

intimate relationship in real life is never addressed in this piece. As a result, it’s a love fest without any dramatic tension or depth. And the segues from dialogue to song are often forced. Rosetta to Marie: “Why don’t you sing something for me now?” There are a few times when some sparks seem about to fly, as when Rosetta is complaining

about “Saint Mahalia” and that singer’s insistence on singing only in churches, while Rosetta prefers bars and clubs. When Rosetta chides Marie for being too spiritual in her singing and not putting enough “hips in her joy,” any potential conflict is quickly swallowed up in hugs and smiles. After an hour, one begins to wonder why the entire show is confined to this coffin storage room at the funeral parlor. The answer doesn’t come until the last 10 minutes, when details of the careers of both women come rushing out in a flurry, along with a maudlin story twist that is too clever by half. This is when the makeup scene that began the show takes on a new meaning. Brant is an accomplished writer (his excellent play Grounded is now at Dobama), and he invests Rosetta’s lines with plenty of sassy ripostes so that we get a sense of that part of her personality. But the more nuanced aspects of her and Marie’s characters are often ignored in the run-ups to more songs. As Marie, Hodges indeed looks very pretty, prim and proper, but she’s too invisible. When she complains to Rosetta about the older woman’s singing style — “You took a gospel song and made it sound dirty” — it doesn’t display the hurt that this woman raised on traditional expressions of spirituality should feel. And neither the script nor Hodges credibly convey how Marie was won over to Rosetta’s earthy approach to gospel. When the music succeeds in really rocking out, in renditions of “I Want a Tall Skinny Papa” and “Four or Five Times,” it feels like M&R could actually reach some interesting heights. But the pedestrian script and uninspired directing by Neil Pepe only serve to keep this musical icon where she started: In need of a really honest and compelling exploration of her career and her gift.

scene@clevescene.com t@christinehowey

| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018

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| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018

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MEALS ON WHEELS While ClusterTruck’s delivery service is a winner, its menu is a bit of a mixed bag By Douglas Trattner IT WAS LUNCHTIME FOR THE 150 or so folks sequestered on the fourth floor of the courts tower at the Justice Center. Like my fellow Cuyahoga County residents assembled for jury duty, I was granted a generous window of time to escape the confines of our holding pen and scour the landscape in search of food. Many of my peers made the short, sad walk over to the courthouse cafeteria, where steamtable fare waited. I, on the other hand, perused the online menus of a handful of virtual food trucks from the comfort of my chair. Sure, I could have left the building and trekked to any number of nearby restaurants, but by the time you add up the minutes it takes to pack up your stuff, walk to a restaurant and back, and wend your way through security, it doesn’t leave much time for dining. Plus, it was freezing out. Instead, I opened up the ClusterTruck app, placed an order, and in about 20 minutes I was tearing into a large bag of food. Since launching just 18 months ago in Indianapolis, this fastmoving startup already has added locations in Bloomington, Cleveland, Columbus, Denver and Kansas City, Missouri. The “disruptive” concept seeks to outdo all other food delivery outfits by employing one key tactic: They prepare their own food. Typical third-party delivery drivers are dispatched to a restaurant, where they have to park, walk

inside, and grab an order that might have been waiting for them to arrive. Thanks to intelligent proprietary technology, ClusterTruck drivers are summoned to land the moment the food is ready. A super-tight delivery zone ensures that no journey is longer than 10 minutes from the company’s kitchen on the eastern edge of downtown. The most difficult part of the whole equation is deciding what to eat. ClusterTruck takes its name from the menu, a cluster of food truck-style categories like mac and cheese, tacos and burritos, burgers and subs, Asian noodles and rice bowls, pizzas and so on. Once the order is placed, the app shows its

to meet me on the east side of the Justice Center as opposed to the busier north side on Lakeside. To keep things moving, drivers don’t leave their cars; they hand out the bag through an open window. Delivery is free; payment and tips are handled in the app. Thanks to the breakfast-all-day “truck” called Lazy Breakfast, I was enjoying biscuits and gravy ($9.14) 20 minutes after placing my order. The creamy sausage gravy was packed in its own container to keep it steaming-hot. I doused the biscuits, popped the runny fried egg, and was enjoying a dinerquality breakfast in the lobby of the courthouse.

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progress from cloud to cook to delivery. When the food hits the road, a text is sent to the customer, who can then track its journey IRT with an Uber-like interface. I’m not kidding when I say that my food arrived too quickly on the first of three separate days of ordering. I was still up in the jury assembly room when I got the text that my food had shipped. Given that the kitchen is one mile away, my delivery driver actually beat me to the curb. I included instructions for him

