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E Q U I V O C A T I O N Th e co unt y executive stokes unfo unded fears and draws false bat tle lines as he stumps for a m a s sive p u b lic h a n d o ut to D a n G ilb e r t . By S a m Alla rd


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| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017


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- ! 2#(  s6/,5 - %. O 35 Dedicated to Free Times founder Richard H. Siegel (1935-1993) and Scene founder Richard Kabat Publisher Chris Keating Editor Vince Grzegorek

CONTENTS 5PFRONT

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 Contributing Dining Editor Rachel Hunt Stage Editor Christine Howey Visual Arts Editor Josh Usmani Copy Editor Elaine Cicora Interns Johnny Cook, Lawrence Neil

County executive Armond Budish is stoking unfounded fears and drawing false battle lines in Q proposal

&EATURE

In Northeast Ohio, property owners have blocked the Nexus pipeline. The fight isn’t over yet

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

'ET/UT

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

!RT





Nikki Lane WILLBEATTHE "EACHLAND "ALLROOMON 4UESDAY -ARCH



Northeast Ohio gets up close with still-life mastery of George Mauersberger

Circulation Circulation Director Don Kriss Euclid Media Group Chief Executive Offi cer Andrew Zelman Chief Operating Offi cers Chris Keating, Michael Wagner Human Resources Director Lisa Beilstein Digital Operations Coordinator Jaime Monzon www.euclidmediagroup.com National Advertising Voice Media Group 1-800-278-9866, voicemediagroup.com Cleveland Scene 737 Bolivar Rd, #4100 Cleveland, OH 44115 www.clevescene.com Phone 216-241-7550 Retail & Classifi ed Fax 216-241-6275 Editoral Fax 216-802-7212 E-mail scene@clevescene.com

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A family is white, then black, and then completely different in the surprising and hilarious Barbecue at Cleveland Public Theatre

Film

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Hugh Jackman plays Wolverine for one last time in the somber Logan

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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A pared-down menu of street food-inspired dishes sets Thai Thai apart in a crowded landscape

-USIC

...The story continues at clevescene.com 

Singer-songwriters Diana Chittester and Royal Wood talk about their respective crafts

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All the events you should check out this week

Business Asst. To The Publisher Angela Lott Sales Assistant/Receptionist Megan Stimac Controller Kristy Dotson Staff Accountant Margaret Manzo

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UPFRONT THE Q EQUIVOCATION County exec Armond Budish stokes unfounded fears of the Cavs leaving Cleveland as deliberations for Quicken Loans Arena transformation plan heat up

THIS WEEK

COUNTY EXECUTIVE ARMOND Budish has seldom appeared more exercised than he did last week, when he addressed Cuyahoga County Council about the proposed Quicken Loans Arena renovation plan. After more than 30 public comments, passionately delineating familiar notes of opposition and support, Budish took to the podium to present a doomsday scenario in which the county was all but guaranteed to lose the Cavaliers’ franchise and the arena itself if council did not authorize the deal. For background: The largely exterior renovations of Quicken Loans Arena (the so-called Q Transformation) have an advertised all-in price of $140 million, and has been billed — and continues to be billed, by Budish and Cleveland. com — as an even split between the Cavs and the public. But as has been reported extensively, the total cost of the project, after interest and the creation of a rainy day fund, will be about $282 million, of which the public will pay an estimated $160 million. The largest share of those funds (somewhere around $88 million) will be borne by the city, via an admissions tax on ticketed events at the Q from 2024-2034. The reason why it won’t be activated until 2024 is because until 2023, this portion of the admissions tax will be used to pay off existing Gateway bonds — from the ’90s. But the county, as the public

author of the deal — it is the entity taking out the bonds — is the first to deliberate on the controversial issue in a public forum. The county’s financial contribution will be $16 million from a pot of unused dollars intended for the convention center and Hilton downtown hotel. Though the Cavs and their elected shills have repeated that no new taxes will be created and that the city’s and county’s general funds will not be affected, councilman Jack Schron

SO CATCHY Development team including Graham Veysey proposes two apartment complexes on Detroit and West 28th to be called Church and State. Branding of intersection as Establishment Clausetown to follow.

said recently that the $16 million from the convention reserve really ought to be seen as general fund dollars. It’s no secret that this issue has sparked wide and heated debate. The Cavaliers — and their pals from the Greater Cleveland Partnership, to say nothing of their muscle from the construction trades — are explicitly seizing on the momentum generated by their championship win. They argue that Cleveland is

hot right now, and the region can ill afford to take its foot off the gas pedal. The Cavs have said that this is an investment in the future, in Cleveland’s (that is, the Q’s) ability to stay competitive, “not this year, or next year, but in the short-term years ahead.” (Incidentally, the Q had 200 ticketed events in 2015, making it one of the busiest arenas in the country.) Again though, the matter is wholly distinct from the Cavs’ NBA performance.

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Observers who witnessed the demolition of the Lakeshore Plant last week called it the most spectacular implosion of a FirstEnergy-branded structure they’d ever seen. Jimmy Haslam responded, “Hold my beer.”

News 5 report says city’s $600,000 study to grade Cleveland roads gave passing marks to many potholeridden streets. City spokesman claims grades actually pertained to livability of potholes as makeshift bunkers.

You’re still waiting for that Soros paycheck for showing up to townhalls while Rob Portman didn’t.

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UPFRONT Meanwhile, the opposition, led by Greater Cleveland Congregations, contends that the gap between the haves and have-nots is only widening in Cleveland. They can’t make sense of the public’s continual investment in projects for which they see so little direct return. Far from opposing the Cavs, or even the renovation itself, the GCC has proposed a dollarfor-dollar match in a community equity fund, to support things that the region’s communities actually need: mental health crisis centers, workforce development and training, capital projects in distressed neighborhoods. The county council chambers were filled to bursting for last week’s first real public presentation of the financing proposal. If, as council president Dan Brady remarked, the previous week’s meeting was the most highly attended in council’s sixyear history, last week’s hearing set the record yet again. The folks from GCC arrived shortly after 1 p.m., and the room was already filled. GCC’s suspicion was that the tradesmen and the Q folks intentionally packed the room very early so that the opponents wouldn’t be allowed in. This proved to be effective. The meeting was four godforsaken hours long. After public comment, when Budish, the Cavs’ Len Komoroski, attorney Fred Nance, and finance guy Tim Oftermatt made presentations, council was permitted to ask a few questions. The presentations were in many ways carbon copies of those made at the initial Q Transformation press conference, but were of course the first official presentation to council. It was exhausting. First, let’s return to Budish. He may as well have been wearing shackles and a spiked leather collar as he wailed in the direction of council a message harvested from auto commercials — the Q is an economic engine, a motor. We are happy partners, Budish squealed, and as such we must do everything the Cavs say! (We’re paraphrasing the subtext here.) In fact, his plea began on a nuptial note. He was presenting the plan, to council, he said, “because I know you share my unwavering commitment to all the residents of Cuyahoga County to create the economic environment necessary to support and sustain all of us in good times and in bad, for today and tomorrow.”

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For the Orwell scholars in the audience, it was almost second nature to substitute “Cavaliers” and “corporate power” whenever Budish uttered “all of us” or “all of Cuyahoga County.” But Budish’s strenuous ask was premised on two ideas, he said. The first was that the Q was a “critical economic and jobs generator for our entire region.” Budish said that the Q employed 2,300 people who “live in our neighborhoods and shop in our grocery stores.” (In fact, as the Cavs’ Len Komoroski stated in his presentation later, only 75 percent of the Q’s employees live in Cuyahoga County, to say nothing of Cleveland.)

Budish pimped the promised NBA All-Star week as a coveted event that brings “money and notoriety” to the host city. The second premise — a craven one indeed — is that we “stand a very good chance of losing the Cavs and the Q and these jobs at the end of the Cavs’ lease if we don’t make this deal now. I’m not being an alarmist — this is the reality,” Budish, as willing hostage, declared. He cited the Cavs’ own talking points about the average lifespan of NBA stadiums and market conditions over which he apologized he had no control. Budish had not one iota of doubt, though, he said, that at the

end of the Cavs’ current lease, they would demand a new arena (in the $600-million to $1 billion range) and would jump ship if they didn’t get it. It was here the county executive began to tremble. “There is no way we could come up with $1 billion without a huge tax increase,” he said. “If the Cavs leave, we’re likely also to lose the Q. That’s because we can’t maintain the Q without an anchor tenant … . To me, the key is the seven-year lease extension. We lock our championship Cavaliers into Cleveland for an additional seven years from 2027 to 2034. This enables us to extend the useful life of the Q to 40 years,

Armond Budish is a willing accomplice to Dan Gilbert’s latest arena subsidy scam LAST TUESDAY AFTERNOON, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish stood at a packed county council meeting and emotionally pleaded for council to approve the most recently proposed $70 million public handout to Dan Gilbert for upgrades to Quicken Loans Arena. Even though there is no legal obligation for the public to provide the proposed subsidy, the county exec went as far as to say, “we stand a very good chance of losing the Cavaliers and the Q ... at the end of the lease if we don’t make this deal now.” Here, Budish explicitly communicated on Gilbert’s behalf the absurd threat that Gilbert and his surrogates have been hinting at for years to justify the constant flow of nine-figure subsidies to the Cavaliers and Cleveland’s other two professional sports teams (all three, of course, privately owned): “Give us your money, even though we don’t need it, because if you don’t we’ll pack up our balls and leave town just like Art Modell did.” The message here is nothing short of extortion, defined by Ohio law (Revised Code 5924.127) as the “communication of threats to another person with the intention thereby to obtain anything of value or any acquittance, advantage, or immunity.” It’s outrageous enough that Gilbert and his brethren consistently hint at this threat while never making any effort to disclaim it. Much worse when the county’s top elected official — who should be calling Gilbert out on the veiled threat — instead only helps make it more explicit, giving it credence and using it to sway public opinion.

Imagine that Budish really believes it to be true that Gilbert and the NBA would abandon this profitable market and rabid fan base, LeBron’s backyard, in the wake of LeBron’s historic achievements here; that Gilbert would walk away from the casino monopoly that Ohio voters granted him in 2004, his Quicken Loans office, his gigantic (and gigantically subsidized) investment downtown, over not getting yet another handout that he obviously doesn’t need and that ultimately amounts to peanuts for him. Here, it’s worth noting the just announced plans to build a $700 million skyscraper in Detroit that would be the city’s tallest. On the flip side, speaking of Cuyahoga County’s more than $1 billion debt load, Budish himself recently said that, “our creditcard is maxed out.” Meanwhile, the county’s infant mortality rate, already among the worst in the nation, continues to spike, with the gap in infant deaths continuing to widen deeply along racial lines. And just this week the CDC issued a shocking report that 20 percent of high school students in Cleveland’s poverty ridden public schools attempted suicide in 2015, the highest rate among 19 urban areas surveyed in the study. Whether or not Budish believes that Gilbert would or could ever move the Cavs away, any sane discussion of the proposed subsidy would of course have been far different from the display Budish made at last week’s council meeting. Such as to simply point to the extremely pressing alternative uses

for these funds. And to request of Gilbert that if he really needs this money to keep the Cavs in town, to publish his financial statements so that taxpayers can be sure that this is the case (of course, it isn’t). And if Gilbert — who has consistently refused requests to open his books — can’t make this case (of course, he can’t), and ratchets up the threat to leave if taxpayers don’t keep handing him money that he doesn’t need, why wouldn’t the county just say good riddance? Who needs a “partner” like this? One need not take issue with the notion that the Cavs are an asset to the community to point out that the franchise would be even more of an asset if its owner would pay his own business expenses. By refusing to subject these subsidies to real scrutiny, and instead communicating absurd threats on the sports-owners’ behalf, Budish, Frank Jackson, and their corporate sponsors at the Greater Cleveland Partnership have made clear that they’re becoming increasingly comfortable with the widening economic and racial divides that persist in the region. Rotting schools, neighborhoods, and public health, spiking infant mortality rates and teen suicide rates for some. Publicly subsidized NBA basketball, concerts, and fancy downtown restaurants and bars for others. Someone should ask LeBron what he thinks of the idea that Gilbert would rip the NBA away from his hometown for reasons that amount to no more than Gilbert’s own greed. — Peter Pattakos


DIGIT WIDGET

which is unprecedented!â€? Budish invited council to “look no further than the Browns and their move to Baltimoreâ€? as a likely outcome if the county did not submit. “Teams will move, especially out of mid-market cities,â€? Budish said. “And by the way, Baltimore’s stadium was paid for almost entirely by public funds.â€? Returning to the bogus $70-million ďŹ gure, Budish said that the cost of keeping the Cavaliers for seven additional years would be a mere $10 million per year. Compared to a theoretical $800-million brand-

new stadium with a theoretical life of 20 years, it should be a no-brainer. Right? “Ten million a year versus $40 million a year?â€? Budish said. “That’s a good deal for the Public.â€? Woof. Jack Schron was the only councilperson grilling presenters on speciďŹ cs, and council president Dan Brady seemed annoyed every time Schron raised his ďŹ nger. Brady kept saying that council would be seeing a lot more of Komoroski, but good on Schron for clarifying a few things: He asked Komoroski,

for instance, to explain whether or not he thought his being on the Destination Cleveland board of directors represented a conict of interest, given that $44 million from the Destination Cleveland budget, generated by the county bed tax, was proposed as part of the renovation budget. Komoroski answered in a non-answer, singing the praises of Destination Cleveland and rhapsodizing on the inherent goodness of Cleveland tourism. Schron also noted that one of the Q’s most signiďŹ cant upgrades was an increase in oor space, from

about 90,000 square feet to more than 150,000. All this open space — the vast new atrium, notably — was described by Komoroski as an industry standard, but it gave Schron pause. All that space makes the Q a much more attractive venue for private events. Komoroski conďŹ rmed that the Q would indeed be seeking and hosting many events in the space, both public and private. Schron, then, asked why it made sense for the county to contribute $16 million to fund a competitor that would directly undercut the business of the Convention Center and the

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Percent of CMSD high schoolers who attempted suicide in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It was the highest rate among the 19 urban school districts surveyed by the CDC.

Number of immigrant entrepreneurs in Cleveland metro area, according to a report by New American Economy and Global Cleveland. The total area immigrant population boasts $3.2 billion in spending power, according to the same report.

Ounces of medicinal plant material with THC content under 23 percent that patients will be allowed to purchase in a 90-day period under the state’s strict new medical marijuana law, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy announced. The number drops to 4 ounces for THC content above 23 percent.

Number of employees at the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant. FirstEnergy announced last week its plans to close or sell Davis-Besse and the Perry plant by the middle of next year.

