Scene july 19, 2017

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


Editor Vince Grzegorek Editorial Managing Editor Eric Sandy Music Editor Jeff Niesel Senior Writer Sam Allard Staff Writer Brett Zelman Writer-at-large Kyle Swenson Web Editor Laura Morrison Dining Editor Douglas Trattner Stage Editor Christine Howey Visual Arts Writers Josh Usmani, Dott von Schneider Copy Editor Elaine Cicora Interns Daniela Cacho, Julie Ciotola, Kirby Davis, Colton Faull, Adrian Leuthauser, Lawrence Neil Advertising Senior Multimedia Account Executive John Crobar, Shayne Rose Multimedia Account Executive Kiara Davis, Andrew Newsome

The Opportunity Corridor is delayed for some new reason, a horse collapses downtown, and more



We present to you our fifth annual People Issue


Creative Services Production Manager Steve Miluch Layout Editor/Graphic Designer Christine Hahn Staff Photographer Emanuel Wallace


All the best things to do this week in Cleveland

Business Sales Assistant/Receptionist Megan Stimac Controller Kristy Dotson Circulation Circulation Director Don Kriss


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

There’s trouble afoot in Neighbors by Convergence- Continuum



National Advertising Voice Media Group 1-800-278-9866,



Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets makes the most of its special effects

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Cleveland Scene Magazine is published every week by Euclid Media Group. Verifi ed Audit Member Cleveland Distribution Scene is available free of charge, limited to one copy per reader Copyright The entire contents of Cleveland Scene Magazine are copyright 2017 by Euclid Media Group. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher is prohibited. Publisher does not assume any liability for unsolicited manuscripts, materials, or other content. Any submission must include a stamped, self-addressed envelope. All editorial, advertising, and business correspondence should be mailed to the address listed above. Subscriptions $150 (1 yr); $ 80 (6 mos.) Send name, address and zip code with check or money order to the address listed above with the title ‘Attn: Subscription Department’

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THE STATE INSISTS THAT A Cuyahoga County taxpayer’s lawsuit is holding up construction of the Opportunity Corridor, the $331.3-million boulevard that will connect I-490 to University Circle. The lawsuit strikes at the funding mechanism for the Opp Corr, by arguing the constitutionality of the Ohio Turnpike raising tolls and then using that revenue to fund non-turnpike projects (like the Opportunity Corridor). Resident and plaintiff Melissa Ullmo calls the toll increase and appropriation an “unlawful tax” on turnpike users. The problem is as labyrinthine as everything else related to the Opportunity Corridor. The first two phases of the boulevard, which extends from East 105th and Chester down to East 93rd Street, are on track for timely completion by the end of next year. The third phase, which brings the roadway down to I-490 at East 55th, is going to take much longer. That phase will have to be split into multiple parts. It also constitutes the biggest chunk of the project’s cost: some $220 million of the grand $331.3-million total. While the whole thing was supposed to be fi nished by 2020, that’s not likely to happen at this point. The third phase was supposed to be funded by the next round of bonds issued by the Ohio Turnpike, under its recently granted tollspending authority, according to ODOT press secretary Matt Bruning. “Instead of using another round of turnpike bonds, we’re going to use state revenues that come from our fuel tax,” Bruning tells Scene. The fuel tax is a more


finite resource, he adds, which means that construction will need to be drawn out on a longer timeline compared to the turnpike bond structure. “It’s Plan B,” he says. Here’s the legal background on Plan A: Beginning in 2014, the turnpike embarked on an annual 2.7-percent increase in its tolls for trips over 30 miles, which will last through 2023 and which was authorized by the state’s General Assembly. The additional revenue will pay for some $1 billion in bonds issued by the turnpike in 2013. That money

is helping to fund infrastructure projects around the state, including Cleveland’s Opportunity Corridor. It was widely celebrated at the statehouse as a unique take on revenue generation and widely derided as a questionable workaround elsewhere. Cuyahoga County resident Melissa Ullmo filed a multifaceted lawsuit in 2015, arguing that the toll increase has been used as an unlawful tax to fund projects that have nothing to do with the Turnpike. U.S. District judge Dan Polster tossed most of the lawsuit a few

months later, but allowed Ullmo to continue arguing that the turnpike toll increase constituted an unlawful tax on face value. The case was kicked back to Cuyahoga County at that point, where it has more or less languished. Ullmo argued that the 2014 toll increase was “not designed to offset a liability owed by the Turnpike users.” In short, Ullmo is saying that there was never any turnpikespecific need for the toll increase three years ago, and in the absence of a need the revenue was directed toward non-turnpike uses. Where a toll was once a fee, she asserts, it’s




“Cleveland mayoral candidate Eric Brewer’s Facebook postings show a profane, inflammatory style,” a headline read. “Fuck yeah they do, motherfuckers,” Brewer quickly agreed.

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Cleveland gets sterling tourism write-up in Los Angeles Times. “Never before has a writer so eloquently juxtaposed the Cuyahoga River fires with our ‘rocking’ renaissance,” Destination Cleveland prez Dave Gilbert says.

| | July 19 - 25, 2017

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“enhancement” are not further defined. That provision was added to the Turnpike section of the Ohio Revised Code in July 2013, mere months before the toll increase went into effect. The two events were intrinsically connected. This is the cornerstone of the new Innerbelt Bridge funding and the Opportunity Corridor funding, along with millions of dollars in infrastructure improvements statewide. (“A lot of the projects that we were able to do with that money we were able to accelerate 10, 15, 20 years,” Bruning says.) The court, however, has danced around Ullmo’s core argument, insisting that “The General Assembly has expressly stated that Turnpike tolls are not taxes.” The case boils down almost entirely to semantics on that point. It’s a “because I said so” sort of argument, and little has been hashed out beyond that in the courtroom. “In general,” according to the ORC, “a fee that is used primarily to benefit the person paying the fee is not tax, while a fee that provides the same benefits to people who never pay the fee, as it does to those who pay the fee, is tax,” the court writes. “Here, the General Assembly prepared list of criteria for infrastructure projects at R.C. 5537.18. Those criteria, which are focused on the benefits to Turnpike users from infrastructure projects, support the conclusion that the General Assembly intended for the increased toll to be fees, not taxes.” Because it’s fairly easy to imagine a commuter using the Opportunity Corridor in the distant future — and, perhaps, never setting tire to asphalt on the Ohio Turnpike, thus never paying tolls — it’s not much of a logical leap to argue that the toll increase and its expenditure is a tax. Two years in on this lawsuit, and that central question is still being debated. Douglas Hedrick, chief engineer for the Turnpike Commission, said in 2013 that “I-490 via I-77 connects to the Ohio Turnpike and will encourage use of the turnpike, particularly by those who are traveling further distances to get to this major institutional center. Therefore, the [Opportunity Corridor] project has a nexus to the turnpike system.” That’s where the argument rests right now, but nowhere in Poster’s 2015 opinion did he halt the diversion of toll revenue to projects like the Opportunity Corridor. It’s


now become a tax. Polster, in his 2015 opinion on the case, wrote that Ullmo never fully articulated that the turnpike tolls and these non-turnpike projects are materially unrelated. This is where things get a bit esoteric. According to the Ohio Revised Code Sec. 5537.18, toll revenue may be used for non-turnpike projects that have a “transportationrelated nexus” with the turnpike in several ways: decreasing turnpike congestion, impacting the “movement of goods” or the generation of toll revenue on the turnpike, enhancing the access to or egress from the turnpike and having a general physical proximity to the turnpike (some portion of the non-turnpike project must be within 75 miles of the turnpike). It’s the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission itself that both determines that a project has a related turnpike “nexus” and then decides to fund it. Words like “impact” and

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UPFRONT unclear how or why the lawsuit could be holding up the funding apparatus for the project. Patrick Perotti, an attorney representing Ullmo, tells Scene, “We haven’t seen anything about [ODOT] announcing any kind of delay. If ODOT is claiming that there’s something in the lawsuit that is tying them up, that is simply a lie. ... We’d like to obtain some information from [the


| | July 19 - 25, 2017

Turnpike Commission], and every time we do that they ask the court to prevent discovery.” A Turnpike spokesperson tells Scene that the commission’s policy is not to comment on pending litigation. Bruning as well could not elaborate on how specifically the lawsuit is holding up the funding structure, except to say, “It became evident to us (ODOT) that there’s been no movement [on the court docket]. We can’t risk not getting things done, so we have to shift our plan and keep moving forward. We

remain committed to this project. We are not going to let this project not get done.” The latest action in Ullmo’s suit came last December, when she opposed Attorney General Mike DeWine’s motion to dismiss the case. “Our country was founded, in part, on opposition to improper taxation,” she wrote by way of intro. Until the court arrives at a resolution, the Ohio Turnpike seems limited in an ipso facto sort of way in its ability to issue bonds. ODOT isn’t venturing a guess as

to when the Opportunity Corridor itself will be done, though Bruning did tell that “it won’t be 20 years, it will be much shorter than that,” referencing the protracted Innerbelt corridor timeline. — Eric Sandy

HORSE COLLAPSES DOWNTOWN, IGNITING FURY OVER HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE OPERATION Shamrock Carriages does not have a great reputation in Cleveland, and this past weekend once again demonstrated how nightmarish the whole horse-drawn carriage situation can be for animals who have no control over their experience. Last Saturday, a horse fell down on the Main Avenue hill while hauling around a massive sleigh for Shamrock Carriages. (Main Avenue is the steep, brick-lined incline between West 9th and the Flats, which is, objectively speaking, an insane place to take a horse.) A Facebook post about the situation ended up attracting thousands of comments over the weekend, with most people remarking that this demonstrates a very clear danger to the animal and damning ineptitude on the part of the carriage operator. “He was clearly terrified because he kept peeing everywhere and was so exhausted he was not able to stand,” Evie Grabsky wrote on Facebook, “and yet the carriage driver was trying to get him down the hill and to keep going instead of pull[ing] him off to the side of the road to avoid being hit by a car like many horses being used for this do.” Video of the later part of the incident shows the horse lying on the ground as people try to help it up. Once it’s upright, the horse runs down the hill into late-night bumperto-bumper Flats traffic before falling down again. Many people are seen coming to the aid of the horse, while the driver mostly gives the crowd the cold shoulder and fusses with the horse’s harness. Shamrock Carriages disabled its Facebook page soon after the outrage outbreak. Scene spoke with several people who are looking into the possibility of a humane investigation into this matter. (Nothing is confirmed yet.) A petition seeking a ban on horse-drawn carriages in Cleveland has been revived. See more at — Sandy t@clevelandscene


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our years ago, we met around a table, smacked our foreheads and decided it was high time we featured Clevelanders doing cool things in the region. We put together a long list of candidates. The only real qualifications were that we thought our subjects were interesting: They were young, old, black, brown, white, straight, gay, trans, cis, artistic, entrepreneurial, social, political and smart. They were weird and wonderful and enthusiastic about things that we sometimes were, and sometimes were not, also enthusiastic about. We had so much fun talking to our subjects that we did the same thing the next year, and the year after that, and the year after that. This is our fifth annual People Issue, and once again we’ve been bowled over by the energy and diversity of the human beings with whom we share a city. In the following pages, you’ll meet artists, activists and an architect; writers, teachers and chefs. You’ll meet a rapper and a lawyer, a hardwood restoration specialist and a naturalist. You might meet someone you know — but you’ll certainly meet 27 people who you’ll want to know. This is the Scene People Issue: Don’t be shy. People 2017 photos by Ken Blaze Photography.



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ice Souletric should be tired. Exhausted even. Married with two kids, he holds down a full-time job and somehow still manages to be one of the hardest working musicians in the city. Given his hustle, he’s appropriately wearing a T-shirt that reads, “No days off ,” when he meets Scene in the Tower City food court. Born in Louisville, Souletric grew up in Lorain. While in high school, he got into rapping while freestyling in art


Vice Souletric Hip-Hop Artist

class. “Me and my buddy Johnnie used to be in art class at Admiral King High School, and we’d start freestyling right in the middle of class,” he says. “That’s how a lot of rappers get started. I came up in the Golden Era with Jay, Biggie and DMX, so I emulated them.” He’d eventually form Play Havoc, a group in which he rapped and produced under the moniker Ill Advice. “All we wanted to do was make one song over a beat,” he says. “We started doing local shows in Cleveland and this local promoter Tyler Lombardo used to throw hip-hop shows and we opened up for the Beatnuts at the Agora.” That group put out an album in 2007 but Souletric says he never took it “all the way serious.” He took a brief hiatus from making music but began writing and recording again after he got married. His 2015 solo debut Vice for President suggests just how serious he became about pursuing a musical career. His sophomore album Vice for President 2, released in 2016, includes a cameo from rapper Talib Kweli from the acclaimed hip-hop duo Black Star. “I just reached out to the management via email and they reached back out and gave me a chance,” says Souletric when asked how he recruited Kweli. Vice tackles many topics on his albums, including police brutality, even before it was commonplace on hip-hop albums. “I wanted to talk about the things happening in society,” he says. “I think what leads to great music is true inspiration. I didn’t think many rappers were talking about it, and I thought it was kind of irresponsible. It’s funny because now it’s become the norm for people to drop something political.” Last year, Souletric released


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“Soulections,” a freestyle series on which he spits his “coldest 16s over 3 different beats with an eye-catching video for each.” Souletric says of the release, “It was something different to do and gave me the opportunity to work with other producers and give them a chance to be heard. One producer was from North Carolina and the others were from Toledo and Chicago.” Earlier this year, just in time for the Cavs defense of the NBA title, he

released the tune, “O-H, UH-O-H.” Produced by Nottz (Busta Rhymes, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg), the song finds Souletric chanting the refrain and spitting out lines like, “I’m not Snoop but my Dawg Pound is real famous,” over an infectious synth riff and snarling guitars. “It was all about doing a Cleveland sports anthem,” he says. “At the time, the Cavs were in the championship run. We’re going to cut another version of the video for the Browns and, if the Indians get to

the World Series, we’ll do a baseball version too.” Souletric will release his next album, T.R.A.P. ( The Reality of All People), later this year. “ Vice for President had rap features but with this one I’m getting all outside producers,” he says. “The theme is hip-hop music that appeals to a broad range. I talk about subjects that affect all people. I’m really excited to put it out.” — Jeff Niesel



e caught up with Dr. Aparna Bole on a classic Cleveland morning, gray skies shifting seamlessly into sunny, cerulean blue and back again. From our vantage point on the rooftop of Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital at UH’s main campus in University Circle, the city beamed with energy. Walls of flowers bordered our conversation as Bole described how she got to her current positions and what she’s looking forward to continuing to accomplish. “In health care, we’re becoming more and more aware of how much we need to widen our lens if we’re serious about improving the health of the populations we serve,” she says. She started the health system’s sustainability office in 2010, blending the themes of waste reduction, energy management, sustainable purchasing, healthful food, green buildings and an overall sense of wellness into a massive institution. This is a major motif in Bole’s work: identifying how the environmental

context of a patient — the stuff in between medical procedures and checkups — affects his or her health. With a rapidly changing healthcare business ecosystem and a rapidly changing climate, this sort of paradigm shift is paramount for places like UH. Bole is on the vanguard.

and air quality control leaders. The key, Bole has noticed, is that government policy needs to be treated as a health issue. What is the home environment for Cleveland’s children like? What decisions have been made to improve the places where young Clevelanders grow up?

Aparna Bole

Pediatrician, Medical Director for Community Integration, Sustainability Director Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital and UH Besides her two primary titles at UH, Bole remains a practicing pediatrician. And that’s where her work has seemingly been most visible, by taking a close look at how climate change and its air quality effects end up impacting our community’s most vulnerable population: children. This manifests as advocacy through health care operations, setting an example for local legislators

“Ten to 20 percent of a population’s well-being is determined by access to excellent health care, and that’s great and we want to continue to provide that,” she says. “But if we really want to improve our community’s overall well-being, we need to focus on social, economic, environmental, physical issues in the community.” Cleveland is a great place to do

just that. After growing up in Portland, Oregon, where environmental leanings have been a social constant for a long time, Bole landed in Cleveland to fi nd a city that’s situated perfectly to do even more to improve its footprint on this world. With a public transit system traversing roadways conducive to cycling and walking, Cleveland’s old bones provide its current residents a platform to develop new, more sustainable community assets. The entrepreneur set has started companies that are built on green and eco-friendly models, which in turn benefit all neighbors. In the heart of it all, Bole fi nds optimism and enjoyment. “How lucky are we?” Bole says. “We have plenty of fresh water, we have these incredible bones in our city — this architectural richness and incredible cultural diversity. If you think about the challenge and opportunity of the American city, Cleveland embodies that for me in a way that’s really exciting and positive.” — Eric Sandy | | July 19 - 25, 2017




’m a proponent of teachable moments,” says Pamela Eyerdam, the manager of special collections and fine arts at the Cleveland Public Library. Right now, she’s showing off a few of the “profi le sheets” she’s put together to highlight bits and pieces of the CPL’s John G. White Chess Collection, the largest of its kind in the world. This one’s about chess legend Emanuel Lasker. “Often, people don’t like to read a big

the guillotines.” Born in Cleveland, raised in Maple Heights, and currently living in Walton Hills, Eyerdam has been with CPL for 12 years. But she’s been a librarian for 35. She has worked for both Cleveland State University and the University of Akron. “In my field, when you move from academia to public, you’re kind of a traitor,” she says. But for Eyerdam, the CPL is just


Manager, Special Collections, Cleveland Public Library block of text, so I try to keep them to a single page,” she says. She walks over to a display table featuring old autographs. Here, a document signed by Abraham Lincoln; beneath it, one signed by Marie Antoinette. “With kids,” Eyerdam says, “you’ve got to bring in the gore, so we talk about


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as much a university as her previous places of employment. Indeed, John G. White, the philanthropist and avid chess collector whose personal bequest forms the core of the chess library, was a firm believer in literature’s power to educate. Eyerdam is almost as fervid a fan of White as White himself was of

chess. She describes his good deeds with affection and reverence: He was sportsman. A philanthropist. Every week, he would deliver baskets full of books to children. These days, the White collection is known the world over. Eyerdam says the special collections wing (on the third floor of the main library building) gets more tourists than local visitors. Every summer, for example, they host chess researchers from American and Europeans universities. An international club of chess players and collectors holds a mini-conference there every few years. When the John G. White Chess Collection was featured in a 2012 cover story in Chess Life magazine — “For us, being on the cover of Chess Life is like being on the cover of Time,” says Eyerdam — the reporter remarked upon Eyerdam’s hospitality. “If you’ve ever done serious research in national archives in Europe or private

libraries in America,” wrote reporter Mark Taylor, “you had probably got the impression at some point that you were not exactly welcome. Not so in the CPL Special Collections room. [Eyerdam] has taken [John G. White’s] attitude to heart and created a welcoming atmosphere most rare among first-rate collections.” But Eyerdam sees her hospitality as in keeping with the library’s “public university mantra” and the progressive attitudes of John G. White and former Cleveland mayor Tom Johnson. “For a city to be progressive, it needs to educate the general public,” Eyerdam says. “Educate people so they can get jobs and the city can be more progressive.” She shrugs. That much is obvious to her. “And look,” she says, gesturing to the windows that face Daniel Burnham’s glorious green mall and Lake Erie in the distance. “We’ve got the best views in the city.” — Sam Allard



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he problem isn’t that the government is broken,” Greg Coleridge says, whipping out one of many activist slogans he’s been repeating so long they’re inextricably threaded into the fabric of his speech. “It’s that it’s fixed.” “Fixed as in rigged,” he says, leaning in, making sure the message is clear. Coleridge’s central issue is corporate power and the insidious effects of money in politics. He is a man who has known that corporations aren’t people since long before Citizens United.