Over the course of three meals, and eight menu items, I learned that lightning-fast delivery makes up for many failings, but not all foods travel well. A Cobb salad ($10.82) arrived bright and crisp, topped with characteristic and colorful banners of blue cheese, diced turkey, chopped egg, tomato, crumbled real bacon and guacamole. The thin diner-style patty on a hamburger ($7.18), on the other hand, appeared grey and tasted tired. Despite an attempt to prevent steaming by loosely packing them in foil, tater tots ($4.20) had

lost their crackle. Curly fries ($3.86), for some reason, held up much better. A trio of shredded chicken tacos ($9.56) arrived hot, fragrant and delicious. The meat was tucked into twin soft corn tortillas, doused with a respectable mole sauce, and garnished with pickled onion, cotija cheese and fresh cilantro. Sides of pico and mole sauce are included. A 16-inch, medium-thick-crusted margherita pizza ($12.88) was dotted with puddles of fresh mozzarella, roasted tomatoes and fresh basil. It was not, however, properly sliced, leaving me and a few of my fellow jurors fumbling with plastic knives to finish the job. ClusterTruck absolutely shines when it comes to food packaging, delivery, and ease of customization. Adding or eliminating ingredients is as easy as selecting or deselecting boxes. When the wrong salad dressing was shipped, I made a note in the app and they offered to send out a replacement. The app lets members of groups small and large order what they want, pay separately, and receive their food at the same time. For folks within the trim delivery zone, ClusterTruck is a boon to convenience, variety and efficiency. But as with all delivered foods, there are winners and losers. Sorting them out will be up to the diner.

dtrattner@clevescene.com t@dougtrattner

| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018

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| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018

AFTER JUST ONE MONTH IN business, Ivory Keys Piano Bar (14701 Detroit Ave.) is closed. Last Saturday, employees were prevented from entering the premises thanks to locks placed on the front door by the landlord, says one disgruntled staffer. “It’s closed now,” says Julia Kristi. “I hired all the employees for him and got it up and running for him.” Kristi says that there were signs of impending doom from the start, a situation that quickly snowballed out of control. “Obviously, I wasn’t working for free,” she says. “He wasn’t paying anything. He owes me like eight grand. He also told the servers when they started that he wasn’t going to pay out their credit tips right away, which ended up being not at all; he’s holding all of them. He didn’t pay anyone a paycheck and the only money people were getting were the cash tips. Even the performers didn’t get paid.” Owner Thomas Russo agrees that the business plan was flawed, but denies owing any money except for two small amounts less than $200. Performers were paid in cash or by checks that cleared, he says. As for Kristi’s outstanding balance, he says it’s greatly inflated. Russo, at least, accepts full responsibility when it comes to passing out blame. His business plan revolved around presenting quality live shows for free in the hopes that attendees would liberally spend

money while there. That did not happen, he says. “I agree with you that it was a bad business plan, because you can’t give free shows; you can’t support it,” he notes. “I’d be packed and hardly anybody would be spending money. I know I was only open a short time, but I wasn’t making any profit there and I couldn’t see hemorrhaging more of my money to keep something afloat.” Compounding things, he claims, were slow weekdays and stiff neighborhood competition for entertainment dollars. “I agree that there was major amounts of money that were owed too quickly off the beginning, there wasn’t time for me to build it up, I had a landlord that had zero patience with me … ,” he rattles off. “It was a horrible adventure in Lakewood,” Russo admits. His former employees certainly agree. Here’s what one person, who preferred to remain anonymous, told us about Russo’s failures. “When a person is starting up a small business, or investing in business, does not have the funds to back up their idea, it not only hurts the business or the owner, it also hurts the employees and everyone involved in attempting to make that business a success, while also trying to make money and feed their own families. When employees and distributors are not paid, livelihoods are affected and hurt, other businesses are affected,


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| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018

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| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018

Britt-Marie Culey, known for her stunning French pastries, colorful macarons, and petit savory snacks, has accepted a position as Pastry Chef for Levy Restaurants, the company that handles all foodservice operations at the Huntington Convention Center locally as well as at major sports, entertainment and convention centers throughout the country. In 2014, Culey, a graduate of the Le Cordon Bleu program at Western Culinary Institute, opened the popular University Circle pastry shop Coquette Patisserie (11607 Euclid Ave., 216-331-2841) along with her husband Shane. Little will change at that shop, promises Culey, who will remain the owner-operator. Stevee Wagner Terry, who has been on the job for two years, has been promoted to executive pastry chef. “This is a new position for Levy Restaurants at the convention center,” Culey explains. “I’ve joined the team to redevelop the pastry and bread program. We’re working on elevating the dessert menu so that it can complement and compete with the current Cleveland — and national — culinary scene. While I have my work cut out for me, I am both excited for and humbled by the opportunity to bring the Cleveland Convention Center into the forefront of the food scene.” One person who is thrilled about the hire is Matt Del Regno, GM and executive chef of the Huntington Convention Center and a 20-year staffer of Levy. As chef, Del Regno and his team prepare from-scratch meals for groups ranging in size from six to 1,600 and more. For large events like Content Marketing World, that number jumps to 3,500. “It’s not necessarily uncommon to have a pastry person at a convention center, but it’s uncommon to have somebody of Britt’s caliber and skill set,” Del Regno says. “We do all of our pastries in house, and although we do a good job, we always want to

Britt-Marie Culey

be the best. It’s so hard to find people who are like-minded and really strong-skilled that can take us to the next level.”