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UPFRONT

County. Ninety percent don’t live in Cleveland. For other Q events — concerts and the like — those numbers go up. Seventy-four percent don’t live in Cuyahoga County and 95 percent don’t live in Cleveland. The line of argument from the Cavs is that this makes the deal even more attractive for locals because outsiders are footing the bill — all these folks from Summit, Lorain, Medina, and Lake Counties, or yet further afield, driving in to see LeBron or Paul McCartney. They pulled a similar line during the Keep Cleveland Strong sin tax renewal campaign in 2014. But it completely invalidates the entire premise of the “Cleveland living room” metaphor and the lovey-dovey familial rhetoric therefrom, not to mention all the feel-good stuff about how the public owns the Q. The natural rejoinder is: To what end? Is it any wonder that actual Cleveland residents look upon this deal not only with skepticism but with outrage? Isn’t it obvious that this facility is not for them? For observers like Scene, one of the most challenging elements of this debate to countenance in

Global Center, also funded by taxpayers and already struggling. Komoroski said the Q would be aiming for different, unique events. It was unclear to which sort of different, unique events he was referring. Komoroski’s whole presentation was a celebration of the extreme, in fact peerless, publicfriendliness of the proposed deal. Komoroski’s contention was that the current Cavs’ lease was already unprecedentedly publicly friendly and that this new deal’s public friendliness, over and above that lease, should be interpreted exponentially. Dan Gilbert was here conveyed as god’s gift to blighted neighborhoods and struggling communities, a man who, by his very nature and principled corporate citizenship, wants to “do well by doing good.” One of Komoroski’s confounding contradictions was a remarkable statistic about Q attendance. For Cavs’ games, 70 percent of attendees don’t live in Cuyahoga

good faith is the fervid support for the deal by the construction trades. Outside the tradespeople, virtually every public commenter in support of the deal was a CEO, a downtown nonprofit executive, a suburban mayor or — oddly enough — a chef, like Jonathan Sawyer, who was invited to speak by Len Komorowski. The Rev. Jawanza Colvin noted how “disturbed” he was by the divisions being created in Cleveland, not only the imprecise framing of the debate as “Cavs vs. GCC” but, more distressingly, as “Labor vs. Churches.” “There’s a great history of the church and labor working together,” Colvin said. “Many of us fought for SB5 on the hills of the State Capitol. We took over the rotunda with labor ... Our issue is not with labor. Labor showed the way, that if you fight for it, you can get it.” And yet, second only to the Cavs themselves and outside of the mayor and county exec, the construction unions have been the most vocal supporters of the deal. It’s worth noting that the public contributions to the renovation do mean that the Cavs will be obliged to honor

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the city’s and county’s community benefits agreements for local and minority hiring. That is good. And perhaps it’s been communicated to the unions that without the public support — without the “partnership,” in the corporate patois — there will be no renovation at all, and therefore no jobs. So maybe the tradespeople do feel that much is at stake. But to see these guys in their hoodies and ballcaps and actual hard hats going to bat for the regional corporate megaliths is unnerving in the extreme. Finally: Young professional employees of either the Q or Quicken Loans were overheard exiting the meeting, bitching about its length and what sounded like their mandatory attendance. One admitted she preferred the public comment to the official presentations, purely from an entertainment perspective (an assessment with which we agree) and was delighted that execs from organizations like the YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club spoke “on our side,” in favor of the deal. But she was surprised, she said, to hear about “that infant mortality.” — Sam Allard

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FEATURE

A PIPELINE RUNS THROUGH IT In the push to carve up Northeast Ohio with natural gas pipelines, property owners are winning so far, but the fight’s not over By Eric Sandy

Vic Giaconia points out the proposed pipeline route that would run alongside his property in Medina County. Photo by Eric Sandy

A SMALL DOZER TRUNDLES AROUND THE FRAME of Vic Giaconia’s new home in Guilford Township, Ohio. Morning rain left a thick layer of mud on this late February day, and Giaconia arrives to look over the property, praising the construction work and snapping photos of the progress. Contractors set the first beam just last week. “I was pretty excited about that,” he says. “It’s starting to get there.” Because of the grading on these six acres, there’s nowhere else Giaconia could have planted the home’s foundation except for the fine crest he’s walking on now. To the east, gentle slopes and the early stirrings of cornfields roll toward the horizon in a picturesque snapshot of bucolic Medina County. “Up until my foundation was in, though, I had no idea what was happening,” Giaconia says. “Jon sends me this email, like, ‘You gotta call me. Do you have any idea what’s going on?’” He’s talking about his neighbor, Jon Strong, who lives up on Seville Road and has become, in more than one sense, a trailblazer in Guilford Township’s biggest fight ever: the orchestrated opposition to the Nexus natural gas pipeline,

which proposes a 255-mile stretch of steel across this and other parts of Ohio, as well as Michigan, en route to its ultimate endpoint in Canada. “I’m like, ‘What are you talking about?’” Giaconia says. “He’s talking about Nexus, and I say, ‘Yeah, I heard something about this about a year ago, but that’s way over there.’ “He’s like, ‘No, man. It’s 150 feet from your bedroom.’” The two men spoke back in November 2016, shortly after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the Nexus project’s environmental impact and some nine months after Giaconia had purchased his land. Strong brought his new neighbor up to speed. “He had no clue. He was shellshocked,” Strong says.

Giaconia tells Scene that he wasn’t told about the proposed pipeline route when he bought the property from its previous owner. The route, as it stands now, cuts through a parcel just north of his own. The socalled blast zone, the area in which people and animals and property would be up against a real safety hazard in the event of a leak or an explosion, is around the 1,500-foot mark. More than 11,000 “pipeline incidents” have happened in the past 20 years in the U.S., according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration. But when projects like Nexus get federal certification, there are no recognized safety setback standards to apply. Giaconia quickly started Googling things like “gas leaks U.S.” For now, the Nexus project rests in federal regulatory limbo. It’s all but approved by FERC, although currently the agency doesn’t have enough commissioners to certify any projects. Nexus, which is owned by Houston-based Spectra Energy and Michigan-based DTE Energy Co., continues to survey private land and offer money for construction

access. In the event that those land easements aren’t secured between now and a potential final approval, Nexus and FERC have assured property owners that eminent domain will be enforced. Residents across Ohio and Michigan have not gone quietly. In fact, it’s only due to a small band of committed people that this pipeline isn’t right now being constructed alongside Giaconia’s house. “It’s very frustrating to think that a private industry can come in and do whatever they want if they have enough money and pay off enough people in power,” Giaconia says. “I don’t even have enough words at this point to talk about my outrage.” On a clear day, you can look 100 yards due east from Giaconia’s driveway and track the hemline of Jon Strong’s wooded property. There, clad in a graying handlebar mustache and wide-brimmed hat, Strong holds court with any neighbors or reporters curious about all this pipeline talk. Here’s the gist: The $2-billion Nexus project would funnel high| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

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pressure natural gas across Ohio and Michigan to the Union Gas Dawn hub in Ontario, Canada. About 100 miles southeast of Strong’s home, the Utica shale play yawns beneath the OhioPennsylvania border. Since 2000, and with the advent of modern horizontal-drilling technology, the Utica has become the hottest natural gas scene outside of North Dakota. The shale play’s concentration of rich, wet natural gas is unparalleled, and energy conglomerates are clamoring to drill it and ship its reserves to international export posts, like the Dawn hub. Combined, the Utica and nearby Marcellus plays coughed up 22.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day in 2016. By 2050, estimates by the U.S. Energy Information Administration place that rate at more than 44 billion cubic feet per day. Nexus would add a cool 1.5 billion cubic feet per day to the take. With the ultimate goal being exports out of Canada, Nexus benefits no Ohio energy customers. It benefits no American customers at all. In fact, the pipeline does nothing but screw with Ohioans’ property rights. “It takes the use of the property out of play for me,” Strong says. He’s lived here since 1994. “I can’t do anything with it then. I can’t build on it, I can’t put a lake on it. I bought this property for a reason and a purpose, and [Nexus would be] changing it without my consent.” He has not allowed any land surveyors onto his property and had not agreed to any offers from Nexus for the 100-foot construction easement they would need to install steel pipe through his property. Walking along a grassy trail that rings his home, Strong pauses and points east toward Bauman Orchard, which opened in 1919. They grow

apples and peaches. In the fall, when Nexus insists that construction will begin, they’ll be selling Cortlands and Honeycrisps and tender McIntosh. Bauman has already sold easement rights; the pipeline would drive right through the heart of the orchard — claiming a 100-foot-wide path of land during the build-out — before barreling westward onto Strong’s property. Most of Strong’s trees are located right along that route. “This is my sweet spot,” Strong says as we reach a bend in the trail. In warmer months, the leafy refuge in his backyard would be replaced with large bulldozers and, later, a 30-inch underground pipeline. But that day hasn’t come yet, because when this whole thing started back in 2014, Strong and number of concerned citizens along the route banded together to form the Coalition to Reroute Nexus, known delightfully as CoRN. Early on, when landmen appeared on front porches and notices showed up in mailboxes, CoRN members rallied and began educating the public as Nexus folks urged quick turnaround on paperwork that would allow them access to land. As the contractors expressed the urgency of the deal — sweetening their offers toward what one Medina County resident said was a $130-perfoot average — CoRN’s leaders and other property owners began organizing meetings and laying out maps and literature for those who hadn’t yet learned the full, possible ramifications of Nexus. All along, CoRN stuck to its namesake and planned an alternate route for the pipeline, which they eventually submitted to FERC. According to court documents filed in 2015, the energy company was insistent — and they remain so: “If NEXUS is unable to access the


| clevescene.com m | March 1 - 7, 2017

17


FEATURE Properties, the entire permitting and construction timeline likely will be delayed.” It certainly has been. In Medina County, the prosecutor and the sheriff worked alongside Judge Christopher Collier to patiently analyze the pipeline project and draw out the timeline. Tensions were heating up, and Nexus was filing temporary restraining orders against dozens of hold-out residents along the route. Similar court cases unfolded in Summit County, where even more densely populated neighborhoods are contending with Nexus, and in other counties between Northeast Ohio and Canada. By mid-2015, FERC itself came to Wadsworth and held what it called a “scoping” meeting. Residents from across Summit and Medina counties — and points both east and west — gathered to express concern over the pipeline route. “This pipeline is for profit only. This pipeline does not fit in,” Elizabeth Jarrell of Guilford Township said in April of that year. “It is dangerous and disrespectful.” The disrespect has most glaringly

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been displayed in the lack of communication between Nexus and the people, residents argue. Rather than their own employees, Nexus has sent contracted landmen to acquire easements. Many residents have sold, but others have stood their ground. Property lines became front

| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

lines. Nearby York Township resident Walter Giebeler posted a sign outside his home as tensions increased: “No Trespassing: Due to the High Cost of an Attorney and our Lack of Patience, WE SHOOT TO KILL!” (He was interviewed by WNWO, and he

told a reporter, “If it does come down to it, I’ll give you a guys a call and you can come.”) As FERC was preparing to grant its approval of Nexus’ environmental impact last fall, the land surveying work ramped up in earnest. Strong posted a video online


last November with the title “Nexus Pipeline Survey Intimidation Medina County Ohio.” (The video begins with the classic Law and Order: SVU “clang clang” audio.) Strong is seen walking his trail and then zooming in on a group of landmen and Medina County sheriff’s deputies walking through the Bauman orchard trees, like apparitions. “There they are,” Strong says in the video. “They’re not coming on.” The scene is rather surreal; Strong’s heavy breathing backdrops the advances of men in uniform, men meaning to take his land. One of the landmen holds up a clipboard and says, “Just let me go through this.” “I don’t really need to hear it,” Strong says. “I don’t want you to be here, and I’m asking you to leave.” The two men go back and forth a bit — they clearly know each other after all their interactions — and Strong points out that an active civil case in Medina County Court has maintained his freedom to prohibit access to his land. The video ends with some triumphant, patriotic music and the following quote from President John Adams: “The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the law of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.” Surveying was supposed to have been finished by the summer of 2015. A long-standing FERC policy statement, clarified in an official statement in 2000, “encouraged project sponsors to acquire as much right-of-way as possible by negotiation with the landowners and explained how successfully doing so influences the Commission’s assessment of public benefits and adverse consequences.” That policy, still in effect, demonstrates how closely tied the land surveying work is to the

ultimate FERC approval. The more easements Nexus can acquire, the more likely they are to receive certification. It’s a perpetual motion machine, and the reason why so many pipeline projects are approved with little scrutiny. Even if project sponsors aren’t able to acquire 100 percent of the easements they need, FERC has assured them that eminent domain will be enforced. “I understand eminent domain, but that’s for the good of the community,” Giaconia says. “This is not for the good of any community in this country. This is going to Canada. How do they have the right to take people’s property or put lives at risk for something that is happening in a completely different country, you know? It doesn’t seem to make sense.”

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Despite all of that — and despite FERC greenlighting the environmental impact of Nexus — the pipeline has yet to receive its actual certificate, the signal to start digging. On Feb. 3 of this year, Norman Bay resigned as a commissioner of FERC; just prior, President Donald Trump had appointed fellow commissioner Cheryl LaFleur as chair of the agency. (Bay was historically the pro-regulations vote among the body. The scuttlebutt among industry magazines is that Bay wasn’t pleased with that latest appointment.) With only two commissioners left now — LaFleur and Colette Honorable — there is no quorum, and voting on pipeline projects has been halted indefinitely. In a flurry of last-minute votes before Bay’s resignation, Nexus was lost in the shuffle. The lack of a decision, though, was hailed as a decision among the opposition. “The lack of action by the Commission can be viewed as confirmation of our position

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Nexus would disturb residential neighborhoods and businesses, like Bauman Orchards. | clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

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| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

that there is no purpose or need for Nexus,â&#x20AC;? Paul Gierosky, another co-founding member of CoRN and a Medina County resident, wrote in a public statement last month. In fact, Nexus is just one pipeline project of many that would carry natural gas from the Utica play to out-of-state endpoints. Others include the ET Rover pipeline, the Appalachia to Midwest pipeline, the East-to-West project, the Lebanon Lateral, the Louisiana Access Project; elsewhere in the state, the Oregon Lateral, the Utopia East and the Utopia West help funnel natural gas from Point A to Point B. All told, the projects add up to more than â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Paul 1,500 miles of steel pipeline carrying more than 22 billion cubic feet of natural gas out of northern Appalachia each day. Much of it ends up in Canada or along the Gulf for export purposes. There are a lot of reasons why Nexus lost this round of â&#x20AC;&#x153;musical chairs,â&#x20AC;? as Marcellus Drilling News put it. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The only one that had an effective resistance formed to it was the Nexus pipeline, and that was just because of the way it was passing through peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s properties,â&#x20AC;? Andrew Smith says. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been helping CoRN in their organizing efforts in Lorain County, another area along the Nexus route. He points out that groups like CoRN have almost single-handedly brought the project to a seeming halt. FERC chairperson Cheryl LaFleur said in 2016 that â&#x20AC;&#x153;[P]ipelines are facing unprecedented opposition from local and national groups including environmental activists. These groups are active in every FERC docket, as they should be, as well as in my email inbox seven days a week, in my Twitter feed, at our open meetings demanding to be heard, and literally at our door closing down First Street so FERC wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be able to work. We have a situation here â&#x20AC;Ś I think that our nation is going to have to grapple with our acceptance of gas generation and gas pipelines.â&#x20AC;?

The contrast between LaFleurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s public statements, like the one above, and those of former commissioner Norman Bay is stark. The same day that Bay resigned, he issued a â&#x20AC;&#x153;separate statementâ&#x20AC;? in conjunction with the certiďŹ cates granted to those pipeline projects. His words scan like an indictment against Nexus in an overcrowded ďŹ eld of Ohio pipeline projects. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is in the public interest to foster competition for pipeline capacity but also to ensure that the industry remains a healthy one,â&#x20AC;? Bay wrote, â&#x20AC;&#x153;not subject to costly boom-and-bust cycles. Pipelines are capital intensive and long-lived assets. It is inefďŹ cient to build pipelines that may not be needed over the long term and that become stranded assets.â&#x20AC;? A May 2016 Gierosky ďŹ ling with FERC lays out the same case. This is the nut of the whole issue â&#x20AC;&#x201D; for property rights advocates, for environmentalists, for proponents of good government. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We proved they have no customers in Northeast Ohio, and theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll never have customers in Northeast Ohio,â&#x20AC;? Gierosky tells Scene, squaring the point simply. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no need for this gas in Northeast Ohio. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just a sham that they claim that theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re taking this route through this market that theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve identiďŹ ed. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s window dressing. That goes along with the lies that theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve told the public.â&#x20AC;? Indeed, the only customers they currently have on the books are their own: themselves. DTE Energy in Michigan is a co-sponsor, so they sort of have to buy in. And thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Union Gas, which runs the Dawn hub in Ontario â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the same outďŹ t thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s intending on exporting American natural gas out of Canada. Zooming in even further, the pure economics of Nexus arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t working out. A major problem is that DTE Energy has intended to pass along its costs to Detroit-area customers. The Michigan attorney general has referred to DTEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s plan as â&#x20AC;&#x153;improper subsidization.â&#x20AC;? There are presently several cases before the Michigan Public Service Commission in which

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no need for this gas in Northeast Ohio. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just a sham that they claim that theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re taking this route through this market that theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve identiďŹ ed. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s window dressing.â&#x20AC;?


