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JULY 11-17, 2018 • VOLUME 49 NO 2

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

Upfront

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Sin tax funds are rapidly depleting but major upgrades are still slated for stadiums, plus the astonishing lack of diversity at local law firms

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

Feature

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An autopsy of Cleveland’s failed Amazon bid and what it says about our defective leadership

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

Get Out!

Creative Services Production Manager Steve Miluch Staff Photographer Emanuel Wallace

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All the best things to do in Cleveland this week

Business Sales Assistant/Receptionist Megan Stimac Controller Kristy Dotson Circulation Circulation Director Don Kriss Euclid Media Group Chief Executive Officer Andrew Zelman Chief Operating Officers Chris Keating, Michael Wagner VP Digital Services Stacy Volhein Digital Operations Coordinator Jaime Monzon

Stage

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The highs and lows of Next to Normal are explored at Porthouse Theatre

www.euclidmediagroup.com

Film

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

Sorry to Bother You is a sharp satire on race and class

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

Eat

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Steel Reel keeps Cleveland’s film-production community fed, plus Fat Head’s eyes an August opening for new production facility

Cleveland Scene Magazine is published every week by Euclid Media Group. Verified Audit Member Cleveland Distribution Scene is available free of charge, limited to one copy per reader Copyright The entire contents of Cleveland Scene Magazine are copyright 2018 by Euclid Media Group. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher is prohibited. Publisher does not assume any liability for unsolicited manuscripts, materials, or other content. Any submission must include a stamped, self-addressed envelope. All editorial, advertising, and business correspondence should be mailed to the address listed above.

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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’

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Music

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King Buu show off their wicked sense of humor, the Wombats on opening for Weezer and the Pixies, plus all the shows to see this week

Savage Love

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Lopsiders 248-620-2990

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Photo by Erik Drost/FlickrCC

UPFRONT SIN TAX FUNDS RAPIDLY DEPLETING, YET STADIUMS CONTINUE TO SEEK MAJOR UPGRADES A FEW DAYS BEFORE Cleveland City Council president Kevin Kelley rejected more than 20,000 signatures seeking a referendum on the Q Deal in 2017, the executive director of the Gateway Economic Development Corporation, the nonprofit organization that owns and leases the Quicken Loans Arena and Progressive Field on behalf of taxpayers, announced that the “sin tax” well was nearly dry. “Projects may not go forward unless [the teams] self-fund them,” Todd Greathouse said on May 17, noting that there was only about $1.5 million in funds on hand. That was a problem. The sin tax was renewed in 2014 after an aggressive propaganda campaign waged by the Cleveland pro teams and their business allies — “Keep Cleveland Strong” — and now brings in between $13 million and $15 million each year from a tax on cigarettes and alcohol. But that revenue stream is nowhere near enough to pay for the extravagant projected capital projects, on top of required maintenance to HVAC and electrical systems, that the teams continue to itemize. The City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County agreed to evenly split the sin tax revenue among the three pro sports facilities: the two leased by Gateway, and First Energy Stadium, home of the lowly Browns, which is owned by the city. Based on conservative estimates of the total sin tax revenue, each facility would be in line to receive about $86.6 million for capital repairs over the 20-year life of the tax (2015 to 2035). Taxpayers are responsible for all capital repairs that cost more than $500,000, per the lease agreements, and projects at the Q and Progressive Field must be approved by Gateway and then by County Council. (In one of the more brazen lies

by the Cavs during the Q Deal deliberations, Cavs/Quicken Loans Arena CEO Len Komorowski asserted that the team had paid for “all operating, maintenance, repair, and capital expenses” at the arena for the duration of its operating life.) The teams have been spending their sin tax allotments so quickly that funding for necessary maintenance will dry up long before the sin tax comes up for renewal. And given the county’s maxedout credit card, not to mention the audacious repurposing of revenue streams (a portion of the hotel bed tax, a portion of the Q admissions tax) to finance the unrelated Q Deal, there simply won’t be many available options to fund stadium repairs down the road. To pay for projects from 2015 to 2017, the county borrowed $60 million in bonds as an advance on future sin tax revenue. Now, about $7 million per year must be allocated to pay down principal and interest on those bonds. Will Tarter has been attending the Gateway board meetings as a concerned private citizen. He told Scene that he is often the only member of the public in attendance. He compiled data for a report on the funding nightmare that awaits local taxpayers due to the teams’ imprudent spending. (You can read Tarter’s report at clevescene.com.) The Cavaliers, for example, spent $23 million over the course of the sin tax’s first two years, including more than $9 million for a new scoreboard, $4.6 million for a “video production control room,” and $4 million to replace the roof. An additional $11 million in projects, including a $3.5-million “telescopic seating platform,” have been approved by Gateway but are yet to be approved by County Council. In 2016, the Cavs submitted their five-year capital cost projections, which included $17.7 million for a

Construction on Progressive Field in 2015.

total overhaul of the HVAC systems. (An update by the Cavs at the most recent Gateway board meeting on May 23 adjusted those HVAC costs upward by $5 million.) This means, per Tarter’s estimates, that if all projects are approved, the Cavs will have used up $71 million of their approximately $86.6 million in available sin tax dollars in just the first seven years of the tax’s 20-year life. The situation at Progressive Field, Tarter notes, “is even worse.” The Indians currently have used $37 million of their allotment, including more than $16 million for a new scoreboard, with an additional $1.1 million for suite renovations, pending county approval. The five-year capital cost projections that the Indians submitted in 2016 included more than $47 million in projects, before the addition of soft costs, including $12 million for food service equipment and $8.5 million to replace the stadium’s seating. That alone would already put the Indians at the threshold of their $86.6 million estimated sin tax allotment. But last month, the Tribe came knocking once again, asking for $2 million to renovate the ticket booths — too many windows! —

and to expand or restructure the team’s administrative offices to accommodate more employees; plus $6 million to renovate the ballpark’s Club level, including new conceptualizations of all dining areas. The money for these projects simply does not exist, and won’t. And both Gateway and County Council need to draw a line in the sand regarding the sorts of projects they’re willing to approve. Dollars spent on enlivening restaurants or restructuring office space should absolutely be the prerogative of the facilities’ tenants. The Indians, however, have a lease that expires in 2023. They’re wise — from the soulless vantage point of billionaire owners — to bleed the county dry and get every last dollar available in order to maximize the franchise’s value on the private market, should negotiations for a lease extension go south. What’s infuriating is that the public is indeed on the hook for capital projects of over $500,000 at these facilities. But with more scrutiny and independent assessment — are the stadium seats really in bad shape, for example? Or are they just no longer “state of the art”? — the sin tax should be an | clevescene.com | July 11 - 17, 2018

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UPFRONT ample pot. The Q Deal, on the other hand, was not required in any lease. And its blind support from the vast majority of our local elected leaders was a scandal of recklessness and shortsightedness long before it became an abortion of democracy. The understated county councilman Dale Miller mentioned his concern at a Q Deal hearing in 2017. “I’m worried about putting aside funding for reserves [to cover Q Deal shortfalls],” he said, “if we can’t afford to pay for basic maintenance.” Nowhere near worried enough, it’s turning out. — Sam Allard

There’s an Astonishing Lack of Diversity at Top Local Law Firms Of the 1,343 partners at the region’s top 40 law firms, only 56 are minorities. According to the annual “Largest Law Firms” list and survey by Crain’s Cleveland

Business, the total number of minority partners declined by three in the past decade, even as the number of female partners rose slightly. Crain’s Chuck Soder, who analyzed the data, reported that the increase in female partners was driven by “small gains” at firms outside of the region’s Top 10, which are as follows, with number of total partners/female partners/ minority partners in parentheses: 1) Jones Day (60 / 12 / 1 ) 2) Baker & Hostetler (93 / 21 / 2) 3) Benesch (82 /13 / 5) 4) Tucker & Ellis (59 / 12 / 5) 5) Thompson Hine (67 / 13 / 3) 6) Calfee Halter & Griswold (69 / 11 / 2) 7) Squire Patton Boggs (43 / 9 / 2) 8) Ulmer & Berne (46 / 12 / 1) 9) Roetzel & Andress (48 / 9 / 2) 10) McDonald Hopkins (42 / 3 / 0) While these top firms employ fewer attorneys, overall, than they did in 2008 — they evidently never fully recovered from the Great Recession — they also employ fewer female partners (115 today, down from 122 in 2008) and fewer minority partners (23, down from 31), a discouraging trend.

These are striking statistics. The median number of minority partners at the region’s Top 40 law firms is one. Only two of the Top 40 firms employ fewer than 10 local partners, yet 16 of the Top 40 don’t have a single partner who’s nonwhite. White men make up 75 percent of all partners at the Top 40 firms, via Soder’s analysis. And if you’re a white male attorney at one of these firms, “there’s a 64 percent chance that you’re a partner.” There are only two minorities who serve as their firm’s top local executive: Himanshu Amin, managing partner at Amin, Turocy & Watson; and Fred Nance, global managing partner at Squire Patton Boggs. Nance, though, has always punched above his weight class. There was a good deal of fuss, last month, about a speech by Jon Pinney at the City Club in which he challenged the region’s leaders to come together to repair an economic development sector in disarray. The most durable news item from his speech, however, was his failure to identify a diverse crop of emerging leaders. Of the eight economic development leaders he called out by name to take charge, all were white men.

Pinney sidestepped questions in the City Club’s Q&A on the topic, agreeing with those who challenged him that the “alignment process” must be inclusive. He said he was merely naming the existing leaders in the economic development community. He had no role in selecting them. The blame for leadership homogeneity could be placed at the feet of the boards. Alas. Cleveland’s institutional boards are overwhelmingly made up of business executives: the presidents, vice presidents and partners at banks, regional corporations and law firms. These are dudes much like Pinney himself, who enjoys board memberships at the Cuyahoga Community College Foundation, Destination Cleveland, the Front Exhibition Company, the Rock Hall, and Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Pinney was also an executive committee member of the 2016 RNC Host Committee and a co-author of Cleveland’s winning bid. At only 42, Pinney is the managing partner of Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, which is No. 25 on Crain’s annual list of the region’s largest firms. At Kohrman, Pinney actually does wield the requisite influence to determine the makeup

GLOW BIG OR GO HOME

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The nation’s largest urban cycling festival Edgewater Park // Sept. 7-9

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| clevescene.com | July 11 - 17, 2018


of his firm’s leadership. Of the 25 partners there, seven are female. (With 28 percent female partners, this is actually near the high end of the Top 40, where the vast majority count female partners in the 15 to 25 percent range.) The total number of minority partners at Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, however, is zero. Where is the fuss about this egregious lack of diversity, one wonders? Where is the outrage at McDonald Hopkins, a corporate law firm in the region’s Top 10 with only three females and zero minorities as their top attorneys? What about Jones Day, the region’s

DIGIT WIDGET $5,100 Value of 138 items borrowed by someone, presumably using a stolen identity, from the Wadsworth library and never returned. It now restricts users to 50 items at a time.

7 Number of former OSU studentwrestlers, as of press time, who say Rep. Jim Jordan knew of sexual misconduct by a university team doctor while he was an assistant coach and yet did nothing.

0.6 PERCENT GDP growth in Cleveland between 2015 and 2016, immediately following LeBron’s return to Cleveland from Miami, which was less than the city’s GDP growth each of the four years James played for the Heat, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

116 Artists participating in the inaugural FRONT Triennial, which runs July 14 through Sept. 30 at various locations across Cleveland, Akron and Oberlin.

largest firm, with only one nonwhite partner out of 60? Crain’s, to its credit, included questions about minority hiring on its survey for the first time this year. But the list has received precious little coverage. Likewise Soder’s analysis. When Soder tweeted out his story and an accompanying graphic Monday morning, it didn’t garner a single like or retweet. — Allard

convergence-continuum presents:

A WORKSHOP PRODUCTION OF A NEW WORK AND ALL THE DEAD LIE DOWN By Harrison David Rivers NOW ONSTAGE THU-SAT AT 8 PM THROUGH JULY 28 And All the Dead Lie Down. The story of a sero-discordant, interracial gay couple (Foss is HIV+, Alvin is not) dealing with their mixed status relationship, stigmatization, the importance of connection to family (or lack thereof) and their very different backgrounds is brought to a head by an unexpected visit by Foss’ shady, miscreant brother.

It’s About to Get All Witchy Thanks to Coven, Now Open in Lakewood When Miranda Scott closed the doors on her pin-up boutique Retro Rosie back in April, she told Scene about her plans to open a “witchy shop” in the near future. Moon children, that time is now, because Scott opened Coven (1384 Bonnieview Ave., Lakewood) on Wednesday. Coven is a beautiful shop that provides magical provisions for the modern feminist witch. It’s a place where someone can come to dip their toe into the world of witchcraft, as well as to see if it’s a path they would like to explore. “On a micro level, Coven is really just my heart and soul poured out and manifested into a shop,” Scott tells Scene. “It’s the artistic vision of my all my pain, lessons learned and everything I have been through molded by a lot of self love.” Clevelanders can pick up witchy supplies like herbs, candles, sage, anointing oils and healing crystals. If legitimate witchcraft isn’t your thing, aesthetically witchy things are also available, such as a Stevie Nicks worship candle or pins with phrases like, “Hoe don’t do it.” Coven will also offer artisan skincare, teas, bath salts, room sprays and jewelry handcrafted by women, in addition to Spellkits provided by the wonderful Lake Witch. More than just a store, Coven will also provide visitors with a supernatural experience. Candle carving, anointing and blessing will be available in-store, along with a chance to craft your own mojo bag with the help of Coven’s staff. “Coven is a place for babes to gather, a safe place for them to connect with themselves and their intuition,” says Scott. “We are excited to host workshops to help babes feel empowered.” — BJ Colangelo

scene@clevescene.com t@clevelandscene

Following the Thursday performances (July 12, 19 and 26), con-con will be hosting post-show panel conversations in partnership with representatives from The LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland, Recovery Resources, and a POZ identifying community member. In addition, Recovery Resourses will be offering free HIV testing at the theater on Thursday evenings (July 12, 19, 26) before the show, starting at 6 pm.