Now Open: Bigmouth Donuts at Hub 55 Bigmouth Donuts opened its doors at Hub 55 (St. Clair and East 55th St.) this past Saturday morning, giving Clevelanders yet another new shop to get their doughnut fix. The space, which also houses the production facility that’ll supply Bigmouth’s Hingetown location when it opens, joins Goldhorn Brewery and Sterle’s Slovenian House in the mixed-use facility owned by Rick Semersky. Partners Courtney Bonning and Kelly Brewer always figured that, with the small footprint of the Hingetown location, clocking in at a scant 650 square feet, they’d need to find another space if the expansion they envisioned would be feasible. “We could have built a production kitchen [in Ohio City], but in the end we would have been stumbling all over ourselves and would have regretted that we couldn’t do everything we wanted from a production standpoint,” Bonning told us when plans were announced. “Part of our business plan was always to scale up and have multiple locations around the greater Cleveland area, so it was always part of the plan to put in a larger kitchen somewhere. We just ended up scaling up way sooner than we had anticipated.”

dtrattner@clevescene.com t@dougtrattner


Home of the Smoked Candied Pork Belly & Waffles! . . . R E N I D NICKâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S EST D L O E H T F O ONE E L B A D R O F F &A IN T F E L S E C A PL OHIO CITY!

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| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018

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| clevescene.com m | January 31 - February 6, 2018


Photo by Steve Gullick

MUSIC

WEIRD SCIENCE The hard rock act Starset embraces a sci-fi theme By Jeff Niesel DUSTIN BATES, THE GUY WHO fronts the Columbus, Ohio-based sci-fi obsessed hard rock band Starset, can remember the moment when he knew he wanted to be in a rock band. It came when his high school band competed in the annual High School Rock Off, a battle of the bands for teens that’s put on by the folks at the local Live Nation office. The event currently takes place at the Rock Hall, but back then it took place at the Odeon, a venue Live Nation owned at that time. “I have ties to the Cleveland area,” Bates says in a recent phone interview from Florida, where he had taken a few days off to work on a side project. Starset performs with Year of the Locust at 8 p.m. on Saturday at House of Blues. “My first show outside of my parents’ basement, and the one that amped my passion for playing live and made me think I was fuckin’ Metallica, was the High School Rock Off. I’m from Salem, and I

heard about it on the radio and signed up for it. It was quite an experience. We totally sucked, but I thought we were heading for the big time.” Growing up, Bates says he went through “various stages of interest” when it came to music. “I think my story is like a lot of

rock and writing music. All the while, I wanted to be a scientist and inventor as a kid, so I pursued both.” He formed a band called Downplay that had a deal with Epic Records. That deal fell apart, so he “went back to the drawing board” and asked some of his bandmates

STARSET, YEAR OF THE LOCUST 8 P.M. SATURDAY, FEB. 3, HOUSE OF BLUES, 308 EUCLID AVE., 216-523-2583 TICKETS: $22 ADV, $27 DOS, HOUSEOFBLUES.COM

people’s,” he says. “I was subjected to the music that my parents liked — Michael Jackson, Phil Collins and Neil Diamond. The drum break in Phil Collins’ ‘In the Air Tonight’ made me want to play drums. I got a snare drum and joined the school band. From there, I started buying drum sets. I discovered rock and became obsessed with

to launch Starset with him. “Because of the desperation or something, this much more ambitious and wild project coalesced,” he says of Starset. A Ph.D. candidate in electrical engineering who’s done research for the U.S. Air Force and taught at the International Space University in France, Bates set his studies

aside to pursue Starset. But his background clearly influences the band. Live performances follow a space-themed narrative as the songs’ themes center on how science and technology affect society. “In various ways, I approach a lot of the songs in an engineering kind of way,” says Bates. “I’m very analytical and theoretical in the way I do it. I approach the songs that will be singles in a certain way. Other ones, I approach in a more creative way. I also design the sound in an engineering-like way. I use science terms for a lot of the metaphors. It opens up the palette a lot. At the same time, I try to blend the right and left brain side of things.” Bates took a DIY approach to the band’s debut, 2014’s Transmissions. “It was especially crazy for a number of reasons,” he says of Transmissions. “No one knew about it. I had these lofty goals for it. I took loans out and kept doubling

| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018

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Photo by Steve Gullick

MUSIC

down. That year I made $5,000, or maybe a little less, personally. I was borrowing lots of money. At first, I borrowed $15,000 and then $50,000. Then, we started a radio campaign, and it became $70,000. That was working a little. At one point, I was up to $110,000. That felt like a zillion dollars, but I believed in it. The radio thing was stupid and signing a record deal was probably even dumber. I wanted to be on the radio and now it’s not even a big part of the equation.” Bates also collaborated with Marvel Comics to release a Starsetthemed graphic comic book last fall. The music on the band’s latest effort, last year’s Vessels , builds upon Transmissions and has a cinematic quality as it opens with “Orbits,” an ominous dirge that sounds like the kind of track that would play during the opening credits of a science fiction flick. The Filter-like single “Satellite,” however, comes off as more accessible, thanks to its catchy melody and soaring vocals. “My approach for the sound changed,” Bates explains. “The electronics on Transmissions are ambient and a little more organic and float-y. With Vessels , I wanted to be direct and more in the DNA and closer to types of EDM. I wanted the guitars to be more direct. I also wanted a wider dynamic of sound, so it can go from dreamy to metal to full-on pop. It’s fun to do that but it hurts us in terms of the industry finding a pocket for us. We don’t care about that. Some fans love it, but others get afraid of certain styles when they attach themselves to a style of music. We want to challenge that.” Recording in a remote part of Maine contributed to the themes about isolation. “We recorded a lot of it at a base of a ski mountain in Maine,” says