GREG COLERIDGE Activist, Move to Amend

Citizens United was the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that held that money was a form of speech, and that capping corporations’ campaign contributions was an unconstitutional infringement of their First Amendment rights. It facilitated a massive growth in Super PACs. “But it was a perverted kind of blessing,” says Coleridge, clipboard in hand, seated at the Cleveland Heights Public Library with a smattering of activist literature in front of him. “It made people wake up. They might not realize, though, that this is nothing new. This has been going on for 125 years.” Coleridge, an Akron native and Oberlin College alum, now works for Move to Amend, a national coalition formed in 2009 committed to social and economic justice, ending corporate rule, and building a vibrant democracy that’s accountable to people, not corporations. He’s been doing this genre of work for years. For example: “This is from 1996,” Coleridge says, referencing a 96-page Citizens Over Corporations pamphlet he authored for the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy (POCLAD) as a byproduct of a meeting with frustrated activists. Back then, and until earlier this year, Coleridge was the program director for economic and political justice with the American Friends Service Committee. “I’d done work with non-violence campaigns,” Coleridge says, “but quite frankly, we ended up evolving — or some might say devolving — into looking at issues of democracy and corporate power in politics.” Coleridge has worked locally to



get 12 Ohio municipalities to pass resolutions asking congress to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would state two things: 1) Only humans, not corporations, are legal persons, and 2) money is not equivalent to speech. “The reason we’re so frustrated, why we’re literally banging our heads against the wall,” Coleridge says, “is because there are a lot of fruits and

| | July 19 - 25, 2017

vegetables you can boycott one at a time. But we don’t have enough time. We have to look at the fundamentals — and the analysis shows that the overarching problem is the increasing power and rights of corporations.” Coleridge says that he sees many local activists doing critical work — in labor, consumer protection, the environment, etc. — and even remembered fondly his week in

Seattle in 1999 protesting the World Trade Organization. He said that to this day, there has been nothing more liberating than shutting down those Seattle streets. But he said activists need to focus on corporate power or else their progress will be limited. “I’m not saying drop everything. This doesn’t need to be your No. 1 issue,” Coleridge says. “But maybe make it No. 2.” — Sam Allard

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ong before he found himself on stage in front of a mic, Mike Paramore really wanted to play football. Like many Pee Wee football players, he wanted to make the NFL. Thing was, coaches along the way had similar ideas, including the staff at the University of Akron. They recruited Paramore, who played linebacker at Garfield High, with the idea that he could lose weight and kick some serious ass at strong safety.

T-shirt and sweats, Paramore still possesses that defensive swagger even though he long ago blew out his knee, his NFL dreams dashed in the process. “It was kind of depressing,” he admits. While living in Columbus where he was recovering from surgery, he “stumbled across” an improv team and thought he’d give it a shot since he was always “the funny guy.” “I actually hate being the center of

Mike Paramore Comedian

“I was kind of a reckless hitter,” says Paramore, who went to 10 different schools in 12 years while growing up here, as he sits at the downtown Corner Alley bar, munching on a taco hamburger stacked with tortilla chips. Decked out in a black Jordan


attention, but improv was way out of my comfort zone,” he says. “Being a comedian is contrary to who I am as a person. I haven’t decided if I get to be who I really am when I’m on stage, or if I get to get away from who I really am. I’m still trying to figure that part out.”

| | July 19 - 25, 2017

He put together a five-minute standup set that served as his tryout for the improv team. It went well. People laughed. But Paramore, who says he was shaking during the entire routine, swore he’d never do standup again. And yet, friends coaxed him into competing in a “funniest person” contest in Columbus and then in Cincinnati. He placed second both times. As a reward, he received a week-long hosting gig. He’s gotten gigs ever since. “It was a snowball effect,” says Paramore, who now performs regularly and books himself into clubs throughout the country. “My material has always been life observations,” says the comedian, who last year released the comedy album, The Things We Tell Ourselves. “I feel more comfortable talking about race now that I’m more comfortable on stage, which isn’t very comfortable at all. I still have to have a Long Island

before going on stage. That’s come more with me gaining a voice. I never broached the subject of race until the last couple of years.” While he’s not exactly sure where this is all going to take him, there is a certain satisfaction he gets from even being able to consider the idea that one day he could make a living off comedy. And the attention? Well, he’s still that shy kid at heart. “I would be okay with being famous. It’s been said to me that I will be great in an unscripted show interacting with people, but my goal is to be able to support my family using comedy,” he says. “I think it’s awesome to be able to travel around the country and sell tickets using your name because I was on a show, or be famous just for your comedy like a Bill Burr or Brian Regan. But I would be perfectly fine being the wealthy, working comic that nobody knows, if that’s possible.” — Jeff Niesel

| | July 19 - 25, 2017



n her first Fourth of July as a U.S. citizen, Siriphan “Kiwi” Wongpeng did the most American thing ever: She went to a friend’s house for a cookout and then took in a fireworks display. Wongpeng, who runs the wildly popular Lakewood restaurant Thai Thai with her mom, dad and brother, says that she was the last in her family to make it official. Although she filed her Application for Naturalization back in November, the change in administration delayed the exam until this past May.


Siriphan “Kiwi” Wongpeng Owner, Thai Thai

The Wongpengs immigrated to Boston from Thailand in 2000, when Kiwi was still in high school. Her aunt, who had a 15-year head start in that city, was running four Thai restaurants. Like the rest of the family, Kiwi worked in the restaurants washing dishes, cutting vegetables and packing to-go orders. “I did not answer the phone,” she jokes, alluding to her lack of command of the English language back then. It was a random set of events that caused the family to relocate to Cleveland five years later. “We ended up in Ohio because my mother came to the Cleveland Clinic for eye surgery and was here for a week, and she just loved how simple life was in Ohio and she said, ‘We have to move to Cleveland,’” says Kiwi, admitting that the move was an adjustment. “They took me to downtown Cleveland at night and there was nothing. In Boston, there’s always something going on.” Within a month of landing in Cleveland, Kiwi’s parents took over a small Chinese restaurant on Madison Avenue and opened Thai Hut in its place. They followed that business with the Asian Grille, which they operated for about eight years, until it closed last year. It was Kiwi who suggested to the family that they open a new Thai place that completely bucked convention. “We were making Thai food for Americans, it’s sad to say,” Kiwi explains. “I meet a lot of people who had been to Thailand and they always ask about the food they had there. I said, ‘Why don’t we do something different? Why don’t we make food like it is in Bangkok?’”


| | July 19 - 25, 2017

Within a few months of opening Thai Thai, the family knew it was onto something. The restaurant’s strippeddown menu of street foods and Thai classics like Duck Noodle Soup, Kra Praow and Pad Ke Mao was resonating with both Asian and non-Asian diners. And before long, the small 20-seat eatery was packing them in every day.

“By that summer we knew it was a good idea because people came in and liked it,” she explains. “When Thai people come in a lot, we know that we are doing something good. I feel really bad because we only have, like, five tables.” Thai Thai’s participation at last year’s Night Market Cleveland has exposed the restaurant to an even wider

audience, says Kiwi, now a single mom, but for now, there are no plans to expand or change course. “We don’t want to take any chance to go to another location and it’s not working,” she explains. “So we go slow. We’re very happy. We didn’t think it would go this fast. We just wanted something to do in the family. We’re just lucky.” — Douglas Trattner



ost poets are happy to get a smattering of applause for their efforts, so it’s unusual, and stirring, for a poet to receive a standing ovation. And it’s particularly notable when that tribute comes from your high school classmates. But that’s what happened to AKeemjamal Rollins after he read a

in Northeast Ohio and nationally. Last year, the local team he coached fi nished in seventh place at the National Poetry Slam in Decatur, Georgia, out of 72 teams. (Slam poetry, for the uninitiated, is a poetry competition in which poets read their poems and are scored by judges randomly selected from the audience.) He is also the coach of this

AKeemjamal Rollins Slam Poet and Educator at the LGBT Center

poem in school at 13 years of age. “As I recall, the poem was based on some vocabulary words, such as ‘rueful.’ When I was done, all the kids stood and applauded. I guess that’s where my poetry career began.” Since then Rollins has made quite a name for himself in slam poetry circles,

year’s Northeast Ohio slam team, The People, competing at the nationals in Denver later this summer. Rollins has also competed in 10 other national events, as well as countless local and regional slam fests. During these intense competitions, audience members are encouraged —

nay, summoned — to yell, cheer, boo, scream and react vocally in any way that moves them. In short, it’s a blast. Rollins is a master of the craft, using his background as theater performer and his gift for writing compressed, evocative language to win over virtually any audience he encounters. As Rollins says, “To succeed in slam poetry, you have to be your true self, you have to dig deep to the roots. What an audience sees in a slam event are the branches and leaves, but if the roots aren’t there, the poem won’t work.” Actually, Rollins didn’t write about himself until 2013, but since then he’s been exploring all aspects of his own roots. An example of that is when Rollins writes about his little brother Rashad who is on the autism spectrum. Rollins was astounded when one day, out of the blue, the 21-year-old Rashad said, “AKeem,” since Rashad had never said his brother’s name before. As Rollins explains it, “Whenever I write about my brother, I become present. I

re-enter my body.” Here are two haikus Rollins has written about his brother: He is not a thing I don’t have an autism I have a brother He knows shooting stars Are angels playing Frisbee Using their halos When he’s not slamming, Rollins works as a prevention educator at the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, teaching comprehensive sex education to teens from 14 to 19 years of age in Cuyahoga County. He is in his second year of that work at the Center, and he looks forward to pursuing an Applied Behavior Analysis license in the future, so he can work with patients dealing with autism and related disorders. With AKeemjamal Rollins, the roots run deep and wide. — Christine Howey | | July 19 - 25, 2017




he Aut-O-Rama in North Ridgeville wasn’t the fi rst drive-in theater in Cleveland, but, in 1972, it was the fi rst to offer two screens. “We actually opened this after the big wave of drivein theaters in the 1950s,” says Deb Sherman, the owner. “So ours looks a little different. We learned from the others what worked and what didn’t.”

shortly after he opened it, and it’s been in the family ever since, with all five Sherman children helping her run the place since her husband’s death in 1993. Three of the kids have since moved away, but sons Tim and Del are still around to help their mom. “I wouldn’t be able to do it without them,” Sherman says. “I’ve got three

Deb Sherman Owner, Aut-O-Rama Twin Drive-In It was birthed seven years before the addition of the second screen, back in 1965, by Sherman’s late husband’s family. Her father-in-law wasn’t necessarily a fi lm lover; he was more of a businessman, always looking for new ideas. Thus, the second screen. Sherman’s husband and his brother joined their father in the business


grandkids that are local, and they’ll help out and be here just about every night, and if we don’t burn them out, hopefully they’ll be around here for a while.” Sherman’s 8-year-old granddaughter runs the register, while her 10-year-old grandson will be popping popcorn and running pizza orders.

| | July 19 - 25, 2017

Ohio is actually the leading state for drive-in theaters, along with Pennsylvania. “There are 26 in Ohio, last I heard,” Sherman says. The Buckeye State’s temperate climate lends itself to the industry, as does the local love of automobiles. “One of my theories,” Sherman says, “is that it’s part of the whole car climate of this area, with all the car manufacturing back in the days, and people just love their cars and doing things with their cars, and that’s a big part of it, hopping in the car and staying in it and watching a movie from the car.” The allure is part nostalgia, part functional, and part programming. While they’ll show newer movies, the attraction of combining a semiold-timey outing with semi-old-timey movies has packed in the crowds. Sherman, in addition to doing everything including running the concession stands, is the chief curator.

“The fi lms from the 1980s are always the most popular,” she says. “ Pretty in Pink , Weird Science, Sixteen Candles . That’s what people like to see. And I look down the list of what was popular in each decade and choose based on that, but the ’80s draw the best.” Coincidentally, the 1980s is also when drive-ins were really struggling — when cable television came out, when the VCR became popular and video stores were big and people were staying home. “That was a really rough decade for us and that’s when most of the drive-ins around here closed.” But AutO-Rama stayed open, and while there have been ups and downs since then, it’s been pretty steady the last couple of decades, and since digital projectors were installed in 2013, they have seen an uptick in customers. With half a century in the books, here’s to another. — Brett Zelman

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| | July 19 - 25, 2017




ne of the great and mostly rare joys in life is to take a passion from childhood and build it into a sustainable career, a way of life as an adult. We should all be so lucky, and Cleveland Metroparks naturalist Jen Brumfield is among the few who can claim that thrill.

maybe 20 with her own brand of humor and insight. “You know when you fi rst become conscious of life, your fi rst memories … I remember just liking birds,” she says. Her father was a science teacher and her mother was a nurse, and instead of buying things they channeled their

Jen Brumfield Naturalist, Cleveland Metroparks “I swear to god that I was interested in birds in utero,” she tells Scene on a windy morning at Wendy Park earlier this summer. She comes here every morning to scout feathered friends along the breakwall and in the small woodlot near the volleyball courts. This is one of the best birdwatching spots in Northeast Ohio, she says, and therein lies her life’s passion: the many and varied birds of planet Earth. On that day, she was leading one of her many birding walks in the park, passing on her knowledge of summertime songbirds and regaling a crowd of


family’s time and money into trips to the park, road trips, vacations. “We owned, like, nothing. No video games. No elaborate TV. We spent our money on experiences.” Back then, Brumfield’s home was ringed with birdfeeders. When her father would fi ll them up with seeds, she’d run into the house and wait patiently for whatever birds would happen by that day. This is how it’s always been, since her earliest days. (Some of her fi rst words were related to birds, to her mother’s chagrin. “It was like ‘Dad’

| | July 19 - 25, 2017

and ‘Hawk’ and ‘Grackle,’” she says. “‘Mom’ was like sixth.”) From there, she went on frequent Audubon bird walks and pored over field guides constantly. By 11 or 12, she was leading her own bird walks. All along, her parents were incredibly supportive of her interests. They sent her to southeast Arizona for a bird camp once; at 16, they sent her to Belize for the birds. She worked hard and gathered scholarships to fund her passion. What’s interesting about birdwatching is how similar it is to a broad spectrum of other activities, how transferable it is for naturalists to share with rookies. Many in the field will compare it, sometimes reluctantly, to Pokemon Go. “It’s like this big hideand-seek game,” Brumfield says. “It’s like collecting stamps, but in a fun way.” After a string of outdoorsy jobs in the area, she landed at Rocky River Nature Center one day to sell some artwork. She had just gotten back into town after a three-day hawk watch in Buffalo. Her reputation preceded her, as these things happen, and Brumfield

was hired to do seasonal, outdoor education work and field-guide writing. She moved up in the Metroparks world. “The opportunities are incredible,” she says of the organization. With a visible platform in a prime North American birdwatching region, Brumfield has been able to develop and hone her passion. In 2012, she broke the record for the most bird species seen in Cuyahoga County with 270. (She saw 53 species on Jan. 1 alone, including a snowy owl at the airport.) Our visit with Brumfield at Wendy Park was so impressive that we incorporated her work into a recent feature on the nexus of birdwatching and climate activism. Something she said that morning, winds whipping fast around our interview, really stuck with us, mostly because Brumfield is about as enthusiastic a naturalist as you’ll fi nd: ““Little do people know anymore that we’re conscious! We can make decisions and not just go with the flow!” She’s made her passion into her life, and she shares that with other people everyday. — Eric Sandy


ne thing that Brandon Santiago does is cart around small pieces of finished lumber and leave them places, like small tokens or like a special bonus tip when he’s leaving a restaurant. Sometimes he just gives them to people. Today, when he comes to meet Scene at Working Class Brewery in West Park, he’s carrying a small piece of purpleheart finished with an eco-friendly mono coat. But that’s just one thing, because Santiago is a busy man. Santiago started Cleveland Hardwood Restoration six years ago after a few jobs and several years of training under a bona fide flooring master. “I studied him,” Santiago says, “and really studied to be better than him. I’m the type of person who … whatever I put my hands on, whether it’s making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or sanding a floor, I want to do the best.” He got his start by working in a vegan kitchen in Westlake. This goes all the way back to his childhood, helping his uncle tear down walls and build the place. When he hit 20 or so, his first child came along, and Santiago started thinking about where his life would take him. Naturally, he quit the job. The guy who owned the building offered Santiago some work just two days later. The gig involved floors, and Santiago dug in. “The floor was being sanded from the most disgusting state — and one rip from the machine and the wood looked brand new. My first, lasting memory was just walking into this house and seeing this and being like, ‘Holy shit. This is really cool.’ I fell in love with the craft from Day 1.” With that last sentence, Santiago nods to the cover of Hardwood Floors magazine’s 2017 Resource Book. There he is, on the cover of the industry’s most important publication. That very same quote adorns a photo of Santiago in his workman’s denim. It was the first time the magazine had ever featured a person on its cover. In just a short amount of time, Santiago’s Cleveland-based spirit and DIY attitude has given him some level of celebrity in the hardwood restoration world. His Instagram account, @ clevelandwoodbee, boasts more than 13,000 followers. Through his photos, he showcases that very same feeling that first inspired his love of the craft years ago. This is another thing that Santiago does.


the ripple effect of Santiago’s presence. Originally, the mission was small and simple. But demand for Santiago’s work has grown fast, and he’s picked up a few employees and trained them

Brandon Luis Santiago Owner, Woodworker, Cleveland Hardwood Restoration During our conversation, a brewer stops by and shows Santiago that he’s still carrying the small piece of wood that he was given a few weeks back. This would be

himself — just like his own path not too long ago. With that, Santiago’s been able to define how he wants to run a company: good pay for a job well done with eco-

friendly, socially conscious materials. (Cleveland Hardwood Restoration uses Rubio Monocoat natural oil finish, which sets him apart from the chemical-laden competition. “Let the wood be the wood,” Santiago says.) Before the magazine, and the company, and his family, though, Santiago very nearly missed out on his life altogether. A few days after his Lakewood High School graduation, he was pitching in a game at Clark Field in the West Denison Baseball League. He was hit hard with a baseball, blinding him completely in his right eye. “I’ve been told it could have killed

me: the amount of damage that it did to my eye itself,” he says. “To think that that could have been it, right there, makes me kind of feel like I only have one shot at this life. So let’s start a hardwood floor business, let’s hire some guys, let’s buy a van. Let’s just ride the wave, because who the eff knows?” In so many ways, Santiago has carved his dream out of that ethos of hard work. It’s the classic Cleveland story, and he’s excited about the road ahead. “The next floor will come,” he says. “I’m a big believer in Cleveland.” — Eric Sandy | | July 19 - 25, 2017




hen architect Daniel Bickerstaff realized, with a start, that he wasn’t just on the design subcommittee for the African-American Cultural Garden, he was in charge of spearheading the design, he went six months without picking up a pencil. “That’s unheard of for me,” says the Shaker Heights resident, speaking at a conference table in his firm’s office on Lee Road. “But I really wanted to understand

Bickerstaff, “but it was that emotional.” Bickerstaff, whose father is from Alabama, says he never discussed race with his family but that he sees the importance — no, the necessity — of doing so. “Just like our Jewish brothers and sisters,” he says, “this country must embrace and express our history, even the awful parts. In doing so, we pay respect to those who survived. That’s why I’m sitting here in this air-conditioned office.”