This production is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County by a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

Liminis Theater 2438 Scranton Rd | Cleveland 44113 | in the historic Tremont neighborhood TICKETS: Fri & Sat: $20 general admission, $15 seniors (65+), $10 students. Thu: $15, $12, $8. Information and tickets at convergence-continuum.org and 216-687-0074

Wˆ…„P>IIF?MOJCMNKL©GFOG[Djw‚‚ƒwz}{WŒ{D cw¢{‚z^{}~Š‰>JJF?LNICJHON©KNOFcw¢{‚zhzD c{„Š…ˆP>JJF?KMGCJIGF©MJNNc{„Š…ˆWŒ{Di‹Š{[ fwˆƒw^{}~Š‰P>JJF?IJKCKOOG©LHMGf{wˆ‚hzD | clevescene.com | July 11 - 17, 2018

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FEATURE UNIQUELY CLEVELAND An essay on the failed Amazon bid and the defective philosophy undermining Cleveland’s progress By Sam Allard Big dreams create the magic that stir men’s souls to greatness. — Bill McCartney Here I sit, broken-hearted Paid a dime and only farted. — anonymous

(1) Like others in the ramshackle local press corps, I assumed that Cleveland’s heavily redacted Amazon bid, released last month after no shortage of fuss, wouldn’t have much journalistic value. I almost didn’t bother reading it. On a recent episode of WCPN’s Reporters’ Roundtable, host Rick Jackson remarked offhandedly that there was more redacted material in the bid than there was available to the public. Cleveland.com editor Chris Quinn dismissed it as well, suggesting that the unredacted content explained nothing that we didn’t already know. At the time, I nodded along. I had my own views about the city’s shortcomings, but only the bid’s incentive package (still under lock and key) would definitively tell the story, I thought. Because the story, surely, was how and why Cleveland failed to make the list of 20 cities that Amazon named as finalists for its second headquarters back in January. This seemed cut and dry. Now, I’m not so sure. I still believe the public is owed the full unredacted bid so we can assess the offered incentives, which are no doubt grotesque. I also wholeheartedly stand with those who have criticized the comical overredaction in the released version, where what appear to be innocuous paragraphs are blacked out in full throughout. But I decided it seemed wasteful not to bring some old-fashioned journalistic rigor to bear on the available material, which turned out to be ample: the majority of seven of the bid’s eight main sections, and more than 120 pages of attachments and supporting documents — the “appendix,” officially — most of

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The first page of Cleveland’s Amazon bid.

which was not only bad, but bad in uniquely Cleveland ways. While I concede that discussing many of these in depth would be overkill — the clumsy PowerPoints, the distracting and often redundant source links, the hideous and uncoordinated fonts — a few are worthy of careful consideration. Because even with significant redactions, the bid goes a long way toward telling an important story. It’s not about how Cleveland’s bid failed, but how its leaders have.

(2) Before diving in, let’s return to Feb. 9, 2018. On that date, Cuyahoga County executive Armond Budish’s chief of staff, Sharon Sobol Jordan, abruptly announced that she’d be vacating her

| clevescene.com | July 11 - 17, 2018

$177,000-per-year post to become the CEO and first full-time employee of something called the Unify Project. I trust I wasn’t the only one who greeted word of this hopscotch exit with skepticism — or rather, cynicism, the full-blown variety that tends to result in coffee all over your computer screen or conversation partner. Sobol Jordan had been the subject of a subpoena by the county prosecutor’s office, delivered to county HQ that very day, and when I read about her new gig, I hooted: “How convenient!” Besides, what the hell was the Unify Project? In his story explaining Sobol Jordan’s departure, Cleveland.com’s Peter Krouse reported that the Unify Project was a “nonprofit-supporting organization to the county and other public and nonprofit agencies.” When it launched, it would supposedly

“employ massive sets of data, machine learning and blockchain technology to unify socioeconomic data at scale.” It’s unclear what any of that meant. Krouse struck out when he attempted to glean additional details, in English, from one of the Unify Project’s co-founders, Stephen McHale. (McHale is the big-shot angel investor and Explorys cofounder who, among other things, was one of the Eight White Males called upon to lead by lawyer Jon Pinney in his ballyhooed City Club speech last month). “McHale declined to elaborate on the Unify Project’s goals,” Krouse reported, “or the technology that will be used to achieve them.” A county press release on Sobol Jordan’s move declared that the Unify Project was set to “officially kick off” this spring.


Photo Courtesy City Club of Cleveland

Alas, spring has come and gone. Ass-cracks everywhere are approaching their summer swampiest, yet the Unify Project remains a mystery. My early cynicism about Sobol Jordan’s sudden change of scenery seemed to be gaining merit by the hour. After solid early reports by Cleveland.com and Scene about Sobol Jordan’s MBA at Ohio State, a degree pursued on county time with Armond Budish’s blessing (an arrangement county prosecutors were most keen to explore), there had been no news of what she was up to in her new role. I sought updates on the Unify Project’s progress last month, sending an email to the “info@ unifyproject.com” address, not unlike an island castaway hurling a bottled rescue plea into the ocean. Who against hope believed in hope, etc. So I was delighted — frankly stunned — to be contacted by cofounding director Jim Hickey a few days later. From an airplane seat, Hickey told me that the Unify Project was still in “startup mode” and likely wouldn’t have any concrete information to share until late summer. Even that time frame sounded tentative over the phone. When I asked him what the Unify Project was, exactly, and told him I was curious how it related to luxury car-dealer-cum-civic-star Bernie Moreno’s quote-unquote Blockland initiative, Hickey offered to put me in touch with Charles Lougheed, another co-founder. Lougheed was serving as interim CTO, Hickey said, and could more capably explain the blockchain technology that may or may not have something to do with the Unify Project’s goals. Please do, I said. But to be clear, the Unify Project is still in pre-launch territory. There is no information whatsoever on its website. Peter Krouse’s story has been the only thing written about it in the local media. It doesn’t do anything yet. It’s not an insult to suggest that the project’s timeline, clients and deliverables, to say nothing of its mission, are still very much subject to change. So I was surprised — this is a rhetorical device; I was not surprised — to see the Unify Project featured so prominently in Cleveland’s failed bid for Amazon’s HQ2.

(3) The Unify Project, styled throughout the bid as a single word, appeared on the package’s very

Jon Pinney at the City Club.

first page of text after the table of contents. It was extolled as one of the top five regional selling points by Cleveland mayor Frank Jackson and county executive Armond Budish. “Only in Cleveland,” they wrote, “the UnifyProject is leveraging the power of big data to create a sustainable investment system that will define health and drive solutions to poverty.” This was wild. It was second only to “health care” on the list of areas “where we authentically shine.” (The bid’s title, for the record, was “AUTHENTICITY,” about which please don’t get me started.) Later, in the “Innovation and Entrepreneurial Spirit” section, the Unify Project was described once again as “an investment model” geared toward eradicating poverty. “Poverty is unacceptable, unnecessary and unsustainable,” the bid declaimed, a statement belied by the region’s policy prerogatives of the past half-century. “The goal of the UnifyProject is to shift from a charity to an investment model and build an inclusive economy that empowers all to live in prosperity. The project focuses on using big data to drive efficiency in redefining health, optimize the use of resources and reshape the medical and health care world to invest in and ensure sustainable, scalable solutions.” Quoth the raven, “What the fuck?” This word salad made even less sense than McHale’s early quotes to Peter Krouse. It was news to me, for example, that the Unify Project had so much to do with health care. That sounded much more like Explorys, Stephen McHale’s company that was sold to IBM. And if you’ll forgive the tin foil hat, it probably was Explorys, harvested from that company’s

product descriptions. Take the Explorys “value-based care offerings,” which — this is straight from the website — “deliver innovation designed to help drive value for providers and health care organizations as they work to manage population health, deliver more efficient care, engage patients and consumers, and optimize business performance through the power of data-driven insights.” It’s not cut-and-paste plagiarism, but the bid’s copywriters certainly seem to have been working from the same laundry list of buzzwords: Big data! Optimization! Efficiency! What was obvious to me, reading the bid’s descriptions of the Unify Project — and I mean instantly — was that the Unify Project did not yet exist. Here was an imaginary organization cobbled together from a handful of sexy, though not necessarily compatible, themes. Nevertheless, in the bid’s final section, “Cleveland Tiebreakers,” the Unify Project was hailed yet again, described in similar, but somehow even more embarrassing, terms. “The UnifyProject is the most broad-reaching effort ever mounted to use big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning to end poverty,” the bid read. “The project brings together the brightest minds in medicine, education and philanthropy. It offers a dynamic opportunity to utilize Amazon expertise, technologies and cloud capacity, and to collaborate on the world’s most ambitious urban renewal effort.” Quoth the raven, “Nevermore.” There’s no use unpacking all that nonsense. It’s enough to recall that the Unify Project does not yet formally exist. It cannot be the most broad-reaching effort ever mounted to do anything, because it has not

yet been mounted. According to its founding director not two weeks ago, it’s still in “startup mode” and won’t be able to provide information of any kind for at least a few months. That would be bonkers enough on its own. But recall that Cleveland’s Amazon bid was completed in October 2017, a full five months before the Unify Project hired its first full-time employee. This is not to disparage the Unify Project. For all I know, it really might become a legitimate effort to reshape the medical world. Alternately, it might become the most broad-reaching effort ever mounted to end poverty. It might have something to do with blockchain technology. It even might be the world’s most ambitious — Lord give me strength — urban renewal effort. But right now it’s just an idea, or perhaps a batch of ideas, that may or may not ever cohere. I, for one, have yet to be convinced that it’s anything more than a pipe dream whose publicity was accelerated to provide a soft landing for a political ally in hot water. Hickey told me that he and the other cofounders were working part time from a base of operations on the old Hornblowers barge, home of Hickey’s other company, Arras Keathley communications. And it sure didn’t sound like a launch was imminent. What I’m trying to criticize is not the various potential goals of the Unify Project, rather, the absurdity of vaunting it — indeed, of including it among the region’s top five selling points — before it has accomplished anything, or even figured out what it intends to do. This is lunacy. The level of self-delusion (or else bald deceit) involved in framing the Unify Project, an abstract set of ideas based on buzzwords, as the most | clevescene.com | July 11 - 17, 2018

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FEATURE broad-reaching effort ever mounted, or as the most ambitious anything, is staggering. But it provides critical insight into how Cleveland’s leaders think and operate. (For shorthand — and I know the term has baggage — I’ll refer to the region’s business and civic leaders, and the politicians in their pockets, as “elites.”)

(4) What local elites love more than anything is a superlative. They want the region to be, or be home to, the biggest, the best, the most and the first … of anything. This is why Jackson and Budish begin their description of the as-yet nonexistent Unify Project with the ejaculatory, “Only in Cleveland.” This is why the bid’s authors, in concert with elite preference, boldly assert that an untested project in startup mode is — note: not “will be,” is — “the most broad-reaching effort ever mounted,” without having any clue (or preference, I’d submit) about what

the effort will be mounted to do. End poverty? Redefine health care? Create an investment model? Unify socioeconomic data at scale? Do something related to urban renewal? Who cares! It’s immaterial. All that matters is the superlative. It’s an obsession, an imperative of local elite culture. And it leads to the cringe-worthy hyperbole that’s absolutely everywhere in the failing bid. The superlative imperative lurks behind the slavering promotion of Cleveland’s inclusion on national lists. “Just last week, USA Today named us one of the top romantic spring getaways!” Armond Budish rejoiced at nothing less than his State of the County address in 2015. “I don’t know how they conducted that survey, but we’ll take it!” The superlative imperative not only leads to, but necessitates, irrational decision making. In the elite consciousness, being among the smallest U.S. cities with three major sports teams is so positive — we get to “punch above our weight class” — that it’s worthy of crippling ongoing public subsidies to preserve. The superlative imperative perpetuates a faulty hierarchy of priorities where trivia trump quality.

Local elites can be counted upon to mention, just for one example, that Cleveland was the first city to connect its downtown to an international airport by rail. (In the Amazon bid’s appendix, where the tidbit appears, “FIRST” is in allcaps.) Yet these same elites have done nothing to advocate for the ailing public transit system of which the Red Line is a vital piece. Broadly speaking, the superlative imperative is a root cause that has led to the region’s economic stagnation. It has led elites, for decades, to pursue and promote fanciful megaprojects at the expense of Cleveland’s civic and financial health.