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| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018

Bates. “That sounds amazing, I know, but it was five days after the place was closed for the year. I mean, closed . There were no human beings. We had to drive 15 minutes to eat at this one bar. It was good. It was secluded and some of that plays out on the record.” Centering on a lost astronaut wandering on a barren landscape, the video for “Satellite” comes across like a short film. It was filmed in the Mojave desert, which substitutes for Mars. “That’s the goal with all of the videos,” says Bates. “We’re working on one now that we hope is just as good. That one, with the budget we had, they hit a home run. I was really happy with the work. The trick to getting a video of that quality is to find good talent. I write the treatments and after writing them, it’s super critical to find the looks you want and I often have to make sure people really follow their work and don’t drift off and do something crazy. That’s become innate for our video work. The ‘Satellite’ video is a huge step up from the one I shot myself, ‘My Demon.’ I did that in a rock quarry in Akron.” Bates says the band might not always write concept albums, but it will always embrace a sci-fi theme of some sort. “People often mistake the band for being a space band,” he says. “It’s a science and scifi band. On one side of the coin, we use sci-fi narratives to show various dystopias. On the other side, we represent science. I liken it to a Christian band: we’re one of the only bands I know of that speaks to science in a similar way that a Christian band speaks to Christianity.”

jniesel@clevescene.com t@jniesel


308 EUCLID AVE. CLEVELAND, OH 44114 216.523.BLUE Complete listing at houseofblues.com/cleveland

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March 9 Diamond Dogs (Sight, Sound of David Bowie) & ProgNation (Tribute to Yes, Genesis, and Moody Blues) March 11 SOJA *In Association with the Beachland Ballroom March 11 Good Old War & Justin Nozuka Cambridge Room March 15 Walker Hayes March 16 Turnpike Troubadours w/ Bottle Rockets March 18 Big K.R.I.T w/ Cyhi the Prynce, Heavy is The Crown - in association with the Grog Shop March 21 Judah & the Lion w/ Colony House, Tall Heights March 27 Iced Earth w/ Sanctuary, Kill Ritual Cambridge Room March 27 Kayzo w/ 4B, Dubloadz, Gammer, JSTJR

Buy tickets at HOUSEOFBLUES.COM/CLEVELAND Order By Phone: 800.745.3000 • House of Blues Box Office

| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018

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MUSIC AN ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT Why’s Yoni Wolf embraces everything from spoken word to rap By Bethany Kaufman NEARLY 15 YEARS INTO A project called Why?, Yoni Wolf is laying down arms. He’s been fighting for too long, sometimes against fate. When he first started to write, Wolf considered his casual rap compositions to be “kid stuff.” He had grown up as a drummer and envisioned his music career taking him in a different direction. Now, his work revolves around collaborations, poetry and remixes, his vocal delivery sliding almost undetectably from spoken word to rap. But to classify his music solely as rap would be a mistake. He performs with Open Mike Eagle at 8 p.m. on Saturday at the Beachland Ballroom. Why? positions Wolf’s vocals on a bed of indie rock and ambient, beat-based instrumentation. He’s not afraid to break into fullfledged croon mid-line, should it be warranted. It’s a breed all its own, and it never would have come to be if Wolf hadn’t succumbed to the early musical inclinations that he once considered a juvenile joke. Around the time Wolf began to write his own music, as a late teen/ young 20-something, he met Adam Drucker, also known as Doseone. The established rapper was in the middle of a several-year stint in Wolf’s hometown of Cincinnati. Being around someone who practiced the craft of rhyming and beat-making encouraged Wolf to do the same. “I didn’t feel like I could seriously do that before I met him,” Wolf says in a recent phone interview. “Something about meeting him, his confidence was infectious, and it just sort of got me going. We started working together on stuff, and I never looked back. I really fell in love with recording, and that’s really what got me. I wrote before that. In high school, I was writing rap songs and stuff. I just never took it seriously, and I never really recorded. But at that point, I got a little four-track tape recorder and got serious about it. We did it all the time, we’d make tape albums, dub tapes up and sell them ourselves to people.” Similarly, Wolf never would have

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Photo by Tell All Your Friends PR

imagined himself a poet when he initially explored the literary form as inspiration for his work. He became interested in recorded poetry readings, thinking he might sample these recordings to lay over his beats. He ultimately developed a far more intimate relationship with the art form. “I worked at this library on the college campus, and I would just randomly check out records, like LPs, of people reading poetry,” he says. “I first started doing it because I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll sample, it will be

Now Wolf is a poet in his own right. In 2016, he challenged himself to write a poem every day, a goal he achieved for nearly 10 months. Using this material as the primary source, Wolf is assembling a poetry chapbook that he hopes to have ready for his imminent tour. Sometimes his poetry bleeds into his songwriting, as it did for tracks like “Proactive Evolution.” “I think poetry, for me at least, is an auditory art,” says Wolf. “It’s not like a novel; it really matters how it sounds, you know?”