W. DANIEL BICKERSTAFF Principal, Ubiquitous Design, LTD this dual citizenship — this idea of being both African and American — before I put my ideas down.” Bickerstaff says during his extensive research of the harrowing Middle Passage and the experience of African-Americans in the United States, he would often find himself weeping at his computer screen. “I’m a big guy, 285 pounds,” says


Bickerstaff grew up in Hough (the 8200 block of Superior) and attended Cleveland public schools until the 10th grade, when he won a scholarship and finished high school in Boston. Afterward, he attended Washington University in St. Louis to study architecture, in defiance of a prominent professor who encouraged him to switch to social work.

| | July 19 - 25, 2017

Energized, and proud of his academic accomplishments, he returned to Cleveland in 1986. After working in the private sector for a few years, he worked in the city’s planning office. He was Mayor Michael White’s chief architect before he set out on his own in 2002. Since that time, his firm, Ubiquitous Design, LTD, has worked on an array of local projects. Bickerstaff has a passion for historic preservation and designed the Men’s retail clothing store at Clifton Boulevard and Lake Avenue that used to be a BP gas station. He designed the red and metallic contemporary condos on Brayton Avenue in Tremont. He has designed churches and hotels and local parks. (In case you’re wondering — we couldn’t resist asking — Bickerstaff ’s favorite building in Cleveland is the Terminal Tower. He worked there fresh out of college and has fond memories of, among other things, the fountain. He says he looks forward to what Tower City can be again, now that a sufficient downtown population exists to patronize

the businesses there.) But his crown jewel remains the cultural garden. Though only the $600,000 first phase of the $2.5 million project is complete, the finished portion is already an important symbol for Cleveland’s African-American community. The garden was originally dedicated in 1977, but a committee to raise funds and build the memorial wasn’t established until 2003. The completed portion includes a large archway and a black corridor that signifies the Doorway of No Return in West Africa. “These are torturous things we’re representing,” Bickerstaff says, of his concept, “but I wanted the design to be beautiful, to be elegant, and to be something we’re proud of as a community.” Bickerstaff says the fundraising for the remaining phases is ongoing, and that he’ll be involved until the final stone is laid. “For me,” he says, “it’s a labor of love.” — Sam Allard



ournalism hasn’t stopped experiencing seismic changes since the advent of the internet, where new ideas are being attempted every single day. It’s especially true for daily newspapers and doubly true for the sports section.

fundraising, the original Athletic, born in Chicago in 2015, and The Athletic Toronto, which launched earlier this year. The site already boasts four full-time writers, including those hired away from, 92.3 The Fan and Pro Football Talk.

Ron Ledgard

Managing Editor, The Athletic Cleveland “When you’re involved in and on the newspaper side for as long as I was, then you kind of see where digital is going, you see the restraints that are put on the sports section,” says Ron Ledgard, managing editor of The Athletic Cleveland. It’s part of the reason he’s now at the subscription-based, online-only regional sports site that was launched this past March. It followed, after venture capital

For his part, Ledgard arrived at The Athletic after a brief stint at an online property in Pittsburgh and, before that, 16 years with the Akron Beacon Journal and, where he spent the first 14 years as sports editor and the last two as digital editor. It was an evolution that informed how sports can and should be covered. “The games are at 7 at night, end at 10:30 and the deadline is at 10:29,”

he says. “You’re getting stories with not much content. You almost knew what the reporter was going to write if you watched the game. The Athletic is different. We don’t do a game story. I like to read long-form stories, I like to read analysis, and that’s what we’re working for here: fans that want to know why things happened instead of what happened.” That means offering writers free rein on what they cover and how, not to mention emphasizing content that isn’t click-driven, minutiae-based stories, ones that involve real reporting. Ledgard doesn’t pay much attention to the subscriber count, but the hiring of a new writer like Ari Wasserman from to cover Ohio State sports implies to him that the site is doing well. “We’ve been trying to get deeper features, whether it’s Travis Sawchik describing a Francisco Lindor story about him swinging his bat at his locker

and actually showing Travis how his swing pattern path has changed, to getting into deep analytics that TJ (Zuppe) is doing with the Indians,” he says. “Or Jason (Lloyd), who’s covered the Cavs for seven years and knows the ins and outs of the team.” Ledgard’s job is to get the writers a little out of their comfort zone, which might mean getting Zuppe to write a more traditional feature or getting Lloyd to dig deeper into analytics. The Athletic isn’t a solve-all, just part of the ecosystem, one that Ledgard sees value in from top to bottom and, ultimately, hope. “There will be the free sites with the quick minutiae stuff, bloggers, some not doing much, some that are really good, really pushing the envelop on some of this, especially on the analytics side, and particularly baseball. That’s where it started, with the fans like that,” he says. “At the end of the day, I still think that people like to read.” — Brett Zelman | | July 19 - 25, 2017


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ne thing I know,” says Daniel Gray-Kontar. “I don’t want to be 50 years old, rapping. All due respect to Snoop Dogg, I don’t want to be running around on somebody’s stage, saying, ‘Throw your hands in the air like you just don’t care.’” Gray-Kontar is 46. The dusting of white in his goatee is the only visual evidence that he’s not 10 years younger. He’s a versatile writer and artist and says that he has always tried to find the medium that allows him to best express himself, the medium that makes the most sense for the times. In the past, that medium was journalism; in the past, it


DANIEL GRAY-KONTAR Playwright, teacher, artist

was hip-hop. “Right now, it’s poetry,” he says. “Poetry allows the same capacity to play with language and rhythm and meaning, but without some of the restrictions of rap.” Performance poetry is also one of the key subjects taught and explored at the Twelve Literary Center, in North Collinwood, which Gray-Kontar founded last year. There, teenagers participate in a fellowship where they learn performance poetry and “various aspects of social justice.” (Right now, five teens from Twelve are representing Cleveland in the Brave New Voices youth slam poetry festival and competition in San Francisco.) In every aspect of his life and work, Gray-Kontar is committed to young people and advocating on their behalf. He was a creative writing teacher at the Cleveland School of the Arts for many years and has always believed that in society, “young people are often spoken at or spoken to. “But it’s incumbent upon us to listen,” he says. “Young people live in this world too, and they often have answers that go overlooked.” One of the goals of the Twelve literary space, in fact, is intergenerational performance and dialogue. “We’ve had conversations about race in this space,” Gray-Kontar says, sitting on one of Twelve’s comfy couches that form a perimeter around a performance area. “We’ve had conversations about class. We’ve had conversations about gender equity. The perceptions that young people have are different than those of older people. Both perceptions are equally valid, and that tension between them helps us unpack the issues. It’s about mutual respect.” Gray-Kontar is also a recent addition


| | July 19 - 25, 2017

to the Northeast Shores board of trustees. In that capacity he focuses on education issues and sits on the governance subcommittee. He says right now, he’s intent on developing increased youth leadership opportunities. It should come as little surprise that when he was tapped to collaborate on a play to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the historic Carl Stokes mayoral election, Gray-Kontar insisted on bringing youth on board. “That was the one thing I said to

[Karamu House president Tony Sias],” Gray-Kontar says. “I said I’m down. I just need to make sure young people are involved.” The resulting play, a ‘choreopoem’ called Believe in Cleveland, utilized documentary material, hip-hop lyrics and scripted dialogue. It was performed in June at Karamu and featured significant written contributions from local teens. Gray-Kontar says he’s excited about the possibility of another run of the show (not at Karamu) later

this year. For now, though, he’s thrilled to be at Twelve. He says when he was let go from from CMSD — like a lot of artistteachers, Gray-Kontar didn’t have his teaching certification — it was the first time he’d cried in a long time. “But it turned out to be the best thing that could’ve happened,” he says. “Now I can bring the same message I taught at [Cleveland School of the Arts] to youth all over Northeast Ohio.” — Jeff Niesel



hel Greenberg Erba sits cross-legged on a yoga mat that reads, “Unfuck the world.” She is not sitting in some cozy studio with natural light pouring in through glass windows, but instead at Mahall’s, the bowling alley, concert venue bar and restaurant, which makes perfect sense. Here she is free to teach her brand of yoga, full of loud music, four-

which she’s taught in Cleveland for more than two years — can save the world, but it saved her. About seven years ago, Erba quit her job and enrolled at Kent State University to realize her dream of teaching elementary school. That change came with a lot of stress and she needed a way to quiet her mind. At first, that wasn’t yoga.

Shel Greenberg Erba Owner, Punk Yoga

letter words and inner peace. She points to her cut up Jaws T-shirt and explains to this morning’s Punk Rock Yoga class that she always thought the shark was a misunderstood villain: He was just hungry, you see. “Now close your eyes and breathe,” she says. “Find that hunger.” Erba’s not here to say punk yoga —

She hated the first two classes. “I’m really klutzy,” the now 45-yearold says. “I’d been going to the gym, but I could barely touch my toes. The first two classes, I was really bad. I didn’t understand the sweating; I didn’t understand the breath. But then I connected with one teacher. Eventually my practice — it wasn’t

pretty, but it was mine.” When school teaching didn’t pan out, yoga instruction became the new outlet. As a 40th birthday present, Erba’s parents paid for her yoga teacher’s training. Friends and family came to her first classes and laughed with her when she made mistakes. At first she used the tranquil music found at most yoga studios. But at home she did her sun salutations while blasting David Bowie, Queens of the Stone Age, Sleater-Kinney and, of course, the Partridge Family. Online, she saw other yogis who’d combined the two. Her husband encouraged her to reach out to Beachland Ballroom to see if they had space for yoga with a punk attitude. The Ballroom gave her a shot, and Punk Rock Yoga has now expanded to Mahall’s, Black Market and Tremont Athletic Club. “I realized I didn’t have to do the typical yoga, the slow yoga music, I could play what I wanted,” says Erba, who’s also a local rock photographer. “It’s that feeling when you go to a show and the floorboards

are shaking and you feel it up your legs and your arms. You feel like a rock star and it’s exciting, but also there’s a calm in that moment.” Not all yoga studios have welcomed Erba’s classes. And Erba agrees her music choices aren’t for everyone. Yet her goal is to make sure the people who do attend are not only safe, but “find the fire within.” “I think people new to yoga are worried about their sweat smelling or accidentally farting … actually the farting in class is an initiation of sorts,” Erba says with a laugh. “But it’s finding the calm in the chaos, and that chaos can be really good excitement and it can be the stressful shitty anxiety. So if you can slow down the moment, you can be entirely present.” Today’s class has students at a variety of ages and levels. Erba walks around making small corrections of hips and arm positions. “Surf through those shark-infested waters,” she tells the class during a tricky balancing pose. “You will come out the other side.” — Laura Morrison | | July 19 - 25, 2017




here are few better ways to describe a modern artist who explores all types of artistic mediums and fields, from film and drawing to performance art and theater, than as a modern renaissance woman. And it’s just about the best way to characterize Cleveland Heights-based artist Kasumi, who sort of defies and

Andre Show on Comedy Central.) In addition to the GIFs, she’s created an immersive virtual reality, 360-degree piece called “Pizzaland 360,” which is just as cool as it sounds. Her media art has been displayed on the exterior of the Cleveland Museum of Art and inside the DC Tower in Vienna, Austria. The loops fi nd their origins in

Kasumi Artist

explicitly works against classifications. Recently, Kasumi has been focused on what she calls her Perpetual Loops, which are a series of one or more images spliced together to create a sort of infi nite GIF. (A collection of her loops was recently featured on the Eric


Kasumi’s 2015 feature-length fi lm Shockwaves, which consisted of gestures used in place of words, with the gestures and clips turned into a full narrative. Kasumi used close to 25,000 clips in the movie, or about 10 times the number of clips an average fi lm will

| | July 19 - 25, 2017

use. Looking for a project after the fi lm, but being exhausted from the fi lm, led her to the idea of the loops, something she could fi nish in a week. “They’re instant gratification. Total instant gratification,” she says. Perpetual Loops, of course, aren’t all she’s focused on these days. “I try to fi nd whatever medium fits the concept. If it’s a still image, I’ll do a print or a photo,” she says. “I started also playing around with collage recently. It all sort of starts with ‘what if’, and then you just sort of go.” She uses Instagram to present her work now — it was Tumblr, before that kind of died — and believes that it’s only a matter of time before another platform takes its place. She’s also in the process of developing an app that incorporates art, music and entertainment with a sort of create-

your-own adventure, mix and match program. “My mother was an artist, and my father was a rocket scientist, so technology doesn’t daunt me and prevent me from using new high-tech tools,” Kasumi says. Kasumi, a prestigious Guggenheim Fellow in 2011 who also happens to have classical baroque musical training in her artistic toolbox, doesn’t like to talk about her personal life and would rather focus on her work. “My background — like most of ours — is a mixture of many cultures and influences. I’m trying to get away from the characterization of, ‘we’re this ethnicity’ or ‘that category’ of artist,” she explains. You can see her fi lm Shockwaves, her Infi nite Series, her TEDx talk and more of her work at Kasumifi — Brett Zelman



espite a very inauspicious culinary start, Jeremy Umansky seems to be incapable of making an ill-timed move. After speaking up for fellow students and staff at the Culinary Institute of America, telling the New York Times that, “The C.I.A. … feels like a corporation that is pumping students out for the benefit of the industry,” he was compelled to leave the program just three months shy of a degree.

simultaneously served as president of his school’s Garden Society while working on a 40-acre vegetable farm that supplied the university. That same year he spent some quality time with author and fermentation guru Sandor Katz. “All of this was happening to me at the same time — farming and agriculture, foraging and wild foods, food preservation and fermentation

Jeremy Umansky Chef, Owner, Larder

“It further invigorated me to pursue what I thought was right when it comes to food and what I was going to do with it,” Umansky explains. While still a student in the fertile Hudson Valley of New York, Umansky managed to learn plenty. He was very active with that region’s Slow Food chapter, one of the largest in the country, even representing it as a delegate at the organization’s annual conference in Italy. Umansky

— so it was really easy for me to make connections between them because they are all so interconnected,” he says. With such a diverse and relevant skill set, Umansky had little trouble landing a job, despite his premature departure from university. His fi rst was as a chef at Wild Hive Farm in the Hudson Valley, working for small-batch grain pioneer Don Lewis. His next move earned him the title of executive chef at Brooklyn’s Fairway Market,

where he worked alongside Steven Jenkins, author of what is widely considered the bible on fi ne cheese. It wasn’t long before Umansky was being recruited by Whole Foods in Manhattan, where he developed a localfoods program for chefs. After his stint there, the young chef flew across the country to help launch Feast, an online culinary school for home cooks that was quickly backed by 500 Startups. Once that project was up and running, Umansky returned to New York, where he was brought on as chef at Brooklyn Fish Camp. “We already decided that between student loans, the grind of New York, and the fact that we were ready to start family planning, we just had to get out,” says Umansky, who is now married to Allie and father to daughter Emilia. “We were looking at San Fran, Austin, Philly … I came in town for my best friend’s wedding — it was the fi rst time since 2006 that I had been in Cleveland for longer than two days — and my mind was blown.” At the time, in 2014, cook, sous chef and chef jobs were his for the

taking, Umansky explains. But he had something else in mind. He stole some of chef Jonathon Sawyer’s time and showed him some of the stuff he was working on: wild edibles, foraging, ferments, charcuterie. He was brought on board at Trentina, where the pair developed one of the most progressive koji-culturing programs in the country. “Modesty aside, when it comes to koji and what I’ve developed with the use of enzymes and the way we are using them, the buck stops here,” Umansky states. “A colleague of mine described it best when he said, ‘The application of koji makes food taste like the best junk food ever, but it’s good for you.’” Next up for Umansky is Larder, a modern delicatessen in Hingetown that will rely on many of the techniques he’s amassed during his relatively brief but already remarkable culinary journey. “I’ve been working in kitchens in various aspects since I was about 11,” he reports. “I don’t necessarily like the idea of destiny or fate, but it kind of feels like this has all been just that. — Douglas Trattner | | July 19 - 25, 2017




t the age of 19, and with nothing resembling an advanced degree, Eric Rogers was employed as a file clerk by University Hospitals. His work ethic, confidence and optimistic personality helped him scale the corporate ladder all the way to finance manager. “I’ve always been a hard worker,” he says. “Anything I do, I do with full force. That’s how I was raised.”

food,’” Rogers recounts. “That’s when I started taking it more seriously.” Even during the Desk Job years, Rogers never fully put away the apron. His backyard barbecues drew crowds, his guests shifting from family and friends to paying customers. At 33, he made the decision to walk away from his corporate gig and follow his heart. While his wife was unconditionally

Eric Rogers

Chef-Owner, Fix Bistro, Sweet Fix Much of what Rogers needed to know, he learned in his grandparents’ East Cleveland restaurant, where he began working at the age of 8. He started off small, cleaning greens, snapping beans, peeling potatoes. But by the age of 13, he was the restaurant’s head cook. “Customers started coming in and saying, ‘I want the little guy to cook my


| | July 19 - 25, 2017

supportive, Rogers’ parents thought he was crazy. But all those years poring over the hospital ledgers provided him with a degree of financial aptitude that many fledgling entrepreneurs lack. “I didn’t just jump off a building: I planned,” he explains. “I created a business plan, did market analysis, looked for a void in the community … I took a

professional approach, and at the end of the day, I knew I couldn’t fail if I had a great product.” First came Nevaeh Cuisine, a Creoleand Cajun-style eatery in South Euclid, which he quickly traded in for a “great little corner spot” in Cleveland Heights. Rogers took his soul/Cajun leanings and reshaped them into a “fast-gourmet” sandwich concept called Black Box Fix. “I knew this area would appreciate what I do,” he says. “I was creating food that this side of the city had never seen before. After that it was like, boom, everything blew up.” You could call Black Box the restaurant that OMG Phillys built. That immensely popular hoagie consists of sauteed chicken, peppers and onions capped with plump seasoned shrimp, and thousands were selling each week. When a larger space opened nearby, Rogers eagerly expanded into a fullservice restaurant called the Fix Bistro. In his old spot, he partnered with a baker to

open Sweet Fix, a neighborhood bakery. This summer, Fawaky Fix, a partnership with the owner of Fawaky Burst Juice, will open on the same road. Soon after, Soul Fix, a healthy soul food carry-out, will open down the road. But the move that Rogers seems most pleased about is the chance to take the Black Box Fix concept to Legacy Village. “They called us, and that was something that made us very proud, being one of the first black-owned businesses to go in Legacy Village,” Rogers says. “It’s a whole different market, and we have to prove ourselves, but I think it’s a model that crosses cultural borders.” Does Rogers ever pine for the relatively tranquil days working the desk? “I love what I do, and the fact that my wife is now doing it with me definitely helps,” he reports. “I wake up every day and do what I love, so I never feel like I’m working. You can’t beat that in life.” — Douglas Trattner

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hen he was just a child, Puspa Gajmer and his family fled Bhutan amid ethnic cleansing to a refugee camp in Nepal. They spent the next 20 years there. During that time Gajmer learned English and studied music, got a degree from Tribhuvan

“There were very few Nepalese people there,” he says. “It was very, very small.” Friends and family eventually suggested that Gajmer move to Akron, where they arrived in 2013. “There were lots of immigrants here,” he says.

Puspa Gajmer Founder, Himalayan Music Academy University and dreamed of a better life. In 2011, he came to the United States and ended up in a small city in Illinois.