(5) I submit as further evidence (only because it’s fresh) the mobilization efforts in the wake of Jon Pinney’s City Club speech last month, which he titled, presumably without irony, “Dead Last.” Clawing out of the gutter in recent economic rankings was one of Pinney’s stated goals. And yet, the emergent strategies being bandied about in the relevant C-suites are not to tackle specific

problems that would drastically improve the quality of life for the region’s poor — e.g. lobbying for public transit funding or the repeal of preemptive legislation that prohibits local funding mechanisms; privately funding a citywide lead-remediation initiative; creating or supporting more and better employment programs that provide paid on-the-job training and pathways for advancement; supporting legislation to increase the minimum wage — but to conjure up anything at all to be the best at or have the biggest of. This is the superlative imperative at work. In the elite psyche, it’s pathological, which means examples are not at all hard to find. You can and should — for sport, if not for corroboration — scan virtually any op-ed by a civic leader from the past 40 years to see what I’m talking about. Take Pinney’s most recent piece in Crain’s. In it, he said that he and his Leadership Cleveland cohort had developed a plan to help get Cleveland off those damnable lists. “A group of business and civic leaders, including myself, have formed a planning team to build the nation’s largest and most advanced technology and entrepreneurial ecosystem hub,” he wrote (italics

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added). “We picked an ideal site, met with the property owner who sees the vision and are working on a model. Anyone who wants to help is welcome to join us. This will require unprecedented collaboration.â€? Not for nothing, but Pinney’s whole speech had been about how much Cleveland’s economic development system sucks. Why would he take a moonshoot, in the elite patois, which will require “unprecedentedâ€? collaboration from a leadership sector he just publicly reamed for its unwillingness to collaborate? This is the superlative imperative. Largest! Most Advanced! Unprecedented! Does this stuff make any sense to anyone else? As far as I can tell, it’s just supposed to sound impressive. What is a “technology and entrepreneurial ecosystem hub,â€? for example? And why would a hub, which to me just connotes a concentration of companies, itself need to be advanced? Pinney’s an easy target because he’s put himself out there recently, but rest assured that the superlative imperative is deeply ingrained among elites. By now, I honestly think it’s kind of unconscious, as I say, kind of pathological. Otherwise, who on earth do they think they’re fooling? Certainly not Amazon, who was in any case advised, on Page 6 of the bid, that they had a “rare opportunityâ€? to join “a business community and public sector renowned for their collaboration.â€? I beg your pardon? Renowned by whom? Not by Jon Pinney, who asserted, after extensive conversations with the region’s executives, that “there is no buy in, and there’s no real agreement on what plan is governing our economic development system. The culture is not collaborative.â€? Pinney must know that one does not so easily disabuse Cleveland elites of their precious, peerless collaboration. The public-private partnership is among the most sacred of elite values. (For the record, it’s a value I’ve regarded with extreme skepticism. My assumption, borne out by my reporting, has been that public-private partnerships, locally construed, tend to be a great deal for the private partners and a shitty deal for the public ones. Who needs reporting, though, when private partners keep raving about the success of these partnerships in deďŹ ance of Cleveland’s economic performance?) Just last week, the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Deb Janik declared at a panel that “no one does

public-private partnerships better� than Greater Cleveland. “And no one ever has,� she said. No one ever has? Sheesh. Rhapsodizing about public-private partnerships is more or less GCP’s posture in repose, but no one ever has? You’d be forgiven for thinking that you couldn’t get any more superlative than that, but Janik promptly one-upped herself, guiding the imperative to its logical conclusion: “Cleveland,� she told the audience, “is the greatest city in the country.�

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(6) It’d be easier to dismiss a lot more of this stuff as cute boosterism if the region weren’t in such bad shape. That’s what makes the “think audaciouslyâ€? moonshot rhetoric so offensive: It’s not new. The superlative imperative has been operative for decades, and the results speak for themselves: This is a region with low educational attainment, bottomof-the-barrel employment numbers, gasp-worthy health outcomes, dramatic economic disparities and a populace so segregated it could stand in for a pre-1968 map of Cleveland. If there’s one thing elites don’t need, it’s more audacity. Yet audacious goal setting has been pegged as one antidote to the region’s ills. MetroHealth CEO Akram Boutros penned a guest column for Cleveland. com shortly after Pinney’s speech recasting the call for alignment thus: “To thrive as a region, we must make audacious plans. We need the next generation of leaders to set these courageous goals.â€? From almost any other ďŹ gure, that sort of language would be both terrifying and banal, given both the calamitous and predictably calamitous results of recent audacious planning. But Boutros, since he arrived in 2013, has behaved contrary to the established style of local elites. For one thing, he had the good sense to acknowledge the “next generation of leaders,â€? a concept which has yet to dawn on Cleveland elites from the ’80s and ’90s — that is to say, current elites. In more tangible contrast to his peers, Boutros sets goals, and then takes practical steps to achieve them. At a speech he gave to the YWCA in 2015 (anthologized later as “I’m Guiltyâ€? in A Race Anthology: Dispatches and Artifacts from a Segregated City), Boutros described how he and his leadership team made diversity in hiring a priority

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FEATURE at MetroHealth. They took ďŹ ve concrete steps, he said, including hiring a manager of diversity recruitment and making job experience carry as much weight as academic attainment for applicants. This produced striking results. “Of the leaders we hired in 2013 ‌ 14 percent were minorities,â€? Boutros said. “Last year, 37 percent of them were. If you look just at vice presidents, 25 percent of them that we hired in 2013 were AfricanAmerican, Asian or Latino. Last year, every single one of them — 100 percent — were.â€? This message might as well have been in Tagalog as far as local elites were concerned. Their standard operating procedure is to set an audacious goal; bathe in the immediate, euphoric headlines; bully or dupe the public into paying for it, or at least a study of it; and then forget about it. Indeed, one of the most harmful aspects of the superlative imperative is that superlatives are often chased and championed for their own sake. Related outcomes seldom matter.

The “Cleveland Tiebreakersâ€? page in the Amazon bid is luridly illustrative of this dissonance, despite the fact that only three of the ďŹ ve items are unredacted. One of the three I already mentioned: the urban renewal startup known as the Unify Project, which appears under the header, “Attacking Poverty.â€? Another is “Health Care Capital.â€? I assumed “capitalâ€? was meant in the sense of ‘human capital,’ until I recognized it as an echo of the Jackson/Budish opening letter, in which they dubbed Cleveland the “medical capital of the United States.â€? (Being anything’s “capitalâ€? is a variation on the superlative imperative. See, for instance, Bernie Moreno’s “Blocklandâ€? initiative, in which he wants to make Northeast Ohio the “national epicenterâ€? of “all things blockchain.â€?) Our health care capital includes the CWRU School of Medicine, three highly-ranked medical centers, including the Cleveland Clinic, and the “one-of-a-kindâ€? Global Center for Health Innovation. The Global Center is touted earlier in the bid as a “gateway to host and engage the ďŹ nest medical and health care institutions and companies.â€? This Global Center language is

not a slam-dunk example of what I’ve identiďŹ ed as the superlative imperative because it’s much more bold-faced lying than self-delusion. Anyone older than 4 knows perfectly well that the Global Center, for the majority of its life, has been an unqualiďŹ ed disaster. If it’s been a gateway to host and engage anything, it’s been to host hungry lunchtime diners at the chic (and recently expanded!) Au Bon Pain and engage them with a sandwich. “Desperate cities do desperate things,â€? said economist Heywood Sanders, in a recent Chicago Tribune recap of the ill-fated Global Center. “It didn’t make sense then, and it doesn’t seem to make sense now.â€? The Global Center is not an asset to be celebrated; it’s a humiliation to be salvaged. Yet in the Amazon bid, it’s “one-of-akind,â€? a “gateway to host the ďŹ nest medical companies.â€? The Cleveland Clinic is a stronger example. It is the crown jewel of the medical capital of the United States and is annually ranked at or near the top of authoritative healthcare lists. And yet, as Dan Diamond wrote in a deeply reported story for Politico last year, the neighborhoods surrounding the hospital are some of Cleveland’s poorest and unhealthiest.

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The Clinic walked away with more than $2.7 billion in proďŹ ts in the four years prior to Diamond’s piece, yet they pay no property taxes on their land in Cleveland, estimated in 2013 to be worth north of $1 billion. The exemption on what should be $35 million-plus in annual taxes is predicated in part on the hospital’s community outreach. The community, then, has good reason to question whether the Clinic is doing enough. These questions and discrepancies are agrantly apparent — some say unconscionable — to all but the most disciplined elites, who refuse to see the folly in patting themselves on the back for the success of a healthcare facility while doing little to improve, if not ignoring outright, the health of the population. The third and ďŹ nal unredacted Cleveland Tiebreaker is what’s called the city’s “Digital Backbone.â€? We are told, among other things, that Cleveland owns the nation’s ďŹ rst — ďŹ rst! — commercially available 100-gigabit ďŹ ber network, and “is on the path to transforming into the most wired city in America.â€? What the bid fails to mention is that Cleveland is very early on that path indeed. Last year, DigitalC’s

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Liz Lazar called Cleveland’s digital divide both “staggering� and “scary� in an interview with Rick Jackson on WCPN. At the time, fully 50 percent of residents didn’t have internet access in their homes. Cleveland trailed only Detroit and Brownsville, Texas, in that metric. Where else but Cleveland, a city in thrall of superlatives, does “third-least wired city in America� translate to “on the path to becoming the most wired city in America�?

(7) Any mildly alert scholarship applicant can tell you that the one thing adjudicators look for in an application, above all else, is originality. And Cleveland’s Amazon bid just didn’t have it. The whole thing felt so impersonal. The attached letters from local business and political leaders were shockingly bland and templatized. Many of them featured identical sentences and statistics. Only the Cleveland Foundation’s Ronn Richard bothered to include his phone number and seemed vaguely interested in sharing his personal thoughts about living in Cleveland. Frank Jackson’s letter, a brisk and bloodless three paragraphs, invited Jeff Bezos to get in touch, via email, with his chief of government and international affairs, Valarie McCall. It seems clear that GCP, Team NEO and the partners who worked on the bid probably did so in full knowledge that the region didn’t stand much of a chance. I’ve talked to a few leaders who were not involved who told me that producing the bid was likely a grim and thankless chore. And there’s always a degree of exaggeration and overselling inherent in material of this sort. The way Amazon pitted cities against each other during the HQ2 sweepstakes demanded it, in fact, which we should all interpret as a dark portent. Still, Frank Jackson and Armond Budish praised the bid — when it was still being kept a secret — as another shining example of the region’s collaborative spirit. And they repeated over and over, at the behest of their private masters, that the bid’s secrecy was a prerequisite for Cleveland’s ultimate victory. SufďŹ ce it to say, it was not. And the economic development community, alongside elites more generally, have worked themselves into a lather after this embarrassment. There seems to be a genuine desire to improve in areas where Cleveland has long lagged behind.

But if elites are willing to be serious about this effort, they’ll have to countenance the fact that their brand of audacious planning and public-private partnerships have immiserated and disenfranchised enormous sectors of the population for decades. Their priorities have led, in no small part, to the region’s current lowly status. A truly courageous leader will tell her peers that that — their very way of thinking — is what needs to change. I’m as stunned as anyone that the incipient Unify Project might hold a possible solution. The goal of the project, as described at one point in the bid, is to “shift from a charity to an investment model.â€? (A model, I presume, for ending poverty.) This struck me as accidentally accurate. Because in the current model, elites tend to view the work of improving the city through the lens of do-gooderism. Corporate citizenship, or just plain old citizenship, has been consigned to volunteers and activists and philanthropic organizations. Equity? Integration? Literacy? Lead? In the elite consciousness, that’s for the United Way to handle. That’s for the Cleveland Foundation. (And fear not: The philanthropic community is likewise ensnared in the clutches of superlative. The Cleveland Foundation will always be the nation’s ďŹ rst community foundation, even though it’s no longer the largest.) But what if elites could be persuaded to understand that these sorts of initiatives and policies — improving the lives of “the least of us,â€? in Frank Jackson’s language — were actually investments? Boutros, in that YWCA speech, said that MetroHealth’s diversity initiative was ultimately good for his organization’s bottom line. “It’s what makes us successful,â€? he said. “But to reach that success, we have to ďŹ rst admit that we are part of the problem.â€? Cleveland’s public and private leaders need to admit the same. Then, they need to recognize that the issues residents care about and advocate for can be good for the city’s bottom line too, in both the short and long terms. Once those light bulbs ash, and elites intuit that a donation for the least of us is, in another sense, an investment in all of us, they’ll be well on their way to an even brighter epiphany: The goal should be making Cleveland better, not making it the best.

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GET OUT everything you should do this week Photo by Micky Clément

WED

for more info. (Niesel) 14591 Superior Rd., Cleveland Heights, 216-371-3000, cainpark.com.

07/11

MUSIC

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Summer Concert Series Each summer, the National Park Service teams up with the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park to produce a free summer concert series at Howe Meadow in Peninsula. This summer’s schedule includes several terrific local acts such as singer-songwriter David Mayfield, who performs tonight. The concerts start at 6:30 p.m. For more information visit the website. (Jeff Niesel) 4040 Riverview Rd., Peninsula, conservancyforcvnp.org. SPORTS

Indians vs. Cincinnati Reds The “Battle for Ohio” comes to Progressive Field today as the Indians take on interleague rivals the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds haven’t had a winning team in a few years, but after a horrible start, the team has started to come together and had a particularly good homestand against the Chicago Cubs last month. Tonight’s game begins at 7:10 at Progressive Field. Tickets start at $15. (Niesel) 2401 Ontario St., 216-420-4487, clevelandindians.com. COMEDY

Shane Mauss In his routine called the “Butt Screamer,” comedian Shane Mauss jokes about how he likes to stick his head into his girlfriend’s butt when she’s bent over and then begin to have a conversation. “Once in a while, I scream into her butthole,” he says very matter-of-factly. He admits that it’s a “peculiar” thing to do but it leads him to a conversation about nature versus nurture. Mauss never gets too worked up when he’s cracking jokes and his low-key style comes off as rather endearing. He performs tonight at 8 at Hilarities. Tickets are $15 and $20. (Niesel) 2035 East Fourth St., 216-241-7425, pickwickandfrolic.com. FAMILY FUN

Wade Oval Wednesdays A summer tradition continues tonight from 6 to 9 at Wade Oval in University Circle. It’s Wade Oval Wednesday, and there will be local food vendors, a beer and wine tent, a farmers market and free kids’

MUSIC

Jupiter & Okwess perform at Uptown in University Circle. See: Saturday.

activities — all laid out on the Wade Oval lawn, adjacent to Cleveland Botanical Garden, the Cleveland Art Museum, and the Cleveland Natural History Museum. Some museums will stay open late too. Tonight’s musical entertainment comes from rockabilly group Lost State of Franklin. Details are on the website. (Niesel) universitycircle.org.