WHY?, OPEN MIKE EAGLE 8 P.M. SATURDAY, FEB. 3, BEACHLAND BALLROOM, 15711 WATERLOO RD., 216-383-1124. TICKETS: $16 ADV, $18 DOS, BEACHLANDBALLROOM.COM

a treasure trove of vocal samples.’ Like you’re making a beat and you have like Dylan Thomas talking over your beat and it sounds really cool. So I’d pull out a Dylan Thomas record. And I started listening to them and I’d be like, ‘My god, this is really beautiful, beautiful poetry.’ I remember pulling out a Galway Kinnell album, and he was one of my favorites. Marilyn Hacker I really liked. And these are just people that we happened to have the records at the library I was working at.”

| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018

Wolf, a chance poet and rapper, is well aware that life defies dictation. Instead of fighting the unknown, he’s learning to take uncertainties in stride, even if that means mentally escaping from time to time. On “One Mississippi,” a track from 2017’s Moh Lhean, Wolf sings, “I know/I’ve got to submit to whatever it is in control/I know/Stop throwing shadow on shadow and let it all go.” Wolf has, until recently, been enduring battles he cannot win, keeping him in a perpetual state of exasperation.

Listen to any of Why?’s previous five albums, and you will quickly pick up on the constant, nagging angst portrayed sometimes through acts of sexual frustration and sometimes through acts of selfharm. Brought about in part by a medical scare he experienced during the writing and recording process for Moh Lhean, Wolf has experienced a change of attitude. “I don’t know if I’m in any way more in tune with the ways of the universe,” he says. “I’m trying to be, to live in a more accepting way of whatever’s going on here. I still don’t know what is going on, at all. I think I feel best when I forget that I don’t know, in some ways, and kind of just live my days sort of with a smaller scope. Though it’s important, I think, to broaden that scope from time to time, whether it be through meditation or the use of illicit substances that might allow you to shift perspective. I think over the course of making that album and in the last, say, five or six years, I definitely have tried to jibe more with what is and be angry less. I’m still angry half the time though.” At the end of last year, Wolf released all control of Moh Lhean itself, putting its 10 tracks in the hands of peers who remixed them. The results will be part of an expanded box set due out Feb. 2. “I didn’t want to dictate,” Wolf explains. “I really let them do their own thing once we decided who we wanted to work on them. And I think everybody gave a fresh take on the songs. I think it was very successful.” Moh Lhean’s remix crew included artists like Kishi Bashi and Baths. Even with his new appreciation for peace, Wolf still has an artist’s characteristic restlessness. Although he now owns a house in his childhood city of Cincinnati, it would be difficult for him to stay there all the time. He seeks a balance between adventure and home life, a balance that is most easily satisfied by touring: He’ll be on the road through February and March.

scene@clevescene.com t@clevelandscene


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LIVEWIRE

all the live music you should see this week Photo by Eric Ryan Anderson

WED

Young Culture/Sarah Arafat/ Getting There: 9 p.m., free. The Euclid Tavern.

01/31

10 X 3 Singer Songwriter Showcase hosted by Brent Kirby: 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge. Pete Cavano And Joe Hunter: 7 p.m., $10. Bop Stop. Too Many Zooz/FreshProduce/DJ Derrick Grant: 6 p.m., $15 ADV, $18 DOS. Beachland Ballroom. Weakened Friends/Joey Sprinkles/ Packwolf: 9 p.m., $5. Happy Dog.

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02/01

Alexis Antes (in the Supper Club): 7:30 p.m., $8. Music Box Supper Club. Biitchseat/Valley Girls/ FloorVVeed: 9 p.m., $5. CODA. BoomBox/Uncle Gnarly: The BoomBox story begins in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where Zion Rock Godchaux brought his love of acoustic songcraft and his family’s rock ’n’ roll lineage to align with Russ Randolph’s topnotch electronica skills. Godchaux (Keith and Donna’s son) had found himself swept up in the musical threads of rave culture, where the seeds of his band were planted. BoomBox released its latest album, Bits & Pieces, back in 2016. It’s a fine continuation of the fullbodied songwriting heard on their previous album, Filling in the Color. Here, Randolph’s inventive beats keep the groovy mood glowing brightly, and Godchaux leans into some excellent lyrical dance moves. (Eric Sandy) 9 p.m., $22 ADV, $25 DOS. Beachland Ballroom. Divas of Drag: Best of Samantha Echo and Kaydence: 9 p.m., $5. The Euclid Tavern. Flying Buffalos: 7:30 p.m., $5. Beachland Tavern. Chris Hatton’s Musical Circus (in the Wine Bar): 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge. Jam Night with the Bad Boys of Blues: 9 p.m., free. Brothers Lounge. Prince Ish/Megadon216/Skai Francis: 8:30 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Grog Shop.

FRI

SAT

02/02

Vladimir Cetkar: 8:30 p.m., $20. Nighttown. DenZon and the Road Doggz Featuring Joe Vitale: 9:30 p.m.,