“It’s an international area and very welcoming.” Gajmer, now 32, continued his education at the University of Akron

| | July 19 - 25, 2017

and, in his spare time, began to teach traditional Nepalese music to students at his home. When one student turned to two which turned to three which turned to four, a friend suggested he open a more traditional space in which he could not only serve more students … but stop using his house. It was the kernel of an idea, and Gajmer’s friends and family figured he’d rent a small space and grow gradually. Instead, Gajmer found a location on North Main Street and opened a proper school with additional instructors. “It’s going so good, so good,” Gajmer says. “We have about 40 students and while some are Nepalese, a lot of others are not. They are just interested in learning about our

songs and our cultural instruments.” And they couldn’t learn from a better teacher: Gajmer is a celebrated artist and has recorded albums of traditional Nepalese folks songs. “It’s a different melody than other sounds,” he says. “The refugee camp was very stressful and very difficult,” he says, reflecting on how far he’s come. “Now I feel very proud to be here, working with the different community organizations.” Students have already performed around the city and more concerts are slated during the year. “I just love helping them and seeing them improve,” he says, with paternal pride. “I’m blessed to be here and doing this.” — Vince Grzegorek



n the summer, while the Cleveland Orchestra is busy with its Blossom concert series, Rose Breckenridge hunkers down deep inside next season’s music. “Summer is hibernation time,” Breckenridge says. “Don’t call me.” As the instructor and administrator for the Cleveland Orchestra’s Music Study Groups, Breckenridge is currently writing her lectures for the 2017-2018 season, which also just happens to be the 100th anniversary of the outfit. Writing the lectures means breaking down Beethoven and Mahler and more to make it comprehensible and

to understand that the more you learn about the music, the more fascinating it becomes. “Classical music, it’s beyond words,” the pianist says. “If you could put it in words, you wouldn’t need it. To me, it’s like part of the air: I need rest and food and joy and music. I can give you a musical tour of what’s happening in the artwork, but the beauty of music is you can’t say what it means. I can only offer you an interpretation.” Breckenridge acknowledges that you don’t have to like every piece of music, but she counters that the more you learn about the work, the more it may grow on you. She says she’s afraid

Rose Breckenridge Lecturer, Cleveland Orchestra Music Study Groups

accessible to all. The hibernation occurs in her home office, piled with scores and books, while recordings of the works she’ll be discussing repeat constantly on her CD player. Earlier this month, Breckenridge was at Severance Hall, a place she’s known intimately for three decades, for a proof meeting of the study group listening guide – the 100-page manuscript given to each series attendee. It will feature past program notes and score excerpts, which aid attendees through Breckenridge’s daytime lectures at libraries and churches throughout the year. “My approach is to fi nd the drama in every piece. Everyone understands drama, and most music is drama,” she says. “Not everyone understands the technical terms in music, so I use a lot of metaphors.” Breckenridge, who moved from Chicago to earn her doctorate at Case Western Reserve University, has taught these classes since the 1980s, when the program was run by the Women’s Committee of the Cleveland Orchestra (which, as of last month, has changed its name to Friends of the Cleveland Orchestra to be more inclusive). Since 1994, the Orchestra has taken the reins, putting Breckenridge officially in charge. And it makes sense that she’s the one still running the show. When Breckenridge speaks about classical music, her eyes light up. She wants you

that to a new generation, classical music may all sound like elevator music. “There’s a lot more entertainment choices these days, and the future of any orchestra is all about cultural heritage,” she says. “My whole life I’ve been devoted to fi nding meaning in the arts, and the spiritual power of the arts, and every thinking person has to examine their life and decide what is important.” Knowing so much about composers and their signature styles can even come in handy on the home scene. Sometimes, when Breckenridge is in the car with her husband listening to the classical music station, he’ll ask her to guess which composer wrote the piece. It’s a little game, one she often wins. “My ultimate goal really is to share the joy of music with everybody,” says Breckenridge, who also gives concert preview lectures when called upon. “So when people do go to a concert, they can experience it more deeply.” During the summer’s busiest writing points, Breckenridge will set aside at least one hour of the day for peace and quiet. She likes to take walks and meditate on the music and hammer out what she wants to say. “But at some point you have to say ‘that’s it,’ you have to write the lecture, and turn it in,” she says. “But sometimes you wish you had more time.” —Laura Morrison | | July 19 - 25, 2017




tepping into Lush and Lovely Floristry in Ohio City for the first time, your nostrils are bombarded by an earthy sweetness. It’s an entirely unique sensory experience for visitors, but for owner Brianna Jones, it barely registers any more. This is the building where she spends most of her time, after all.

them women in their 20s. Flowers, succulents and other green things are especially popular among the younger demographic, Jones says. Slide through any fashionable millennial’s Instagram feed and you’ll notice artfully posed women among green and neutral tones. “Millennials in particular, we have

Brianna Jones Owner, Lush and Lovely Floristry When not on the first floor caring for her plants, two birds and loyal customers, she’s upstairs looking after her children or studying for business classes at Cuyahoga Community College. Sleep is rare. Lush and Lovely opened in October, and already Jones says the shop has built up a slew of regulars, many of


a need to be environmentally friendly,” the 31-year-old explains from a highly Instagrammable corner of her shop. “The plants bring you closer to nature, and there’s this new spin on floral designs that makes it exciting.” Rather than tight bouquets, many young women (brides in particular) are looking for a loose, organic, garden feel.

| | July 19 - 25, 2017

“It’s the dahlias and peonies, versus roses and carnations,” she says. “I think we’re seeing a lot of younger people becoming florists too. It’s not just your grandma’s florists on the scene anymore.” This modern resurgence is part of what got Jones into the industry. Growing up near the Poconos Mountains of Pennsylvania, Jones says she was always a “flower picker” and her mother always filled their home with plants. Later, after being stationed with the Army in Afghanistan (where the only flowers grew in the poppy fields), Jones went to art school in Georgia. Last year, when her husband also got out of the service, they decided to move to Cleveland, where her grandparents live. “My husband and I had been talking about the possibility of opening a floristry shop, but it wasn’t serious. It really only became an idea last summer,” Jones says. “But when I make these rash decisions, I am all in. I did the same

thing with the military. I just stopped in a recruiting office randomly and a couple weeks later, I shipped off to boot camp.” From the beginning, when Jones opened the shop with her sister Brooke Witt (who has since left the business), Lush and Lovely has hosted monthly workshops, teaching people how to make hip crafts like flower crowns and succulent tea cups. Jones also focused on keeping costs low (bouquets start at $20), while sourcing as much as possible from sustainable farms. Now, nearly a year in, the entrepreneur says she feels at home, personally and professionally. “For some reason I’ve always had a strong connection to Cleveland; since first visiting, I always knew I wanted to live here,” Jones says. “I was a nobody and I just opened this shop, and I didn’t know anyone here, but people have been so supportive.” —Laura Morrison

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Please RSVP to reserve a seat by JULY 19TH by calling (216) 621-5938 OHIO WOMEN & THE CIVIL WAR HOME FRONT Dr. Kelly Mezurek will present on these widely unsung women who increase Ohio’s political and military contributions by promoting soldier’s aid societies and sanitary farms throughout Ohio.



| | July 19 - 25, 2017



n the next year or two, Clark/Fulton will boast a long overdue addition to the neighborhood. El Mercado, which will be set in a 30,000-plus-square-foot building on Clark just south of West 25th, will serve as the physical and cultural anchor for the neighborhood, in Ward 14, which has the densest Latin population in the state. Think what the Asia Town Center did for that neighborhood, plus more. Keisha Gonzalez, managing director of the Metro West Community Development Organization, along with a broad coalition led by councilman Brian Cummins, the Hispanic Business Center, the Hispanic Alliance and other community leaders have been working toward transforming the structure and bringing in anchor tenants who will cover food, culture, arts and more. It follows on the heels of the success of La Placita, the neighborhood’s annual summertime market, and the larger mission of La Villa Hispana, which consists of an effort to bolster local businesses. “I really can’t personally take any credit for that,” Gonzalez says about the market. “Brian Cummins and people from the Hispanic Business Center … they literally stood at the intersection and realized how is it that there are so many Hispanics here, so much social vibrancy and interaction, but no physical manifestation of that. They realized if everyone moved their gears simultaneously, we could make a physical development that goes along with the social component that already exists.” The HBC is relocating their entire operation to the building, for example, and they’re hoping to attract a daycare, offer small business training and coalesce the neighborhood’s arts and culture around it. It’s a vitally important development in a neighborhood that, as Gonzalez puts it, sits in between a bunch of “trendy” neighborhoods. It’s also one she grew up in and didn’t imagine returning to. “I would say the first time I got exposure outside of the neighborhood was when I went to Magnificat for high school,” she says. After one semester at an art and design school, she transferred


cultures in urban settings and figuring out how people lived.” She followed with a masters in historic preservation at the University of Delaware. And then she came home, but just for a little bit, she thought. She viewed her first job at Metro West as a temporary one, just something

Keisha Gonzalez Managing Director, Metro West Community Development Organization to Cleveland State and got her bachelors in anthropology with a focus on archaeology. But she didn’t have her sights set on Egypt. “CSU had acquired the collection for the Irishtown Bend, so it was urban archeology, picking up


to do until she figured out the long-term career plan. And then she got hooked, serving the same people she grew up with. “Honestly, it was one of those things,” she says. “You learn about CDCs in college and you think that sounds

| | July 19 - 25, 2017

horrible, I never want to work there. But then I started with community organizing here. I knew the streets. I knew the people. It took serving my people to realize it’s something I really wanted to do. I realized I was the happiest when my skills and talents were serving the people around me, the people that raised me.” It’s those same people who the broad coalition wants to elevate, whether it’s at La Placita or El Mercado. “We’re not trying to necessarily attract outside business or concepts or entertainment,” Gonzalez says. “We really want to tap into the talent and blood that exists in the neighborhood, whether it’s testing their toes in entrepreneurship… . La Villa Hispana has been 30 years in the making. It’s gone from a social services center to a district agency and now this. It’s grown so much.”

Clark/Fulton lays claim to the oldest Latin bakery in Cleveland and a slew of other businesses that might not get the recognition or broader support from Northeast Ohio simply because of where they’re located. Slowly but surely, that’s changing. El Mercado will be a big step, but Gonzalez implores small ones from fellow Clevelanders as well. “In addition to events, just experiment,” she says. “I really want people to be encouraged to not be put off by neighborhoods that sit among the trendy ones. There’s so much to be offered, not only in Clark/Fulton but the Brooklyn Centers and the Stockyards and throughout Cleveland, east to west, places that are nestled between the development. Walk the streets, find something to eat.” Sounds like good advice to us. — Vince Grzegorek



hen the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association voted not only to endorse a presidential candidate for the first time in the union’s history but also to endorse Donald Trump, it might have been the first time that many Clevelanders became familiar with Lynn Hampton or realized that the CPPA isn’t the only police union in the city. Hampton, the president of the Black Shield, the African-American police union, spoke out vehemently against the choice. The Black Shield was first formed in 1946 as a social club of sorts and is

the city in 1972 over fair minority hiring practices and again in 1975 to get more women on the job. Its size and relevance has ebbed and flowed since then, experiencing a downturn with poor leadership during the Mike White era. And though its membership is historically small — about 200 — its importance may never be more sizable. Though all of its members belong to the CPPA, and while CPPA holds the bargaining power with the city, opinions on issues of violence, police brutality and politics voiced by human megaphone Steve Loomis, the president of the CPPA,

Lynn Hampton President, Black Shield

one of the oldest minority police unions in the country. What started as a place where minorities could go for camaraderie and support, whether it was getting a fair shake in the hiring process or a promotion, took on serious cultural issues as civil rights battles exploded in the 1970s. Two landmark cases in Cleveland, in fact, started with the Black Shield, which sued

don’t always reflect the opinions of all the cops on the force. “I think I may have one up on Steve, because I’ve been African-American all my life,” says Hampton, a 23-year veteran on the force who grew up in the St. Clair neighborhood on the same block with three other friends who also became cops. “It can be frustrating because at times. …

The commentary you’re giving is how you see things, your reality and your world. His reality and world are different than mine. I see how African-Americans have issues with the police here and all over the country.” That history in Cleveland is full of blemishes, from hiring practices to highprofile cases such as Tamir Rice, Tanisha Anderson and Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams. “Some things I agree on with Steve, and there are others I don’t,” Hampton says. “When people say stuff about Black Lives Matter and compare them to the Ku Klux Klan, which he has, I want to ask if he knows his history. Like, do you know why the Black Panthers was formed? Because it’s what’s happening now. I look at hearings from 1966 and you’d think it was modern day. It sounds like stuff from last week.” Whereas Loomis rails against the consent decree, Hampton see a long history that falls right in line with the pattern and practice that the Justice Department found when it examined Cleveland’s police force. “Is it a coincidence that there were twentysomething cities with consent

decrees?” he asks, noting how Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the current administration view the findings. “The black community already was looking at the police with a critical eye. How are you going to fix the problem if you pretend it’s not there? The police make mistakes, and they need to admit when they do.” Hampton notes that even if something happens that isn’t local, something in South Carolina, or Minnesota, or Cincinnati, it still affects how people view the police here. Which is part of what his job entails — being a community voice and face, fostering communication between the residents and the police. The Black Shield contributes book bags and school supplies to kids, and Hampton is pursuing an ambitious mentoring program. The Shield also helps recruit prospective cops to prepare for and take entrance exams. “I’m a firm believer that the demographics of the force should reflect the demographics of the population,” Hampton says, noting that Cleveland is still a ways off from that ideal. The same goes for promotions to the upper levels of the department. “If everything was fair, there wouldn’t be a need for the Black Shield. But here we are.” — Vince Grzegorek | | July 19 - 25, 2017




ince he launched the Panza Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to support local indie rock acts, a couple of years ago, John Panza has become one of the most outspoken proponents of the local music scene. He is, of course, many other things, including a cancer patient, an active member of a number of local acts, and a full-time English professor at Cuyahoga Community College. It’s not surprising, then, that he can speak

11 years old, I was taking jazz drumming with a private teacher,” he says one afternoon from the screened-in porch of his Cleveland Heights home. “My jazz teacher was trying to move me to marimba, but I discovered Dead Kennedys at the same time. There wasn’t much of a choice between the two.” Panza drummed in his mom’s basement, playing along to tapes and teaching himself tempo changes and

John Panza

Musician, Founder, Panza Foundation eloquently on any number of topics, including the city’s discriminating noise rock scene, local rock venues and local promoters who do and don’t treat the artists’ best interests as a priority. Panza started playing drums when he was 7. It was sort of a family calling; his dad had played drums, and his mother’s father was [a] bluegrass musician. “I knew music was something I would enjoy, and when I got to around


| | July 19 - 25, 2017

speed. When he was in grad school studying literary theory at John Carroll University, he formed his first band, Simoom, with one of his students and a fellow grad student who happened to be his office mate. His life took a sharp turn for the worse in January of 2012. After a show at the Happy Dog, with his indie rock act Blaka Watra, Panza felt sick and threw up. He woke up the next morning with

a flu, went to the doctor and got a chest X-ray. They found fluid surrounding his lung and drained the fluids. The fluid kept coming back. “They opened me up, and the surgeon saw cancer,” he says. “The [CT] scans never showed it.” After three rounds of chemo, major surgery that involved the removal of his right lung, half his diaphragm and a rib, and then radiation, he finally healed. Exposure to asbestos had caused the incurable cancer. After a little research, he realized his father had brought home asbestos on his clothes. Panza sued the company that was the culprit. In the wake of the trial he formed the Panza Foundation, turning the settlement money into a force of local good. “Being a musician and playing for over 20 years, if there’s one overriding characteristic of musicians, they’re bad at asking for help,” he says when asked about the foundation’s goals. “Sometimes it’s lack of knowledge and sometimes it’s pride. Unlike painters and orchestra people who have grants and scholarships, indie rock musicians that make challenging music don’t have

that. The one characteristic we wanted above all else was no application process, because bands won’t ask for help. The foundation’s concept is that we provide them with what they need to succeed. We pick bands that play original music and play regularly and play nice with others. What they do with the money we give them is their choice.” Panza admits there has been a connection between his work as a teacher at Tri-C and his ardent support for the local music scene of which he’s a part. “When I taught humanities regularly at Tri-C, I felt as if my musical background and experience gave me a more nuanced understanding of what other artists were doing in other areas, and I translated that in the classroom as best I could,” he says. “I’m older than a lot of musicians in Cleveland. I’m 43, but I still learn new things every day from these bands we sponsor. They constantly remind me that teaching is a two-way street.” — Jeff Niesel



f you want to get a visceral sense of how it felt to be swept up in the Hough riots, Incendiaries will take you by the hand through that hellscape.” That’s how I described Incendiaries last year, a volatile and risky theatrical piece conceived and directed by Pandora Robertson, the co-director of the Ohio City Theater Project (OCTP).

at Case, she is often working with performers in a collaborative effort to fashion plays that address important social and political issues. In the past, Robertson tackled the concept of confession (a priest’s confession of abuse) in the devised play Free Radical and the Late Night Sketchbook that played, among other venues, at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ohio City.

Pandora Robertson Co-director, Ohio City Theater Project

The play would seem a far cry from Robertson’s full-time job as a database applications developer and administrator at Case Western Reserve University. But as Robertson notes, “Development and directing are similar in that you must create something out of nothing.” When not massaging the software

Robertson is deeply involved in that community and, as co-director of OCTP along with Sarah Greywitt and Fred Mowery, she is working to enhance life in that area. Indeed, the mission of OCTP is to pursue excellence in theater arts and build community through creative innovation, mentoring and neighborhood involvement.

One example of that involvement is their 2017 Summer Arts Camp, a free puppet and mask theater camp for youth ages 8 to 14, running until July 26 at the Michael J. Zone Recreation Center. In the camp, the kids make puppets and masks and then put on their own puppet show at the end. The goal, as Robertson explains it, is simple: “We want to empower young people by giving them access to their own voice through theater arts. And also, help them develop leadership skills.” In addition, OCTP is involved in putting on shows in non-traditional spaces, in churches and parish halls, so that the community has easy access to plays they might not ordinarily see. As for the immediate future, Robertson says, “We will perform Incendiaries as part of Cuyahoga Arts & Culture’s (CAC) Arts & Culture in the Square, in downtown Cleveland’s Public Square, on Saturday, July 22, at 2:30 p.m. There will also be a postperformance theater workshop for

actors and non-actors, adults and teens 14 and up.” Robertson is married to David Shimotakahara, executive artistic director and founder of Groundworks Dance Theater here in Cleveland. They met in Montreal, Canada, when they were both dance students and eventually moved to Akron to dance for Ohio Ballet under the direction of Heinz Poll. After her dance career was over, Robertson began choreographing, acting and directing at theaters around Cleveland. “The arts and theater were in my blood,” says Robertson, “since my father was an actor, my mother was an artist and my stepfather was a musician. After I did a small cameo role in a musical directed by Vicky Bussert, back in the day, I was hooked!” And even though she’s dealing with computer data all day long, she still has plenty of energy for her theater pursuits at night. As she says, “I’m very lucky to be able to do what I love!” — Christine Howey | | July 19 - 25, 2017


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tamy Paul has used one of the last taboo art genres to make a powerful, positive impact on the city and community. By day, Paul works at Airgas’ division headquarters in Independence as division vice presi-

she says. “Cleveland was behind the curve with fully embracing mural installations on large scale, or even considering graffiti as an art form. I wanted this for Cleveland, especially to revitalize areas that may be neglected

Stamy Paul

Founder, President, Graffiti HeArt dent of human resources. By night (and weekends), she runs Graffiti HeArt, which she founded in 2013 after being inspired by graffiti art, both legal and otherwise, during business trips to Argentina, China and Europe. “When I started this organization, there were very few commissioned murals in the Cleveland area outside of Collinwood and a few other areas,”


and need an economic boost. Graffiti HeArt, which is entirely staffed by volunteers, officially debuted in August 2014 during the Gay Games. From there, they’ve helped facilitate numerous mural projects throughout Northeast Ohio, at schools such as CMSD’s Campus International School, as well as at Crocker Park, Tyler Village, Dealer Tire, Airgas and more. And, of

| | July 19 - 25, 2017

course, the Welcome to Cleveland postcard style mural in Ohio City. “I think we can all agree it’s one of my favorites,” she says of the work by New York artist, Victor Ving, with participating local artists Vic Savage and Alan Gilbertson. The explosion of commissioned mural art around the city, from Ohio City to Collinwood, from east to west, has been a welcome addition to the local art scene in recent years. But Paul still loves the good old-fashioned illegal works too. “The RTA Red Line and the tracks along Train Avenue are probably the favorite places to appreciate ‘illegal’ graffiti,” she says, “in addition to watching trains go by where you can view amazing graffiti art from all over the country.” Paul and the other board members

are in search of a permanent location in Cleveland that can become the new home for Graffiti HeArt, “a place that would encompass a graffiti gallery, artists’ workspace and workshop to build walls for installation, as well as to host art- and education-related events.” On that front, it should be noted, Graffiti HeArt’s projects help fund scholarships for aspiring young artists to attend the Cleveland Institute of Art’s Pre-College Program, a summer program for high school students to take college-level art and design classes. “By leveraging a graffiti-for-hire concept, we can serve a dual purpose: revitalize and beautify spaces and communities, while supporting youth education opportunities in the arts. I’m thrilled that our organization has made a tremendous impact.” — Josh Usmani


here will come a time when America’s lovefest with the ACLU will end, or at least taper off. Freda Levenson knows this. The Trump administration and its attendant policies and rhetoric put the legendary civil rights organization in the spotlight, especially after it battled the president’s Muslim Ban. “The ACLU has brought some of the foundational Constitutional cases, we have a long history, but we’re not your grandmother’s ACLU,” says Levenson, the legal director of ACLU Ohio, in her office one June afternoon. “We’re as fresh and relevant as ever, and we can partly thank President Trump for that. When he was campaigning, the rhetoric was so laughable and not credible, but the ACLU took his promises seriously and we were prepared for legal challenges. So when he made good on promises to cut back rights, the ACLU was ready.” In one weekend following their first victory over Trump’s Muslim Ban, the ACLU received $24 million in online donations from more than 350,000 individuals. “Our membership swelled,” Levenson says, “and people that maybe hadn’t noticed the ACLU were calling us heroes.” That has been great, in exposure and pure monetary terms. The donations allowed for additional hiring, but the ACLU has only about 300 staff attorneys nationwide compared to some 19,000 government lawyers — “We’re still David to Trump’s Goliath,” she says — but it’s untenable. Folks who pledged support who might think the ACLU exists to fight Trump might not like it when that portion of their work doesn’t continue to populate headlines, or if and when the ACLU represents someone they disagree with. “It’s not going to last forever,” Levenson says. “And we’re very proud of the work we do that’s also the opposite of taking on Trump.” They represented Citizens for Trump during the RNC, for instance. Levenson also cites the famous 1970s case when the ACLU represented neo-Nazis and their right to march in Illinois. As ethics and morals become fungible and flexible based on partisanship, strange bedfellows is a useful test to see if a person or organization hews to the


or you may disagree with, but it doesn’t matter if their Constitutional rights are being violated. Free speech protects all speech, including hate speech, and our Constitution is designed in a way that if you disagree with something or find it offensive, the solution isn’t to censor it, because then it goes underground. The solution is more speech.” Levenson calls the ACLU gig the