THU

07/12

MUSIC

Edgewater Live A few years ago, the Cleveland Metroparks launched its extremely popular Edgewater Live series of Thursday-night happy-hour concerts. The fun returns this year, with musical performances from 4:30 to 9 p.m. every Thursday through Aug. 2. In addition to a local band, activities include yoga, standup paddleboarding and cornhole. Those ubiquitous food trucks will be on hand, of course, and the Beach House will sell drinks and food as well. It’s free. (Niesel) 6500 Cleveland Memorial Shoreway NW, clevelandmetroparks.com. SHOPPING

Girls Night Out Girls Night Out, a wine-and-shopping event at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, offers after-hours Aquarium access as guests shop for jewelry, clothing, purses and other “must-have” items from a variety of pop-up shops including the Sorelle Boutique, the Cocoa Exchange and others. The local jazz act Hubb’s Groove will perform. Tickets are $35 per person, and that includes two glasses of wine, appetizers and dessert. Guests also receive one general admission voucher for a

future aquarium visit. (Niesel) 2000 Sycamore Street, 216-862-8803, greaterclevelandaquarium.com. COMEDY

Harland Williams At one point in his career, standup comedian Harland Williams started to get roles in major motion pictures. He played an imprisoned roommate in Half-Baked, a serial killer in There’s Something About Mary, and a state trooper who drank urine in Dumb and Dumber. For his standup gigs, he’ll talk about everything from relationships to pumpkins and Rice Krispies squares. His improvisational skills won him the award for best improviser on Thank God You Are Here, and he often interacts with audience members. He performs tonight at 8 at Pickwick and Frolic, where he has shows scheduled through Saturday. Tickets start at $23. (Niesel) 2035 East Fourth St., 216-241-7425, pickwickandfrolic.com.

FRI

07/13

ART

Cain Park Arts Festival This weekend’s Cain Park Arts Festival includes approximately 150 artists (25 of whom are award winners from the previous year who were automatically accepted into this year’s show) who work in a variety of media including painting, watercolors, printmaking, photography, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, wood, leather, glass and other materials. This year’s edition takes place from 3 to 8 p.m. today, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. tomorrow and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. A free parking shuttle is available Saturday and Sunday at Cleveland Heights City Hall. Consult the Cain Park website

Flat Out Fridays The East Bank of the Flats features a slew of great bars and restaurants. To take advantage of the terrific riverfront location, the venues have partnered for Flat Out Fridays, a summer music series by the waterfront that includes sweet treats, beverages and other outdoor entertainment. Tonight’s Flat Out Friday runs from 6 to 10 p.m. and features music from Faction. Additional festivities take place on the second Friday of every month through September. Admission is free, and you can find the details on the website. (Niesel) 1055 Old River Rd, 202-628-0123, flatseastbank.com. MUSIC + TATTOOS

Inkcarceration Festival More than 30 bands will perform at the inaugural Inkcarceration Music and Tattoo Festival set to take place today through Sunday at the Historic Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield. The bill includes acts such as Rise Against, A Day to Remember, Bush, Of Mice and Men, Clutch, Our Lady Peace, Suicidal Tendencies, Fuel, Hatebreed, Sevendust, Living Colour and Alien Ant Farm. The festival will also include over 70 booths featuring local and regional tattoo artists, and there will be tours of the Historic Ohio State Reformatory, home of the Shawshank Rebellion prison. Admission to the festival includes entry to Hellzapoppin, a theatrical rock ’n’ roll circus stunt show that features “death-defying stunts” such as fire eating, fire breathing, a machete walk, acrobatic stunts, sword swallowing, knife throwing and archery using human targets. (Niesel) inkcarceration.com. MUSIC

Kent Blues Fest Kent offers a number of great music venues, and tonight, downtown bars and clubs will host the 10th Annual Kent Blues Fest. Thirty acts will perform at 24 locations including restaurants, bars, bookstores and outdoor parks. Acts such as Wallace Coleman, Colin John, the Ohio Weather Band, Dave Hammer, Cody Martin and Armstrong Bearcat Band are all slated to play. Admission is | clevescene.com | July 11 - 17, 2018

17


GET OUT free. Find a complete schedule on the website. (Niesel) kentbluesfest.com. MUSIC

Legacy Live One of Northeast Ohio’s most popular free concert series, Legacy Live has become a tradition that families and couples look forward to each summer. The concerts, which take place on the Legacy Village lawn at 6:30 each Friday and Saturday night throughout the summer, feature local bands that play everything from blues to jazz and rock. Tonight’s entertainment comes from the folk/American band Rockport; tomorrow, catch a performance from the acoustic rock act Back 9 Par 4. Admission is free; the series continues through Aug. 31. (Niesel) 25333 Cedar Rd., Lyndhurst, 216-382-3871, legacy-village.com.

will serve up bourbon-and-whiskeybased cocktail and dinner specials that go with the local female artists who will perform. It’s all part of its Whiskey & Women music series. The drink menu includes a Dark Rye Manhattan, Kentucky Mule, Bourbon Ricky and Blackberry Mint Lemonade. Food specials include blackened bourbon chicken with whiskey cream corn and

07/14

DANCE

Cabaret Nights Revue Cabaret Nights Revue tells the story of Parisian dancers who performed on the sultry Las Vegas Strip. The show features live music, “daring choreography” and authentic costumes. The performance, by a cast

ALL SUMMER LONG

A Symphony of Food and Fine Wine This benefit featuring Cleveland Orchestra musicians, a gardento-table dinner on Blossom’s stage and special wine pairings serves to support the Cleveland Orchestra’s performances and activities at Blossom Music Center. A Mozart flute quartet with Cleveland Orchestra Musicians will perform, and there will be an auction of prized wines. The food will come from local farms. The event takes place at 6 p.m. at Blossom. Consult the orchestra website for ticket prices. (Niesel) 1145 West Steels Corners Rd., Cuyahoga Falls, 216-231-1111, clevelandorchestra.com.

7/12 Sun Sets w/ Devon Gilfillian

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The weekend boasts local, regional and national artists including New Order, Avett Brothers, SZA and AWOLNATION in downtown Cleveland.

9/15 2014 Inductee John Oates (Hall & Oates) w/ Good Road Band

7/21 2009 INDUCTEE Wanda Jackson 8/11 Social Distortion @ Klipschfest 8/16 Blues, Bikes & BBQ

ART

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

Whiskey & Women The second Friday of every month this summer, Prosperity Social Club

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

FUNDRAISER

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SAT

Wanda Jackson

Ricky Byrd

Devon Gilfillian

BAR & FOOD TRUCKS OPEN FOR ALL EVENTS

Details & tickets: rockhall.com/summer

India Food Fair 2018 Today, St. Gregorios Malankara (Indian) Orthodox Church in Macedonia has served Orthodox Christians from Cleveland, Akron, Cincinnati, Columbus, Youngstown, and the Pittsburgh areas for more than 20 years. Today, the church hosts the inaugural India Food Fair 2018, which it hopes will become an annual event. Designed to celebrate Indian cuisine and culture by highlighting Indian food, local dance forms, music, art, crafts and games, the event takes place from 1 to 8 p.m. Admission is free. (Niesel) 1252 East Aurora Rd., Macedonia, indiafoodfaircleveland.com. MUSIC

Jupiter & Okwess The Cleveland Museum of Art and FRONT International have joined forces this year for City Stages, CMA’s summer concert series that, in the past, has taken place in Ohio City. This year, shows will still take place outside the Transformer Station in Ohio City on Wednesdays throughout July, but they’ll also migrate to other parts of the city. The series commences tonight at 7:30 with Jupiter Bonkodji, a Kinshasa musician who weaves Congolese rhythms into contemporary African music. He’ll perform with his backing band, Okwess. That concert will be part of FRONT’s public opening celebration that includes late hours and special exhibitions at MOCA, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Cleveland Institute of Art. The concert takes place at Uptown in University Circle. Admission is free. (Niesel) clevelandart.org. FUNDRAISER

rustic mashed potatoes, bourbon glazed salmon with maple brown butter sweet corn and lemon dill potatoes, and peppered sirloin with whiskey and mushroom pasta. Local “mountain pop” singersongwriter Jen Maurer performs at 8 tonight. Admission is free. (Niesel) 1109 Starkweather Ave., 216-937-1938, prosperitysocialclub.com.

| clevescene.com | July 11 - 17, 2018

of professional dancers, takes place tonight at 7:30 at Kennedy’s Theatre. Tickets are $26. (Niesel) 1501 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org. SHOPPING

The Cleveland Flea A self-described “small business incubator” that draws thousands of local shoppers to Tyler Village, the Cleveland Flea features a range of

La Bastille In what’s billed as a “highly anticipated summer event,” you can celebrate the storming of the Bastille and the fight for equality at La Bastille, a special dinner tonight at Edwins. There will be a silent auction and raffles to help raise money for Edwins’ programs. The menu will feature French fare (from the traditional to the exotic). Vegetarian/ vegan options will also be offered.


JULY 13, 2018

KENT, OH 10th annual

FRIDAY, JULY 13 | 8P-12A

EVIL WAYS SANTANA TRIBUTE Featuring Live Music at Over 20 Venues, Including:

Colin John / 15-60-75 (The Numbers Band) Mick Rogers Band / The Juke Hounds Cody J. Martin / Roger Hoover John Patrick and the Outside Voices Nate Lupi / Clapton Tribute: Revolution Mike Lenz / Dale Galgozy / Pernetti & Hill Jon Mosey Trio / Lazarus / Pat Vaughan Armstrong Bearcat Band / Ian Penter DenZon and the Road Dogz feat Joe Vitale Jake James and the Freight BC Hudson & Daryl Rowland Wallace Coleman / Joe Leaman and Tony Spicer Backstreet Blues Band / The Ohio Weather Band Dave Hammer / Breezy and the Sleeves Gaetano Letizia & the Underworld Blues Band The Zydeco Kings Duo / The Bluestones Jarred Goldweber and the Park Brothers For a Full Schedule and Festival Info, Visit:

KENTBLUESFEST.COM

SATURDAY, JULY 14 2-6P

TED RISER 8P-12A

ROCK THE HOUSE SUNDAY, JULY 15 | 2-6P

ABBY NORMAL LIVE MUSIC

July 5 ......................Radio Active

ALL SUMMER

July 12 .............. Breakfast Club

THURSDAY-SUNDAY

July 19 .................Yosemite Slip July 26 .................. Players Club

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

www.facebook.com/whiskeyislandstillandeatery www.whiskeyislandstillandeatery.net | clevescene.com | July 11 - 17, 2018

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GET OUT Dessert items include a pot de crème, Meyer lemon tart, macarons and more. The event begins at 6 p.m., and tickets are $125 per person; $75 is a tax-deductible contribution. Find details, and buy your ticket, on the website. (Niesel) 13101 Shaker Square, 216-921-3333, edwinsrestaurant.org. FAMILY FUN

Lakewood Summer Meltdown Now in its ninth year, Lakewood Summer Meltdown takes place today on Detroit Avenue between Marlowe and Mars. The street festival features all sorts of outdoor games and activities, including a 5-K race and a 1-mile Kids Fun Race for the little ones. (You can register for the races on the website.) The local band Front Porch Lights will perform, food trucks will arrive and (yes!) there is a beer garden. The fest takes place from 4 to 10 p.m. Admission is free. (Niesel) lakewoodalive.com. MUSIC

Rock & Recovery with Inductee Ricky Byrd Rock Hall inductee Ricky Byrd joins Michael Des Barres, Liberty DeVitto, and Paul Ill to discuss how rock ’n’ roll can play a role in helping addicts recover. The conversation will include performances of songs that address both addiction and the recovery process. Akron Civic Theatre’s Millenial Theatre Project meditation and sound for mindfulness with Dawn Witt Schroeder will also deliver a performance related to heroin addiction. An Inner Bliss Yoga teacher, Schroeder is the founder of Pranaverdana.com and a sound healing enthusiast. The event takes place from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free. (Niesel) 1100 Rock and Roll Blvd., 216-515-8444, rockhall.com.

DANCECLEVELAND WITH AMERICAN DANCE FESTIVAL PRESENTS

ADF in CLE A Summer Dance Festival July 24-August 4 Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Caleb Teicher & Company (TAP) Sat., August 4 at 8:00 pm

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FILM + MUSIC

| clevescene.com | July 11 - 17, 2018

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Singin’ in the Rain — Live One of the greatest film musicals ever made, Singin’ in the Rain features an all-star cast that includes Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor. Tonight at Blossom, you can watch the movie while the Cleveland Orchestra performs the score. Richard Kaufman conducts the orchestra, and the event begins at 8:30 p.m. Consult the website for ticket info. (Niesel) 1145 West Steels Corners Rd., Cuyahoga Falls, 216-231-1111, clevelandorchestra.com.