Saturday, March 11 Downtown Willoughby, 7-Midnight SECOND ANNUAL

Tickets: $10 Guests receive a shot glass, hat, Light apps at registration! Drink specials! sceneshamrock.com

| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

21


FEATURE

“The longer we can slow this thing down, the more time you leave for things to come out of the woodwork that could impact [Nexus]. Every day that goes by there’s another variable that influences the pipeline. The whole premise is falling apart.” — Jon Strong

DTE Energy is seeking guarantees that, should the line not be profitable, it can pass the costs of building Nexus on to DTE rate payers. As state regulators there fought back against Nexus, DTE increased its commitment to the pipeline “to ensure that the project has sufficient customer commitments to justify proceeding with construction.” (DTE said last month that the plan remains to bring the Nexus pipeline “on line” by the end of 2017.) Rolling onward, TransCanada, Nexus’ would-be competitor in Canada, announced its intention just last week to drop its pipeline toll below the 60cent threshold, in a clear effort to win over shippers in the region. They’re concerned about increased pipeline capacity out of the U.S. TransCanada knows how important the Utica play is. “As soon as you’ve got incremental pipe out of Appalachia into that region (Ontario), it’s another nail in the coffin, and a big nail in the coffin,” Ed Kallio, a natural gas analyst with the Eau Claire Energy Advisory, told the Financial Post in late February, speaking about TransCanada’s outlook. If TransCanada can get gas to its customers faster and cheaper with infrastructure that already exists, then what’s the point of Nexus? Photo by Eric Sandy

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| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

“That’s been the whole argument all along: The longer we can slow this thing down, the more time you leave for things like that to come out of the woodwork that could impact [Nexus]. Every day that goes by there’s another variable that influences the pipeline,” Strong says. “The whole premise is falling apart.” If and when pipeline projects are approved — and they are approved by FERC at a nearly 100-percent rate, historically — residents who live and work along the route must then contend directly with the safety hazards, the threats of leaks or explosions. “It’s not a matter of ‘Could there be a problem?’ Yeah, there could be a problem,” Giaconia says, scanning his property line from atop a low hill on his land. “We’ve got a documented history of problems. There’s high likelihood that there could be a problem. Does it happen right here? I don’t know. But it could.” According to data compiled by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (part of the federal Department of Transportation), from 1997 to 2016 there were 11,460 reported “pipeline incidents” in the U.S., accounting for 324 deaths and 1,331 injuries.


All told, the incidents brought some $7 billion in property damage. In 2014, for instance, the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. reported 92 â&#x20AC;&#x153;signiďŹ cant incidencesâ&#x20AC;? clocking in at $88.1 million in property damage across the Appalachian region. As PHMA looked closer, the organization later found out that Tennessee Gas hadnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t reported an additional 45 incidences and $110 million in damage. In April 2016, a natural gas pipeline exploded in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, just outside Pittsburgh. The pipeline was part of Spectra Energyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sprawling PennJersey System, which ships gas from the Marcellus play to the coast. News reports of the rupture noted a â&#x20AC;&#x153;ďŹ reball soaring hundreds of feet into the air.â&#x20AC;? Multiple buildings were impacted, and one man, James Baker, was severely injured. His home was 500 feet from the pipeline. Spectra cited accelerated corrosion as the cause of the rupture. A spokesperson at the time mentioned a 2012 report that provided actual evidence of corrosion, but said that it did not meet a threshold that would have warranted investigation. Indeed, FERC has no safety setback standards, and the oil and gas companies that lobby and help set

energy production policy tend not to hold themselves to rigorous scrutiny. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see how thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not taught. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see how thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not spoken about,â&#x20AC;? Smith says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see how thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not a plan at the federal level to actually make a change.â&#x20AC;? Safety hazards arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t simply conďŹ ned to explosions, either. The Nexus pipeline â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and others in Ohio â&#x20AC;&#x201D; would cross streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands, migratory bird routes, endangered speciesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; habitats, fault lines and other areas that are rather important to animal health. Strong points up toward his trees and says that, across southern Medina County, a species of longeared bats make their homes here. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a threatened species, to be sure, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which shades pipeline construction with a tighter set of regulations. For one, the habitats of threatened species â&#x20AC;&#x201D; in this case, the trees along portions of the Nexus route â&#x20AC;&#x201D; may not be cut down between April 1 and Sept. 30. For a company thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s highly interested in cutting down trees in order to install a steel pipeline, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a major problem at the moment, here in early March. The window is closing. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s March 2017, and not an ounce

of dirt has been displaced in the name of Nexus. According to the original timeline, construction should have already been happening. Now the company insists that construction will be under way by the fall. It hangs between words when homeowners along the route talk about their properties, about their goals and plans in life. â&#x20AC;&#x153;One of the nice things I liked about this property is that it had some trees,â&#x20AC;? Giaconia says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As it is, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d be wiping out all those trees through that area.â&#x20AC;? He believes that, in the event this pipeline moves closer to reality, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s some room for negotiations to get his house outside the potential blast zone of the route. Soon after he learned everything last fall, Giaconia ďŹ led a formal statement with FERC. He has yet to receive a response. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not for nothing that CoRN members and other parties along the route have pointed to the Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Access pipeline as an example of what can happen when enough Davids shout down a Goliath. If itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not you today, maybe itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s you tomorrow, more than one Nexus opponent told Scene. If nothing else, Standing Rock

shows how strength does blossom in numbers and in public awareness. At the height of the mainstream media attention, the Army Corps of Engineers relented and ordered a further review of the pipeline route in North Dakota. (The Army Corps has since granted the ďŹ nal easement for the pipeline, and, on Feb. 22, law enforcement kicked protesters out of the camps they had set up on federal land.) â&#x20AC;&#x153;Through the court of public opinion,â&#x20AC;? Gierosky says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;they were able to get the attention of the pipeline company.â&#x20AC;? Every victory matters. The attention on North Dakota has helped the ďŹ ght in Ohio and in Michigan. The tension remains present along the Nexus route, especially in the wake of Bayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s resignation and up against a fever-pitch pipeline-loving energy industry and a president whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s signaled his support. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s still reason to ďŹ ght, Strong says. And itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hard to ignore the underlying point in all of this: Had he and his neighbors not spoken up in the ďŹ rst place, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d have been digging already â&#x20AC;&#x201D; guaranteed,â&#x20AC;? Strong says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Time is our friend and their foe.â&#x20AC;?

esandy@clevescene.com t@ericsandy

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3VJH[LKPUZPKL;OL(YJHKLÂ&#x2039;+V^U[V^U*SL]LSHUK Â&#x2039;^^^THYLUNVZWHJVT | clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

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Presented by Scene Magazine and The 9, Vodka Vodka returns for its fourth year as Cleveland’s premier vodka tasting party. Enjoy inventive cocktails, a hot fashion show and dance the night away. Vodka enthusiasts and vodka-curious will join us on March 11th at The 9 from 8-10:30p (VIP 7p) to taste an assortment of both local and international vodkas. This annual party will be hotter than ever before, and now includes an exciting hair and fashion element and even more vodkas to sample from! Also enjoy the sweet musical stylings of Cleveland's hottest DJs. Mix it up! Saturday, March 11, 2017 AT THE 9 • 8-10:30pm (VIP 7pm)

Presented by SCENE

SHAMROCK BAR CRAWL sceneshamrock.com

Sat., March 11 Downtown Willoughby 7-Midnight

TICKETS: $10 Guests Receive A Shot Glass, Koozie, Light Apps At Registration. Drink Specials!

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Don’t miss Downtown Willoughby’s 2nd Annual Shamrock Bar Crawl, Willoughby’s most spirited pub crawl. Join us as we drink our way through Downtown Willoughby bars, starting at Willoughby Brewing Company and continuing to 1899 Pub, Ballantine, Frank & Tony’s Place, Mullarkey’s, The Morehouse, Nickelby’s and Wild Goose. Registration will take place at Willoughby Brewing Company with light appetizers served. This event sold out in its first year so don’t wait to grab your tickets! Saturday, March 11, 2017 DOWNTOWN WILLOUGHBY 7PM-Midnight

F I N D O U T A B O U T T H E S E E V E N T S A N D M O R E AT C L E V E S C E N E T I C K E T S . C O M

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| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017


everything you should do this week

GET OUT

Photo by Errisson Lawrence © 2015 Cirque du Soleil

WED

03/01

comes to Mahall’s tonight at 7:30 to give an interactive lecture. Promoter Aaron Sechrist, who booked the gig, says the talk will appeal to fans of comedy and travel writing as well as anyone who wants to start his or her own brand or business. The talk’s title, Pretty Much Everything: The Harrowing Account Behind Making Our Very First Book, suggests Draplin will discuss the trials and tribulations of publishing a book. And yes, given that Draplin works as a designer, there will be visuals. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. (Niesel) 13200 Madison Ave., Lakewood, 216-521-3280, mahalls20lanes.com.

MUSIC

CIM/CWRU Joint Music Program For nearly all of its 100-year history, the Cleveland Museum of Art has presented music from around the world, making its annual Performing Arts series part of a long tradition. Tonight’s installment is a CIM/CWRU Joint Music Program, featuring musicians from the Cleveland Institute of Music and Case Western Reserve University’s early and baroque music programs. The musicians will present a mixed program of chamber music; the concerts regularly feature instruments from the museum’s keyboard collection. Tonight’s edition takes place in the museum’s galleries at 6; the series continues on the first Wednesdays of every month through May. (Jeff Niesel) 11150 East Blvd., 216-421-7350, clevelandart.org. SPOKEN WORD

Cleveland Stories Dinner Parties Cleveland Stories Dinner Party is a weekly series at Music Box Supper Club that pairs fine food with storytelling. The series aims to help raise awareness of the mission of the Western Reserve Historical Society’s new Cleveland History Center. The goal of the Cleveland Stories Dinner Party is to “bring to life some of the fun, interesting stories about Cleveland’s past — from sports, to rock ’n’ roll, to Millionaires’ Row.” Each week features a guest speaker and a custom prix fixe menu — a full threecourse meal for only $20. The popular series resumes tonight at 7 with Cranks and Bards: Harvey Pekar and Poets from CLE. Arin Miller-Tait, the co-founder and co-director of Teaching Cleveland, will join Dave Lucas, the founder of the “Brews + Prose” series, to discuss the life and times of local heroes such as the late Harvey Pekar. The menu includes clam chowder, meatloaf and a Napoleon. Admission is free, and doors open at 5 p.m. (Niesel) 1148 Main Ave., 216-242-1250, musicboxcle.com. FILM

Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child A graffiti artist who became legitimized in the 1980s when he began exhibiting his neo-expressionist paintings in galleries and museums around the world, Jean-Michel Basquiat took inspiration from hiphop, post-punk and street art. The

ART

The latest Cirque du Soleil show arrives at the Q. See: Friday.

Whitney Museum of American Art even held a retrospective of his art in 1992. Directed by Tamra Davis. JeanMichel Basquiat: The Radiant Child documents the life of Basquiat, the subject of a current Cleveland Museum of Art exhibition. The movie screens at 7 tonight and Friday night at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Admission is $9, or $7 for CMA members, seniors and students. (Niesel) 11150 East Blvd., 216-421-7350, clevelandart.org. SPOKEN WORD

Keep Talking Keep Talking is an exciting storytellers program where locals can share their real-life experiences on a theme. The series offers attendees the chance to grab a drink and a dog while listening to some of their Cleveland neighbors tell tall tales. The theme for tonight’s event is Crime. It starts at 8 p.m. at the Happy Dog. Admission is $5. (Niesel) 5801 Detroit Ave., 216-651-9474, happydogcleveland.com. BEER

Official Release of Nu Skool IPA Southern Tier, the terrific craft brewery known for its various IPAs and speciality beers, celebrates the release of its Nu Skool IPA at tonight’s special tapping at TownHall. According to the press release, the beer possesses a “slight malt sweetness that’s brimming with tropical, fruity, spicy, piney and citrus characters.” Sounds good to us. Mike and Neil

from the brewery will be on hand for the event, which takes place this afternoon and evening. The Southern Tier street team will have some swag to give away as well. (Niesel) 1909 West 25th St., 216-344-9400, townhallohiocity.com.

THU

03/02

MUSIC

All American: Copland and Bernstein Composer Aaron Copland created music that reflects America’s character. This weekend at Severance Hall, the Cleveland Orchestra plays his Symphony No. 3, which Leonard Bernstein described as “an American monument.” The weekend’s concerts also feature a recent violin concerto by Augusta Read Thomas and a suite from Bernstein’s score to the 1954 movie On the Waterfront. Katherine Bormann, a Cleveland Orchestra violinist, delivers the pre-concert talk, American Music, American Sounds, an hour before the concert. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m., and tickets start at $29. Performances repeat at 7 p.m. tomorrow (minus the Bernstein suite and the pre-concert talk) and at 8 p.m. on Saturday. (Niesel) 11001 Euclid Ave., 216-231-1111, clevelandorchestra.com. SPOKEN WORD

Aaron Draplin Graphic designer, author and founder of Draplin Design Co., Aaron Draplin

Art Therapy Thursday Join Spaces and members of Art Therapy Studio for a community art therapy session tonight and on the first Thursday of each month. From 6 to 7:30 p.m., members of the public are invited to get inspired by the experimental art projects currently on view in Spaces’ galleries. Then create your own original artwork and connect with your community. A $5 admission fee covers the cost of supplies, and all materials are provided. Tonight’s session focuses on creative doodling; be creative, make some art and promote good health through mindfulness and stress relief. Registration is required by emailing themepps@spacesgallery. org, or by calling the Art Therapy Studio at 216-791-9303. The monthly sessions continue through December. (Josh Usmani) 2900 Detroit Ave., 216-621-2314, spacesgallery.org. ART

Divergent Explorations American Greetings’ gorgeous new world headquarters at Crocker Park includes a public art gallery, Gallery W, which regularly showcases work by local, national and international artists. Divergent Explorations: Works by 5 Contemporary Artists is just the fourth exhibition since the gallery opened last September. The exhibition features the work of five artists with deep ties to the Cleveland Institute of Art. The exhibition opens with a free, public reception from 5 to 7 tonight and remains on view through April 28. (Usmani) 1 American Blvd., Westlake, 216-252-7300, americangreetings.com. | clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

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GET OUT COMEDY

Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias Animated and gregarious comedian Gabriel Iglesias has made quite a name for himself since breaking into the standup scene in 1997. Known for coining the phrase, “I’m not fat, I’m fluffy,” the famous comic loves to poke fun at his weight. His standup is a mixture of personal stories and experiences that he brings to life through parodies and impressions. Iglesias has said that he doesn’t get controversial or political because he prefers telling stories that people can relate to. In addition to standup, Iglesias has lent his voice to several animated features and shows including The Book of Life, Planes, The Nut Job and Family Guy. He can also be seen in Magic Mike and the sequel Magic Mike XXL. Iglesias brings his Fluffy Mania World Tour to the State Theatre tonight at 8. Tickets are $35 to $145. (Kaitlin Siegel) 1519 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.