Freda Levenson Legal Director, ACLU Ohio

straight and narrow points of their mission. The ACLU passes with flying colors. “We’re an equal opportunity pain in the butt,” Levenson says. “We’re staunchly nonpartisan. We represent people that we

“dessert of her career.” She grew up in Shaker Heights, went to Wellesley, then to the University of Michigan for law school. She landed a job as a commercial litigator and eventually became partner at a large

Chicago law firm when her professional status was a rarity. “I was the second woman at a very large firm,” she says. “A lot of people didn’t understand that I was a lawyer. If I showed up to a meeting, someone would ask me to get them coffee. If I came to court, the judge would say, ‘Miss, when’s your boss getting here?’ The lawyer’s lounge at the firm, to get there, you had to go through the men’s bathroom. If I wanted to go to a lounge, I had to go through the women’s room to the secretary’s lounge. It was a novel experience; times were changing rapidly. It was great training.” After moving back to Northeast Ohio, and as her four children grew older, Levenson taught as an adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve University and started volunteering with the ACLU. It wasn’t long before she was hired as a senior staff attorney, then managing attorney, then legal

director. While she praises her experience as a commercial litigator, it wasn’t “as satisfying as combining your passion with your intellectual pursuit,” she beams. And while the ACLU continues to fight Trumpian battles, exceptionally important work is being done on the local level every single day, just like it’s always been. In Ohio, Levenson and the ACLU fought a vital battle against the state for purging Ohio’s voter roles. A 6th Circuit Court ruling sided with them, allowing the votes of some 7,500 Ohioans who otherwise wouldn’t have had their votes counted in the November election, through an emergency temporary action. Which isn’t the end of the battle: the Supreme Court will hear the case later this year. “I’m living my dream,” she says. “It’s such a gift to work with your passion and always be on the right side.” — Vince Grzegorek | | July 19 - 25, 2017




ights, lettuce and laundry. It’s alliterative shorthand for employees of Evergreen Cooperatives that basically describes the employee-owned operation’s three areas of business. There’s Evergreen Energy Solutions (lights), which encompasses work in LED installation and construction; Evergreen Laundry Cooperative

Solutions and is part of the leadership team that’s helped guide the businesses, which employ around 140 people, 60 of whom are members. (Employees can join the co-op after a year.) The whole “mission” aspect of Evergreen wasn’t something he initially “got” when he started.

Brett Jones

President, Evergreen Energy Solutions (laundry, of course), which does large- and small-scale work for nursing homes, hospitals and more; and Green City Growers (lettuce), the 3.2-acre hydroponic greenhouse in the Central neighborhood that grows all kinds of lettuce for area restaurants and for further distribution. Evergreen began back in 2008 with the laundry facility, then the energy solutions business, and finally the greenhouse in 2012. There have been bumps in the road, but lights and laundry are profitable and lettuce is projected to be this year. Shaker Heights native Brett Jones is the president of Evergreen Energy


| | July 19 - 25, 2017

After high school, Jones went to Ohio State, finishing his degree while he was abroad in South Africa. He was a Fulbright fellow and got into global logistics (freighting), founding and working at a handful of businesses before being recruited to run Tri-C’s workforce program. It wasn’t long before Evergreen sought him out — they were working on a solar project at the time — and Jones signed on to help them with top-line growth in 2012. “I understood the mission aspect a little at first,” he says over coffee at Dewey’s in Shaker Heights, where he lives in the house where he was raised, and

where his mother was raised before that. “But I wasn’t a community development or economic development guy. I was a business guy. So I wondered how we were going to do all this mission stuff, but after six months, I got bit by the bug. It’s a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Jones answers 10 questions when he’s asked one. It’s an “if this happens, then this happens, and if that happens, then this happens” proposition, all bubbling with passion. For example, Evergreen will find out later this year whether it’s the recipient of $5 million of the $100 million available from the Quality Jobs Fund, founded by Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco and the New World Foundation with the goal of enhancing local wealth and creating long-term sustainable working families. If Evergreen receives the funding, Jones says it will be a game-changer with ripple effects. “That will allow us to convert existing businesses into worker-owned co-ops,” he says, noting they’d focus on industrial businesses in Cleveland, like tool and die operations. “You have these places where a current owner wants to retire, and they’re not private-equity sized companies, but maybe they’re attractive to offshoring. So you’re converting them

to worker-owned, to stay here. There are a lot of baby boomers who are ready to retire and business that may move or close. That devastates local economies, when you lose 10 or 20 jobs in aggregate. That industrial base in Cleveland is still strong and we want to keep that here. “Motives change when employees own the business,” he says. “When you talk about quality jobs, higher wages are part of that conversation, and benefits packages, and opportunities to not only have a living wage but to share in the profits of a company. We can create a new ownership class in America, close that income inequality gap, improve lives, create a new economic class.” Evergreen’s living it. Employees, many of whom are refugees or exconvicts, get access to financial training and affordable mortgages; members attend quarterly board meetings and vote on issues affecting the business and share in the profits. There may be 140 now, Jones says, but there will be more, especially in the LED and energy divisions. “A new ownership and economic class,” he says. “That’s the stuff that gets you out of bed in the morning.” — Vince Grzegorek

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everything you should do this week 07/19


Art of VNTG Earlier this year, VNTG Home opened a 25,000-square-foot retail space in Tyler Village that offers shoppers an “unforgettable treasure hunt” filled with more than 3,000 one-of-a-kind pieces of vintage furniture, art and home decor. Upcycling experts on site can also paint or re-upholster your furniture or any furniture you buy at the store. Art of VNTG, a special vintage art sale and party hosted by the retailer, will feature thousands of pieces of framed fine art, decorative art, modern art and pop art at affordable prices. The Art of VNTG party takes place from 6 to 8 tonight, and there will be music, drinks, and light food. Admission is free. (Jeff Niesel) 1453 East 36th St.,

great traditions. Today from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Perk Plaza at Chester Commons — at East 12th and Walnut streets — food trucks gather to serve up lunch to area residents and employees. Follow the Downtown Cleveland Alliance on Facebook for weekly updates on vendors, entertainment offerings and more. The series continues through Sept. 27. Admission is free, but the food will cost you. (Niesel) downtowncleveland. com.

As a tribute to the late Jonathan Demme, the Cinematheque screens Stop Making Sense. See: Wednesday.




Drawing Power Once a month, Great Lakes Brewing Company hosts Cleveland’s Drink & Draw Social Club. The event is organized by the Rust Belt Monster Collective and sponsored by Carol and John’s Comic Book Shop. Drink & Draws are an opportunity for artists of all skill levels to drink, draw, socialize/network and collaborate in a relaxed and welcoming environment. Events take place at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month, including tonight. At the end of each Drink & Draw, prizes are awarded for various superlatives. Admission is free. (Josh Usmani) 2516 Market Ave., 216-771-4404,

Songwriters on the Patio Tonight at Luxe Kitchen & Lounge, Thor Platter, one of the city’s better singer-songwriters, performs as part of the restaurant’s annual Songwriters on the Patio series. Another great local singer-songwriter, Charles Hill Jr., will share the bill. The event begins at 7 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m. It will be rescheduled if it rains. Admission is free. (Daniela Cacho) 6605 Detroit Ave., 216-920-0600,

Company, Fat Head’s Brewery and Magic Hat Brewing Company, the Rock Hall’s free Summer in the City concert series features some of the top bands in Cleveland. Concerts start at 6 p.m. on the seasonal outdoor stage, July through August. (Rain location is inside, on the Klipsch Audio Main Stage.) Tonight’s concert features PartTime Lover and the electronic group, Mist. Find out more on the website. (Niesel) 1100 Rock and Roll Blvd., 216-515-8444,



Stop Making Sense To honor the late Jonathan Demme, the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque will screen his 1984 film, Stop Making Sense. Demme, who lensed classic movies such as Melvin and Howard, The Silence of the Lambs and Rachel Getting Married, captures the unique energy of Talking Heads, who were performing at their peak at the time of his documentary. Captured in his oversized suit, singer David Byrne leads the band through hits such as “Psycho Killer” and “Burning Down the House.” The movie shows at 7 p.m., and tickets cost $10, or $7 for Cinematheque members, students and anyone under the age of 25. (Niesel) 11610 Euclid Ave., 216-421-7450,

Wade Oval Wednesdays A summer tradition, Wade Oval Wednesday takes place every Wednesday through Aug. 30, from 6 to 9 p.m., at Wade Oval in University Circle. The weekly party provides the opportunity to catch a free concert — jazz, swing, world music and more. Between sets, check out the local food vendors, the beer and wine tent, the farmers market, and free kids’ activities — all laid out on the Wade Oval lawn, adjacent to some of Cleveland’s finest cultural institutions. Tonight’s music comes by way of soul band Wesley Bright & the Honeytones. At 9, catch a screening of the movie, Sing. Details are on the website. (Niesel)



Summer in the City Concert Series Presented by Great Lakes Brewing

Walnut Wednesday Walnut Wednesday is one of summer’s


El Septeto Santiaguero For the past couple of summers, the Cleveland Museum of Art has hosted Ohio City Stages, a weekly summer block party that takes place in front of the Transformer Station during the month of July. El Septeto Santiaguero, a Latin band that has performed in more than 30 countries, will perform tonight at 7:30, and admission is free. Vendors will be on hand to sell food and drink as well. In addition, Studio Go, the CMA’s mobile art studio, will offer hands-on art-making activities, pop-up drawing classes and other family-oriented art projects. (Niesel) 1460 West 29th St., 216-938-5429,


A Book Launch Party Shaheen Modern and Contemporary Art hosts a book launch for Marc Lefkowitz’s Borderlands tonight from 5:30 to 8:30. Lefkowitz is a longtime reporter on sustainability and urban design in Northeast Ohio. He studied English at the Ohio State University before graduate studies in urban planning at Cleveland State University. As part of the festivities, Lefkowitz will discuss the connection between the book and Shaheen’s current exhibition, It’s Hard to Explain, But It Happened Slowly, the Transition, with artist Corrie Slawson. Lefkowitz and Slawson have been married for 13 years. Slawson’s exhibit remains on view at Shaheen through July 28. Admission is free. (Usmani) 740 West Superior Ave., 216-830-8888, BEACH PARTY

Edgewater Live! Now in its fourth season, Edgewater Live features local acts along the shore each Thursday throughout the summer. The event also boasts food trucks and recreational activities. The weekly beach party commences today at 4:30 p.m. on the Centennial Plaza at the new Edgewater Beach House with an opening performance from No Good Solutions. From 6 to 9 p.m., Abby Normal & the Detroit Lean will perform on the RTA Main Stage. It’s free. (Niesel) 6500 Cleveland Memorial Shoreway NW, 216-635-3200, ART

An Interactive Exhibit Through a combination of murals and fundraising events at CLE Urban Winery, the winery and Graffiti HeArt have developed a strong relationship — with each other, local artists and | | July 19 - 25, 2017


GET OUT residents of Cleveland Heights. They team up again tonight to host an interactive art event with local artist Rich Cihlar, co-founder of E11even 2 at 78th Street Studios and owner of the Pop Shop framing studio in Lakewood. It runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Described as a twist on traditional “paint & sip” classes, the event lets guests take part in making a large-scale, collaborative piece of graffiti art under Cihlar’s guidance.

At the end of the evening, each participant will leave with a 12-by12-inch piece of the artwork. Tickets are $30 and include a glass of wine. Proceeds benefit the Graffiti HeArt scholarship fund. Tickets are available through Eventbrite. (Usmani) 2180B Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights, 216417-8313, SHOPPING

Makers’ Market in Collinwood Looking for something truly unique and locally produced? Check out the Made in Collinwood Makers’ Market tonight in Collinwood, featuring a

diverse collective of local makers and artisans from the greater Collinwood community. Tonight’s event runs from 5:30 to 8:30 at the East Shore Park Club, and is produced in conjunction with the East Shore Park Club Summer Concert series. A free concert by Red Light Roxy with special guests Dino & Frankie will begin at 7 p.m. Can’t make it this Thursday? Additional market dates include Aug. 3, 17 and 24. Admission is free. (Usmani) 17217 Dorchester Dr., 216-276-0097,




Bey-Day At Twist Social Club’s summer edition of Bey-Day, you’ll get a constant play list of all things Beyonce, including music and music videos. The event will include music from the Destiny’s Child era to her B’Day hits and her latest album Lemonade. Fortunately, Beyonce has enough material to keep the dance floor hopping right up to last call. The party starts at 8 p.m. Admission is free. (Daniela Cacho) 11633 Clifton Blvd., 216-221-2333, DANCE

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APMAs Fan Day Sunday, July 16 • 1- 7 PM FREE Concert w/ STATE CHAMPS Broadside • Islander Carousel Kings • Sleep On It Plus “LGBTQ in Music” Panel w/ Laura Jane Grace & Mina Caputo

Bringing Cleveland’s hottest acts to our outdoor plaza Wednesdays 6-9 pm • FREE gift w/online RSVP • Upgrade to “Fan” for just $20 to get the gift, the show, a tour of the Rock Hall AND $10 at the bar! (a $40 value!)


July 12 - Mourning (A) BLKSTAR: Jimmy’s Songs July 19 - Part Time Lover with MIST July 26 - Hamilton Handshake with Skulx Aug. 2 - Shooter Sharp & The Shootouts with Cody J. Martin Aug. 9 - Seeress with Axioma Aug. 16 - Hiram Maxim with Glass Traps Aug. 23 - Funkyardx with JPENNELOPE Aug. 30 – Jack Fords with The Commonwealth

with Seratones

JULY 22 - $23.50 Rock all day and into the night. This ticket gets you access to tour the Rock Hall and a full day of live music featuring: The Vindys • Falling Stars Seratones Drive-By Truckers Sponsored by Aramark and Repros Color.

Bring It! Live The stars of Lifetime’s Bring It!, Miss D and her Dancing Dolls return to the stage with the Bring It! Live 2017 summer tour. Last year, the hip-hop majorette competition that toured theaters across the country featured “fierce, original, high-octane performances that brought motivation, inspiration and formation.” This year’s event promises to be “hotter-than-ever” and features “never-before-seen performances.” It takes place tonight at 8 at the State Theatre. Tickets are $32.75 to $99.75. (Niesel) 1519 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, ART

Collage-A-Cat Calling all cat lovers! Looking for a fun and creative evening? CreateA-Craft, in Euclid, hosts a special adults-only Collage-A-Cat class with local collage artist Perris Mackey from 7 to 9 tonight. Mackey’s pop culture-themed art has been exhibited at events and venues around town, including Ingenuity Fest, 78th Street Studios, the Waterloo Arts Fest. Working with Mackey, participants will create an original cat-themed collage using an official “CollageA-Cat” kit. Cost of the workshop is $35 (with discount code “earlynerd”), and includes everything needed to create your masterpiece. Guests are encouraged to bring your favorite adult beverage. Tickets are on Eventbrite. (Usmani) 291 East 222nd St., Euclid, 216-505-0684, FAMILY FUN

RSVP, get tix and full schedule at:


| | July 19 - 25, 2017

Pet Days on the Plaza Vendors, groomers and local rescue organizations will be on Playhouse Square today for Pet Days on the Plaza, an opportunity to give your pet some special treatment or even adopt a new furry friend. The event runs

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from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the U.S. Bank Plaza. (Niesel) East 14th Street and Euclid Avenue, 216-771-4444,


A Summer Dance Festival at Playhouse Square July 29-August 5 FEATURING PERFORMANCES BY PILOBOLUS, RAPHAEL XAVIER (HIP HOP) AND BRIAN BROOKS! Celebrate the National Day of Dance July 29 and kick off the festival with free events such as a giant Mega Barre Class down E. 14th, Dancing In the Street, food and drink discounts in the district and more! PRESENTED BY


2 017

Tickets and more info at or call 216.241.6000.