VOLUNTEER

Splash Fund Edgewater Adopt-A-Beach For the seventh year, Greater Cleveland Aquarium’s nonprofit Splash Fund hosts an Adopt-aBeach shoreline cleanup program. Volunteers who participate in the removal of trash from Edgewater Park beach today will receive one free aquarium admission in exchange for their time. Aquarium staffer Elizabeth Allen will be on hand to “advise, assist and provide necessary supplies.” Cleanup takes place today from 9:45 a.m. to noon. The aquarium has partnered with Battery Park’s Terrestrial Brewing Company, which will serve as the initial meeting spot and then host an after-party. Details are on the website. (Niesel) 7524 Father Frascati, greaterclevelandaquarium.com.

SUN

07/15

MUSIC

Schumann’s Spring Symphony John Storgårds conducts the Cleveland Orchestra tonight as it takes on Antheil’s Over the Plains, Britten’s Violin Concerto and Schumann’s Symphony No. 1, also known as the Spring Symphony. The concert begins at 7 at Blossom. Violinist Vilde Frang will sit in with the orchestra as well. Consult the orchestra website for info on ticket prices. (Niesel) 1145 West Steels Corners Rd., Cuyahoga Falls, 216-231-1111, clevelandorchestra.com. FOOD

Taste of Tremont An event that seemingly gets bigger and better each year, the 16th annual Taste of Tremont promises to be as crowded and popular as ever. The food fest, which takes place on Professor Avenue from noon to 8 p.m., will feature 30 assorted food vendors as well as live music and shopping. There will be a beer garden where you can drink local craft beers, mead from Duck Island’s Western Reserve Meadery and a speciality cocktail from the Spotted Owl. Admission is free, and details are on the website. (Niesel) tasteoftremont.com.

MON

07/16

TRIVIA

Lunch Hour Live Trivia Last Call Trivia, a live hosted event during which teams compete for prizes by answering trivia questions, takes place every Monday


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| clevescene.com | July 11 - 17, 2018

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Coming Attractions ON SALE FRIDAY AT 11 AM! HENRY ROLLINS TRAVEL SIDESHOW TOUR September 19

2018 SUMMER MUSIC SERIES THE NUMBERS BAND & ERNIE KRIVDA SUNDAY, JULY 15 • 1PM

AN EVENING WITH BETH HART – A SPECIAL SOLO PERFORMANCE September 22

COLIN MOCHRIE & BRAD SHERWOOD: SCARED SCRIPTLESS

SUNDAY, JULY 15 • 6PM

November 17

DAN & PHIL WORLD TOUR

GARFIELD HEIGHTS CIVIC CENTER

Introactive Introverts!

DOAN BROOK TRIO

THE DOLLOP

July 31

September 14

TUESDAY, JULY 17 • 7PM CAIN PARK CLEVELAND HEIGHTS

BLUE LUNCH

THURSDAY, JULY 19 • 7PM JOHN CARROLL UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS

ROB BELL The Holy Shift Tour September 28

SUNDAY, JULY 22 • 6PM ILIZA Elder Millennial September 29

CONCERTS ARE FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!

MUSIC

Gayle Skidmore The week before her wedding, singersongwriter Gayle Skidmore was still finishing vocals for her new album, The Golden West. Her 20th independent release, it includes an adult coloring book, each picture depicting one of the album’s songs. Tracks such as “Pale Ghosts” feature ornate string arrangements and dreamy vocals that recall singersongwriter Julee Cruise. Eagles of Death Metal’s Dave Catching plays guitar on “Only Ever You” and adds a bit of grit to the tune. Skidmore performs tonight at 7 at the Market Avenue Wine Bar in Ohio City. Admission is free. (Niesel) 2526 Market Ave., 216-696-9463, marketavewinebar.com.

TUE

BRIAN PAPESH BAND GARFIELD HEIGHTS CIVIC CENTER

throughout the summer at 12:30 p.m., at U.S. Bank Plaza on Playhouse Square. Designed to be “a spirited competition,” the contest lasts an hour. The games also include a point wagering system that gives teams the ability to choose their own strategy. Admission is free. (Niesel) East 14th Street and Euclid Avenue, 216-771-4444, playhousesquare.org.

October 7

BONEY JAMES

CAIN PARK ARTS FESTIVAL CLEVELAND HEIGHTS

JOE WENDEL POLKA BAND

GET OUT

JOAN BAEZ Fare Thee Well Tour October 3

07/17

MUSIC

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Concert Series As part of a summer concert series sponsored by the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, a quintet featuring Cleveland Orchestra musicians will perform tonight at 7 at the Happy Days Lodge. The group includes Jessica Lee and Isabel Trautwein on violin, Eric Wong of the Cavani Quartet on viola, Tanya Ell-Woolfrey on cello and Robert Woolfrey on clarinet. Trautwein has been a member of the first violin section of the Cleveland Orchestra since September. Consult the website for ticket info. (Niesel) 500 West Streetsboro Rd., Peninsula, 330-657-2909, conservancyforcvnp.org. DANCE

216-241-6000 Group Sales 216-640-8600 playhousesquare.org

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| clevescene.com | July 11 - 17, 2018

Dancing Under the Stars As a part of the 13-week outdoor dance series at Playhouse Square, local dance instructors lead Dancing Under the Stars tonight, and every Tuesday night through Aug. 28, at U.S. Bank Plaza. Tonight at 6, teachers from Viva Dance Studio

will teach you the salsa; Sammy De León y Su Orquesta provides the music. The dancing begins at 6:30 and continues until 9 p.m. Admission is free. Find a complete schedule of upcoming sessions on the website. (Niesel) East 14th Street and Euclid Avenue, 216-771-4444, playhousesquare.org. THEATER

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

Retro Tuesdays Visiting the Aut-O-Rama is a magical experience. Built in 1965 by the Sherman family, the drive-in is still owned and operated by the family’s third generation. You can catch the latest films on the weekends, but the Aut-O-Rama also offers classic double features for Retro Tuesday. Tonight’s features: The Goonies and Gremlins. Check the website for times and ticket prices. (BJ Colangelo) 33395 Lorain Rd., North Ridgeville, 440-734-1786, autoramadrivein.com. MUSIC

Taylgate Country/pop megastar Taylor Swift brings her stadium tour to town tonight and the Rock Hall aims to get in on the action with Taylgate, an event that serves as a concert preparty. The Accidentals will give a free live performance on the PNC main stage, and fans can hang out on the plaza, where there will be food, drinks and trivia. The event takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. The Rock Hall will remain open until 9 p.m. (Niesel) 1100 Rock and Roll Blvd., 216-515-8444, rockhall.com.

scene@clevescene.com t@clevelandscene


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STAGE CLINICAL DEPRESSION SET TO MUSIC Once again, the highs and lows of Next to Normal are explored, this time at Porthouse Theatre By Christine Howey NO MATTER HOW GOOD A PLAY or a musical is, you’re eventually going to see an awful production of it. Every week there is probably an execrable production of Death of a Salesman or My Fair Lady being foisted upon people somewhere in the U.S. Given enough years, the same fate even will be visited upon Hamilton. Here in the Cleveland area, the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Next to Normal has had a remarkably clean and unsullied run at various theaters. NTN had its first viewing here in 2011 when the touring company visited Playhouse Square. Leading the cast was Alice Ripley, a graduate of Kent State University, who had garnered a Tony Award a couple years earlier for her portrayal of Diana, a woman suffering from bipolar disorder. Since then, this complex and involving musical has been on a roll in this area. With music by rock musician Tom Kitt and incisive book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, the show has been blessed with fine local productions (at least the ones I’ve seen). Lakeland Theatre, Beck Center and TrueNorth Cultural Arts have all taken a cut at this daunting material and come up smelling like roses. So as I enjoyed a pre-show picnic on the Porthouse Theatre grounds, it occurred to me that this might be where Normal finally face-plants. Porthouse, a summer venue operated by the College of the Arts at Kent State, occupies an amphitheater on the Blossom Music Center campus where the atmosphere is light-hearted and the usual fare is bright and upbeat (like their first show this season, Anything Goes). But no worries. This is the 50th anniversary season of Porthouse, the Alice Ripley alumna vibe is in the air, and this version of Next to Normal is another winner. Under the precise direction of Jim Weaver, the cast handles the music with professional aplomb. And the downbeat story of Diana once

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| clevescene.com | July 11 - 17, 2018

Photo by Bob Christy

again grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. The stage is set beautifully by scenic designer Patrick Ulrich who fashions a surreal and jagged suggestion of a house, representing the turmoil in Diana’s mind. This is reinforced by a backdrop of about 500 illuminated dots — brain nodes misfiring? A galaxy of psychotropic pills? — that dance and change color as the play progresses. As Diana, Amy Fritsche pushes all the right buttons as she lives inside her character’s manic depression. Fritsche sings with power and nuance, and she makes several of the memorable songs in this score soar, particularly “I Miss

ride is overseen by two doctors, both played with enthusiasm by Jim Bray. Dan is as sweet and caring as a husband can be, and Thom Christopher Warren embodies this well-meaning but confused man with the right amount of compassion — without making him a wimp. His hope for his wife’s recovery or improvement is simply heartbreaking. Also excellent is the strongvoiced Madelaine Vandenberg, who displays all of teenage Natalie’s frustrations, plus her budding interest in a dorkish boy, Henry, who is vying for her affections. Although he doesn’t have quite the vocal chops of some of the other

NEXT TO NORMAL THROUGH JULY 21 AT PORTHOUSE THEATRE, 3143 O’NEIL RD., CUYAHOGA FALLS, 330-672-3884. KENT.EDU/PORTHOUSE

the Mountains,” which she sings as she dumps her pills into the toilet, seeking her previous nonmedicated highs and lows. Swinging from wildly exuberant and efficient to non-functional, Diana’s tormented life is a wild ride that puts the screws to her family: her husband Dan and her children Natalie and Gabe. That

actors, Andy Donnelly as Henry makes up for that with a dweeb-ish affect that is thoroughly endearing. It doesn’t really require a spoiler alert to mention that Gabe is present in his family’s life mentally and not physically. But he does have a lot of stage time, which isn’t always used to maximum effect. As Gabe, Madison Adams Hagler

sings with resonance but he’s not as intrusive and interruptive a presence as he might be. That decision by director Weaver may be one of the few wrinkles in this tight, seamless staging. For NTN is a memory play on a couple different levels. On one hand, Diana and her family are trying to sort out their feelings about Gabe, and those memories constantly collide with the life they’re living in the moment. For Diana, those recollections are fragmented due to her mental illness. On the other hand, when Diana is subjected to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), that treatment formerly known as electroshock causes her to lose vast amounts of her memory. Although ECT has a much better track record now than decades ago, the specter of losing one’s memory is beyond terrifying. The genius of Next to Normal is that it handles this subject with such truth and compassion while being outstandingly entertaining. And when the absolutely believable but sad ending happens, this production at Porthouse puts your heart right where it belongs: in your throat.

scene@clevescene.com t@christinehowey


MOVIES A SHARP SATIRE Sorry to Bother You takes on issues of race and class By Jeff Niesel ABOUT 10 YEARS AGO, SEN. Harry Reid triggered a controversy when he said Barack Obama had become successful because he spoke with “no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one.” Outraged, critics denounced the statement (and Reid would apologize to Obama). English professor John McWhorter, who wrote Talking Black: Truths About America’s Lingua Franca , came to Reid’s defense, saying, “All of America, black and white, feels exactly the way Harry Reid does about the way black people talk,” in an essay in which he deconstructs the notion of “talking black.” Sorry to Bother You, the new film written and directed by Outkast’s Boots Riley, also takes aim at the concept of “talking black” and essentially picks up where that conversation about Reid left off. The sharp social commentary ultimately takes to task the notion that blacks must use their “white voice” to get ahead.

While it comes off the rails about mid-way through, it still manages to successfully make its point and provide some terrific laughs in doing so. The movie has limited screenings on Thursday night and then opens areawide on Friday. The film centers on Cassius “Cash” Green (Lakeith Stanfield), a guy who lives out of his uncle’s garage and drives a beater car. Desperate for any kind of work, so he can catch up on his rent, he lands a job as a telemarketer. After a co-worker advises him to use his “white voice,” he finds he can more successfully appeal to the customers he calls. In an ingenious move, Riley cast actor and comedian David Cross, who

never physically appears in the film, to provide Cassius’ white voice. Comedian and actor Patton Oswalt does the honors for Mr. Blank (Omari Hardwick), another rising star at the company. Mr. Blank introduces Cassius to Steve Lift (Armie Hammer), the wealthy businessman who owns Worry Free, a company that offers a lifetime guarantee of food and shelter in exchange for permanent servitude. As Cassius becomes more and more successful, he gets caught between sympathizing with his friends who are attempting to unionize and fight companies like Worry Free and simply embracing the lifestyle of the rich and famous. One night at a party, Steve tells

Cassius about his devious plan to maximize his profits at Worry Free. The plan involves literally turning workers into animals. At this point, the movie, which admittedly comes off as science fiction from the start, veers into the realm of make-believe. It subsequently loses something in the process (and it doesn’t help that the special effects are extremely low-budget). And yet, much like early Spike Lee films, Sorry to Bother You has so much going for it that even if it falters at times, it doesn’t detract from its inventiveness, and it suggests that Riley is just getting started.

jniesel@clevescene.com t@jniesel

SPOTLIGHT: THE NIGHT EATS THE WORLD AS A SUBGENRE THAT IS MORE than oversaturated, stories of walking corpses and flesh munching undead require serious skill if they are to transcend the cliches we’ve been beaten over the head with for the past decade. George A. Romero’s resurrected ghouls invented what we consider to be the modern zombie in Night of the Living Dead (and later perfected in Dawn of the Dead), and Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later delivered an adrenaline rush with sprinting rage-infested zombie-like creatures, completely changing the game. Dominique Rocher’s La Nuit a Devore le Monde (aka: The Night Eats the World) is a fresh installment in a plateauing monster genre. It begins a week-long run at Tower City Cinemas on Friday.