FRI

information. Enjoy mojitos, beer, wine and food, as well as live Afro Cuban music from the Neil Chastain Trio. The cover of CAN’s Spring 2017 issue features a watercolor flower by George Mauersberger, renowned local artist and former chair of Cleveland State University’s art department. The issue includes 15 bilingual pages

Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. The special Lenten menu includes the Big Fish Fry, a seasonal staple that features a generous portion of haddock covered in a fluffy blanket of beer batter and complemented by homemade coleslaw, house tartar sauce and old school-style mac and cheese. Last year, the event

2017 film series

FILM

03/03

THEATER

Brain Candy Live Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame and Michael Stevens of YouTube’s science-minded channel Vsauce have teamed up for the science education theatrical show they’ve dubbed Brain Candy Live. The guys bring more than three tons of “crazy toys” along with “incredible tools” and “mindblowing demonstrations” to the stage for a live show that critics call “a cross between TED Talks and the Blue Man Group.” The performance takes place at 8 tonight at the State Theatre. Tickets are $10 to $125. (Niesel) 1519 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.

FREE for Members

|

Non-Members $5.50

Bang! The Bert Berns Story Pink Floyd: The Wall The Punk Singer: Kathleen Hanna Tupac: Live at the House of Blues Sir Doug & the Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove A Hard Day’s Night

MAR 8 MAR 14 MAR 22 APR 26 MAY 17 MAY 25

ALL FILMS START AT 7 PM | ROCK HALL’S FOSTER THEATER ART

CAN Launch Party Each issue of CAN Journal, Northeast Ohio’s premiere visual arts quarterly, seems to get bigger and better. Be the first to pick up a copy of the latest CAN Journal during a spring issue launch party tonight at MOCA Cleveland from 6 to 8. The night includes free admission to MOCA’s current exhibitions and features a Cuban theme thanks to the Cleveland Foundation’s new Creative Fusion international resident artists; check out the new issue of CAN for more

26

a Catholic, let alone an Irish Catholic. In its fifth year running in Cleveland, Flanagan’s Wake transports the audience to a wake in Ireland where villagers tell tales and sing songs for their dearly departed Flanagan. Finding the humor in life and death, the wake acts as a dark backdrop to an otherwise hilarious show in which alcohol fuels the humorous reminiscing. A sort of tragic Tony ’n’ Tina’s Wedding, the interactive and improvised show engages the entire audience as the guests are treated as the friends and family of the deceased. The show starts at 8 tonight and plays again tomorrow night at 8 at Kennedy’s Theatre. Tickets are $26. (Patrick Stoops) 1501 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.

1100 Rock and Roll Boulevard, Cleveland, OH 44114 | rockhall.com | 216.781.ROCK

featuring the aforementioned Creative Fusion Cuban artists. Admission to the event is free. (Usmani) 11400 Euclid Ave., 216-421-8671, mocacleveland.org. FOOD

Fish Fry-Days Through the month of March and for the first few weeks of April, Prosperity Social Club hosts its fish fry, dubbed Fish Fry-Days, every

| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

received national attention when it was featured on TV chef Andrew Zimmern’s Delicious Destinations. New this year: Chef Ed Kubitz has added a lemony shrimp piccata pasta to the list of offerings. (Niesel) 1109 Starkweather Ave., 216-937-1938, prosperitysocialclub.com. THEATER

Flanagan’s Wake No one knows grief and mourning like

I Am Not Your Negro Hyper-aware of the extent to which James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript Remember This House remains relevant, veteran director Raoul Peck creates a compelling documentary with his latest film, I Am Not Your Negro. A personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three Civil Rights-era activists — Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. — Baldwin’s book, as well as the resulting film, feature his complex observations about racism. Dr. Philathia Bolton, an associate professor of English at the University of Akron whose research on 20thcentury African American literature, black women writers and race studies make her a Baldwin scholar, will deliver a pre-film introduction and post-film Q&A at the theater when the film screens tonight at 7. It all happens at the Nightlight Cinema in Akron. Tickets are $9. (Niesel) 30 North High Street, Akron, 330-252-5782, nightlightcinema.com. NIGHTLIFE

Mix: Vino Each month, the Cleveland Museum of Art hosts a new, themed installment of its Mix special event series. Although the theme changes each month, the events typically feature live music, art demonstrations, activities and dancing, with special drinks and food available. Tonight from 6 to 10 p.m., the museum invites guests to celebrate the millennia-old link between wine and art; you can take part in wine tastings in the atrium and wine-themed tours of the museum’s permanent collection. Music will be provided by Hot Djang, featuring gypsy jazz. Although admission to the museum’s permanent galleries is free, Mix is a ticketed special event. Admission is $10 in


advance, $15 at the door, and free for museum members. Guests must be at least 18 to attend. (Usmani) 11150 East Blvd., 216-421-7350, clevelandart.org. ART

Public Conscience through Graphics and Illustration At a time when our country’s social and political future is perhaps its most uncertain, the latest group exhibition in Heights Arts’ main gallery is perfectly timed to explore and express both hopes and anxieties. Public Conscience through Graphics and Illustration showcases local artists with a shared graphic influence and a mutual interest in contemporary socio-political issues. Public Conscience features work by emerging and established local artists (including, in the spirit of full disclosure, this writer). Co-curated by local artists Leslye Arian and David King, the exhibit opens at Heights Arts with a reception from 6 to 9 tonight and remains on view through Sunday, April 16. Admission is free. (Usmani) 2175 Lee Rd., Cleveland Hts., 216-371-3457, heightsarts.org. COMEDY

Pauly Shore A fixture on MTV in the ’80s, flamboyant comic Pauly Shore might be the man who popularized upspeak. His comedic style often borders on the obnoxious as he rapidly delivers lines that sound so unstructured, you gotta think he just makes the material up on the spot. Shore, who also once somehow wrangled a movie deal with Disney — a true mystery since he regularly uses obscenities on stage — takes a casual, stream-ofconsciousness approach to performing. Expect each show to be wildly different from the previous one. He takes the stage at 7:30 and 10 tonight and at 7 and 9:30 tomorrow night at the Improv. Tickets start at $22. (Niesel) 1148 Main Ave., 216-696-IMPROV, clevelandimprov.com. THEATER

Cirque du Soliel Inspired by James Cameron’s scifi flick Avatar, the latest Cirque du Soliel production, TORUK – The First Flight, aims to “transport you to the world of Pandora in a visually stunning live setting.” According to the press release, the show features “a riveting fusion of cutting-edge visuals, puppetry and stagecraft buoyed by a soaring cinematic score.” The live immersive experience serves as a “living ode” to the Na’vi’s symbiotic coexistence with nature and their belief in the basic interconnectedness

of all living things. Narrated by a Na’vi Storyteller, the performance centers on a mythical tale set thousands of years before the events depicted in Cameron’s film and before any humans ever set foot on Pandora. The show comprises 13 creators under the artistic guidance of Guy Laliberté (Guide) and JeanFrançois Bouchard (Creative Guide). Tonight’s show takes place at 7:30 at the Q, where performances continue through Sunday. Tickets start at $49. (Niesel) 1 Center Court, 216-420-2000, theqarena.com.

$

r SCENE10 fo

10.00HalOf FF the Marathon

NIGHTLIFE

Walk All Over Waterloo With thoughts of spring beginning to slowly manifest in our minds, the various small businesses of Collinwood’s Waterloo Arts District put their monthly Walk All Over Waterloo efforts into high gear. March’s event takes place today from 5 to 10 p.m. throughout the neighborhood — individual business hours may vary slightly — and includes several opening receptions for new exhibitions at various neighborhood galleries, such as the National Art Program exhibition at Waterloo Arts, Centrifugal at Praxis Fiber Workshop and Paul Sydorenko’s 366 Days of Skulls at the Maria Neil Art Project, among the many, many options. Admission is free. (Usmani) waterlooarts.org.

SAT

03/04

NU

PA A

JOIN

FILM

1984 Lately, the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque has screened some films that mirror the current social and political milieu, and their latest offering couldn’t be more apropos. 1984, an adaptation of George Orwell’s highly acclaimed novel, will screen at 9:35 tonight and at 6:30 tomorrow night. This dystopian film (which was released in 1984) features bold, surrealist visuals and a soundtrack composed by the Eurythmics. The film features the late John Hurt in the lead role and also stars Hollywood great Richard Burton, in what proved to be his last screen appearance. Tickets are $11 or $8 for members and patrons 25 and under. (Johnny Cook) 11610 Euclid Ave., 216-421-7450, cia.edu. SHOPPING

Fourth Anniversary Sale After years of actively participating in local shows and festivals, Clevelandbased ceramic artist Gina DeSantis shifted her business model to sell her

WED N ES D AY , MA R C H 8 AT

15012 DETROIT | LAKEWOOD

for the 2nd Official Release Party for

NU SKOOL IPA This new product from Southern Tier is an approachable, well balanced IPA with slight malt sweetness that’s brimming with tropical, fruity, spicy, piney and citrus character. Mike & Neil from Southern Tier will be on hand sampling NU SKOOL and answering your questions. Join the street team from 6-8 pm for fun and giveaways.

| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

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4530 COLORADO AVE., SHEFFIELD VILLAGE, OH

JOSEPH

AND THE AMAZING

TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT

GET OUT ceramics out of her studio in the Screw Factory (aka the Lake Erie Building), her online shop and several specialty shops in Northeast Ohio. Her ceramics have been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, and have previously been seen in Cleveland Magazine, Edible Cleveland, Lake Erie Living and the Uncommon Goods catalog. Help celebrate the studio’s fourth anniversary today with a special oneday only studio sale. From noon to 4 p.m., all ceramics will be 40 percent off. More information is available on her website. (Usmani) 13000 Athens Ave., Lakewood, 440-785-5409, ginadesantisceramics.com. BEER

LYRICS BY TIM RICE | MUSIC BY ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER

MARCH 3 - 19

FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS AT 7:30 PM AND SUNDAYS AT 3 PM TICKETS: $10-$18 | (440) 949-5200 OR WWW.METROPARKS.CC/THEATRE SPONSORED BY:

Beginner’s Beer Making Class Interested in making your own homebrews, but not sure how to get started? The Cleveland Brew Shop has got you covered. Today’s informal class begins at noon and will go over the basics necessary for making your own beer at home. The class also covers information about the brewing process and beer-making in general, so even if you don’t really want to start brewing, you can learn a lot about your beers. The event costs $15 and includes a beer tasting, and all participants receive 10 percent off all purchases. (Cook) 4142 Lorain Ave., 216-574-2271, clevelandbrewshop.com.

Li’l Bit takes us on a no-holds-barred trip back in time to her adolescence in 1960s Maryland and her complicated relationship with an older man. This Pulitzer Prize winner masterfully veers in and out of personal memory and deftly traverses comedy, drama, and farce. written by PAULA VOGEL | directed by LAURA KEPLEY

216.241.6000 clevelandplayhouse.com 28

| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

BEER

Winter Warmer Fest More than 50 breweries will be at Windows on the River today for the 11th annual Winter Warmer Fest, a fundraiser for the Ohio Craft Brewers Association. Blues musician Austin “Walkin’” Cane and local singersongwriter Chris Allen will perform, and food trucks Fired Up Taco Truck, Scott’s Fire and Ice, Streat Mobile Bistro, Sweet! Mobile Cupcakery, Slyman’s Tavern and Zydeco Bistro will be on hand. Tickets are $45 in advance and that includes a souvenir glass and 40 tickets for 2-ounce samples. VIP tickets are $55, and they include early admission. The fest runs from 2 to 6 p.m.; the early admission ticket allows entry at 1 p.m. Find details and buy your tickets on the website. (Niesel) 2000 Sycamore St., 216-696-4884, ohiocraftbeer.org.

SUN

03/05

SPOKEN WORD

Freaks Cleveland Cinemas’ Late Shift series, a program dedicated to the nostalgic cult and camp cinema that we love and cherish even though it’s certainly not Oscar-worthy material, has been a fixture at the local chain of theaters since 2006. The 2017 schedule continues tonight with Freaks, a horror film that dates all the way back to 1932. It screens at 9:30 and midnight tonight and at 7 tomorrow night at the Cedar Lee Theatre. Tickets are $6. (Niesel) 2163 Lee Rd., Cleveland Hts., 440-528-0355, clevelandcinemas.com.

Craft Beer & Conversation: Immigration/Refugees Having a beer has long been a great way to break the ice or get to know someone, and Bourbon Street Barrel Room wants that same feeling to extend to the community. Today from 4 to 7 p.m., the restaurant will offer a respectful space that encourages dialogue and conversation around issues that affect local communities. According to the website, you don’t “need to be well informed or an “expert” about any issues to attend, but you must be “willing to listen and share.” Today’s dialogue is going to focus on issues of immigration and refugees. Entry to the event is free. (Cook) 2393 Professor Ave., 216-298-4400, bourbonstreetbarrelroom.com.

ART

FILM

Free First Saturday Thanks to a generous gift from PNC, admission to MOCA Cleveland is free on the first Saturday of each month. Stop by from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today to view MOCA Cleveland’s new Winter/ Spring 2017 exhibitions, including Adam Pendleton’s largest solo museum show to date, Lisa Oppenheim’s first solo show in the United States, and

The Docks of New York One of the busiest silent film accompanists around, New England– based pianist Jeff Rapsis makes his Cleveland Museum of Art debut today as he provides the live musical accompaniment to a screening of the “exquisitely photographed, fog-enshrouded drama,” The Docks of New York. Film critic Leonard

FILM

MAR 4 – 26 | ALLEN THEATRE

a site-specific sound installation, Transport Empty, in MOCA Cleveland’s Stair A by artists Zarouhie Abdalian and Joseph Rosenzweig. The Winter/ Spring 2017 exhibitions remain on view through May 14. Like it says up top, today’s admission is free. (Usmani) 11400 Euclid Ave., 216-421-8671, mocacleveland.org.


Maltin called the 1928 flick, “a rival to Sunrise as the visual apogee of silent cinema.” As part of nationwide Reel Film Day, the museum will show a 35-mm print from the UCLA Film and Television Archive. The screening takes place at 1:30 p.m. today. Tickets are $15, or $12 for CMA members, seniors and students. (Niesel) 11150 East Blvd., 216-421-7350, clevelandart.org. MUSIC

Family Concert: The Magic Firebird An enchanted tree bears golden apples, a handsome prince pursues a beautiful princess and a magnificent firebird with magic feathers helps defeat the evil magician Kashcheï in The Magic Firebird. Today at 3 p.m. at Severance Hall, the Cleveland Orchestra performs the piece with a little help from the Enchantment Theater Company. Expect to see life-sized puppets, masks and magic. Tickets start at $15. (Niesel) 11001 Euclid Ave., 216-231-1111, clevelandorchestra.com. THEATER

Terry Fator Ten years ago, ventriloquist Terry Fator won Season 2 of the reality TV show America’s Got Talent. That victory launched a successful career, and Fator now holds down a residency in Vegas. Combining singing and ventriloquism, Fator gives his various puppets distinctive personalities, distinguishing the live show as a result. He performs tonight at 7:30 at Hard Rock Live. Tickets are $49.50 to $85. (Niesel) 10705 Northfield Rd., Northfield, 330-908-7771, hrrocksinonorthfieldpark.com. FESTIVAL

Psychic Fair & Mini-Expo Cleveland celebrity psychic Melinda Carver brings her Psychic Fair & Mini-Expo to the Yorktown Lanes and Party Center from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today. The event will feature beloved “local legends” such as William Morgan, Theresa Manjas and Carver. Additional local readers include Rev. Patricia Bohn, Barbe Saint John, Iris Martos, Darcy Angle, Carol Gallardo and Judy Conkel. Local small businesses and artists will be on hand as well. Admission is free. Tickets for psychic, medium, astrology and palmistry readings are $25 per reading. (Niesel) 6218 Pearl Rd., Parma Hts., yorktownlanes.com.