Third Fridays Even with the warm summer months upon us, Third Fridays at 78th Street Studios continue to be some of the busiest nights in the local art community. With so many galleries and artist studios hosting special events and open hours throughout the building’s four floors, tonight’s Third Friday promises another perfect storm of collective efforts. Highlights include new exhibitions by Justin Brennan and Stephen Kasner at Hedge Gallery; a solo exhibition of new work by James March at Tregoning & Co.; a circus-themed group exhibition at E11even 2 Gallery; and Word Up at PopEye Gallery, an all-female, text-based exhibition featuring work by Amber Esner, Erin Guido and Katy Kosman. As the action winds down, head to the third flood for live music, courtesy of Survival Kit. Hours are 5 to 9 p.m.; individual gallery hours may vary slightly. As always, admission is free. (Usmani) 1300 West 78th St., FOOD & DRINK


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Van Aken Beer Garden The only thing better than a beer garden is an outdoor beer garden. Tonight from 6 to 10, the Van Aken Beer Garden returns to Shaker Plaza. The event takes place outside, in the plaza’s west parking lot at the corner of Farnsleigh Road and Van Aken Boulevard, and inside, in the storefront next to the Pearl Asian Kitchen. The event will feature live music, food, beer, wine, cocktails, retail vendors and children’s activities, and highlights the development of Shaker’s new downtown, the Van Aken District, scheduled to open in the summer of 2018. When open, the District will feature a mix of restaurants, retail, residential and office space built around planned public spaces. Admission to tonight’s event is free. (Niesel) 20040 Van Aken Blvd., Shaker Heights,




Bash on the Banks! Beer, Bourbon & Bacon Festival Cleveland Beer Week and Jacobs Entertainment have partnered for


| | July 19 - 25, 2017

Bash on the Banks! Beer, Bourbon & Bacon, a festival that will feature classic rocker Eddie Money and the return of Cleveland’s Boat Parade. Slated to start at 4 p.m. today on the Nautica boardwalk, the fest will feature “beer, bacon and Jim Beam.” Local breweries Butcher and Brewer, Collision Bend Brewery, Fat Head Brewery, Founders Brewing Co., Great Lakes Brewing Company, Royal Docks Brewing Co., Thirsty Dog Brewing Company, and Willoughby Brewing Company, along with Winking Lizard Tavern, will all be on hand; you’ll also find eateries such as Greenhouse Tavern, Hi and Dry, Market Garden Brewery, and Peace, Love and Doughnuts. Fireworks will follow the concert and take place during the boat parade on the river. Tickets are $25 to $100; snag ’em on the website below. Proceeds will benefit the Jimmy Malone Scholarship Fund and the Greater Cleveland Aquarium Education Fund. (Niesel) 2014 Sycamore St., 216-861-4080, SHOPPING

Beachland’s Rockin’ Flea Market The Beachland’s Rockin’ Flea Markets feature more than 40 vendors, both inside the ballroom and outside in the parking lot. Wares include clothing, records, music memorabilia and vintage items. In addition to vendors, the Rockin’ Flea includes live music and a beer garden. Tonight’s edition features performances by a variety of local Collinwood favorites, such as Salt Sinclair, John McGrail Band and Sands and Hearn. Additionally, the Cleveland Animal Protective League will have adoptable dogs and kittens available. The Beachland’s Rockin’ Flea takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. While there, enjoy brunch with a full bar and patio seating. Can’t make it this time? The Beachland hosts another Rockin’ Flea on Aug. 19. Admission is free. (Usmani) 15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124,




Fire & Rain: Folk Anthems of the 1970s Rob Fisher conducts the Cleveland Orchestra tonight in a program of music by folk rockers such as Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, James Taylor, Jim Croce, Neil Diamond and Cat Stevens. Expect to hear classic tracks such as “Sundown,” “You’ve Got a Friend” and “Time in a Bottle.” Singer-guitarists A.J. Swearing and Jayne Kelli will accompany the orchestra. The concert begins at 7 at

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1109 Starkweather Ave., 216-937-1938,

Blossom, and tickets start at $30. (Niesel) 1145 West Steels Corners Rd., Cuyahoga Falls, 216-231-1111, DRINK

Sloppy Sundays in the Sun The bartenders at Now That’s Class will serve “the coolest and tastiest pitchers” of cocktails today from 3 to 7 p.m. at Sloppy Sundays in the Sun. Pitchers of specialty cocktails ($12) include Paul’s Puerto Rican Punch, Nascar Nectar and Stripple Nipple. The club will also set up a basketball hoop out back for patrons to show off their skills. Admission is free. (Niesel) 11213 Detroit Ave., 216-221-8576,








| | July 19 - 25, 2017




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




Dancing Under the Stars As a part of the 12-week outdoor dance party at Playhouse Square, local instructors will lead Dancing Under the Stars tonight at 6 p.m., on U.S. Bank Plaza. Throw on your best dancing shoes, grab a partner and head downtown for a night full of salsa dancing. If you aren’t familiar with the steps, then you won’t want to miss fun instruction at 6, because from 6:30 to 9 p.m., the plaza will turn into a massive, fun-filled dance party featuring Sammy De Leon y Su Orquesta. For the opportunity to learn new moves and experience a different culture through dance, come on down. Admission is free. (Niesel) East 14th Street and Euclid Avenue, 216-771-4444, MUSIC

Open Turntable Tuesday Tonight from 6 to 9, Goldhorn Brewery hosts its weekly Open Turntable Tuesdays. DJ Kris Koch will offer 20-minute time slots to people who want to bring their own vinyl and spin their favorite songs or deep tracks. The Northeast Ohio Vinyl Club and the locally based Gotta Groove Records serve as the sponsors, and turntables will be provided. Each person will be able to play three to five songs and there will be a mic available to talk about the selections. Along with theme nights, there will be giveaways, drawings and contests. (Niesel) 1361 East 55th St., 216-465-1352, COMEDY


Wing Ding Doodle Blues icon Howlin’ Wolf famously covered “Wang Dang Doodle,” the old blues tune penned by Willie Dixon. Prosperity Social Club in Tremont has adopted that slogan, calling its wing night Wing Ding Doodle. The weekly event features specials on Buffalo wings and cold brews. Prosperity will not only serve up substantial, $1 whole wings, but it’ll also offering meatless Monday “wing” baskets for vegans. Discounted drafts and a playlist of vintage-electric blues and soulful R&B curated by local musician Clint Holley will be on tap as well. Wing Ding Doodle takes place every Monday from 6 p.m. to midnight. (Niesel)

The Mike Polk Jr. Show Live If you’ve seen local comedian Mike Polk Jr., the man behind the Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Video, the Factory of Sadness video (Parts 1 and 2), Last Call Cleveland comedy troupe and his very own show on Fox 8 (aptly called the Mike Polk Jr. Show), perform live, you know he really thrives on having an audience at his disposal. He hosts the Mike Polk Jr. Show Live tonight at 8 at Hilarities. Admission is free. (Niesel) 2035 East Fourth St., 216-241-7425,

Find more events t@clevelandscene

| | July 19 - 25, 2017



THE NEIGHBORHOOD IS CHANGING And there’s trouble afoot in Neighbors by Convergence-Continuum By Christine Howey WHEN YOU GLANCE AT THE program before a play begins and notice that some of the characters are named Mammy, Zip Coon, Sambo, Topsy and Jim — and that they’re all members of the Crow family — you get the sense that subtlety will not be a predominant aspect of the evening’s entertainment. And that is certainly true with Neighbors, the outrageous, aggressively flawed and entirely compelling work by Branden JacobsJenkins, now being produced by Convergence-Continuum at the Liminis Theater. It splays out racial stereotypes and black-white tensions in such a brazen theatrical fashion that it almost beggars description. Don’t believe me? At one point Sambo employs his prodigious penis, which is as long as a first down marker chain on football sidelines, to drag a watermelon on stage and then have sex with it. And Topsy masturbates with a banana. This is the first produced play by the young but already renowned Jacobs-Jenkins, and that rawness shows. It is as confrontational as a punch to the face. But it bristles with ideas and perspectives that he has delivered with more restraint and wit in plays such as An Octoroon, which was produced by Dobama Theatre last season. Neighbors is juvenile, messy, and often irritating — much like Melody, the 15-year-old daughter of a mixed-race couple living on a quiet


suburban street. One day her black dad Richard Patterson, a college professor, looks out his window and sees new neighbors moving in. They are African-Americans wearing garish blackface makeup and loud costumes, brashly declaring their presence on the street. We soon learn they are members of a performing troupe and they put on shows called “Coon-a-paloozas,” in which they engage in a variety of demeaning skits and songs dragged from the depths of minstrelsy. Richard is highly offended by their presence, but his white wife Jean wants to seem friendly, and so do the Crows. So rotund Zip Coon stops by the Patterson house, bearing a jar of pigs’ feet and intestines as a gesture of goodwill. From there, the play is off and running as Jacobs-Jenkins gleefully rips the lids off any and all racial cliches and mealy mouthed

Amidst all the extraneous activities, the play centers on two relationships: the bond growing between Jean and Zip Coon and Melody’s attraction to the shy and naive Jim. There are, indeed, some moments when these characters slip into some naturalistic scenes that feel tender and affecting. But outrage is the game that the playwright is most interested in, and the cast under the fearless direction of Terrence Spivey delivers the goods. Prophet D. Seay is nearly perfect as Richard, simmering with rage at seeing the new black family act out in ways he abhors. Richard is working his way up through the jungle of academe, and the Crows pose an existential threat to his reality. Kim Woodworth, as his wife Jean, has some effective moments, especially as she gets progressively closer to Zip Coon. But Woodworth’s Jean remains a bit vague, and that’s a problem


rationalizations. Jean welcomes Zip Coon into her home and offers him a cup of tea. Meanwhile, at the house next door, the Crow family is trying to bring young Jim Crow into the act. He’s supposed to replace the recently deceased father of the family, whose ashes are on prominent display in a jar in their living room.

| | July 19 - 25, 2017

in a show with such over-the-top characters. In the role of the teenage terror Melody, Shannon Ashley Sharkey whines and screams appropriately. And she interacts well with the excellent Anthony X as Jim, whose tentative approach to his family’s business and his halting relationship

with Melody are the most affecting parts of the play. So when he explodes in a rage-tinged performance as part of the clan’s act, it is quite shattering. As for the other Crows, they are uniformly on point. Kennetha Martin’s Topsy is a wide-eyed marvel of glorious overacting, while energetic Joshua McElroy as Sambo makes the most of a smaller part. Jeannine Gaskin fashions Mammy as the calm center of this weird family dynamic, slyly teasing reactions from others. And A. Harris Brown is wonderful as Zip Coon, ingratiating himself with Jean while sharing his real feelings with the audience in over-theshoulder doubletakes. Without performances this strong, Neighbors could easily collapse under the weight of its own self-consciously extended metaphors. Later in the play, photos of many black entertainers are projected on the back wall, seeming to suggest that they, like the Crows, are just willing dupes selling themselves out for a corrupt society. And that’s a bit of a stretch. That is just one of several wretched excesses in a play which, at more than 2 ½ hours, is too long and could be easily edited down to a more impactful length. But the riveting Con-Con performances keep it all remarkably engrossing, and that’s quite an achievement in itself. t@christinehowey


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*Passes are limited and are available on a firstcome, first-served basis. No purchase necessary. While supplies last. One admit-two pass per person. Theatre is overbooked to ensure a full house and seating is not guaranteed.



| | July 19 - 25, 2017

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. While supplies last. One entry per person. Seating at the screening is first-come, first-served and is not guaranteed. Please arrive early. Winners will be chosen at random. Winners within the past 30 days are ineligible.


MOVIES A BRAVE NEW WORLD Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets makes the most of its special effects By Kirby Davis HOW DO YOU IMPRESS AN audience that’s almost entirely desensitized to special effects? Flawless computer-generated effects are no longer a novelty; they’re expected. Even this summer’s Wonder Woman was criticized for what people perceived to be lackluster special effects, despite its $150 million budget. Post- Avatar/Star Wars/ Avengers, there’s not much we haven’t seen before in terms of on-screen imagery. Now that technology can make even the most outrageous of city-decimating battles and superhero violence look real, the boundaries of surrealistic special effects have to be pushed beyond belief to be truly impressive. That’s no easy feat, but Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,

which opens area-wide on Friday, delivers. The sci-fi flick takes place a few hundred years in the future on a faroff planet whose population has been annihilated. On another planet, lightyears away, we’re introduced to heroes Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne), a pair of precocious soldiers and partners-in-crime. They follow orders to retrieve a valuable object from another galaxy and deliver it to a military base on Alpha, aka the City of a Thousand Planets. The “city” is really a massive planet with a host of environments and millions of species peacefully coexisting. Valerian and Laureline learn that the densely populated space utopia is in danger of total destruction due to a mysterious, radioactive mass

SPOTLIGHT: MAUDIE By Jeff Niesel TO GET A SENSE OF THE FOLK art movement’s lasting legacy, you don’t need to go to a proper gallery. Walk into any House of Blues, and you’ll see the stuff hanging from the concert venue’s walls. That represents the degree to which the artwork became pervasive. Maudie, a new biopic about the life of Marshalltown, Nova Scotiabased folk artist Maud Lewis (Sally Hawkins) tells the remarkable story about how the woman overcame debilitating arthritis to become a folk artist of some stature. The movie opens on Friday at the Cedar Lee Theatre. The film commences as Maud’s brother Charles (Zachary Bennett) informs Maud that he’s sold their childhood house and that she has to live with her rather stern aunt (Gabrielle Rose) because she’s not able to take care of herself. Infuriated, Maud sets out to find room and boarding. She manages to convince the town’s surly fisherman Everett (Ethan Hawke) to take her on as a live-in maid. He had posted an ad in the local store expressing an interest in hiring a woman to look after him and his tiny home. Given her limited abilities and Everett’s tendency to act like

he’s the king of a castle, Maud struggles to adapt. Abusive and incommunicative, Everett acts like some kind of caveman. Much like Billy Bob Thornton’s character in Slingblade, he grunts and grumbles one-word responses to her questions and regularly throws temper tantrums when Maud doesn’t follow his “rules.” Still, Everett lets her pursue her art. One day, after her rather primitive nature scenes catch the eye of a woman visiting from New York, she begins receiving commissions. Word of her talent spreads quickly via newspaper articles and news reports, and Maud becomes a sensation. The film focuses on Maud and Everett’s relationship so heavily that it fails to accurately portray the artistry of her paintings. Yet, thanks to such a warm performance from Hawkins, the movie still reveals just how special this artist truly was. Stick around for the credits to see a clip of the real-life Maud and Everett, as well as photos of some of her incredible artwork. t@jniesel

developing in its core. Their mission to stop this from happening launches them into a wild intergalactic odyssey that’s way more than the young agents bargained for. This is a highly simplified version of Valerian’s plot, which is mostly a breakneck jumble of rescues interspersed with battles, chase scenes and even politics. It’s not always easy to make sense of, but it’s a thrill to watch. The film’s stars, unfortunately, don’t measure up to the magic around them. While London-born Delevingne has nailed an American accent, we’re not sold on the idea of the supermodel as an actress. And DeHaan, on the surface, epitomizes a broody rebel, but he creates zero chemistry with Delevingne and lacks the charm of other classic space heroes, like Han Solo or even Matt Kowalski, George Clooney’s character in Gravity. But maybe it’s unfair to pin all the blame on them; the film’s dialogue is so cringe-inducing (“If you don’t help me find Valerian, this bullet’s gonna find you”) that maybe it bogged them down. Sci-fi films, however dazzling, suffer without solid characters. Valerian’s major flaw, which might inhibit the independent (but pricey) film from spawning a smash franchise, is that its cast is lacking. Each character is a cookie-cutter archetype; the extent of Valerian and Laureline’s personalities, motivations and backgrounds is established in a single flirty bit of expositional backand-forth. He’s a bad-boy rebel, despite

being one of “the government’s” best soldiers, and she’s an Ivy Leagueeducated, no-nonsense brain with a soft spot for her male counterpart. There’s not enough time in any film to pack in 20-plus comic books’ worth of material, but with merely this (and Delevingne and DeHaan’s uninspired performances), it’s difficult to root for them. The other inherently frustrating thing about this film is that something takes away from its visual wonder, and that’s its depiction of women. Laureline’s the only human woman with more than a couple lines, and while Rihanna is mesmerizing as an alien shape shifter, her screen time is tragically limited. Plus. Laureline, despite being Valerian’s partner, is often stuck in the control room or keeping watch while he tries to save the world. Her uniform is also the same color as his, but she dons a miniskirt — not so practical for intergalactic battle. Despite all this, Valerian achieves the nearly impossible. It shows us a cinematic world truly unlike anything we’ve seen before. Writer-director Luc Besson’s passion for the project clearly comes across, and while its human characters may fail to impress, its aliens are gorgeous and inventive. Its underlying message is a powerful one, and it boasts a truly satisfying conclusion. For this, it demands at least one viewing. t@clevelandscene | | July 19 - 25, 2017




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GOLD STANDARD Drawing lessons from the underground charcuterie scene By Douglas Trattner TO GET TO THE RESTAURANT’S curing room, the chef led me down a staircase, through a mechanical room, finally stopping in a dimly lit back hallway. There, he moved aside a tall stack of cardboard boxes and other items that were carefully arranged to conceal a walk-in cooler. When he flung open the door I was immediately struck by the unmistakable smell of funk and mold that accompanies slowly ripening charcuterie. Like many restaurants that offer housemade charcuterie, this one does so without the grace and consent of the governmental agencies tasked with overseeing food safety, which is why I was asked not to reveal its identity. This is not to say that the cured meats being consumed here by diners are unsafe; it’s just that the chef could not or chose not to undertake the onerous process of going legit. Others opted for transparency. “I started making charcuterie and salumi in the restaurant when we started our whole-animal butchering program,” explains Nate Fagnilli, owner of Crosswinds Grille at The Lakehouse Inn in Geneva-on-theLake. “And we were very much like a lot of people at the time, meaning I spent a year of my life looking over my shoulder waiting to get busted. It’s a lot like making moonshine.” Fagnilli wanted to walk the

straight and narrow, so he took the considerable time, effort and money required to file the required paperwork, which involves preparing the maddeningly complex Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan that addresses food safety hazards. “To sit down and do a HACCP plan with all supporting documents is very time consuming,” he reports. “You’re talking about a document that took me two years to write and cost me a lot of money, with a street value of probably $20,000. That’s why most restaurants and butcher shops don’t do it, because it’s a lot of friggin’ work.” But Fagnilli went well above the legal threshold when he opened NaKyrsie Meats (100 Austin Rd., Geneva, 440-415-3546, last year with his wife Kristin. As an Ohio Department of Agricultureinspected meat processor, Fagnilli can sell and distribute his raw meat and charcuterie products statewide, making him one of just three such businesses in the state. Fagnilli brings in whole grassfed cows, heritage-breed pigs and pastured chickens from small family farms like New Creation, Miller Livestock and Henry Farms. His lab-coated butchers work in a clean, cold room to break down the animals using Old-World seam butchery techniques. Whole bacons

go into the smoker. Whole-muscle cuts like beef eye round, pork loin and ham are rubbed with salt and spices and stowed in a temperatureand humidity-controlled curing chamber for weeks, months and even a year or longer until they come out the other end as bresaola, lonza and prosciutto. Ground, spiced and stuffed charcuterie like Genoa salami, soppressata, andouille and saucisson require the extra step of fermentation before hanging to dry and cure. “Fermenting is a lethality step,” Fagnilli explains. “Fermenting introduces an acid (that pleasant tang in a summer sausage) that is sour enough to kill any harmful microorganisms. It acidulates the product to reach a certain pH, like they used to do by adding wine.” Fagnilli accomplishes the same level of food safety through techniques like fermentation, salting and dry-curing (and the judicious use of sodium nitrite, which prevents botulism) that others achieve through cooking, but with none of the undesirable results. “When you heat-treat ham, it’s no longer ham; it’s roasted pork,” he says. “Cooking items like bologna, salami and ham completely changes the color, texture and flavor of those foods.” NaKyrsie Meats are found on menus all over town, including

Rennick Meat Market in Ashtabula, Fire Food and Drink in Cleveland, and Warren’s Spirited Kitchen in Burton. “When it comes to charcuterie, he’s the gold standard,” says Cleveland chef Jeremy Umansky. “Not only does he have a head start on everybody else, but his product will always be considered the flagship.” As a commercial butcher shop, NaKyrsie also sells more conventional items like burgers, chicken, dry-aged strip steaks, whole briskets and pork chops ringed with a thick, creamy layer of fat. Lesserknown cuts like Ranch, Denver and Bavette steaks join even rarer items like beef “oysters” from the groin and pork heels off the calf muscle. So, knowing what he knows now about the risks associated with underground charcuterie, does Fagnilli still order the meat board at local bistros? “I absolutely would,” he says. “It’s a risk that I’m willing to take. I guess it could be looked at as a little foolish, but so is eating a raw oyster or a rare hamburger from an unknown place. If these chefs follow the rules, their charcuterie is probably pretty safe.” t@dougtrattner

| | July 19 - 25, 2017



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COFFEE WITH PURPOSE Pallets, great coffee find a home at Lakewood’s La Maison Palette By Billy Hallal CLEVELAND IS A CAFFEINATED city. Beloved local roasters like Phoenix and Rising Star have garnered the city national recognition from Travel and Leisure magazine, and there are a slew of new shops carving out their own niches as well. La Maison Palette is one of those shops. Located on Detroit Avenue, just west of the Cleveland-Lakewood border, this cozy coffeehouse has a design concept unique to the Cleveland area. The name, which translates to “The House of Pallets,” probably gave it away. “I think it was ingrained in my brain,” says Wael Farhad, who runs La Maison with his wife Kyra Frierson. Originally from Belgium, he spent most of his life in Europe before moving to the States a few years back. He recalls being in Brussels sometime in the late ’90s and seeing how the European Commission had re-used pallets in building houses. When he and his wife decided to open a coffee shop, he applied the same principle. La Maison’s walls are covered in wooden pallets, and the tables and counter are constructed from them. Farhan, who spent time working in construction, built them himself. “You see pallets everywhere,” says Farhan. “We wanted to give people the idea of giving these materials a second life.” Environmental consciousness and community are priorities for Farhan and Frierson. Their paper and plastic products are biodegradable. Their organic coffee comes directly from international farmers. This is the way Frierson, a Northeast Ohio native, prefers her coffee. “You’re not just drinking coffee because you need to wake up,” she says. “You’re enjoying the coffee and helping to feed a family.” The organic product serves Frierson well for another reason: She is allergic to coffee. “I’m allergic to anything high in acid,” she explains. The lower acidity and processing typical of organic coffee is better for her. “It’s bad,” she says, gesturing to her mug of coffee. “I drink it all day.” La Maison’s customers will benefit from Frierson’s coffee habit. She’s

crafted some wonderfully spiced and lightly sweetened offerings, like the Moroccan Spice blend. Efforts to elicit ingredients from her — Cinnamon? All-spice? Cardamom? — are rebuffed. The blend makes an excellent accompaniment to pastries supplied by Bouche, a gluten-free bakery in Lakewood. The shop’s tea comes from another Lakewood business, Tea Lab. Frierson is planning a new menu addition soon: a tea-and-espresso combo named the Dirty Earl. As for the ever-popular, gourdflavored autumn drink? “No pumpkin spice,” she says. “No frozen drinks. Coffee doesn’t have to be like a slushie.” La Maison has been open four months, and though the coffee standards are high, the shop couldn’t be more welcoming. Frierson and Farhan greet and converse with all the customers who come through the door. Several of them already are regulars. The couple appears to have succeeded in establishing a Europeanstyle coffee shop. Frierson puts it best: “When people are here, they talk to each other.” t@clevelandscene


★★★★★ “Worth the stop & future excursions from the Near West Side in the future.I can’t find one thing wrong with V’s and the woman taking care of us was just the nicest and personable person ever. For all the food we ordered it was very reasonably priced and held up well on the ride home/ Stopping here in the near future is in order as it puts lousy KFC’s, Popeyes, etc to shame in terms of quality, price, and customer service.” - Jesco D. ★★★★★ “I went here after the good reviews and I was impressed. I had the regular/mild batter. The chicken was light, crispy and delicious. The rice and greens is ingenious! They have

a little kick to them but quite tasty. They were buttery and lightly sweet. I enjoyed my meal and will return in the future.” - Ladonna G. ★★★★★ “This is some Seriously delicious chicken. I have lived very close, and almost drive by there daily. Thought it was part of the convenient store, so I would not go there. After reading the reviews and being extremely hungry, I took the plunge, and I am more than glad I did. I will be coming here so much more.” - Stephanie L. ★★★★★ “It’s no joke, best fried chicken in Cleveland. They’ve got plenty of sides, but don’t kid yourself, it’s all about the chicken. While there’s a variety of flavors the staff might not give you many clues past identifying the individual flavors. Luckily there’s a brief explanation of them at the restaurant.” - Noah F.