The Night Eats the World is the story of Sam (Anders Danielsen Lie), a man who falls asleep in his ex-girlfriend’s office after returning to retrieve some of his forgotten property. When he awakes, the room is in absolute shambles and covered in blood. It is soon revealed that all of Paris has been overrun by zombies, so he boards up the apartment hoping to just wait it out. We follow Sam over the course of weeks, watching as his mental state declines and he turns himself into a risk just as great as the living dead creeping outside. For audiences conditioned to watch shoot-’em-down, ultraviolent zombie interactions like The Walking Dead, this is not going to be a film that will be appreciated. However, for those more interested

in the mundane and psychologically terrifying demise of the human condition during a zombie apocalypse as in The Battery, this film will be right up your alley. Almost the entire film is centered on this one guy and his struggle to survive in a world that’s been destroyed, and at times, it’s a pretty bleak examination of humanity. This is less of a zombie film and more of a moody thriller that happens to have zombies. And what of the zombies? The Night Eats the World borrows from its predecessors in terms of its creature design, stealing the fast and violent pace of 28 Days Later and [REC], but it injects originality in that the zombies are not the shrieking and groaning creatures of yesteryear. With the exception

of their corpses cracking in an ominous and horrific sound, the zombies are silent ... and it’s pretty damn effective. It’s a really unique turn, and solidifies The Night Eats the World’s place in the zombie canon. Ultimately, this is a film meant for fans of unconventional horror films that refuse to be tied down by formulaic or “purist” standards when it comes to the mythos of creatures that don’t exist. Lie delivers a captivating performance that feels like a more inspired and complex version of I Am Legend, but with special effects sure to please even the most hardcore gorehounds. — BJ Colangelo

bcolangelo@clevescene.com t@bjcolangelo

| clevescene.com | July 11 - 17, 2018

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| clevescene.com | July 11 - 17, 2018


EAT CRAFTIER SERVICE Steel Reel keeps the Cleveland film-production community well fed By Douglas Trattner AT 1:30 P.M., THE BASEMENT of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights goes from largely empty to positively teeming, thanks to the 120 or so people who have descended the narrow stairwell in search of lunch. Waiting for them in the modest banquet space is a buffet of epic proportions. A 12-foot salad bar features two varieties of fresh greens, two dozen fresh toppings, a half dozen dressings, plus bottles of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Nearby, a procession of steamy chafing pans offers an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of roasted broccolini, cheese tortellini, adobo-rubbed chicken, grilled lamb chops, orange roughy with beurre blanc sauce, rice pilaf and baked potatoes. A beverage and dessert station is equally stocked. And then, precisely 30 minutes later, those same people — producers, actors, camera operators, grips, gaffers, hair and makeup artists, extras and stand-ins — all file out and head back to the set of The Last Summer, a coming-of-age film that recently wrapped principal photography in Cleveland. If an army marches on its stomach, so too does a film shoot — and when it comes to feeding the cast and crew, not just any catering company will do. That’s when you call in the very specialized services of a production caterer like Steel Reel, a food-service provider for film, television and commercials. Jeff Francek left the world of fine dining eight years ago to chase and feed film crews. Last year, he and his wife and business partner Melissa Miller worked a 10-month stretch that began in Cleveland on the set of White Boy Rick , shifted to Detroit for the taping of Detroiters, then off to Buffalo to work on the latest Purge installment, before returning to Cleveland for a few LeBron James commercials. “This is a whole different animal from restaurant work,” Francek says. “When you go back to fine dining cooking it’s kind of boring and mundane. Nothing ever

Photo by Doug Trattner

Melissa Miller on the set of The Last Summer.

repeats itself here.” From the outside, the Steel Reel rig looks like a typical food truck, but it’s more of a mobile commercial kitchen. The beefy truck is equipped with a griddle, grill, six-burner stove, double oven and plenty of coolers. A separate support vehicle carries additional equipment like chafing dishes, tables, tents, and food warmers. In terms of power, multiple propane tanks and generators enable the team to set up ops anywhere — and that truly can mean anywhere. “We’ve had to work a mile into the woods, on an aircraft carrier, on a ski lift, all kinds of places,” he says. Francek and Miller already are many hours into their day to prepare for “lunch,” which is the main meal on a movie set regardless what time it falls. During this six-week shoot alone, Steel Reel will serve meals at 19 locations around town. And when your diners include burly Teamsters, A-list celebs and every personality in between, you truly have your work cut out for you. “Every show you start is a

completely new set of people,” explains Miller. “You never know what you’re walking into, so you really have to learn to read the people.” Not only does the caterer need to offer a wide range of foods that can simultaneously satisfy vegans, vegetarians, carnivores and the gluten-free, they also endeavor to not repeat items throughout the length of the shoot so the food doesn’t get monotonous. “These people work 16-, 18-hour days, many are away from their family, and they get half an hour a day to sort of breathe, and that’s lunch,” Miller says. “If the food’s bad, that ruins that half hour.” Miller says that she’s not the type to get star struck, despite feeding the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson and Julia Roberts. And she’s fielded her share of oddball requests, like when John Travolta wanted a lobster tail at 11:30 p.m. or when a high-maintenance actress wanted the “fat” excised from her turkey bacon (it’s food coloring). But the highlights far outweigh the silliness, she notes.

“We did Mother’s Day with Garry Marshall, which was the last film he did before he died,” Miller fondly recalls. “It was such a privilege to be a part of that because he is such a legend in the industry.” The caterer is selected by the film’s production team, which in this case is led by executive producer Mark Johnson. He’s a fan of Steel Reel because of “the quality of the food, the variety of choice in terms of offerings, their efficiency and cleanliness,” he explains. Outside, in a parking lot filled with trucks that house the offices, the principal actors’ quarters, a wardrobe trailer and restrooms, location assistant Richard Fishburn already is looking forward to the next meal. “Steel Reel makes an atmosphere where it’s kind of homey, so you can leave behind the stresses of work and just go enjoy the food, which is really cool,” he reports. “It sets the demeanor for the day. If people are hungry or not well-fed, they get cranky.”

dtrattner@clevescene.com t@dougtrattner

| clevescene.com | July 11 - 17, 2018

27


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| clevescene.com | July 11 - 17, 2018

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BATTERY PARK PUB TO OPEN IN FORMER GRAFFITI/ REDDSTONE/ SNICKERS SPACE By Douglas Trattner GRAFFITI SOCIAL KITCHEN closed its doors in the Battery Park neighborhood this past October. On Wednesday, Aug. 1, Battery Park Pub (1261 West 76th St.) will take its place. Prior to Graffiti, the iconic Detroit Shoreway property was home to Reddstone, a casual pub that was a frequent destination for the new owner. “Reddstone used to be one of my favorite places, and now I get to host it, which is quite an honor,” says Garrett Moeller. Moeller and his business partner Seung “Jay” Choi have decades of industry experience between the two of them, and their goal for the bar is a return to simpler times. “Our concept is to bring an affordable approach to the neighborhood,” Moeller explains. “The feedback we’re getting is that the previous restaurant was great but a little too pricey for them to go to on a regular basis. They want more of a pub atmosphere, so we’re going back to basics.” All but a few craft cocktails and craft drafts will be replaced by domestics and popular imports like Guinness. In terms of food, diners can expect an approachable mix of chestnuts like burger melts, fried chicken, tacos and a nice variety of vegetarian options. What makes the menu unique, says Moeller, is that it will be 100-percent gluten free. “I figure if you can do it, why not,” he says. The bulk of the action will be reserved for the main floor bar and patio, with things like karaoke, trivia and private events taking up residence in the second-floor dining room. In winter, weekend brunches might take root up there as well. Moeller says that the restaurant will undergo some cosmetic tweaks to better fit with their approach, with creative metalworkers fabricating new decor, furnishings and signage. “The look will be kind of

steampunk-ish; we’re tying in that whole battery theme,” he notes.

Fat Head’s Eyeing August Opening for New Brewery, Taproom and Production Facility in Middleburg Heights If you’ve driven down I-71 between Snow Road and Bagley in recent years, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the rise of the mega structure that will house a Fat Head’s brewery, restaurant, taproom, gift shop and production facility. The award-winning brewery, which announced plans for the expansion back in 2015, hopes to have everything open by Aug. 6. “We’ve really outgrown our space — and I’m really proud of that,” brewerowner Matt Cole told Scene three years ago. That won’t be a problem at the new location. With 75,000 square feet, it will more than triple the space of Fat Head’s previous production facility, with even more room to expand. The brewpub in North Olmsted will remain open. The former taproom in Middleburg Heights closed last weekend in preparation for the move. Coming in at around $10 million, the project boasts a 75-barrel system that can produce 150,000 barrels of beer a year, which would put Fat Head’s in the top 50 in the country. Along with a 3,000-square-foot patio, beer garden and 250-seat restaurant, the layout also offers visitors a chance to get a look at the brewing process. “We’re setting it up so you can do self-guided tours that horseshoe people around the whole process, from open fermentation to malt handling and hop storage to canning, packaging and kegging,” Cole said.

dtrattner@clevescene.com t@dougtrattner


| clevescene.com | July 11 - 17, 2018

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MUSIC MODERN WAREHOUSE ROCK Local rockers King Buu show off their wicked sense of humor on new album By Alisa Manna TRANSCENDING GENRES, KING Buu’s new album, Songs from the Black Jacket Lounge, fuses bleak and sleazy vocals, aggressive ballads and dead tones to create a demented take on a garage-rock album. The local band’s first fulllength features abrasive storytelling, strung-out feedback and primal blues and rockabilly licks knotted with blistering bass and murderous drum beats at an unrelenting pace, showcasing the group’s wicked sense of humor and love for the abnormal. The self-released album will be available on cassette tapes and handmade CDs. Each CD and its case will be hand-crafted by the band, including games, puzzles, a poster as the cover, and fictionalized facts or misinformation about the members. Other oddities and personalized “collectibles” will also be available to purchase at the official album release show, which takes place at 9 p.m. on Friday at the Happy Dog. The show will also feature the Dreemers and An American Astronaut. Formed in 2016 by singer Mike Madgar and guitarist Cameron Milani, the band, which also includes bassist Erik Marsh and drummer Wesley Who, tackles death, addiction, horror and science fiction while incorporating pop tunes to create what it calls “modern warehouse rock.” The band released its first EP, Hold Onto Your Butts, on Valentine’s Day of 2017, but instead of building off the four-track debut, King Buu wrote entirely new music for a full-length album. “Those songs had run their course,” Madgar says one recent evening from a room in his house that he calls the Black Jacket Lounge. The 10-track Black Jacket Lounge is an homage to the band’s lair and features tongue-in-cheek observations of violence, media and drugs as well as their impact on today’s culture. “The Black Jacket Lounge is a room in [my] house — [it’s] an absurdist spot where people inevitably tend to hang out, ponder strange thoughts and stories,” Madgar says. “Most of our songs are strange stories with musical

Photo by Jarrod Berger

accompaniment.” He says the album covers an array of topics, both surreal and “entrenched in some kinda realism,” but, for the most part, he says the lyrics start as short stories and then transform into traditional songs. “The lyrics are nonsensical,” Madgar says. “I wouldn’t think on them too, too deeply.” However, he said there are concrete themes like loss of innocence, depression and feeling lost in your own skin. “Walking Alone” is about a trip to the electric chair; “And Away” details

realizing you never can outrun who you truly are. Revamping the California beach sound, the revved up and chaotic “Kinky Feeney (Endless Summer)” deals with a person losing his or her mind before walking off into the middle of an ocean. Following a similar note, “Lights Out” comes off like a surfy Jay Retard while unfolding into a crashy, thrashy story about getting lost in a graveyard. Then, there’s “Sticking Around,” an oddly therapeutic track that begins with people watching a public

KING BUU, THE DREEMERS, AN AMERICAN ASTRONAUT 9 P.M. FRIDAY, JULY 13, HAPPY DOG, 5801 DETROIT RD., 216-651-9474. HAPPYDOGCLEVELAND.COM

what it’s like to return to a place from the past and realize you’re detached from the people and lack nostalgia; and “Me on the Run” is about trying to change your image for something better, cooler, but then

hanging before transitioning into a prom ballad, in which the dead person confesses his love to an earthbound angel; the song then turns to guttural screaming and chaos. “What’s a song about dying if it

doesn’t go to hell?” Madgar says. “Done Dayz” is an old King Buu song written around Marsh’s opening bass line and modeled after a cuckoo clock. The lyrics, however, are about a person blowing his or her head off and ending up in the devil’s crosshairs. “I don’t think there’s a single positive song on the album,” Madgar says, “but you wouldn’t know that because the music doesn’t embody that tone.” Influenced by Bill Haley & His Comets and savage crime stories, “I’m Alive” is a misanthropic anthem chronicling a day in the life of a man who decides to wreak havoc during a two-stop killing spree. Opening with a cautionary sermon, it’s a firstperson narrative based on Madgar’s sarcastic and cluttered response to pervasive gun violence. “Kimberley Rose” is a song Madgar and Who originally wrote and recorded in 2013 about two people discussing a classmate who became a prostitute after high school. Madgar says it was his first attempt to write a song by playing | clevescene.com | July 11 - 17, 2018