MON

03/06

FOOD

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

TUE

03/07

MARCH 24–26 HUNTINGTON CONVENTION CENTER OF CLEVELAND

3 DAYS ONLY!

FILM

Catfight Sandra Oh, Anne Heche and Alicia Silverstone star in Catfight, a campy flick about an artist (Heche) and wealthy housewife (Oh) who become bitter rivals after they engage in a brawl at a birthday party. The movie screens at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Capitol Theatre. Tickets are $9.75. (Niesel) 1390 West 65th St., 216-651-7295, clevelandcinemas.com.

LEARN TO LOVE THE HOME YOU’RE IN WITH TIPS FROM HILARY FARR, CO-HOST OF HGTV’S LOVE IT OR LIST IT ON SAT.

GET PRACTICAL DESIGN ADVICE FROM JEFF LEWIS, OF BRAVO’S FLIPPING OUT ON SAT. AND SUN. APPEARANCE SPONSORED BY:

MUSIC

Classical Revolution Cleveland For many years, classical music wasn’t intended for the masses. Classical Revolution Cleveland helps tear down that wall and once again bring great chamber music to the people. Showcasing a variety of performers in bars, cafes and the like, it’s actually not that different from how people used to listen to chamber music. The first Tuesday of every month, CRC brings its wide array of chamber music to Happy Dog. Performers like the Trepanning Trio, Anime Duo, students of Cleveland Institute of Music and even Cleveland Orchestra members grace the stage in these exciting concerts. Full of immensely talented performers, CRC re-instills the relevancy of this vibrant art form. Tonight’s free, all-ages performance starts at 8. (Stoops) 11625 Euclid Ave., 216-231-5400, happydogcleveland.com.

Find more events @clevescene.com t@clevelandscene

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HomeandRemodelingExpo.com | clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

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ART SUMMER LIGHT Northeast Ohio gets up close with still-life mastery of George Mauersberger By Josh Usmani WITH TWO SOLO EXHIBITIONS opening this weekend, evidence of the greatness of Cleveland-based artist George Mauersberger has never been more obvious. One of the region’s most talented still-life artists, Mauersberger’s depictions of everyday objects transcend realism. Mauersberger has a way of utilizing his materials to add personality and a life-like quality to his subjects. Mauersberger’s Modern Botanicals opens at the Bonfoey

5, with a reception from 1 to 3 p.m which includes a gallery talk by Mauersberger at 2 p.m. This retrospective remains on view through May 14. “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to exhibit George Mauersberger’s majestic watercolors,” says Marcia Hall, gallery director at the Bonfoey Gallery. “We have represented him for over 20 years and he continues to impress us with his mastery of both watercolor and

MODERN BOTANICALS Bonfoey Gallery, 1710 Euclid Ave., 216-621-0178, bonfoey.com GEORGE MAUERSBERGER: PASTEL DRAWINGS 1991-2016 Butler Institute of American Art , 524 Wick Ave., Youngstown, 330-743-1107, butlerart.com

Gallery in downtown Cleveland with a free, public reception from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 3, and remains on view through April 1. George Mauersberger: Pastel Drawings 1991-2016 opens at the Butler Institute for American Art in Youngstown on Sunday, March

pastel. This will be George’s third solo exhibition here at the Bonfoey Gallery.” After his last solo show at Bonfoey featured black-and-white imagery exclusively, Mauersberger felt inspired to return to color. Modern Botanicals features the

LAST YEAR’S KIDS COMIC CON AT LAKE ERIE INK brought nearly 100 talented young artists and writers to Cleveland Heights, from as far away as Toledo and western Pennsylvania. Following up on previous success, this year’s fifth annual Kids Comic Con is back and bigger than ever, with giveaways, door prizes, workshops led by comics artists and writers, and more. Sorry adults, Kids Comic Con is open to kids ages 8 to 18 only. However, adults are welcome if accompanied by a child, and teachers are welcome with a staff ID. “Our Kids Comic Con is a perfect example of how Lake Erie Ink combines art and text to encourage creative expression and support literacy,” says Lake Erie Ink executive director Amy Rosenbluth. “There are many different ways to tell a story, and we are here to help kids in Cleveland find the one that works best for them.” This year’s event includes a keynote address by Terri KIDS COMIC CON Lake Erie Ink, 2843 Washington Blvd., Cleveland Hts., 216-320-4757, lakeerieink.org

Libenson, cartoonist for the internationally syndicated comic strip The Pajama Diaries, as well as a visit from Gary Kaplan, cousin of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel, who will share stories of Superman’s creation in Cleveland. Guests artists and writers include Kate Atherton,

30

| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

artist’s new Flowerama series. Slightly surreal, Mauersberger’s compositions enhance the natural beauty of his vibrant subjects, accomplishing something beyond the possibilities of even the most expensive camera. With bold colors and compositions arranged almost like bouquets, these new works have a presence on the gallery walls that draws viewers in for a closer look. “The Flowerama series of paintings was inspired by summer light, as seen in Ohio and Florida, and by a desire to work with color again, since my last show at Bonfoey consisted mainly of drawings of a black leather motorcycle jacket,” Mauersberger says. “Many of the other paintings were inspired by botanical prints and illustrations, in particular the ones I was able to view from the Hunt Collection in Pittsburgh as a student at CarnegieMellon University.” In Youngstown, George Mauersberger: Pastel Drawings 19912016 is Mauersberger’s first major

Sequoia Bostick, Juan Jose Fernandez, Miguel and Michelle Hernandez, Terri Libenson, Angela Oster, Maryanne Rose Papke, Lee Smith, Marc Sumerak and more. Merchandise created by the participating artists, including comics, graphic novels and T-shirts, will also be for sale. Kids Comic Con takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday, March 4. Admission is $10 per child, but scholarship opportunities are available. Costumes are encouraged. Students can bring their own lunch or purchase one on-site. For more information or to register, contact Lake Erie Ink at 216-320-4757 or visit lakeerieink.org/register. — Usmani

career retrospective. The exhibition includes drawings from throughout his career, featuring an eclectic array of subject matter captured in a diverse variety of media, including charcoal, pastel, graphite and watercolor. Mauersberger has been the professor of drawing at Cleveland State University since 1987, including serving as art department chair for eight years. His own education began at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, before earning his BFA in drawing from Carnegie Melon University in Pittsburgh and his MFA in painting from Ohio University. His career in Cleveland began in 1986, when he won the top award for works on paper in the prestigious May Show at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

jusmani@clevescene.com t@clevelandscene


STAGE EBONY AND IVORY ON CRACK A family is white, then black, and then completely different in the surprising and hilarious Barbecue at Cleveland Public Theatre By Christine Howey EVEN THOUGH LAST SUNDAY’S Oscar ceremony displayed a record number of wins by black stars, along with a nod to black screenwriters (with Moonlight winning Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay), there are still diversity issues in Hollywood. And that’s why it’s good timing for Barbecue, now at Cleveland Public Theatre. This play, which starts out as a shameless and sometimes uncomfortably condescending immersion in the follies and addictions of lower class families, eventually turns into a commentary on race and the arts, movies in particular. And due to the surprising and witty structure of the play, this review will not reveal all the turns this tale actually takes. At the start, we see the white trash O’Mallery family getting ready for a party in a crummy park, with beer-swilling James T holding down a picnic bench “at the ass crack of dawn.” Eventually his family members straggle in as Marie and Adlean and Lillie Anne start setting up the picnic and some sad decorations strung on a chain link fence. It turns out they’re lying in wait for one more of their kin, Barbara. The familial relationships among these folks are much less important than the fact that they all share a fondness for alcohol, drugs and cussing a blue streak. And as messed up as the first four are, the one they’re waiting for is the real train wreck. They refer to volatile Barbara as “Zippity Boom” because that’s how she acts when she drinks and does drugs — she soars up high and then explodes. And apparently, it ain’t pretty. So they’ve come to this park for an intervention, to talk to Babs about her vile, addictive behavior and send her off to rehab in Alaska. Some of them are sure she will never agree to such a plan, since she loves her “Jack and crack” way too much. Just as we’re settling into watching this family curse at each other, with James T threatening to use a taser on one or all of them, there’s a blackout. And then there’s a … black-in (trademark pending). When the lights come up,

Photo by Steve Wagner

(From left) Tonya Broach, Ashley Aquilla, Pamela Morton

all the characters are in the exact position they were a few seconds ago, wearing the same clothes, but now they’re all black. And these five new actors continue the scene without missing a beat, adopting the identical character attitudes we’ve come to recognize. During the first act, that switcheroo happens a couple more times and you think, oh sure, I get it. Cute gimmick, white and black families are similar, or even identical, yadda-yadda. But no, you don’t get it. And that becomes clear at the end of the first act, when a stunning twist

Just from that faint sketch, you can see that Barbecue has a lot on its mind, dealing with a galaxy of issues including race, addiction, the entertainment industry, truth in media, co-opting and profiting from cultural stereotypes, and “titty cancer.” And in the hands of O’Hara, who is one of the most promising young black playwrights on the scene today, it is steadily amusing and constantly surprising. The 10-person cast works smoothly together under the surehanded direction of Beth Wood. Some of the characters have more material

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occurs that pretty much tops any first act closer I’ve ever seen. In the second act, playwright O’Hara switches from a cavalcade of operatic obscenities into an entirely new gear, as the two Barbaras confront each other in a way you probably won’t see coming. And that ultimately leads to the stage at the Oscar ceremonies.

to work with than others, such as Ray McNiece playing white James T. He opens the play with a profane monolog that nicely sets the stage for what’s to come. And the whiskeyswilling Maries, both black and white versions, are well-crafted by Ashley Aquilla and Sally Groth respectively. It isn’t until the second act that we really see the Barbaras, as they face

off. Jill Levin as the white Barbara looks extremely fierce at the end of the first act, but we never see her actually go “Zippity Boom,” and that’s a disappointment. She is somewhat subdued in the second act as she tries to figure out black Barbara, played by Katrice Monee Headd. A fine actor, Headd does a respectable job with her out-of-the-box character, but she doesn’t take enough chances with a role that could be far more hilarious and disturbing. Ultimately, Barbecue is a satire that wants to grill many over its flames. The play seems to be inspired, in part, by the literary scandal involving James Frey and his book A Million Little Pieces, which was a “memoir” that turned out to be fictional. Barbecue is a bold, risktaking venture, and hooray for that! And even with an ending that feels too pat and self-congratulatory, this is a show that will keep you laughing, intellectually involved (eventually), shocked and guessing.

scene@clevescene.com t@christinehowey | clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

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| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017


MOVIES BLADES OF GLORY Hugh Jackman plays Wolverine for one last time in the somber Logan By Jeff Niesel BASED ON THE MARVEL COMICS series Old Man Logan, Logan, the latest film in the X-Men series which opens this Friday, begins in media res when thugs carjack Logan’s limo. As the guys attempt to change a flat tire, Logan (Hugh Jackman) awakens in the back seat and confronts them. While Logan might be reduced to wearing a shabby suit as a driver for hire, he still possesses a sardonic sense of humor. “You’re going to scratch the chrome lug nuts,” he tells the men. They don’t think he’s funny and try to take him down, popping a cap in his chest and hitting him upside the head with a crowbar. Though not as fierce as his former self, Logan still has regenerative powers and he still has a sharp set of claws too. When the blades come out, the guys don’t stand a chance. A bit banged up, Logan slouches back in his limo and returns to the remote desert hideaway occupied by Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Caliban (Stephen Merchant). There, Caliban struggles to take care of Charles, who suffers from migraines

that set off earthquake-like tremors. The film’s dark opening scene sets the tone for this somber movie, a striking meditation on what happens when superheroes get old and approach their inevitable deaths. Logan’s plan to buy a boat so that

he and Charles can disappear hits a snag when a woman (Elizabeth Rodriquez) asks for his help with Laura (Dafne Keen), a mutant who, like Logan, possesses a set of sharp blades and unbelievably quick reflexes. And like Logan, she’s

got one helluva temper too. Logan agrees to transport her to South Dakota where she plans to meet a group of refugee mutants who’ve escaped from the same lab where she was created. Unprepared to take on dad-like duties, Logan struggles to keep the child’s killer tendencies in check. The two must work together to combat Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook), a former elite member of the Hellfire Club who leads the Reavers, a militant group of genetically modified mutant cyborgs. Intended to be Jackman’s final portrayal of the character after having played the role for 17 years, the ultra-violent film sends Jackman out on a high note. Director James Mangold (Walk the Line, The Wolverine), who co-wrote the screenplay with assistance from Scott Frank and Michael Green, provides Jackman with the opportunity to show off his acting chops and develop the character fully and completely.

jniesel@clevescene.com t@jniesel

SPOTLIGHT: SHORT. SWEET. FILM FEST IN 2012, LOCAL FILM AFICIONADO Michael Suglio successfully launched his Short. Sweet. Film Fest at Ohio City’s Market Garden Brewery. Over the years, the festival has grown bigger and bigger, so Suglio moved it to the Alex Theater at the Metropolitan at the 9, where it’s set to return this weekend. From Friday through Sunday, the fi fth annual festival will showcase some 96 films. In addition, musical acts will perform after the fi lms on Friday and Saturday nights and on Sunday afternoon. The festival opens with a Local Filmmaker’s Night that takes place from 7 to 10:30 p.m. on Friday. The opening film, Draw Hard, documents the life and times of John G, the local graphic artist who designs The Lake Erie

Monster comic series. “It’s a great movie,” says Suglio, who sifted through more than 200 submissions before picking the final movies to screen. “I knew nothing about John G before I watched the movie, but the film is really cool.” Friday night will also include a screening of the Western fl ick A Man Willing to Kill and the Robert Banks’ experimental short, Make America Great Again … and again … and again. “It’s really out there and really different from his other films,” says Suglio. “I’m glad to have him represented in the festival — he’s one of Cleveland’s best filmmakers.” The doors open at 11 a.m. on Saturday, and films run from noon to 9:30 p.m. Live music and a filmmaker’s networking/social event

follows. One Saturday highlight: Madaran, a film about an Iranian mother forced to make a decision about the fate of her son’s killer. “I thought it was shot in Iran, but it’s shot in the U.S. and filmed in the U.S.,” says Suglio when asked about the film. “It didn’t get nominated for an Oscar, but it was on the short list. It’s the most awarded and recognized fi lm I’ve ever shown. The film is fantastic.” Doors open again at 11 a.m. on Sunday, and films run from noon to 8 p.m. A live band will perform during a short intermission at 4 p.m., and several international films will screen. Suglio again worked with the Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia in Japan. “They sent me a ton of great films, and they’re phenomenal,” he says of the international films the

organization sent his way. The evening concludes with showings of the award winners. Musical acts such as Christopher Black, Nate Jones and Trihearn will perform on Friday, Saturday and Sunday respectively. “The festival is very consistent,” says Suglio. “I know what I’m doing, and attendance is reliable at this point too. The 9 has been great. We’re trying to bring to light upand-coming artists and films that engage and capture that independent passion for making films. I feel like the films embody that whole mindset.” All patrons can come and go throughout the festival as long as they keep their wristbands on. Tickets range from $20 for a single day pass to $40 for a threeday pass. — Niesel | clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