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| | July 19 - 25, 2017




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FIRST LOOK Zaytoon Lebanese Kitchen By Douglas Trattner OVER THE PAST YEAR, DAVID Ina has worked to transform the old-school Huron Square Deli space in the Halle Building into a bright and breezy fast-casual Middle Eastern concept called Zaytoon Lebanese Kitchen (1150 Huron Rd. E., 216-795-5000). The Playhouse Square eatery opened its doors last week. “I’ve had this idea for a long time,” says Ina, who along with his parents also runs the popular Al’s Deli (1717 East Ninth St., 216589-9223) on the main floor of the Residences at 1717. “It’s a fast-casual Lebanese eatery where everything can be made and served quickly.” The breakfast and lunch operation has an open kitchen, where everything is made from scratch and prepared to order. A pair of shawarmas — chicken thigh and Certified Angus Beef tri-tip — spin lazily behind the counter. A beefy two-level deck oven turns out fresh-baked pita, meat pies and za’atar flatbreads. Plump falafel balls and hand-cut fries emerge from the bubbling oil in the deep fryer. “Everything that we are doing

here is made from scratch: the pita bread, pickled turnips, labneh (Lebanese yogurt), hummus and desserts,” Ina explains. In the morning, diners can order breakfast pitas filled with egg, spinach and feta; egg, olives, artichokes and red peppers; or egg, slow roasted leg of lamb, roasted garlic and fresh mint. At lunch, bowls of lentil soup and tabbouleh, fattoush and falafel salads join meat or spinach pies, and rolled pitas filled with beef shawarma, chicken shishtawook, and crispy falafel. Just three entrees are available, platters of either shishtawook, shawarma or falafel paired with a choice of salads and spreads. Ina says that he plans to integrate online ordering and payment so that customers can pop in and out in under five minutes. “Zaytoon” means olive in Lebanese, notes Ina. “The core of Lebanese food always starts with really good olive oil,” Ina says. t@dougtrattner

| | July 19 - 25, 2017



| | July 19 - 25, 2017


CHRISTMAS IN JULY Rapper Michael Christmas to headline Lemur Fest at the Grog Shop By Lawrence Neil “I WANT TO BE LIKE SHAQ,” Michael Christmas says in a recent phone interview, speaking about the former basketball star’s seeming omnipresence across media and pop culture, “He’s even DJing now! I’m not saying I’m going to be a DJ. … But I’m not gonna say I’m not gonna be a DJ.” The 23-year-old has multi-platform hopes for his future, but on Saturday, he’ll make his first trip to Cleveland to headline the Grog Shop’s third annual Lemur Fest. Christmas is excited to come to the city; he’s a fan of King Chip (aka Chip Tha Ripper) and Bone Thugs N Harmony, and notes the influence of Kid Cudi on internet kids of the late 2000s. “Cudi made the Cleveland C hat look so fucking cool,” he notes, “I had a friend in high school who used to wear the Kid CuDi starter kit: tiny ass pants, tiny ass Nike hoodie, and the Cleveland C hat with the crazy bent brim. Cudi made the brim so much more bent and I was like, ‘That shit is lit.’ And I was all over that — I was always on the internet because I didn’t have friends.” The Boston rapper has made a

name for himself with reflective, poignant, smoked-out raps that, like his comment above, toe the line between hilarity and sadness, a line that Christmas has walked since childhood. Instead of peers, he was surrounded by pop culture, growing up with a slightly too early introduction to provocative critical darlings of his stepfather’s canon: Biggie, Dave Chappelle standup sets, NWA, Eminem, Spike Lee. “I got picked up from school and was immediately immersed in adult shit,” he says. “I remember thinking some was really dark, weird stuff that made me uncomfortable [Eminem’s ‘Go To Sleep,’ Biggie’s ‘Who Shot Ya?’], other stuff I would start to bump myself and absorb. Ice Cube became my favorite rapper pretty quickly.” He credits both those musical influences and his days spent skipping school to watch television for his music’s robust imagery and word bank. Bumping around schools and finding it tough to make new friends, he spent a ton of time pretending he was sick and watching cable in his mom’s room, guzzling

movies and TV. In seventh grade, he found his own outlet through music, downloading beats from the internet or YouTube and making his own songs. After a few unlucky financial circumstances that led to being kicked out of a private high school, that outlet that quickly became his Plan A. A series of chance encounters late in high school were key to kickstarting his career. He ran into a former camp counselor who ran a streetwear store on Boston’s Newbury Street, a trendy shopping district in downtown Boston. “I was 15, 16, broke as fuck, trying to get my shit together, and just told him, ‘Yo, let me work here. Whatever I need to do, I’ll do,’” Christmas recalls. The friend gave him an internship, a position that opened the young rapper up to his community. He’d play his own music on the speakers and rap for anyone who asked about it. He had a stage before he had a stage. Musically, Christmas’ main crew also had an odd genesis. Back in 2012, he got sick right before A$AP Rocky’s first Boston show.

After trying to sell the ticket on Twitter, a young rapper named OG Swaggerdick said he’d buy the ticket off him for $25. “I gave him the address and told him, ‘Bring money.’ He didn’t bring any money!” Christmas exclaims, “He brought a pair of sneakers, saying, ‘Hold onto these until next week, and I’ll bring you the money.’ He brought me collateral! I’d never gotten collateral before.” OG stuck to his word and came back to pay the next week. The pair started chatting, talking about music, and sending each other beats. Eventually, they decided to make a song together, and when Christmas took the bus across town to meet up, OG was with two other kids, Ian Goodwin and Tim Larew. “I did the verse, they started fucking with me, and I was down with them,” Christmas remembers. “I’d found people who were thinking on the same wavelength as me and just said, ‘I wanna be around y’all all the time.’” Goodwin has become Boston’s hip-hop jack-of-all-trades, taking photos, DJing shows and directing | | July 19 - 25, 2017


MUSIC videos for a number of the city’s emerging artists. Larew was a Boston University student whose blog, Fresh Heir, became a pivotal platform for connecting and networking the local scene. Larew now manages a number of those artists he helped promote, including Christmas and Cousin Stizz, the city’s underground prince. Along with their musical influence, these first real friends got him out of his personal rut. “I didn’t really have anything, so they pushed me to get my shit together and also have more fun,” he says, “I was really depressed for a long time, but hanging with them, I made myself get up every day and go. Those were the best moments — even if it’s baby steps, I was progressing.” These four kids have become pillars of a flourishing upstart Boston scene, producing the city’s first nationally recognized hip-hop artists in almost 20 years. Though a major metropolitan area, Boston arguably hasn’t had a true rap star since Gang Starr in the ’80s and ’90s. Through Stizz and Christmas’ trailblazing, the rest of the scene has followed — Big Leano, OG Swaggerdick, Haasan Barclay and Vintage Lee have developed a palpable buzz in their wake. “This whole thing is Marvel — we started out with just Spiderman, and

He’s cited Los Angelino Dom Kennedy as an influence, one you can see in his laid-back delivery, smoky production and knack for narrative. It all comes through a natural, head-nodding cadence that feels simultaneously pedestrian and polished, perhaps owing to a fast, instinctive writing style. He can bust out a feature verse in 10 minutes (“No exaggeration,” he says), and often procrastinates until he’s on the way to booked studio time — or in the booth itself — to write his lyrics. Christmas’s stylish, goofy, rumbling sound has garnered him plenty of attention. His 2015 mixtape What A Weird Day launched him into the national limelight, a diverse offering that landed him on national tours with Mac Miller and Logic. He got tapped by the mysterious, critically acclaimed producer Prefuse73 for a collaborative album last year, and recently coheadlined dates across the country with emerging West Coast acts Warm Brew and Boogie. Christmas is soaking it all in. From where he was just a few years ago — inhaling daytime cable in immovable depression — he is both appreciative and in awe of the experiences he’s afforded today. He tells wide-eyed stories about going backstage at an FKA Twigs show and it resembling a 1980s art gallery while he was just wearing swim trunks and a T-shirt, or daring OG Swaggerdick to take over the aux


then we’ve got the Avengers, and now we’ve got Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant Man,” he says, whipping out film references. “There are these super talented people popping up that no one knew was here. We needed to believe in ourselves, and now the city will support the shit out of you.” Christmas has led with his music in a tremendously refreshing way; he’s an awkward kid who can just lay bars, his lyrics spiraling around observational humor and self-deprecating shrugs, all packed with pop culture references. He raps about Hot Pockets, being alone, and Bedazzled in “Daily” (“After that I ate it/and that shit was the greatest/and then I masturbated/I felt like Brendan Fraser”) and makes Superbad and Arrested Development metaphors throughout his breakout hit, “Michael Cera.”


| | July 19 - 25, 2017

cord at a mansion party in the hills of Los Angeles until they almost got kicked out. He’s started semi-jokingly putting Moët on his backstage rider, but still steals the food from the dressing room. At a recent festival, he found himself being hurried out of his trailer, walking around the artist village with his iconic princess backpack stuffed with champagne and snacks, carrying a Costco-sized bucket of cheese puffs. It’s a good reflection of where he finds himself today: still awkward, garnering deserved recognition, happy to be here and moving toward the future, Cheez Doodles in hand. t@clevelandscene

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| | July 19 - 25, 2017


MUSIC HONKEYTONK HERO Singer-guitarist Steve Earle talks about what it means to be an ‘outlaw’ By Jeff Niesel LAST YEAR WHEN STEVE EARLE performed at the Music Box Supper Club on his tour to celebrate the 30th anniversary of his seminal album Guitar Town, he left the audience with a warning. The left-leaning singer-guitarist cautioned “don’t fuck up” as he encouraged patrons to get out and vote for the next U.S. president. What does he have to say now that Donald Trump has become president? “We fucked up,” he says in a recent phone interview from an Asheville tour stop. He comes to the Kent Stage on Sunday. “I was shocked. I went on stage in Canada thinking that we would elect the first woman president of the United States. She wasn’t my first choice. I was a Bernie [Sanders] guy, but I voted for her. Then, I came off stage to discover we had elected the first orangutan president. By god, I believe you can take diversity too far. I believe we may be proving that. It’s a bummer, and it’s shocking. I had friends who were in tears that night, and I was texting with a friend of mine who still hasn’t recovered. It melted her down.” Earle’s career officially began in the 1970s when he started playing guitar in country icon Guy Clark’s band. His big breakthrough came with 1986’s Guitar Town, an album that established him as a tremendous talent in the alt-country world. Inspired by a Bruce Springsteen concert, Earle penned songs with a narrative approach, and they struck a chord. The album’s nine songs alternately suggest Earle’s rockabilly roots and his admiration for anthemic rock ’n’ roll. He’s referred to his latest effort, So You Wanna Be an Outlaw, as something of a sequel to Guitar Town. The Guitar Town tour, however, didn’t inspire the album’s concept. “The idea for this record was in place before I decided to do the Guitar Town tour,” he says, adding that he wrote the songs before he knew that Trump would become president and even thought about


not releasing the album because the songs are so apolitical. “The songs on the next album will be political,” he promises. Earle had written a couple of songs for the TV show Nashville because the program’s music directors, T-Bone Burnett and Buddy Miller, had asked him to. After stumbling across the songs on his computer desktop, he discovered that they had a thread to them and a “strong vibe.” “I realized what it was,” he says. “I had been listening to Honkytonk Heroes by Waylon Jennings. There’s a few records always in rotation — a couple of Beatles, a couple of Stones, a couple of Waylon, a couple of Willie [Nelson], a couple of Merle [Haggard], a couple of Bob [Dylan]. Honkytonk Heroes had been in rotation and I thought that’s maybe what I should do and it could rehabilitate the term ‘outlaw’ which gets used as if the focus was just taking drugs. They were called outlaws because they wanted to make records the way they wanted to make them. That happened in the ’70s and then again in the mid-’80s with me and a few other people.” The album’s title track relies upon a retro-sounding guitar riff and a bit of slide guitar as Earle slurs his way through the song. “You better not pout and you better not cry,” he sings defiantly.

rapid-fire vocals as Earle practically raps his way through the song and gives a shoutout to Ed Pulaski, a famous firefighter who created the Pulaski tool and famously bullied his crew into a mineshaft and held them there at gunpoint to save their lives. “I just thought that hotshot firefighters needed a song,” says Earle. “I fish on a fly rod, so I spend some time on dry, high, remote places. I see them loading their


“It’s just the idea about having a conversation with an imaginary kid, but the actual audience is people who never played a fucking note of music in their lives and probably coined the term ‘outlaw’ in the first place,” he says when asked about the song’s meaning. “It’s more aimed at you than it is anybody else — no offense. There’s no offense intended. It’s saying, ‘Hey, this is what it really is.’” The fast tempo “The Firebreak Line” features a bit of fiddle and

| | July 19 - 25, 2017

equipment up to protect some rich asshole’s house that shouldn’t have been built there in the first place. It’s a real life folk song, and I’m really proud of it.” The tender ballad “This is How It Ends” successfully pairs Earle’s raspy vocals with the supple voice of Miranda Lambert as the two appropriately sing about failed relationships. “It was a blast,” says Earle when asked about working with Lambert. “We’ll probably even do it again.”

The brittle album closer “Goodbye Michelangelo” serves as a tribute to the late Guy Clark. “[Clark] was my teacher, and it was hard the last couple of years of his life,” says Earle. “I learned from him. One of the reasons I co-wrote that song with Miranda was because guys have started co-writing with younger writers. He initially taught me not to co-write. He changed his mind about that, and it kept him writing. Because of his example, I decided to start co-writing with some younger writers. There’s a little vampire to it. Those songs are connected in that sense.” Even though the new songs sound more country than the altcountry anthems for which Earle is known, Earle says the new and older material mesh well, in part because his band the Dukes can play such a wide range of music. “We can play some stuff with my first few records that we couldn’t really play right before,” he says. “We have steel guitar and keyboards, and there’s now some stuff in the set that we haven’t done in years.” t@jniesel

| m | July 19 - 25, 2017


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MUSIC BACK TO THE MUSIC Singer-songwriter Andrew Bird loves the spontaneity of live performance By Jeff Niesel SINGER-SONGWRITER ANDREW Bird learned to play the violin by ear. While in high school, he spent hours practicing and refining his ability. He can still remember how much time he devoted to practicing. “That’s a tough time for most people, and some of it’s driven by social awkwardness and escapism,” he recalls via phone. He performs at 8 p.m. on Tuesday at Cain Park with jazz singer and bassist Esperanza Spalding. “You go into the practice room, and you know you can work. I got into this mentality of just putting in more hours. I had this mentality that you could control your life more if you do that. It’s dramatic and exciting to pursue that virtuosity. I did get to the point where I wondered who I was trying to impress. Was it just to demonstrate skill or really say something? I pursued that intensity through my teenage years and then hit a wall where I did it to the exclusion of almost anything else, and that was not good. That’s when I started writing songs.” His 1996 solo debut, Music of Hair, an album that commences with a gentle waltz, keeps things on the traditional side of the folk-y spectrum. He would then form the indie rock band Bowl of Fire and had a great run; but in 2003, he disbanded the group and forged ahead with a solo career that’s been going strong ever since. “The first show I did solo was totally accidental,” he says. “It was only because I couldn’t get the band together, and I didn’t want to give up the gig. It was with the [indie rock act] Hanson Family. I had messed around at my farm with the looping. I thought no one would buy it. Something about that high-wire act and trying to do that on stage turned it into a different performance experience. Having to pull out of nosedives on stage and talk your way out of it was risking more. Bowl of Fire was a good run, but I could see it wasn’t really going anywhere. A couple of years into the solo thing, people were showing up more than I ever expected. There was an initial insecurity, but after


that I enjoyed packing up my Honda Element with amps and doing it all myself.” His first solo effort, 2003’s Weather Systems, caught the attention of folk singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco, who reissued the album on her Righteous Babe Records and took Bird on tour with her. That tour included a Lakewood Civic Auditorium date. At the show, DiFranco’s audience clearly didn’t know Bird’s work but quickly warmed up to him. He says he enjoyed the process of winning her fans over. “She was the first artist to champion what I was doing,” says Bird when asked about DiFranco. “I was in need of something like

that. In Chicago, I was an auxiliary part of different scenes. I needed someone to help lift me up. I must have opened 100 shows for her. No one knew who I was. It was a great period of time as an underdog trying to win people over. That was a turning point.” Bird recently launched a Facebook Live series, Live from the Great Room, a show featuring weekly performances with some of his friends and collaborators that he streams live from his home. Recent guests have included Zach Galifinakis, Fiona Apple, Matt Berninger of the National, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Lucius, the Lumineers, Spalding, Jackson Browne and many more.

“I wanted to bring the album campaign for [last year’s] Are You Serious back to music,” he says. “It had gotten off the rails into some personal territory that I was having a hard time talking about. I wanted to take control of the whole narrative and dialogue. That was my way of doing it. It was kind of on a whim. We use Facebook Live as a broadcast signal. People come over an hour before we go live. We just get to see what happens. Some of them have taken a tremendous amount of work and preparation, especially if someone doesn’t play an instrument and I’m trying to support them. Usually, as a violinist, I can walk in and put the icing on the top. It’s a chance to ask questions of my guests and sometimes they ask questions of me that are outside the journalistic format. It hits all the marks for me about what I like about live performance without leaving the house. I like not knowing what is going to happen, which is what I like about being on stage.” The opening notes of “Capsized,” the first single from Are You Serious, with its propulsive bass riff and a steady drumbeat, sounds something like a Talking Heads’ tune. It suggests the sonic density at the album’s core. Bird has said he didn’t intend to make the songs on Are You Serious so autobiographical, and he thinks his next album, which he’s already begun to write, will not be so intensely personal. “I’ve already written more than half of it, though it won’t be out for a while, I’m sure,” he says of the next album. “It’s shaping up to be perhaps less autobiographical and more political and social commentary. It’s a complicated time of trying to both get down and get your hands dirty and be above the fray. I’m walking that line [with the new songs]. I have some songs I’m excited to play, and I usually can’t resist trying them out on tour.” t@jniesel

| | July 19 - 25, 2017



| | July 19 - 25, 2017


all the live music you should see this week Photo courtesy of SideOneDummy Records.