33


MUSIC all the instruments except the drums, which Who helped with. He says the initial version of the song was almost caveman-like before he and Milani transformed it into a sloppy, perverse form of “what people could define as actual music.” The song not only led to the birth of King Buu, but it also foreshadows the band’s vision of bashing away at outrageousness over infectious singsongy shouts and distortion. And then there’s “Mom Song (A Song for Moms),” which, Madgar says, is just that. It starts as a simple, mellow pop tune before taking a sharp turn as Madgar howls over shrieking guitar tones, aggressive, crisp drums and ugly, thumping bass. Though the band initially talked about recording with a local engineer, the guys aimed for an intimate project. Milani stressed that they’re responsible for the entire recording process and production value. He says everything was written, performed, mixed and mastered by band members. “We know exactly what we wanted to sound like. [It] makes sense to do it ourselves,” Milani says. Milani and Who combined expertise to deliver the finished product, acting as engineers and claiming editing responsibilities. While Milani laid the foundation, Who and the others added to it as a collective. “Cameron is [cleaner], straight and clear,” Who says. “[He] makes it sound too good, and we have to tell him to make it sound worse.” Most of the members worked together in the past, and the guys agree their influences are diverse and “pretty much all over the place,” much like their music. While Madgar and Who made music together throughout their college years — mainly ’60s-inspired psychedelic pop — Milani and Marsh separately floated in and out of bands during their stints in school. The four worked with each other in some facet prior to King Buu; however, this is the first incarnation of a musical group that includes all four of them. Madgar says they come from diverse musical backgrounds and are often forced to take steps in different directions to mesh. Milani, who’s inspired by jazz, folk and straight-forward, clean guitar, plays toward his dirtier, simplistic leanings. “We want it to be a lot more

34

| clevescene.com | July 11 - 17, 2018

flawed, angry and vicious,” says Madgar. Marsh said King Buu’s music is relentless but at the same time more pop-y “than it needs to be.” The band’s style and range dramatically evolved from the members’ counterparts. Combining influences of Japanese avant-garde films, bad television, noise and doowop, the band offers a nod to the original toe-tappers, head-shakers and hand-jivers but with a twist. “It’s hard rock, psychedelic, surf, metal, garage,” Madgar says. “It seems like the songs would take a while to be crafted with that many styles and backgrounds. It might look like no one would ever be on the same page, but everyone has a good enough sense of humor and sense of what might sound, not necessarily good, but interesting and fun to us.” Although Madgar says he writes all of the lyrics, the four guys share credit for development and equally play a role in the songwriting process. A King Buu song can start with reggae and polka or Madgar huffing and puffing obscenities over effects as Milani chimes in with his rendition of an R&B melody or even country music sung really fast and clunking along to a surf beat. “Somebody usually has an idea, and we’ll flush it out,” Marsh says. “Usually the question is, ‘What’s the dumbest thing we can do? Let’s do that.’” “Whatever sounds funny to us in the moment,” Madgar adds. “In most cases, we find a way to make it work.” Witty banter rotating between grunting and shouting, inside jokes made into lyrics, and asshole buffoonery turned into the warped and bizarre: Black Jacket Lounge somehow became an unusual mix of weird — both good and bad — to unleash. Who said they shouldn’t easily be defined, adding that Black Jacket Lounge is contradictory — organized and loud but also experimental and cluttered. “It’s fun for the whole family,” he says. While the sound draws upon distorted rockabilly riffs, raw blues and hellacious laments, their vision has become clearer: Don’t take anything King Buu does at face value. “We want to trick listeners into thinking that they have it figured out,” Madgar says.

scene@clevescene.com t@clevelandscene


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AU G . 1 8 O N S A L E F R I . 1 0 A M MC50 presents KICK OUT THE JAMS – THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY Alina Baraz w/ JMSN * In association with the Grog Shop Iration w/ Common Kings, Katastro The Score w/ The Orphan The Poet, birthday Cambridge Room Bullet For My Valentine w/ We Came As Romans Andy Grammer Rainbow Kitten Surprise w/ Caroline Rose Thrice w/ The Bronx, Teenage Wrist Dark Star Orchestra (Tribute to the Grateful Dead) Lil Xan

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

| clevescene.com | July 11 - 17, 2018

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MUSIC GIVING IT THEIR ALL The Wombats embrace the challenge of opening for the Pixies and Weezer By Halle Weber ONE OF THOSE RARE ORIGINAL bands to become popular, the Wombats, a three-piece indie rock group from Liverpool, speak to the wars waged in the human heart and mind with edgy, dark lyrics that somehow manage to provide a quirky sort of social commentary. With blatant British accents in their vocals and instrumental inspiration pulled from indie, dream pop and rock, the Wombats have been players in the American radio game for several years now, posting four singles in the Billboard Alternative Top 100 since 2012. On the heels of the release of the Wombat’s fourth album, Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life, the Liverpool three-piece is in the middle of a turning point in their career in the U.S. market. Earlier this year, they got an email that changed everything: The band had the opportunity to play at huge American venues for the first time, opening for alternative legends Weezer and the Pixies. The tour will come to Blossom at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 11. Dan Haggis, drummer for the Wombats, knew the name for the band’s fourth studio album the moment he heard it. Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life was one of the ideas on a list that lead singer Matthew Murphy brought in, and Haggis says it stood out head and shoulders above everything else. “The people in your life that you find the most beautiful, the people that you love the most, are the ones that have the power to hurt you the most,” Haggis says in a recent phone interview. “Turn,” the album’s most prominent single thus far, was another brain child of Murphy’s. The track was written by Murphy in L.A., and when a demo was brought into the studio, Haggis, bassist Tord Overland Knudsen, and the band’s producers and management were in consensus that it was something special. “It’s the most romantic song I’ve ever heard him write,” says Haggis, who went on to say that it was far happier and more hopeful than the general theme of the band’s catalog. “Lemon to a Knife Fight,”

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| clevescene.com | July 11 - 17, 2018

Photo by Tom Oxley

another single that was released in promotion of and prior to the release of Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life, creates a strong visual. The track was also written in L.A. by Murphy, inspired by a fight that he had with his wife, and the moment of clarity when he realized that he wasn’t equipped to win any of their fights. However, “I Don’t Know Why I Like You but I Do,” the closing track and Haggis’ favorite from the album, was not picked to be a single. “That riff at the end is the most fun part of our entire [live] set,” Haggis says. When asked how the making of this record differed from the

end result after the band messed around in the studio to vamp up the initial concepts. For the sake of keeping themselves and the fans interested, Haggis says the band tries to shift things sonically for every album. “You have to experiment and do something a little different with each album,” Haggis says. “Especially in such a long career.” So how did three blokes from Liverpool end up halfway across the world, opening for two infamous American rock bands that they grew up listening to? “Road tripping across America as a musician is every kid in Liverpool’s dream,” says Haggis.

WEEZER, THE PIXIES, THE WOMBATS 7:30 P.M. WEDNESDAY, JULY 11, BLOSSOM, 1145 STEEL CORNERS RD., CUYAHOGA FALLS, 330-920-8040. TICKETS: $25-$69.50, LIVENATION.COM

making of the Wombats’ first three efforts, Haggis hesitates before sharing that they fine-tuned the synthesizer so that it didn’t have to be the sonic focal point of every track. New producers were also brought in to help change up the

He went on to recall leaving the comfort of the European fan base to play for 100 people in the U.S., then slowly but steadily increasing venue sizes over the years. Currently, the Wombats have headlining shows booked

in the U.S. for mid-sized venues in September when they’re done touring with Weezer and the Pixies. Opening for bigger acts, however, has presented a welcome challenge for the band. “It takes us back to the days when we were first starting out and no one knew our stuff,” Haggis says. “And we only play for 30 minutes, so we can really go hard and give it our all.” While Haggis prefers playing to fans that know the words and are there to see the Wombats, he says that being in the position to win over crowds again is a fun change of pace. While it’s strange to see people just standing there looking at you rather than singing along, it’s a vital part of the crossover to becoming something larger in a foreign land. “There’s no quick way [to make it in America]. It’s a big country, and it takes time to play everywhere,” says Haggis. “If this is the biggest we ever get, then great, but we’d love for it to be how it is for us in Europe and Australia over here someday.”

scene@clevescene.com t@clevelandscene


| clevescene.com | July 11 - 17, 2018

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| clevescene.com | July 11 - 17, 2018

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LIVEWIRE

all the live music you should see this week Photo by Joe Kleon

WED

07/11

The Bacon Brothers/Cindy Alexander: 8 p.m., $40-$60. Music Box Supper Club. Bad Boys of Blues Jam: 9 p.m., free. Smedley’s. Jordan DePaul/M. Moody/Steve Wright: 8 p.m., $8 ADV, $10 DOS. Beachland Tavern. Distracted/Jack’s Mom/Filler: 8:30 p.m., $8 ADV, $10 DOS. Grog Shop. Falling Stars (in the Supper Club): Last year, in the attempt to emulate the WMMS Coffee Break Concerts that were so popular here in the 1970s and 1980s, the Music Box Supper Club teamed up with locally based oWOW Radio for a new, summer-long Happy Hour Concert series. The program returns to the Music Box tonight with Falling Stars, the indie rock act led by longtime locals Chris Allen and Tim Parnin. The radio station will broadcast the hour-long concert live. (Jeff Niesel) 6 p.m., free. Music Box Supper Club. Lie/Shagg/Jim Davis: 9 p.m., $6. Now That’s Class. Weezer/Pixies/TheWombats:Weezer earned its place as alternative rock icons with well-crafted post-punk tracks like “Buddy Holly,” and quirky ones like “Undone — The Sweater Song.” Frontman Rivers Cuomo has both the awkward appeal and the visionary writing talent to pull off his role as a key player amongst modern songwriters. Weezer’s set list for its latest co-headlining tour comprises mostly older hits, a smart move by a band that knows its strengths. The Pixies, on the other hand, are the ultimate grungy indie rock band. “Here Comes Your Man” is a 1989 triumph because it sounds nothing like everything else from that era, with a strong blend of instrumentals replacing the dance-y, corny vibe of everything ’80s. “Hey” is another weird standout: Only the Pixies could pull off an eerie 40-second talking intro accompanied by killer riffs. (Halle Weber) 7:30 p.m., $25-$69.50. Blossom.

THU

07/12

The Bloody Muffs/The Cash Registers/The Sump Pump Sluts: 9 p.m., $5. Now That’s Class. Falling Stars/Maura Rogers & the

Bellows: 8 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Beachland Ballroom. FreeByrds Musician’s Night: 10 p.m., free. Smedley’s. Gosh!/The Movies/Ulysses/Lauren Pray (in the Locker Room): 8 p.m., $5. Mahall’s 20 Lanes. Chris Hatton’s Musical Circus (in the Wine Bar): 8 p.m., free. Brothers Lounge. The New Soft Shoe: 8 p.m., $8 ADV, $12 DOS. Beachland Tavern. Louis Prima Jr.: 7:30 p.m., $20-$25. Music Box Supper Club. Schwayze: 8 p.m., $15 ADV, $20 DOS. Agora Ballroom. Therapy Thursdays Songwriters Night: 9 p.m., free. CODA. The Thing With Feathers/ Three Legged Chairs/Funeral Proposals: 8 p.m., $7 ADV, $10 DOS. Grog Shop. Troubadours of Divine Bliss (in the Supper Club): 8 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Music Box Supper Club.

Taylor Swift brings her stadium tour to town. See: Tuesday.

$41 DOS. Agora Theatre.

FRI

07/13

Drunks with Guns/Puffy Areolas/ Violent Ramp/TV Slime/Rubber Mate: 9 p.m., $12 ADV, $15 DOS. Now That’s Class. Into the Blue: Grateful Dead Revival: 9 p.m., $12. Beachland Ballroom. Jivviden/The Venus Flytraps/White Buffalo Woman: 8:30 p.m., $8. Beachland Tavern. Old Crow Medicine Show/Dom Flemons: 8 p.m., $33.50 ADV, $39.50 DOS. House of Blues. Poi Dog Pondering/The Vindys: 8 p.m., $25 ADV, $30 DOS. Music Box Supper Club. Rock for Refugees Benefit: 8 p.m., $15. CODA. Steely Dan Tribute by the FM Project (in the Supper Club): 7 p.m., $12 ADV, $15 DOS. Music Box Supper Club. Sugarland/Brandy Clark/Clare Bowen: 7 p.m., $36.50-$96.50. Covelli Centre (Youngstown). Kate Tucker/Sway Cherry, Sway: 9 p.m., $12. Musica. Uptowne Buddha/Funk Worthy/ Toobe Fresco: 8 p.m., $10. Mahall’s 20 Lanes. Venture Featuring Mark Sherman, Felix Pastorius, Mike Clark and Chase Baird: 8:30 p.m., $25. Nighttown. Vibe & Direct/Yosemight/C-Level: 9 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Grog Shop. The War on Drugs: 7 p.m., $36 ADV,

SAT

07/14

Cumulus Entertainment Presents: The Deep End 2018 with Visive/ Uncle Gnarly/Thaiger/Retox/John Soros/Jesse Trillet/Hekate/Dutty/ DJ View/CRWNS/Shlump/Buku: 9 p.m., $15-$30. Beachland Ballroom. Hala/Boyo (in the Locker Room): 8:30 p.m., $6 ADV, $8 DOS. Mahall’s 20 Lanes. Labor/Good Shade: 9 p.m., $7. Now That’s Class. Prefuse 73/Muamin Collective: 9 p.m., $15. Mahall’s 20 Lanes. Slum Village/Joey Aich/Visual 9/ Vigatron/UNKNOWNPHRAZES: 9 p.m., $12 ADV, $16 DOS. Grog Shop. Springsteen Tribute by Swamps of New Jersey (in the Supper Club): 7:30 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Music Box Supper Club. Sylmar/Coup De Grace/Three Legged Chairs: 9 p.m., $10. Musica. Venture Featuring Mark Sherman, Felix Pastorius, Mike Clark and Chase Baird: 8:30 p.m., $25. Nighttown. Zaano/Dirty Mirrors/Faux: 8 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. CODA.