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| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017


EAT

Photo by Emanuel Wallace

DELICIOUS DELICIOUS A pared-down menu of street food-inspired dishes sets Thai Thai apart in a crowded landscape By Douglas Trattner IT CAN BE A CHALLENGE TO stand out in the very crowded ethnic restaurant market of Lakewood, let alone Cleveland. When it comes to Thai food alone there are three separate options within a single half-mile stretch of Madison Avenue. Open just under a year, Thai Thai has indeed managed not only to stand out but rise like cream to the top of the takeout menu pile for folks tired of begging owners to make their food “Thai spicy.” Thai Thai offers the perfect illustration of how less is more: less in terms of the space, less in terms of the design, and less in terms of the menu. Like a ’60s-era cafe racer, this nimble eatery is stripped down to its bare essentials. That’s precisely what happens when you hand the keys over to the next generation and let them do their thing. Kiwi and brother Santi Wongpeng grew up in a restaurant family. Their parents opened and operated the original Thai Hut down the street (now run by different owners) before moving on to the Asian Grille, which they operated for about eight years until the neighborhood no longer provided them with the level of business required to sustain it. At the urging of the kids, the family came out of retirement. “This restaurant was actually my idea,” Kiwi says. “Everybody here does

Thai food for Americans. That’s not Thai food to me. I said, ‘Why don’t we do something new, something more authentic, something like street food.’” Thai Thai is the kind of joint you’ll drive right by, a nondescript storefront in a sea of nondescript storefronts. There are just 15 seats in the diminutive space, and a handful of those are simply stools at a wall-facing counter. In place of the customary pages-long laminated menu filled with dozens of dishes that everybody ignores in favor of pad Thai, this spot hands over a tidy one-sheet affixed to a clipboard. It’s not just the trimmed-down quantity of offerings that stands out; it’s the nature of those dishes. Devised for the Instagram generation, Thai Thai offers guests

foods they served and we kind of mixed them together.” I’ve never been to Chiang Mai, but thanks to the Wongpengs I’ve tasted that city’s signature sausage, sold at countless food stalls and markets throughout the city. The chubby housemade links ($5.50) are juicy and pungent, with floral kicks of lemongrass. Likewise, gai yang, Thai-style grilled chicken, is as ubiquitous a dish as they come on the streets of Bangkok. At Thai Thai, marinated chicken ($5) is skewered, grilled to order, and served charred and juicy. Pair that dish with some sticky rice ($5) and som tum ($7.95) and you’re halfway to earning your Thai citizenship. Som tum, for the uninitiated, is a deceivingly spicy salad composed of shredded green

THAI THAI 13735 MADISON AVE.. LAKEWOOD 216-961-9655

a greatest hits-style mix of dishes that are both foreign and familiar, but always memorable. Items are annotated by Kiwi with emoji-era clips like “Try me!” and “Very tasty!” and “Most popular street dish!” “When we were making the menu, I kind of thought back to my memories of when I was young and living in Thailand,” Kiwi explains. “I thought about all the different street

papaya, carrots, green beans and bean sprouts in a tart and blindingly bright citrus dressing. Thai Thai isn’t the only place in town to serve pad krapow ($9.95), sometimes listed on menus as Holy Basil, but it is one of very few that tops the steamed jasmine rice with a runny fried egg, as is customary on the streets of Thailand. The habitforming minced-meat dish has that

textbook layering of sweet, tart and salty, and the standard-issue heat level is “Thai spicy” without the need to sound like a goober when ordering. For those who prefer AARP-level heat, the gentle charms of the coconutscented massaman curry ($10.95) is like krapow with training wheels. For those of us, on the other hand, who have no ceiling when it comes to heat, Thai Thai supplies the expected (but annoyingly rare around here) condiment caddy. One, known here simply as “Best,” is a bewitching brew of chiles and roasted garlic in a sweet-tart vinegar base. That sauce is engineered to pair with Thai Thai’s excellent noodle soups, like the roasted duck ($9.95), a deep, savory broth filled with duck meat, thin noodles and fresh herbs, and the seafood noodle soup ($10.95), which appears hot pink from the addition of homemade fermented bean paste. Another clue that this is not your grandparent’s Thai restaurant: Nearly half of the menu is designated as either V or VG. “We keep our options open because we know that 40 percent of our customers are vegetarian or vegan,” says Kiwi. I never did end up trying the pad Thai, but I hear it’s excellent.

dtrattner@clevescene.com t@dougtrattner

| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

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A FAMILIAR FACE Bar Cento welcomes Thomas Schrenk as 13603 MADISON AVE.

its new executive chef By Rachel Hunt

LAKEWOOD

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| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

THOMAS SCHRENK HAS RESERVED a sunny booth at the front of the restaurant for our lunchtime meeting. It’s one of the best seats in the house to admire the bustling Market District outside, a sight Schrenk missed after three years at the Glenmoor Country Club in Canton. Set on returning to the innovative restaurant scene closer to home, the chef has landed at Bar Cento (1948 West 25th St., 216-2741010, barcento.com). Schrenk’s name should be familiar to fine-dining fans; he opened Fire Food & Drink with chef-owner Doug Katz, spent time at Lopez with Eric Williams, and served as sous chef and later chef de cuisine at Table 45. “You really have to love what you’re doing and be passionate about it for your full potential to come out,” the chef notes. “That’s the challenge: finding something that’s going to fit your style and your food, and Bar Cento is a perfect fit for me.” Even with such an impressive resume, Schrenk has some big shoes to fill. Bar Cento has employed a veritable who’s who of top chefs since opening in 2007, including Jonathan Sawyer, Michael Nowak, Adam Lambert, Andrew Bower and Kevin Auger, whose menus the chef will be updating over the next month. “This is actually the first time in Bar Cento’s history that the executive chef wasn’t promoted from within,” Schrenk says proudly. “It makes it unique to me.” The first order of business was to populate the recently established brunch menu with entrees that would set Bar Cento apart from the competition. The chef used his background to design some items

in the modern Italian tradition, including focaccia doughnuts with chocolate ricotta spread, garnished with whipped cream and strawberries. The Belgian waffle with chocolate creme, whipped cream, berries and mint plays off the Belgian influence of sister establishment Bier Markt. The chef’s Parmesan-based gnocchi with candied bacon lardons, garlic, shallots and a fried egg is another interesting fusion, which Schrenk hopes to bring to the dinner menu. Bar Cento’s eight pastas are made in house, a true labor of love. “It takes a long time to make pastas by hand, but you can tell the difference; it’s one of our staples. Another staple is our charcuterie program. I think Bar Cento has the most extensive one on the street for sure. All of our sausages, pates, everything is made here in house.” Other classics, such as the awardwinning pizzas, will stay, with some additions. Currently, a pork and veal Bolognese pizza is running for dinner, courtesy of Schrenk’s personal craving. An updated seasonal spring/ summer menu will soon be revealed. “Nothing is more gratifying than having an idea and a couple of months later, hundreds of people are eating it,” says the chef. “Making the menus is my favorite part about being a chef, using them as an expression of self. It’s extremely gratifying when the process is over and you see people enjoying. That’s what I’m most excited about: putting my own personal stamp on the property.”

scene@clevescene.com t@clevelandscene


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By Douglas Trattner THE TRANSFORMATION FROM Mad Greek to Barrio Tacos (2466 Fairmount Blvd., 216-862-3498) is now complete at the top of Cedar Hill in Cleveland Heights. The local restaurant group purchased the property last summer and has been hard at work transforming the space into a restaurant that better fits with the company’s spirited ethos. That process is now done and Barrio opened its doors on Tuesday. “We’ve been looking to go to the east side and just haven’t found the right spot,” says owner Sean Fairbairn. “We’ve looked in Coventry and Lee Road and we feel like the CedarFairmount area is a great area.” The 4,200-square-foot space was completely gutted, walls were removed and floors have been raised to create an open and lively barroom space that is a complete 180-degree change from its predecessor. Gone are the small nooks, chopped up spaces and limited sight lines. The kitchen also received new equipment. A large central bar will seat 25 guests. The total occupancy is 160, with another 60 coming online when they launch patio service later this spring. The ground-level area just inside the two garage doors will be utilized strictly for casual lounge service at high-tops. Every square inch of the interior is hand-painted with Barrio’s now-signature motif. When it comes to the food and drink, diners can expect the same roster of craft drafts (32 taps), margaritas, signature cocktails, chips, salsa, queso, guacamole and buildyour-own tacos. For those keeping track, this brings Barrio Tacos up to four locations, 800 seats, and 300 employees in a span of five years.

BAKERSFIELD TACOS, TEQUILA, WHISKEY BACK ON TRACK FOR SPRING OPENING IN OHIO CITY Speaking of tacos … It’s been two and a half years since we broke the news that Bakersfield Tacos, Tequila, Whiskey, a small but growing Cincinnati-based restaurant group, was preparing to take over the old Grind spot (2058 West 25th St.) at the corner of West 25th and Keene Court, just a block south of Lorain. We can now report that the festive Latinthemed eatery is just weeks away from opening. The Bakersfield concept launched in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood in 2012. Locations quickly followed in Indianapolis, Columbus, Charlotte, Nashville and Pittsburgh. Ohio City will make No. 7. The name is a tribute to the Bakersfield Sound, a country music genre that originated in Bakersfield, California, in the 1950s and ’60s. That music — as well as rock ’n’ roll — is served up alongside Mexican street foods like tacos, tortas and tostadas. The menu is intentionally concise, says owner Joe Lanni, because of the company’s dedication to quality. “It’s not a big menu so we can really focus on doing things the right way,” says Lanni. That includes hand-pressing limes and lemons for margaritas, and even crafting the corn tortillas at each location. “It’s a little unusual and it’s definitely an extra step that a lot of places don’t take because tortillas are so widely available. But when you taste our product, you see why we take the extra time.” Of course, that food will be washed down by plenty of cold beer, tangy margaritas and craft cocktails built from barrel-aged spirits, including


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| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

Ushabu in Tremont is now serving lunch. “Lunch will be a brighter, livelier atmosphere,” says GM Michael Flaherty. “The idea is to have almost a completely different restaurant by day and night.” The lunch menu will consist of donburi rice bowls and udon noodle bowls, both available in various iterations, and meal-in-a-box bento options. Examples include gyudon, Wagyu beef with ramen egg, onions, donburi sauce and rice; oyakodon, fried chicken with scrambled eggs, raw yolk, scallions, fermented napa cabbage and rice; tsukimi udon, 63-degree eggs, fermented cabbage, udon and dashi; kitsune udon, twice-fried tofu with scallions, udon and kombu; and the ginger-cured salmon bento with wakame seaweed, cucumber salad, miso soup and rice. Prices are between $10 and $14. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Shabu-shabu will not be available for lunch unless requested 24 hours in advance. Ushabu’s new executive chef Matt Spinner, formerly of Society Lounge and Press Wine Bar, will be steering the small-plate menu in exciting new directions, adds Flaherty. “We’ll be shifting to more of a regional Japanese focus for the menus moving forward, with the next menu change being the cuisine of Osaka,” he says. Diners will begin seeing those changes by early March. Also on the near horizon is the introduction of a liquor license, which should be in place within the next few weeks. Once a month, likely the first Friday, Ushabu will host “Izakaya Nights,” serving food until 3 or 4 in the morning. We’ll keep you posted on when these will kick off.

dtrattner@clevescene.com t@dougtrattner


clevelandrestaurantweek.com

| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

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You know what makes Cleveland great...here’s your chance to tell us! Nominate your favorite hole in the wall bar, the bartender that knows how to make a perfect Moscow Mule, the best place to get one-of-a-kind Cleveland gifts and much more. Nominations will be accepted through March 14 — the top three in each category will move on to the Finals to be named SCENE’s Best of Cleveland 2017.

Nominate Your favorites by MARCH 14th ( WINNERS ANNOUNCED APRIL 26TH )

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| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017


MUSIC

AN ORGANIC APPROACH Singer-songwriters Diana Chittester and Royal Wood talk about their respective crafts By Jeff Niesel A FEW YEARS AGO, SINGERsongwriter Diana Chittester moved to Cleveland from Pittsburgh, and started playing open mic nights at places like the now-closed Winchester. She released her first EP in 2008 and followed that with 2012’s In This Skin, an album which features Cleveland blues musicians. She continues to play the local circuit and is currently at work on a new album. Now, Chittester has teamed up with Toronto-based singersongwriter Royal Wood for a coheadlining tour that includes a few dates in the States and a few north of the border. In separate phone interviews, the two talk about their respective approaches to singing and songwriting. Talk about how the idea for the tour first came about? Chittester: There are music conferences that my agent Jessica and I attend. I showcased at one along with Royal Wood. While we were there at the Ohio Artists Presenters Network, we connected really well. We realized we had enough similarities but also enough differences to really complement each other. Royal was looking to come to the U.S. to do a tour, and I was looking to go to Canada to branch out a little bit. It seemed like a good match for us to team up and

start conquering that border. Wood: It was something my team helped put together. They liked the idea of that bill. To be honest, I don’t remember which side made the pitch first, but once they did, I checked out her music and definitely approved. I’m excited about the tour. What are some of the similarities and differences in your music? Chittester: A big thing we both do when performing solo on stage is create the show entirely on your own. A lot of storytelling helps to engage an audience. That’s something we both do. Royal is good at engaging the audience and sometimes having them sing along, and I will walk out to the audience and sit there while I perform. Even if it’s just us on stage, and we’re in a big theater setting, you can feel like it’s one-on-one. In terms of the differences that complement each other, I bring an energy to the show. I’m a little more animated with a rock edge and my guitar does a lot. Royal is a multi-instrumentalist and will play piano or ukulele or guitar. He plays whatever he thinks is best for the song. His melodies really get stuck in your head. Wood: I think we come to music from the same side of things. We’re organic and real. It’s not computer tracks. We’re lovers of music. It’s

not the pop world. For that, it’s the perfect bill. I jump around from piano to guitar to ukulele. It’s part of what the performance is. I tend to play most of the instruments on my album, so when I go out on tour, that’s what I tend to do. Talk about what first drew you to singing and songwriting. Chittester: I started playing guitar at 14, and my dad taught me chords. He told me to make up my own songs to learn the chord changes. When I was in high school, I started writing and performing for friends. It’s the time I made myself sit down and think through the emotions I was feeling and things I had witnessed or experienced. It’s a moment that starts with just me. Now at this stage, sharing the stories and being able to present the songs, there are so many people who feel that connection. It’s transformed into something personal that makes me connect with other people. That’s the drive that keeps me going. Wood: I was one of those kids who followed his bliss. I had friends who picked up a hockey stick and others who were good at math. I started playing when I was 4. There was a piano in the house, and I loved it. My parents bought a few instruments. There was a guitar and a banjo and a harmonica. My dad loved music so much, and it’s

always what I wanted to do. Do you remember the first song you ever wrote? Chittester: There was a first song called “Angel,” but there was one called “I Can Do It Again.” It was a “hit” song on the talent show at my high school. That’s my little claim to fame in the town in Pennsylvania where I was living at the time. Wood: I do. It was horrible. I was in grade five. I performed it with my three best friends. I played piano and sang and they just stood there. The first lyrics that lead into it was “it wasn’t easy when you broke my heart and walked right out the door/ please come back to me.” For a kid in grade five, I wondered what he was thinking about it. What do you consider as your key influences? Chittester: Ani DiFranco is one. She not only transformed my guitar playing but taught me to transform my voice. She talked about whatever she experienced. That could be any experience. She just put it out there. She helped me find that in myself. Lindsey Buckingham is the second influence. He’s a brilliant guitar player. The precision he plays with shaped the things I learned from Ani and took them to the next level. I had some bad habits and he developed my guitar playing. | clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