J. Roddy Walston & the Business bring their rowdy live show to the Grog Shop. See: Saturday.

$5. Brothers Lounge. Denis DeVito & Conor Standish (in the Supper Club): 8 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Music Box Supper Club. DJ Parker Groundhog Day: 9 p.m. Now That’s Class. Maury Epstein (in the Wine Bar): 6 p.m. Brothers Lounge. FreshProduce/Toma Doe/The Beyonderers: 9 p.m., $6. Happy Dog. Noah Gundersen/Elizabeth Gundersen: With his latest album, White Noise, singersongwriter Noah Gundersen set out to expand his sound and experiment. Album opener, “After All (Everything All the Time)” features soft vocals and an elegant string arrangement courtesy of his sister Abby. He recorded the album at the Ballard Baitshop in Seattle, a place that used to be a sail warehouse in the ’40s. He spent about eight months there and then finished the album at other studios around Seattle. One of the album’s many highlights, “Number One Hit of the Summer (Fade Out)” benefits from soft-toloud guitars and pounding drums. On it, Gundersen ominously sings, “Deer in the headlights, frozen in the street/Head above the water, still swimmin’ up stream.” A music industry party he attended became the subject of the Radiohead-like “Cocaine, Sex & Alcohol (From a Basement in Los Angeles),” and “Fear & Loathing,” another album highlight, has a classic folk vibe to it. Expect to hear these songs and more at tonight’s show. (Jeff Niesel) 8 p.m., $15 ADV, $18 DOS. Beachland Ballroom.

Matt Hectorne Album Release/ Poro/Shetler Jones: 8:30 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Beachland Tavern. Loverly: 8 p.m. Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park. Madison Crawl (in the Wine Bar): 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge. Mourning [A] BLKstar/West End Blend/Collin Miller: 9 p.m., $5 ADV, $8 DOS. CODA. Oliver Hazard/By Light We Loom/ The Mason District: 9:30 p.m., $8. Grog Shop. The Prince Experience: 8 p.m. Music Box Supper Club. Jacob Sartorius/Zach Clayton: 6:30 p.m., $25-$35. House of Blues. Moss Stanley: 10:30 p.m., free. Nighttown. Tiny Moving Parts/Mom Jeans/ Oso Oso: There’s something about living through the cold and bleak winters of Minnesota that forces folks to get in touch with their feelings. As is the case with Minnesota-based trio Tiny Moving Parts, a rowdy group content with making music that’s part math rock and part screamo — a combination one doesn’t hear often. The group’s brand new album, Swell, proves that the thinking (highly composed, noodle-y lines) and the feeling (heavily emotional high school student-approved lyrics) can work well together. The group formed when band members were in high school themselves, and their technical skills have certainly grown over the past decade, even if their lovelorn song subjects have remained the same. (Laura Morrison) 8 p.m., $13 ADV, $15 DOS. Mahall’s 20 Lanes.

02/03

45 Spider/Telltale Signs/Mother Hawk: 9 p.m., $8. Beachland Tavern. Amuse/Old Souls/House of Wills: 8 p.m., $5. Now That’s Class. Bearings/Hold Close/Dead Fall/ Mallory Run/XXI Hours (in the Locker Room): 7 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Mahall’s 20 Lanes. Charles Reed/Lil Zane with TrapBoi/Blu Lemon/Wednesday Sky: 6 p.m., $20-$25. Odeon. Dueling Pianos with Cleveland Keys (in the Supper Club): 8 p.m., $10. Music Box Supper Club. Ray Flanagan and the Authorities EP Release Show/Emily Keener: 9 p.m., $5. The Euclid Tavern. Half an Animal/Cereal Banter/Sap/ Khaki Blazer: 9 p.m., $6. Happy Dog. Carlos Jones and the P.L.U.S. Band: 9:30 p.m., $8. Brothers Lounge. Land of Panda/Bewarewolves/Lies Behind Us: 9 p.m., $5 ADV, $8 DOS. CODA. Love Fest Mini Concert Series with Two Blue Birds/Emily and Ivory: 8:30 p.m., $10. Mahall’s 20 Lanes. Tony Monaco Trio: 8:30 p.m., $20. Nighttown. The Speedbumps: 8 p.m., $15. Musica. Starset/Grabbitz/Year of the Locust: 7 p.m. House of Blues. The Tufted Puffins/Methametics/ Scoliosis Jones: 9 p.m., $5. Happy Dog. Uriah Heep: 8 p.m., $40-$60. The Kent Stage. Jeff Varga (in the Wine Bar): 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge. J Roddy Walston & the Business/ Post Animal: In the tradition of guys like Jerry Lee Lewis and Fats Domino, J. Roddy Walston doesn’t just play the piano. He bangs away on the keys like a man possessed. His raw garage rock tunes have the same kind of swagger you hear in tunes by Kings of Leon and the Black Keys. So how the hell did Walston learn to play the piano? His grandmother was a gospel/honky-tonk country piano player who taught him the tricks of the trade. Walston, who insists he’ll never play keyboards, tours with a piano and puts on a helluva show. He comes to town tonight in

| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018

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| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018


LIVEWIRE FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 2 8:00PM

MOISES BORGES & KENNY DAVIS A Mixture Of Bossa Nova Jazz & Samba

support of last year’s Destroyers of the Soft Life, an album of urgent indie rock tunes that veers from Nirvana-like punk (“You Know Me Better”) to fervent drinking ballads (“Blade of Truth”). (Niesel) 9 p.m., $20. Grog Shop. Jackie Warren: 10:30 p.m., free. Nighttown. Who’s Bad: 9 p.m., $13 ADV, $16 DOS. House of Blues. Why?/Open Mike Eagle: 8 p.m., $16 ADV, $18 DOS. Beachland Ballroom.