SUN

07/15

Air Supply: 7:30 p.m., $39.50-$69.50. Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park.

Barenaked Ladies/Better Than Ezra/KT Tunstall: 7 p.m., $32.50$75. Jacobs Pavilion. David Bromberg: 7:30 p.m., $27.50$37.50. The Kent Stage. Burnout/Spike Pit/Retail Therapy/ Kabuki Drop/Shit Blimp: 9 p.m., $10. Now That’s Class. Dred Scott Trio/Tom Scott: 7 p.m., $20. Nighttown. Exotic Fruit Club/Pomade/Typical Citizen: 8:30 p.m., $6 ADV, $8 DOS. Grog Shop. Kevin Gordon/Sands & Hearns: 8 p.m., $13 ADV, $15 DOS. Beachland Tavern. Jimmy Eat World/Rozwell Kid: Everyone has that song that got them through the teenage years. Mine was Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle,” an uplifting coming-ofage story meant to explain that the problems that seem earthshattering at a young age are just little bumps at the start of a much longer road, leading you to where you are meant to be. “Sweetness,” another track from 2001’s Bleed American, is harder, with heavy instrumentals and vocals that are less of a comfort and more of a yell. On its latest record, 2016’s Integrity Blues, the band ditched its signature angst-y sound from Bleed American and opts for a darker, soft rock feel. “You with Me” is a good sample of the band’s new sound, with choral background vocals, acoustic guitar and a lead vocal that is more Goo Goo Dolls than Fall Out Boy. (Weber) 8 p.m., $27.50 ADV, $30 DOS. House of Blues. The Octopus Project/Botany/ times10: 8:30 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Mahall’s 20 Lanes. Reggae Sundays: The Ark Band (in the Supper Club): 4 p.m., free. Music Box Supper Club. Window Dogs/The Whiskey Hollow/ The Ohio Weather Band / Wilder Maker / King Buu / White Buffalo Woman: 2:30 p.m., free. CODA. Zigtebra/Duo Decibel System/Kiss Me Deadly (in the Locker Room): 8:30 p.m., $7. Mahall’s 20 Lanes.

MON

07/16

Black Milk/Floco Torres/Jul Big Green: 8:30 p.m., $12. Grog Shop. Pearl Charles/Fascinator/Cherch: 8:30 p.m., $12. Beachland Tavern. Skatch Anderssen Orchestra: 8 p.m., $7. Brothers Lounge. Tightlip: 9 p.m., $5. Now That’s Class. | clevescene.com | July 11 - 17, 2018

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| clevescene.com | July 11 - 17, 2018

07/17

Bent Knee/Gatherers/Automatic Weapons: 8:30 p.m., $12. Beachland Tavern. Doan Brook Trio: 7 p.m. Cain Park. The Four Freshmen: 6 p.m., $30. Nighttown. Grateful Shred/Mapache: 8:30 p.m., $15 ADV, $18 DOS. Beachland Ballroom. Heavens Die/Vatican/Cholera/ Natural Selection/Army of Athens/Cue Ball: 7 p.m., $10. Now Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Class. Summer Slam Featuring Jey Grant/Tribe Untitled/J.Fitch/ Rio Lordi/Downhill Collective/ Marquis Storm: 8:30 p.m., $10 ADV, $15 DOS. Grog Shop. Taylor Swift/Camila Cabello/ Charli XCX: What can be said about Taylor Swift that critics havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t already said? Swift is a legend, and she isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even 30 yet. She has an eye for a hit like no other, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s her unmatched lyrical gift that gives her an edge over any competition. Reputation, her sixth studio album â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and fourth consecutive record to top a million U.S. sales in its ďŹ rst week â&#x20AC;&#x201D; cements her spot as the most successful musician of the moment and her generationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s strongest songwriter. Tonight, the queen of pop brings her all-female stadium tour with Camila Cabello and Charli XCX to town. Cabello is the fastest rising star in pop music since parting ways with girl group Fifth Harmony. The 21-year-oldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s strong vocals and sex appeal on tracks like â&#x20AC;&#x153;Never Be the Sameâ&#x20AC;? combine with writing talent on tracks like â&#x20AC;&#x153;Consequencesâ&#x20AC;? to make her the full package. Charli XCX, on the other hand, is a pop star with a punk edge, slowly rising to stardom with tonguein-cheek kiss-offs like â&#x20AC;&#x153;I Love Itâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Break the Rules.â&#x20AC;? Her latest triumph is landing a spot on Rita Oraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s straight-to-radio single â&#x20AC;&#x153;Girlsâ&#x20AC;? with Cardi B and Bebe Rhexa. (Weber) 7 p.m., $45.50 and up. First Energy Stadium. Rob Zombie/Marilyn Manson: 7 p.m., $35-$135. Blossom.

scene@clevescene.com t@clevelandscene

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guitar) BACKGROUND: Born in Akron, Tucker started singing and songwriting with a hard-rock band while in high school. That group recorded while she was in college and played in the area. “At the time, there was a lot of hardcore and metal happening in the Cleveland area,” she says. “We’d end on the bill, and I’d be the only girl. I remember being 13 or 14 and going to [the now-defunct] Speak In Tongues and getting punched in the gut while moshing. It was complete chaos, and I thought it was the best thing ever.” NASHVILLE VIA SEATTLE VIA PARIS: After

marrying, Tucker moved first to Paris and then to Seattle and released a solo EP and then a full-length that she recorded there at Bear Creek Studio, the place where acts such as Brandi Carlile, Rubblebucket, Vance Joy and the Lumineers have recorded. She worked on the albums with producer Ryan Hadlock. “I got lucky because I was way in over my head,” Tucker admits. “He’s worked with the Lumineers and all these people. I went for it and it was the beginning of me developing this hi-fi deluxe sound with the layering thing.” She has lived in Nashville since 2011. WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR HER: Tucker

dedicated her most recent album, Practical Sadness, to her mother who passed away in Akron two years ago. The 10-song disc opens with the mid-tempo rocker “Anybody’s

Business,” a track that has the cadence of a Sheryl Crow tune but embraces an indie rock vibe (think Kristin Hersh or Juliana Hatfield). “It’s really raw, and I did it completely differently than I’ve ever done anything,” she says when asked about her approach on the disc. “There wasn’t a producer. I fell into the record. My mom passed away a couple of years ago in a car accident in Akron. I was getting ready to make a record, but it wasn’t Practical Sadness. One of my favorite songwriting partners came to Nashville and wanted to write a song. Over time, we wrote a song and then another song. We wrote about 40 songs.” She went to his Bloomington hometown and recorded an album with a band he put together. Tucker’s full band show coming up this weekend at Musica will mark the first hometown gig that she’s played with a band in over three years. “It’ll be bittersweet because my mom won’t be there, but I’m so looking forward to it,” she says. “It’s always good to come home, and Akron has become a great place.”

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Photo by Angie Amata

C-NOTES

A CLASS ACT(OR)

KentStage The

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David Bromberg Sun, July 15

Son Volt Tue. Aug. 7

The Psychedelic Furs Sun. Aug 12

Fri, July 20

Atlanta Rhythm Section

Devon Allman Project, Duane Betts

The Fixx

Wed. Aug. 8

Thur. Aug. 9

Robert Cray

Fri. July 27

Toad the Wet Sprocket

Judy Collins

Thur. Aug. 16

Sat. Aug. 18

KentStage on the Road

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Rock of the 80’s

Rodger McGuinn,

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(The Romantics, The Motels, Chris Hillman & Marty Stuart John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band)

ALL SHOWS AT THE KENT STAGE UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED 44

Tickets available at thekentstage.com or 877-987-6487 GMK[w‰Šcw„iŠˆ{{Š©a{„ŠBe~…JJHJF | clevescene.com | July 11 - 17, 2018

Rapper David ‘Vigatron’ Norris balances rapping, writing and acting By Emanuel Wallace IN CHRISTOPHER NOLAN’S THE Dark Knight , Harvey Dent says, “I guess you either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain. Look, whoever the Batman is, he doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life doing this. How could he?” Much the same can be said about David “Vigatron” Norris. He’s a force to be reckoned with on the local hip-hop scene, but he’s also making waves as an actor with several credits under his utility belt as well. “I’m a rapper and writer first and an actor second, although the roles have somewhat switched as of late,” Norris says. “I focus more on acting now; I’ve been rapping since high school but only seriously since about 2002 or 2003.” Vigatron’s latest album, Gargantuan, represents the most recent in a string of releases that all live by the belief that size undoubtedly matters. “This is my best released work and the most cohesive that I’ve released so far,” he says. “My first release was From the Ground Up, and everything I released after that [ Pleasure, Tactical Bastard, Behemoth] has been a product of a project I was working on called Whorer Stories. I would pull a few songs off of it and put a few original songs around it and put that out.” Being the resourceful hero that he is, Vigatron decided to regroup and take things in a different direction for Gargantuan. As it

turns out, that was for the best after all. “I got brand new beats from Shawn Charles, Bang Messiah and A-Live and cultivated that new project with a new focus, and it’s way more cohesive,” he says. “The whole thing I’ve been doing lately has been about proving that lyrically and conceptually I’m one of the best to do it before I hang it up. That’s why everything is something big. The last album was Behemoth, this one is Gargantuan, and the next will be Gigantesque.” At 9 p.m. on Saturday, Vigatron will perform at Grog Shop on a bill that includes Detroit’s Slum Village along with Joey Aich, Visual 9 and Unknown Phrazes. “Nothing but hardcore, stinkin’ hip-hop that’s a little bit — I don’t want to say ‘entertaining’ but there’s always been a bit more inflection of humor into my shows,” Vigatron says of what to expect from his set. His performances are often full of theatrics and even some choreography. He attributes some of his showmanship to his elementary school. “Even though I came up in East Cleveland, they had an offshoot school that catered to the gifted and talented. They taught us a lot about stage presence, eye contact, projecting your voice and articulating a lot of things. It wasn’t like a Fame school, but they gave us all these nuggets of things you could carry on in life.”

scene@clevescene.com t@clevelandscene


SAVAGE LOVE LOPSIDERS By Dan Savage Dear Dan, Longtime “Savage Love” fanboy with a bit of a conundrum — and it’s your fault! I’m a bi man in my 30s. To use Charles M. Blow’s word, my bisexuality is “lopsided.” This means that I fall in love with women exclusively, but I love to have sex with men occasionally. My current girlfriend not only approves, she likes to join in. We have a great kinky sex life, and at times we invite a hot bi dude to join us. You keep saying that to counter bisexual erasure, it is the duty of every bisexual to come out of the closet. If I were a “proper” bisexual, i.e., romantically interested in men also, that would be no problem — my family and work and social circles are extremely liberal. However, your advice to us kinksters and people in open relationships is that we probably shouldn’t come out to our parents or colleagues, since when it comes to sex, it’s advisable to operate on a need-toknow basis. While I agree with this completely — my mother doesn’t need to know my girlfriend pegs me — the rule keeps me in the closet as well. Since I’m only sexually interested in men, wouldn’t I be revealing facts about my sex life if I came out as bi? I also wouldn’t want to mislead gay men into thinking that I’m available for romantic relationships with them. So which rule is more important: the duty to come out as a bisexual or the advice to operate on a need-to-know basis when it comes to your sex life? — Bisexual Leaning Out Warily There’s nothing improper about your bisexuality, BLOW — or Charles M. Blow’s bisexuality, or the bisexuality of other “lopsided” bisexuals. While the idea that bisexuals are equally attracted to men and women sexually and romantically used to be pushed by a lot of bi activists (“I fall in love with people, not genitals!”), it didn’t reflect the lived/ fucked/sucked experience of most bisexuals. Like you and Blow (heteroromantic bisexuals), many bisexuals have a strong preference for either women or men as romantic partners. My recently “gay married” bisexual friend Eric, however, is one of those bi-romantic bisexuals. This popular misconception — that bisexuals are indifferent to gender (and more highly evolved than all

those genital-obsessed monosexuals) — left many people who were having sex with men and women feeling as if they didn’t have an identity. But thanks to bisexuals like Blow coming out and owning their bisexuality and their lopsidedness, a more nuanced and inclusive understanding of bisexuality has taken root. That nuance is reflected in bisexual activist Robyn Ochs’ definition of bisexuality: “I call myself bisexual,” Ochs says, “because I acknowledge that I have in myself the potential to be attracted — romantically and/or sexually — to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.” Lopsided or not, BLOW, you’re a proper bisexual, and if you’re in a position to come out to your family and friends, you should. And rest assured, telling people you’re bi doesn’t mean you’re divulging details about your sex life. You’re disclosing your sexual orientation, not detailing your sexual practices. You can tell someone you’re attracted to men and women — at the same time, in your case, if not in the same way — without telling them about the hot bi dudes you and the girlfriend bed together. And if you and the girlfriend are perceived to be monogamous, and you want to keep it that way, you can allow people to continue to make that assumption. Finally, BLOW, most gay men are aware that bi guys usually aren’t romantically interested in other men. And that’s fine — so long as heteroromantic bi guys don’t mislead us, most gay men are down to fuck. (And gay men who won’t date homoromantic or bi-romantic men? You guys are missing out. My friend Eric was a hot, hung, adventurous catch. Congrats, Christian!) And since you’re partnered and presumed to be monogamous, you’re also presumed to be unavailable. But if you’re worried a gay friend might hire a hit man to off the girlfriend so he can have a shot at your heart, come out to him as heteroromantic at the same time you come out to him as bi.

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