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MUSIC Wood: I was listening to Dylan and Leonard Cohen and Cat Stevens and Billy Joel and all these amazing ’60s and ’70s singer-songwriters when my friends were listening to New Kids on the Block. I had such passion for lyrics and a song and a story. Thinking back on it, it makes sense but it was probably bizarre at the time. You plan to play some new songs at the show. Talk about those. Chittester: I finally have a new album in the works. I am going to record when we get back from the tour. I’ve been investing in recording gear to do it on my own. The new music reflects that decision. I have a song called “Freedom,” which was written on ukulele. I wrote it after being at this friend’s party and hearing people complain about their lives. I wrote this song about breaking free from the path we have to take in life and pursuing the path that makes you happy. There’s a followup song called “On My Own.” I pursued my dream and am happy with my decisions, but there have been hard things along the way that made me question the decision to pursue passion over job security. The song deals with the darker side of that. I’m stepping back from the entertainment end. Some of the past songs just showed how well I

this studio. I had a bunch of songs written. We did a song a day for that time. We planned another two weeks and I came back to L.A. and we did the same thing. We didn’t work with an A&R guy looking for a new single. It felt like it did when I was making music when I was a kid. It felt amazing. It was just me being myself. I plan to take that approach next time too. I’ve been working in the U.K. and New York and also back in L.A. It’s the same approach. I’m just recording it from morning to night. I think that just feels honest and good to me. What are the challenges of trying to get people to come out to hear live music in this day and age? Chittester: For our Stocker Arts show we just played, there was an ad on NPR. My friends would hear me on NPR, and they would follow it up with a question about when I was playing. It didn’t seem to click to come to the show. It is a big challenge. People in the arts are dealing with this because something happened with my generation. We have a good older crowd that will come to shows and buy CDs. We have a hard time getting younger people there. We use social media and send out personal text messages. Word of mouth is what helps us. We work to stay as engaged with anyone who comes out. I don’t like the word “fan” when I talk about my audience. I think of them as friends and try to remember them if I see

DIANA CHITTESTER AND ROYAL WOOD 7:30 P.M. THURSDAY, MARCH 2, MUSIC BOX SUPPER CLUB, 1148 MAIN ST., 216-242-1250. TICKETS: $10 ADV, $12 DOS, MUSICBOXCLE.COM

could play the guitar. This album shows there are other emotions I go through. The new song “Paradox” is a prime example of that. It’s simple and will leave your heart split in half if I execute it properly. Wood: I tend to try to play as many as I can from the latest offering. Those are the songs that I get most excited about too. I plan to try out some new songs for the record I’m recording right now, which won’t come out until next year. [Last year’s] Ghost Light is the most organic and genuine throwback record I’ve made. I didn’t intend to make a record. I was in L.A. and was doing some songwriting and production for other people and I had some time during my week off and went into

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| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

them again, so there’s something more personal at work. I think they call that grassroots. Wood: The challenge has always been there and it’s going to remain. It’s a free commodity now. It’s not even a commodity. It’s just free. To get someone to a show, they have to discover you on YouTube and college radio, and licenses for TV and film help. But it’s back to the days of building the audience through your performance. I love taking the show on the road, and getting to travel is amazing. You only have a song or two to win the audience over, and I like that challenge.

jniesel@clevescene.com t@jniesel


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

| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

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MUSIC

STRAIGHT OUTTA SCRANTON The Menzingers deliver their most mature album to date By Jeff Niesel THE POP-PUNK BAND THE Menzingers formed in Scranton just over 10 years ago with modest aspirations. So when the band had the opportunity to sign a deal with Epitaph, a SoCal punk label that has been home to iconic acts such as Rancid and Bad Religion, the guys jumped at the chance. “Epitaph was our dream label to sign to,” explains singer-guitarist Tom May in a recent phone interview. “A lot of the bands we grew up listening to — Rancid and Offspring — were on Epitaph. For some of us, it was the first time we were on a plane when they flew us out to California to talk.” With that resulting record, 2012’s On the Impossible Past, the band established itself as a player in the pop-punk world. Produced by Will Yip (Title Fight, Balance & Composure, Pianos Become the Teeth), the Menzingers’ latest effort, After the Party, suggests another chapter in the band’s history and shows the extent to which the group has matured. May & Co. adroitly mix pop and punk on tunes such as the punchy album opener “Tellin’ Lies,” a song that features just the right mix of snotty vocals and snarling guitars. The tunes document a coming of age as band members

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write affectionately about their 20s from the perspective of someone who has matured. The album’s 13 songs reflect a variety of influences too as the songs contain the kind of urgency that typified the punk rock of the ’80s. “We all listen to different music,” says May. “We listen to electronic music, and Greg is a big fan of Bruce Springsteen. Some of the pop things come from that. And there’s the huge influence of the Clash and Green Day, which are some of the poppier punk bands who write catchy songs. One of us had said that the album is like a love letter to our 20s. We spent our 20s in this band living out of a van and playing shows, and it’s been a real

Working out of a vintage studio that he’s updated, Yip helped hone the band’s songs and contributed to making the album into the band’s most palatable effort to date. “He is the most focused and capable person I’ve ever worked with,” May says of Yip. “They’ll write about him some day. He brought things out of us that we didn’t know were there. He could articulate our thoughts in a way we would never be able to do. His studio is an unassuming place underneath an awesome restaurant. You would never know it’s there. We used Billy Joel’s old piano and Sheryl Crow’s acoustic guitar on every single song. It’s an ambient-ly lit place that was great. It’s very cool.”

THE MENZINGERS, JEFF ROSENSTOCK, ROZWELL KID 7 P.M. WEDNESDAY, MARCH 1, HOUSE OF BLUES, 308 EUCLID AVE., 216-523-2583. TICKETS: $20, HOUSEOFBLUES.COM

whirlwind. It’s like one long house party. It’s not going to stop, but we’re in a different place in our lives, so we can live through and understand the 20s. Some of it is tongue in cheek and hyperbolic about the crazy shit we got into. But we’re at an interesting point in our lives where we’ve gotten married and had kids.”

| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

With the mid-tempo “Midwestern States,” the band sings fondly about crashing at a friend’s place in Chicago and identifies with the heartland mentality. “Greg wrote that song,” May says. “I can speak to how much time we spent in the Midwest and how much it feels like Scranton. Scranton has

things that make it an East Coast city but the fleeing industry and changing economy are more like a Midwestern city. It’s sad or weary and we would see that when we played Flint or Lansing. A whole mess of people from the Midwest have been close friends. We relate to that romantic notion of being stuck in the middle and it seems like its own world that spawns those kinds of relationships. The Midwest is awesome.” Given that the songs on After the Party come off as refined and wellwritten, what’s it like for the band to go back and play its more raucous tunes from the past? “It’s exciting,” says May. “The new songs are more challenging than the songs from the past. They’re new and fresh and we’re looking forward to that. When people come to see us, they want to hear all the music, and I get it. It can be daunting. But this time, we paid more attention to our vocal registers, so some of the new songs are actually easier to sing than the old songs.” Yes, getting older does have its advantages.

jniesel@clevescene.com t@jniesel


| clevescene.com m | March 1 - 7, 2017

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MUSIC HER WAY IS THE HIGHWAY Life on the road inspired Nikki Lane’s latest album By Jeff Niesel BORN IN SOUTH CAROLINA, alt-country singer-songwriter Nikki Lane grew up listening to a wide range of music. Because her parents were divorced, she lived in what she calls “separate worlds.” “I grew up in a town outside of Greenville,” she says in a recent phone interview from her Nashville home. Because her parents were separated, she spent time with both of them and absorbed their disparate tastes in music. “My mom listened to Motown and I did a lot of shagging, swing dancing, but not the dirty kind,” she says. “My dad was a Datsun 280z-driving dude. He would pop in ’90s country cassettes. My grandfather was a big fan of mountain and dulcimer music. My range of taste has always been all over the place. My best friend only listened to Alabama and Marshall Tucker Band and Allman Bros. As I grew up, MTV was my babysitter and my nanny through middle school.” She moved to California thinking that she would be an A&R rep for a major label and sign the next big rock or pop act. “I was born in a decade when all the girls in my elementary school wanted to be marine biologists — things come in trends,” she says. “But I would watch That Thing You Do or Almost Famous and my takeaway was that I would be the cool girl who got to participate [and sign bands]. It turned out to be the complete opposite.” Instead of wining and dining up-and-coming bands, she started designing shoes. For a few years after that, she tried her hand at a mix of things, including high-end retail. While in California, she also started writing snippets of songs while driving and would hum out melodies. She recorded them on cassettes. “I got a four-track,” she recalls. “I worked pretty hard but I would come home and start writing songs with a kid who worked at the coffee shop below my apartment. I was trying to emote something. Back then, I was writing songs with less strong melodies that floated on. I would get a little drunk and write songs about characters I had made up. It’s

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totally different than when I started focusing on songwriting and started writing about myself.” Lane had written all of her first record, which never came out, by herself, but her manager encouraged her to take some pressure off herself and do some co-writing. The resulting album, 2011’s Walk of Shame, established Lane as an alt-country star in the making. Lane raised eyebrows with 2014’s All or Nothin’, a terrific collection of twangy tunes produced by Black Keys’ singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach, whom she met at a flea market. The album made several “Best of” lists when it came out. New West Records even released a 19-track deluxe version of the record, which includes the previously unreleased “Can’t Get Enough.” “I didn’t consciously know who the Black Keys were,” she admits when asked about the Auerbach connection, adding that she sold him the leather jacket off her back. “I was deep in California ’60s country music. I didn’t know who he was, but I realized he

Stranger,” could pass as an Old 97s tune. Lane describes it as song about “getting married and getting divorced.” It comes off as the kind of song you’d stereotypically expect to hear from a

NIKKI LANE, BRENT COBB, JONATHAN TYLER 8 P.M. TUESDAY, MARCH 7, BEACHLAND BALLROOM, 15711 WATERLOO RD., 216-383-1124. TICKETS: $15-$45, BEACHLANDBALLROOM.COM

did have a real job.” The two struck up a friendship and did some co-writing on All or Nothin’. A song like “Love’s on Fire” benefits from a sparse intro that leads into a beautiful duet. Another highlight, the rowdy “Sleep with a

| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

guy rather than a woman. The deluxe version of the album features the ballad “Can’t Get Enough.” Her latest effort, Highway Queen, picks up where All or Nothin’ leaves off. “The album isn’t a concept album,

but it started as a character who could survive all this touring,” she says of Highway Queen. “I also thought of it as a truck that I thought Ford or Dodge could make for me and that I could drive around all the time. I worked that idea up and the songs became little moments that triggered me to sit down and bang something out. They show the timeline of what’s been happening in my life. The road is all over the songs. It was just unavoidable.”

jniesel@clevescene.com t@jniesel


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LIVEWIRE WED

all the live music you should see this week

03/01

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears return to the Grog Shop. See: Thursday.

10 X 3 Singer Songwriter Showcase: Hosted by Brent Kirby (in the Wine Bar): 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge. Center in Exile/Birddog Cats/Dave Smeltz: 9 p.m., $5. Grog Shop. Hatchling/Ultas: 7 p.m., $10. Bop Stop. David Higgins/Good Morning Valentine/Mike Uva: 8:30 p.m., $8. Beachland Tavern. Illenium/Said the Sky: 8 p.m., $20 ADV, $30 DOS. The Agora Theatre. The Menzingers/Jeff Rosenstock/ Rozwell Kid: 7 p.m., $20. House of Blues.

THU

03/02

Baby Dee/Miss Macy & the Low Pay Daddys/Leonard Baum (in the Locker Room): While not a household name, transgender singer-pianist Baby Dee is a true Cleveland treasure. Born and raised in Old Brooklyn, he started out as a street performer and moved to New York City where, after a stint as a music director at a Catholic church, “he” became “she.” Baby Dee then became a performance artist and quickly gained notoriety for outlandish shows that found her playing the harp while riding a tricycle, dressed as a bumblebee. While that might be a thing of the past, you can still expect a theatrical element to tonight’s show. (Jeff Niesel) 9 p.m., $8. Mahall’s 20 Lanes. Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears/ Dams of the West: Joe Lewis, frontman for the grunge-y classic soul and punked-up R&B band Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, has come a long way from the days when he worked at an Austin pawn shop. The job might have sucked, but it did give him the spare time to learn to play guitar. Lewis would first launch Black Joe Lewis and the Cool Breeze in 2005. That band became enough of a sensation that when Lewis created his current group, Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, he instantly had a following. The group’s latest album, Backlash, represents a return to its grungier roots. Expect a rousing performance at tonight’s gig. (Niesel) 9 p.m., $15 ADV, $18 DOS. Grog Shop. Casting Crowns/Danny Gokey/ Unspoken: 7 p.m. Akron Civic Theatre.

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House of Blues. Ghost Bath/Amigo the Devil/Burial Oath: 7 p.m., $12 ADV, $14 DOS. Now That’s Class. Glenn Holmes Quartet: 8 p.m., $12. Bop Stop. Carlos Jones & the P.L.U.S. Band/ Zach & the Bright Lights: 8 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Music Box Supper Club. Maz/The Admirables/Michelle Willis: 8:30 p.m., $12 ADV, $14 DOS. Beachland Ballroom. Del McCoury Band: 8 p.m., $35-$45. The Kent Stage. Rock Radio: 9 p.m., $5. Brothers Lounge. Moss Stanley: 10:30 p.m., free. Nighttown. Witness Protection (in the Wine Bar): 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge.

SAT

Chris Hatton’s Musical Circus (in the Wine Bar): 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge. Hollow Earth (in the Underdog): 9 p.m., free. Happy Dog. Jam Night with the Bad Boys of Blues: 9 p.m., free. Brothers Lounge. Brad Myers and Michael Sharfe: 8 p.m., $10. Bop Stop. Sundy Best/Angela Perley & the Howlin’ Moons: 8 p.m., $15. Beachland Ballroom. Cale Tyson/Lost State of Franklin: 8:30 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Beachland Tavern. Royal Wood/Diana Chittester (in the Supper Club): 7:30 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Music Box Supper Club. Yellowstone Apocalypse/Plants Plants Plants: 9 p.m., free. Now That’s Class.

FRI

03/03

Coup de Grace CD Release/Jeff Klemm & the Letters/The Brothers Band: Over the years, Coup de Grace singer Nick Reese has played with several local acts and often filled in with others when needed. But all the while, he and drummer Tig have consistently worked together, originally in the George Harrison Ford Explorers and then in various side projects. In the early 2000s, Reese toured with local prog rockers

| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

Simeon Soul Charger, playing everything from keyboards to guitar. But when Simeon relocated to Germany, Reese chose to stay behind and joined the progressive jam rock group Aliver Hall. In December 2015, Reese decided to focus his energy on songwriting and composition, so he and Tig formed Coup de Grace, joining forces with bassist Doug Gallo (Treespeak, Hayden Calling and The Real True Stories). The self-described “indie psych-rock trio” will celebrate the release of its first album, Walk In Light, with tonight’s show. The rootsy tune “Friendly Tiger” serves as the disc’s first single. (Niesel) 9 p.m., $8. Musica. Aqueous/Big Something: 9 p.m., $10 ADV, $14 DOS. Beachland Tavern. Bumpin’ at the Happy Dog: A Dance Party: 9 p.m., free. Happy Dog. Johnny Cash Tribute by the Cold Hard Cash Show (in the Supper Club): 8 p.m., $18 ADV, $20 DOS. Music Box Supper Club. Lawrence Daniel Caswell: 6 p.m., free. Happy Dog. Paola Costa Trio: A Carnival Night!: 8:30 p.m., $20. The Euclid Tavern. Crocodiles/AJ Davila/Fascinating: 9 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Mahall’s 20 Lanes. Duane Eubanks/Keigo Hirakawa Trio: 8:30 p.m., $15. Nighttown. Gaelic Storm: 8 p.m., $25-$35.