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SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 3 8:00PM

Dirty Fences/Pack Wolf/Self Taught No Lessons: 9 p.m., $8. Now That’s Class. February Noise Lunch: 4 p.m., free. Now That’s Class. Lost Stars/Front Porch Lights/ Ledges: 9 p.m., $5. Happy Dog. Mike Petrone: 5:30 p.m. Brothers Lounge. Super Bowl Alternative Halftime Show with Queen of Hell/ Weed Whacker/ Deche/ Glenn Quickness: 8 p.m., $5. Grog Shop.

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Adult Mom & Chris Farren/Willow Hawks/Nic Adkins: 7:30 p.m., $12 ADV, $15 DOS. Mahall’s 20 Lanes. Skatch Anderssen Orchestra: 8 p.m., $7. Brothers Lounge. Cleveland Sessions Launch Party with Seafair (in the Supper Club): 7 p.m., $5. Music Box Supper Club. Shit Show Karaoke: 10 p.m. B-Side Liquor Lounge & Arcade. Velvet Voyage (in the Wine Bar): 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge.

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Samantha Fish/Austin Walkin’ Cane: 8 p.m., $20 ADV, $22 DOS. Beachland Ballroom. Honeysuckle/Istvan Medgyesi/ Shy Moon: 8:30 p.m., $8 ADV, $10 DOS. Mahall’s 20 Lanes. Al Mazur (in the Wine Bar): 7 p.m. Brothers Lounge. Silver Age/Hang Tight/Forage and Wander/Pollen Eyes/Coldswell (in the Locker Room): 7 p.m., $10. Mahall’s 20 Lanes.

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MATT HECTORNE MEET THE BAND: Matt Hectorne

(vocals, guitar), Nick Wise (guitar, vocals), Dave Douglas (bass, vocals), Al Moss (pedal steel), Evan Storey (drums) A MISSISSIPPI MAN: A singer-

songwriter from Hernando, Mississippi, Hectorne has been writing songs since he was 10 and played in bands throughout high school. He moved to Northeast Ohio on a whim almost a decade ago. A friend of his from Mississippi met a woman online in Ohio and Hectorne came with him to visit. He wound up staying. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I was from a small, conservative town and didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have a reason to go back,â&#x20AC;? says Hectorne. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I started a couple of bands here and just hung out. I just ended up here with no grand scheme.â&#x20AC;? He moved to Nashville a few years ago but came back to Northeast Ohio. In addition to playing with local folk rockers Humble Home, who have since disbanded, heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s released solo albums for the past ďŹ ve years and put out a couple of EPs and a fulllength album. OLDER AND WISER: Hectorneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new

album, Work , shows off his songwriting chops. He started writing the tunes about two years ago but wrote the majority of the album in the ďŹ rst half of 2016. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Whenever I write a batch of songs or make a record, I never realize it in the moment whether they have a theme,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This record had like 25 demos. I never sit down to write a record about speciďŹ c themes, but afterward I realized

there are lots of themes on the record. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m older and married and the record has a wider perspective on the world than I used to have. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m trying to see the bigger picture and enjoy the journey, as cheesy as that might sound.â&#x20AC;? He recorded the tunes in September and October of 2016 at a friendâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s house in East Nashville. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a small, little one-car garage we converted into a studio,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We had to put amps in different rooms in the house, and we drilled holes through the walls to run the cable. It was kind of fun. It was deďŹ nitely DIY.â&#x20AC;? WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR HIM: With their

cooing vocals and slide guitars, songs such as â&#x20AC;&#x153;Only Way Into Your Heartâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;It Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Matter at Allâ&#x20AC;? have a Wilco vibe to them, and the mellow title track possesses a Grateful Dead feel. In Hectorneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s talented hands, the songs come across as natural roots rock explorations. Expect to hear many of Work â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s songs when Hectorne and his local backing band play a show in support of its release at the Beachland Tavern. He and the band will also perform on Feb. 24 at the Brite Winter festival. WHERE YOU CAN HEAR HIM:

matthectorne.com. WHERE YOU CAN SEE HIM: Matt Hectorne

performs with Poro and Shetler Jones at 8:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 2, at the Beachland Tavern. â&#x20AC;&#x201D; JEFF NIESEL

jniesel@clevescene.com t@jniesel


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| clevescene.com | January 31 - February 6, 2018

The regional folk-rock band Oliver Hazard has been tapped to play Bonnaroo.

NATIVE SONS Waterville’s Oliver Hazard has turned heads with its twangy tunes By Jeff Niesel AN OHIO NATIVE, OLIVER Hazard singer Mike Belazis was spending most of his time on Outward Bound backpacking trips in California, but he’d return to his Waterville, Ohio, home during slow periods. When he was back in 2016, he had a “bucket-list moment” and decided he wanted to play a show before the year was over. He secured a slot at a local bar and started writing material. He called his musician friends Griffin McCulloch and Devin East, and they rehearsed a few songs and formed Oliver Hazard. “We had that moment of chemistry, and there was a spark,” says Belazis. “It’s an inexplicable thing.” That same week, the band won a Facebook raffle for one song’s worth of studio time, but instead of just cutting one song, it played 10 tracks straight through live, producing what one publication has described as “a folkpop masterpiece.” About 100 people came to the show the band played in Waterville right before the end of 2016. “We got so much acclaim from people at the bar that it made us think maybe we were playing good music,” says Belazis, who returned to California and stayed there for most of 2017. “We have played one special show about every three months, but it worked out because we haven’t burned out our fanbase and we have seen measurable growth.” “The Toledo and Waterville music scene isn’t reflected in our music,” says McCulloch. “It’s a heavy metal and hardcore scene that doesn’t resonate with us. There’s nothing against that genre. We have a lot of friends in bands who play around Toledo, but we don’t fit.” The twangy “Caesar Knows”