Have Mercy Acoustic/Chase Huglin (In the Locker Room): After touring with Real Friends and Tiny Moving Parts, the hard-rock act Have Mercy will bring its acoustic tour to town. Singer Brian Swindle formed the band in 2011; shortly after that, the band self-released its first album, My Oldest Friend. On “Let’s Talk About Your Hair,” a gut-wrenching song about losing love, Swindle sings softly before the gentle, melodic guitars pick up when he belts out the main chorus, singing, “But I know, that you know, that I know, that you don’t really care,” in a raspy, yet calming voice. With the release of the band’s newest album, Make the Best of It, Swindle still cleverly writes about lost relationships. (Adrian Leuthauser) 7 p.m., $12 ADV, $14 DOS. Mahall’s 20 Lanes. Seether/Letters From the Fire/Big Story: 6:30 p.m., $35-$40. House of Blues. 10 X 3 Singer Songwriter Showcase hosted by Brent Kirby: 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge. Bluewater Kings Band: 8 p.m., free. Brothers Lounge. Pete Cavano and Friends: 7 p.m., $10. Bop Stop. Faster Pussycat/Devilstrip/LA Knights/Rusty Soul Band: 8 p.m., $20. Musica. Kenny Garrett Quintet: 7 p.m., $30. Nighttown. Bob Gatewood (in the Supper Club): 6 p.m., free. Music Box Supper Club. Ottawa/The Rooks/Matt Hectorne: 8:30 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Beachland Tavern. Preservation Hall Jazz Band/Eric Seddon’s Hot Club: 7:30 p.m., $38$45. Music Box Supper Club. Prithee / Toobe Fresco & the Living Sound / Toma Doe: 8:30 p.m., $6 ADV, $8 DOS. Grog Shop. Taiwan Housing Project/Cereal Banter: 9 p.m., $7. Now That’s Class.


Xavier Rudd returns to the Beachland. See: Tuesday.



R. Ring/Sister Smirk/Herzog: R.Ring, a duo featuring Kelley Deal (formerly of the Breeders) and Mike Montgomery (formerly of Ampline), plays music that’s so sparse, fans of the duo’s previous bands might be taken aback. Songs such as “Salt” and “Loud Underneath” feature grunge-y guitars and pitchy

vocals. The tunes both utilized off-kilter time signatures. On its full-length debut, Ignite the Rest, the band enlists the help of musical friends such as Laura King (Mac MaCaughan and the Non-Believers, Fleshwounds), Leo DeLuca (Southeast Engine) and Lori Goldston (Earth/ Nirvana). Expect to hear tunes from it at tonight’s show. (Jeff Niesel) 9 p.m., $5. Happy Dog. Zach Deputy/Wanyama: Known for his tangles of guitar melodies looping around themselves, Zach Deputy is that unique musician who comes off sounding like he’s actually several musicians in one body. His beachy guitar work blends into a melange of hip-hop beats, dancehall and neo-soul. Check out his Bandcamp page for live sets from the past few years; you won’t find his recent Alchemy Rising set from Medina this year, but you will gather a sense that Deputy’s a fun-loving cat who laces his dedication to his instruments with wit and personal savvy. He has described his sound as “islandinfused drum ’n’ bass gospel ninja soul.” We like to think of it as the soundtrack to a backyard party where the steaks are rubbed with kief and the sun is shining ohso-warmly. (Eric Sandy) 9 p.m., $12 ADV, $15 DOS. Beachland Ballroom. Benefit for Syria: Bassel & The Supernaturals / The Admirables: 8 p.m., $12 ADV, $15 DOS. Grog Shop. Cockney Rejects/The Brass/No Time/Wetbrain: 8 p.m., $13 ADV, $15 DOS. Now That’s Class. Dinner & Concert: Steely Dan VIP Experience with The Wave (in the Private Dining Room): 6 p.m., $45. Music Box Supper Club. JD Eicher Band & Mike Mains/Ex-

Nihilo/Matt Brown: 7:30 p.m., $10. Musica. Kenny Garrett Quintet: $30. Nighttown. Chris Hatton’s Musical Circus (in the Wine Bar): 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge. Jam Night with the Bad Boys of Blues: 9 p.m., free. Brothers Lounge. Steely Dan Tribute by The FM Project (in the Supper Club): 8 p.m., $10. Music Box Supper Club. The Vindys/Old Brooklyn: 8:30 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Beachland Tavern.



Queen + Adam Lambert: The late, great singer Freddie Mercury simply can’t be replaced, but Queen drummer Roger Taylor and guitarist Brian May have found a way to carry on the rock band’s legacy with singer Adam Lambert playing Mercury’s part. The reconfigured group, simply dubbed Queen + Adam Lambert, brings its summer tour to the Q tonight. The jaunt comes on the heels of “wildly successful” sold-out tours throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, Latin America and North America. This summer, the band will debut a “brand new show” especially designed and created for the tour. The set list will include Queen hits such as “Another One Bites the Dust,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions.” (Niesel) 8 p.m., $49.50$125. Quicken Loans Arena. ’80s Night with The Sunrise Jones (in the Supper Club): 8 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Music Box Supper Club. Bad Bad Hats/Forager: 8:30 p.m., $10. Beachland Tavern. Bellows & Big Ups/Small Wood

House/Youth Pallet (in the Locker Room): 7:30 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Mahall’s 20 Lanes. Jesse Colin Young: 8 p.m., $45 ADV, $50 DOS. Music Box Supper Club. Disco Paradiso Vol. 10: Hanson Records Takeover: 9 p.m., $7. Now That’s Class. Ex-Astronaut/Cigarette Playdate: 9 p.m., $5. Happy Dog. A Few Fighters: A Tribute To Foo Fighters: 8 p.m., $12. House of Blues. Jazz Jam Session: 11 p.m., free. Bop Stop. The Klevelanders (in the Wine Bar): 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge. Lady Antebellum/Kelsea Ballerini/ Brett Young: 7 p.m., $25.50-$55.25. Blossom. Whitey Morgan/Colter Wall/ Ward Davis: 8:30 p.m., $20-$75. Beachland Ballroom. The Neighbors: 9:30 p.m., $5. Brothers Lounge. Now That’s Class Heavy Fest II with Doctor Smoke/Pale Grey Lore/ Black Spirit Crown/Befallen: 8 p.m., $8. Now That’s Class. Ken Peplowski: 8:30 p.m., $30. Nighttown. Kathleen Potton Trio: 8 p.m., $15. Bop Stop. Purple K’nif & the Britemores/The Twanglers: 8 p.m., $10. Musica. Frank Secich & Room Full of Strangers/Rumbling Spires: 8 p.m., $10. The Euclid Tavern. Slug Fest/Two Hands/The Anaconda Vampire Bats: 9 p.m., $5. Mahall’s 20 Lanes. Moss Stanley: 10:30 p.m., free. Nighttown. Sweepyheads/Five Pound Snap/The Kickstand Band/The Scuzzballs: 8:30 p.m., $7. Grog Shop.



Joey Amato (in the Wine Bar): 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge. Archie & The Bunkers/Deadly Vipers/Two Hands: 9 p.m., $8. The Euclid Tavern. Blue Oyster Cult: 7 p.m., $33-$45. House of Blues. CityCop Release Show: 8 p.m., $8 ADV, $10 DOS. Mahall’s 20 Lanes. Drive-By Truckers/Seratones/Falling Stars/The Vindys: 2 p.m., $23.50$60. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Heaven Is In You with Ay Fast/ UVB76/ADAB (in Club Atlantis): 9 p.m., $5. Now That’s Class. Lemur Fest 3, feat. Michael Christmas w / Joey Aich & | | July 19 - 25, 2017


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LIVEWIRE more! Joey Aich, Dom Deshawn, Bobby Booshay, Dj Cooley High/ Latchkey/MELLOW-XZACKT/Kent Archie: 8 p.m., $10 ADV, $15 DOS. Grog Shop. Miloh Quartet: 8 p.m., $15. Bop Stop. Ken Peplowski: 8:30 p.m., $30. Nighttown. The Rail Shakers: 9:30 p.m., $5. Brothers Lounge. Rock The PAWS Fundraiser: 8 p.m., $5. Happy Dog. Santana Tribute by Evil Ways (in the Supper Club): 8 p.m., $12 ADV, $15 DOS. Music Box Supper Club. The Speedbumps Album Release/ Shivering Timbers: 8:30 p.m., $13 ADV, $15 DOS. Beachland Ballroom. Strange Americans/Johnny in the Grave: 8:30 p.m., $10. Beachland Tavern. Unreal City/Homewrecker/Party Plates/The Snakes: 9 p.m., $5. Now That’s Class. Jackie Warren: 10:30 p.m., free. Nighttown.



Banging Fragiles/Jesse W. Johnson/ Half an Animal: 9 p.m., $5. Happy Dog. Steve Earle & The Dukes with Special Guests: The Mastersons: 8 p.m., $35-$42. The Kent Stage. Sheldon Lewin Memorial Jazz Party: 7 p.m. Bop Stop. Mike Petrone (in the Wine Bar): 5:30 p.m. Brothers Lounge. Mt. Joy/Trevor Sensor/Mimi Arden: 8:30 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Beachland Tavern. Nobunny/Manswerk/Brain Wave: 8 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Now That’s Class. The Outer Waves/Thikc Kevin/Inner Circle Avenue/Under Suspension: 6:30 p.m., $10. Grog Shop.



Lydia Lunch Retrovirus/Deche/ Black Static Eye: 8:30 p.m., $10. Beachland Ballroom. Pavel Chekov/Grin and Bear It/Short Order/Retail Therapy: 9 p.m., $6. Now That’s Class. Shit Show Karaoke: 10 p.m. B-Side Liquor Lounge & Arcade. The Sibs/Birdog Cats (in the Locker Room): 8:30 p.m., free. Mahall’s 20 Lanes. Velvet Voyage (in the Wine Bar): 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge.



Incubus/Jimmy Eat World/Judah & the Lion: Since forming in 1991, Incubus has become one of the rare bands to appeal to a truly diverse fan base. Though they started out as rap-rock group, they gradually progressed to the point where their energy and volume attract metalheads; the funk elements and sinewy live presentation give the jam community plenty to love; the DJ scratches and beats bring in the dance crowds; and the DIY approach and relentless road ethic appeal to indie-rockers. Tonight’s show celebrates the 20th anniversary of its major label debut. (Niesel) 6:45 p.m., $25-$99.50. Blossom. Xavier Rudd/Emmanuel Jal/ Christina Holmes: Socially conscious singer-songwriter and didgeridoo master Xavier Rudd has been sharing kind messages and dynamic tunes around the world for years. With a range of instruments, Rudd captivates an audience that blends people from far-reaching corners of life, and his shows in Cleveland (however few) have been colorful and dance-worthy events. Rudd assembled the United Nations for his last album, 2015’s Nanna. He spoke with Scene about that album and his work with the United Nations, saying, “I wanted to convey a message of freedom and for people to bring their culture and their musical experience to the table. It’s quite vast, actually, as far as influences go there.” (Sandy) 8 p.m., $30.50 ADV, $35 DOS. Beachland Ballroom. Andrew Bird With Special Guest Esperanza Spalding: 8 p.m. Cain Park. The Hannas/The Sonder Bombs/ Sarah Arafat (in the Locker Room): 8:30 p.m., $5. Mahall’s 20 Lanes. Nacho Nite VII with Kill the Hippies/Bwak Dwagon/Soft Copy: 9 p.m., free. The Euclid Tavern. Old Salt Union/The Gage Brothers: 8:30 p.m., $8 ADV, $10 DOS. Beachland Tavern. Stone/Broken Teeth/Spitback/ Breach: 7 p.m., $10. Now That’s Class. Two-Set Tuesday Featuring the Chestertons (in the Wine Bar): 7 p.m. Brothers Lounge. Underground Music Showcase: 8 p.m., $10. Grog Shop. t@clevelandscene

Unwritten History: A Grays Lecture Series PRESENTED BY



JULY 24, 2017 Starting at 7pm Unwritten History: A Grays Lecture Series is FREE and brought to you by Cleveland Grays Armory Museum and Cuyahoga Arts and Culture -

Please RSVP to reserve a seat by JULY 19TH by calling (216) 621-5938 OHIO WOMEN & THE CIVIL WAR HOME FRONT Dr. Kelly Mezurek will present on these widely unsung women who increase Ohio’s political and military contributions by promoting soldier’s aid societies and sanitary farms throughout Ohio.




KentStage The


Steve Earle & The Dukes


Jimmy Herring Jerry Douglas presents The Earls Of Leicester & the Invisible Whip

Sun. Jul 23

Thu., Aug. 3

Wed, Aug. 2

Winner Of

The Fixx

Chris Isaak

Fri., Aug. 4

Sun., Aug. 13

BoDeans Mon. Sep. 11

Ana Popovic

2015/2016 Scene Magazine Best Jazz Club & 2014 Fox 8 Best Nightspot

Rhiannon Giddens

“The Freedom Highway” Tour Sat., Sep 16

Firefall Sep. 22

7/19 | 7PM

7/21 | 8PM

7/21 | 11PM







7/22 | 8PM

7/23 | 7PM

7/24 | 7PM




Todd Snider

Fri., Nov. 17

Sun., Nov. 19

ALL SHOWS AT THE KENT STAGE UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED Tickets available at or 877-987-6487 GMK [w cw i {{ © a{ B e~ JJHJF


7/27 | 8PM

7/28 | 6PM





7/28 | 11:30PM

7/29 | 8PM

7/29 | 11PM





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7/26 | 8PM


| | July 19 - 25, 2017

“Best Date Night” by users of eHarmony

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Bar sales directly support The Music Settlement and its many programs. Food provided by Cleveland Culinary Launch and Kitchen!

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By Jeff Niesel MEET THE BAND: Erik Urycki (vocals and guitar), Bethany Svoboda (vocals, keyboards, guitar and banjo), Sam Kristoff (cello), Kevin Martinez (acoustic and electric bass) and Danny Jenkins (drums and percussion) FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS: Though the indie folk band ďŹ rst came together in 2007, singerguitarist Erik Urycki had been busking with a friend James Richardson on upright bass prior to that. Urycki had dropped out of Kent after freshman year and was ďŹ lling time. “I wasn’t ready for college at that time, though I would go back and get my degree,â€? he says. “I had anxiety and panic attacks. Writing songs and playing guitar that summer really helped. We just played and then went to cities on the East Coast and slept on couches and talked about the books we were reading. It was straight-up freedom.â€? He got back to Kent and realized he could “do it for real.â€? The Speedbumps would start releasing albums shortly after that. Over the course of the last decade, they’ve performed with artists such as Andrew Bird, G. Love and OKGO. CABIN FEVER: The band recorded its previous album, 2015’s Soil to the Seed, in a remote cabin in the woods of Pennsylvania where the band lived together and wrote songs. It utilized the same strategy for its latest effort, When the Darkness Comes. “We like to get off the grid to


write the songs,� says Urycki.


WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: “The Chosen Sons,â€? the song that opens When the Darkness Comes, features husky vocals and adopts a roots rock vibe much like that of the solo albums Robbie Robertson released in the ’80s. The grunge-y “How You Get Downâ€? has a Black Keys feel to it and the moody “What Tomorrow Bringsâ€? features an elegant string arrangement. “I was kind of getting burnt out,â€? says Urycki when asked about the band’s approach on the album. “I even thought of using a new band name. But then I bought an electric guitar and that changed everything. It was a totally different instrument. I felt like I started a new band. I was playing a new instrument and then we have a new drummer who wants to beat the shit out of his skins every so often. It’s fun again. It’s a little more fast-paced.â€? The band has hired a national ďŹ rm to do PR for the disc and hopes to play out of town as often as it can in the wake of a release party at the Beachland.

Great music, food and drink BOOK YOUR SPECIAL EVENTS WITH US.

WHERE YOU CAN HEAR THEM: WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: The Speedbumps perform with Shivering Timbers at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 22, at the Beachland Ballroom. t@jniesel



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| | July 19 - 25, 2017

SAVAGE LOVE COME AGAIN by Dan Savage Dear Dan, I’m a 35-year-old straight woman, recently married, and everything is great. But I have been having problems reaching orgasm. When we first started dating, I had them all the time. It was only after we got engaged that it became an issue. He is not doing anything differently, and he works hard to give me oral pleasure, last longer, and include more foreplay. He’s sexy and attractive and has a great working penis. I am very aroused when we have sex, but I just can’t climax. It is weird because I used to very easily, and still can when I masturbate. I have never been so in love before and I have definitely never been with a man who is so good to me. Honestly, all of my previous boyfriends did not treat me that well, but I never had a problem having orgasms. My husband is willing to do whatever it takes, but it’s been almost a year since I came during vaginal intercourse! Is this just a temporary problem that will fix itself? — My Orgasms Are Now Shy “This is a temporary problem that will fix itself,” said Dr. Meredith Chivers, an associate professor of psychology at Queen’s University and a world-renowned sex researcher who has done — and is still doing — groundbreaking work on female sexuality, desire, and arousal. “And here’s why it will fix itself,” said Dr. Chivers. “First, MOANS has enjoyed being orgasmic with her partner and previous partners. Second, even though she’s had a hiatus in orgasms through vaginal intercourse, she is able to have orgasms when masturbating. Third, she describes no concerns with becoming sexually aroused physically and mentally. Fourth, MOANS has a great relationship, has good sexual communication, and is sexually attracted to her partner. Fifth, what she’s experiencing is a completely normal and expected variation in sexual functioning that probably relates to stress.” The orgasms you’re not having right now — orgasms during PIV sex with your husband — the lack of which is causing you stress? Most

likely the result of stress, MOANS, so stressing out about the situation will only make the problem worse. “I wonder if the background stress of a big life change — getting married is among the top 10 most stressful life events — might be distracting or anxiety-provoking,” said Dr. Chivers. “Absolutely normal if it were.” Distracting, anxiety-provoking thoughts can also make it harder to come. “Being able to have an orgasm is about giving yourself over to pleasure in the moment,” said Dr. Chivers. “Research on brain activation during orgasm suggests that a key feature is deactivation in parts of the brain associated with emotion and cognitive control. So difficulties reaching orgasm can arise from distracting, anxietyprovoking thoughts that wiggle their way in when you’re really aroused, maybe on the edge, but just can’t seem to make it over. They interfere with that deactivation.” Dr. Chivers’s advice will be familiar to anyone with a daughter under the age of 12: Let it go. “Let go of working toward vaginal orgasm during sex,” Dr. Chivers advised. “Take vaginal orgasm off the table for at least a month — you’re allowed to do other things and come other ways, just not through vaginal-penile intercourse. Instead of working toward the goal of bringing back your vaginal orgasm, enjoy being with your sexy husband and experiment with other ways of sharing pleasure, and if the vaginal orgasms don’t immediately come back, oh well. There are, fortunately, many roads to Rome. Enjoy!” My advice? Buy some stressbusting pot edibles if you’re lucky enough to live in a state that has legal weed, MOANS, or make your own if you live in a suck-ass state that doesn’t. And tell your husband to stop trying so hard — if his efforts are making you feel guilty, that’s going to be hugely counterproductive. Good luck! Follow Dr. Chivers on Twitter @ DrMLChivers.

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