03/04

Los Campesinos!/Crying/DJ Scott Heisel: Los Campesinos! is a band that wears everything on its sleeve. One look at the exclamation point in the name or the fact that all the band members have changed their last names to Campesinos! should tip you off. The Welsh-based band became popular in the late 2000s with a series of indie pop releases. Their multi-instrumental sound is raucous and energetic, like a punk version of Belle & Sebastian. Their new album, Sick Scenes, blends more danceable and indie sounds with some slower tunes and a more nuanced approach to songwriting. “5 Flucloxacillin” deals with current issues with prescription drugs, and “I Broke Up in Amarante” follows the lead singer through a mental crisis. Even though the music isn’t quite as bouncy and peppy as before, the band’s earnestness still shines through during a live show. (Johnny Cook) 9 p.m., $16 ADV, $18 DOS. Grog Shop. The Pogues by the Boys from the County Hell: When the Boys from the County Hell first got together in 2000 as a Pogues cover band, it was supposed to be just a one-night stand. But after selling out their first show at the Euclid Tavern, their popularity escalated. The band’s been working on blending some horns into the mix, so expect to hear a bit of R&B tonight as it plays a selection of Pogues tunes and kicks off its busiest time of the year. (Niesel) 8 p.m., $15. Music Box Supper Club.


LIVEWIRE Helen Welch: Yesterday Once More: 8 p.m. E.J. Thomas Hall. Beth Hart/Rachael Sage: 8 p.m., $38$48. The Kent Stage. Ron Howard & Cruisinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;: 9:30 p.m., $5. Brothers Lounge. Infected Mushroom/Randy Seidman: 8 p.m., $20 ADV, $25 DOS. The Agora Theatre. Jivviden/Holy Daughters/Mason District: 9 p.m., $8. Beachland Tavern. Joan & Joni featuring Allison Shapira & Kipyn Martin: 8:30 p.m., $15. Nighttown. Carlos Jones & the PLUS Band: 9 p.m., $10. Musica. Mist/Fan Fiction/Christmas Pets: 9 p.m., $5. Happy Dog. Tom Petty Tribute by Shadow of Doubt (in the Supper Club): 8 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Music Box Supper Club. Kellie Pickler: 8 p.m. Hard Rock Rocksino NorthďŹ eld Park. Power Trip/Iron Reagan/Protestor/ Concealed Blade: 7 p.m., $14 ADV, $16 DOS. Now Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Class. The Sadies/New Planet Trampoline: 8:30 p.m., $16 ADV, $18 DOS. Beachland Ballroom. Jeff Varga (in the Wine Bar): 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge. Jackie Warren: 10:30 p.m., free. Nighttown. Gruca White Ensemble: 8 p.m., free. Bop Stop. Wish You Were Here, The Sight and Sound of Pink Floyd: 8 p.m. Akron Civic Theatre.

SUN

03/05

Looming/Runaway Brother/Vacula/ Mary Kekic (in the Locker Room): With their debut album recorded just three and a half years ago, Looming has worked quickly to build on their interesting sound. The driving characteristics here are Peter Buck-style riffs laid across the catchy vocals of Jessica Knight. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tried and Trueâ&#x20AC;? slips a nice helping of syncopation into the bass-led rhythm, with plinko guitar ďŹ&#x201A;ecking the background before falling into an energetic chorus. Going back through their releases, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll catch all sorts of neat angles on fuzz rock indie charm, and honest, down-toearth lyrics. This is Midwest rock, completely of its time, at its ďŹ nest. (Eric Sandy) 7 p.m., $8. Mahallâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 20 Lanes. The Cleveland Blues Society Presents A Tribute to Guitar Slim:

BOP STOP

5 p.m., $10. Beachland Ballroom. Ronny Cox Trio: 7 p.m., $20. Bop Stop. Persons Places Things/Rosedale/ War Stories/Speedo Agreedo: 6:30 p.m., $8. Grog Shop. Simon & Garfunkel by Swearingen & Kelli (in the Supper Club): 7 p.m., $18 ADV, $20 DOS. Music Box Supper Club.

MON

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Skatch Anderssen Orchestra: 8 p.m., $7. Brothers Lounge. Bad Suns/From Indian Lakes: 8:30 p.m. Grog Shop. Circa Survive/Me Without You/ Turnover: 6:30 p.m., $23 ADV, $25 DOS. The Agora Theatre. The Five Irish Tenors: 7 p.m., $42. E.J. Thomas Hall. Moving Units Presents the Songs of Joy Division/Viktor Fiction/ Soviet: 8 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Beachland Ballroom. Velvet Voyage (in the Wine Bar): 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge.

TUE

Nikki Lane: Alt-country singersongwriter Nikki Lane established herself as an alt-country star-inthe-making with her 2011 debut, Walk of Shame. She nicely followed it up with 2014â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s All or Nothinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, a terriďŹ c collection of twangy tunes produced by Black Keysâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; singerguitarist Dan Auerbach, whom she met at a ďŹ&#x201A;ea market. The album made several â&#x20AC;&#x153;Best ofâ&#x20AC;? lists when it came out, and New West Records even released a 19-track deluxe version of the record, which includes the previously unreleased â&#x20AC;&#x153;Canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Get Enough.â&#x20AC;? Her latest effort, Highway Queen, picks up where All or Nothinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; leaves off. (Niesel) 8 p.m., $15-$45. Beachland Ballroom. Agent Orange/The Queers/ Guttermouth/The Atom Age: 8:30 p.m., $16 ADV, $18 DOS. Grog Shop. Carnifex/Rings of Saturn/Lorna Shore/She Must Burn/Edorra/ Demons Within: 6 p.m., $15 ADV, $18 DOS. Agora Ballroom. Excision/Cookie Monsta/Barely Alive/Dion Timmer: 7 p.m., $30. House of Blues. Polyphia/Jason Richardson/Covet/ Everyn: 6 p.m., $12 ADV, $15 DOS. Mahallâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 20 Lanes. Two-Set Tuesday Featuring Adam Grinder (in the Wine Bar): 7 p.m. Brothers Lounge.

scene@clevescene.com t@clevelandscene

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THE PROMISE HERO By Jeff Niesel MEET THE BAND: Bobby Vaughn (vocals, guitars) HONOR ROLL STUDENTS: Early in 2006, singer Bobby Vaughn and guitarist Daniel Weiss, both of whom played together in high school in the indie rock band Honor Roll, started the Promise Hero. The group issued its selftitled album that same year and picked up some momentum by opening shows for the popular local hardcore act Between Home and Serenity. They quickly signed to the Chicago-based label TDR Records. The songwriting was originally a collaboration between Vaughn and Weiss, but Vaughn eventually became the sole member of the group. In the past decade, the band has released two EPs and two LPs; it has collectively sold over 5,000 albums to date. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m always looking for advice on what to call the group since the No. 1 thing that it is is fun,â&#x20AC;? says Vaughn. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I always felt like there was a team of people working with me on the band. Even

| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

as members change, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s always a team. My dream is to have a solid lineup of musicians but I think I might just be waiting for the right people to show interest. I do love making it my No. 1 thing.â&#x20AC;?

THE DOWNWRITE STUFF: Vaughn works as a Downwrite Artist and is part of a community where musicians tell other peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stories through custom songwriting. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I write personalized songs for people,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fun for people to browse through the different artists who can write songs for you. I can sometimes go months without working on a song, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a cool thing that Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m happy to be a part of. Co-creators [SpitalďŹ eldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s] Mark Rose and [Braidâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s] Bob Nanna are guys whose music I really like too.â&#x20AC;? WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: The bandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new album, Demonstration Tapes, features a 28-track collection from the bandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s career, including demos, B-sides and acoustic songs. The album is limited to

100 physical copies only on CD. Tunes such as â&#x20AC;&#x153;Long Way Homeâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Oxygenâ&#x20AC;? show off Vaughnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sharp pop sensibilities as he draws equally from emo rockers such as Weezer and classic pop/rock acts like the Beach Boys. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a little bit of everything,â&#x20AC;? Vaughn says of the album. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s even a new song I just ďŹ nished recording a couple of months ago and songs that date back from 2006. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m really proud of the demos we recorded with Chris Conley from Saves the Day. No one has really heard those before. The fun part about demoing is that I can try anything creatively. We have a lot of fun doing them.â&#x20AC;?

WHERE YOU CAN HEAR THEM: thepromisehero.com. WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: Promise Hero performs at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, March 3, at the B-Side Liquor Lounge & Arcade.

jniesel@clevescene.com t@jniesel


| clevescene.com m | March 1 - 7, 2017

53


C-NOTES DOUBLE-DOSE OF MAYER By Jeff Niesel

KentStage The

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Del McCoury Band

Hard Day’s Night

Fri., Mar. 3

Fri., Mar. 10

Simon Kirke of Bad Company & Free! Fri., Mar. 15

The Walking Plaid Fri., Mar. 17

Ekoostik Hookah, Danksgiving Family Band, Vibe & Direct Sat., March 11

The Smithereens w/The Motels Sat., Mar. 18

Noam Pikelny

Ratt’s Stephen Pearcy

Michael Kelsey Brian Henke

Sun., Mar. 19

Thu. Mar.. 23

Fri., Mar 24

WHEN SINGER-GUITARIST JOHN Mayer played Blossom back in 2013, he started the show with “Queen of California” and moved directly into the single “Paper Dolls” during a concert that showed off the range of his music. Nearly every song was extended by several minutes to allow for solos and dancing on the lawn. Late last month, Mayer announced he’ll return to Blossom on Aug. 30. The concert will be part of his Search for Everything World Tour. Mayer just released a second wave of tunes from the forthcoming studio album The Search for Everything. The album, which Mayer began recording three years ago at Capitol Studios in the Capitol Records building in Hollywood, arrives on April 14. Each concert will feature sets with a full band as well as performances by the John Mayer Trio. Mayer will play a solo set as well. Tickets will go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 4. Before his solo tour this summer, Mayer will post up at Blossom with his pals from the Grateful Dead. Dead & Company, which includes Grateful Dead members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann and Bob Weir, along with singerguitarist John Mayer, Allman Brothers’ bassist Oteil Burbridge and “Fare Thee Well” and RatDog keyboardist Jeff Chimenti, will perform two sets of music from the Dead’s catalog of songs on June 28. Tickets are available now.

LONDON LABEL TO ISSUE LOCAL BASSIST GABRIEL SCHRAY’S NEW SOLO ALBUM Mike Polk, Jr

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Sat., Mar. 25

Sun., Mar. 26

Fri., Mar. 31

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54

| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

Over the past 10 or so years, local musician Gabe Schray has played with indie rock acts such as Houseguest, Intelligent Knives and Genetically Yours. He’s also played trumpet for Six Parts Seven, Beaten Awake and Churchbuilder.

John Mayer

Now he’s announced the Londonbased label Last Resort will release his new album, Gabriel. It will mark the first release on the new imprint, an offshoot of the London radio program. Schray played all the various instruments himself; he says he whittled down the final versions from their lengthy original recordings. It took him more than a year to record the album, which will be available on 180-gram vinyl. The instrumental ambient songs have a crisp, jazzy feel to them and sound like they could be on the soundtrack to a French new-wave movie as the atmospheric music provides a good mixture of organic and electronic instrumentation. Schray plays a CD release party at 9 p.m. on Friday, March 3, at Thursday’s in Akron.

jniesel@clevescene.com t@jniesel


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| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017


SAVAGE LOVE COME NOW by Dan Savage Dear Dan, Fortyish, straight, white dude here. I have this weird (possibly misogynistic) belief that, when it comes to sex, I can’t win. Actually, I think men in general can’t win. Thoughtful, well-meaning men at least. It comes down to this: During sex, if the man doesn’t come, it’s the man’s fault, because he clearly has problems with his dick and is barely even a man and should be ashamed of himself. If the woman doesn’t come, it’s also the man’s fault, because he’s clearly bad at sex and doesn’t even care and is barely even a man and should be ashamed of himself. So am I a misogynist or just a guy with issues? Any advice for me moving forward? — Yeah, I Got Issues If you’ve been with women who blamed you when you didn’t come, YIGI, and then turned around and blamed you when they didn’t come, well, that had to be annoying. Or maybe you’re referring to something in the ether and not to any inabilityto-climax/inability-to-induce-climax shaming you’ve actually come in for. (Have you been with women who shamed you like this? If so, and again, that had to be annoying. Have you been with any women at all? If not, it’s possible your letter is an MRA setup and/or you’re a misogynist with issues.) If this has actually happened to you, YIGI, chalk it up to “some people are awful, women are people, some women are awful” and let it go. And remember this about men: Sometimes we come during sex, sometimes we don’t, the number of times we don’t increases with age. Focus more on intimacy, connection, and mutual pleasure, YIGI, and less on spooging all over everything — and seek partners with the same focus. As for women: You do know that dick alone isn’t gonna do it for most women, right? Only a small percentage of women can come from PIV intercourse alone. And you’re familiar with the clitoris, right? (If you weren’t, google it, and you’re welcome.) But if you find yourself in bed with a woman and you’re having difficultly helping her come (you’re there to help not make), ask her if she can make herself come. If she can’t, odds are you won’t be able to help her come, either — not

you, not anyone else. If she can make herself come, ask her to masturbate to climax while you watch. Make a close study of what works for her. If she touches herself in a certain way, learn to touch her in that way. If she busts out a vibrator, use that vibrator before, during, and after PIV or instead of PIV. Good luck.

Dear Dan, A therapist told me to go out and have some fun — I’m a married woman with teen boys and feeling a bit lonely — but I’m not looking to have an affair. I just want a spanking now and then. I found the one kink club I visited in New York to be kind of depressing, and my spanking friends are more of a social group who hang out on the weekends. I just need some good, clean spanking fun. Would love your advice. — Seeks Paddling And Needs Know-How Kink enthusiasts, like dentists and accountants and troglodytes (hey there, CPAC), have conventions, SPANK, where like-minded/employed/aroused folks meet and socialize before heading up to their hotel rooms for some good, clean kinky fun. I think you should get your ass to one of the many spanking conventions out there — and so does Jillian Keenan, journalist and author of Sex with Shakespeare, a memoir about your shared kink (spanking) and how Shakespeare’s plays helped Keenan discover and accept herself, as a human being and as a kinkster. “National parties are a great way to get safe, fun, no-sex spankings and meet other people in the scene in a lowpressure environment,” said Keenan, who sent a list of events all over the country: Shadow Lane (Las Vegas), Boardwalk Badness Weekend (Atlantic City), Crimson Moon (Chicago), Texas All State Spanking Party (Dallas). “There are some parties I’ve chosen not to attend for political reasons,” said Keenan. “The spanking community isn’t immune to heteronormative bullshit, unfortunately, and some parties explicitly prohibit M/m play. Any party for sexual minorities that prohibits expressions of other minority sexual identities doesn’t deserve our time or our money!”

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| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

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| clevescene.com | March 1 - 7, 2017

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