benefits from harmony vocals and sounds like something that might be by Avett Brothers or Lumineers. The song received 100,000 listens in the first month on Spotify. “It was refreshing that our song was being heard by so many people,” says East. “People are liking what you’re doing, and that’s reassuring. We never had this appreciation with any of our other bands.” The band’s forthcoming single, “Hey Louise,” possesses a similar vibe to “Hey Caesar” and features a bit of glockenspiel. “I would say the song is one of the more emotion-driven songs,” Belazis says of “Hey Louise.” “It’s very forthright, but it can still stand out amongst our other songs. It’s more of a ballad on this album. If we had a love song, that would be it.” The group’s success on Spotify has helped secure a gig at Bonnaroo this summer. Belazis says the hullabaloo has been “surreal.” “It feels like a weird dream,” says Belazis. “We’re elated, but it almost doesn’t feel real. We still have so much to do.” After playing a SoFar Sounds show here this past weekend, the band will perform at the Grog Shop with By Light We Loom and the Mason District at 8:30 p.m. on Friday. “The SoFar Sounds show was the first show we played where no one was talking,” says Belazis. “Folk music has a lot of storytelling, so that was great. It was amazing to see people pick up on that and there was an explosion of applause after each song. I think some of those fans will come to the Grog Shop show.”

jniesel@clevescene.com t@jniesel


SAVAGE LOVE LESBORAMA by Dan Savage I am a 38-year-old lesbian, very femme, very out. I have a coworker I can’t figure out. We’ve worked together for a year and gotten very close. I never want to put out the wrong signals to coworkers, and I err on the side of keeping a safe but friendly distance. This is different. We are each other’s confidants at work. We stare at each other across the office, we text until late at night, and we go for weekend dog walks. Her texts aren’t overtly flirty, but they are intimate and feel more than friendly. I’ve never had a “straight” girl act like this toward me. Is she into me? Or just needy? Is it all in my head? — Workplace Obsession Roiling Knowing-If-Nervous Gal Five weeks ago, a letter writer jumped down my throat for giving advice to lesbians despite not being a lesbianmyself.Questionsfromlesbians have been pouring in ever since — lesbians apparently don’t like being told who they may or may not ask for advice. Three weeks ago, I responded to a man whose coworker asked him if he might want to sleep with the coworker’s wife — a coworker who was “not [his] boss”—and people jumped down my throat for entertaining the idea because it is NEVER EVER NEVER EVER okay to sleep with a coworker and/or a coworker’s spouse. And now here I am responding to a question from a lesbian who wants to sleep with a coworker. Farewell to my mentions, as the kids say. Here we go, WORKING ... Your straight-identified workmate could be straight, or she could be a lesbian (lots of lesbians come out later in life), or she could be bisexual (most bisexual women are closeted, and others are perceived to be straight despite their best efforts to identify as bisexual) — and lots of late-in-lifers and/or closeted folks don’t come out until some hot same-sex prospect works up the nerve to ask them out. If your coworker isn’t currently under you at work and you’re not an imminent promotion away from becoming her supervisor and your companydoesn’tincentivizeworkplace romances by banning them, ask your coworker out on a date — an unambiguous ask for a date, not an appointment to meet up at the dog park. And this is important: Before she

can respond to your ask, WORKING, invite her to say “no” if the answer is no or “straight” if the identity is straight. Good luck!

I’m a woman in my early 60s with a healthy lifestyle and an even healthier libido. I’ve had almost exclusively hetero relationships, but I’ve been attracted to women all my life and all of my masturbation fantasies involve women. The older I get, the more I think about a relationship with a woman. The thought of being in love with a woman, making love with her, sharing a life with her — it all sounds like heaven. The trouble is that it’s really hard to see how I’ll meet women who would be interested in me. There’s rarely anyone my age on dating apps. I don’t even know what age range is reasonable. What’s a reasonable age difference for women with women? Also, who is going to be interested in a rookie? Advice? — Energetic Lonely Dame Envisioning Relationship Emmy Award-winning actress Sarah Paulson is 43 years old and Emmy Award-winning actress Holland Taylor is 75 — and Sarah and Holland have been girlfriends for almost three years. Emmy Award-winning talkshow host Ellen DeGeneres is 60 years old and Screen Actors Guild-Awardwinning actress Portia de Rossi is 45 years old — and Ellen and Portia have been together for 13 years and married for almost 10. There are lots of non-Emmy/SAG-Award-winning lesbians out there in relationships with significant age gaps. So don’t let the lack of older women on dating apps prevent you from putting yourself out there on apps and elsewhere, ELDER. As for your rookie status, there’s an example of a lesbian pining over a rookie in this very column! And remember: If you put yourself out there, you might be alone a year from now — but if you don’t put yourself out there, you’ll definitely be alone a year from now.

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Scene january 31, 2018  
Scene january 31, 2018